View Larger Map

U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local Sacramento Music Scene

See music videos at

Sacramento Headline Acts

Tesla - rock
Cake - alternative
Deftones - alternative
Papa Roach - alternative, rock
Oleander - alternative, rock
Frank Hannon - rock
Brent Bourgeois - pop, rock
Mumbo Gumbo worldbeat
Artists from Sacramento

Adrian Bourgeois * Attwater * Autumn Sky * Ava Lemert * Becca and Chuck * Bitter Elegance * Bret Bingham * Brodys * bygones * Bypassing Oblivion * Carla Fleming * Caron Vikre * David Eugene Ivey * David Houston * Debora Iyall * Deathray * Deer Park Avenue * Doug Cash * EightFourSeven * Elena Powell * Green Audio * Hannah Lingrell * Harley White Jr. Orchestra * Henry Robinette * Hybrid Theory * Jay King * Kally O'Mally * Ken Koenig * Kevin & Allyson Seconds * Kimberly Trip * Knockoffs * Legion of Decency * March Into Paris * Mick Martin & The Blues Rockers * Mind X * Nativestar * 99 Tales * Odayaka * Onlymen * Prototypz * Rachell * Ricky Berger * Road 88 * Russ Skarsten * Sister Crayon * Tangent Sunset * Tattooed Love Dogs * Will Haven * Zoo Human Project

Local Scene Venues

Ace of Spades * Blue Lamp * Capitol Garage * Fox and Goose * Harlow's * Luna's Cafe * Old Ironsides * Powerhouse Pub * Torch Club

Big Venues

see Sacramento Concert History and Sacramento Music Scene History

Cal Expo * Convention Center/Community Theater * Crest Theater * Sleep Train Amphitheater

History of the Sacramento Music Scene

The annual summer "Concerts In The Park" series at Chavez Park in front of City Hall was postponed in March 2020, as the coronavirus led to global shutdowns. Singer/songwriter Baegod would've performed at one of the shows. As businesses reopened throughout the state in June, new COVID-19 cases spiked. In July Governor Newsom ordered bars, theaters and many other public venues to close. The annual Fourth of July event at Cal Expo was cancelled, along with most other public events.

On March 1, 2018 The Rink Studios opened at 1031 Del Paso Boulevard, the site of the former Senator Rollerdome. The venue will be used for live and recorded events as a resource for local musicians. It's also a place where musicians can rent practice space. The facility includes state-of-the-art video technology for live streaming. The building, now owned by Greg Kennedy, was originally constructed as a roller rink in the 1920s and still has the same wooden floor.

Submerge magazine, founded by Jonathan Carabba and Melissa Dubs, celebrated its tenth anniversary at Holy Diver on Saturday, February 3, 2018. The publication presents interviews from the local arts scene. Musical acts who performed at the event included Destroy Boys, Horseneck and Screature.

James Gledhill compiled an album of El Dorado County musicians in 2016 to showcase local songwriters who have written songs about California Gold Rush history. The album is called "Songs of the Gold Country" and contains 14 tracks from local musicians. One of the songs is called "49 Wines," a tribute to the wineries on Highway 49.

Sacramento has had local artists challenging for label attention since the early days of the music industry. From the late 1930s through the early 1940s big band Dick Jurgens & His Orchestra had a dozen top ten national hits. His biggest hit made #3 on Billboard called "One Dozen Roses" in 1942. The band was signed by Vocalion then moved to Okeh and then Columbia. Jurgen was born in Sacramento, attended UC Berkeley and what is now Sac City College before moving to San Francisco in 1933 for a regular gig with his orchestra at the St. Francis Hotel.

In the 1960s Rose Maddox, who had been a radio star in Sacramento on KFBK in the 1940s, was signed to Columbia in the 50s and had several national country hits on Capitol in the 1960s, with three making the top 10. "Sing a Little Song of Heartache" was her biggest country hit, making the country top 3 in 1963. The song "California Rose" by Laura Cantrell is a tribute to Rose Maddox. Two years prior to her death, Rose's album $35 and a Dream was nominated for a Grammy in 1996. Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris both credit Maddox as an influence. The Sac country legend's life is documented in a book called Maddox Rose: The Life and Career of Rose Maddox by Jonny Whiteside.

Gary Yoder was a notable local artist during the 1960s. His band Oxford Circle released a single in 1966 on Mercury Records. His band Kak was signed to Epic Records and they put out a pschedelic self-titled masterpiece album in 1968 that included the song "Lemonaide Kid," which was played on KZAP in its early days. Yoder went on to join Blue Cheer, who had national hits in the late sixties and early seventies. New Breed was another local band who made it to the top of the scene in the sixties and appeared on the verge of getting national attention. The band featured Timothy B. Schmidt, who later joined Poco and then the Eagles.

An all female band called Fanny started in Sacramento in the sixties. They were formed by Jean and June Millington from the Phillipines. By 1969 they were discovered in Los Angeles by record producer Richard Perry, who helped get them signed to Reprise Records, in which they released three albums in the early seventies. Their 1973 album Mother's Pride was on Casablanca Records, produced by Todd Rundgren. The band had a few singles that made the national charts including "Wild Thing" in 1974 and "Butter Boy" in 1975.

The River City's music industry profile was accelerated in the 80s as the club scene expanded in popularity with places like Shire Road Pub, The Rock Factory, Galactica 2000 and Lord Beaverbrook's. Red Wing featuring Timothy B. Schmit was a local favorite in the 70s as was Ian Shelter, who stayed together through the early 80s. Johnny Quest, Rutabega Boogie Band, City Kidd, The Features, Numonix and Attica experienced local success. Crayon, headed by Caron Vikre, had a big local radio hit on KXOA AM in 1980 called "Carry Me Back." KZAP and K108 released local compilation LPs. In the 80s Davis band Thin White Rope enjoyed more success in Europe than the United States.

In the late 80s KRXQ established the show "Local Licks" and in the early 90s KWOD launched "Sounds of Sac." Local promoters Jerry Perry and Brian McKenna put on a lot of shows in the 90s and beyond to help energize the scene. Jerry Perry's monthly Alive & Kicking publication was a great asset to the local scene from the mid 90s thru 2008. Skip's annual Stairway To Stardom competition has helped elevate many local artists. By the early 90s, following the national success of Tesla and a few others, several Sacramento artists had label deals including singer/songwriter Mark Curry, Agnes Stone featuring Bob Zoppi and the eclectic Papa's Culture. In the 90s regional artists Kai Klm, Mother Hips and Filibuster developed large followings.

From Sacramento to National Success

Notable artists from Sacramento include Tesla, Cake, Deftones, Papa Roach, Bourgeouis Tagg, Oleander, Club Nouveau, Cause and Effect and Steel Breeze. The first major artist to break out of Sacramento and have national success was country artist Rose Maddox in the 1940s and 1950s.

Lynn Anderson (1947-2015) was another country artist from the region. She grew up in Carmichael, where she won a singing competition then moved to Nashville. She scored a string of hits including the the top 5 pop smash "Rose Garden" in 1971. In the late 60s Sacramento band Spiral Staircase hit the top ten with "More Today Than Yesterday." Timothy B. Schmit also helped brighten Sactown on the music map when he joined The Eagles at the peak of their career in the late 70s.

80s Sac Artists: Steel Breeze, Bourgeois Tagg, Club Nouveau and Tesla

Stories of Sacramento artists getting signed became more common starting in the 80s as Steel Breeze and Bourgeois Tagg had national hits and Jay King's Club Nouveau became the first Sac artist to hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1986 with a cover of the Bill Wither's hit "Lean On Me."

Steel Breeze had the same mananger as The Features, who had a big selling album in town called Up Up Side Side in 1983. It featured two of the members who had recorded on Steel Breeze's hits, Waylin Carpenter and Vinnie Pantaleoni. The Features became Pride in Peril, named after singer Johnny Pride. They were featured in the Oliver Stone movie The Doors.

Then came the band formerly called City Kidd, who changed their name to Tesla and were signed to Geffen and sold millions of albums and did big concert tours. They still hold the record in the 2010s for most successful act to originate from California's Capital, selling over 14 million albums in the U.S.

Modern Rock Boom in the 90s

In the 1990s more major signings happened, with the most successful involving Cake, The Deftones, Oleander and Papa Roach. The decade opened with electronic band Cause and Effect scoring a few national hits. Then Cake rose from airplay on college radio and indie alternative station KWOD in the 90s, spawning the top 5 alternative hit "The Distance," which propelled their 1996 album Fashion Nugget to Platinum. Cake went on to sell millions more. A year later Oleander, after frequent airplay on KRXQ, were signed to Universal/Republic and gained national airplay for the alternative/rock hit "Why I'm Here."

Cake's Album Goes #1

In January 2011 Cake's album Showroom of Compassion debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200, though it set a record for least units sold to hit the top (44,000 units), reflecting a decade-long cycle of declining music industry sales. It was still a milestone for the music industry as Cake, formerly on Columbia Records, went indie and created their own label, Upbeat Records. It was also the first known album in history to be recorded at a solar-powered recording studio.

Deftones and Papa Roach Rock the Nation

Deftones and Papa Roach also sold millions of albums, both with an edgier rock sound than the artists who had sprung from the River City in the past. The first three albums of Deftones on Madonna's Maverick label went Platinum. The band continued to record for Warner Brothers after a car accident seriously injured bassist Chi Cheng. The band had been on tour with Slipknot, who released an instrumental called "A Song For Chi" to help raise proceeds for the family.

Papa Roach were signed to Dreamworks and their first album, Infest, went triple Platinum, fueled by the alternative/rock hit "Last Resort." Their follow-up went Gold then they moved to Geffen where they returned to Platinum with the album Getting Away With Murder which delivered the Gold single "Scars." After a few more albums the band went indie. A Sacramento band that toured with Papa Roach was Cleanse, who were signed to Atlantic Records.

Sacramento is Now the Home of Many Stars

Several notable musicians have moved to Sacramento as a quiet getaway from the Bay or Los Angeles. Debora Iyall of 80s new wave act Romeo Void moved from the Bay to Sacramento, where she has formed a new band in the 2000s. Sacramento has also been the birthplace of many musicians who joined national acts. Sacramentan Tim McCord, for example, became the bassist for Evanescence. Other local artists who became part of national acts included Night Ranger guitarist Jeff Watson and Starship guitarist Craig Chaquico. Local music can be heard on KDVS, KVMR and KRXQ. The local music scene is covered by The Sacramento Bee, Sac News & Review and

UC Davis Researchers Study Music and Dementia

UC Davis researchers at Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing are experimenting with music as a treatment for dementia at skilled nursing facilities, according to the Sacramento Business Journal in January 2016. The research is part of a three year study conducted by the California Association of Health Facilities. It's an effort to find out which songs help reduce the need for dementia medication.

© Playlist Research. All rights reserved.