Eugene Weekly : Music : 12.16.10


True Stuff for the True Believers

For KRVM DJ Jivin’ Johnny Etheredge, now celebrating the 40th anniversary of his radio show, the music is still magic. Etheredge began his radio career in 1970 as a broadcasting student at LCC. His first assignment was to record a 60-second audio demo of his skills. “The instructor recorded a critique at the end of my tape that said, ‘Well, John, you’re welcome to stay in the class if you want to, but you obviously have no future in broadcasting,’” recalls Etheredge. 

That teacher couldn’t have been more wrong. Not only is Jivin’ Johnny smooth and professional, his radio shows are perennial favorites. He began “Saturday Gold” on KLCC in 1970 with various hosts, and became the sole host in 1971. When the show shifted to KZEL in 1974, and later to Sunday nights, Etheredge no longer wanted to call it “Saturday Gold,” but the name “Sunday Gold” was already taken by an album of popular gospel hymns. “I wanted people to know I was playing rock and roll, not ‘Rock of Ages!’ he says, “so I came up with ‘Son of Saturday Gold.’” And that’s what it’s been called ever since. Etheredge also hosts two other KRVM shows: “Country Classics” on Saturday mornings (same time slot for 30 years) and “’60s Beat” on Monday evenings. 

For Etheredge, born in 1951, the early roots rock by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ray Charles, Bo Didley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and many others is timeless. “It’s impossible to overlook the importance of what they did in the face of a record industry in the ’50s that was virtually all white, corporate controlled and purveying some of the most insipid pop music you’ve ever heard,” says Etheredge. “It was an explosion that couldn’t be held back even though the establishment tried to hold it back.” Jivin’ Johnny Etheredge spins and The Tones (performing a capella doo-wop classics) appear at 8 pm Thursday, Dec. 16, at Mac’s Restaurant and Night Club. 21+. Free. — Vanessa Salvia

Promiscuous Cyclops Blink

Considering the three Eugene rockers that make up Dirty Wink formed for a one-time gig at a Halloween party, it’s safe to say that they’ve made a beautiful mountain out of a molehill. If it’s possible to imagine Sublime jamming with Lenny Kravitz and Silversun Pickups then I guess you should go ahead and imagine it — that seems to be what these guys did.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Whoa, that sounds nuts!”

I know, right? But it’s the hybrid quality of Dirty Wink’s sound that makes this shit fun. The best part is that they’re really not trying to be anything other than what they are; all of them have the same basic taste in music, but each adds their own unique flavor to make the sound whole.

Their first full length is set to release — a wonderful milestone considering they’ve mainly been rocking house shows and bars up until now — and the album is just what you would expect. The production is sound and the songs flow well. At times I’ve found myself getting lost in the music entirely, with the gaps in between songs as nothing more than blips between the rock.

These guys are set to become a local powerhouse, so look out, Eugene.

Dirty Wink’s CD release party with Kingdom County and Blast Majesty is at 10 pm on Friday, Dec. 17 at Luckey’s. 21+. $5. — Andy Valentine

The South Is Rising

When Luzelena Mendoza lost her faith, she started making music as Y La Bamba. This was a great swap, as those who’ve heard the band well know. “My temple has been compromised / I was meant to rise / six feet above my bed,” laments Mendoza on “Juniper” from the band’s sophomore release, Lupon.  Although her loss of faith has inspired, more notable than anything else is her use of her raices, Mexican roots. As the daughter of immigrants from the southern state of Michoacan, Mendoza, in Lupon, revisits and rediscovers summers spent in the San Joaquin valley in her version of a kind of whimsical and rustic Mexican indie folk. Mendoza’s vocals are perhaps the most astonishing dynamic of the band. Her high alto might remind you of Sierra Casady from Coco Rosie or a female version of Antony Hegarty. Mendoza blends her soft melodies with more experimental tracks like “Festival of Panic” that show off her vocal range and variation.

The cover of Y La Bamba’s new album displays a picture of Mendoza’s grandfather and points to the traditional Mexican sounds that she has harnessed and molded into a beautiful patchwork of indie folk. Fans of Devendra Banhart, Coco Rosie, The Besnard Lakes, Jose Gonzales or any soft, melodious, organic folk will be intrigued by Y La Bamba. Horse Feathers and Y La Bamba play at 9:30  pm Saturday, Dec. 18, at Sam Bond’s Garage. 21+. $8. — Andrew Hitz

Warm Music, Holiday Feelings

I’m going to give it to you straight-up, Eugene: Unless you’re already donating time, money and/or goods to the Egan Warming Center, get your asses to the holiday reunion concert of Misty River, a band we used to see all the time but that took 2009 off (mostly) and toured just a little this year. Folk fans have missed the group’s sound and live performances as the individual members dealt with health issues and worked on solo projects, so now’s the chance to see the musicians and do some good at the same time.

Fiddler Chris Kokesh, whose lovely albums October Valentine and the EP I Never Knew stick around on my iTunes rotation, lives in Portland; Carol Harley (banjo and guitar) lives just north of Portland in Vancouver, Wash.; bassist Laura Quigley just moved to central Oregon, leaving accordionist Dana Abel as Eugene’s only Misty, uh, Riverian — one reason we haven’t seen them in a while. Their roots/Americana music fits with the warmth necessary in a winter season of hail, wind, driving rain and general unpleasantness. 

The show at the First Christian Church, where the group performed last Thanksgiving, will give partial proceeds to the Egan Warming Center, also in the First Christian Church. The band’s focus, not so surprisingly given the season, is “Harmony for the Holidays,” what the press release describes as “a concert of traditional, original and seasonal songs from the folk, country and bluegrass traditions.”

Misty River performs at 3:30 pm Sunday, Dec. 19, at the First Christian Church of Eugene, 1166 Oak St. $16 adv. at CD World or; $20 day of show. Donations of warm, dry, clean clothing also welcome at the door. — Suzi Steffen




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