Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 8/25/21 – 9/7/21

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

Just when you think we’re out of the woods, the mask mandate is back; embrace it. While you and I may be vaccinated others are not. No need to get angry, no need to stress, just do what is right for the greater good and let’s put this pandemic behind us as soon as we can. And just another aside, no need to shame those who choose not to get vaccinated.  They already know they’re wrong. JUST KIDDING!!! Both sides can still contract Covid, and both sides can still spread it, but it’s been proven that the vaccinated are less at risk for being hospitalized.

While we’re on the subject, a quick shout out and kudos going out to venues/restaurants who boldly close due to Covid cases amongst some of their staff. It’s the responsible thing to do, and if they investigate and see where improvements can be made to secure a safer environment for both staff and customers, even better.

I have great news! In the former Oak and Main location (and before that Rookees), The Six Chow House is now open and plans on offering music Thursday through Sunday. According to their Instagram account (thesixventura), they’ll be specializing in farm to table cuisine and mixology cocktails. It’s gorgeous and I hope it proves to be another feather in the cap of Ventura’s music scene.

The Spencer Makenzie’s 12th Annual End of Summer Block Party runs august 27-29 this year at Surfer’s Point Live (Ventura Fairgrounds parking lot at the corner of Harbor Blvd and Figueroa). The main event is the Throw Down Cornhole Tournament all three days and it turns out this is the largest cash cornhole tournament in the world. To keep the party going, both Friday and Saturday will feature live music (see listings). To secure tickets and to find out more go to www.SurfersPointLive.com.

Hueneme Beach Festival is a free event with music over the weekend of August 28 and 29 featuring a number of heavy hitters including Fausto Cuevas y La Moderna (tours with Stevie Wonder), Ozomatli, and Think:X which features Scott Page (Pink Floyd, Supertramp), Stephen Perkins (Jane’s Addiction), Kenny Olson (Kidd Rock & Norwood Fisher (Fishboone).  See HuenemeBeachFestival.org for dates, times and parking information.

Congratulations to Gary & Karen on Four Brix 10-year anniversary. They’ll be celebrating over the weekend of September 3 starting with Inna Rude Mood on Friday evening, then Dean Delorenzo & Lisa Meegan Trio on Saturday afternoon with The Brix Brothers keeping the party going on Sunday at Noon.

Quick Notes: Tickets are now on sale for the Ojai Music Festival which runs September 16-19 this year; the Collection has schedule monthly concerts in their field with Yachtley Crew this month on Wednesday, August 25; Alan Parsons Live Project plays Libbey Bowl on Saturday, August 28; and the Ventura Harbor Comedy Club’s monthly “Bubbly, Brunch & Latin Jazz” series features Oscar Hernandez’s Alma Libre on Sunday, August 29.

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 8/11/21 – 8/24/21

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

With more and more people getting out for live music coupled with the unpredictability of the Coronavirus mutating, I would not think less of you for wearing a mask or two whether you’re vaccinated or not, indoors or out…just sayin’.

You might consider checking out Caffrodite Community Collective which has been holding a monthly dinner & music event on the third Friday of the month. This month the guest artist will be TD Lind, an Americana Blues musician and composer on August 20 from 5:30 to 8:30 pm. The price of admission is only $10 but does not include meals and/or drinks, the organic menu will be by Chef Christine. Caffrodite Community Collective is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which celebrates the art of community and community arts. Their mission and vision are a sustainable, supporting and welcoming space for the community to meet, create, and collaborate. All proceeds go to supporting the space and the mission. Caffrodite is located at 1987 E. Main Street in Ventura.

It’s very cool that Cadillac Zack has selected Ventura as one of four venues to host his shows weekly. For us here in Ventura County, shows are held at Cantara Cellars in Camarillo on Fridays (other venues include Malainey’s Grill in Long Beach, Maui Sugar Mill Saloon in Tarzana and either Matt Denny’s Alehouse in Arcadia or Der Wolf in Pasadena). As for Cantara, they do a great job with food catered in along with their wine selection held in their wine barrel “cellar” with decent acoustics. The prices aren’t bad either, front row at a table runs $50 but other tables are only $20/$25 per seat. Some shows have higher ticket prices, but still, you get incredible value for your money. Do not contact Cantera for tickets, Cadillac Zack does it all via text at (323) 377-5291. Still to come this month, The Atomic 44’s (formerly The 44’s) on August 13, Paule Cerra on August 20 and Lionel Young on August 27. For more information and more details on obtaining tickets go to CadillacZackPresents.com.

Quick Notes: Tickets are now on sale for the Ojai Music Festival which runs September 16-19 this year; Nardcore Tuesday nights continue at Rock & Roll Pizza in Camarillo with Stalag 13 & the Bonedrivers on August 17 and the Hell Toupees with the Deveros on August 24; Tuesdays Bluesdays continue at the Harbor with Jerry McWorter, Ed Berghoff and Shawn Jones at Copa Cubana; Will Breman from the Voice returns to Grapes and Hops on Saturday afternoon, August 14; Dr. Madd Vibe (Fishbone) & the Missing Links play Mrs. Olson’s on Saturday, August 14 and Rock & Roll Pizza in Simi Valley on Sunday, August 15; The English Beat plays Oxnard Performing Arts Center on Friday, August 13; and two amazing Harmonica players, RJ MIscho & TJ Norton, play Namba on Saturday, August 21.

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 7/28/21 – 8/10/21

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

You know the music scene is alive when large venue events sell out; such was the case for the Tequila and Tacos Music Festival over the weekend of July 24 & 25 with Vanilla Ice, Tag Team and Ozomatli performing. I will concede, the beverage of choice may have been the driving force behind the ticket sales, but the stage was rockin’ and that’s always a cool thing. Next up for Surfer’s Point Live (Fairgrounds’ parking lot), Scotty McCreery & Rodney Atkins on Friday, July 30, and then the Spencer Makenzie’s Throw Down Cornhole & Music Festival over the weekend of August 27-29 with Mandex, Dave Rea & the Acoustic DNA and three tribute bands covering the music of AC/DC, Journey & Guns & Roses. For more details and ticket information, go to SurfersPointLive.com.

I’m also happy to see the Ventura Theater lining up shows and the first one is one you should seriously think about seeing. Not only is Lukas Nelson son to Willie, but he collaborated with Bradley Cooper on A Star is Born, and his band IS the band in the movie. The band’s brand of Country Rock is a fun vibe and the talent is stellar, so you won’t want to miss Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real on Thursday, September 9.
More show at Ventura Theater:

The End of Summer Lockdown Tour – Friday, September 10
Mon Laferte – Wednesday September 22
Drakeo the Ruler – Friday October 1
Black Label Society: Doom Trooping over North America tour – Saturday, October 2
Yung Bleu – Tuesday, October 5
Pennywise w/ Dead Kennedys – Thursday, October 7
Pennywise w/ Strung Out – Friday, October 8 (sold out)
Elefante, Inspector – Friday, October 15
The Struts – Tuesday, November 2
GWAR – Tuesday, November 23
The Dead South – Tuesday, December 7
The Slackers – Friday, December 10

The Hueneme Beach Festival falls over the weekend of August 28 and 29, and I was looking over their impressive line-up of artists performing both days and was delighted to find out this one is also free to the public. Saturday features LAW, Fausto Cuevas y La Moderna, and Ozomatli, then on Sunday it’s Diggin Dirt, Arise Roots and Think:EXP. I love that the organizers put so much thought into their lineup, and so, just in case you didn’t know, a little bit about a few of the acts performing:

Fausto Cuevas is that caliber of musician that tours with Stevie Wonder’s band, most recently the 2014-2016 during the Key of Life world tour, though he’s performed previously with Stevie Wonder at the 2008 Democratic National Convention and at the 25th Anniversary of the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame at Madison Square Garden in 2009. The man is that good, and the grooves he lays down are immediately infectious so prepare to dance.

Ozomatli performed a few years ago during the Ventura Music Festival and more recently in July at the Tequila and Tacos Music Festival at Surfer’s Point Live. The six-piece band plays primarily Latin, hip hop and rock music and has quite the following, and again, prepare to dance.

Think:EXP is a supergroup with members Scott Page who has worked with Pink Floyd, Supertramp and Toto, Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction & Porno for Pyros, Kenny Olson of Kidd Rock and Norwood Fisher of Fishbone. The website, www.thinkesp.co describes the group, “Think:EXP strives to revolutionize the entertainment industry by bridging the gap between the human spirit and technological innovation with one-of-a-kind live, immersive concert experiences.” That certainly piques my interest!

Quick Notes: Tickets are now on sale for the Ojai Music Festival; The Garage on the east end of town took advantage of the pandemic downtime and now has a new look; Spencer the Gardener will return to Winchesters on Sunday, August 8 with their brand of fiesta party music; and Nardcore Tuesday nights continue at Rock & Roll Pizza in Camarillo with Bootleg Brigade and Last Point on August 3, and Sick Boy on August 10.

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 7/14/21 – 7/27/21

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

It’s easy to forget just how therapeutic live music can be. Music affects us, it affects our moods, and it can even change our outlook from grim to optimistic. If you’re stressed out, say for instance after having endured a world-wide pandemic and you could use some help easing back into being a social being again, then I highly recommend getting yourself out to enjoy live music. The genre is your choice of course, as it’s so subjective.

Big Bad Voodoo DaddyBut you can’t go wrong with Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. They’ll be performing on Saturday, July 17 at Libbey Bowl, along with Dr. T. & the Blues Criminals. Tickets start at $28. And speaking of the Bowl, other dates include Grateful Shred on July 16, Blue Oyster Cult on July 23, Little River Band on August 7 and Ambrosia, John Ford Coley, and Peter Beckett of Player on August 22.

Back in the day I use to enjoy the music events at Zoey’s that were billed as “music in the round” meaning a number of artists would share the stage and take turns showcasing their original tunes with the other artists backing them up. So, I can only imagine that will be the same case scenario when the Ojai Underground features “Women of Americana” on Friday, July 16th. The live performance/broadcast live stream will feature the talents of Pi Jacobs, Manda Mosher, Celia Chavez and Arielle Silver. I trust Silver will choose selections from A Thousand Tiny Torches, her most recent release. According to her website, the album is an Americana Highways favorite album of 2020 and has been recognized in the numerous prestigious songwriting contests including International Songwriting Competition (ISC), Great American Song Contest and Music City Song Star. All four of these women are prolific singer/songwriters who will share the back stories on their carefully chosen musical selections. Two more shows at the Ojai Underground this week include Kelly’s Lot on Saturday, July 17, and a special concert with Ojai’s own, Perla Batalla on Sunday, July 18. More information and ticket information can be found at OjaiArtsExchange.com/underground.

album artwork for FencesMedicine Hat was ready to roll out their most recent release, Fences, when the pandemic hit, so that was put on hold. But now Robert Ramirez and Michelle Votrian have decided to have a “better late than never” record release party on Sunday, July 18, at Winchesters. CDs will be available along with a limited-edition version of their record on translucent orange vinyl.

Tequila & Tacos Music Festival will be held over the weekend of July 24 and 25 at what is being called Surfer’s Point Live, which is better known as the Ventura County Fair parking lot, the same location where Concerts in your Car were held. The Saturday date will feature the rescheduled Vanilla Ice and Tag Team show, along with Adelaide. Sunday they’ll have a tribute to Selena & Latina artists.

Ventura Music Festival artworkDon’t forget the Ventura Music Festival limited edition this year is a 100% vaccinated event. You’ll need to upload “proof” of your vaccination when ordering tickets in order to provide as safe an event as possible for their 2021 program. July 23 is Aubrey Logan, July 24 is Time for Three and July 25 it’s Andrea Roberto. All three concerts will be held at the Pacifica High School’s Performing Arts Center. Go to VenturaMusicFestival.org for ticket information.

Quick Notes: Tuesday Blues Days are packing in the dancers at Copa Cubana in the Ventura Harbor, this month they feature Shawn Jones and other artists; Bobby Hart & Friends play Winchesters on Thursday, July 15; this month’s Dinner & Music show at Caffrodite will be the jazz duo of Tom Collins & Tom Etchart on Friday, July 16; in honor of Buena High’s reunion weekend, the Funnels and Johnny Knows No One will be jamming on Friday, July 16 at Vaquero y Mar; the Jackson Jones Trio plays Manhattan of Camarillo on Friday, July 16; there’s a free concert at Peninsula Park in the Channel Islands Harbor featuring Psychedelic Summer performing the music of the 60s & 70s on Saturday, July 17; Ray Jaurique solo release, Soul Remedy, drops July 17 with a CD release party at Cantara Cellars; and it’s a night of deep Samba Brazilian music at Namba on Saturday, July 17 with Francisco Leon.

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 6/30/21 – 7/13/21

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

I love a good night of live music, but every now and then you leave a venue with such a smile ingrained on your face that the muscles truly ache, but it feels so right. Such was the case when I caught one of Cadillac Zack Presents shows at Cantara Cellars this past week. This one featured Jimmy Vivino, band leader for the Conan O’Brien Show.

Jimmy Vivino

Jimmy Vivino
Photo Credit: Seth Brandes

I knew the music would be stellar, but I still was not prepared for what would unfold. For starters, you could tell Vivino was just as anxious for a great night of live music; this was his first live performance since the pandemic hit. When told by the sound man he needed one more minute before starting, Vivino quipped to the audience, I’ve waited 15 months to play, I guess I can wait one more minute. Vivino would continue to talk to us audience members

Fito de la Parra

Fito de la Parra
Photo credit: Seth Brandes

treating us like friends he hadn’t been able to hang out with for so long. The band was super tight with drummer Vince Fossett, bass player Rick Reed and uber talented Anders LaSource aka Sugarmill Slim on harp. And as much as I loved the blues classics they played, for me it was the classic rock tunes including “Are you Experience” by Hendrix and “Midnight Rambler” by the Stones that cemented that smile on my face. And while all that was fabulous including a killer guest performance by Debbie Davies, it was the unannounced appearance of Fito de la Parra, drummer for Canned Heat that made this night so extraordinarily cool. Imagine sitting there listening to killer renditions of “On the Road Again,” “Going up the Country” and “Let’s Work Together” with the original drummer of this iconic group when you realize, this man was not only at the Monterey Pop Festival, but he was at freakin’ Woodstock!! I’ll be smiling for quite some time.

Quick Notes: Peirano’s has been approved for a full liquor license; Made West Brewing is back up with live music on most Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays; Pato Banton & the Now Generation play Mrs. Olson’s on July 1; Sick Boy returns to the Sewer on July 2; Tuesdays night Nardcore Nights continue at Rock & Roll Pizza in Camarillo with Free Love Project and No Remorse on July 6, and iDecline with Devil’s Daughter on July 13; Ventura Jazz Orchestra w/ Donna Greene perform at Poinsettia Pavilion on July 9; Cadillac Zack presents Guitar Shorty at Cantara Cellars on July 9; Rachel Flowers with Hans Ottsen and Adam Clark will be at Namba on July 10; Oceanview Pavilion Performing Arts Theatre by the Beach tribute bands Smooth Sounds of Santana on July 10 ($2 cover); Tommy Marsh will be back in town for a couple of dates as Crooked Eye Tommy, first at Grapes & Hops on July 9 and then at Winchesters on July 11; Surfer’s Point Live just announced Scotty McCreery and Rodney Atkins for July 30, Sublime with Rome and Dirty Heads play October 9; and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real perform at the Ventura Theater on September 9.

Interview with Wyatt Hull of Hy Brasil

Pam Baumgardner: How did the pandemic affect you as an artist?

Wyatt Hull: The pandemic mostly changed the way I was making music at the time. I went from working songs out live in a studio with a band to recording in my kid’s nursery and emailing tracks back and forth to others.

So, you were productive during this time?

Wyatt: It was a roller coaster. At times I did absolutely nothing creatively, using the pandemic as an excuse, and then the pandemic and political unrest would inspire me at other times to write five songs in a week.

What’s your latest project.

Wyatt: There are a few. Tyrantula put out a pandemic single called “FUN,” Gypsy Death Star has an EP that is essentially ready for release, and I’m currently working on a new record with my Hy Brasil bandmate Nik Gonzalez for a project that we are yet to release the name of.

Who have you been working with on these projects?

Wyatt: Nik and I are currently working with producer Jonathan DeBaun on this new project. We record everything at our homes and email mixes back and forth until completion.

How about plans to market and get the word out?

Wyatt: At the moment we are choosing which management we want to go with for this new endeavor so that ball will be in their court we hope.

How is it you ended up providing songs for the Casamigos ad campaign (Casamigos is a tequila company co-founded by George Clooney)?

Wyatt: The director of the Casamigos video campaign asked me to write some music for the ads but they didn’t give me much time. This being said the songs were all written and recorded with local Ventura friends on the spot in one night live at the Captain’s Quarters Studio here in town.

What’s next for you?

Wyatt: Next for me is focusing on getting this new record completed and unleashed to the world as it showcases a new and heavier sound for Nik and I lyrically and musically. A lot of it reflects the insanity that was 2020 so the sooner we can release it the better.

You can find out more about Hyatt’s projects on Facebook.

Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media for music highlighting artists out of the 805 and artists who come to the 805 to play including the new music from Ray Jaurique, Scott Detweiler, Dylan Garica and Jason Brock. I think I’ll have to drop in a Canned Heat tune this next week as well.

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.

Post Pandemic Party Time

It’s with a happy heart I’m seeing more and more venues getting back up to speed, but you should know this, they can only do so with the community’s support. Do what you can to support their efforts.

VenturaRocks.com has always been free for venues inside the City of Ventura, and for the first eight or so years, we only covered the City of Ventura, but a few years back we opened the listings to venues outside the city but still inside the county for a small fee of only $10 a week (one day or seven). But then the pandemic hit and all music came to a screeching halt, we waived that final month’s invoice and idling sat by waiting for live music’s return.

Well it’s back and not just outdoor acoustic sets, but indoor full bands, and again we want to help out. Back in 2009 when VenturaRocks.com was initially launched, it was done so to help during another crisis when the economy took a dump. We wanted to inspire people to get out and support the venues offering what we love most, live music, and so we’re doing it again by waiving all fees to be posted on VenturaRocks.com through Labor Day 2021. So from Rock & Roll Pizza in Simi Valley to the Ojai Underground in Ojai, from Anna’s Cider in Santa Paula to Crown & Anchor in Thousand Oaks…if they have live music, we’ll post it for free through Labor Day.

We’d appreciate it if you could help spread the word, or give us a head’s up of where the live music is happening around the county.

Love & Support
Pam Baumgardner
Owner/Operator VenturaRocks.com
pam@venturarocks.com

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 6/16/21 – 6/29/21

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

artwork

I really thought I was clever lining up local artists for a short Q&A the past year because frankly, there was very little to write about regarding our music scene other than a lack of a music scene, but that got old fast. So, the Q&A’s were fun and interesting as I caught up with such local artists as Dan Grimm, Tommy Marsh, Will Breman, Natalie Gelman, Chulz Torrez, Guy Martin, Christine Law and so many more. We heard about how they had been holding up during the pandemic and what they had been up to and what new music they had been working on lately. (They’re all archived by the way on VenturaRocks.com) Well I had one lined up for this issue, but I got burned, and he missed the deadline, so lucky for me, we actually have a music scene starting to come back to life for me to write about now!

In my last column I mentioned how it looked like the days of Concerts in your Car were numbered and I was right, Nelly was the last show on Saturday, June 12. I was severely disappointed that Vanilla Ice with Tag Team #WhoopThereItIs was taken off their calendar, that is until I opened an email from CBF Productions and found they’ve been rescheduled to perform here in town after all. CBF Productions are the good folks who brought you Concerts in Your Car, California Beer Festival, Winter Wine Walk, and yes, the Tequila and Taco Music Festival where you can now see both Vanilla Ice and Tag Team #WhoopThereItIs over the weekend of July 24. Last year of course was cancelled due to the pandemic and previous years it was held at Plaza Park, but this year the festival will be held at Surfer’s Point at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. I’ll be honest, it will be good to walk on solid ground (as opposed to the park) after a tasting or two of tequila, and definitely after one of those fiery margaritas they have for sell. Saturday it’s the two hip-hop/rap artists, and then Sunday features tribute to Selena & Latina artists. Tickets on sale now at TequilaAndTacoMusicFestival.com.

Adam and Josh have been slowly but surely getting their new jazz club, the Grape, ready to open their doors to the general public, and the timing couldn’t be better as the county continues to reopen and allow businesses to get back to…business. I just spoke to Josh and he told me they’re looking at the second week in July. YES, FINALLY!! Now you may have seen a post on social media about a show at the Grape on July 8, but that will be a live-stream featuring Karl Hunter, Hans Ottsen, Guil Juliao and Adam Clark (Adam’s back in town for a mere week or so). Adam and Josh are working on dates for Mike Garson’s return, and I hear Doug Webb and Danny Carey are eager to play the new joint as soon as they can. The new jazz house will definitely be a feather in the cap of Ventura’s music scene, and I for one can barely wait to check it out.

Cadillac Zack has landed a new venue for his blues shows at Cantara Cellars in Camarillo. It’s recommended to get your tickets in advance so you don’t miss out when shows sell out. You can do so by calling or texting (323) 377-5291. Tickets range from $20 to $35 with all shows starting at 8 pm; doors open at 7. Currently the line-up includes Jimmy Vivino, bandleader for the Conan O’Brien show on Friday, June 25; Guitar Shorty, blues legend and Hendrix’s step-brother, on Friday, July 9; Laith Al-Saadi, brilliant guitarist and finalist on NBC’s The Voice on Friday, July 16; and Josh Smith, famed modern blues guitar genius on Friday, July 23. August dates include Chris Cain, the Atomic 44’s (formerly The 44’s), Paule Cerra and Lionel Young.

Quick Notes: Winchester’s is hosting “Burning Mask Ventura” on Sunday June 27 from 1 pm to 7 pm with live music from Two’s Company, the Bomb and Spencer the Gardener; there’s actual live music at Bombay’s on Saturday, June 26 starting at 5 pm with the Swizzlers, Vonettes and Fish Fry; catch Tuesday Blues Day evenings at Copa Cubana featuring Jerry McWorter, Ed Berghoff and Shawn Jones this month; Franck L. Goldwasser has a date at Namba on Saturday, June 19; and finally, are you’re missing a little Nardcore? Well Rock & Roll Pizza in Camarillo will be hosting Tuesday night Nardcore nights starting June 22 with Out of Trust and the Robot Uprising.

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 6/2/21 – 6/15/21

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

Ventura Rocks artwork

It’s good to see people out enjoying live music again.  We still need to follow the rules as we head towards summer and with any luck at all we’ll put this pandemic behind us once and for all. I’m happy to report that Margarita Villa and Boatyard Pub are ramping up their music calendars but the writing’s on the wall numbering the days for Concerts in your Car, though they recently added Vanilla Ice with Tag Team #WhoopThereItIs for Saturday, June 26, which could be their final show.

In this issue of the Breeze, I have a Part Two of a Two-Part Interview with local artist Natalie Gelman who is releasing Moth to the Fame this month. Natalie talked about her background, lessons learned to date and working in the studio in the last issue, this time we learn more about her new release Moth to Flame, her mentors, and oh yeah, that time she opened for Bon Jovi.

Pam Baumgarnder: Tell me about your mentors.

Natalie Gelman: I’m lucky that many of my mentors are also my friends. I’m always so inspired by writing with Charlie Midnight. We’ve been collaborators for over 10 years now. He is a lyrical genius and has made me a better songwriter.

I love being inspired by my singer/songwriter friends and we all kind of mentor each other. Nathan McEuen, who many people in Ventura know for his great work as an artist, is a dear friend of mine and has pushed me musically as we’ve toured and shared stages together. My friend Rebecca Loebe is another singer-songwriter who I’m often in contact with about some aspect of the business or something artistic. It’s important to have those relationships to help make sense of this often-strange journey in music and lift each other up when things are rough.

How long has Moth to the Flame been in the works?

Natalie: I started recording this one seven years ago. It’s crazy to think that it’s taken that long to get to release but everything in the music business takes longer than you think it will. I wanted to have certain people play on it and it took time to get them in the studio when they were home from tour. Then I decided I wanted to do a lot of the editing on it myself and I didn’t really know how to do that when I started so that took a while to learn. Lastly, I decided that I was done and exhausted from doing everything myself as a DIY musician and I was adamant that I needed a team to help release this music and give it the best shot of being heard. Through a series of events, research and hard work I built a small team around me that I’m proud of and hopefully they will help the songs have a small chance of cutting through and reaching more people.

Photo of Natalie Gelman
Photo credit: Mariana Schulze

Is there a theme at work on this one?

The main theme on this album is the same as in so much of my music, which is not to give up on yourself or your dreams no matter what. I’ve had my share of hardships growing up and in my adult life but hope and the pursuit towards my dreams always carries me through and pushes me onward.

That isn’t to say that I don’t get down and a lot of the songs on the album are written from a place when I was feeling sad about something and trying to make sense of it all and lift myself up. Music is so often my therapy and release, it’s a way to make sense of the world. Sometimes I get really lucky and the lessons I find in writing about it serve as reminders each time I play the song.

Tell me about your producer and the players on it.

Charlie Midnight and I produced it together. He’s incredible and I’ve already mentioned his songwriting but he’s also very well-known and respected as a producer. He’s produced albums for Joe Cocker, Hilary Duff, Whitney Houston and others.

CD artworkThe players on the album are all top notch. The backbone of the album is Curt Schneider on bass and Blair Sinta on drums. The two of them play for Sara Bareilles and Melissa Etheridge respectively as well as many others. Tim Young played guitar on the album and has backed up Beck and Fiona Apple who is one of my influences and is now the guitarist on James Cordon. Dave Palmer played keys and he’s also played for Fiona as well as Patty Griffin who is one of my absolute favorite singer-songwriters.

The guest artists on songs include Nathan McEuen who lent his wonderful banjo playing to “Heavy Heavy Heart,” the most recent single, and “Some People” from the full album. Jason Frazier, a Ventura treasure, played harmonica on “Won’t Matter Anymore,” a song that Bernie Grundman insisted in fitting on the vinyl in our mastering session. Fernando Apodaca who often played around Ventura with Todd Hannigan played his gorgeous and dreamy violin on a few songs on the album too.

What sort of plans are in the works to market it?

Things are a little strange now still because of Covid but I’m hoping to start touring with it in late summer and the fall. Right now, the focus is on sharing it out online. I’ve been collaborating with by husband, Brent Florence, on music videos for the album and I am dreaming up creative plans for the release so it’s still special even though it’s not a traditional album release.

You have Live from Quarantine available on your website; what’s the backstory on that?

Thanks for asking. That’s a free “live” album that I give away. I’ve been sharing a free live album every year on my birthday in July for the last 6 or 7 years. Past releases have come from Chicago, London, New York, Los Angeles and more. Because we were all in lockdown, recording the “live” album at home was the best I could do. Maybe if we’re still somewhat in lockdown on my birthday in a few months since venues haven’t really opened up again yet I’ll have a Live from Quarantine part 2.

I’ve always wanted to ask you about opening for Bon Jovi.  How did that come about?

That was so awesome, one of my favorite memories that I’m sure will last for years to come. Thanks for asking about it. The band actually runs a contest where they choose a different local or regional act in each city on their tour to open their arena show. I was selected for their Sacramento date and it was an incredible experience.

The whole team was really nice and as I finished my last song, I was relishing the moment and thinking; “what song do I need to write so I get a chance to do this again?” It was all just incredible to play my music for that many people and to meet Jon and his team.

I’m really looking forward to following your career and wishing you nothing but the best.  Do you have any closing thoughts you’d like to share?

Aww thank you! That means a lot to me. I really appreciate the time to chat with you and everything you do for the local music community. I think we’re so lucky here in Ventura to have so much amazing local talent and venues. I know everyone has been starved for live music this past year and believe me that all the artists want just as badly to come out and play for you too. So, when things open up, please do come see the shows and support your local music community.

I’ll definitely be out there with this new album and I’ve been writing lots of songs this past year during quarantine so it won’t be long before there’s even another one from me! If you want to order the album or pre-save the music visit my website nataliegelman.com to find the links. Thanks again for talking to me today!

To find out more about Natalie Gelman, visit her website NatalieGelman.com or follow her on social media, Facebook.com/NatalieGelmanMusic, Twitter.com/NatalieGelman and Instagram.com/NatalieGelman.

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.VenturaRock.com

Ventura Rocks in the Ventura Breeze 5/19/2021 – 6/1/2021

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

artwork

You know we’re heading back to normal when the Ventura Music Festival confirms live concerts. These will be 100%-vaccinated events for artists, crew, audience, staff and volunteers. The three-day line-up includes Aubrey Logan on July 23, Time for Three on the 24th and Italy’s Andrea Roberto on the 25th. Tickets and more information on the artists can be found at VenturaMusicFestival.org.

Quick Notes: RJ Mischo has a one-man show at Namba, Saturday, May 29; Cadillac Zack presents Kirk Fletcher on Monday, May 31 for a Memorial Day Blues Bash at Vaquero y Mar (call for tickets at 323-377-5291); McWorter, Berghoff & Jones are starting back up Tuesdays Blues Day at Copa Cubana; and tickets go on sale May 20 for the Gin Blossoms Concerts in Your Car date at the Ventura Fairgrounds for Saturday, June 19.

In this issue of the Breeze, I have Part One of a Two Part Interview with local artist Natalie Gelman who will soon be releasing Moth to the Flame this next month.

Pam Baumgardner: Congratulations on your new music! So many questions to ask, but first share the basics.

Natalie Gelman: Thanks! I’m really excited to be sharing this new music from Moth to the Flame and can’t wait for the full album to come out on June 18th. The singles are being really well received and it’s my best music yet which I know everyone says but this album has been seven years in the making and I worked very hard to bring together amazing people to make the music I heard in my head come to life.

Charlie Midnight and I produced it together. Charlie is a fantastic, Grammy-nominated songwriter and he and I wrote many of the songs on the album together as well. We recorded in Ojai at Carbonite Sound with Grammy-winning engineer Jason Mariani and featured musicians from Ojai and Los Angeles that have played for some of my favorite artists. The mastering on the CD and vinyl was done by Bernie Grundman; he’s mastered so many legendary records like Tapestry for Carole King and Thriller for Michael Jackson so it was a treat to work with him. This is my first full-length album and first release with an indie label so that’s really exciting.

Photo credit: Mariana Schulze

Before we circle back to Moth to the Flame, get us caught up on your music history to date.

Natalie: Most recently I’ve released a series of singles, a fun song called “2020” came out this past December. It’s a look back at the crazy year we all went through and there’s a fantastic music video out for it too. Before that, I shared “The Lights Upstairs,” which is a song I wrote for my mom. She passed from Alzheimer’s a few years ago and I wrote the song when she first started showing signs of the disease. It ended up giving me a lot of hope and grace to keep the message of the song close as she progressed and eventually passed from it. There’s an artful music video for that song that captures the lightness of the message. The last single I released looking back is “Sundance In Your Eyes” which is a love song I wrote after I met my husband while busking at the Sundance Film Festival.

Before those singles, my Streetlamp Musician EP came out. That music was produced by Mark Needham as well as Charlie Midnight who was my songwriter collaborator on many of the songs too. Those songs took me around the world on tour playing for lots of folks and those are still some of my favorites. Looking further back, my debut, self-titled EP Nataile Gelman came out a long time ago but I still get requests to play songs from it and love it for the role that it played in me starting to release music more officially. I had a bunch of bootleg studio EP’s before then that I released in college and somewhere those are still floating around waiting to embarrass me I’m sure.

I’m certain there’s been several lessons learned since your first recording session, but what sage advice would you pass along to artists looking to record for their first time?

Natalie: I think the best advice I have is to not rush and to be prepared. Studio time is expensive but you don’t want to push to get too much done and then end up without anything that’s truly great or even usable. It’s better to record one amazing song then 3 that are just okay. I would also suggest to record yourself a lot at home before you go into a studio; even just into your iPhone or Garageband… really whatever you can get your hands on. Then you can listen back to your song or your band and see if there are things you don’t love about it. That’s the time to work on it and change it, not when you’re already in the studio. Unless you have a rich uncle paying for it all and money is no object then do whatever you feel like.

How well prepared are you before you step into the studio? Do you just roll out the tunes, or is there collaborating with your musicians and/or working with a producer and changing things up?

CD artworkNatalie: It’s actually in the woodshedding and preparedness that you can be spontaneous and find some magic and happen upon something amazing. I had lived with some of the songs that I recorded for many years before recording them for this new album. So, there were hundreds of shows where I played them live and tried things out and I also rewrote parts of the lyric or arrangements. Then, I also was prepared with lyric and chord charts for all the musicians in the studio but found out that they would write their own too.

Each song was mostly tracked live with the core band; drums, bass, acoustic guitar, pianos/keys and me singing live over a series of 4 days. Before we would record each song, I would sing through the song with the band and we would talk about the vibe and try out some things. I sent them demos of the songs before the session so they were already familiar and they would listen and chart what the form was and make notes about what they wanted to do within the arrangement. It was amazing to see how even the guitar player playing acoustic could mimic the way I play and the kinda “singer-songwriter” percussive vibe of my strumming. They were just incredible musicians. Because of their talent and ability, it allowed for us to get the song down in 2-3 takes usually and then we would go back over it and try new things if one of us heard something.

Having it be mostly live really breathes a lot of life into the recording. We did some percussive overdubs and a half day of electric guitar overdubs too. We also overdubbed some instruments that I didn’t have on each song; banjo, cello, harmonica and violin and I also spent sessions with Jesse Siebenberg at his studio going over each song and adding a little more percussion, some guitar parts and harmonies.

There were a couple sessions of just vocal overdubs on some songs too. I noticed that I could approach my songs differently as a singer once they were built with the band. Often at my live shows it’s just me and a guitar, ukulele or piano and I have to communicate the full range of the song with just my voice and instrument. When I had the full band playing, they are dynamic as well and create the energy or mood with me. Then I can use my voice more to sit on top and share the intimacy of the stories in each song. Some songs were very different from how I approach them solo so that was very cool to unfold.

It’s all such collaboration. I have tons of ideas always but I like to bounce them off people and often what I’ve come up with is just a stepping-stone to an even better idea the musician has. If you bring creative people together sometimes the best thing you can do is just get out of their way and let them be creative.

Be sure to pick up the next issue of the Breeze for Part Two of my interview with Natalie Gelman when we find out more about Moth to the Flame, her mentors, free music on her website and that time she opened for Bon Jovi.

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 5/5/2021 – 5/18/2021

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

More venues are offering more live music as we transition gently back towards normalcy. I’m grateful to see strict Covid guidelines in place at the venues I’ve frequented the past couple of weeks. I’m hearing Winchesters will be offering live music on Thursdays (along with Fridays and Saturdays), the Raven Tavern in Oxnard now has live music on the weekends, Pierano’s has been ramping up their live music roster, and more and more artists are reaching out to me sharing their live music schedules which can be found at VenturaRocks.com. You can find the week’s listing on the Ventura Weekly Music Calendar link and the current day’s line up on the homepage.


In this issue of the Breeze, I have a Q&A with local artist Tom Buenger, He first landed on my radar performing as Tom & Milo around town a few years ago. Tom has been working on original music which always warms my heart. He has his debut release Suburban Gospel this month so I thought I’d reach out and get the community acquainted with Tom Buenger.

Pam: How long have you been playing live music in the 805?

Tom Buenger: I grew up in the 805 and have always been around music one way or another. But after I left the military and settled into Ventura County in 2014, I quickly met Milo Sledge. Milo and I played a few times a week at venues between Goleta, Oxnard, Ventura, and Camarillo. One New Year’s, (2017 I think), I picked up a gig, and Milo was unavailable. I asked Teresa Russell if she would play the gig with me, and we instantly hit it off. She and I then played at least weekly until 2020 or so.

Give me the background on your musical journey.

Tom: I grew up singing. My mom has the most beautiful voice, and I was raised with her constantly singing to me. Singing, melody…just a sort of melodic communication…is even more engrained into my brain than the English language. I did not pick up an instrument until I turned 21. While in the Air Force I went to this Blues Club (Blues Central) for my 21st, while I was stationed in Alaska. There was a man playing wonderful boogie woogie blues on the piano, and I eventually asked if he would teach me a thing or two. He taught me the Nashville system, and it was downhill from there. I obsessed over piano, locking myself in my apartment on my days off until I had the basic skill (and courage) to play at a local blues jam. I got up, played my one song, it was absolutely terrible, but I loved it. I was obsessive about it and practiced not to memorize, but to understand the language of it all.

Eventually I fell in love with the Hammond organ sound; I saved and bought a Hammond B3, and played in a classic rock band while I was at the Air Force Academy where I learned how to be a good band-member and musician. After a while, I got tired of lugging a 350-lb organ everywhere, and looked for the smallest instrument I could find…the harmonica. Similarly, to piano, I obsessed, keeping a few in my car, playing and practicing harmonica for hours while in traffic and on road trips.

Then a couple years ago, I turned my time and attention to the guitar, which has been the hardest instrument for me, by far. However, it’s opened up a whole new level of understanding and satisfaction, and it really opened the door to allowing me to (1) play extended solo gigs, and (2) write my own music.

What music most influenced you growing up?

All the great music my mom and dad listened to. We would go on camping trips, and the playlist had everything from Elton John to Earth Wind and Fire, to Clapton, and so on. In high school, I discovered jazz, which led me to the blues, which brought me to gospel (sort of backwards!). And I fell in love with the gospel sound. All that said, I spent many hours listening to Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, and funny enough, Bradley Nowell from Sublime. I tried hard to emulate their voices as a kid before finding my own.

How is it you landed back in the 805?

Tom: After leaving the military, I wanted to come back to where I grew up, which is Oxnard and Ventura. It’s a pretty magical place.

Where are a few of your favorite places to play?

Tom: I cut my teeth locally, at The Waterside Restaurant in the Channel Islands Harbor. However, some venues that have been particularly good to me (while playing with Milo and Teresa) are The Red Piano in Santa Barbara, Captain Fatty’s in Goleta, and Madwest now and again. These days, I split my time playing between Oxnard/Ventura with Milo or Teresa, and solo gigs around Seattle.

When did you first start writing original tunes?

Tom: I started writing original tunes about a year ago. Until that time, I felt like I had always had some mental block, keeping me from writing original music. With COVID slowing the world down, coming through a tough personal time in life, and then finding new love, I learned that writing (for me) is all about head-space….open space, mentally, to allow my brain and body to communicate feelings I hadn’t quite understood before.

Suburban Gospel is your first release as a solo artist?

Tom: Suburban Gospel is my first release. I’m not typically one who is good at self-promotion or shouting about my successes, but I will say that I’d put the music on Suburban Gospel up against anyone’s; it’s a great album for which I’m incredibly proud. I also have another 15 songs just about complete for album number two.

What does the title suggest?

Tom: I grew up in the church, and I love the gospel sound. I’m also a middle-class white guy who loves the blues, soul…all of it. I thought Suburban Gospel sort of fit what I was going for. For some songs, I get a bit up onto my soapbox (or pulpit), while others are more songs of hope, and then others are love songs. I’m not sure what genre this album is…It’s certainly blues and gospel influenced, but I truly believe I’ve created something uniquely me. It breaks the mold of a “blues” album in too many ways to be considered blues.

What kind of plans do you have in motion to help get the word out?

Tom: I will probably hire some marketing or push toward a label. As of now, I’m hopeful the music will speak for itself, once it comes available May 14.

Where can people find out more?

Tom: Follow me on Instagram @tombuengermusic, or on my website www.thomasbmusic.com.

Closing words?

Tom: Suburban Gospel is available everywhere, beginning May 14. I have a bunch of collaborations in work, and I’m excited to share more music with the world!


Don’t forget to tune into the Pam Baumgardner Music Hour on KPPQ-LP out of CAPS Media at 104.1 FM here in Ventura where you can hear Tom Buenger’s single, “Butter my Bread” off of Suburban Gospel. My show airs Tuesdays at 5 pm with repeats on Fridays at 5 pm and Sundays at noon. You can also listen via the MyTuner app on your smart device or online at CapsMedia.org/radio.

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.