Stephen Steinbrink is as good a case as any for avoiding college. The story goes that Phoenix high-school sophomore Steinbrink placed first in a regional academic-quiz competition and got a scholarship to Arizona State University as his prize. But when it came time to graduate (class of 2005), the awarding organization had gone under. Deciding against a grueling two-year slog through Phoenixs community-college system, he decided to try music instead, playing with a steady, infectious repertoire of mellow, nostalgic pop that echoed Neil Youngs Zuma album throughout Phoenix and beyond. Thus, French Quarter was born. Meditative, ornate guitar that gives basic three- to four-chord patterns the best name it has ever had. No tuition required.
Sun., Jan. 4, 8 p.m., 2009