Ken Leighton 6 p.m., Oct. 18
Sound description: Acoustic neo-roomful-o-soul.
RIYL: Ryan Adams, Jason Mraz, Rhythm and the Method, Ray Lamontagne, Damien Rice, Jack Johnson, Dave Matthews, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, U2, the Beatles, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Radiohead
- Jam Session: "Jesse's Excellent Australian Adventure" · May 26, 2011
- Musician Interviews: "Jesse 'Harmonica' LaMonaca" · Dec. 29, 2010
- Blurt: "P.B.'s Summer Anthem" · May 26, 2010
Inception: San Diego, 2009
Influences: Otis Reading, Willie Nelson, U2, the Beatles, Ryan Adams, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, Radiohead, Band Of Horses
Singer-songwriter Jesse LaMonaca fronted the band Elroy wile living in NYC. His journey as a solo artist began in Philadelphia and has taken him to Sweden and now out to the sunny West Coast.
After LaMonaca’s 2007 arrival in Pacific Beach, he founded his Americana soul outfit, the Dime Novels. “I met the band, we got a San Diego Music Award nomination for Best Americana Album for our debut album, got some local love in the press and on the radio. I recently sat with Tim Pyles and played a few songs live on FM 94.9, all in just two and a half years. So glad I ended up here. San Diego has been so kind. I am very lucky.”
His debut solo EP Alive on Law St. was released in 2008. In late 2010, having settled in Pacific Beach, LaMonaca completed a self-booked tour of Australia. The trek was financed via donations through kickstarter.com. “You set the amount of money you need and choose how long to raise it. If you don’t raise that amount in time, you get none of the money, and people who pledge don’t get charged until the time is up. The money end is handled by Amazon.com…I needed about $2000 to cover the planes, trains, and automobiles, so I set a goal of $2200 to be raised in 30 days. By the end of the month, I had over 30 backers who pledged a total that reached that goal, and then some.”
To earn donations, which ranged from $10 to $375, LaMonaca offered incentives. “For ten dollars or more, I mailed a handwritten postcard from Australia. For $125 or more, I would sit down with them, have a chat, and play a few songs for you live via webcam.”
The tour included dates in Sydney, Fremantle, Margaret River, Perth, and Melbourne. His debut Aussie show was October 29 at Bar Me in Sydney. “The night was not only fun but also a success. I was supposed to play for 40 minutes, and they kept me going for one and a half hours… I sold some CDs and T-shirts. They even have a little VIP wall upstairs they asked me to sign.”
At the Sail and Anchor in Freementle, “The room was digging it big-time, so I didn’t stop for a break for two and a half hours. So much fun. Rowdy crowd that cheered and tipped.” He even met up with friends from San Diego, including former local open mic host Isaac Cheong. “It’s funny how small the world is. Here on the opposite side of the world, there was a woman in Margaret River the other night who had seen [my band] play back in San Diego.” His final Aussie date was November 15 at the Opera Bar in Sydney.
And non-musical endeavors while in the land down under? “I ate kangaroo. And I liked it.”
In late 2011, LaMonaca was featured on the Martin Guitars website as a string ambassador (he plays a Martin DCME acoustic guitar with Martin Lifespan SP strings).
- Alive on Law Street