Sounding the 805

Franklin’s new record now 10 percent more oil-absorbent! Plus a free Cash Q&A and Big Jugs in Ventura

By Chris Mastrovito 06/24/2010

As Franklin for Short returns from an East Coast tour with the world-class Norwegian band The Kings of Convenience, it follows up its 2008 release Swell with its next full-length album produced by Jon Debaun  (The Mars Volta, Mastodon and I Was a Lover, Delorean Was a Dealer) and titled, Dark Cloud. One may wonder, has Franklin finally recoiled from its normal cheerfulness and retreated into the dark recesses of existential anguish? Not a chance. It is one of the most upbeat records of all time, guaranteed. The album cover art — featuring the underwater view of a barreling wave resembling a cloud — and the actual musical content (soothing, eclectic, buoyant) say it all. This band is nothing, ever, if not positive.

The title does, however, in an eerily coincidental way, also conjure up the dark image of what some unsuspecting Florida sea turtle may see moments before being cloaked in crude oil due to the ongoing Gulf Coast oil spill, a cause to which the band has quickly pledged to lend its efforts. Ten percent of all proceeds from the album’s vinyl sales will go to environmental charities involved with the cleanup. “As we were touring around the East Coast hearing about the oil spill on TV, it seemed as if no one was able to do anything about it,” says lead singer/guitarist Seth Pettersen.

“Then we decided that due to all the oil it takes to make records and travel, we as a band were compelled to do something.” The album, which the band considers to be its best record yet, is on sale on CD, download and vinyl LP through the official website. It is a great album to be sure, a perfect summer record, living up to everything and more that fans of one of Ventura’s favorite bands have come to expect.

W.C. “Fluke” Holland, original drummer for rockabilly pioneer Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash’s longtime (and only) drummer, appeared at Bombay Bar and Grill in Ventura at a free pre-show event the night before the second annual Johnny Cash Music Festival to take some Q&A from eager Cash fanatics. If you weren’t inclined to shell out the $20 admission for the festival, this was the next best thing, and there is something surreal about witnessing Cash tribute acts humbly performing “Walk the Line” inches away from the white-haired relic of the man who actually laid down the original, shuffling beats heard on the 50-year-old classics. Many of the musical acts booked for the festival were there, including Jimmie Ray and Cyndi Cantrell, The Cash Prophets and Big River, all dishing out heavy doses of Cash and Cash-like tunes.

For those who take their roots music a bit less seriously, Ventura welcomes the raunchy, foul-mouthed, guilty pleasures of bluegrass/jugband ensemble Big Jugs, recent transplants from Santa Barbara to Ventura, who have rassled up fans since 2007 from California to as far as Belgium and Holland with music described as bargrass, barbilly or as the band claims, “Your grandpa’s favorite country record that he hides from grandma out in the barn next to his old ass-kicking boots.” The subject matter of the songs is so un-PC it makes David Allan Coe blush, and the music is so intoxicating you’ll want to bootleg corn whiskey. Expect to see more of these dirty hillbillies, whose sophomore album, It’s OK, is set to release July 1 on the band’s own label, Stroke Records, with a CD release party at The Dirty Vinyl on Saturday, July 3, with Jackass  and Danny Garone of  The Iron Outlaws. Leave your reservations at home.

Also, be sure to be check out Billy O’s on Monday June 28, the last night of the residency for Carlism, featuring opening acts Birdfeeder as well as the debut of the new project by Cheetahsaurus frontman Wyatt Hull, called Metal Lark. Expect the unexpected.

Sounding the 805 is Ventura County’s only biweekly local music column. If you have a tip, a suggestion, a complaint, some dish or just a kind word, shoot Chris Mastrovito an e-mail. 


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