Since its inception in 2006, the Grass Roots Record Co. has taken considerable inspiration from other region-oriented record labels like Motown, Sun, and even Sub Pop. But as founder Jesse Locks told the Seattle Weekly, the Nevada City-based imprint differs by being "more hippie." Its first release, Family Album, was a compilation of mostly local acts all recorded live in the same studio over two days. And with a smattering of new releases coming out of its folky stable, a package tour, à la Motown's "Motortown Revues" of old, made perfect sense. Tonight's show features the varied yet familial sounds of Mariee Sioux, Aaron Ross, Lee Bob Watson, and Alela Diane.
Sioux's music is steeped in Native American imagery and atavistic impulses. It features contributions from flautist Gentle Thunder on a redwood-carved instrument and mandolin playing by her father. Her songs sound as if they were actually recorded in the forest. Ross performs front man duties for Sacto band Hella, whom he helped transform from a proggy, speed-mosh duo to a moshy, speed-prog orchestra. But as a solo artist he takes it way down for some aphoristic, Dylan-esque folk rockers. Watson mixes up the formula with some funky backbeats and riffs borrowed from the Staples Singers and Curtis Mayfield, while Diane offers a little twang.
Fri., Sept. 21, 9 p.m., 2007