Many musicians celebrate birthdays with shows, and Sierra Madre-raised songstress Gwendolyn Sanford is no exception. However, she’s less excited about performing than about reuniting with longtime friends like the Moore Brothers at the Buccaneer Saturday. The Moores, who are traveling down from Nevada City for the occasion, will perform after Sanford. It should be a memorable gathering for fans of smart, melodic pop and veterans of Old Town’s late, still-lamented E Bar.
“I’ve got my two favorite bands in the world playing: Qazar and the Bamboozled and the Moore Brothers,” says Sanford, who’s probably best known by local audiences as a heartwarming singer-songwriter and for her children’s ensemble, Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang. “Lucky me! … I grew up listening to them at the E Bar, back in the day [laughs], where I played my first show.
“They play so rarely here in LA,” she says of the Altadena natives. “Last time they played, in November, it was in my backyard, which was great, but it was raining and we couldn’t have a ton of people at my place. This gives everybody an opportunity to come.”
Sanford’s solo career has been on hiatus, thanks to motherhood and her job: she and husband Brandon Jay, whose band Quazar and the Bamboozled will close the show at the Buc, compose music (with Scott Doherty) for “Orange is the New Black,” as they previously did for “Weeds.” Saturday will mark Sanford’s first gig in about three years, and she plans to try out pieces she’s been writing in response to the tumultuous state of politics and the world.
“It’s a lot of writing or recording in the studio every day [for ‘Orange is the New Black’]; I don’t get a lot of chance to sit down at the piano and write my own tunes,” she explains. “This is my first show since before I had my baby.
“I kind of tossed the guitar aside and started writing on piano, which I’m not really proficient in. But as a songwriter does, a songwriter writes songs. This year has been fraught with a lot of fertilizer for songwriters. [Laughs] It’s been a tough year. So these songs keep pouring out of me, and I try to catch up to them, to what’s happening. They’re all kind of a call to arms. Not all songs have to be happy songs. Artists — the music makers and the painters and whatnot — we’re all reacting and we’re all responding to [what’s going on]. So I’m gonna play them, even if I hit a few clams. [Laughs] But the Moore Brothers will cheer us up and take us down a surreal road after I play.”
Gwendolyn, the Moore Brothers, Quazar and the Bamboozled, Helene Renaut and Molly McDevitt at Buccaneer Lounge, 70 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 10; free admission. Info: (626) 355-9045. Gwendolyn.net, themoorebros.com, facebook.com/groups/198531850212122/?ref=br_rs