Musicians

We thank Kevin Hellman, of San Diego CityBeat, for producing our terrific musical lineup year after year!

The Donna Larsen Band  Donna Larsen is a Billboard Award Winning songwriter, and Executive Producer for San Diego Indie Acoustic Original Artist Showcases. This songbird’s sensitive melodies, thought provoking lyrics and highly original “PopCoustic” music will fill your heart and resonate in your soul. She thrives on writing and performing music that is positive and spiritually alive, and joyfully shares it. Donna cherishes her experiences of performing in North America from Alaska to Oaxaca, Mexico, and in Europe from Prague to Budapest and Vienna. The richness of these varied cultures has contributed to her music becoming more insightful and spiritually centered.

This prolific songwriter is currently in Noisy Cricket Recording Studio producing the CD for “In My Own Backyard”, her original Children’s Picture Songbook. This beautifully illustrated Picture Sing-Along Songbook/CD Set offers up heartwarming and imaginative songs about all that is real and imagined in a child’s backyard. Characters come to life through her music, written to take you and any child into a wonderful fantasy world filled with faeries, dragons, unicorns and more!

Sam BybeeSam Bybee – Sam has spent the better part of 20 years as a singer/songwriter making music his priority, funding his dream with all kinds of jobs ranging from government contracting all the way to managing an upscale bakery. With 3 solo albums under his belt, another 2 along with his successful San Diego group, 22 Kings, and 5 successful tours Sam has made his passion his full time job.

Amanda Cogan is a singer/ songwriter based in San Diego. She has been playing in the San Diego music scene for the past 6 years; hosting open mic nights, booking venues around town and playing a multitude of venues including; House of Blues, Del Mar Fairground,Tin Roof, Tipsy Crow, Sycamore Den, etc. She is known for writing emotional songs from life experiences and delivering them with a rich soulful voice.

Barrie Dempsey  – Award winning singer/songwriter Barrie Dempsey plays more than just electric and acoustic guitar. His musical talents include, flute, harmonica, piano, lead and harmony vocals.  Currently Barrie has put together a collection of originals on his first CD titled “Barrie Dempsey”, which has been awarded Best Album Folk/Singer-Songwriter by The Akademia.  Produced by Track Star Studios in La Mesa, CA. He is also currently working on his next CD.  Also, in 2016 he was honored at the Los Angeles Music Honors selecting best of twenty five years of LA Music Awards.

Taryn Donath Duo – The Taryn Donath Duo is fresh, unique, and exciting. The Two play anything from 60’s  soul  jazz, funk/swing, latin, and their own term of beatnik blues taking the listener on a musical adventure. With an unwavering left hand,a right hand that weaves in and out effortlessly, and a beat as solid as a rock, the “D” has a sound larger than life.Each performance is different from the last, capturing the moods of the players. The two are not bound by rules, but instead have a desire to express their own musical voice and deliver something captivating.

Kenny Eng Kenny Eng is doing his own thing. He made this perfectly clear with the independent release of his debut  EP “Self Centered” in June of 2008.”Self Centered” wasnt an average collection of  starry-eyed troubadour songs. These self-penned songs are intelligent, challenging, and mature both musically and lyrically. The compelexity  of these songs made Kenny an immediate stand out in the singer/songwriter community. Kenny’s ability to move in and out of different genres of music and his budding virtuosity were only touched upon his first record. He spent the next 18 months honing his skills and reputation as a unique talented performer all over the west coast.In early 2010, he released “Live From Lestat’s”, a compiliation of two shows from Lestats,CA.

Simeon Flick is an independent heritage artist who writes, records, releases, and sometimes performs accessibly innovative alternative R&B progressive folk-rock music with an uncanny ear for maddeningly adhesive pop hooks. He has built a formidable reputation and a connoisseur following with his soulful voice, prodigiously versatile musicality, engaging live performances, and inspirational songs with poignant, poetic, erudite lyrics.

Nina FrancisSan Diego Music Awards 2017 ” Best Singer-Songwriter” Nominee Nina Francis is a versatile signer and an accomplished guitarist. Laced with undertones of pop, folk, and jazz, Nina’s music blends timeless songwriting craft with modern sensibilities to create a voice all on her own. She is indeed” An artist to watch” (Bart Mendoza, Beach & Bay Press). In May 2014 the “promising young singer-songwriter” (George Varga, San Diego Union Tribune) received her degree in Popular Music Performance from the University of Southern California. Upon graduating, Nina moved to her hometown, San Diego, and immediately began to ” gig like a maniac” (Paul Hormick, San Diego Troubadour). Nina has played 300+ shows since. San Diego has quickly acknowledged Nina for her immense talent, passion, and unwavering work ethic. In May 2016,  She landed a well-attended monthly residency at San Diego’s singer-songwriter venue Java Joe’s, home stage of Jason Mraz, Jewel, etc. In April 2016, Nina is currently recording her first full length album set to release in Spring/Summer 2017. Until then her self-titled debut EP is available now for your listening pleasure.

Marissa Grace – Having just performed at the House of Blues San Diego, Marissa Grace has been reviewed as ‘the one to take notice of now’. She and her band are the newest hot pop genre group to hit the San Diego music scene. Marissa Grace has been featured on KYXY radio’s Jeff and Jer Show, FOX 5, KUSI-TV’s Good Morning San Diego, and the San Diego READER recently published an interview with her, highlighting her ‘professional pace and work ethic’. This band has performed at many venues like Petco Park, San Diego Waterfront Park, Lafayette Hotel, San Diego County Fair, America On Main Street, Balboa Park, Belmont Park, ArtWalk SD, Oktoberfest in the Village, Simon’s Fashion Valley Mall, Westfield UTC, Del Mar Friday 4 o’clock races, and more. They were chosen to perform in the 2016 Coyote Music Festival, and most recently in the historic Balboa Theatre, honoring 26,000+ educators in the televised ‘Salute To Teachers’ gala. Marissa Grace is known for her ‘Radio Ready’ vocals, and accompanies herself with a signature Riptide Ukelele, her Taylor acoustic, and her fave Fender electric. The band is also led by multi-talented musician and award winning playwright, Charlie Jirkovsky. They bring life to any stage, and entertain with their own twist of pop covers (old and new) as well as original music.

Tom Griesgraber – Until you’ve seen it performed live, the music of Chapman Stick player Tom Griesgraber sounds too big to be real. There are acoustic guitar or piano-like moments, funk rock bass lines, ambient synth and soundscape textures, rock guitar leads, jazz solos and even small bits of percussion sometimes all happening simultaneously. To the uninitiated listener it sounds like an ensemble, but to those who have seem him live, it is the magic of a unique virtuoso. His music and skill on this unusual 12-string guitar/bass/synth hybrid mesmerizes audiences and music industry pros alike. Typically performing over 125 shows a year, Tom has toured throughout the United States and Europe with artists like Bert Lams, Agent 22, The California Guitar Trio, Jerry Marotta, and the Tony Levin Band and has performed several times for Grammy events. If the unusual sight of the Chapman Stick doesn’t draw you in, the music will.

 Robin Henkel – Blues guitarist and two time winner of “Best Blues CD” at the San Diego Music Awards, Robin Henkel performs slide guitar and country blues with an intensity rarely seen in Southern California. Drawing from the music and the styles of Robert Johnson, Fred McDowell and Elmore James, Robin has molded his own intense and entertaining personal style. Don’t miss this for anything!

Veronica May  Veronica May is a blend of music. She is a
guitarist, pianist, drummer,  and choral arranger who happens to have bipolar 1 disorder. Her Life’s mission is to bring hope to those who struggle in silence, and to give a voice to those who feel too vulnerable to tell their story. Oh and she’s a badass!

Bart Mendoza A native San Diegan, Bart Mendoza has been performing around the world since the early 1980’s, first with mod rockers Manual Scan, then into the 90’s with power pop favorites, The Shambles and later, with True Stories. He has penned or co-penned songs for numerous artists including Daniel Hall “Survive” (Germany) and the Kingpins “Plan of Action” (Canada). Currently performing with the combo Elements, Mendoza writes classic three minute pop songs, as heard on his new album, out this month – “Paris, Yesterday.”

Cardinal Moon Dawn Mitschele’s compelling voice grows into more expansive territory with her new project Cardinal Moon. The gifted singer-songwriter has joined forces with lyricist Alfred Howard and the accomplished musicians of The Redwoods Music label to amplify the intimacy of her solo work with picturesque tunes that range from bouncy blue eyed pop songs to immersive Southwestern ballads.

Howard sent Mitschele lyrics from the window seat of a greyhound bus moving through the western US, challenging her to bring the words to life with her inflective vocal style. The collaboration inspired both artists to create tactile compositions imbued with a sense of time, and place, invoking scenes of Americana wrought with emotion and reflection.Dawn Mitschele has released five solo albums, and her playfully seductive vocal performances have made her an in-demand featured vocalist among So Cal recording artists including Bushwalla, Lee Coulter and 9 Theory. Alfred Howard has lent his songwriting prowess to a number of projects, including several bands in collaboration with the collective of instrumentalists recording with The Redwoods Music label, which he cofounded with Matthew Molarius and Josh Rice in 2015.

Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact  It’s highly likely that every member of Rebecca Jade and the Cold Fact would bristle at the thought of being labeled a “supergroup”–but it’s fitting. Not because they perform in locally succesful bands like In Motion Collective, The Heavy Guilt, and the Stylestones but because this soul rock project showcases only the best parts of what they can do individually and combines them collectively under one musical roof. It’s quite an aural treat hearing some of San Diego’s most talented musicians going toe-to-toe on the band’s self-titled album. Keyboardists, Tim Felton’s hypnotic,gritty elctric piano line dances around Sean Martin’s reverb-drenched, fuzz guitar stabs while Jake Najor  lays down majorly tight pockets complete  with funky breaks, and frenetic high-hat work.

 

Sara Petite

Sara Petite  was born and raised in the countryside of Sumner,Washington, later relocating to San Diego. Her rural youth helped shaped her songwriting, which often incorporates accordian, pedal steel guitar, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, and accordion.Her song “Coming Home” won the “Best Song Award” in the Country/Americana category in the 2006 Portland Songwriting Contest. The song turned up on a French Country Music compilation CD (Universal Music of France) and on Petite’s 2007 album, The United States of Americana (Shut Eye Records).Her 2009 album features the Sugar Daddies and the Tiger Mountain Boys. In September of that year, she won Best Americana or Country Artist at the San Diego Music Awards.

Left Coast Quintent Left Coast Music was formed in 2014 with the goal of providing classy and fun musical entertainment for events in Southern California. Our ensemble brings together a unique group of professionals who enjoy playing a wide range of music styles, from classical, swing & rag-time, to holiday tunes, Broadway, music from movies and tv, and new wind quintet repertoire.

Christine Parker Raised in Southern California, Christine Parker began playing piano at the early age of 4 when her parents noticed her affinity for all things music. She fell in love with songwriting as a teenager after composing her first song on the guitar, and continued to write and play music as she pursued education and a career in psychology.

After realizing music and songwriting needed to become more center stage, Christine began playing venues while living in the midwest. Drawing on such musical influences as Colbie Caillat, Ingrid Michaelson, and Brandi Carlile, Christine won over crowds with her pure and soulful vocals and engaging lyrics. Her self-released debut EP, “The Journey Home,” was released in January 2012. Christine relocated back to Southern California in 2013 to focus on her music career, and the result was a full-length studio album, “Looking Glass,” arranged and produced by Marti Amado, released in October, 2013.

Parker kicked off 2016 with a 3-week tour from San Diego to Seattle performing at various venues and house concerts up the West Coast. She also spent 5 weeks in the UK creating a travel-based music video series entitled “The Chapel Sessions.” Teaming up with Breedlove Guitars and AEA Ribbon Microphones, Parker produced and filmed recording sessions in centuries old English churches using a single ribbon microphone and a GoPro. Later in the year, Parker ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund “Between You & Me,” her 3rd album release. Working with Austin-based producer Masen Larsen, the 5-song EP hit the airwaves on November 1st.

Derren Raser Derren Raser is an award-winning songwriter and performer based in San Diego, CA. Recognized often for his striking performances, intricate guitar work and unique songwriting ability, Raser has honed his craft on stages across the country. He was the recipient of the 2008 Hollywood Music Award for “Best Male Vocalist” and his songs have been recognized in numerous national and international songwriting competitions. Many of his songs have also been featured on television, radio, and in retail chains across the country. His dynamic live performances have also garnered him opportunities to share the stage with many well-known artists, including John Mayer, Hanson, Tyrone Wells, Ben Taylor, Sonya Kitchell, Greg Laswell, Escondido and many more. The forthcoming release of his new EP entitled “The Retelling,” marks a continuation of his focus on crafting thoughtful and accessible songs that resonate across genres and generations. His music has often been characterized as “timeless” and feels equally at home on an old dusty hi-fi or a sleek new smartphone. A unique and unmistakable talent, Raser will touch you deeply with his songs and keep you reaching for repeat time after time.

Lady Rogo  Lady Rogo (Sarah Rogo) is a vibrant performer, singer-songwriter and multi-talented instrumentalist. Guitar in hand, she is a force on stage who’s music is powerful and thought-provoking. She embraces classic styles such as country blues and folk while baring her soul through her enchanting melodies and honest lyrics. She draws from her passion for activism and as eastern philosophies like Buddhism to create music that makes a difference. Critics say “She’s tradition with a twist” and her music has been compared to artists like Bonnie Raitt, Eva Cassidy, and Robert Johnson. She recently completed her debut album ‘I Will Give’ which is available worldwide.

Tolan Shaw JOELSON_TOLANSHAW_6283_WEB-Tolan Shaw is a multi award-winning artist who has risen in the Southern California music scene as a pop/rock singer-songwriter who will stop at nothing to build a career with his original, travel inspired music.Upon the 2015 release of Shaw’s second album, “Chin Up,” Shaw began to see regular radio play in San Diego and on college campuses across the US, multiple song placements in TV shows, and his first major festival appearance at San Diego’s KAABOO Festival. “Chin Up” garnered “Best Pop Album” at the 2015 San Diego Music Awards.In late 2015, Shaw linked up with Taylor Guitars and GoPro, among other local brands, to create a travel/music video series called Wandersong- a project which would take him to 9 countries in Southeast Asia to write songs and release videos “following the inspiration of a traveling singer-songwriter.”

2016 is a year of brand new travel-based songs and content, new collaborations, and constant performing and writing for Shaw, with the hopes of inspiring a broader audience with his craft and giving back to his community.

Suzanne Shea Suzanne Shea has been enjoying a long and colorful road in music that just keeps going! Starting in San Diego coffeehouses like The Candy Company and The Heritage (where Tom Waits was bouncer/tickettaker/performer) Suzanne just kept moving forward in her pre-ordained life as a gigging singer-guitarist doing covers and originals in the folk, country, EZ listening vein. With an extensive repertoire, and her love of interacting with her audiences, Suzanne stayed booked full time for 20 yrs up and down California, Nevada, and Atlanta GA . Soon marriage and kids were a big part of her life but she managed to gig 4-14 times a month and has kept that going for the past 30 years. All total, Suzanne has been living her dream for 50 yrs and has no plans to stop anytime soon! She is grateful for all the places music takes her (USA, France, UK, The Netherlands) and the wonderful people she meets along the way. Her decision to stay mainly with songs of the 50s 60s 70s has been a good one; so many people love to hear those songs as much as she loves singing them!

Many Cepeda Orchestra Trio  Performer percussionist, composer, singer and arranger Manny Cepeda has been making music all of his life. His cousin Modesto Cepeda got Manny’s first drum at the age of 5 and by the age of 7 Manny was already performing professionally. Manny studied at the Puerto Rico’s “Escuela Libre de Música”, the Pablo Casals Conservatory and attended under a scholarship to “Interlochen Music Camp” in Traverse City, Michigan. He graduated from Illinois State University, Ellington University in New Orleans and La Verne University in Naples, Italy. Manny currently has his own Salsa band in San Diego, and he composes his own music and also arranges Latin Jazz music for prominent musicians in San Diego, New York and Puerto Rico. Manny’s most recent accolade was his 2014 Latin Grammy Nomination of his CD Roots/Raices, a dedication to his famous uncle “Rafael Cepeda” patriarch of the musical genres of Bomba y Plena. You will be able to purchase this Grammy Nominated CD at this year’s Art Walk Festival during his presentation.

Wayne RikeWayne Rikerr is a veteran guitarist who has played in all the musical trenches since 1967, profiled in his recently published memoirs, “50 Years, 50 Bands, 50 Bucks.” In addition to his career in rock, blues, jazz, country and Top 40, musical theater and show bands, he also presents solo guitar shows, including a one man production titled “The Beatles From Bach to Bebop,” a one hour instrumental symphony of Beatles titles from A to Z, which he will present at this year’s ArtWalk appearance. Since 2008, he has recorded nine CDs under his name, three solo and six full band discs with many top shelf local and national musicians. As a guitar educator and teacher, he has taught thousands of students in the San Diego area since moving here in 1980, as well as conducting guitar clinics around the U.S. with the National Guitar Workshop and Guitar Workshop Plus, plus writing instructional columns for Guitar Player, Premier and Acoustic Guitar Magazines and authoring nine blues guitar instructional books with Alfred Publishing, all worldwide best sellers.

The Trojan Rocksteady Boxsets The Trojan Rocksteady Boxsets play a mixture of traditional Ska and Rocksteady tunes in the groove of the late 1960’s Jamaica. The sound is upbeat, lightly textured, and has a dazzling array of harmony, melody, and rhythm. The Trojan Rocksteady Boxsets have a breezy island sound that has been entertaining on the coast of San Diego  since summer 2015. The group is comprised of strong local musicians. The ensemble consists of three regular band members and often include special guests, who add a wonderful festive feeling to the performances. The band showcases musical talent and love for these classic early ska/reggae tunes. If you listen carefully, you might also hear strains of jazz and big band era sounds.