World Premiere: The Bet

August 16, 2016
By Pam Baumgardner


Well the guys pulled it off!  Not only did they write and co-produce their first feature length film, but they held a red carpet event at the Regal Cinema at LA Live in Los Angeles on Wednesday, July 20, 2016.  In attendance stars of The Bet, Alex Klein, Brian Allen, Amanda Clayton, Michael Consiglio and more including director Ryan Ederer.

Congratulations to Army of Freshmen members, Chris Jay and Aaron Goldberg on their raunchy comedy (not for the faint of heart), The Bet.


Many thanks to photographer, Cliff Montgomery for stepping in for who was out of town that week. I take one vacation, and Chris has one red carpet screening, what are the odds they’d be on the same week????

Final note…as a supporter of Ventura’s music scene, and supporter of Chris and Aaron’s first film, and because they asked for help, I’d like to thank them for the opportunity to be one of the extras in the film, but more than that, thanks for the shout out in the credits!  MY NAME IS IN THE FREAKIN’ CREDITS!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed watching The Bet.  I laughed, I blushed, I rolled by eyes shaking my head (boys will be boys), while loving all the Ventura locations used in the film.
Raunchy: yes
Funny: yes
Worthy: Yes!

Don’t be a putz, support Chris and Aaron and buy your very own copy today!!!

I bought mine from Amazon, but it’s available on iTunes, FandangoNow, Google Play, Vudu, and more.

Interview with Chris Jay on The Bet
The Bet Official Website
The Bet Facebook Page

Concert Review: Benefit for Jacob with Albert Lee

Albert Lee and Friends Deliver in Jam for Jacob at Yolie’s
Benefit for Jacob was held at Yolies on Saturday, January 4, 2014
by Jon Garner

Blues musicians love to play, and when they can lend their efforts to a worthy charitable cause, most of them are all over it. Last Saturday January 4, some true heavyweights, led by the ageless guitarist Albert Lee, got together in the cool little music room at Yolie’s in Ventura to blow a little bit and help with Jacob Hacker’s considerable medical expenses due to recurring cancer. The event was a resounding success all the way around.

Spearheaded by Jacob’s parents Jan and Jerry McWorter (who was behind the drums during many of the proceedings) and Hi Hat Entertainment, the show netted more than $10,000 for Jacob and delivered a lineup of talent was comparable to any you’d see at Doheny or just about anyplace else. It was heartwarming to see all these musical friends cheerfully contribute in a powerful way.

I found out about the show at the last minute, and with the likes of Albert, Coco Montoya, Pete Anderson, and James Harman on the bill, I figured what the heck, I’m in. Little did I know that harp legends Mark Hummel, Rick Estrin and the great singer Curtis Salgado would also appear, the vibe would be fantastic, and the night would turn into a blues lover’s dream.

Had I known the music would be so good that I would write a story, I would have been more concerned with learning who the talented sidemen were than what brand of tequila was being served.

Mark Hummel w Band CFor my money, Mark Hummel, Pete Anderson and the peerless Albert Lee were the highlights. Fortunately, we arrived in time to hear most of Hummel’s set. I have one of his CDs, but I am embarrassed to say that I had never seen him live and didn’t fully realize just how talented he is. His last harp solo in particular was a thing of beauty.

Mark’s website is – I’m particularly interested in his collaboration with Anson Funderburgh and Little Charlie Baty. That’s gotta be one hell of a band!

Pete Anderson Digs In CNext up was Pete Anderson. In my opinion Dwight Yoakam could never have achieved the success he did without Anderson’s music direction and quirky, fun guitar playing. He offered ample proof that his style translates equally as well to blues as it does to country. He delivered a really enjoyable set. Check him out at

Speaking of a guitar style that is equally suited for blues as it is for country, there’s the matter of Albert Lee. During the course of his 50-year career, Albert has toured with the Everly Brothers, Eric Clapton, Emmy Lou Harris and most recently with Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings and his own groups. He is a fixture and crowd favorite at Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festivals. Simply put, Albert is one of the greatest guitar players in the world. His touring schedule would frighten a 20-year-old; check it out at

I was privileged to play with Albert a few times many years ago, and Saturday I found him to be just as gracious as ever. He took the bandstand following a strong set by Teresa James, who had a tight band and a very soulful voice. Albert’s band featured Donna Oxford, a talented pianist and singer who unfortunately found the volume knob a little too easily, and a very good second guitarist. Albert let them both have ample solo time.

Albert Lee Pickin' CEverything was relatively low-key until Albert cut loose with his signature Country Boy. He and the band proceeded to blow the doors off the place as he has with that song for nearly 40 years. Allowing for the quick changeovers and the large number of bands, Country Boy brought the only standing ovation and encore of the night – well deserved.

I wanted to stay for James Harman and Coco Montoya, but my friends and sanity prevailed and we headed for the barn shortly after Albert’s set. We were not alone. Harman’s first couple songs featured excellent piano solos by Fred Kaplan to send us on our way. It was a great night and a first-class event. I had so much fun I felt compelled to write my first music review in ten years.

For more information on the Benefit for Jacob, visit

Jon Garner has been a professional writer for 35 years and a Butterfield-inspired harpist since 1966. For more information on his band, the Costa Mesa Humor Kings, visit

Concert Review: Karl Hunter Jazz Quartet at Squashed Grapes

By Pam Baumgardner
Karl Hunter Jazz Quartet performance at Squashed Grapes, Wednesday, November 27, 2013.

As soon as I got wind that Karl Hunter had put together a jazz quartet and would be playing at The Grape, I was on board.  I got my ticket and I asked Karl if could publish his post he had placed on his Facebook page as he wrote about why he was doing this and highlighted each musician he had handpicked to play with him (see below photo gallery).

I’ll be honest, I expected a great night of jazz because you know the guys in Big Bad Voodoo Daddy are the best, hardest working group of talented musicians around.  And after reading what Karl wrote, I figured I was in for a really cool night of talented friends getting together to mess around and kick it up a bit.  But what I got was a mind-blowing experience of ultra talented musicians brought together in an intimate setting giving it 100%.  It was the kind of performance that strikes at your inner being.

My highest regards to Rufus Philpot (bass), Andy Langham (keyboards) and Aaron McLendon (drums).  Coming together along with Karl to do this performance on Thanksgiving Eve was an extraordinary thing to do.  You guys so nailed it.  I loved how Karl would just step aside and let his friends work their magic as he watched from the doorway with a very smug smile on his face.  And then he’d step back in and “BAM” he’d hit it out of the park.

I just want to personally thank Karl Hunter for bringing this caliber of talent to Ventura and to Squashed Grapes. The four of you together was truly inspirational.  It was a privilege to be there and witness it and it’s a night I will never forget.


(Karl originally wrote this for his Facebook page.  We thought it super awesome so we asked him for permission to post it on our website, and he said, and I quote, “I would love that. Thank you so much!” 
The Karl Hunter Quartet plays Squashed Grapes Wednesday, November 27, 2013.  For advance tickets, stop by Squashed Grapes at 2351 E. Main Street, Ventura, CA)

417034_10152219956780018_142424281_nSo in all my years of being a musician I have never fronted a band. Never had my own project or my name on a marquee. I’ve always wanted to but never got it together. That’s about to change. I was approached by the awesome folks at Squashed Grapes in Ventura to put a band together for a “Karl Hunter Quartet” gig on November 27th, the night before Thanksgiving. I’ve mulled over a potential dream band for years wondering what it would be like to play with X drummer, Y piano or guitar player, or Z bass player. Never in all those years did I ever conceive a line up like this…
I put together a “what if” dream line up and picked up the phone. And low and behold, everyone was down to get down, so to speak.

Occasionally there are a-ha moments on the bandstand. Those moments that usually make me laugh out loud on stage, because someone has played something so left field, so unique and cool, that I wouldn’t of thought of it in a thousand years. I’ve had one of those moments with each of these guys. And I can’t wait to hear them together on the same stage and discover what craziness ensues.

Rufus Philpot, while being one of the funniest hangs and a real character is also incidentally a deranged monster on bass. He’s one of the few bass players I’ve ever had the honor to play with, who’s technique is so honed that he has absolutely no barrier between thought and execution. Sometimes it’s absolutely ludicrous what he can fit in before the end of a phrase, all the while never sacrificing the groove. Much like the funny comments between the tunes that skirt the edge but never quite cross the line 🙂 Rufus has mastered the dark arts of Jazz fusion while playing with a who’s who of the genre. Allan Holdsworth. Simon Philips , Chad Wackerman, Randy Brecker, Al Di Miola & David Gilmore, to name a few. (Okay, David Gilmore is probably not jazz fusion but still demands a mention.)

If you’re an local 805er and into the music scene you must have felt the auora of Aaron McLendon. The mere mention of the name makes the clouds part, and vocal choirs appear out of nowhere. Along with serious proclamations that usually go like: “duuuude he’s the baddddest!!!!” For years, I heard the rumors and wondered what it was all about. Aaron and I both had the awesome opportunity to have been students of the amazing music mentor, Isaac Jenkins. And it was at an alumni tribute to Ike that I got to have one of those a-ha moments I previously mentioned, when finally witnessing Aaron’s playing. He had a drum solo in a big band tune, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Was he going to showcase amazing chops? Or go obscure with metric modulation & over the bar line trickery? (All of which I would have loved.) No, he did a solo almost completely on cymbals. super textural, and unbelievably musical. All the while holding everyone’s attention with an iron fist. The rumors were absolutely true, Aaron parts clouds. He’s Badddd. So Badddd that He a heavy among heavyweights. Playing with: Charlie Haden, George Clinton, Billy Childs, Christian Scott, Kurt Elling, and the New York Voices.

Andy Langham is a deep well. His bag of tricks is bottomless. If music was a poker game he would see you and raise you on every hand. Whatever improvisational musical idea you have, he can take and refine, and then redefine and then take that and redefine it again in a way that is so many levels deep, that you’ll be absolutely dumbfounded how he got from point a to point z. He is undoubtedly the most gnarley musician I have ever played with. No joke. A lot of musicians can sound good on their instrument, but that is just the tiny point on top of the tip of the iceberg for Andy. His understanding of the inner workings and interrelationship of harmony is super-human. He honestly should wear a cape. But that’s not Andy’s style. He’s is perfectly comfortable with being Clark Kent, and like Clark, is one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. If you have any interest in Jazz and the improvisational process you need to come and see Andy play. If you enjoy witnessing the extremitys of human accomplishment and potential you will be amazed. He’s the Carl Lewis or the Michael Jordan of Jazz Piano. How often do you get to rub shoulders with Olympians?

Those lucky enough to play with Andy include Pancho Sanchez, Natalie Cole, Christian McBride, Ernie Watts, Dewey Redman and the New York Voices.

I am honored and flattered that these gentleman would come to Ventura to play with me. If you can’t tell already I’m beyond excited about this night of music, you must have skipped a few paragraphs.

My hope is to get the train rolling, grab onto the caboose and hold on for dear life. I absolutely know one of the things I’ll be thankful for when I wake up on Thanksgiving morning. If you are free on Thanksgiving eve, you should consider joining us on this very special night. I feel very fortunate that these gentleman are able to be in one place at the same time. If you can, come out and share in what with undoubtedly, will be an amazing evening.

Concert Review: Adam Ant

Adam Ant’s performance at the Majestic Ventura Theatre Friday, October 19, 2012.

What a blast!  When I heard Adam Ant would be playing our very own Majestic Ventura Theatre, a rush of nostalga hit me.  I immediate recalled the days of driving with the windows all rolled down blasting KROQ standards like “Stand and Deliver” and “Goodie Two Shoes”….It was the days of big hair and even bigger dance moves.

Adam Ant hadn’t toured the US in 17 years, so it was quite exciting to be able to catch the show. Not only would Adam Ant be rockin’ the standards, but the tour was launched in conjuction with his upcoming album, “Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter.”  Yea, I know.  The word you’re looking for is “Anyways…”  So, yea, that’s the name of the album and he’s sticking to it.

Affectionately entitled, Adam Ant & the Good, the Mad & the Lovely Posse, the band arrived at the Majestic Ventura Theatre towards the tail end of the tour.  The place was packed with many old and just as many newer fans who were made up in “Ant-like” garb and make-up; people in the know call them Ant People.  The anticipation was thick in the air. People were smiling, happily waiting for Adam to take the stage to a sold out crowd. Soon enough, the lights went down, the band took the stage and Adam Ant promptly took his spot immediately commanding the room…and just as quickly, the crowd embraced Adam and all his glory dressed in his familiar pirate-like garb.  The old familiar songs blended extremely well with the newer ones and the joint never stopped rocking.  I loved the dual drummers, and singers in costume changes; it was a feast for the eyes and ears. Time and time again when the band would fire up the next tune, people would smile and look around as they recognized their favorite songs and again, the room would start dancing.  It was a fun night watching a true Brit icon.

I’m very much looking forward to the release of “Adam Ant is the Blueblack Hussar in Marrying the Gunner’s Daughter” which is scheduled to release January 2013.

Set List: