20 Twenty CD Release Party

By Andrew Gilhooley / 411

If you enjoyed “Skankin’ Cali Style,” last year’s compilation CD featuring tracks by Californian reggae artists, then we have good news for you.  Represent Music has just released a follow-up, “20 Twenty,” once again containing twenty tracks by twenty bands including Salinas favorites Cali Nation.  The CD release party will be held Saturday at the Black Box Cabaret on the CSUMB campus.

Music fans and musicians alike can often be heard bemoaning the fact that Salinas and Monterey lack a truly vibrant music scene.  Jason Hobbs, founder of Represent Music, is no exception, but what makes him different from most is that he is trying to do something about it.  “There are so many talented bands here but nowhere for them to play,” he said.  “Some places here in Salinas would be perfect for putting on a show, but people just don’t want to deal with the drama of setting something up and organizing it.”  Between the logistics of setting up a concerts and the possibility of low turnouts or even crowd trouble, owners of venues are often reluctant to invest the time, effort and expense involved in organizing an event.  By releasing his compilation CDs showcasing the talents of local bands, he hopes that a demand for live music in the area will be created and, in turn, a music scene will develop.

Hobbs began working with bands several years ago in a technical capacity, and after working with several bigger-name groups decided that what he really wanted to do was work with local bands who were just getting started.  “I wanted to help them not just with setting up the sound system at their gigs but also with publicity, meeting people and just generally getting noticed.”  He soon realized that one way to help bands to get noticed would be to put out a compilation CD.  The reason, he said, is that “a lot of bands have a few tracks recorded but can’t afford to put out a whole CD themselves, so they end up just burning copies of the tracks for their friends.”  Putting a track on a compilation CD enables each band to gain a much wider exposure than they could on their own.  In choosing which tracks appear on the CD, the bands are encouraged to pick their own and their fans’ favorites from their repertoire, then Hobbs makes the final decisions on the track listing to ensure that the CD has an overall cohesiveness.

The first CD on Represent, “Skankin’ Cali Style,” was extremely well received, and Hobbs is hopeful that the follow-up will be similarly successful.  Saturday’s release party will feature Cali Nation, who have appeared on both compilations, A Step Beyond from the first CD, Mystic Roots from the second and High Society, who will be appearing on the next one, due out in August.  With a rock compilation also coming out in July, Jason Hobbs is one busy man.  Here’s hoping that his hard work will help the local music scene to flourish.

First published in "411", The Salinas Californian, April 23, 2005

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