Cover Story

  • CHRIS VITAS: The Man with the Golden Bow

    It is rare to cite any musician playing any instrument that can truly hold his own on stage performing in a multitude of musical genres. San Diego County native, violinist Chris Vitas, fits that bill. A professional since 1969, Vitas has graced every stage from the Old Globe Theater and the San Diego Chamber Orchestra […]

  • The Troubadour @ Twenty

    One measure of success must surely be the number and quality of people who appreciate you. By that metric, the Troubadour has reached a pinnacle in the San Diego music community. When I took the assignment to write about the first 20 years of the magazine, I quickly realized that more voices than mine were […]

  • Straight Outta Siberia: Charles Burton and the Road Less Traveled

    Charles Burton is by far one of the most versatile blues guitarists in Southern California. His talents reach well beyond the traditional 12 bars. From his earliest memories he was educated in the works of Bach and Beethoven, but it was the Beatles that struck a chord. With forays into Cajun, country, and roots rock, […]

  • Irving Flores: Maestro of the Piano

    I remember first hearing the piano phenomenon Irving Flores about ten years ago in a band led by trumpeter Gilbert Castellanos at his weekly jam session at the bustling (and profoundly loud) nightclub El Camino on India Street down by the airport. Flores comes at you like a freight train, both hands fully loaded and […]

  • MIKE STAX: Music Archaeology and the Science of Diggin’ It

    Records are like photographs in that they capture a moment in time, except with sound instead of light. You listen to music all the time, made by people who died, dissipated, or just dropped off the map decades ago, yet left those records behind as the torch of their legacy. For the Beatles, Stones, Kinks, […]

  • Never Stop Believing. Tim Flannery Is Unstoppable!

    In early March of 2020, Tim Flannery and his band, the Lunatic Fringe, were having a blast. They were in Northern California playing a gig and celebrating guitarist Jeff Berkley’s 50th birthday. Flannery recalled, “We knew about COVID-19 and thought no one would venture out, but those two nights were packed. On the second night, […]

  • APRIL WEST: Virtuosity and Versatility

    It was sometime in August on a warm summer evening. I remember that the clouds hung low over Point Loma, making for a brilliant sunset. A Saturday night, my girlfriend and I went out dancing, leaving her teenage daughters home with some videos and the chores to clean up after dinner. We made it to […]

  • Louis Valenzuela: Have You Ever Been to ElectricLOuieLand?

    The guitar is the instrument with which I have the most intimate understanding, having played for many years. At one point, I was practicing obsessively, sometimes for more than eight hours a day, and took lessons from Peter Sprague for about a year in the early 1980s. Like a lot of guitarists in the jazz […]

  • Sky Ladd: Cowboy Chords and Plebeian Poetry

    As I was meandering down Adams Avenue during a weekend of the Adams Avenue Street Fair, I found Sky Ladd. His A-frame Sky Blue Music stand stood tall on the sidewalk in the thick of one of the most loved and diverse music festivals in San Diego. I began piano lessons at Sky Blue Music […]