Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 8/26/20 – 9/8/20

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner


Moorpark has thrown their hat in the ring and the City has hosted a handful of live drive-in style concerts at Arroyo Vista Community Park (4550 Tierra Rejada Road). They’ve hit a couple of bumps in the road and had to cancelled their most recent one, but let’s keep our fingers crossed for their next scheduled concert on Sunday, September 13 featuring The Trip with Rock ‘n’ Roll from the 60s to today. The show runs 6 -8 pm and the cost is only $20 per car; preregistration is required which can be found on the City’s website at on their Parks & Rec’s page.

The Canyon at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center continues offering reggae on Sunday evenings dubbed Reggae Knights as well as other shows coming up such as Little Willie G (the voice of Thee Midniters) on Friday, August 28, Queen Nation on Saturday, August 29 and Led Zeppagain on Friday, September 4.

And of course, our own drive-in concert venue here in Ventura at the Ventura Fairgrounds continues to offer live shows with Fitz and the Tanrums on Saturday, August 29, A-Trak, Ruckus and Tay James on Sunday August 30 and Tower of Power with Los Lobos on Sunday, September 6. For the FAQ and ticket information as well as other dates for movies and such, go to the official website

Another Sky – Q&A with Kelly Zirbes of Kelly’s Lot

The uber talented Kelly Zirbes of Kelly’s Lot never ceases to amaze me with her seemingly never-ending supply of energy and creative outflow. She is always working on new projects, writing and performing and keeping in touch via social media as much as possible with her fan base. She sent me her latest release called Another Sky which only solidifies my opinion of this woman. Kelly and Perry from Kelly’s Lot will be my next guests on the VenturaRockSpot (, but meanwhile, I thought I’d ask her a couple of questions for the Breeze.

Pam: I’m mostly familiar with your blues releases, how would you describe the genre of this release?

Kelly Z: Another Sky is mostly a Contemporary Folk and Americana release.

Doug Pettibone, Kelly Zirbes and Perry Robertson

Was this something you’d been working on, or did the recent pandemic, social unrest, or elections have a part in your songwriting choices?

Kelly Z: I had already written these songs when the pandemic started but two songs were written about the frustration in politics today. “Freedom” was written about how extremism robs you of your freedom and “Hurricane” was written about the madness of a divided country. We had also written an Irish jig for Ventura’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade but that was canceled. Back in March I didn’t think these songs would be recorded for a couple years. We were planning on doing a full band blues recording but because we were locked down it was going to be difficult to get everyone together to work out the parts. So, we decided to try and do something acoustic and we reached out to our neighbor Doug Pettibone to see if he would like to co-produce and play on the project. He was on board having had lost a few jobs himself.

So then, who all gets producing credit

Kelly Z: It was recorded in Doug’s studio in Oxnard and in the Kelly’s Lot studio in North Hollywood.

Who all were involved in the project and in what capacity?

Kelly Z: Deciding and arranging what instruments we wanted to put on these songs was very organic. We first started with Doug and Perry both on acoustic guitars; Doug then added pedal steel, slide guitar, and mandolin. After that the songs started to feel a certain way and we could hear what was missing. We also wanted to make sure we included every member of the band on at least one song and that helped fill in many gaps. Art Mendoza on drums, Matt McFadden on bass, Rob Zucca on guitar, Bill Johnston on clarinet, Aviva Maloney on penny whistle, Frank ‘Cisco’ Hinojosa on harmonica, Jeri Goldenhar doing some background vocals and for standup bass we used Paul Kennedy and David Grover. We brought in Aubrey Richmond on violin and Phil Parlapiano on accordion to round it all out. We ended up with two duets featuring Doug Pettibone and Rick Monroe from Nashville.

You’ve been sharing a lot about the song “Butterfly;” what’s the inspiration behind it?

Kelly Z: “Butterfly” was written the day after Prince died. Like I do every once in a while, I have asked my fans on Facebook to give me a word. Butterfly and Purple came up right away and the song was written rather quickly. As I wrote it, I remember thinking of my mom and my brother and so many musicians we have lost in the past couple years. It is a song to lift up someone form the grief of losing a loved one or maybe even a musical mentor.

You’ll be hosting a CD release party at Four Brix?

Kelly Z: Yes we are doing a live online acoustic concert at Four Brix Winery in Ventura (Friday, August 28). Because of Covid, there will be no “in winery” audience. It will be a Facebook live concert hosted on the Four Brix Facebook page. They are offering a meal and wine for pickup to enjoy during the concert at home or in your backyard. We are both promoting it on Facebook and through our mailing lists. If you want more info call the winery at 805-256-6006, visit the Facebook page or email them at

Is there anything else you’d care to share?

Kelly Z: It feels good to go back to my singer/songwriter roots and do an album of folk, roots rock and americana. Luckily Doug and Perry guided me through this in a way that brought out a deeper yet brighter version of my songs. They are both great at arranging and even participated in some of the writing. I also brought in my team from other releases, mixer Fred Paragano, mastering engineer Mike Michner and graphic artist Evie Cook. You can buy the CD or a download at my website KellysLot,com or a download at iTunes on August 28. It will also be on Spotify, Apple Music and a few other online platforms.


Congratulations to 50 Sticks of Dynamite on their 10-year anniversary together as a band.
Alastair Greene will have a new release this October called The New World Blues produced by Tab Benoit. Dan Grimm has a new EP ready to release, as does the Colette Lovejoy Band; details coming soon.

Tommy Marsh’s Crooked Eye Tommy CD release party was a bittersweet affair as he introduced the band’s sophomore release, Hot Coffee and Pain, but the show was also his final show as a resident of Ventura County. We wish him well on his new adventures as he and Tammy pack up and move to Nashville. But not to worry, he assures us that he will return for shows after this pandemic is over.

And finally, Serena Ropersmith just sent me new music to play on the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour. She recently released Sideways which was mostly inspired by her experiences at Ventura High School (she now attends Cal Poly) and she plays piano on every song. I love that her dad is Kent Bones, drummer for Birdbrain, and he plays on a couple of her songs and it was recorded with Armand (Night Demon, New Liberty) at the Captains Quarters.

Don’t forget my radio show airs Tuesdays and Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon at 104.1 FM here in Ventura on KPPQ-LP, or you can use your smart device and listen using the MyTuner radio app or listen online at

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

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 8/12 – 8/25

Ventura MusVentura Breeze logoic Scene
by Pam Baumgardner


Just so you know, the Concerts in Your Car season won’t last forever, probably as long as the good weather lasts, oh, and the pandemic. But I am happy to hear they’ll also offer shows in Arizona without packing up and leaving Ventura. By the way, did I call it or what in my last column? Yes, they did add a couple more dates with Grammy winning alt rock band, Switchfoot, on Saturday, August 15 and certified double-platinum country music singer/songwriter, Tracy Lawrence, on Friday, August 21, as well as a comedy show, two performances on Friday, August 28, featuring none other than David Spade & Rob Schneider.

I did notice the Rubicon’s Jimmy Messina & Friends was no longer posted on the website so I asked my sources and then confirmed with Karl Hunter, sax player for Big Bad Voodoo Daddy that they would be replacing those dates, and it’s true! So, you can catch Ventura’s own Big Bad Voodoo Daddy August 17, 18 and 19 from the safety of your own car.
Looking ahead to next month, the Ventura Music Festival will host a show with the Grammy and Emmy winning Gordon Goodwin’s Little Phat Band on Thursday, September 24. You can expect a high energy program from swing to funk to Latin to pop with Vangie Gunn on vocals.
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

For the FAQ and ticket information as well as other dates for movies and such, go to the official website


Crooked Eye Tommy will have their official CD release party down at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center where they are holding their own version of a drive-in style concert. The party is scheduled for Friday, August 21, with Joey Delgado from the Delgado Brothers, Guy Martin, Jon English and Jim Gustin & Truth Jones. According to the online evite, each car will have two parking spaces, one for your car and the other to set up camp in, and unlike the Ventura drive-in style concerts, food and beverages will be available along with restrooms. Tickets are available via Eventbrite.

I can’t say enough about this CD; the sophomore release from Crooked Eye Tommy really captures the band’s talent both as musicians and as singer/songwriters. Tommy has a winner on his hands.

Crooked Eye TommyPam: What’s behind the title of Hot Coffee and Pain?

Tommy Marsh: The title came about one morning when I woke up with bad back pain. I had been working in the yard the day before and apparently overdid it. I sat down with my morning coffee and under my breath mumbled “Hot coffee and pain.” The words sort of rang in my head and a song started.

Why did your sophomore release take longer than Butterflies and Snakes?

Tommy: We started it in late 2017 and recorded some of the base tracks (I think you were there for some of it). Anyway, as things happen when recording at a bad-ass studio and, to be frank, I ran out of money. Over the next couple years many things happened. The Thomas fire, the mudslide, etc, etc, etc. They were very emotional times. It seemed like waiting was the right thing to do. We again worked on it last year and finally we got it done early this year. Life happens!

Tell me about the musicians on this one.

Tommy: I produced this one with Tammy (life partner) and the help of Charlie McClure an old friend and drummer on Hot Coffee and Pain.
Paddy Marsh on Guitars & Vocals
Craig Williams on Sax
Samuel Correa on Bass
And me of course (Guitar & Vocals).
Teresa James is a guest on the song “Baby Where you Been,” a duet I wrote. She sings and plays amazing piano on that track.
Jimmy Calire is also on this album playing saxophone and organ.

Who gets writing credits?

Tommy: Paddy and I both wrote 3 songs each for this album and we chose 3 covers for the album.

Do you have a favorite song on Hot Coffee and Pain?

Tommy: My favorite song on the album is an old song, and it’s not one that I wrote, it’s Paddy’s song, “The Time it Takes to Live.” It has significant meaning to me because some of it was directed at me at a time when I was deep in the throes of addiction. This fact did not come to my attention until years later after I was free of the drugs and it is a strong reminder of those times. Though they were bad times for me the redemption story of “Time it Takes” is a very real and personal reminder that I defeated that enemy and prevailed.
Time waits for no man
Wheel turns in the sky
Let us live while we can
Gotta take the time
The time it takes to live

I know you have a CD release party here locally “drive-in-theater” style at the Oxnard Performing Arts Center, but what else are you doing to get the word out during this unexpected pandemic?

Tommy: We were signed to Blue Heart Records from Pennsylvania earlier this year which has been amazing. They have been very helpful in getting the word out. Sallie Bengton is an absolutely, unbelievable life force. So grateful for this partnership.
We have also contracted the Blind Racoon Agency in Memphis as our PR firm for this release. They work with lots of amazing artists. Betsie Brown is truly an industry leader and we are honored that she has chosen to work with us this cycle.

Much like everyone else we are in the wait-and-see mode as far as what we will be able to do as far as live performances goes but I think it is too early to tell how the California music scene will fare post COVID.

You’re getting airplay/spins?

Tommy: The a fore mentioned Blind Raccoon agency has done a fantastic job getting the recording out to radio outlets who have been kind enough to play it. The Roots Music is the world’s largest independent radio airplay charting organization; they receive airplay charts from thousands of terrestrial & internet radio stations. They have a wide range of airplay charts from rock to blues, country to bluegrass, and as of this morning Hot Coffee & Pain is #9 on the Blues Chart. We post airplay on our Facebook page for those interested. The record has been played on every continent on earth already and it hasn’t even been released to the public yet! We are pretty stoked to say the least.

Hot Coffee and Pain is your best work hands down. How are the critics responding?

Tommy: Well so far, we have had some very positive reviews from a few blues music magazines and websites. Lots of very kind words; we are so grateful for each of them.
My thanks to Tommy for taking the time to answer these questions. You can find out more about the band at and via all the social media outlets.


I’m always looking for more music to share, new or old, and if you have something you’d like to have played on FM radio (and worldwide as we’re on the internet), just drop me at line at I like to thank Kelly Zirbes, Jay Allred and Chris Rowlands for always keeping me in mind and sending me their singles as they knock ‘em out; Kelly sent me Kelly’s Lot’s latest single, “Butterfly,” Allred sent “Nika” from Last Rock Empire and Rowland a homage for all the waitresses and bartenders around the world called “Barmaid” from Professional Americans. You can hear all these tunes and more on The Pam Baumgardner Music Hour which airs at 104.1 FM in Ventura. Each show runs for two weeks debuting on a Tuesday at 5 pm, with rebroadcasts on Friday at 5 and Sundays at noon.


The Ventura Music Festival continues to share a video weekly highlighting artist in a series they call VMF’s Music Connects digital festival. They are accepting submissions and all genres are accepted from classical, to pop to roots, to jazz and everything in between. The most recent video featured an amazing cover from Django Allstars and their brand of swing jazz. All previous videos are available for viewing as well and all absolutely free at

I’m not embarrassed to admit it at all, because I’m still a little giddy that Bernie Dresel took the time to post a Happy Birthday wish on my Facebook page last month. We had a quick back and forth about his gigs here in Ventura; I told him I was hoping he’d make it back when the Grape opens their jazz club. Bernie is most notable for performing and recording with the Brian Setzer Orchestra and Gordon Goodwin’s Big Phat Band (yes, the band playing Concerts in Your Car on September 24).

And finally, for the powers that be, music lovers here in town are looking forward to getting out and seeing our local artists play once again, albeit in a safe environment and hopefully while the weather is still great. Let’s get real, if an artist, duo or small ensemble while playing outdoors, with social distancing in place and where everyone who is not eating, drinking or singing on stage is wearing a mask, places everyone at no greater risk than if they weren’t playing at all. Music is healing; music can bring us up when we’ve all been down and stressed. And please don’t ever forget that a vibrant music scene is one of the defining aspects of this town and surrounding areas. We’re nowhere near vibrant, our music scene is hanging on by a thread.

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