Santa Maria Sun / Music
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 25
Serving up swankThe Historic Santa Maria Inn offers live, local jazz, blues, and rock on the weekends
BY JOE PAYNE
Santa Maria has several selections for regular live entertainment whether it’s a DJ or a rock band. The Historic Santa Maria Inn has changed its outlook concerning its live music as of late, moving away from the DJ nightclub scene and aiming more for classic jazz, blues, and rock ensembles.
The shift comes along with a change in the culinary offerings at the Santa Maria Inn, according to general manager John Reinacher. The Tap Room now offers food as well as drinks. The live music in the Tap Room used to be DJs and dance bands, but the new lineup isn’t as amplified and overpowering, Reinacher explained.
“The atmosphere that we are trying to create is [a place where] people can enjoy a conversation while the music is happening,” said Reinacher, “It’s a small room so we can’t have a blasting band in there. It only seats about a hundred.”
The new live entertainment is designed to be more inclusive, Reinacher said, attracting not just the young dance club crowd, but a more mature audience as well, including patrons of the inn.
“When we planned that we definitely wanted to go in a new direction, we kept on coming back to jazz,” Reinacher said. “What I’d like to see is to really build on the theme that the hotel has. The hotel is 90 years old now, so we could do some music of the ’20s and ’30s, which is really having a comeback.”
The Tap Room entertainment includes several local ensembles that are more than comfortable with jazz repertoire as well as blues and classic rock. Set to perform every Friday night is Mezcal. Led by Carlos Rodriguez, a guitarist well versed in several genres of music, Mezcal serves up rock, blues, and Latin rock and jazz.
“He is up-and-coming and new to the area,” said Thomas Munoz, food and beverage manager for the Santa Maria Inn, “He has a fresh look on music. He is playing jazz, blues, and classic rock. He really plays to the crowd.”
Other ensembles take over the Saturday night spots in the Tap Room. The ensembles include Mofongo, The Sammy Labastida Jazz and Blues Band, Louie Ortega, and Lawless and Dean.
Mofongo takes the first Saturday of the month performing a full range of instrumental jazz. The group features drums, bass, keyboard, and saxophone performed wonderfully by four Cal Poly students and alumni.
“They are great,” Munoz said. “They all come in with their matching shirts and ties and are playing music from the ’20s to today.”
The Sammy Labastida Jazz and Blues Band is in charge every second Saturday of the month. The group features vocals by Christine Diaz, saxophone by Vance Socci, percussion by Mario Ponce Ularte, Sammy’s son Jason Labastida on bass, and of course Sammy Labastida jamming solos on keyboard and guitar.
“Our style of music seems to fit right in for this particular venue,” Sammy said. “Jazz is our specialty, from old standards revised to smooth jazz. In between we’ll play some soft rock, Latin jazz, and of course the blues.”
Louie Ortega takes the third Saturday of the month. With a reputation that goes back 30 years and includes a Grammy, Ortega is a talented singer-songwriter who is known for his Latin-influenced guitar styling and vocals.
“He has been in the area for so long and is so well known that he really brings in a crowd,” Munoz said. “He comes in with the fedora hat on and sunglasses, and the cool guy attitude, and people really like to see that.”
On the fourth Saturday of the month is Lawless and Dean featuring local musicians Terry Lawless and Michael Dean. The duo has years of performing experience between them, including tours with U2, Fleetwood Mac, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen, David Bowie, the Doobie Brothers, and Janet Jackson. Now they both enjoy jamming classic rock and the blues for Central Coast music lovers.
“For a number of years live music has taken a hit in Santa Maria and taken a back seat to other impersonal alternatives to live music,” Lawless said. “The Historic Santa Maria Inn has been an instrumental force in bringing back live music.”
Lawless plays keyboards and saxophone while Dean hops around on stringed instruments. Their wide range of funk, jazz, blues, classic rock, and more has seen the Tap Room overflow with music lovers.
“Different music brings different crowds, and we are seeing a really different crowd that we haven’t seen,” Munoz said. “Anyone from 21 to 71 years is in there enjoying themselves, enjoying the laid back environment.”
Good old program
Bedford Winery presents the “10th annual W.I.N.O. Radio Dinner Show: Wine, Sippin’, and Song,” which features the excitement and spontaneity of an old-fashioned, live radio broadcast. It’s Prairie Home Companion in wine country, featuring comedy skits, bluegrass music, puppetry, musings, wine, food, and prizes on Sept. 1 and 2 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., Bedford Winery Tasting Room and Courtyard, 448 Bell St., Los Alamos. Cost is $55, $45 for members. More info: 344-2107, email@example.com, or bedfordwinery.com.
Night comes alive
The 510 Event Center presents a live blues jam featuring local musicians led by Juan Marquez and Sangria Wednesdays from 7 to 10 p.m. DJ Orlando entertains Thursday nights starting at 10 p.m. (dress code enforced). DJ Orlando also spins for “Margarita Night” every Monday from 9 p.m. to midnight. Saturdays feature an open mic from 4 to 7 p.m. and Saturday nights are Latin night featuring live norteño and banda music. Call for times. The 510 Event Center is located at 510 S. Broadway, Santa Maria. More info: 928-5510, firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/510eventcenter, or 510eventcenter.com.
The Chumash Casino and Resort presents the group Los Tigres del Norte performing Aug. 30. Country music group Lonestar performs Sept. 6. The Chumash Casino Resort is located at 3400 E. Highway 246, Santa Ynez. More info: 1-800-CHUMASH or chumashcasino.com.
The Maverick Saloon offers live entertainment, including the country music of Sean Wiggins and Lone Goat on Aug. 31 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at 11:30 p.m. “Concert on the Deck” featuring Owen Johnston is Sept. 1 at 3 p.m. Sean Wiggens and Lone Goat performs again on Sept. 1 at 8:45 p.m., followed by “Late Night with guest DJs” at the saloon, 3687 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. More info: 686-4785 or email@example.com.
Contact Calendar Editor Joe Payne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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