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Jack Pine Social Club

Turning Ashes into Music

Nick Tangborn, founder of the three-year old Jack Pine Social Club, is a man about town. The bands signed to his record label include an eclectic group of local talent ranging from the hard rock sounds of Parchman Farm to a soon to be released debut from indie popsters, Loquat.

A Jack Pine is a type of tree that lives in Nick's home state of Minnesota. The poor bastard needs a forest fire to clear the underbrush so that it can grow and thrive. The Social Club is simply San Francisco. The two put together are what Nick calls a "community based" record label.

Out of the ashes of the post dom.bomb firestorm that splintered and almost closed down our music community, came Nick Tangborn. A guy who tirelessly promotes local artists, "who have a knowledge and respect for all music." Nick has one rule for releasing an album, "Can I listen to this record for a year and not get sick of it? "

With that said, in 2002, Nick released his first album, a Kris Kristofferson Tribute: Don't Let The Bastards Get You Down. The album includes a long list of local and famous talent: Chuck Prophet, Tom Verlaine, Eric Shea, Tom Heyman, Kelly Hogan and Joe Doe to name just a few. Next came Jesse DeNatale, a talented North Bay singer/songwriter who is also a gifted guitarist and piano man. Long time locals, Oranger, released their latest, shutdown the sun, in September of 2003. At the same time, Kelley Stolz, released his highly praised record, Antique Glow. Check the local club listings, at any given moment and you'll probably find a Jack Pine band playing out. The Social Club is not just a label, it's a lifestyle.

My first recollection of Jack Pine were the month long residencies at the Potrero Hill water hole, Thee Parkside. Last year, these events spanned the spectrum of the local music scene. The Kelley Stoltz night I attended was a subdued but genuinely lively affair. Thee Parkside might not have burned down in December but the series ended soon after the Jack Pine annual holiday party; a spectacle that included bobbing for pork chops in applesauce. Yum.

I caught up with Nick last week at his latest residency at the Red Devil Lounge. Jesse DeNatale (the first artist signed to the label) performed a Van Morrison infused set with local guitar whiz, Dave Gleason. Mark Eitzel (of American Music Club) opened with a brief but satisfying solo set. Matt Gonzalez drank at the bar. Nick has one simple reason for planning these concerts, "I have an excuse to see a show I want to see". I, and most of the city, couldn't agree more.

Parchman Farm, just out with its self-titled debut, sells out every show. Stoltz, when not touring, does the same. Oranger has a long history and a dedicated local following. A few weeks ago, Nick helped organize a Tsunami Relief benefit concert that raised over $5,000, " half of what George Bush personally donated" he proudly announced as an encore.

What's Next?

The Joe South Tribute Album, featuring many of the performers off Nick's first album just arrived in stores. You may not know his name but Joe penned such classics as "(I never promised you a) Rose Garden" and the Deep Purple's "Hush". Loquat will release their first long play, It's Yours To Keep, in April. And the residencies will soon be headquartered at Doc's Clocks, the Mission Street long bar with the neon timepiece marquee. Something Jack Pine related is always going down and I urge you to check it out.

We've survived the fire. Nick's planting the seeds. Now let's grow that Jack Pine Social Club together.

Many band members and Nick himself often frequent sf_indie, a popular daily email digest: