Arts & Culture

Local acts ring in the new year at The Sanitarium in SLO

The Sanitarium Spa Bed & Breakfast in San Luis Obispo wants to help you celebrate New Year’s Eve in true Central Coast style.

Lompoc singer-songwriter Emily Wryn will headline The Sanitarium’s New Year’s Eve Music Bash on Monday night.

The event features performances by a number of local acts, including jazz fusion trio Five Minus Two, hip-hop-reggae-funk act Triple X-World Class Heavyweights, and innkeeper Vincent Bernardy’s band, St. Vincent Folk.

The alt-folk band, which also features Ben Lima, Jeff Bedrosian and Jeff Schneider, represents a different direction for Bernardy, who was part of the Minneapolis grunge punk scene in the late 1980s and ’90s.

Performing alongside bands including Hüsker Dü, Soul Asylum and The Replacements, he opened for Green Day and worked with Mark Brown, bass guitarist for Prince’s original touring band, The Revolution.

Bernardy eventually moved to the Central Coast along with Schneider, percussionist for San Luis Obispo live electronic band Tropo. (The band’s violinist, Tyson Leonard, produced St. Vincent Folk’s most recent album, 2010’s “Acoustic Chocolate Songs, Vol. 2.”)

Bernardy admitted he’s grown more musically mellow with age.

 “When you’re young, you have that angst,” he explained. “I still do some punk songs from back then, but it’s not a straightforward punk band anymore.”

Monday’s headliner, Emily Wryn, draws inspiration from old-school acts such as Billy Holiday as well as contemporary singer-songwriters Brandi Carlile, Neko Case and Florence and the Machine frontwoman Florence Welch.

Wyrn grew up in Burbank but moved to Lompoc at age 10. There, she met the man she credits with introducing her to singer-songwriter Cat Power and convincing her to launch a music career — Randall Sena, who owns Lompoc’s Certain Sparks recording studio.

In 2007, Wyrn recorded a demo at Sena’s studio that garnered some radio play. In 2011, after taking a hiatus to start a family, she returned to Certain Sparks to create her first official album, “Head On Straight,” produced and arranged by Sena.

Released in February, “Head On Straight” charts Wryn’s growth as a musician and a person through motherhood, divorce and other challenges.

“I don’t have to wear the mom jeans and wear the apron and cook dinner every night,” explained Wryn, who balances her career as a professional singer-songwriter with caring for her 5-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son. “It’s like, OK, instead of trying to reinvent myself, I’m just going to try to figure out who I am.’ ”

Although Wryn will likely perform Monday’s show solo, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, she sometimes teams up with Lompoc blues rockers Saint Anne’s Place as Emily Wryn and the Lights Electric.

“When I play with them, I get to belt a little more,” she said, describing her typical sound as “really intimate, emotional music.”

Wryn is happy to be ringing in the New Year at The Sanitarium, where she’s played a few times before.

“It has really good vibes,” she said.

Bernardy, who has been producing shows at The Sanitarium for the past two years, wants to see the venue become an integral part of the local arts scene.

In addition to the Music Night concert series, which takes place on the first Wednesday of every month, The Sanitarium offers special events including concerts, poetry nights and book signings.

Past performers have included classical guitarist Eric Henderson, rock band Lost in Los Angeles and singer-songwriter Gretchen Seichrist, the creative force behind Americana pop-punk band Patches & Gretchen.

By welcoming musicians, authors and artists to The Sanitarium, “We’ve opened another door for local and international people to come through,” Bernardy said.


New Year’s Eve Music Bash

7 p.m. to midnight Monday

The Sanitarium Spa Bed & Breakfast, 1716 Osos St., San Luis Obispo


215-9305 or