Take Two

Andy Cabic and Devendra Banhart share the stage

The story of the freak-folk movement coming out of San Francisco’s scene for the last decade starts with Devendra Banhart and Andy Cabic. The two long-standing musicians and friends have together and individually shaped the city’s experimental folk sound.

Both Banhart’s psych-tinged solo career and Cabic’s indie folk outfit Vetiver are acclaimed for their effortlessly rustic and emotionally charged songwriting. This fall, the two performers appear together as a duo when they play Oct. 18 at Gundlach Bundschu Winery in Sonoma.

By phone, Cabic recalls meeting Banhart and how their relationship contributed to Cabic’s career.

“We met in a bookstore, where I worked,” says Cabic. “He was a student at the Art Institute, and he was new to town; I hadn’t been in San Francisco that long myself.”

Banhart was raised in Venezuela and Los Angeles. Cabic had recently settled in San Francisco after living in Virginia and North Carolina, where he fronted indie rock band the Raymond Brake.

Right away, the two started jamming together. “I was into playing with whoever wanted to play with me,” recalls Cabic. “[Banhart] was mostly writing poetry and doing art, so his songs were extensions of his poems. They were simple but really expressive and unique.”

Soon, the two were writing material and collaborating onstage, where Banhart’s poetic aesthetic matched well with Cabic’s uncanny ability for melody. “I think [Vetiver’s] first show was just the two of us,” says Cabic. “We did a lot of touring and traveling together. It was because he would perform with me that I even played out.”

After that initial support for each other, the two quickly became busy with their individual projects. Banhart has released eight full-length albums since 2002 and has lived in New York and Paris. Cabic is currently putting together Vetiver’s sixth record, slated for release in early 2015. “I’m a little too close to it still to give much description, but it continues what I was going for with the last record,” hints Cabic.

Until then, Banhart and Cabic are seizing the day with some select dates throughout Northern California. This tour is built on one they did together two years back in Japan.

“We’ll both be onstage together, alternating between songs of his and songs of mine,” says Cabic. “We don’t play together very often anymore; the last time we were playing was in Japan. That went really great, and was really fun to do, so we wanted it to happen again.”

Devendra Banhart and Andy Cubic perform on Saturday, Oct. 18, at Gundlach Bundschu Winery,
2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. 7:30pm. $35. 707.938.5277.

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