Media Life: James Taylor’s virtuoso sideman on tap for Auburn gig

By: Gus Thomson/Media Life
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Auburn is getting one of the good ones June 3. Guitar player Michael Landau will be bringing not only his three-piece band to the State Theater but also a ton of studio and back-up band credentials. Right now, he’s on tour with singer-songwriter James Taylor and playing Carnegie Hall this week with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Over the years, he’s been in the studio with Taylor, Pink Floyd, Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, Rod Stewart and many more recording stars in a variety of genres. In all, he has appeared on more than 700 albums. Taylor, in particular, has sung the praises of the electric guitar-playing skills of the little-known but much-admired Landau. “He can lay down a concrete foundation, hang a mobile in space or light up the flame-thrower and scorch the rubble,” Taylor is quoted in a testimonial on Landau’s website. “Michael shines brightest on his own creation; ultimate chops in the service of a startling and deep artistic vision.” The trio Landau’s bringing to the State promises to keep up admirably with their virtuoso leader. Bass player Andy Hesson has had stints with Govt. Mule, the Black Crowes and John Scofield. Drummer Gary Novak has provided the backbeat for Chick Corea and another recent Landau band, Renegade Creation. The group will focus on improvisation and spontaneity. Tickets are now available at the State Theater box office, Cherry Records and online at Picture perfect house Want a home with a movie star past? Granite Bay’s Folsom Lake Estates has a real stunner, complete with infinity-edge pool and the sweepingest of valley views, that was used as a backdrop for scenes in the made-for-TV movie “Gone But Not Forgotten.” Filming for the murder-mystery took place in the fall of 2003, with Brooke Shields and Lou Diamond Phillips the two biggest names and Marilu Henner also in the cast. The title of the flick was apt, when some too-violent-for-prime-time scenes left USA Network passing on the finished product. But it did get some airing on European TV and is now available on DVD. While filming was going on, Shields learned of one of those Ripley’s Believe It Or Not connections with Auburn. Street signs in the Robie Point area for Brook Road and Shields Avenue converge to create a Brook-Shields intersection. Apprised of the oddity while filming in Granite Bay, Shields said she got a real kick out of the bizarre coincidence. The streets were there long before she was born in 1965. Even more odd: Since then, Media Life has seen a hand-drawn map from the early part of the 20th Century that uses the “Brooke” spelling, which leaves open the possibility that the sign now up at the intersection is misspelled. The Granite Bay home is selling for $1.5 million, by the way, including its movie-star cachet. Media Life’s Gus Thomson can be reached at (530) 852-0232, or at