Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 7/1/20 – 7/14/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Ventura Rocks artwork

NOTE:  The deadline for this column was just before the County shutdown all bars and prohibited indoor music.

PLAYING THE GAME

I’ve spoken to a number of venue owners the past couple of weeks as they tread lightly doing their best to follow the guidelines in place to operate safely in this time of COVID-19. And without naming names, I know several have had to stop the music (literally) to remind patrons that wearing masks is mandatory in their establishment unless you’re seated at your table. Social distancing is being enforced and whether you think the whole thing is a conspiracy theory or not, it’s their business, literally! They can make up whatever rules they want to secure their venue, but the bigger issue is that they’re actually enforcing what has been mandated by the governor of California. Do you want them to be closed down by code enforcement? Of course not! So, I beseech you to please wear a mask, because if you don’t you’re going to not only put their business at risk, but you could pass along the virus not even knowing you’re a carrier.

We all want to get back to normal. We all want to hang out, and give hugs and hearty handshakes to old friends while taking in our favorite bands, but we’re nowhere near that point yet. If you feel strongly enough about not wanting to wear a mask, then please stay away and listen to music at home. There are plenty of live streaming concerts still being held.

NOT BACK TO NORMAL

Reopening doors, following safety guidelines and trying to get back up to speed may not include live music at this time for a lot of venues. I understand (she says with a pitiful lower lip pushed out trembling ever so slightly). The priority is paying the rent and the staff and rebuilding a clientele. So, don’t forget to support all your favorite music venues whether they have live music or not yet. If we do this right, and we do this together supporting where we can, we will live to see another robust economy with a booming music scene.

PLAYING SAFELY

And while we’re on the submit of live music in venues, let’s take it from the perspective of the musician. Not all artists feel safe enough to get back out there to play live. Trust me, they want to, but their better judgement is keeping them away for many reasons. You have your favorite bands, and solo artists, well why not reach out via social media where most of them have accounts. Let them know you miss them, and if you can, buy their music and some merchandise if available to show your support.

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS V

John Jorgensen Bluegrass

John Jorgensen’s Bluegrass Supergroup

SuperDuperKyleIn each of my past four music scene columns I’ve been able to report more details on the Concerts in Your Car events by CBF Productions (California Beer Festival). This past weekend Ventura finally saw a large-scale concert with SuperDuperKyle kicking off the series over the weekend of June 26 and 27. Kyle, a former Ventura High School graduate, was well-received as he gears up for his album release on July 17, See You When I Am Famous.

I’m not going to lie; I am so relieved to hear portable bathrooms are now available as they were not when they first launched this series. Under their FAQ, the Concerts in Your Car website made it clear no restrooms on site, no getting out of your car, and you could not leave the event early. As a female, let me just say “THANK YOU GOD!” I just couldn’t wrap my bladder, I mean head around that one! Gratefully, we don’t have to worry about that now.

Back to the business at hand, joining forces with CBF Productions is the Ventura Music Festival as they present John Jorgenson’s Bluegrass Supergroup. On Thursday, July 16. I love that Concerts In Your Car is being so diverse with the genres ranging from rap to bluegrass to alternative rock to country, there literally is something for everyone! And if you are a fan of bluegrass music, then you won’t want to miss Grammy-winning guitarist, John Jorgenson (Desert Rose Band, the Hellecasters) who will be joined by fellow music legends Herb Pedersen (Desert Rose Band, Laurel Canyon Ramblers), Mark Fain (seven-time Grammy-winning bassist) and Patrick Sauber (Laurie Lewis band).John Jorgensen Bluegrass

Patrick Sauber, Mark Fain, John Jorgenson, Herb Pederson

I have a quick Q&A following here, but for more information on all the concerts and movies and for purchasing your ticket got to ConcertsInYourCar.com.

Q&A with JOHN JORGENSON

Pam: I’m loving the creativity of our music community; what was your initial response to doing a drive-in concert?

John: Indeed Ventura is a very creative community, and as a musician I feel quite comfortable living here.

When Nuvi [Nuvi Mehta, Ventura Music Festival Artistic Director] asked me to play the drive-in concert for the Ventura Music Festival I was thrilled. I have performed in so many varied venues over my 40 plus years as an entertainer so to get asked to do something new and challenging is rare, surprising and fun. In the last few months most of my contact with my band members has been to cancel or reschedule gigs, so to get to tell them about one that’s actually going to happen was great too.

Pam: What can people expect from your show?

J2B2 is an excellent ensemble both instrumentally and vocally, so people can expect world class singing and playing first of all. Our material ranges from very traditional bluegrass to newer songs from some of the best songwriters of our time. Our goal has been to bring meaningful lyrics into the mix of virtuosic picking and tight vocal harmonies. Hopefully the audience will laugh, wipe a tear or two, think a bit differently, and drive home with smiles on their faces.

Pam: Do you see more of these type concerts on the horizon?

John: Well, I sure hope so! The chance to get out and enjoy a performance from the safety of your own car while still feeling a bit of community and a shared concert experience is extremely rare if not impossible. Here is a way forward!

Pam: Musically speaking, what had you been doing during the shutdown?

John: Since the shut down I’ve been mostly using the time to go through my musical archives of older formats and transfer tapes, as well as organize memorabilia I’ve amassed over the years. I have also done a few remote recording sessions and contributed to a worldwide orchestral and choral collaboration. It’s definitely a time for all performers to rethink and retool.

SURF RODEO

I spoke to JD Drury just a few weeks ago and being the optimist that he is, he was still holding out that Surf Rodeo could in some form or another be pulled off this summer or late fall, but the word came out shortly afterwards that Surf Rodeo is officially off for 2020; JD hung in there hoping for a miracle, but alas…it wasn’t to be. The official post on social media: “It is with heavy hearts that after several conversations with the City of Ventura and State Parks, due to Covid-19, we will not be able to party on the beach this summer. We love you and we miss you! WE WILL BE BACK 2021!”

CROOKED EYE TOMMY

Album artworkTommy Marsh dropped off a copy of Crooked Eye Tommy’s sophomore CD, Hot Coffee and Pain which is scheduled for an August release. It was recorded in Ojai at Carbonite Studios with Grammy-winning audio engineer, Jason Mariani (Joe Bonamassa, Robben Ford). You know I’ll be spinning a couple tunes on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour at CAPS Media’s KPPQ-LP, and we’re working on having Tommy be a guest on the VenturaRockSpot which you can view on the Ventura Rock’s YouTube channel. If you loved their last release, Butterflies and Snakes, well you ain’t seen nothing yet! Holy smokes, they hit this one out of the park! More details coming soon.

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

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 6/16/20 – 6/30/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner
VenturaRocks.com
Pam@VenturaRocks.com

Ventura Rocks artwork

DRIVE-IN CONCERTS IV

In each of my past three music scene columns I’ve been able to report more details on the Concerts in Your Car events by CBF Productions (California Beer Festival). The drive-in style concerts where you remain in your car tuned in to an FM frequency have been gaining popularity in Europe and now here in the States. We knew the first concert was marketed to our new grads featuring two nights starring former Ventura High School artist SuperDuperKyle. Unfortunately, the dates changed after our press deadline in our last issue, so if you thought you missed it, you can still get tickets for his rescheduled shows for June 26 and June 27.

Now if you’re wondering like I was who else they’ll be having live on stage, well I just got wind of their next show which is going on sale Thursday, June 18 for just $39 per car…ready??? It’s one of my favorite bands from the 90s, it’s none other than Third Eye Blind on Saturday, July 25! They’re back playing all the songs you know and love such as “Semi-Charmed Life, “Graduate” and “Losing a Whole Year.” Stephan Jenkins and the boys actually played the Ventura County Fair back in 2016, and they sounded as great as ever. I can’t wait to catch the show in the comfort of my own car.

photo of Stephen Jenkins

Stephen Jenkins of Third Eye Blind at the Ventura Fair 2016

Along with nationwide touring bands, Concerts In Your Cars has a summer of tribute bands lined up for Thursday nights. It will be along the line of those concerts that had taken place at the Collection the past couple of summers. The company is locking down Queen, Journey, AC/DC and Bruno Mars tribute bands. The tribute shows will be held on Thursday evenings for only $19 per car.

And finally, I mentioned in my last column I was hoping the drive-in theater style concerts would actually start featuring drive-in movies, and ta-da, it’s happening!! CBF Productions is also putting together movie screenings for film classics such as the Goonies, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and Grease which have been scheduled along with a series of theater productions of Forever Plaid, Jimmy Messina & Friends and Music of the Knights featuring the songs of Andrew Lloyd Weber, Elton John and Paul McCartney.

I heard there is more coming, especially if you have “Friends in Low Places,” but contracts are pending, so stay tuned. For all the concert and movie dates along with ticket information, go to ConcertsInYourCar.com.

MAIN STREET VENTURA EXPERIMENT

By the time this issue of the Ventura Breeze hits newsstand, the closing of downtown Ventura’s Main Street to through traffic will be in effect for at least 30 days kicking off on Monday, June 15. If it is a success and people come out and support all the restaurants and stores, there could be an additional 30 days added to the closure.

As previously reported, the City Council unanimously voted in favor of the emergency ordinance on May 18, 2020, which closes Main Street from Fir to the Mission (or Figueroa Street). If you live close enough, I would encourage you to either walk, ride your bike, or use one of the many rideshare companies, which include our local taxis, Lyft or Uber.

And of course, to keep things lively, there is nothing like live music to enhance the experience, and I understand there will be plenty to go around with at least 32 hours scheduled at press time. Go to VenturaRocks.com for listings.

VENUES REOPENING

Most all venues have reopened their doors and a handful are offering live music by either solo, duos or combos where the sound level can be kept at a level where people can still hold a conversation, i.e., you don’t have to lean in to hear someone speaking. This is especially important when a waiter comes one’s table, or you step up to the counter to place an order. Most establishments are requiring face masks while entering their premises; however, once you’re seated, you can take them off. My understanding is the wait staff will continue to don their masks while working the room.

Venues and artists tend to keep me in the loop on their schedules and so I’ve provided those listings on this page. Keep in mind, more and more are coming back on board; I’m hearing Peirano’s, and possible the Shores will have music on the weekends, and when I can confirm their line-up, I will add to the music calendar on VenturaRocks.com.

THE GRAPE

I was hoping to have solid information to report, and hopefully I will next issue, but know this, the boys are working hard and it’s full steam ahead on construction for the new jazz venue. I’m hearing August (2020) is a possibility.

Squashed Grapes closed over a year ago working through the paperwork and permitting process as well as fundraising to open the Grape. Meanwhile, Adam and Josh teamed up with other vintners (Boyer Wines and Sensation Wines) to open the Winery Ventura down on Market Street which will continue to be their main outlet for their wines. You can find live music there (all genres), with food trucks or order in capabilities, but of course what we’ve been waiting for is a jazz house with a full bar.

GUITAR AND WHISKEY CLUB

As of this month, Gail Sutton will be holding down the bass and backing vocals for Guitar and Whiskey Club. Sutton is an accomplished four and five-string electric bassist who excels in rock, blues and jazz. After having successful runs in Florida, NY/NJ/ tri state and Colorado, she landed in Southern California in 2015 when she immediately started networking and playing everywhere she could. She eventually met and teamed up with Giorgio Bertucelli who has designed and built studios for other rockers including Alex Van Halen. With Bertucelli’s help, Sutton finished construction on her own studio named Gailforce.

Meanwhile you can catch the Guitar and Whiskey Club every Sunday afternoon online during their Clubhouse shows on their Facebook page. Many thanks to Jeff Donovan and Jennifer Wylde for having me on as a guest last month. It was a hoot!

YOU CAN HELP

In the interest of supporting local musicians whose incomes have been drastically reduced, and even in some cases stopped completely due to the COVID-10 crisis, please consider reaching out via social media and support one of their livestream concerts and/or performances and make a donation if you can. I’m loving the intimate setting some provide, albeit awkward at first as they’re so used to immediate feedback (cue the applause), but they’re catching on and they do read the comments as they come in on their feeds.

And if you’re not one for watching livestreams, then consider a small purchase of one of their CDs, or a t-shirt or coffee mug. Every little bit helps. Of course, you may find yourself too strapped to help out, so perhaps you might consider just reaching out and letting your favorite artist or band know you’re looking forward to seeing them again soon.

COVID-19

It still seems surreal that we’re living through a pandemic which has changed the face of Ventura’s music scene. It’s going to be some time before we’re crammed together on a dance floor dancing up a sweat to our favorite cover bands. It’s going to be some time before the Majestic Ventura Theater holds packed houses in front of our favorite bands. And it’s going to be some time before our festivals and events can be held where large audiences amass. I understand the frustration, but we got to hold the line and do what’s right.

And finally in closing, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

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