Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Strange Vine

First the bad news: Local music fave The Same Shape has broken up.

Now the good news: If you dug The Same Shape, you're probably going to like Strange Vine.

It's a duo consisting of Toby Cordova (guitar, vocals) Ian Blesse (drums, vocals, Rhodes), both of whom spent time in The Same Shape.

In Strange Vine, the duo play bluesy and psychedelic rock with heavy dose of influences from the past. (If you want to download a free Strange Vine MP3, go to

Strange Vine plays a pair of gigs this weekend with In Flight Nymphs -- 9 p.m. today at Audie's Olympic, 1426 N. Van Ness Ave. ($5) and at 9:30 p.m. Saturday at The Cellar Door, 101 W. Main St., Visalia ($5).

We talked to Blesse to learn more about Strange Vine:

How did Strange Vine get started? Well the idea of this band goes back to when Toby and I were in high school. A year ago, he moved back from Japan to play bass in The Corby Yates Band, and we started writing music together on the side. Now we are finally doing something with it.

I've heard rumors about Same Shape breaking up. What's the status? Sadly, the rumors are true. We had a good run and played lots of amazing shows, but after five years or so, I think we were all a little tired.

Your stuff certainly has a yesteryear vibe to it. What are you going for and who are your influences? We both grew up listening to The Beatles, Zeppelin, Hendrix, Dylan, and Floyd who were all heavily inspired by old blues an gospel music. I still get the chills when listening to an album like "Dark Was The Night" by Blind Willie Johnson from around 1927. Just something about that old stuff.

What's the meaning behind Strange Vine as the band's name? We are sworn to secrecy under a sacred blood oath to never reveal the true meaning.

It does happen to be the title of a song we like, though.

In exactly 11 words, describe your live show. You tell us. Our first show is tonight at Audie's Olympic!

What should people expect from you in the future? I'm sure we will go through a lot of changes musically. Being a duo takes us out of our comfort zone and forces us to try new things, which is very exciting.

For music and more: Go to

Know a local musician that more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,