Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 6/1/22 – 6/14/22

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner

The Ojai Blues Fest at the Ojai Art Center returns on Saturday, June 4. It’s always a treat when Tommy Marsh returns to town after picking up and leaving us for Tennessee to build a Nashville audience. Trust me when I say, the talent will not disappoint! Tickets are available on Here’s the current time lineup:

1:30 – Milo Sledge
2:00 – Crooked Eye Tommy
3:30 – Chuck Strong & SRBQ
4:30 – Ray Jaurique & the Uptown Brothers
5:30 – Sandy Haley Band
6:30 – Guy Martin
8:00 – All-star Jam Session

The 75th anniversary of the Ojai Music Festival runs June 9 – June 12 at the Libbey Bowl. Tickets for each event run between $20 and $150; but on Sunday, June 12, all are invited to two free events at Libbey Park. The first, Dance in the Park, features the dance duo Julia Eichten and Bret Easterling, celebrating tenderness, togetherness, and fierce joy; and then that afternoon, Rome is Falling is a high-energy new telling where song, spoken word, and driving music come together to contextualize the action with audience engagement and the performance of a local children’s choir. For more details on all performances and to secure your tickets, go to

The Glass Animals concert at the Ventura Theater wasn’t announced until 9 am on Wednesday, May 18 and tickets went on sale that day at noon which promptly sold out for their show the following Wednesday, May 25, at the Ventura Theater…which by the way was fabulous.

Future shows on sale now for the Ventura Theater include Third Eye Blind for Saturday, August 6, Billy Idol on Thursday, August 25, Hollie Cook (from all-female punk/reggae band, the Slits) on Saturday, September 24, Black Flag on Saturday, October 29, and AFI on Friday, November 25. If you don’t want to miss out, you’ll want to keep your eye on their calendar as you never know when new dates will pop up (such as the Glass Animals).

Heading around the corner and down the block (or two) to the all-new Ventura Music Hall, I’m happy to report that I’ve secured tickets for the Mike Campbell & the Dirty Knobs show for Sunday, June 12. Come on!!! He co-wrote so many hits with Tom Petty (Refugee, Here Comes My Girl, Runnin’ Down a Dream), you know it’s going to rock!! New dates added recently include Guttermouth on Sunday, July 3 (happy to say local bands False Confession and Romper will open), Memphis May Fire out of Texas plays Tuesday, July 19 and Jerry’s Middle Finger will bring in the “Deadheads” when they play Friday, July 29.

Over on Main Street, midtown Ventura, the Grape has Casey Abrams, former American Idol contestant and current member of Postmodern Jukebox, returning for a show on Saturday, June 4, then the venue will go into overdrive when they open on Sunday and Monday (traditionally closed) for two special concerts. Firstly, on June 5, it’s Dreamland band, a Joni Mitchell tribute, featuring Kimberly Ford on vocals and guitar and then on Monday, June 6, the Dave Weckl/Tom Kennedy Projects with their high energy jazz fusion. Weckl was inducted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame in 2000. Tickets are available for these shows at

The Toni Jannotta Jazz Trio plays Peirano’s on the Terrazza Friday, June 3, with Terry Simcik on guitar and Tom Etchart on bass. Toni then leaves for Europe to sing in the Langtoun Jazz Festival in Kirkcaldy, Scotland.

Here’s a fun, or not-so-fun fact: all reserved tables and special ramadas for all concerts are sold out for Music Under the Stars this summer. Tickets still available for general admission include Identity Theft on July 23, Rhythm Krewe on August 6 and Lisa Haley & the Zdekats on August 27, all other shows totally sold out. You can either purchase tickets at Ventura City Hall or over the phone (805) 658-4726.

Quick Notes: just announced, Uncle Cracker will perform at BBQ Fest 2022 at Surfer’s Point Live (Ventura Fairgrounds) on Saturday, June 11; Surfers Point Café will hold a grand opening celebration on Saturday, June 11, featuring the loveable CocoKnots and their tropical blend of music with a sprinkling of pop & jazz classics from 1 -4 pm; Cadillac Zack presents Aki Kumar, Bollywood blues, at Namba on Friday, June 10; Iain Matthews and Steve Postell (founding members of British folk rock bands) play the Ojai Underground Friday, June 3; Mack and D start up their Thursday evening residency at 1901; Tickets are on sale for the Hip Hop edition of Sunday Funday with Flo Rida and Lil Jon at Surfer’s Point Live (Ventura Fairgrounds parking lot); and Mick Stover (bassist Dive Bar Messiahs, Gentlemen’s Blues Club) has started a new 80s dance cover band called ’80 Reasons 2 Dance, you can catch them at Margarita Villa on July 9.

The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour continues to support and play local artist out of the 805, as well as artists who come here to play. Mary Z Wilson continues to be a great asset talking about the history of Americana here in town; she’ll be sharing music from Donna Lynn Caskey, Merlin Snider and Cyrus Clarke on the next episode, (#162) which runs 5/31 – 6/12 and airs Tuesdays and Fridays at 5:00 pm and Sundays at noon. Tune into KPPQ-LP at 104.1 FM here in Ventura, or listen via the MyTuner radio app on your smart device, or online at

Do you have any music-related news or upcoming shows you want help publicizing? Please send all information short or long to, and for updated music listings daily, go to

Album Review: Casey Abrams

TalesFromTheGingerbreadHouseTales From the Gingerbread House
Casey Abrams
Review by Pam Baumgardner
February 8, 2016

Full disclosure: I love Casey Abrams, but then millions of Americans fell in love with him as he made it to the top six of season ten on American Idol a couple of years ago.

Full disclosure: I’ve only tuned in once and only saw the last ten minutes of the last episode of the first season of American Idol.

So how did I come to know Casey? It was when the owners of Squashed Grapes told me a year and a half ago that they had booked him and that I should search Google and YouTube for The Gingerbread Band. I saw just one, and I got it. I understood what the fuss was all about.

0726_CaseyAbrams_001Casey played the Grape that summer night to a sold out house via word of mouth and it quickly made my Top Ten shows of all time.  He’s just too freakin’ cool!! Fast forward to the present time and Casey is now offering his second release, an EP entitled, “Tales from the Gingerbread House.”  It’s a mix of five eclectic tunes including one featuring fellow American Idol alumni, Haley Reinhart.

Casey had a hand in writing all songs and I was delighted to see the uber talented Jacob Scesney, who you can find sitting in with local bands around town when he’s not out on the road, covered the sax work on four out of five songs even getting a shout out on “Cougar Town”.

The EP opens with “Cougartown” and an interesting introduction from actor, Eric Avari; it’s a song about Casey’s love for the older woman.  Casey makes himself vulnerable with “Just One More Time (These Eyes)” confessing his love while throwing in some funky scat moves.  “Caught” is more energetic, upbeat, even danceable, and as sexy as all the previous songs may be, they don’t compare to the duet between Abrams and Haley Reinhart on “Never Knew What Love Can Do” as the two break it out and get right down and dirty.

But I have to say my favorite is the final cut called “Shining a Light” which is a contrast to the jazzier and funkier previous tunes on the EP. Typically I spend a lot of time with the music I plan to write about, and I know I’m ready to write when I start humming a song, or singing along, but with “Shining a Light” I literally could not get it out of my head.  I can totally hear this on popular radio, in movies, TV shows…it’s just so catchy and contagious and if there were no other songs, it’s totally worth the price of the CD.

Knowing that Casey was self-taught on over 11 musical instruments, and by ear, I came to the realization at Squashed Grapes that Casey not only writes and plays music really well, but that he actually is music.  I’m looking to great things to come from Mr. Abrams, the world is wide open to him.


1. Cougartown – (Casey Abrams/Rune Westberg)
2. Just One More Time (These Eyes) – (Casey Abrams)
3. Caught – (Casey Abrams/Victoria Horn “Lady V”/Rob Kleiner)
4. Never Knew What Love Can Do – (Casey Abrams/Bobby Hamrick)
5. Shining A Light – (Casey Abrams/Andrew Rose) 

After hours at Squashed Grapes 7/26/14