Guitarist John Jorgenson was a founding member of the Desert Rose Band,
the Hellecasters and a six-year member of Elton John's band. He played Django Reinhardt in the 2004 film Head in the
Clouds, and with his own quintet Jorgenson also wows on vocals and clarinet.
And he's just one of the amazing talents a former OC Weekling has lined up for you to see and hear this Thursday–for free!
Jim Washburn, the Weekly's original music editor, executive editor, damn-fine columnist, raconteur and gracious backyard party host, has teamed with Orange County's biggest backyard (the Great Park in Irvine) to present the first of hopefully lots and lots of “Jim Washburn's Guitar Picks.”
Besides Grammy and multiple Academy of Country Music award-winner Jorgenson
and his quintet playing Gypsy jazz-inspired music, the bill includes jump blues legend
Junior Watson and composer/guitarist Mark Turnbull–“all of whom I enjoy
the heck out of,” Washburn tells us.
As someone who sat next to Washburn for years in the original Weekly office that was about four feet from the current Weekly office, I can report that when he enjoys the heck out of something, you will, too. An entire wing of my vast CD collection is composed of multiple discs from artists who were unknown to me (and most of you) until I heard them spill out of Jim's office speakers for the first time.
Our host is a pretty hot guitarist himself–and he's literally written the book on the instrument. Washburn penned Martin Guitars: An Illustrated Celebration of America's Premier Guitarmaker with Richard Johnston and the blessing of the guitar company. The hardcover collectible version is currently going for $180 on Amazon. Uh, do they have it in paperback? Yes, they do.
I always wondered if a guy named Jim Martin wrote the book on Washburn Guitars.
After leaving the Weekly, Washburn discovered he had an Orange County rock 'n' roll hall of fame in his garage, which he parlayed into popular Fullerton Museum and Orange County Fair exhibits (with the help of more collectibles he found). And so, Jim Washburn's Guitar Picks features a display of rare and oddball guitars, more than one of which I'm guessing once rested in his rafters.
One of the funniest guys I know (and we all have read) vows to present “a between-acts, fact-free history of the guitar.” That should be worth the free admission in itself.
Oh, hell yeah, you're all free to come, you are all free to be any age, and you are all free to lug a park-conforming pet. There is a $10 per vehicle parking fee, so carpool, fer chrissakes. Show time is 7:45 p.m., and Washburn is nothing if not a stickler for punctuality.
The Orange County Great Park is off the 5 freeway at the Sand Canyon exit and east to Marine Way. Just look for the big open space where a giant Marine base used to be. For more information, visit www.ocgp.org.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.