Red Meat, The Nickel Slots dial up the twang at The Palms on Saturday, Sept. 15

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Red Meat mixes country, gospel-influenced harmonies, a touch of rock ‘n’ roll and irreverent fun into an infectious blend of honky-tonk twang. The Nickel Slots dish up Americana with a dash of punk’s energy.  The two bands will return to The Palms Playhouse on Saturday, Sept. 15, starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $22. Red Meat’s vocal harmonies and dance-on-the-sawdust arrangements reflect the musicians’ Midwestern roots and affinity for traditional country music, while the humor in the lyrics and singer Smelley Kelley’s audacious banter bear the mark of the quintet’s adopted Bay Area home base. Case in point: a song that kicks off with scorching fiddle, has four-part vocals from Kelley, multi-instrumentalist Scott Young, bassist Jill Olson and drummer Les James, guitar fills from Michael Montalto that’d be at home in a song about long-distance trucking – and is a spirited ode to a “12 Inch 3 Speed Oscillating Fan.” That’s not to say all of Red Meat’s songs are off the wall. Bassist and singer Jill Olson’s “Thriftstore Cowgirl” combines a roots-rock feel with wistful lyrics, and her “Broken Up and Blue” is on the “Monster’s Ball” soundtrack and played as Halle Berry stepped forward to accept the Best Actress Oscar. Young, the band’s primary songwriter and arranger, pens songs ranging from the Bakersfield-influenced “Honky-Tonk Habit” and “Highway of Heartaches” to the quiet “Lolita” to the rollicking fun of, yes, “12 Inch 3 Speed Oscillating Fan.” Since forming in San Francisco’s Mission District in 1993, Red Meat has released five albums (three produced by Grammy-winning roots-rock icon Dave Alvin), served as touring band for rockabilly legend and Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Wanda Jackson and received a proclamation in their honor from the city and county of San Francisco. Sacramento-based band The Nickel Slots will play first. With a sound that combines country and rock into a potent alt-country/Americana blend, The Nickel Slots deliver the goods with robust vocals, songwriting and instrumentation. Since forming in 2008, the quartet has released five albums, opened for Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band at Sleep Train Arena, and won a fist-full of awards including three Sammies for Outstanding Americana/Alt-Country, a Sammie for Best Live Performer, an individual Sammie (electric guitarist Steve Amaral), Best US Music Video at the 2015 American Online Film Awards, Best US Music Video at the 2015 American Online Film Awards and been inducted into the Sammie Hall of Fame. The band cites both Johnny Cash and The Clash as influences, and that musical genealogy is apparent in their arrangements. They know how to light up rock songs with powerful drums and bass and an earful of electric guitar, and also how to dial that back into a warm country sound. Lead singer, songwriter and acoustic guitarist Tony Brusca uses subtly different vocals styles for his songs, with a touch of twang in the vowels for country and a full-throated, occasionally wistful approach to songs on the rock side of the spectrum. Bassist and mandolinist Paul Zinn’s harmony vocals blend well with Brusca’s lead. Electric guitarist Steve Amaral isn’t afraid to tear it up or play with restraint. Drummer Christopher Amaral brings power and precision to his rhythms. Tickets for Red Meat and The Nickel Slots’ Saturday, Sept. 15 show at The Palms Playhouse are available at Pacific Ace Hardware in Winters, Armadillo Music in Davis, Davids’ Broken Note in Woodland, online via The Palms’ website and Eventbrite, and at the door if the show is not sold out. For more information, visit,, and]]>

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