I tend to hear people talk in a lyrical way. I feel music coming from them as they talk to me, it’s a mood, a sensation, a feeling, a connection. Maybe that’s what Bob Marley was referencing when he evoked the Natural Mystic. I’ve always felt a comforting connection to music, much as Maya Angelou so beautifully put it in Gather Together in My Name, “Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.” It always has, in one way or another, been my companion on all the roads I’ve tread in my gypsy life.

I remember growing up in El Salvador and being introduced by my uncle to the music of the Beatles, Clapton, Los Guaraguao, Hendrix, The Police, Facundo Cabral and many other bands that had shaped his rebellious free spirit. My grandmother raised me and introduced me to the romantic sounds of Trio Los Panchos and the infectious beats of Celia Cruz. But it wasn’t until I heard Santana and Bob Marley that my connection to music went from introduction and interest to passion and insatiable desire to hear it, learn it, and play it.

I distinctly remember having the second verse to “No Woman No Cry” bring me to tears when my uncle asked me to close my eyes and imagine what Bob was describing. It was a pain of struggle, of lack of opportunities, of oppression, and a void of basic human decency. Maybe it was growing up in a civil war that kept those feelings raw. The same feelings I felt when I heard Santana hold that note for one whole minute on the solo of “Europa (Earth’s cry Heaven’s Smile)”… like you’re running out of breath and are struggling to get air in your lungs. The kind of shit that makes life worth living, you almost want to scream out for joy and hug whomever is next to you because it’s the closest you will be to peeking into what the universe has in store for you.

My adoptive dad blew open the doors to other areas of my musical mind which I didn’t even know existed. His knowledge of rock, classical, world, folk, and jazz was bar none the best I’d ever known… I remember him showing me the vinyl record of the Rolling Stones sticky fingers album which had the zipper on it. Instant coolest person ever! He and his friend Carl let me sit with them in the living room and let me listen to Dire Straits’ “Money For Nothing” when the album first dropped and explained why faggot was not a good word and I should never use it but Mark Knopfler was using poetic license in his lyrics. I didn’t give a shit, I thought I was part of the cool crew sitting in that living room hearing Sting harmonize and desperately wanting his MTV. The only thing missing was a beer and a robusto (I was too young to understand the importance of Port).

I was part of the rock band in high school (still feel pretty proud of that) and later formed a band in college with one of the most gifted musicians/drummers whom I am lucky enough to call my friend. All that time I just aspired to be at least a mediocre guitarist and songwriter. It was then that I began my search for venues which hosted live music acts. Back then, it was difficult to get much information on venues unless you called around or interrogated other musicians.

It’s that experience with and connection to music that inspired me to create this blog and share with all of you the beautiful notes the local bands are playing. Santa Barbara has an incredibly vibrant music scene full of creative musicians who are pouring their heart out there every week providing a little escape from the routine of the daily grind. This obviously isn’t anything new since the Santa Barbara area has been producing world class musicians throughout the years, but it can be difficult to know when specific bands are playing and where someone can go see them. I hope this site can provide all those who share the love for music with clear access to venues and bands for when the mind, body, and spirit need some live music to soothe the soul.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for visiting the site, I hope you find the information useful.

As the poet and musician who rocked out a one note solo likes to sing… Keep on rockin’ in the free world.

Raul Cano-Rogers