Wow.That’s all I can say.
This Saturday’s show at Butler’s was just one of those very special shows that just wowwed anyone lucky enough to be in attendance.Openers WHY PORTLAND?, who’ve only been together for a short while, may have a ways to go, but their strongest material (“Like Owls,” “200 Miles,” “Outro”) shows what awesome potential this young local trio has. Dynamite take-no-prisoners vocalist Kara, ably bookended by the intricate and inventive acoustic guitar interplay of friends and bandmates Frank and Ryan, show just how far they can go with their sweet-and-sour but defiantly upbeat approach when presented with the right tunes — most notably those that lay big, bright, big-hearted pop hooks over their jingle jangle indie folk roots. This was their first full set at Butler’s but I can guarantee you it won’t be the last.

Next up were tried-and-true Butler’s vets TRACY NEWMAN & HER REINFORCEMENTS, back by popular demand. Tracy, a former TV sit-com writer (Ellen, The Nanny, Cheers, According to Jim, etc.) has returned to her first love, music, and anyone who appreciates sharp, perceptive wit, heart-on-its-sleeve compassion and pointed pokes at the trials and tribulations of growing older in a youth-obsessed society will dig Tracy’s unique and charming musical takes on life, liberty and the pursuit of a decent night’s sleep from meditations on the trial of carpooling teenage girls, middle-aged couples stoked on weed and Merle Haggard. Sympathetically flanked by six-string maestro Gene Lippmann on acoustic guitar and new Reinforcement Rebecca Leigh on backing and harmony vocals, and backed by seasoned pros John Cartwright on bass, John O’Kennedy on mandolin, dobro, and other stringed instruments and Doug Knoll on drums, it was a musically rich and diverse set that the fortunate few will be talking about for a long time, but then it got even better.

Midway through her set, Tracy called up a special surprise musical guest: KATY MOFFATT to play a few numbers. Katy is, of course, the highly acclaimed, almost legendary Texas-born singer/songwriter and back-up vocalist whose unapologetic blend of country, folk, rock, pop, and blues has earned a substantial following among roots-music fans in the know. She’s worked with the Allman Brothers, Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Poco, John Prine, Tanya Tucker, and Lynn Anderson, and has released so many albums she herself says she’s lost count. Accompanied by John O’Kennedy from Tracy’s band on mandolin, and accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, Katy belted out three songs: two she co-wrote with Tom Russell (“Walkin; on the Moon” and “Ain’t I a Woman”) and a jaw-dropping take on Phil Ochs’ adaptation of the legendary ballad “The Highwayman.”

It was an awesome performance, one that was only topped by Tracy and the rest of the Reinforcements’ return to the stage for the completion of their set, capped off nicely by the one-two punch of “Laraine,” a open-armed tribute to her sister, Laraine, formerly of the original Saturday Night Live Prime Time Players and their trademark closer, the infinitely catchy “Goodbye, Aloha.”

Best of all, Tracy and Katy both had such a great time they’ve both agreed to come back and split a showcase between them, and maybe even work up a couple of numbers together.

But that’s the kind of music that goes on at Butler’s Coffee every week: fresh, exciting, engaging and passionate, open to rising young talent and seasoned pros alike. The kind of music that makes it worth leaving the house for. And all for the price of a great cup of coffee or a delicious sandwich or snack. The kind of music that makes my job as Butler’s “music guy” such a pleasure.

The kind of music that puts the boots to the lie that there’s nothing happening in the Antelope Valley…

Like, this July, besides our regular Saturday night Showcases, besides our monthly OPEN MIC (July  16), and our OPEN MEETING of the ANTELOPE VALLEY GUITAR SOCIETY (July 13), we’ll be featuring well over twenty different musical acts, ranging from the goateed experimental jazz of TRANSWORLD JAZZ PROJECT (July 2) to the dusty old-time cowboy folk of JOHN BERGSTROM (July 13).

Along the way we’ll have Celtic, country, rock, pop, soul, folk, punk folk, classical, blues, Broadway and some stuff there isn’t even a name for yet, with acts as diverse as JULIAN CORPENO, LAURA BROWNE-SORENSON, RYAN BEUDER, ELLE CARPENTER, MISHA, COLTON SAYLOR and a zillion others. All playing their hearts out, and all right here in the Antelope Valley.

Butler’s is conveniently located  just down the road at 40125 10th St. West in beautiful downtown Palmdale, right next to Buffalo Wild Wings and right across the street from Wal-Mart. Their telephone number is 661-272-9530, and they’re open seven days a week, serving up some of the finest java and light meals you’re ever likely to swallow.

As always, local musicians or singer-songwriters interested in performing both original music and well-chosen covers oughtta drop by BUTLER’S web site and fill in an application. I’m ALWAYS looking for new talent: jazz, blues, bluegrass, 40s, 50s, rock, soul, rhythm’n’blues, doo-wop, whatever. If you wanna play, make like Debbie Harry and call me. I ain’t that bad a fella, really.

Don’t miss some great music! You can always find out who’s playing next at Butler’s by checking their calendar at https://ww.butlerscoffee.com/calendar.com .

Kevin Burton Smith
Butler’s Coffee Music Guy
“Good honest coffee, good honest music.”
https://www.butlerscoffee.com/