This is how we celebrate a birthday in Wonder Valley! Our friend Sunny Steven Downer put together this cooler than cosmic capricorn shindig last Saturday night January the 4th. The party was hosted at the Palms on Route 62 in Wonder Valley only 40 miles south of Route 66.
Jennifer, my beautiful bride, and I arrived a tad before starting time to get a good seat and Laura's special for the night... a fantastic feta, spinach, mozzarella and garlic quesadilla that was sublime.
Kelly Hake kept us in double shots of Jim Beam all evening so we were in a grooving mood by the time the music started. That's always true of the Palms by the way... groovin' and a double shot.
First up was local singer-songwriter Lauren Downer with Jimmy Fink on the Rickenbacker bass. Let me say my favourite songwriters tell stories with their songs and Jimmy's songs about his hometown Chico California and lost love were warm and engaging, his voice and guitar playing a joy to experience. See him around our desert music community when you can!
Next up on this winter evening was JJ Jones of the Needs. JJ is a great guitarist and writes some great songs. I was thinking just recently that I rarely hear protest songs anymore, JJ came through to address my jonsin' for the protest tune! Not only that but hell, teamed with Nicci Carrannante to do one of my favorite John Prine tunes "In Spite Of Ourselves". You can catch that further down.
Next up was the birthday boy's band Be Ja who got a cosmic groove going. Nothing is really more cosmic than a good George Harrison cover and Be Jah delivered the chill vibe. Performing with Be Jah were Jimi Fink, Jessica Berryhill, Loren Downer and Michael Perez.
There is not much better in my opinion than hanging with friends at the Palms but all good nights must come to an end and tonight ended for us with more great bands to follow. As I get older the limits of age keep me from finishing many a great lineup. I'm going to try again soon to see Victoria Williams, it's been too long. Happy Birthday Sunny Steven Downer, keep up the fight pal!
Wonder Valley, California