Monterey on Tour: Sands of Time
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 31, 2023

Taking the famed Monterey Jazz Festival out on its official tour for a third successive road trip (2020-22 were dormant) is just the latest MJF honor for pianist Christian Sands, a two-time Grammy nominee and former child prodigy who started playing professionally at 10. MJF is celebrating its 65th year as one of the world’s […]

By Steven Libowitz   |   January 24, 2023

Community Arts Music Association of Santa Barbara, aka CAMA, is deservedly well-known and cherished for its commitment and ability to bring the finest classical musicians from around the world to Santa Barbara, a cultural coup of musical riches that would normally be beyond the means for such a small community.  It helps that it all […]


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Castro’s Convertible Approach to the Blues 
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 24, 2023

Over 30 years, 15 albums, and untold thousands of miles on the road, blues guitarist/singer-songwriter Tommy Castro has played everything from horn-fueled R&B to blues-tinged rock ‘n’ roll to Memphis-infused blue-eyed soul. But in 2021, with more time on his hands due to pandemic closures, he decided to step way outside of his comfort zone […]

Mariachi in His Veins
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 17, 2023

Born and raised in Bakersfield, Jimmy Cuéllar has never lived a day of his life in Mexico, but it’s safe to say that mariachi music is in his blood. Both of his parents migrated to the United States with their parents when they were kids, his father brought here in his pre-teens to work the […]

Sounds at SOhO
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 17, 2023

Two local singer-songwriters whose stars continue to rise are heading back to SOhO in an early-year best bet on January 12. Mendeleyev, whose folks named him after the Russian chemist best known for creating a version of the periodic table of elements, continues his own creative ways with a diverse catalog that ranges from fervent […]

Abundance After the Winter Dry Spell
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 10, 2023

The arts and entertainment scene in Santa Barbara stays particularly fallow in the current year-spanning four-week period, as none of the major producing organizations in town are staging events between mid-December and mid-January, save for the Santa Barbara Symphony’s annual New Year’s Eve concert. The Lobero is the first downtown to spring back into action, […]

The Growth of González
By Steven Libowitz   |   January 10, 2023

When COVID crushed live entertainment in March 2020 for more than a year, Gilberto González turned to working in the studio environment. González, a guitarist who was raised in Guadalajara, Mexico, but has spent just shy of a quarter-century in Ventura County, began recording regularly at Emmet Sargent’s Beagle Studios, making video recordings with a […]

  • Killer B’s: Broadway, Beatles, and Bond with Bob Bernhardt
    By Steven Libowitz   |   December 27, 2022

    Back in 2020, the Santa Barbara Symphony canceled its annual New Year’s Eve pop concert due to the pandemic in its pre-vaccine stage. But everyone got to return to the Granada last December 31 to hear the orchestra play movie themes, pop songs, celebratory symphonic favorites and, of course, join in on the sing-along of […]

    Creativity With Grace
    By Steven Libowitz   |   December 13, 2022

    In the last several years, Santa Barbara composer and artist Grace Fisher has accumulated a number of admirable accomplishments. She’s written music for symphonies and scores for short films, the latter claiming awards at film festivals. She also created a few animation shorts as well as several paintings, been a part of two locally-created documentaries, […]


    ‘Nights of Grief and Mystery’ 
    By Steven Libowitz   |   December 6, 2022

    This spellbinding evening combines stories and observations from Stephen Jenkinson that were sparked and inspired by his years of work in palliative care with original songs and sonics from Canadian recording artist Gregory Hoskins and band. Jenkinson is the Harvard master’s in theology and social work, educated internationally, acclaimed author, poet, and culture worker best […]

    Hips Hips Hooray! 
    By Steven Libowitz   |   December 6, 2022

    The Mother Hips, one of Chico State’s great gifts to the world of pop, are not only still going strong more than three decades since forming on the college campus, co-founders Tim Bluhm and Greg Loiacono have another new album about to be released. When We Disappear, due January 27, comes hot on the heels […]

    Great Guitarist: Pick ‘em
    By Steven Libowitz   |   December 6, 2022

    Two admirably accomplished acoustic guitar concerts are also arriving at SOhO this week, starting with Latin Grammy winner Diego Garcia of Twanguero fame, the Spanish songwriter famous for his impeccable fingerpicking style that earned him a moniker of a “fire-breathing guitar hero.” The December 4 show, which closes SBAcoustic’s fall season, will focus on his […]

    Merry Mariachi 
    By Steven Libowitz   |   December 6, 2022

    The Arlington Theatre, our town’s largest indoor venue, hosts Santa Barbara’s first-ever Mariachi holiday concert produced by a local organization, in this case UCSB Arts & Lectures. The incomparable José Hernández will lead Mariachi Sol de México in a festive musical tribute to Mexico’s Christmas traditions, offering holiday favorites in a December 7 performance that […]

    A Holiday Circus
    By Steven Libowitz   |   November 29, 2022

    Santa Barbara’s regular traditional holiday shows such as The Nutcracker and Christmas Revels will be arriving next month, along with sing-along Messiahs and holiday parties. But the highlight of the season just might be taking place even before the calendar flips to December as American Theatre Guild’s Broadway in Santa Barbara series presents A Magical […]