Ken Leighton 8 p.m., Feb. 21
Off the Wagon
- Jam Session: "But can you two-step in flip-flops?" · June 1, 2011
Inception: San Diego, 2009
Ex-Band Members: Don Stephenson, Drums Matt Simpson, Bass guitar, Vocals Paul, Guitar (acoustic) Marty Schwartz, Fiddle Kevin Gary, Fiddle, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Mandolin Big John Elliott, Guitar (electric) Cory Wilkins, Guitar (electric) Tyler "T-Bone" Terrien, Guitar (acoustic), Vocals Frank Russell, Bass guitar Nick Steckel, Drums
Influences: Bob Wills, George Strait, Asleep at the Wheel, Merle Haggard, Ray Price
San Diego is a strange place to find country music. But, then again, California is a strange place in general. But maybe it shouldn’t surprise anyone that there’s real country music in the Golden State. After all, that’s where Merle, Buck, and Dwight came from. It may not have much in common with Nashville but, among California’s 33 million residents, there are plenty of broken hearts, and plenty of places to drown sorrows with a shot of whiskey and a song on a jukebox.
Hailing from Pacific Beach and El Cajon, Off the Wagon is inspired by vintage country rock. Should you ever find yourself down and out, with a broken heart, in some dingy bar, staring into an empty beer that begs for a refill, perhaps then you’ll find the remedy you’re looking for in Off the Wagon.
The band covers artists like George Strait, Garth Brooks, and Alan Jackson, as well as playing more recent hits by the Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington, and Joe Nichols.
In July 2011, the band began hosting a monthly show at the Pacific Beach Alehouse. “The insurgence into PB and OB is mainly because we all live close to the beach,” says singer/guitarist Ward James, “and all our friends do as well, so it's easier for us to bring crowds out to PB than Santee or Lakeside.”
The band teaches line dancing at the Alehouse as well. ”If you look at [country radio] KSON night at In Cahoots in Mission Valley, the bulk of the people there are from west of the 805, so there's a huge country fan-base near the beach.”
In 2012, three members left the band: singer/guitarist Tyler Terrien, bassist Frank Russell, and drummer Nick Steckel.