The malaise of the desert, the heat of the asphalt, the heartbreak of sprawl—these are the fuels for L.A.’s country songwriters, from Clarence White to Dave Alvin. The Southern California country scene is not and never will be as huge as Nashville’s, but it sure does influence everything around it. Who could have predicted the Byrds’ twang-tinged Sweetheart of the Rodeo
or seminal punk band X regrouping as the bluegrass outfit the Knitters? Or, for that matter, the singer for the Strawberry Alarm Clock joining the outstanding roadhouse ensemble I See Hawks in L.A.
? With the Strawberry Alarm Clock’s Paul Marshall—yes, that’s him singing in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
—I See Hawks in L.A. have grown into what Alvin himself calls “one of California’s unique treasures.” With high three-part harmonies and a psychedelic bent that would make Gram Parsons proud, the band celebrates their new collection Shoulda Been Gold: 2001–2009
on Friday, Feb. 5, at Studio E. Rural Sebastopol, map provided with ticket. 8pm. $22. 707.542.7143.Gabe Meline