Wooster (Acoustic), Tess Dunn
Mar 2 @ 9:00pm
Advance tickets at:
or at The Crepe Place
Years of living on the road, crashing on strangers' floors and playing for sweating, screaming crowds have infused Wooster's sound with a precious ingredient known as life force. Give this Santa Cruz, CA-based soul/reggae/rock quintet's new album If All the Dew Were Diamonds a spin, and you'll hear the kind of music that can only be made by people who are neck-deep in life, with all its beauty, heartbreak, mess, marvel and mystery.
Described by various music critics as “smoldering,” “top-notch,” “one-of-a-kind,” “addictive” and “like a breath of fresh air,” the Wooster sound is a party-ready mix of California reggae and Aretha Franklin-esque soul, spiced up with hints of Motown, surf, Latin rock, funk and hip-hop. Listen closely, and you might detect a little Chili Peppers swagger, a little Dave Matthews bounce or a little Led Zep muscle. The end result? Think Sublime after anger management, or No Doubt on soul serum.
With Diamonds, the members of Wooster—vocalist Caroline Kuspa, guitarist/vocalist/songwriter Brian Gallagher, lead guitarist Zack Donoghue, bassist/guitarist Bobby Hanson and drummer Nate Fredrick—graduate from being “one of Santa Cruz’s liveliest local acts” (Santa Cruz Weekly) to being one of the hottest, sassiest, most dynamic acts around, period. All the elements that made their 2009 debut album The Heights of Things sparkle are back in bigger and badder form: tight musicianship, lead vocals that soar and simmer, ultra-catchy melodies, harmonies smoother than Malibu rum, choruses that kill, uptempo numbers that burn, softer tunes that soothe, and above all else, grooves that could disable even the strongest anti-dancing muscles.
As Gallagher explains, the title If All the Dew Were Diamonds is a reference to a conversation between two hung-over paisanos (countrymen) in the Steinbeck novel “Tortilla Flat.” “The paisanos may be penniless and adrift, but they get to lounge around in the morning sun watching the dew sparkle in the grass,” he says. It’s a lifestyle that Wooster can relate to. “We’re not coming home from tour with hundred dollar bills falling out our pockets, but what we are coming home with is real-deal, salt-of-the-earth experiences,” Gallagher notes. “I’ll bet you there’s a CEO somewhere wishing he could trade his bald spot for some drink tickets and a chance to stand onstage and pour his heart out.”
The line “I’m gonna live until the day I die” from Diamonds’ last track, “Day I Die,” says it all: these five music-worshipping road warriors intend to keep living full-tilt, full-color, full-on, all the way to the final cut. In the process, they’ll keep cranking out some of the most irresistible grooves on the planet, and they’ll continue to remind us where the real wealth is: right before our eyes.
T ess Dunn is an 18-year old singer-songwriter phenom from Santa Cruz, California. Tess’ raspy vocals, mature piano compositions and alternative sound transcend her years. She started playing the piano at age 5, began writing songs at age 11 and first took to the stage at age 12. Diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF), an incurable life-threatening disease which causes progressive lung damage, as well as epilepsy and diabetes, Tess faces issues of mortality that infuse her music and lyrics with radiant richness and haunting depth.
Tess’ first CD, “Darling Just Walk,” released in 2009, was recorded in North Hollywood with a host of internationally recorded musicians, including Ari Shine, Carina Round, Adrienne Pierce and Adam Topol. Dubbed in the media as “the young and the fearless,” one music reviewer wrote that her lyrics “…delve into deeper and darker spaces than the pop stars of her time.” Tess says living with CF is “…almost like having a clock ticking over your head, but it has a way of putting things in perspective.” She “finds a certain beauty in the randomness of life,” and her music explores issues of love, trust and relationships. An affecting advocate for anyone battling the challenges of chronic disease, Tess encourages others due to to her take no prisoners zest for life.
Tess has performed throughout California, including at the SF Bay Area Vans Warped Tour shows in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. In addition to headlining shows in Santa Cruz County, Tess has opened for artists including Karla Bonoff, Nina Storey, Ari Shine, Adrienne Pierce, and Iris DeMent. She contributed a song for an anthology album in Canada, performed for the Santa Cruz TEDx, and participated in a national film and music production, “The Breathe Song Event,” to raise CF awareness. She was the subject of the Vans Off The Wall TV "Pass The Bucket" series, which highlights inspiring athletes, artists and performers.
Tess' second album, "Honesty Box," recorded with Ari Shine and Noah Shain at White Buffalo Studios in Los Angeles, was released in February 2012. One reviewer wrote that Honesty Box has, "a great caffeinated garage sound not too dissimilar to the punk bands of thirty years ago." The first single from the EP, "Shame To See," was recorded at the legendary EastWest Recording Studios in Hollywood, and the accompanying music video won a S.F. Bay Area contest for Best Local Music Video. 99.7 FM named Tess one of the top local SF Bay Area artists of 2011.