Gina Villalobos

Gina Villalobos has never been one to tone down her vivaciousness, and the pending release of her new album certainly won’t give her any cause to start. The soon-to-drop Days On Their Side further explores Villalobos’s impassioned take on Americana music, and for those who have heard it already, the record is something to behold. And those good words are starting to play on the former Santa Barbaran’s mind a little.

“We’re starting to get the feedback, and now it’s making me nervous,” admits Villalobos. “I’m like, ‘Oh God, here we go.’ But fortunately everything is going really well so far. I am getting all of this positive feedback, but there’s also all these opportunities that I can’t take because of financial reasons or whatever. So it’s kind of a mixed reaction of being totally thrilled by what people are saying and then being a little anxious that you can’t jump at every opportunity that comes your way.”

By playing the role of booking agent, manager, and publicist for herself, Villalobos is truly championing the DIY business model, a mentality that’s also helped shape the new record. From crafting the songs to overseeing their recording to mixing and mastering, there is no questioning that Days On Their Side is all Villalobos.

“Each phase is no more important to me as the artist than the next,” she explained. “But it’s all so different, which is kind of a blessing. A lot of the creative process happens subconsciously: but once you have them and take them into the studio it becomes a little more analytical. There’s arranging and production and mixing. Now we’re sending it out and it gets released in July, so I’m in business mode. And now I’m starting to miss making music!”

Luckily, the longing to have a guitar back in her hand will soon be quelled. On Saturday, July 11, Villalobos will unveil Days On Their Side at the Mercury Lounge and, given her local heritage, the Goleta watering hole will undoubtedly make for a fitting backdrop.

Having moved to Santa Barbara after graduating high school, Villalobos attended every college in Santa Barbara, something she quickly affirms was more a reflection of her musical obsession than of any scholastic misgivings.

After avidly following the work of one Ricky Lee Jones, a visit from her equally musically obsessed brother was all it took to send Villalobos and her music out into the world. From there she teamed up with various S.B. collectives and released four sparkling solo albums, which solicited her a following in places as far off as the United Kingdom and Australia. But no matter where or how her music resonates, Villalobos feels that the unifying factor can be found in the very essence of her songs.

“My first project here in town was called Liquid Sunshine,” recalled Villalobos. “And that was an acoustic harmony trio kind of like Simon and Garfunkle or the Indigo Girls. We of course felt we didn’t sound like either of those, but of course we sounded like all of them! With The Mades I was till writing the songs, but the guitars were heavier, and then I went solo and it was a little more Americana. I added a pedal steel and at some point people started calling it alt-country, but I’ve always consider myself a folk-pop songwriter; if you take any of my projects and stripped them down you would have a folk song.”


Gina Villalobos plays the Mercury Lounge this Saturday, July 11 at 9 p.m. with openers Threadspinner. Call 967-0907 or visit


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