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Crazy Venture: Progressive, Local Country Shows


SANTA ANA — Often honored by the country music establishment as one of the nation's finest venues, the Crazy Horse Steak House will experiment this month with shows by progressive country and roots-music acts from Southern California who operate outside the establishment circles of major Nashville record labels and mainstream country radio.

Will Glover, James Intveld and Chris Gaffney will headline the 250-seat club on consecutive Tuesday nights, starting with Glover next week. The shows will augment the Crazy Horse's usual schedule of Monday concerts by established, hit-oriented contemporary country acts and honored veterans (Marty Stuart and Merle Haggard are booked in coming weeks).

Club co-owner Fred Reiser says he has sensed rising interest in progressive country while getting specific requests from club patrons that the Crazy Horse book some of the well-regarded local acts.

In Intveld, who plays May 20, and Gaffney, who headlines May 27, the Crazy Horse will be hosting two of Southern California's most versatile and respected roots musicians. Neither has played the club before.

"I'm glad they finally got us to play there," said Gaffney, a Costa Mesa resident who has been performing in Orange County since the 1970s and who lately has won some national and European exposure with a series of critically-acclaimed CDs.

"I just didn't think people like me played there, but I guess they're trying to do something a little different. I think it will be awesome to play through a nice PA. I think we'll have a blast." Gaffney credits one of his loyal local fans, Carl Hunter, also a Crazy Horse regular, with "putting a bug in [their] ear."


Glover, a former '60s surf rocker (he played guitar in the Pyramids, who had the hit "Penetration"), recently emerged with an independent CD of catchy, high-energy country-rock songs. The Orange resident said he did his own lobbying for the Crazy Horse gig and was able to point to a successful recent show he played at the 490-seat Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Glover said he has sung in talent contests at the Crazy Horse but never performed as a billed attraction.

Intveld, who lives in Los Angeles, went to high school in Garden Grove and came up on the early-'80s Southern California rockabilly scene. He sang the songs lip-synced by Johnny Depp in the John Waters film "Cry-Baby," has written songs for Rosie Flores, played guitar in the Blasters and released a strong country- and roots-rock influenced album last year on a German label, Bear Family Records.

"A lot of the new stuff comes from people like Junior Brown who have been around forever and finally get hip," said Intveld's agent, Eddie Morris. "This progressive country sound that James Intveld has done forever is coming back again."

Reiser said there isn't a set attendance threshold he'll require to determine whether to forge on with the series.

* Will Glover plays Tuesday at the Crazy Horse Steak House, 1580 Brookhollow Drive, Santa Ana. 8 p.m. $10. James Intveld plays on May 20, Chris Gaffney & the Cold Hard Facts on May 27. Prices to be announced. (714) 549-1512.

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