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Two icons, one night

Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday get the tribute treatment at Jazzbones fundraiser

Tony La Stella’s voice goes beyond the Rat Pack, spending time in the arenas of opera and Broadway musicals. Photo credit: Facebook

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To a certain extent, most art is essentially ephemeral -- even with a significant amount of care and upkeep, nothing's guaranteed to last forever. Paintings fade, films get lost in the shuffle and languish away in dank basements, and music can hit big before being relegated to the dust bins of history. Some musicians, though, seem to have dug their heels in, continuing to reverberate in American eardrums nearly as powerfully now as they did when they first hit the scene. Two such artists are Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, a couple of 20th century icons who've left their indelible fingerprints on the landscape of jazz, swing, and big band music.

Sunday night finds Jazzbones hosting a tribute to both Sinatra and Holiday, promising a night of songs that -- whether you realize it or not -- have not drifted far from the public consciousness in the 60 to 80 years since these two legends carved them in stone. Representing the Chairman of the Board, we've got Tony La Stella and the Goombas. La Stella has made a name for himself over the years, not just with his Sinatra covers, but by paying tribute to a number of Italian-American greats like Louis Prima, Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, and Tony Bennett. The versatility of La Stella's voice has lent him traction with opera, Broadway musicals, and rousing renditions of Rat Pack classics.

Opening up the show, and taking on the Billie Holiday role, is Maia Santell and House Blend. While Holiday and Sinatra may take up space in the same radio stations and record store categories, their styles are just different enough to create some compelling tension: Sinatra's confident swagger and larger than life public persona should play nicely off of Holiday's laid-back tenderness and innately jazzy vocals. Maia Santell has been a favorite in these parts for some time, and she and her band will provide an ideal pivot point from which the Sinatra songs will swing.

The proceeds of this show will be going to the Tacoma Events Commission, which helps to put on such huge engagements as the Tacoma Freedom Fair, the Gray Sky Blues Festival, and many others.

TONY LA STELLA AND THE GOOMBAS, w/ Maia Santell and House Blend, 6 p.m., Sunday, Jazzbones, 2803 6th Ave., Tacoma, $25,, 253.230.6851


I'll say this about Eric McFadden: the first song of his I heard was a cover of "Jockey Full of Bourbon." Anyone that would choose to cover one of my favorite Tom Waits songs is alright, in my book. That McFadden does this so elegantly is what truly won me over, being reverent to the source when he needed to be, but taking full advantage of an instrumental break to show just what he's capable of with a guitar.

McFadden's been making waves for a little over two decades, now, with his electric mastery of the guitar, drawing largely from rock, blues, jazz, funk, Latin rock, and Eastern European folk. In a way, McFadden's appreciated with age, transforming into a more credible performer and storyteller as he's had more spins on this planet. While he's always tapped into some grizzled and worldly art forms, deftly finger-picking his way across multiple genres and disciplines, his latest album -- the almost too evocatively titled Pain By Numbers -- reveals an artist who's steadily forged a cragged groove for himself.

The voice that emanates from McFadden rattles with the hum of experience, able to stand up to the deep and dirty sound that he coaxes out of his instrument. Just listening to McFadden, one can picture his hands, calloused and attuned to wrangling his guitar for the harder songs, and softening for the moments of grace. This is perfect road trip music, with all the bumps and skids that come along.

ERIC McFADDEN, 9 p.m., Saturday, Rhythm & Rye, 311 Capitol Way N., Olympia, $10, 360.705.0760,

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