We’re again focusing heavily on music festivals this month — however, after looking up the definition of “aiding and abetting,” we’ll opt not to include the ticket link for the apparently forthcoming Fyre Festival 2 (yes, really). You can chalk it, porch it and fork it at a variety of outdoor fests in September (many of them gratis, none of them scams), sprinkled in with our usual slate of local gigs — including a long-awaited album release show.
Local artists, message Aaron Davis on Instagram if you have upcoming shows, @adavis_threetosee.
Samantha Henson starts the month by celebrating the release of “For Ghosts in Our Heart,” which is (somewhat surprisingly) her debut full-length album. As Henson describes it, the “sacredly mundane” album was woven together from moments both beautifully heavy, such as “late nights alone in my room filled with grief and despair,” and beautifully scrappy, like “belting ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ after last call at Old Ironsides, weekly band practices below a daycare, White Claw walks around the cemetery and the parks, and playing my great grandfather’s fiddle at two in the morning.” Check out the video for “Landmines” — penned by pal Steven Morkert — for a smattering of both the heavy and scrappy. At times breezy and others blustery, the dusk-splashed and stirringly introspective record features top-to-bottom collaborations from Morkert, as well as several other local mainstays. Henson celebrates the release at Old Ironsides with support from Miamaz and the Revelator. And to make sure it stretches out to last call, Henson also will host an after party set with Casey SlowJay, Sanity Clause, and JustIs, (8:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1. 1901 10th St. $10. theoldironsides.com).
“Harmony” doesn’t quite capture the splendor of what’s happening with upstart Sacramento folk trio Dear Darling — a seemingly preordained collaboration between kindred spirits Hannah Jane Kile (guitar), Natalie Hagwood (cello) and Casey Lipka (bass), vocalists all. They’re the warm hug you need at that precise moment when the sun dips on a breezy autumn day, to keep the cool night air at bay for as long as you can. They hold court at the Sofia at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 1 ($20. bstreettheatre.org), and the RSVP window opens later this month for their Oct. 7 house concert gig at the cozy Bootleg Music Cafe and Tiki Lounge, which figures to sell out in a hurry (www.bootlegmusicproductions.com).
What was supposed to be an end-of-season bang at Concerts in the Park lost some detonation yield when the Brodys’ ballyhooed return to the main stage was torpedoed by an illness in the band. We get a much-welcomed makeup when the ebullient veteran local rockers spearhead the Chalk It Up! Art & Music Festival lineup on Sunday, Sept. 3. They’ll be joined that day by Sacramento-bred power-pop rocker Anton Barbeau & the Maude Squad, Ghost Town Rebellion, funky collective Angelite, Clemon Charles Band, and others. The always bustling three-day chalk art festival welcomes the likes of Loose Engines, surf rockers the Me Gustas, the Snares, San Kazagaskar, Bellygunner and Girls Rock Sacramento troupe Maiden’s Voyage on Saturday, with Madi Sipes & the Painted Blue, Coco Lailani, Rosepatch, River City High’s River City Regiment Marching Band and many more bringing it home on Monday (Sept. 2-4 at Fremont Park, 16th and P streets. Free. chalkitup.org)
The recurring Ghost Creek Jamboree gigs — the brainchild of Grass Valley picker Ryan Joseph Moody — brings a collection of six folk/Americana/country-adjacent bands to the rowdily divey (and purportedly haunted) Dew Drop Inn, featuring Oakland folk punk ruffians Wayfairy, old-timey folkman Dirty Laundry, Raver the Bard, Nathan North, Outlaws in the Golden State and Mel Biesecker (5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 2. 19729 Cerrito Road, Grass Valley. $10). Another Jamboree installment is on deck for Oct. 2 (instagram.com/ghosttownrambler)
Gimme all the gumbo at the annual “From the Bayou to Bourbon St.” themed Crawfish & Catfish Festival in Southside Park (11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 9-10 at Sixth and T streets. $20/$25. craw-fest.com). If you can still move to boogie after all that food, a full slate of music on two stages features local standouts Nickel Slots, Island of Black & White, Al Lazard & the World Street Players, Beaufunk with Michael Jeffries, Hayez, Zydeco Flames, Crescent Katz and heaps more.
After a couple of location shifts, the reggae/island-groove-laden Holo Holo Festival will stretch its legs up in Wheatland, with recent lineup additions Iam Tongi and Sacramento-bred Finn Gruva joining a party helmed by Kolohe Kai, Common Kings, J Boog, Steel Pulse, FIJI, Rebel Souljahz, Maoli and several others for this weekend oasis (Sept. 9-10 at Toyota Amphitheatre. holoholofestival.com/california).
Nevada City’s recurring one-day Deer Creek Music Festival is back with Foothill favorites such as Tim High and the Mighty with Bob Woods, Banner Mountain Blues Band, Hattie and The Moon Howlers, Brett Shady Band, Kurrency King and Chris Heckmann, with some trippy visuals from Nu-Salt Laser Light Shows (2-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9 at Pioneer Park, 421 Nimrod St., Nevada City. $25/$30. minersfoundry.org)
The 2023 Cosmic Family Gathering returns to Nugget River Park in Placerville with three days of camping and music, featuring a platoon of local mainstays including Gold Souls, Big Sticky Mess, Boca do Rio, Ryder Thieves, Burning Daylight People, a “cosmic hip-hop” set from LabRats and tons more (Sept. 14-16. $40 daily/$100 weekend. facebook.com).
There’s an old adage that you don’t want your first “big break” single to be a cover. But here we are 20 years later, and let’s be honest about who we most directly associate the song “Smooth Criminal” with: Michael Jackson, or Alien Ant Farm? Yeah, that’s what I thought! (8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 15, at Goldfield Roseville, with Decipher, Trigger Effect and ONOFF. $25. goldfieldtradingpost.com)
Two of Sacramento’s most beloved early-fall festivals happen to fall on the same day ... plan accordingly! Farm-to-Fork Festival mashed one out of the park again (as they seem to do each September) by snagging ethereal soul-blues-folk titan Ben Harper & the Innocent Criminals as the Saturday headliner, flanked by the spitfire Michael Franti & Spearhead, Cautious Clay and Zia Victoria. On Friday night, for the second time in just over a calendar year, swirling electro-pop act Cannons plays a free gig in Downtown Sac (after setting Concerts in the Park ablaze last July), joined by Danielle Ponder and blues rock gunslinger Eric Gales (Sept. 22-23 on Capitol Mall. Free. farmtofork.com/lineup).
The DIY gem Sac Porchfest is back again, with a smattering of residences near the intersection of 21st and I streets in midtown hosting a variety of staggered outdoor gigs on their porches. If you’ve been to this shindig before, you know there’s something special and uniquely communal about the resulting sidewalk congregations and inevitably revelry. Local acts playing sets include veteran indie rockers Be Brave Bold Robot, Harlequin Rose, GUERO, Fonty, World Champ, Park Street Riot, Delta Grass, Accidents at Sundown, Wolf Creek Boys and several others. They’ll kick out the schedule and locations closer to the event — but as usual, just follow the crowds (Noon-10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. Free. instagram.com/sacporchfest).
If you still need more to do on the 23rd, the team from local EDM juggernaut outfit THIS is throwing the ranch-themed Blazin’ Saddles Fest. It was originally to be held at a ranch in Elk Grove, but in August was expanded to the more spacious digs of Heart Health Park at Cal Expo. The change allowed them to expand ticketing capacity and add a Ferris wheel, midway games, line dance classes, a petting zoo and a beer garden (if the latter two occupy the same space, now we’ve got a party). Electronic wiz Diplo (a.k.a. Thomas Wesley) is your headliner and festival curator, with Lily Rose, Disko Cowboy and other surprise acts still TBD. (4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 23. 1600 Exposition Blvd. instagram.com/blazinsaddlesfest).
The Ace of Spades calendar for the final week of September is apparently out to pummel us with rock shows: catch early 2000’s amp-blasters Wolfmother on Monday the 25th, enigmatically bizarre shred wizard Buckethead on the 27th, and polish it off with Shakey Graves on Sept. 30 (aceofspadessac.com)
Grab bag: Psych-rock standouts and Davis Music Fest regulars King Dream show off their stirring new record “Glory Daze, Vol. IV,” with Demon Wrangler (7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, Veterans Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St., Davis. $15. davislivemusic.com); new kids on the jam band block Eggy bring their frisky and elongated grooves to Goldfield Midtown (7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19. $16. goldfieldtradingpost.com); Blues guitar vixen Samantha Fish smolders the stage at the Crest Theatre on her “Love Letters Tour,” with Eric Johanson (8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20. $35-$55. crestsacramento.com/events).