The Tradesmen at Cold Spring

How One Band Goes Cold Spring Surfing with a Unique Blend of
Surf-Rock and Country

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, I like to consider myself a
friendly native. I’m happy to offer directions when a rental car
full of Italians shows up in my Westside neighborhood looking for
the beach, and happier still to show off the city’s hidden corners
to newcomers. That said, there are some corners I’d rather not
share with certain tourists, and a few Santa Barbara gems I get a
little territorial about preserving for those who truly respect and
appreciate them.

Spring Tavern
is one of those corners, and The
, one of those gems. cold%20spring.gif Yet in keeping with the welcoming,
all-inclusive attitude of the band and their loyal followers, I
feel compelled to share a good thing.

A few weeks ago, I rounded up a couple of friends to make the
Tradesmen trek — a drive over San Marcos Pass on a Saturday evening
to the rustic little 19th century log cabin bar tucked up against
the hillside of Cold Spring Canyon amongst the bay trees. tradesmen.jpg We hopped out of the truck to drink in
the evening’s crisp mountain air before heading into the bar to
meet Patty Tierney — bartendress extraordinaire and programmer of
the live music events held Friday through Sunday at the log cabin
bar, as well as the brain behind the Best Of Cold
Spring Tavern compilation CDs
that features favorites like
Ball and Kenny Sultan

The Tradesmen were already well into their first set, jamming
with a cover of the country classic, “I Never Go Around Mirrors.”
As Patty pulled me a Fat Tire, the band launched into one of their
signature neo-surf rock covers, “Apache,” complete with trippy
reverb and drawn-out riffs, courtesy of the band’s inimitable
Robbie Bird-Robinson on guitar. The five jack-of all-trades
musicians who make up the Tradesmen live up to their name — none
more so than Jerry Pike, who switches from guitar to pedal steel,
mandolin to crooning vocals without missing a beat. The next shift
back to country brought a couple of cowboys to their feet, looking
for dancing partners. Beneath the gaze of sun bleached cattle
skulls and lit by the glow of a string of tiny Christmas lights,
the dancers two-stepped across the cabin’s worn boards.

After a short beer break, the Tradesmen launched into their
second set. The night was chilly, inside it was warm, and the band
was back in full swing when a limousine pulled up outside and a
carload of well-heeled partiers tumbled inside, all party dresses,
designer t-shirts and fashionista cowboy hats. They ordered their
beer in bottles, crowded onto the dance floor and began to bop —
our cue for another blast of that fresh mountain air.

I was still sitting on a picnic table beneath the stars,
watching the band through the warped panes of the cabin’s window,
when the boppers tumbled out the door again. Their limo idled while
one young man finished his Marlboro Red, then flicked it into the
creek bed where it landed with a hiss in a pile of dry leaves.
cold%20spring%20bar.jpg In true snooty Santa Barbara spirit, I
found myself assuming they were from Los Angeles; surely Barbarians
wouldn’t be so barbaric. The limo pulled away and we returned to
the band in time to catch a few more classic country tunes as well
as the Tradesmen surf-rock original, “Southswell.” The band was too
intent on making music to be much fazed, and I was soon swept away
by the toe-tapping good tunes.

At the end of the set, Jerry gave me a free copy of their CD,
Safety First, and I was ready to forgive the night’s
unwelcome interruption. Everyone should get at least one chance to
appreciate the Tradesmen at Cold Spring Tavern. So come one, come
all, to the little cabin in the mountains. But if you blow it,
don’t come showing your face ’round those parts again, or Patty
might just flatten your Fat Tire.

411 For a list of upcoming performances at Cold Spring Tavern,
visit The
Tradesmen also play regularly at Old Town Tavern, Goleta and at the
El Capitan concert series. They plan to return to the recording
studio this January. To contact the band for bookings or CDs, call
John at 969-1886 or email


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