By Noe Gutierrez

The ocean meets the desert on Saturday March 21, 2015 at 9 p.m. at Schmidy’s Tavern when The Outriders out of Costa Mesa, CA gallivant into the Coachella Valley for the first time to double up with Joshua Tree natives Gene Jr. & The Family for a night of world-class music. Long time Orange County regulars The Outriders are Alex Vo on guitar & vocals, Katie Jo Watson on guitar & vocals, Lewis Richards on bass, Anthony Kochis on drums, Lacey Johnson on keys & vocals & Adrian Olmos on sax. This night is so momentous that Coachella Valley Weekly, Jimi Fitz Music, Perpetual Productions & Promotions, Ronnie King Music & Imagine Imagery have teamed up to produce a show the desert won’t soon forget. Entry fee is $5.

Anchoring The Outriders on bass is ​the cat’s meow of producers Lewis Richards. Richards has worked with a diversified list of artists such as Sting, Mary J. Blige, Sublime, Micah Brown, The Dirty Heads, Slightly Stoopid and Seedless. Richards is part owner of 17th Street Recording Studio, established in 2001, & their label 17th Street Records, which won the 2012-2013 Orange County Music Award for “Best Record Label”.

Joining The Outriders to perform at Schmidy’s is our own Jimi “Fitz” Fitzgerald. Fitz has close ties to the band and Richards. “Lewis co-produced and co-wrote, along with WJ Renee, my just completed album of original material at 17th Street,” stated Fitz.

Fitz recently began a new stint on radio station 103.9 “The Perfect Blend” as host of the morning show. Fitz expounds on Richards & The Outriders collaborations. “Lewis played bass on all songs and also contributed guitar and piano. Anthony played drums on all the songs and Alex contributed his talents on guitar and piano. Lewis is one of the most creative producer/writer/musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I’ve also had the pleasure of guesting with The Outriders several months ago at The Wayfarer in Orange County and had a blast. I look forward to jamming with them again at The Gardens on El Paseo and again later that night at Schmidy’s. I will be debuting a couple of my new tunes. It will be a fun night.”

​The Outriders will be performing earlier in the day at The Gardens on El Paseo from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. to benefit the Fuller Center for Housing, an international, Christian nonprofit organization that builds and renovates houses in partnership with families in need. Homeowners work hand-in-hand with volunteers to build or renovate their homes, which they then pay for on terms they can afford, with no interest charged or profit made.

The Outriders have a tradition of including the audience during performances. Watson shares their concept, “During our shows we like to do a big group ‘cheers’ so everyone’s involved and having fun. So instead of your average ‘cheers’ we yell “TEAM DRINK!” and get everyone on board and having a good time. It’s a saying we’ve used among friends for years & once we applied it at a show it was too fun not to keep doing it!”

Gene Jr. & The Family

I met Gene Evaro, Jr. back in early 2013 when I interviewed him and his sisters for a 21 Exits podcast. Since then Evaro Jr. has developed into a versatile artist who has created a purity in his music. Gene Jr. & The Family was formed in 2008. The band is Evaro on vocals, guitar and keyboards. Tyler Saraca is the “Drummer Man” Piper Robison is the “Groove Mama” on bass guitar & Mitchell Arganda on percussion.

Their song “Hustlin’” won them the opportunity to perform on the outdoor stage at NAMM 2015 after winning the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. The song features everything that makes GE & The Fam attractive to all music lovers. I was in the crowd with a few Evaro family members & Mikey Reyes. Their set was fun, folky & funky.

Aiming for an early summer 2015 release date, Gene Jr & The Family began recording their new album, Worlds Inside Us at Unit A Recording & Art.

This is the first full-length album with Saraca & Robison. “We feel ready. We’ve really had time to dial in the versions we want to record. Songs like “Life Is A Journey,” “Slippin’ Away,” “With Love” and the title track,” Evaro shared.

​Dates are currently being confirmed for their pre-release promotional Spring 2015 Tour that includes stops in Nashville, Austin, New Orleans & Denver. Their performance at Schmidy’s follows a headlining show at The Belly Up Tavern in San Diego on Thursday March 19th. These So Cal shows may be some of the few opportunities to see Evaro Jr. & his one-of-a-kind concerts.

​Evaro Jr. plays his guitar in a unique manner. He plays a right-handed guitar left-handed with the guitar strings remaining as is. Gene explains his peculiar yet natural playing method, “In the house there were no left-handed guitars. I’m left-handed naturally. I just picked up the guitar and I sat it in my lap. It’s like learning anything else. I don’t know anything different. I strum down, which would be upstrokes. I see the guitar from the bottom up, which makes sense, like a piano, left to right.”

We hope to see you Saturday 3/21/15 at 9 p.m. at Schmidy’s Tavern for the 1-2 punch of The Outsiders with special guest jimi ‘FITZ’ plus the Desert’s Ronnie King and Gene Jr. & The Family.