By Tricia Witkower
Gene Evaro Jr. has been all over. In support of his third full-length album, Like It’s 1965, he’s toured nationally this summer since its release in April. As his website bio states, “his formidable and dedicated following is rapidly expanding beyond So-Cal, fueled by national tours supporting Milky Chance, Elle King, and Blues Traveler and prominent festival appearances at High Sierra Music Festival, Lightning In A Bottle, Wanderlust Festival, Lucidity Festival, Hangtown Music Festival, Joshua Tree Music Festival, and Guitarfish Festival.” To the delight of his many Coachella Valley fans, he will be returning to where it all began – his hometown – on Friday, September 7. I spoke with Gene about playing at Pappy & Harriet’s in Joshua Tree, where he hails from, and he told me, “The vibe there is awesome. Some of the greatest artists and bands have played at this venue – Paul McCartney, Tycho, Artic Monkeys, to name a few. If you haven’t been, this show is the perfect chance to make it out to check out the venue. All good vibes!” Indeed, the vibe at Pappy & Harriet’s is like no other. This legendary Pioneertown bar has boasted talent of all sizes, from Robert Plant, Vampire Weekend, and Leon Russell to Sean Lennon. This indie rock favorite draws people in for the fantastic live music performances, delicious barbeque food, and the blissful feel of a high desert night.
This show, in the often magical high desert, couldn’t come at a better time. Gene was recently displaced from his home due to a flash flood, but it’s only served to inspire him and drive him creatively as he’s been uprooted from his home. As he tells it, “We had to move out of our home recently and now I’m living with my sister and Chris Unck (of High Lonesome Recording Studio). It’s worked out great so far, I love my family. If you looking to record your band hit us up, we got a nicer studio now!”
If you haven’t heard Evaro’s music, climb out from under the rock you’ve been dwelling and treat yourself. His music is at once mellow and upbeat, embodying the peaceful spirit of the high desert from whence he came, but with an energy and force of a desert windstorm. His soulful voice drips in your ears like sweet honey, spiked with cayenne. You don’t have to know his music to enjoy it, a cursory listen will make a fan of you. His sound transcends genre. From one song to the next, you will trip over notes of folk, R&B, soul, and electronic, all while keeping within the confines of the feeling that keeps his music uniquely his own.
Aside from inspiring his fans with a powerful performance in Pioneertown, Evaro has many other gigs in the pipeline. During the first weekend of November, he will perform at the City of Indio’s California BBQ State Championship & Festival at Big Rock Pub and Indian Springs Golf Club. This city-hosted event is part of a weekend event – Cars, Stars, & Rock ‘n Roll – that boasts a car show, live auction and live music at Big Rock Pub. It’s the City’s fourth year hosting this event and admission is free. See him perform there on Sunday, November 4 at 3:30 pm. Until then, aside from a performance at the Joshua Tree Music Festival on October 4, Evaro will be taking his show on the road. You can catch him around So Cal and out of state with this list of upcoming gigs:
Sep 14 Fri Ojai Deer Lodge, CA
Sep 15 Sat Crystal Bay, NV
Sep 29 Sat San Diego, CA Winston’s
Oct 4 Thu Joshua Tree, CA Joshua Tree Music Festival
Oct 13 Sat Nevada City, CA Crazy Horse
Oct 26 Fri Santa Barbara, CA SoHo Music Club
To purchase tickets to Gene Evaro Jr.’s outdoor show at Pappy & Harriet’s, click on this link: http://www.pappyandharriets.com/calendar/. Be on the lookout for his new live video, set to release this week.