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U.S. Regional and Local Music Scenes
Local San Diego Music Scene

The history of the San Diego music scene has included Stone Temple Pilots, Eddie Vedder, Jewel, P.O.D., Brian Setzer, Unwritten Law, Tom Waits, Buck-O-Nine, Ratt, Iron Butterfly, Switchfoot, Beat Farmers, Rocket From the Crypt, Sprung Monkey, RuPaul, Leah Androne, The Monroes and Abra Moore. In the new century Jack Johnson and Jason Mraz emerged as national headline acts from San Diego. Several regional acts gained airplay with the help of radio programmer/music guru Michael Halloran, who programmed 91X in their heyday, as well as other stations around the San Diego dial.

One of the central supporters of the local music scene has been Cathryn Beeks, who runs a video music show online at She arrived in San Diego as a singer/songwriter in 1999 then launched Listen Local in 2003. She began hosting showcases 5 nights a week at various venues then co-founded Local Brews Local Grooves, which became a national series. She continues to produce branded events such as The Acoustic Alliance, The Game, Band Camp Music Festival, The Kid Show and Chick Camp.

Beeks hosted The Homegrown Hour on KPRI 102.1 from 2009 until 2015 and now hosts an online version called The Listen Local Radio Show, which is a weekly audio calendar playing songs by those performing the week ahead in San Diego. She also hosts camping/music events and offers affordable photo and video services for creative types. Additionally, she curates vintage and second hand clothing for musicians that she sells from her mobile boutique, a 1978 bread truck.

San Diego Music Acts

Alyssa Jacey * Amber Ojeda * As I Lay Dying * Aspects of Physics * Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash * Big Kra Q * Billy Sea * Black Heart Procession * Black Orion * Candye Kane * Carnifex * Chloe Jordache * Creedle * Curtis Peoples * Divided By Zero * Dynamite Walls * Eric Shelby * Evergreens * In Fear and Faith * Gayle Skidmore * Get Back Loretta * Jane Lui * Joe Tran * Jordan Reimer * Josh Damigo * Justin James * Kidd Brazy * Kompa Santos * Little Hurricane * Maren Parusel * Matches * Modlins * Molly Jenson * MzMistress * Paladins * Pistolita * Psychotic Waltz * Reeve Oliver * Ryan Ferguson * Safety Orange * Shambles * Slightly Stoopid * Steven Ybarra * Stick Figure * Through the Roots * Timz * Tribal Seeds * Yolanda Foxx * Yovee

San Diego Local Music Scene History

In July 2020 Pacific San Diego reported that a short film featuring San Diego artists called DIY Ethos was released by Snapshots Music and Arts Foundation. The film focuses on how local musicians have responded to the COVID-19 crisis. The short documentary was made by local filmmaker Jonathan Bewley. The foundation has been documenting the local scene for 15 years. The four musicians he interviewed for the film were Tasha Smith Godinez, Justin Pearson, Pall Jenkins and Heather Marie.

Loudspeaker, a radio show on 91X created by Marco Collins in 1988, celebrated its 30th anniversary in February 2018. Hosted by Tim Pyles, Lou Niles and Andrew Rowley, Pyles has been with the show for 20 years. Prior to 91X, Collins got his start at SDSU's KCR college station. Collins learned the local music scene by recording interviews of local musicians.

The 2017 San Diego Music Awards show was presented at The House of Blues, after years of being hosted at Humphrey's. Awards were given in 23 categories, in which winners included Andra Day, Switchfoot and Tribal Seeds, as reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune on March 21, 2017, the night of the ceremony. Rock band Switchfoot won Song of The Year with "Float," which has a unique 7/4 time signature. R&B singer Andra Day won Album of The Year with her debut release Cheers To The Fall. Touring reggae band Tribal Seeds won Artist of The Year.

Musician Mundell Lowe, who performed on TV theme music for Hawaii Five-O and Starsky and Hutch, died at the age of 92 on December 2, 2017 in his San Diego home. He performed with many well known music acts including Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman, Billie Holiday, Charlie Parker and The Everly Brothers. He had recorded with Ruth Brown, Barry Manilow, Johnny Ray and several others. Lowe had fractured his hip six weeks before his death. He moved to Los Angeles in 1965 as a composer/guitarist for News and Special Events department of NBC. He had been a staff musician for the network since 1950 in New York. He served as musical director of the Monterey Jazz Festival from 1981 to 1987. Lowe's last recording was his self-released 2015 album Poor Butterfly. His birthplace was Shady Grove, Mississippi on April 21, 1922. He recorded for RCA and various other labels.

Downtown San Diego attracts many tourists, so it offers a wide variety of music venues. The House of Blues is where to find national acts as well as various nightly entertainment. In the Gaslamp Quarter, The Shout House features two face to face grand pianos. The Casbah is a great intimate place to check out indie rock. The Belly Up provides a creative atmosphere for up and coming locat artists.

San Diego City Beat covers the local music scene and what's generally happening in the city in terms of dining and entertainment. The music section has featured local artists such as Dead Feather Moon, Dum Dum Girls and Frankie Rose. The magazine's staff puts together an annual list of top San Diego albums. In 2013 some of their top artists were Author & Punisher, Tropical Popsicle, Barbarian, Gloomsday and Odessa Kane.

The Indie SD is a helpful music blog that documents the San Diego independent music scene. The site offers reviews on local albums along with news and various features. The non-profit site also interviews bands. Some of the interviews have included Butchers of Sky Valley, Caught a Ghost, Viv and the Revival and The Frail. The site is excellent for sharing stories and networking with the local scene.

The 25th annual San Diego Music Awards is scheduled for October 5, 2016 at Humphrey's. The ceremony will include performances by Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Louis XIV, Big Mountain, Cody Lovaas and more. Deadlines for submissions is July 15th and voting will begin on August 17, 2016 after nominees are announced.

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