That said, one of the most popular spots to catch a set from area musicians is outdoors at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market. It’s literally a spot in the street at the intersection of Newport Avenue and Bacon Street, with a small public address system for sound. Yet week after week, hundreds of San Diegans stop by and take in music from some of San Diego’s best-loved musicians, courtesy of local producer, promoter and musician Michael Head.
Guitarist in the Country Rockin’ Rebels and owner of Head Trapp Studios, Head has been behind the farmers market music for the last three years. He will be performing with his band on Wednesday, Dec. 19, which also happens to be the final chance to donate canned food or unwrapped toys to the annual Ocean Beach Town Council’s annual Holiday Food & Toy Drive before the Christmas holiday.
“We will take donations right through the end of year,” Head said. “The bulk of the giving, however, will be before
Dec. 25 with this the final big push before Christmas. But there is always ongoing generosity here in OB. Donations started a little slow but they are picking up overall. Every little bit helps.”
After three years of coordinating the farmers market music, Head said he has things down to a science.
“The hardest part about the FM shows is all the coordination and getting bands on same page,” he said. “It’s all in the bands’ best interest. I book 45-60 days in advance just so I never have to worry the week of, or really the month of shows. I get plenty of performers, more bands than spots available. But I eventually get to pretty much everyone who wants to perform.”
Though the gig is relatively low key, it’s begun to pick up notice nationwide.
“We welcome bands from all over — not just OB or San Diego. Trevor Green is a regular and is from Huntington Beach. Other out-of-towners will hit me up when they are coming through. I try to accommodate a band that I think will do well.”
Head points out that for this performance, the Country Rockin’ Rebels will be ramping things up a bit.
“We always have something special planned at a Rebel show; CD and T-shirt giveaways, artists sitting in, new covers to throw in,” he said. “Certainly with Christmas around the corner we will be in a giving mood.”
Fans of the Country Rockin’ Rebels can expect a handful of crowd-pleasing classics in the set.
“We throw in a mix of covers and originals, depending on the crowd, and like to say we rip through the history of music,” he said. “We try to find less-worn covers that are still crowd pleasers. ‘Money’ by Pink Floyd is a good example lately — not many bands cover it and the crowd loves it. ‘Rusty Cage’ Johnny Cash-style is always big; we mash it with ‘Voodoo Chile’ by Hendrix to give it our own flavor. Other lesser-worn artists we like to cover are Link Wray and Freddie King.”
He notes the band is in the midst of recording its third album.
“We’ve begun recording a new CD, “Ride Rebel Ride,” due out next summer,” Head said. “It is the third in a CD cycle concept singer Tristan Luhrs and I came up with over five years ago (the first two being ‘Sketches of San Diego’ and ‘Country Rockin’ Rebels).’”
While many bands struggle with plans for recording, Head and his bandmates are already looking ahead.
“We have at least two more CDs mapped out — we are just trying to keep up with ourselves. We’ve recorded a song called ‘Too Rock for Country (and too country for rock),’ which is sort of our band motto. We really like it and think it may have appeal.”
Though the band has made an impact countywide, Head said he considers his Ocean Beach gigs special.
“OB is like an idyllic artist community by the beach,” he said. “The people there just really appreciate and good song, a dynamic artists a great performance. I stage shows right on the streets of OB and it’s one of the most gratifying crowds you could ever imagine. They just appreciate it because Obeceans ‘get it.’”
Head concedes coordinating all his musical doings can get hectic, but he said it’s a life he loves.
“I do enjoy working at the market,” he said. “I often liken it to working with the circus. It ain’t for everybody, but for some of us, it’s the only place we belong.”
• The Country Rockin’ Rebels perform at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 19 at the Ocean Beach Farmers Market. All ages. www.oceanbeachsandiego.com/events/farmers-market-wednesdays