Cover Story

  • 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 […]

  • Beth Ross-Buckley: Classical. Contemporary. Camarada.

    The crowd is restive, more so than usual it seems for a concert at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla. It is, however, the usual attire for San Diego. Women are dressed up, with the men not as dressed up. I take in the post-Frank Lloyd Wrightesque architecture, the wood grained panels […]

  • The Fremonts Find Their Niche: One-Chord Swamp Grooves for the Masses

    When you hang with the Fremonts it becomes obvious almost immediately these guys operate on the same frequency. They’re connected like brothers, both on and off the stage. In conversation, they finish each other’s sentences and, even trippier, during live gigs they’ll occasionally trade off instruments. Over the past 20 years the lineup has changed […]

  • Laura Jane Willcock and Thomas Yearsley: Sweethearts on an E-Ticket Ride

    It’s 6:15 on a Tuesday morning. Past the desert valley the mountains rise up into their own isolation, stretching themselves awake as the first light begins to break. The clouds, roiling in, create a reflected image of the mountains projecting all the more brilliantly as they turn from a soft pink to a hot flowing […]

  • Mark C. Jackson Has a Story (or 3) to Tell

    “A little water on a cold day to wash your hands with is a good thing.” —Zebadiah Creed On a beautiful Halloween Saturday, my good friend Mark C. Jackson came to my home for lunch and a conversation. There would be a lot to talk about. Award-winning novelist, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, podcaster, raconteur, and bandmate, […]

  • What’s New, Chloe Lou?

    Do you ever feel like you’re in a dream from which you cannot awaken, uncertain whether you are the one having the dream or merely the one being dreamed of? You lose your sense of self; time and place have no meaning, and you become shrouded in the exhilaratingly dreadful feeling that you don’t really […]

  • Clinton Davis: Living Tradition

    In our recent past, we had what some refer to as a folk revival. Musicians were turning off their amplifiers and reaching for their acoustic guitars. Mandolins and fiddles crept their way from the woodworks of bluegrass festivals into rock venues and were muscling out guitar solos and synthesizers on radio airwaves. Instruments like the […]

  • John Murray: Heart of a Young Lion

    I first heard the young bass virtuoso John Murray five years ago, when he was just 11 years old after fielding a phone call from his mentor, trumpet-master Gilbert Castellanos, who made the seemingly outlandish claim that he was “the next Scott LaFaro” (the legendary bassist for Bill Evans, who died in a car accident […]