Thursday, June 22 , 2017, 5:57 am | Fog/Mist 57º

 
 
 
 

Jeff Moehlis: America Brings Its Musical History to Chumash Casino Resort

America band members Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley perform Thursday at the Chumash Casino Resort.
America band members Dewey Bunnell and Gerry Beckley perform Thursday at the Chumash Casino Resort. (Gary Lambert / Noozhawk photo)

[Click here for a related Noozhawk photo gallery.]

After the band America performed their 1972 hit "Ventura Highway" at the Chumash Casino Resort last Thursday night, they noted that it was "a good part of the country to be singing that one." That it was, indeed!

The core of today's America is original members Dewey Bunnell (vocals and guitar) and Gerry Beckley (vocals, guitar and keyboard); the other original band member, Dan Peek, left the lineup in 1977 and passed away in 2011.

Interestingly, America formed in England while their fathers were there as Air Force personnel, although Bunnell noted that his father was also stationed for a time at Vandenberg. The band lineup at the Chumash Casino was rounded out by Rich Campbell (bass), Ryland Steen (drums) and Bill Worrell (guitar), who at times stole the show with his smokin' fretwork.

The band played a number of their other decades-old soft rockin' hits, including "Tin Man," their '80s comeback "You Can Do Magic," "Lonely People," "Sister Golden Hair," "I Need You" and, of course, "A Horse with No Name," which had Jeff Foskett from The Beach Boys joining in.

The band also showed their harder side with some lesser-known songs like "Green Monkey," which they claimed had Worrell playing note-for-note what Joe Walsh did when it was recorded back in 1973. Another was "Hollywood," which had behind-the-stage footage of the town and of the band receiving their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. After this song, Beckley joked, "That was dangerously close to jamming!"

They also played a couple of songs — Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock" and the Gin Blossoms' "Till I Hear It From You" — from their latest album, Back Pages, which they described as "a group of songs we wish we had written." Another cool cover was "California Dreamin" by The Mamas & The Papas, which they said they have been playing since they were teenagers in a high school band that preceded America.

Bunnell's voice still sounds pretty much like it did way back when. Beckley's voice has changed since the band's heyday, and took a little while to get used to, but the spirit of his songs is still there.

America is celebrating its 45th year, and it's clear that their songs from yesteryear still resonated with the Chumash crowd.

Setlist

Tin Man
You Can Do Magic
Don't Cross the River
Daisy Jane
Riverside
Three Roses
I Need You
Here
Ventura Highway
Woodstock (Joni Mitchell song)
Cornwall Blank
Hollywood
Till I Hear It From You (Gin Blossoms song)
Foolin'
The Border
Green Monkey
Woman Tonight
Only in Your Heart
California Dreamin' (The Mamas & The Papas song)
Lonely People
Sandman
Sister Golden Hair

Encore

A Horse with No Name

— Jeff Moehlis is a Noozhawk contributing writer and a professor of mechanical engineering at UC Santa Barbara. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his web site, music-illuminati.com. The opinions expressed are his own.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click here to get started >

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.



Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >