The Spark Series: Three Inspired Songwriters Shelley Doty, Ira Marlowe, Maurice Tani
Friday, July 29, 2016, 8:00 pm (doors open one hour before show time)

$20 adv / $22 door

Purchase tickets online
July 29 8:00 pm

Shelley Doty

Shelley Doty is an East Bay gem. Not only does she rule on both acoustic and electric guitar, she also sings with fluid grace and writes songs filled with swagger, tenderness, and joy. “I play rock with a jazz attitude,” Shelley Doty said in an interview in the San Francisco Chronicle. “I'm not interested in playing the same song the same way for 18 years. When I write a song, I think of it as its own universe.” Guitar Player Magazine praises her “smoky, soulful voice” and salutes her guitar work for its “energy, funk, and surprise.” 


Growing up in Berkeley, Shelley listened mostly to jazz, Coltrane and Miles, and didn’t imagine herself as a musician until her brothers turned her on to rock and roll. She co-founded the popular West Coast band Jambay, touring relentlessly and releasing three independent albums before disbanding in 1996. In 1999, she won the Lilith Fair Acoustic Talent Search and closed the show playing guitar with Bonnie Raitt, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, and Chrissie Hynde in front of 22,000 cheering fans. Since then she’s immersed herself in a wide array of projects, leading the Shelley Doty X-tet, playing with Sistas in the Pit and Skip The Needle, and co-writing and performing music for the animated science fiction film Strange Frame: Love and Sax. The East Bay Express has praised her album Over the Line for its “vast reserves of upbeat creative energy,” “deep and soulful groove,” and “jubilantly jazzy vocals.” Oh, and her shows at the Freight always pack a powerful emotional punch!


Maurice TaniMaurice Tani has been a fixture on the local alt-country scene for more than a decade with his band 77 El Deora, and previously sang and played guitar for the seminal Motown-style party bands Zasu Pitts Memorial Orchestra and Big Bang Beat. The San Francisco Chronicle praised his “twangy modern country sound” and called his songs “wry yet romantic, tender but aggressive.”


His most recent and seventh album, The White Water, features six new originals and four reimagined classics. No Depression calls his sound “hillbilly noir”—“at once familiar, ethereal and beautiful.” Maurice calls it “cinema for the blind.” His music paints vivid pictures of the darker side of human relationships – but even at its darkest, it swings. Scott Bloom of The Bay Twang says, “This music is neither retro nor country; it’s twang noir. A fully realized universe, on a dark night, with an AM radio station sending out a strong signal from somewhere down Highway 99. Are you listening?” If you’re not listening, you should be when Maurice Tani & 77 El Deora take the stage at the Freight!


Ira Marlowe's songs have been described as "four-minute movies", known for a rare combination of lyrical wit and emotional impact. Marlowe grew up listening to his parents' jazz and show tunes, begged for guitar lessons at eight, finally got them at thirteen, experienced a high school conversion from folkie to rocker, and at nineteen started penning songs that sounded somewhere between Daltrey and Townsend and Lerner and Loew. While the label "folk-rock" is useful as a ballpark description, Marlowe's writing swings from funny to sad to poignant to political--often within a single song. His range as a songwriter and the sheer entertainment value of his shows make him a delight to audiences wherever he goes.


He's won numerous awards, including the SF Weekly "Best of the Bay" song contest, the Napa Valley Music Festival, plus a half-dozen Northern California Songwriters Association competitions. In 2004 his song “The Wish” was selected for the Songs Inspired by Literature CD and appears alongside songs by Tom Waits, David Bowie, Steve Earle, Roseanne Cash and other people more famous than him. 

Listen to a track from Shelley Doty:

Listen to a track from Maurice Tani:


Shelley Doty photo by Julie Zielinski


Visit the Shelley Doty website

Visit Maurice Tani & 77 El Deora's website

Visit the Ira Marlowe website


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Listen to sample tracks from upcoming artists.