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Paul Mann: Carl Verheyen Band, Local Prodigies Wow the Crowd at Lobero

Veteran musicians and up-and-coming stars perform a benefit concert for Keep the Beat

The Carl Verheyen Band is from Los Angeles, but they seemed as relaxed and comfortable as any local band could be at their Friday night concert at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara.

Santa Barbara music fans sometimes forget how lucky they are to be exposed to so much live music. Between the treasure trove of accomplished musicians living in the city and the constant bombardment of touring bands taking a quick detour from their stop in Los Angeles, there is almost always a nonstop calendar of live shows in the city. Consequently, it becomes easy for local fans of live music to become complacent about their good fortune. But no one at the Lobero on Friday seemed complacent about witnessing the trio of veteran musicians blaze through an electrifying two-hour set.

But first, to the delight of many friends in the crowd, the audience was treated to a mini concert by three up-and-coming local music prodigies. The concert was actually a benefit for Keep the Beat, a program under the Santa Barbara Education Foundation. The program offers scholarships and support for music in local schools. Besides the Carl Verheyen Band, the program also has received support from hometown artists such as Jack Johnson, Glen Phillips and Jeff Bridges.

Santa Barbara Teen Star is one of the organizations that benefits and helps young local artists get discovered. This year’s finals saw a sellout crowd of 800 at Santa Barbara High School. Click here to view the event. Kenny Loggins, Jimmy Messina and J.R. Richards were the judges.

The first performer of the night was the winner of the competition, 14-year-old Bear Redell of Los Olivos. He played a pair of songs with an acoustic guitar and a crisp high voice. He was followed by 20-year-old Conor Patrick, who played a pair of original country-tinged songs, with insightful lyrics belying his young age. The final performer in the opening set was 18-year-old Haddon Cord. This promising young singer/songwriter played some impressive country pop tinged songs from her new album, which is being produced by Verheyen.

Friday night's performance by 18-year-old Haddon Cord, whose album is being produced by Verheyen, was reminiscent of an early concert by the now-famous Katy Perry.
Friday night’s performance by 18-year-old Haddon Cord, whose album is being produced by Verheyen, was reminiscent of an early concert by the now-famous Katy Perry. (L. Paul Mann photo)

Her performance was a bit reminiscent of one by another local teen girl at the Santa Barbara Courthouse Sunken Gardens several years ago. That Easter Sunday concert featured the young daughter of a local minister belting out gospel tunes with a big, billowing voice. It was hard to believe that this 17-year-old girl with straight blond hair and dressed in an Easter dress later became the impishly erotic Katy Perry that we all know and love today. Haddon’s sound seems to be taking a turn more toward Taylor Swift than Perry, but the results could be no less dramatic in a few years.

After a short break, the veteran trio of power rockers wandered onstage and launched into an electrifying set of of progressive rock sounds. The set included many of the songs on the group’s new DVD, The Road Divides, which features 12 live versions of songs from the extensive CVB collection.

Bassist Dave Marotta showed why he has been a go-to sessions player for so many famous artists, including his stint with the Phil Collins band, with masterful skills. Drummer Walfredo Reyes Jr. played jaw-dropping rhythms, including an amazing extended solo, showing what he learned as a veteran drummer for famous touring master musicians such as Santana and Stevie Winwood.

The two powerful players perfectly complemented the master himself, Verheyen. Considered to be one of the best guitarists of all time, the innovative axeman led the trio in a two-hour onslaught of rock guitar jams. Verheyen seemed to be having so much fun that it sometimes felt like a backyard family party. Frequently smiling and pointing at friends in the audience, he also seemed to have an emotional connection to the theme of the night — mentoring young musicians.

For the band’s encore, he actually brought Haddon back out to play a few songs for a shrieking crowd. It was an impressive night both for showcasing young new talent and a veteran power trio that can rock with the best of them.

— L. Paul Mann is a Noozhawk contributor. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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