This pandemic has basically sucked in so many ways, but it's also brought many neighbors closer together. Instead of a brief wave as we go about our business, many of us have spent a lot more time at home, in our yards, and on our porches.
- Photo Courtesy Of Lee Ann Vermeulen-roberts
- SILVER LININGS Trapped at home by the pandemic, pianist and composer Lee Ann Vermeulen-Roberts started playing open air concerts for her neighbors, resulting in the improvised instrumental album Grand Piano Vibes vol. 1, being released on April 23.
"While in lockdown, I started doing a concert series for our neighbors in Morro Bay," pianist Lee Ann Vermeulen-Roberts wrote in an email. "This is one of the tracks from the upcoming album Grand Piano Vibes vol.1, 'Remembering.'"
It was a simple, lovely, slow melody—contemplative and just a tad melancholy. I immediately wrote back requesting to hear more of the album.
Full disclosure: Lee Ann is an advertising executive with New Times who's married to Rob Vermeulen, a musician and music producer who owns and operates Robbo Music. They're both friends—good enough friends to tell them to pound sand if I thought Lee Ann's music wasn't worthy. It is! If you're a fan of George Winston, you'll love these beautiful compositions.
Lee Ann's a songwriter, composer, pianist, and visual artist who began writing and performing as a young teenager, playing in different bands and ensembles, earning a music degree and graduating early to tour Europe.
Born in So Cal, she met Rob in The Netherlands, where she lived half her life and raised their children. There, she was commissioned for projects for radio and television in Europe and America, and "collaborated with dozens of producers and artists as a songwriter, choral conductor, vocal coach, and keyboardist," her bio explains. "She founded a music school for children and young people in The Netherlands that is still active, and was awarded a gold record for collaborating on the song 'First Love' by Avalon in 2000."
Grand Piano Vibes was literally birthed from the pandemic. Rob opened his recording studio doors and Lee Ann began playing, drawing neighbors out of their homes and yards to watch and listen. All told, she hosted more than 25 weekly Sunday morning concerts, recording original, improvised pieces, 11 of which are collected in her new album, available on all music platforms starting on Friday, April 23. You can buy the album on her Bandcamp page, leeannvermeulen-roberts.bandcamp.com.
"We've submitted the first single from Grand Piano Vibes to submithub.com, a site that provides different playlists that artists can submit their music to," Lee Ann noted. "I heard today that the single has been accepted to 10 playlists already, which is nice!"
Get 'em while they're hot!
Live stuff ...
Slowly but surely, things are looking up. Otter Productions Inc. and the Avila Beach Golf Resort announced Jon Pardi on Sunday, Sept. 12. The Fremont announced Dawes will play on Sunday, Nov. 21. Big shows on the horizon! In the meantime, here's some of what's happening this weekend.
Bear Mark Riot plays a benefit for Outside Now this Thursday, April 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at SLO Brew Rock. It's the last installment of the folk power duo's monthly nonprofit fundraising residency, and the recipient is a great one! Outside Now provides a program designed to expose youth to the great outdoors.
- Photo Courtesy Of The Vibe Setters
- LIVE AT SLO BREW ROCK New Times Music Awards winners Dante Marsh & The Vibe Setters play SLO Brew Rock on April 23.
Dante Marsh & The Vibe Setters play SLO Brew Rock this Friday, April 23, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. This soulful funk band brings the party! Fronted by the charismatic Dante Marsh, the band is tight and the vibe is fun.
Burning James of the Funky Flames has two of his side project shows coming up this weekend, starting with Saturday, April 24, when he appears as Burning, Bad & Cool at Cypher Winery (740 Pine St.) in Paso Robles, from 1 to 4 p.m.
"We are teaming up with the great staff at Cypher and the famous Miss Oddette, who will be serving up plates of chicken and waffles!" James said. "This one is open to the public and ought to be a great afternoon of food, wine, and music!
The Burning James Blues All-Stars will be at the Pour House (525 Pine St., Paso Robles) on Sunday, April 25, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Finally, husband-and-wife folk duo Bob and Wendy play Puffers of Pismo on Sunday, April 25, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., outside on the patio. Wendy's been writing some amazing new songs, and this will be your chance to hear them live.
Everett drops a new single ...
Easton Everett's new single "Around My Town" is a hopping alt-rock number that, as Everett says, "Looks at our wary society and what drives people's beliefs, and while we cannot control many things that impact our daily lives, we can connect and create solutions for the situations that locally surround us."
It's the first single off his upcoming album, Sun Dust, and it's got a swampy vibe that will make you want to get in your car and drive fast.
Easton reunited with old friend Phil Jones to produce "Around My Town," which was recorded at Desert Sky Recorders, Joshua Tree, and Robust Recording in LA.
Jones is a former Tom Petty and Roy Orbison session drummer on hits like "Free Fallin'" and "You Got It." He also plays a number of instruments on the track (drums, conga, tambourine, Hammond B3 organ, Telecaster guitar), which also includes Clive Wright (Gretsch guitars and tracking engineer) and backing vocalist Gia Ciambotti, who worked with Bruce Spingsteen.
Hear the new track on Everett's Soundcloud page.
Local pop punk superstars Hayley and The Crushers just released a new video for "Kiss Me So I Can," a song off their Vintage Millennial album on Eccentric Pop Records (available on CD via Rum Bar Records).
"The category is: romance novel realness! (Sorry, we've been watching nothing but RuPaul's Drag Race these days)," Hayley wrote. "Today, I present to you our new video for the song 'Kiss Me So I Can.' It's probably the most personal tuneDr. Cain and I have ever written together.We shot the video along the coast in our sleepy town of San Luis Obispo and attempted toshow a little slice of our everyday lives together. Well, our 'everyday lives' with a bit of bodice-ripperdrama thrown in. I felt very much like Rose from Titanic during some of these scenes shot by our pal Thomas Ignatius."
It's a hoot, and you get to see Dr. Cain sliding into some local waves.
"We're glad this song came out during hard times," Hayley added."We know that this kind of love song is needed now more than ever. COVID-19 presented a huge challenge for alot of couples, but it also allowed romance to blossom in the most unexpected places, in the absence of the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Wherever you are—atthe beach or in the city—whether you're single or married for years—we hope this song makes your heart beat a little faster."
Contact Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey at [email protected].