It’s nearly May, Spring is in the air and the weather in Los Angeles is spectacular. What better way to spend a nice warm evening than listening to some great music while relaxing under a starry night sky? The Standard, Hollywood’s Desert Nights, held every Wednesday in our Cactus Lounge, is exactly that. Desert Nights is a mellow evening filled with toe-tapping acoustic genius and chill cocktails. This week’s line-up includes:
Shane Alexander: L.A.-based singer, songwriter, and guitarist Shane Alexander has drawn comparisons to everyone from Jeff Buckley to Art Garfunkel and Jackson Browne, thanks to his beautifully emotive vocal style and his haunting, finely crafted songs. Born in San Diego but raised in Maryland and Pennsylvania, Alexander took refuge from a troubled childhood in music, falling early under the spell of Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits, an influence that still slightly colors his adult work. Developing into a fine guitar player, Alexander was spotted by producer Richard Podolor, who began using him as a session guitarist on various studio projects beginning in 1994, an experience that gave Alexander an insight into how to write, shape, arrange, and record a song. The young musician next joined the band Young Art, appearing on two albums with the group before forming Damone, in turn recording an album and a four-song EP with the new band. Damone enjoyed a popular West Coast run on the club circuit before disbanding in 2003. Alexander immediately launched his solo career, releasing Shane Alexander in 2003, The Middle Way in 2005, Stargazer in 2006, and The Sky Below in 2008, all on his own independent Buddhaland Records imprint. As Alexander opened tours for the likes of Seal, Jewel, John Hiatt, Peter Case, and others, his songs began popping up on a host of TV shows, including The Real World, Laguna Beach, Brothers and Sisters, Bones, Big Shots, Criminal Minds, and Wildfire, all of which helped expand the audience for Alexander’s impressive brand of melancholic Americana.
Justine Bennett: Singer songstress Justine Bennett grew up amongst artists and hippies in the remote mountains of British Columbia, listening to the folk songbirds of her piano teaching mothers generation. As a late teen, she packed her bags and moved to San Francisco. After years of playing on the streets where she lived, Justine recorded her debut album “Invisible”, which synched every song to television and afforded her performances at legendary venues such as the Fillmore in SF and the Troubadour in LA. Her most recent work, “Heavy Feeling” is a mystical folk rock album, capturing her North Country influences and hauntingly unique vocal timbre. There’s something vintage in her alto voice, that recalls other singing sirens, Joni Mitchell, Stevie Nicks and Natalie Merchant, from rocks golden ages. Producer Chris Seefried (Rosanne Cash, Low Stars) along with musicians David Immergluck (Counting Crows, John Hiatt) and Don Heffington (Emylou Harris, Ricky Lee Jones) have adorned this record with loose instrumental embellishments, creating songs that feel lived in and music that is timeless. Justine now resides in Los Angeles, living and playing amongst some of the most talented musicians in the country. Her music frequents the legendary Hotel Cafe, the birthplace of Sarah Bareilles, Colby Caillat and many other popular LA bred artists. She has traveled across the country playing colleges and venues.
Jamie Drake: Jamie Drake has become a familiar name in Los Angeles. First known on the scene for her Year-Long Residency at Crane’s Tavern during Beachwood Rocker night, she set a goal to play every week - showcasing new material, inviting musicians up without prior rehearsal and sometimes audience members to sing-along with what became her theme song, “Plumbline.” (read the Vinyl District’s blog about Plumbline HERE. Known for having the ability to laugh at herself and entertain with ease as well as draw out deeper emotions from her listeners, Jamie makes one laugh or cry depending on the spirit and theme of the show, understanding that “as a listener, you need to feel something every time you hear a song, not just a catchy little tune that will soon annoy you, as it becomes overplayed. You deserve something that moves you, something you can revisit several years from now and still connect with, songs that are themselves a holistic piece of art. Jamie Drake gives you that.” - Colette Weintraub (rockisagirlsbestfriend).
“Jamie Drake is truer to the roots of those 70′s-inspired styles than any Hollywood pixie out there… Vaguely reminiscent of Jenny Lewis on stage with her motley band but with a sharper quality of voice (but) Closer to Adele, Florence & the Machine and other current British favorites, Drake’s vocals sway and quiver at their hardest, glide and wrench at their most vulnerable.” - Marianna Bell (moviesmusicmayhem)
Follow Jamie Drake on Facebook by clicking here.
What is Desert Nights?
Desert Nights is a weekly gathering at The Standard, Hollywood, hosted by KCRW’s DJ Valida. Every Wednesday, Valida curates three acoustic musical acts to perform a set in the Cactus Lounge. The vibe is warm and intimate, evoking an impromptu jam in a musician’s living room. The music begins at 7:30pm, it’s always free and always a good time. Guaranteed.