A new San Francisco string trio will bring its dirty American roots music to the Divided Sky in Meyers next weekend.
Three Times Bad sprung from the soundtrack to band leader Jesus Angel Garcia’s transmedia novel, “badbadbad.” Garcia toured the United States two years ago on an unorthodox book tour that combined music, film, performances and readings. When he returned to San Francisco, he wanted a band to capture the music.
Enter Three Times Bad, a group that belongs in the family of Devil Makes Three and Old Crow Medicine Show. The trio — featuring Garcia on acoustic guitar, banjo and lead vocals, Claire Grinton on fiddle, mandolin and vocals and Curtis Aikens on upright bass and vocals — has played more than four dozen shows throughout Northern California and the Pacific Northwest since its formation in March 2012.
The toe-tapping music evokes the storytelling of bluegrass, and the complex relationships of dirty American roots. The urban hillbilly, irreverent lyrics — many of which are based on the novel — evoke images of families waiting for possum stew and a reverend’s wild wife.
It’s rural blues meets old-school country, freak preaching, murder ballads, folk punk and hot singsongs, according to the band’s press release.
“I was in love with the Reverend’s wife/Praying for a lighting strike./She came to me one drunken night,/The Reverend said she was a sight.”
The musical storytelling, like “badbadbad,” aims at the confluence of sex, God, rock ‘n’ roll and the social web in 21st century America.
Three Times Bad will tour this summer as far south as Long Beach, east to Idaho Falls, and northwest to Coupeville, Washington. The trip will also include a number of regional festival dates. The trio is confirmed for three days at the Ink-N-Iron Festival in Southern California, the Park Silly Sunday Market in Park City, Utah and the Coupeville Arts & Crafts Festival in Washington. The group also tentatively plans to announce a gig opening for Willie Nelson, according to a press release.
In November, Three Times Bad presented a series of sold-out performances at University of San Francisco, pairing its music with the modern-dance choreography of Megan Nicely. Teaming up with local bluegrass concert promoter Shelby Ash, Garcia also co-produced the epic Boograss! Halloween Hoedown & Burlesque Show in San Francisco.
A documentary film based on themes of Garcia’s novel was an official selection of the 2012 Indie Fest USA International Film Festival.
Given its literary origins, Three Times Bad has become the go-to musical act among the Bay Area’s premier lit series, according to a release. It was named the official band at last summer’s Beast Crawl, Oakland’s first literary pub crawl.