Twirl Radio #881 – Natalie Cortez & Jay Knox

After ten years at a National Public Radio station in Chicago, Mike Lidskin returned to California in 1997 and created Twirl Radio, a weekly two hour radio program which features the finest independent music and artists from the rock era. Mike’s on a mission to not “just spin rock music, but to educate listeners about this vital art form.” Indeed, he doesn’t just announce the songs, but gives histories about some of the artists, the albums, and the songs themselves.

You can catch Twirl live each Saturday afternoon, from 4:00 to 6:00 PM PST on Sacramento’s Voice, KUBU 96.5 FM, and archived right here, as well as at If you haven’t headed into your Saturday night with an earful of Twirl, you’re doing it wrong!

Artist | Track | Album
Bellygunner | Kilobyte | Machine Gun Built For Two
The JAC | Persistent Man | Faux Pas
The Armoires | Appalachukrainia | Zibaldone
Rob Martinez | Let Me Tell You Why | Today My Mind…Tomorrow The World

Natalie Cortez & Jay Knox interview
Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets | Up All Night | Twitch!
Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets | She’s Better | Stupid Fresh Or Stupid Bad
Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets | Take You Home | Stupid Fresh Or Stupid Bad
Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets | Won’t Be Boring | Bonus track
The Brangs | The Velvet Rope | Seafoam Green
The Brangs | Golden Shoes | Seafoam Green
Kevin Seconds | This Cassette | Stoudamire
50 Watt Heavy | Natural Disaster | Better Days
The Teds | Ain’t That Too Much | Single release

Lisa Mychols | One Revolution | Sugar
Lannie Flowers | Don’t Make Me Wait | Single release
Sunshine Boys | Only A Million Miles | Blue Music
The Cherry Bluestorms | She Said She Said | Whirligig!
Heiskell | The Great Opaque | Songs In The Key Of H
Rachel Taylor Brown | Up You | Run Tiny Human
Matt Langlois | Don’t Tuck Your Shirt Into Your Pants | Merde!
Maxi Dunn | Perfect Sorrow | Operation Bubble
Amoeba Teen | Like A Hit To The Head | Medium Wave
Yung Wu | Shore Leave | Shore Leave
R. Stevie Moore | The Winner | Afterlife
JonEmery & The Unconventionals | If You Think You’re Heartbroken Now | Wrecked
Smoking Popes | Before I’m Gone | Destination Failure
Elk City | No Depth | Everybody’s Insecure
Pete’s Copter | Magic Circle | The Fowl Tone Sampler
Wilkerson | How She Lost My Heart | Wilkerson
The Imperial Sound | Yesterday | The New AM
The Morning Line | Nostradamus | North
Steve Barton | How Can I Believe | Tall Tales & Alibis 1
Krista D | Penny For Your Thoughts | Look At Me I’m Krista D
Bill Lloyd | Miracle Mile | Working The Long Game

This week’s episode is one I’ve been long anticipating. A live, extended, in-studio visit with veteran NorCal musicians Natalie Cortez and Jay Knox. They’ve been a big part of the Sacramento music scene for longer than I’ve been living here (20+ years).

When I arrived in Sacramento in 1997, there was a thriving music scene here. A lot of straight up rock ‘n’ roll, and slightly tilting towards Americana. One of the premier bands on the scene was Natalie Cortez & The Ultraviolets. To say they were beloved would be pretty accurate. Natalie’s songs were great pop gems, and the live shows were casual affairs, with top-notch musicianship. Some of the finest local musicians did stints in the Ultraviolets (and now in the Natalie Cortez Band).

A few years later, the music scene changed. It seemingly fractured a bit, and the players changed. The Ultraviolets were no longer. About 15 years later, Natalie formed her self-named band, and started playing lots of gigs around the area again. It’s almost like the time hadn’t passed at all. For instance–I have a vivid memory of a cluster of a few women dancing joyfully at a couple of shows back in the 90’s, when the band played “Ghost Of You”. And crazy enough–I saw it again at recent shows–maybe it’s even the same women!

So I’ve been wanting to get Natalie and Jay back on the show. Jay wasn’t in the Ultraviolets, but he plays guitar in the new band, and they’ve been married for nearly two decades.

We played some of their songs, chatted about the “good old days”, and the even better “new days”, and they took over and played DJ for a set. Something cool came out of the conversation–that Natalie is working up a new batch of songs–so new music might be on the way sooner than not!

Then–we bid so long, as they needed to make their way over to a Second Saturday (Art Walk) gig at an Alfa Romeo repair shop. Seriously–this is the kind of quirky fun that Sacramento is known for. You should come visit Sacramento some time–it’s just that cool–and make sure you pick a weekend when the Natalie Cortez Band is playing. You’ll get a real feel for what this town is all about.

One other program note: we debuted a brand new track from the Armoires second album, Zibaldone, and it’s really great. Mike, you may ask–what are you referring to as being really great–the song, or the album? BOTH! I can’t wait to play more on upcoming shows. You’re really going to like this album.

Enjoy the show!


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