Rachel Flowers is practically a household name in Ventura County. The gifted multi-instrumentalist, who is also blind, has been on the cover of this very paper, has had a legitimate documentary film, Hearing Is Believing, made about her, and has appeared at a host of events. Even at a young age, she’s certainly an inspiration as to what one can achieve. But what about the actual music? Good news is, Flowers is first and foremost a composer and musician — and a damn good one at that. Playing all the instruments on her debut release, Flowers’ tastes are clearly...Read More
Author: Chris Jay
Donna Lynn Caskey’s debut release in 2014 was a fairly straightforward effort. Simple arrangements and sparse accompaniment over a handful of banjo-driven songs. It showed an artist with definite promise, but overall it felt like someone who was still trying to find her sound and develop her writing. It is with her sophomore release that Caskey has really come into her own. The Love Still Shows displays a tremendous growth as a writer tackling a diverse number of subjects. There are uplifting near-anthems like “Break Free” and “Beauty Queen,” personal confessional songs like “Look at Me” and “The Book.”...Read More
From the name alone, there’s no mistaking what you’re getting when it comes to the Second Hand Blues Band — and that’s blues, blues and more blues. Led by the extremely talented longtime local blues guitarist and vocalist Ashford Gordon, SHBB knows what type of band it is. It tackles the blues and all sub-genres on its new 11-song release. Lyrically, the songwriting is your standard subject matter: broken hearts and lost love. The musicianship is incredibly solid. The rhythm section is tight with Walter Cheeseman on drums, John Lombardo on guitar and Jimmy Wilson on bass; and of...Read More
To the general public, Arlo Guthrie is best known for three things. No. 1, for being the singer and songwriter of the classic 1960s anthem “Alice’s Restaurant.” No. 2, for being the son of Woody Guthrie, the iconic folk musician, author and activist whose contributions to American music landed songs like “This Land Is Your Land” in the music books of elementary schools around the world. And third, for being, with his vowel-bookended first name, a popular crossword puzzle answer. And, go figure, the hint usually given is “Singer of ‘Alice’s Restaurant’ ” or “Woody Guthrie’s son.” If that’s...Read More
Peter, Paul and Mary are best known as being the most popular and commercially successful trio to emerge from the 1960s folk revival. While that’s true, it’s only one small part of the extraordinary lives and careers of Peter Yarrow, Noel Paul Stookey and Mary Travers. Mary Travers passed away in 2009, but Peter and Paul still perform a few shows every year together to celebrate the trio’s legacy — including a show this weekend in Thousand Oaks. With both men soon turning 80 years old, this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to see two American legends together at a...Read More
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