Deborah Crooks



Happy Fourth + Your Own Reaction


Growing up, July always seemed like the hottest month, but somehow the heat didn't disrupt the desire to set off a firecracker. Because we were inland a few miles, we'd often take our holiday fireworks to Manresa or Beer Can Beach to set off after dark. The fireworks sold at stands at that time packed a punch, and watching the official displays in Watsonville and Santa Cruz was nearly secondary to the rogue displays going off at home and along the coastal beaches. We'd buy what are likely now-illegal bottle rockets and other items promising high voltage glitter and thrill from a roadside stand outside of town. During the week leading up to the holiday, we'd preview our cache of snappers, sparklers, and those weird charcoal snakes that grow before your eyes with the strike of a match, on our brick patio. One never knew exactly what would happen once the firework was lit, which was the real fun. One year, my dad shot a defective firecracker off early that flew low into a small conifer and burst into flame, a fire that was fortunately easy to contain. Considering our impulsiveness, we were lucky to escape being burned badly or worse: there's good reason so many fireworks are illegal.

The thrill in lighting your own fuse is primal, and the beaches of Santa Cruz were crazy on the Fourth, as they are likely are now, crowded with similarly reckless pyromaniac types intent on figuring out how where to roll the keg in the sand, light the brightest bonfire and set off the loudest explosion. The folks who wanted bigger and brighter on their own terms bought their fireworks from vendors in Mexico or through other underground routes. There were always some impressive, if dangerous, unofficial displays.

Tonight, we'll venture out into the middle of the Bay on the boat to see what we can see. The forecast is calling for the East Bay to straddle the fog bank that's been coming in the past few days so the display could be muted.  But who knows? Maybe we'll drum up a few sparklers of our own before nightfall. In the meantime, here's another preview track from the KCDC project, "Your Own Reaction." Happy Fourth!



Northwest Prep


In the wake of last weekend's run of fun shows — thanks to a crew of producers, we went from the Always...Patsy Cline pre-shows to ULUV to Sailstice to Barkissimo (above photo)— I've been getting ready to hit the road the second week of July for another run up to the Northwest, to Bend, OR and Seattle July 9-11 before circling back. Check the calendar for last-minute show additions. We'd love to see you along our route!


Boarding Barkissimo


Barkissimo is a 'floating oasis' in Emeryville, aka a 80' yacht, 'St. Augustine trawler,' that has been transformed into a multi-use venue.  This Sunday, 6/22, Barkssimo will be in form as a music venue, and I'll be part of an (early) evening of songwriters performing our originals. I'm honored to be in the company of this crew of artists--join us!
Alexis Harte • Rick Didia • Deborah Cooks • Maurice Tani
Port opens at 5:00 • Concert begins at 6:00 pm • $22 Donations at the door • Bring Food to share • Beverages are available •Reserve through EVENTBRITE link 

ULUV Music Festival

ULUV Music Day is a connected set of free, public music events which takes place each year in parklets, parks, Bart Stations and other public spaces on the 21st of June to celebrate music and the people who create it! San Francisco will be bursting with live music performance all day, on Saturday, June 21, starting at noon.

As part of the celebration, I'm delighted to play Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club, out in the Avenues (this is the place to get a coffee before hitting Ocean Beach IMHO). I'll be leading off the line-up at Trouble. While there's all sorts of greatness happening during  ULUV,  you can't go wrong parking it here for the afternoon if you're in SF (and not in Alameda later in the day for my 3pm Sailstice* set!)

ULUV Music Day @ Trouble Coffee - 4033 Judah St, SF
12-1pm Deborah Crooks 
1-2pm Y Axes 
2-3pm Elsie White 
3-4pm Quinn Deveaux 
4-5pm VeJah aka MicChecka and Anthony featuring Maya Songbird
 The updated schedule for performances at venues all over the city is HERE.

ULUV Music is a charitable organization whose goal is to increase revenue streams for the Bay Area’s music industry by producing community driven music events that showcase local artists, businesses and charities. Through creating more opportunities for the local music community, ULUV Music will help sustain, grow and preserve the San Francisco Bay Area’s rich music culture.

Two Bay Area visionaries, Starita and Robin Applewood, founded ULUV Music and both have dedicated their careers to uplifting the Bay Area music community.  They have united their visions to create this event-based movement so that musicians and industry professionals can thrive and sustain their careers in music.


Guitar Pull June 12


June is the month of adding shows on the fly! Thursday June 12 will find me playing another opening set at the Always...Patsy Cline show in Alameda, 7:3pm, followed by a turn at Bill Hansell's Guitar Pull at The Sleeping Lady in Fairfax, 9pm-11pm.

The Sleeping Lady is an all ages venue. Dinner is available every evening along with the shows (kitchen hours). There are beer and wine and coffee choices to compliment your listening experience. This show is free! Come take a listen


Two Tunes airing on Beyond the Dawn Radio June 9


KCDC Preview


In the interest of both creative challenge and ego erosion, my partner Kwame Copeland and I took the RPM Challenge, aka co-write-an-album-in-a-month, in February 2013. Employing an Allen Ginsburgian/Beat Poet/first-thought-best-thought approach to writing, we sat down and wrote a song together every day for two weeks. It was a pretty straightforward effort: we threw whatever we had against the wall and kept what stuck, culling the results to songs we found interesting enough to complete.  After the RPM Challenge ended, we kept going with most of the material, rallying a rhythm section and recording the basics of what has turned out to be an eclectic batch of tunes that dips into country, latin, post-punk, straight-ahead rock as well as balladry. Over the past several months we've been completing overdubs and mixing the tracks with Mike Stevens at Lost Monkey Studio...and we're just about finished with KCDC 1.0 (in the middle of recording and mixing songs from RPM 2013 we did the RPM Challenge again in 2014, so yes, there will be a second collection). It's been an organic and refreshing project, a departure in many cases from our individual work, and we've had a lot of fun. We'll be releasing the first KCDC collection of songs sometime this summer. In the meantime, here's a preview of the intro track, Go Through That Door:


Patsy Cline pre-show


We're playing a short set of country classics and our twangiest originals as the pre-show entertainment for a handful of dates of the acclaimed Always...Patsy Cline show now playing at Altarena Playhouse here in Alameda. Most shows are sold out but they're adding more dates. If you've tickets, look for us Friday May 30, Sunday June 8, Thursday 12 & Friday 20.




"Bread & Roses is dedicated to uplifting the human spirit by providing free, live, quality shows to people who live in institutions or are otherwise isolated from society."

We've been doing occasional shows for Bread & Roses over the past several years and they're always gratifying. These gigs don't earn us a dime and no one remembers our full names but they're golden. Periodically we play for B&R at Creativity Explored,

an art school for adults with disabilities who nonetheless very ably wield paintbrushes and pastels to create beautiful and diverse paintings. Bread and Roses places musicians there every month or so and  we took another turn playing to the artists and students on their lunch break earlier this week. There's a wide range of abilities at Creativity Explored:  invariably someone waves a corn dog in your face, passes gas at an inopportune moment or gets up and dances in a way not seen before. Yesterday, all three happened...and it was pure delight. Halfway through the set, we had 5 impromptu backup dancers including one gentleman who was doing something like a break dance. I was impressed! It's a wacky and wooly world, but there's so much good being done and hope being made in the face of it, epitomized by the work of both Bread & Roses and Creativity Explored. I’m always happy to support them!




Music Review as Poetry on Sonic Data


An interesting 'review' of Little Bird came through in the form of a poem culled from  song lyrics on the disc. It's a completely different interpretation of the material but I nonetheless found it pretty interesting. Check out the Sonic Dada post HERE