Cover Story

  • 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 […]

  • 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, […]