Sunday, May 27, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 12

Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on July 12th, 2017, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 18, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 18, Issue 19

Local bands jam in the park at Solvang's Summer Concert Series


Most rock bands know how to fill a bar with some danceable music. Playing to that kind of space with amplification is easy, but what about filling an entire park with your sound? That’s the true measure of a band.

Whether performing under an oak tree or in a gazebo, bands have to be able to connect with an outdoor audience if they want book the Solvang Summer Concert Series. Put on every year by the Solvang Chamber of Commerce as part of Solvang Third Wednesdays, the series features local groups live at Solvang Park on Wednesdays and a few Fridays during the summer.

Burning James and the Funky Flames will perform their own style of funk music on July 19 for the Solvang Summer Concert Series at Solvang Park.

One such band is Burning James and the Funky Flames, which is set to perform on July 19. Lead singer and guitarist Burning James founded the band seven years ago, and the group boasts a serious roster of players.

“We have a horn section with a trumpet and a sax, a bass player, a keyboard player, me, and the drummer,” James said. “Right now the band is the best lineup we’ve had by far.”

The ability to rock a winery patio or a local park doesn’t just come down to numbers though, James explained.

“I’ve seen some three-piece bands that can really put out a lot of sound,” he said. “I think it really comes down to, well, besides your musical skills, but what kind of equipment you have to put it out. That’s really important.”

The group focuses solely on funk music, James said, and performs up and down the Central Coast at just about every venue there is. The group is a bit unusual for the area, he said, considering the horn section and dedication to funk music.

Artists like James Brown and Stevie Wonder dominate the set list, he said, and the group “strives to provide a unique sound.”

“We don’t do classic rock. There are a lot of classic rock bands,” he said, “and that music is great and all, but nobody is doing what we’re doing.”

Live outside
The Solvang Summer Concert Series is part of Solvang Third Wednesdays, and includes a free live concert on Wednesdays through Aug. 16, and Friday concerts on July 14, 28, and Aug. 11. The lineup includes Rock Cats Rock on July 14, Burning James and the Funky Flames on July 19, Cadillac Angles on July 26, Low Down Dudes on July 28, T-Bone Ramblers on Aug. 2, David Yarnell on Aug. 9, LiveWire on Aug. 11, and Cuesta Ridge on Aug. 16. Concerts are from 5 to 8 p.m. at Solvang Park, Mission Drive and First Street, Solvang. More info:

Most of those booked to play the Solvang Summer Concert Series are full bands. Groups like the Cadillac Angels and Cuesta Ridge are known for their own signature styles too.

For Burning James and his Funky Flames, delivering a syncopated beat with driving instrumentation is what it’s all about, whether it’s at a steamy nightclub or a bright and sunny day at Solvang Park. But performing outside is something James counts as a privilege.

“One of the great things about being on the Central Coast is the opportunities in the summertime from basically May to October,” he said. “There’s all the civic events, wineries, other special events that are going on like bike races or motorcycle rides and all kind of things where they want to have live music, which is great for musicians.”

Managing Editor Joe Payne has performed live music under a number of oak trees. Contact him at

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