Caption: James Mastro | Photo: Dennis DiBrizzi

From sharing the spotlight with Patti Smith, Ian Hunter, and Garland Jeffreys to directing one of Robert Plant’s benefit concerts, Hoboken native and singer songwriter James Mastro is coming to Santa Barbara’s SOhO on July 11 with his debut solo album Dawn of a New Error. Mastro is the opener for Alejandro Escovedo. 

Before the age of 16, when he debuted at New York City’s CBGB music bar, Mastro, now 64, was dead set on the stagelight. In the artist’s words, “As an underage kid, I used to do whatever it took to see the bands I loved: wait in line for hours for tickets, or sneak into clubs and push my way to the front of the stage. Now, as an overaged kid, I’ve had the best seat in the house playing guitar onstage with many of those same artists that inspired me to do what I’ve been doing all these years. And I still feel like I’m sneaking in!” 

CBGB Television’s Richard Lloyd asked Mastro to come play on his band for his revered album Alchemy, and then Mastro eventually started The Bongos in 1980 alongside Richard Barone. They went on to tour through the U.K. and Europe before returning to the states in another tour. Later in 1992, he became the front man for The Health and Happiness Show, which led its performances in touring as the openers for big names including Wilco, Johnny Cash, and Barenaked Ladies.

Today, Mastro has been playing alongside Ian Hunter (Mott the Hoople and Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band) for his past six albums, and in between tour has been producing various works with Alejandro Escovedo, John Cale, Patti Smith, The Jayhawks, and as February of 2024, his very own first solo album.

Dawn of a New Error can be likened to “Elvis Costello, Tom Petty, and Wilco,” according to the album’s synopsis. Produced by MPress Records and Tony Shanahan, you can hear it in person at SOhO on Thursday, July 11, when James Mastro opens for Alejandro Escovedo. Tickets can be purchased at

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