On Thursday, June 22, diners at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club swooned to the sounds of the 805 with the first-ever 805 Songwriter Round Up, featuring a band comprising Santa Barbara singer/songwriters Glen Phillips, Adam Topol, Sean Watkins, and John Irion. All known for their work with multi-member groups (Toad the Wet Sprocket, Jack Johnson’s band, Nickel Creek, and U.S. Elevator, respectively), the performers took turns sharing songs and stories in a sort of star-studded Santa Barbara supergroup.
Each brought to the stage his unique personality, their voices altogether distinctive. Irion’s wry lyrics and brightly yearning melodies played emotional middle ground to Phillips’s deeply philosophical poems of mourning and Watkins’s big-hearted, lovelorn, aw-shucks country songs, while Topol’s beachy kumbaya dually delved into subjects divine and dark. Of them, perhaps Phillips shone most of all as the artistic anchor in his craft and wisdom, but it was as much the musicians’ friendly interchange, and the varying emotive overture of their songs, that made the night so winning. Bookended with covers of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and The Beatles’ “Revolution,” there was plenty of common ground among the four singers that night. This area code is fortunate to have a sound as simultaneously thoughtful, heartfelt, and genuinely kind as was expressed in this roundup.