In Sutter Creek on Saturday, music fans get a good dose of East Bay Grease as Lydia Pense and Cold Blood perform at the Sutter Creek Theatre. The show starts at 8 p.m. and features special guest Fred Ross, who was once part of Tower of Power.
Pense and Cold Blood celebrated 50 years in music at a show in Santa Cruz on May 5. The band made its debut at the fabled Fillmore in San Francisco. “Owner Bill Graham was so impressed with Lydia’s voice and the sound of the band that he immediately signed Cold Blood to his new record label,” says lydiapense.com.
It was a fruitful time in music in the Bay Area in the late 1960s and early ’70s, as Pense and Cold Blood and Tower of Power created a sound that fused funk and rhythm and blues with some soul that was quickly labeled East Bay Grease. “That music still holds up today, proving that great music is timeless and will continue to inspire generations to come,” the website said.
Pense’s band’s first four recordings – “Cold Blood,” “Sisyphus,” “First Taste of Sin” and “Thriller” – proved to be their most popular work, but audiences still appreciate Pense’s gritty vocals; singers like Bonnie Raitt, Michelle Shocked, David Lee Roth and even Janis Joplin have raved about her sound. Favorite songs include “You Got Me Hummin’,” “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “I’m a Good Woman,” and perhaps the group’s biggest hit, “Down to the Bone.”
“It’s been a long road,” Pense’s website acknowledges when considering how long she has thrilled audiences. The band took some time away from stages and studios, but eventually returned to play that East Bay sound. “… Lydia and the band are living proof that a little time off can be a really good thing.”
“Soul of the Gypsy” was released in 2015, and fans jumped aboard that train as soon as it left the station. Fans remembered what had been missing from music, and the dozen new songs “exemplify how a performer can take great strides forward, without forgetting her roots,” the website says.
One Amazon reviewer adored the record: “Love the new album … Always been a fan, but this one has a ton of fresh energy. After all these years, still fresh and pushing it? You bet!”
“The Lady still can belt it out,” another fan said, noting he has “loved her music since the ’70s.”
Pense and Dana Moret sing when the band performs Saturday. Steve Dunne plays lead guitar and sings and Donny Baldwin is on drums and vocals. Steve Salinas plays keyboards with Rich Armstrong on trumpet and percussion; both add vocals to the mix. Rob Zuckerman plays alto, tenor and baritone saxophones and Evan Palmerston plays bass and sings.
“The band members are all veteran Bay Area musicians who have played with many great artists,” the website added, “including Elvin Bishop, Jefferson Starship, Boz Skaggs, Albert Collins and more.”
San Francisco native Fred Ross is a singer, musician, songwriter and producer who has been part of many acts in the Bay Area and beyond. He started performing at age 16. The Fred Ross Project appeared for 14 years at the Starlight Room at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco, comprised of members of Cold Blood, Tony, Toni, Tone, Santana and more bands from around the bay.
“Ross is an awesome soul/R&B vocalist, so this will be a great vocal lineup, plus sax, trumpet; this will be a killer show!” says a release from the theater.
Tickets for the show are $25 in advance at suttercreektheatre.com or $28 on Saturday. The theater is at 44 Main St., Sutter Creek.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday
WHERE: Sutter Creek Theatre, 44 Main St., Sutter Creek
TICKETS: $25 in advance at suttercreektheatre.com or $28 on Saturday
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