When Browne steps on stage at the Coach House, she will be two days removed from her first trip to Australia, where she is scheduled to play on a country music festival bill. One excellent reason for catching the Coach House show is that it's a chance to buy a copy of "Count Me In." The album is otherwise available only in Europe and Australia; before leaving on a recent trip, Browne said she would be bringing back a trunkful of CDs to sell.
If all goes well, that availability problem will end this year: Although distribution is still being negotiated, "Count Me In" is expected to be released in the U.S. on a label being launched by Barbara Orbison, widow of Roy Orbison. Like Browne, Gaffney should have a chance to improve his national profile in 1995: He is scheduled to record a new album for HighTone Records later this month in Austin, Tex., with his buddy and occasional songwriting partner, Dave Alvin, producing.
Will the Browne/Gaffney pairing be a preview of the next big thing to emerge from Orange County? Luck will determine that, and when artists get into their 40s, the odds start looking less like a Super Bowl underdog's and more like a Super Lotto addict's. Let's just say that the show offers two of the best not-so-big things available on any music scene today. By our good luck, it's this one.
* What: Jann Browne and Chris Gaffney.
* When: Friday, Feb. 3, at 8 p.m.
* Where: The Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano.
* Whereabouts: Take the San Diego (5) Freeway to the San Juan Creek Road exit and turn left onto Camino Capistrano. The Coach House is in the Esplanade Plaza.
* Wherewithal: $10.
* Where to call: (714) 496-8930.
IN SANTA ANA: DIONNE FARRIS
Just when R&B seemed terminally brain-addled by raging hormones and utterly disconnected from its heritage of excellent songwriting, this woman has come out of Atlanta to restore some artistic vitality and old-time traditionalism. She plays the Galaxy on Friday, Feb. 3. (714) 957-0600.
IN SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO: THE CHURCH
The Church, the long-running Australian band, is down to a duo--singer Steve Kilbey and guitarist Marty Willson-Piper--who will perform their brooding, atmospheric rock songs "unplugged" at the Coach House on Saturday, Feb. 4, and Sunday, Feb. 5. (714) 496-8930.
IN SEAL BEACH: GIL SCOTT-HERON
Since the early '70s, Scott-Heron has been forging an influential style that blends pop, jazz, blues, R&B and satirically pointed spoken-word monologues. A favorite of thoughtful rappers, among others, he performs at Spaghettini on Sunday, Feb. 5. (310) 596-2199.