News Column

Sacramento Live: Sam Misner and Megan Smith

November 1, 2013

YellowBrix

Nov. 01--Not the typical New Americana duo, Sam Misner and Megan Smith have brushed up their Shakespeare. The two met as working actors at a Shakespeare festival and were reacquainted in 2004 while performing at the Foothill Theatre Company's production of "Woody Guthrie's American Song."

They discovered a mutual appreciation of roots music and formed a duo around his imagistic narrative songs and her acoustic bass and lush vocal harmonies. The collaboration flourished around intermittent acting work (both have performed with Capital Stage).

The couple, who live in Davis, have just released a fourth album, the highly anticipated "Seven Hour Storm." The mostly acoustic album, produced by Jeff Kazor (The Crooked Jades, Richard Buckner) and engineered by Bruce Kaphan (David Byrne, REM, The Black Crowes), is gentler and more meditative than the title suggests, but the plugged-in tunes have a kick you'd like to hear more of from the pair.

They'll be playing their new music for this homecoming show and over the next few months until their "other" careers come back into play in March as Misner returns to his role as the Russian poet Nicholas Ogarev in the Shotgun Players epic production of Tom Stoppard's trilogy, "The Coast of Utopia."

Smith will perform in June at the Marin Theatre Company in the West Coast premiere of "Failure: A Love Story," by Philip Dawkins.

Misner and Smith perform at 8 p.m. today, The Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St., Winters. $20. www.palmsplayhouse.com

Reprising 'Sunset Limited'

The Actor's Theatre of Sacramento reprises its production of Cormac McCarthy's "The Sunset Limited" starring two of Sacramento's most respected actors, the Elly Lifetime Achievement winners James Wheatley and Edward Claudio.

Although the two-man play doesn't have any of the already-infamous sensationalism of McCarthy's current film "The Counselor," it does feature a probing philosophical debate between a couple of very different men, Wheatley's former convict-turned-evangelical Christian and Claudio's atheist academic.

Performances at 8 p.m Fridays and Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays through Nov. 24 at the Three Penny Theatre, California Stage Complex, 25th and R streets, Sacramento. $15-$17. Check into the Actors Workshop of Sacramento on your smartphone, and receive $2 off ticket price. (916) 583-4880.

Jazz organ celebrated

Locally based veteran jazz drummer Mat Marucci has worked successfully in a variety of styles around the country over the years, whether collaborating with the late avant-garde saxophonist John Tchai or touring with the late Hammond B-3 organist Jimmy Smith.

Marucci dips into his groove bag bringing a quartet to celebrate music of the great jazz organists including Smith, Richard "Groove" Holmes, Larry Young, John Patton and Joey DeFrancesco.

The band features Marucci regulars Chet Chwalik on Hammond keyboard and Rob Lemas on bass, with up-and-coming Reagan Branch on saxophones. They'll play new arrangements of jazz standards and original compositions from the quartet members.

Sunday. The first set starts at 5 p.m. Tickets: $5-$10. JB's Jazz Lounge, 1401 Arden Way inside the Clarion Hotel. For reservations call (916) 723-5517 or email vtlee@gmail.com .

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