Jim Messina’s latest release is an experiment in old-school meets new.
The album, recorded over two nights of live performances in 2015, is available on two-disc vinyl, as fitting a songwriter who worked with Buffalo Springfield and the country-rock band Poco and was one half of the ’70s pop-rock duo Loggins & Messina. It’s also available at his live shows as a credit card-sized multiformat, multimedia USB drive.
It’s on a lanyard, so you can wear it around your neck.
This is the all-access version of the album, with audio files that can be played via a computer or on modern car stereos. It also has HD video, set lists and lyrics and (for the true fanatics and music nerds) technical information on Messina’s guitars and gear.
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“There’s a lot of information and added value,” says Messina, 69, talking on the phone in advance of a Friday night performance at Fresno’s Tower Theatre.
“It has turned out to be an interesting little test,” he says.
The album comes during a period of transition for the singer.
Last year, he signed with the Roots Agency.
It’s a specialized booking agency that caters to his particular niche and has been successful in booking him into new markets, specifically theaters and performing arts centers – like the one at Pepperdine University, where he plays next week and is within two dozen seats of having a sellout crowd.
Messina is on the road through March touring with his longtime band. These are the same players on the album, he says, doing much of the work that made Messina famous.
“The set list will include some history.”
The draw: The Seratones are a band you need to pay attention to now. Or so says Teen Vogue and Nylon and Glamour. The band, fronted by singer A.J. Hynes, creates funky, blues-laden garage rock that calls to mind Alabama Shakes. The group released its debut “Get Gone” on Fat Possum Records in May.
The event: Dozens of muralists converge on Fresno’s Calwa Park for the the fourth annual Bizare Art Festival.
The draw: Calwa Park is known for having the only legal graffiti wall in the Central Valley, which makes it the perfect venue for a festival that works to legitimize the street art and its culture. See: Aerosol Art. The annual event was inspired by the death of local graffiti artist Lord Bizare (Salvador Lujan) and has consistently brought artists from across the country to live paint. Last year, the event featured members of the Lords Crew, a group of street artists, emcees and b-boys that was founded by Lujan in 1986 and has gained international attention for its work.
The festival also features live music and dance and is appropriate for children.
The draw: Starset doesn’t perform concerts. It stages demonstrations.
The Ohio band serves as the publicity arm of the The Starset Society, an organization looking into the effects of technology on our future, with particular interest in automation, space, the brain and body. The society has commissioned its own novel and is working with Marvel to release a graphic novel.
If the society is a fictional thing, frontman Dustin Bates doesn’t let on. The band, he says, is simply the soundtrack to the narrative pushed forward by the society.
“The style of music exemplifies that,” he says.
As do the “demonstrations.” The band performs in full-on helmeted spacesuits with stage devices – like transparent touch-screen computers – that are practical and play to the science-fiction aesthetic.
“It’s an immersive experience,” Bates says.