Front Porch

  • Thoughts from a Truck Stop

    From the Archives Back in the early days of the Troubadour, around 2001-2002, we had a writer whose columns I would always look forward to. His name was Les Brennan; his pen name, which he and Lyle Duplessie cooked up, was Jimmy Diesel White. The thing is, I’d have to call him multiple times to […]

  • Johnny Ciccolella: A Man of Art (1957-2018)

    On Friday, January 19, Johnny Ciccolella woke up for the last time. That morning he suffered a stroke that was catastrophic. Very suddenly, I was among a swelling group of family, friends, and acquaintances who were trying to absorb the news, still looking for hope that he would survive. I dared to think that I’d […]

  • Nathan Raney: A Beat Farmer’s Son Sows His Own Seeds

    I see nothing on the Horizon I see nothing from where I came I have nothing but the planks I lie on While my minds floating away —Nathan Raney, “Dead Sea” Nathan Raney’s new self-titled album opens with the notes of a lonely guitar, an acoustic steel string with plenty of live timbre and string […]

  • The Blue Guitar: A Local Mainstay Reborn Yet Again

    The Blue Guitar, which first opened in 1961 by Ed Douglas and Yuris Zeltins, will be closing its doors on February 14. In its long and illustrious history, the store gave birth to one of San Diego’s first bluegrass bands, the Scottsville Squirrel Barkers, which included Ed Douglas, Chris Hillman, Bernie Leadon, Larry Murray, and […]

  • It’s Old Home Week for A.J. Croce

    It was the nineties, back when the Gaslamp District was new, before it became the full-blown adult playground that it is now. Light, warm rain was falling, giving even the oldest of the Gaslamp’s Victorian structures a slick, clean look. The air was fresh and balmy, almost tropical. No one hurried to walk between the […]

  • Top Ten San Diego Jazz Concerts in 2017

    Jazz is an inherently “live” medium. Despite the plethora of wonderful recordings that document its evolution, nothing compares to seeing jazz musicians creating in the moment, right before your eyes and ears. That’s where the magic happens. This is my recollection of the finest concerts of the past year. As a caveat, I must admit […]

  • Joel Martin’s Pedal Steel Party

    It’s an early afternoon at Nate’s Garden Grill. The aroma of burgers and brats on the grill wafts over the outdoor tables, as the sun peeks through the latticed shade structure, dappling the benches and chairs. It’s Sunday, and some of the folks sit about in their church-going finest. On stage is a young singer. […]

  • On Tom Petty

    Tom Petty made me think of the “emancipated minor,” an underage teen legally separated from his parents, becoming free to engage in adult activities that would otherwise require parental permission. The teen becomes a legal adult, free to sign contracts, enroll in trade school, rent an apartment, and is solely responsible for the future that […]

  • Death and a Return to Wholeness: Joe Garrison’s “The Broken Jar”

    Few composers push so many musical moods onto their listeners—shifting from ecstatic to brooding on a dime—as much as San Diego’s Joe Garrison does. He interrupts his pieces with silence only to shock them awake with sonic surprise. His unconventionality is twin-engined: sound’s nature to vanish before us and music’s design to take us somewhere. […]

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