Album Review – Shaky Feelin’

Live at Green Art People
By Pam Baumgardner

Live at Green Art People

Live at Green Art People

If your band kills it live and your following is loyal, it’s a complete no brainer that you have to record your next CD live.  Too often when a band goes into the studio their collective sound becomes sterile and they lose the essence of what makes them special.  Hence, Shaky Feelin’ Live at Green Art People was recorded during one of Green Art People’s weekly Wednesday night shows on April 24, 2013, and the band nailed it!

While doubling drumming is not a new idea, it’s always a treat when you get to witness it first hand.  Two drum kits with Cameron Probe and Paul Menchaca working off each other, complimenting each other and sometimes working in unison to create a fuller sound.  Love it!  Add to that a strong bass line from Rob Jeffries, and impeccable keyboards from Franklin Murphy for that extra fuller layer of rhythm, creating a perfect balance for Mr. Masson on lead guitar. The thing about Mark Masson is that he really knows how to play his guitar.  He creates these loops live on the spot, and plays upon those layers.  You can only imagine how many hours it took to gain the ability to play like he does, but trust me, it was time well spent.

Together, the band creates this amazing upbeat groove that so seductive and addictive, you’ll find yourself dancing with a room full of people as one, or by yourself if you play this CD in the privacy of your own home!

Friday night, November 8, at The Tavern was packed to the gills and the night was a huge successful for the launch of the new CD.  Seriously, the band is something to behold live.  I found myself cruising around, shooting pictures and talking with people, it was undeniable the love and support this town has for the boys.

Danielle Marie Aue told us, “The Number One reason I like Shaky Feelin’ is because when I hear them I have to dance, you can’t sit still during a Shaky show.  The Number Two reason is the atmosphere and following, it’s like a family reunion every time!  Everyone is dancing with everyone, feeling free and welcoming new followers.  And the Number Three reason is that it’s different and the same; I always hear something new that keeps me intrigued but I always hear something I know which keeps me coming back for more.”  Describing the band’s sound Aue said, “I would describe their music as a little bit of everything; unstoppable and unforgettable.”

Seth Brandes said he likes the band for a couple of reasons, “They are a generation younger than myself,” he explained. “Mark who leads the band is 30 years old and he writes lyrics using the word, ‘groovy!’  How many kids his age use the word, ‘groovy?’  Not too many, but Mark does! But what I really like about the band is that they create a sound that’s much larger than really who they are. There’s a big percussion section behind them, but really only three guys on guitar, bass and keyboards, yet it feels like a much larger band without being really really loud. I also like the way they improvise, they’ll move from one musical genre to another effortlessly between songs.”

A self professed Shaky Feelin’ virgin Maggie Ramos McKinney, said,”I can’t believe I’d never heard them before!!! I’m hooked and can’t wait to listen to the CD!”

And finally, two of my favorite women here in town, who are BIG FANS of the band share the same thoughts, “Bottom line, when I hear Shaky Feelin it gives me happy Feet. Such a fun engaged band,” exclaims Cheryl Swift.  And local photographer, Amanda Peacock, says she likes Shaky Feelin’, “Because the music makes me FEEL GOOD! It makes me get a Shaky Feelin’!”

Do yourself a favor and invest in our local boys and get yourself a copy of Shaky Feelin’ Live at Green Art People.

Guitar, Vocals: Mark Masson
Keyboard, Vocals: Franklin Murphy
Bass: Rob Jeffries
Drums, Vocals: Paul Menchaca
Kit-Cussion: Cameron Probe

Shakey Feelin Live at Green Art People was recorded by Jon DeBaun.


Album Review – 50 Sticks of Dynamite

Love Dream Truth Love
By Pam Baumgardner

Love Dream Truth Love

Love Dream Truth Love

One of the coolest things about Ventura’s music scene is that you really get to know the bands and the more you go out to support their shows, the more you get to know their original songs, so it’s always a treat when one of our local favorites comes out with a CD to enjoy on your own time.

I’m a huge 50 Sticks fan.  But here’s the funny thing, there are a handful of instruments I can normally do without, such as the accordion or the bagpipe, and I use to add the banjo in there; I use to equate the banjo with the old school TV show, “Hee Haw”, but then I had seen a number of performances by Steve Martin which just floored me.  So I’ve developed a respect for banjo playing over the years, and with a more open mind, I was primed to fully embrace the banjo when I first saw Ian playing it during an early 50 Sticks show back at J’s (now Peirano’s) in early 2011.

The early days!

The early days!

This ain’t no bluegrass band, and it ain’t no country jam band.  This is straight-forward rock and roll.  The band describes their sound as banjo driven roots rock & blues.  Regardless, it’s the kind of music that inspires you to get off your ass and dance to their infectious tunes.

Ian McFayden

Ian McFayden

50 Sticks released their second album this year called, Love Dream Truth Love.  I’m completely jazzed to include in my private collection of local music songs like “Far Away,”  “For You,” and the title track “Love Dream.

“Far Away” reminds me of a classic movie or an old relationship which you can count on for getting much needed comfort.  It just feels right;  I love the line, “Yes I’m gonna find you baby and make your untamed heart my own” in the song, “For You.”  The tune seriously drives me to dance which is always a fun thing when you’re seat belted behind the wheel driving down the 101; The title track, “Love Dream Truth Love” is the quintessential rock anthem; and I love the harp on “What’s Next?”

The band is comprised of local musicians you’ve seen over the years in various
projects.  It’s extremely cool when you bring four guys together and it just clicks.

50 Sticks of Dynamite
Banjo: Ian McFadyen
Guitar and harmonica: Whitey Wingland
Bass: Michael Dominguez
Drums: Chris Jensen

And though I still prefer to see the boys play their tunes live, the CD will keep be satisfied until the next we meet.

50 Sticks of Dynamite

Album Review – Spencer the Gardener

Breaking My Own Heart
By Pam Baumgardner

Breaking My Own Heart

Breaking My Own Heart

I’ve been familiar with Spencer the Gardener for years. You want a lively good time? You go see Spencer in concert because bar none, out of all the bands in Southern California, this band will deliver the goods each and every single time. And it’s a rare person who can refrain from at the very least tapping their toes, because I see more people dancing at their shows than any other band. They’re just flat out fun!

The problem at hand is how to describe Spencer the Gardener. The first word that comes to mind is “quirky” and then “professional” but the two words don’t really feel right going in the same sentence. So I’m going to go with a better word, “proficient” because every single member of this band is spot on. From Spencer’s unique vocals to Lilly’s trumpet to Lackner on the percussions, the band takes having a good time to a serious level of fun.

But I still haven’t solved the problem of describing the sound or the genre of the band. Surf? Sort of. Mariachi? Yeah, but… Latin? Well…yeah. But then I realize that they are a little of a lot of things. I also think of the Herman’s Hermits. Confused yet?

So I go to the official Spencer the Gardener website and get it straight from the horse’s mouth: “Guitars, Bongos, Congas, Trumpets, Saxophone, Bass, Drums and even an Accordion make up a California sun kissed, Latin tinged, genre bending, big band Surf Mariachi indie pop affair.”

YES! That’s it. I guarantee even Spencer took his time to come up with this description!

In any case, this band has been entertaining for 23 years and they’ve just come out with their seventh CD called, “Breaking My Own Heart” which includes 12 tunes and as always, Spencer delivers the goods.

You’ll want this CD for when you traveling down the 101 with the ocean to your side, windows down, with Spencer blaring – it just makes me smile thinking about it. Or running around the house doing bills or housecleaning, it will be a helpful hand. Or entertaining friends, a definite must have!

Spencer the Gardener continues to play shows around the country and especially in Santa Barbara as that is the band’s home base. But they do come to Ventura from time to time and when they do, you should always make it a point to come out and support a good time, because we never ever want to see them go away.

Love us some Spencer the Gardener!!!

Breaking My Own Heart

Track List:

1.Breaking My Own Heart
2.Someday She Said
3.Summer in the City
4.Lonely Soul
5.There She Goes
6.Bye Baby
7.Lluvia Paz
8.Away We Go
9.Chelsea Radio
10.Rock Steady
11.Movin’ On
12.Breaking My own Heart Outro

Click to buy CD: Breaking My Own Heart

Click for the Spencer the Gardener official website

Playing Amigos April 15, 2013

Playing Amigos April 15, 2013

Eve and Pam of with the Man, Spencer!

Eve and Pam of with the Man, Spencer!

Album Review – Chi McClean

A Thing or Three
by Stephanie Rose

Chi McClean - A Thing or ThreeArtist really are the heart and soul of a society. Without them, you have no vision.  Without them life is dull.  Of course art is totally subjective and so it is something special when you come across an artist who strikes a chord with you.

I happened upon Chi McClean during one of Zoey’s Songwriters in the Round sessions and I Friended him on Facebook soon after.  I read his posts with interest as he made his way across the country playing different venues.  As soon as he was booked at Zoey’s again, I cleared my calendar and made it a point to catch his show which was this past Monday night along with local artists Dan Grimm and Matt Zeltzer.

I have to say that one of the highlights of the evening was the commaraderie between the musicians and the interactions with the audience between songs, to which the audience was happy to chime in on the conversation as well.  The room connected.
Chi McClean, Matt Zeltzer at Zoeys

During their break I made my way over to Chi and introduced myself from  He thanked me for showing up and promptly provided me with a copy of his latest CD, “A Thing or Three.” I was honored. I promised to write a review to which he grimaced.  Too cute.

It was a good night listening to good music and I was looking forward to cracking open my new CD and giving “A Thing or Three” a spin.

A man and his acoustic guitar. It doesn’t get much more intimate than that.  A little southern, a little folk, some bluesiness, lite rock.  I guess it’s called Americana. I’m reminded a little of James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, a even a tinge of Van Morrison.
Chi McClean, Matt Zeltzer, Dan Grimm at Zoeys

It’s hard to believe Chi was born and raised in New York.  I distinctly get a bonfire at the beach vibe.  I can imagine listening to “A Thing or Three” driving down Highway 1 along the Pacific Ocean with the top down, just as easily as spending some quality time with that someone special on a hot summer night.  Uplifting lyrics, passion and extraordinary musicianship.  It’s a good mix, a good vibe, and worthy of your time. My favorites include  “Build me Up,” “I Save You” and “Life Got in the Way.”

Again, I’ll be following Chi and his posts on Facebook, as well as his blog on his official website.  Looking forward to catching him when he rolls through our town again.

Album Review – Winchester Rebels

3 Sheets to the Wind
by Stephanie Rose


Winchester Rebels CD, 3 Sheets to the WindHaving earned my stripes as Program Director at a local Alternative Rock radio station in the mid 90’s here in town called KXBS the Bus, and then launching a national publication, Buzzine Magazine as Vice-President and Editor-in-Chief, I’d like to think I know music.  And though I haven’t been working in the industry for a number of years – opting instead for stability and a steady pay check to cover the mortgage – my first love continues to be music and so in my spare time I do what I can to support our local music scene with

Recently I was approached about a band I hadn’t heard of before who would be playing some shows in Ventura and they were hoping to get some support on the website. My first introduction to the Winchester Rebels was via YouTube and a video of the band performing an acoustic version of their song, “Loaded Gun” on Santa Barbara’s radio station, KJEE.  I was immediately intrigued and made it a plan to check out the band which was playing at Billy O’s.  After one song, it was clear the band belonged on a much larger stage with a much larger crowd.  And though the house wasn’t packed, the guys played as if it were. I left wanting more and so I decided to spend some time with The Winchester Rebel’s debut release, 3 Sheets to the Wind.

Without a doubt, this is one of the best indie band endeavors I’ve heard in quite some time.  Nick Fitzgerald writes all the music as well as the guitar parts and Nick Hunt writes all the lyrics.   I’m impressed and I readily admit the CD hasn’t left my car, except to rip tunes for my workout playlist for my MP3 player (I added “Down” and “Flying”).

The guys know how to write solid rock tunes reminiscent of STP and Alice.  Catchy lyrics and hooks from the get-go where the guitars, rhythm and vocals drive the listener from song to song, never disappointing and leaving you wanting more.  The more times I listen to 3 Sheets to the Wind, the more the band leaves its mark. I find I’m singing lyrics and wondering where my own “Private Angel” is; or realizing, “I lost my head somewhere on my way to you” from one of their most infectious tunes, “Down.”

The Winchester Rebels

 All five members of Winchester Rebels are solid players and bring something special to the table.  Songs like “Private Angel” and “Silence” remind me yet again how much fun I’m missing having never learned to play drums. The band’s fat sounding bass never gets lost in the mix laying down the band’s groove, creating a fine balance between rhythm and harmony. The guitars work extremely well complementing each other driving the songs (love the solo in “Dining with the Devils”), and Nick Hunt’s vocal arrangements are incredibly captivating; he has a voice worthy of filling the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Here’s the thing, reading about music without hearing it, is like someone trying to describe a full-length body massage without actually ever experiencing one.  Yea, you can explain how amazing it feels and how it will take you away to a special place, and… blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. You get the picture.  So until you actually sit down and give the Winchester Rebels a listen, you won’t know.  Go online to and give them a spin for yourself.  Then demand they come back to town and play it live.

Nick Hunt – Vocals
Nick Fitzgerald – Guitar
James Longoria – Guitar
John Livergood – Bass
Barry Carter – Drums