Gather round, it’s time for another thrilling installment of The Standard, Hollywood’s Desert Nights, a celebration of modern Americana folk music. This Wednesday’s line-up is sure to have you tapping your toes and tipping your hat.
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 travelled across the country playing colleges and venues.
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.
Trevor Menear: Trevor Menear dropped out of the sky in 2007 making his first appearance on Yoko Ono and Warner Bros. Records joint effort Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur.? Along side 50 other artists which included Willie Nelson, Ben Harper, Regina Spector, Jakob Dylan, The Cure, Jackson Brown and U2; The 22yr old Chicagoan recorded his version of Lennon’s “John Sinclair” with an antique Meissner 78rpm record lathe, cutting directly into a vinyl acetate.? This raw introduction was more than enough to set him apart from the rest of the cast, foreshadowing the classic roots inspired nexus of his writing. His debut Introducing Trevor Menear released under indie label Shangri-La, reveals an accessible blues-pop hybrid. His expressive voice bolstered by his plangent, nuanced guitar work, immediately conjures up images of Duane Allman and Jimi Hendrix.? Following with the independently released EP Boots For Alice, Menear’s music continues to span an eclectic gamete that gains him notoriety among heritage jam fans, art-loft acidheads and many others in between.
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.
For added fun, make sure you check out our Desert Nights Summer Playlist here!