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Discussing San Diego's newly famous acoustic guitar crooner, Jason Mraz, Jason Turtle says, "When I was performing with Jane Lui, we had a few gigs with him and were beginning to try to collaborate. This was right before he got really big, so he was around more. He came over to write...we decided to smoke a bit to loosen things up and get the creative thinking flowing, but all it did was make me more paranoid. Between him and me, we kept trying out different melodies and chords -- 'How's this?' and 'What about this?' I couldn't think straight."


"I've had about 12 guitars since I first started playing. I've finally broken it down to 3. One is a Martin D-1 with an LR Baggs i-Beam pickup system in it. I think I was a drummer in a former life, so I like to play the guitar as if it were one. The LR Baggs picks up my banging on it really well. Another is a baby Taylor with a Fishman piezo pickup that I had installed. It's my practice guitar, but it definitely makes my hands lazy. When I play shows with the full size, they tend to cramp up by the third song or so. So I tell as many stories as I possibly can to let them get some rest. Of all the guitars, my Yamaha F310 is my favorite. Someone bought it at Costco for $99 and just gave it to me. It tunes great, plays great, and doesn't sound all that great, but because it's the same model as my absolute first guitar, I'll never be able to let go of it."


"De Anza College cafeteria stage in Cupertino. The stage is humongous. It makes me feel small and insignificant. Plus, it's rather inconspicuous, so when I play there, I feel the music more. I have to work to get people to listen. It's an honest gauge on how well I am doing. People that like it will stop and stay."


"There's a place in Los Angeles that I'd rather not name, but it's a stage for rock bands. I don't really know how I got that gig, but I think the booker that set it up thought I was part of a huge band, so they asked me to open for a couple others. The stage was six feet off the ground, and I had three or four monitors to myself. When the curtains opened, the few audience members scattered to the walls like roaches caught in the light."


1. Glen Phillips, Abulum. "He writes songs with imagery and simple melodies that I can never seem to forget."

2. Imogen Heap, Speak for Yourself. "Beautiful music and beautiful production. It never gets old."

3. Toad the Wet Sprocket, Coil. "My first favorite band. Same Glen Phillips songwriting, but with a '90s pop rock twist."

4. Pete Yorn, Music for the Morning After. "Simple and acoustic. I like it melancholy."

5. Marc Broussard, Carencro. "Although he won't be able to sing past 35 years, he's got such a cool-sounding voice. And his performance is unbeatable. It's music to dance to."


"Snohomish, Washington, 2005. We drove to the place from Seattle the night before to check it out. As we got closer, the streetlights became more and more scarce. It didn't look like much of a city. When we passed 'Tractor Crossing' signs, we knew it wasn't much of a town either. But it turned out to be the best gig. For not knowing anyone, they were the friendliest and the largest audience of the whole tour. People came from as far as 80 miles away for it."


Once again, I'd rather not name the place, but it was at a large Seattle-chain coffeeshop located in San Jose. The stage area and seating area were divided by a pathway to the register. So as people would enter the shop, they'd stand in line, ignoring the fact that there was something going on."

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