Arts & Culture


All those stories about the music business tanking

are beginning to sound like a broken record.

While it’s true that the industry once again suffered a dip in units sold this year, poor sales haven’t stopped musicians from recording. In fact, because it’s easier and cheaper than ever to make a record, the number of bands recording — and sending CDs to local newspapers—has actually proliferated.

While we usually feature locally made albums in our CD review section, we’ve have a bit of a logjam recently. So here are several recent releases.


Bucket Busters

S truggling to find a Christmas gift for the drum-loving loved one? Try a trash can. That’s right — a good old-fashioned metal trash can. Because as this CD shows, you can get a lot of great drumming sounds from trash cans. Throw in some water bottles and buckets and you’ve got a real dynamic percussion setup.

The Bucket Busters, who perform regularly, are led by Steve Hilstein, who teaches at Drum School 101 in San Luis Obispo. Here his students ditch the drum sets and take up buckets, rocking out to plastic versions of “Wipe Out” and original drum compositions.


CT and Tommy Lee

C heck out any book about surf music, and you’ll likely read about the Sentinels, the early-’60s surf band from San Luis Obispo. Here, former Sentinel Tommy Lee Nunes offers an updated — but uncompromised — version of the Sentinel hit “Latinia” with his longtime collaborator Chet “CT” Lee. Both veteran musicians have had their brushes with fame, and while they’ve never become household names, they’ve continued to pursue their passion. In this summery collection, they delve into country rock, reggae and ’70s yacht rock.


Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen

A s a member of the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and The Desert Rose Band, Hillman played numerous well-known venues, including the set of “The Ed Sullivan Show,” the Grand Ole Opry and the stage at the ill-fated Altamont Speedway Free Festival.

Earlier this year, he and Desert Rose band mate Herb Pedersen teamed up for a concert at the Edwards Barn in Nipomo. The benefit for the Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Santa Maria was actually Hillman’s third concert there. And he liked the sound so much he decided to record it.

Aided by guest musicians, including Desert Rose bass player Bill Bryson, the duo recorded rootsy bluegrass versions of hits by Hillman’s former bands. The duo added their tight harmonies to songs such as “Eight Miles High” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” by the Byrds, and Desert Rose songs including “Sin City” and “Love Reunited.”


Cuesta Jazz 2010

W hen you think about great music schools, junior colleges don’t normally come to mind. Yet Cuesta College has an impressive music program, aided by a strong jazz community. Here, community members, Cuesta faculty and students team up for a big and brassy collection of big-band jazz tunes, covering Miles Davis, George Stone and Pat Metheny.


Wimpy Dicks

T his punk band has been performing around San Luis Obispo since 1980, sharing stages with groups such as Black Flag, Bad Religion, the Dead Kennedys and Social Distortion. The lineup of the power trio has changed over the years, but its latest effort keeps true to the mission: It’s fast, loud and lyrically incomprehensible. One song is about Phineas Gage, the 18th-century construction foreman who survived having a pipe blasted through his skull only to have his personality drastically altered by the injury.

Reach Patrick S. Pemberton at 781-7903.

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