Men in Black

The Hollisters sound like Johnny Cash, and John Sebastian sounds like a jug band

Post-Kotter, Sebastian seemed to vanish completely from the Earth, and no one complained too much. So it's heartening to report that his new album, Chasin' Gus' Ghost, is the best thing he's done in, well, more than 30 years. A traditional jug-band album ("Gus" is jug-band godfather Gus Cannon; many Spoonful tunes were jug-band-based) featuring friends like Geoff Muldaur, Jimmy Vivino and John Simon, the sound is, as Sebastian once sang, "dirty and gritty"—a far cry from the hippie folk-rock and spineless pop that hallmarked Sebastian's post-Spoonful years. He plays and sings like he really means it this time out; the result is at once down-home bluesy and big-time fun—as is all good jug-band music. Uhhhhh . . . welcome back, John.

Laguna Beach's WILL BRADY has a new CD out. Boxwork is a gorgeous collection of solo instrumental guitar workouts, pretty much a full 180 from his last album, the rock-, blues- and jazz-based Caveman Brain. Brady tackles a number of originals and stylistically disparate covers ranging from Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready" and Arthur Alexander's "You Better Move On" to the Everly Brothers' "All I Have to Do Is Dream" and Dylan's "Buckets of Rain." The music is introspective, contemplative and meditative, a lush and calming showcase for Brady's spirituality and his sterling musicianship. Guitar players will marvel at both his enviable technique and his on-the-spot penchant for heady improvisation. A job well done, indeed.

The Hollisters play at the Crazy Horse Steakhouse & Saloon, 71 Fortune Dr., Irvine, (949) 585-9000. Sun., 9 p.m. $5; John Sebastian performs at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 704-2400. Sun., 3 p.m. $25-$50.Boxwork is available for $15 from Will Brady, P.O. Box 9065, Laguna Beach, CA 92652, or e-mail willbrady@aol.com.
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