Acoustic Music & the Guitar

"Acoustic music is the timeless sound of nature and resonating materials – wood, bone, gourd, gut and skin. It predates the spoken language of modern culture, crossing all borders and barriers. It speaks to great, universal truths of very personal, yet familiar stories. Those stories keep legacies alive, allow them to be shared, and create new ones going forward".

(Derek Johnson aka Musicalist)

Music is unparalleled in both its reflection of and impact on human culture, developing across time, place, religion and culture. It is the door to our souls, the balm for our spirit, an inspiration to feel deeply, our common language, and the heart of community.

Acoustic instruments were dictated by the flora and fauna of each area, evolving and cross fertilizing as people migrated across the world. The humble guitar is known for its enormous musical versatility across all cultures and genres. It is the voice of people to tell their stories, and attainable to everyone regardless of wealth or status.

"The guitar is a whole lot more than a guitar....
there's a whole attitude towards life wrapped up in it"  
(Charles Fox)

Members-Only Acoustic Club

Intimate & Personal

Acoustic House Concerts

$30pp ~ 7:30pm at Casa Las Palmas

323 E. Cabrillo, by the Santa Barbara beach

Joscho Stephan Gypsy Jazz Trio

May 27, 2024 ~ 7:30pm

Django, Swing & More

This Show SOLD OUT! Seats Available for 5/28

The Romani people traditionally lived a nomadic, itinerant lifestyle. Originating in India, their language and music evolved during their westward migration beginning 1000 years ago through the -stans, Persia, Turkey, Greece, the Balkans and finally into Europe hundreds of years later. Threads of those cultures can be heard through their music. Some of the Romani migrated into Iberia as gitanos, combining with North African culture to create Flamenco music and dance in an explosive style with rhymic patterns, and others migrated to France.

Gypsy jazz (also known as gypsy swing, jazz manouche or hot club jazz) was inspired by the Romani jazz guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt in conjunction with the French jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli in the 1930s. Django was influenced by Ragtime and Dixieland music, and developed a distinctive playing style using his index and middle fingers as the others had been badly burned.

Joscho Stephan is a German jazz guitarist well known on the international guitar scene as one of the most creative gypsy-swing players. With a powerful tone and remarkable technical skills, he has an instantly recognizable voice on the guitar with his interpretations of classical, jazz and pop standards in the style of Gypsy jazz.  He is joined on this tour with premier players on second guitar and bass.

Joscho Stephan Gypsy Jazz Trio

with Sven Jungbeck and Volker Kamp

Second Night ~ All Different Material:

 The Jazz Songbook & More

May 28, 2024 ~ 7:30pm

Richard Smith's

Chet Aktins 100th Birthday Party

June 20, 2024


SOLD OUT! Send a Note Below if You'd Like

to See a Show of All-Different Material on 6/19

Fingerstyle Classical, Ragtime & Swing

Much of the traditional music of Appalachia, including Bluegrass, originated in the stories of the Celts, Irish and Brits that were passed down through song and dance. Many of those dealt with their struggles in the British Isles and migration to North America to escape famine, persecution and oppression. 

Kentuckian Merle Travis developed a playing style in 1930’s rooted in ragtime in which his thumb alternated a syncopated bass with chords while his index finger played the melody.  “Travis picking” became the base technique for Country and Chet Atkins’ complex, jazz influenced playing. This was the beginning of “fingerstyle” as exemplified by Tommy Emmanuel and many others in our series. 

Chet was known as the “country gentleman” for his generosity and sharing his techniques, including 11-year-old English protégé Richard Smith in the clip below, of whom Chet said “he can play anything I can, only better.”  Indeed, Richard is one of the most precise guitarists on the planet, playing Country, Jazz, Ragtime, Gypsy Jazz and almost anything else. He is a National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion.

Chet Atkins: "He Can Play Anything I Can, Only Better."

Clive Carroll

The Music of John Renbourn & More

July 22, 2024


The music of the British Isles had a tremendous resurgence during the ‘60’s folk revival on both sides of the Atlantic, led by  groups in England including

Fairport Convention with Sandy Denny & Richard Thompson, and

Pentangle with Bert Jansch & John Renbourn.

Reared on American country and old time music, Clive’s breadth of musical curiosity traverses the worlds of soul, pop, funk, traditional Irish music to classical guitar.  He became a protégé of John Renbourn, who deemed his debut album “a milestone in the journey of the steel-string guitar”. For this concert, Clive will present Renbourn’s music along with his own.

I Asked In 2015: "Who's The Finest Guitar Player I've Never Heard Of?" 

Tommy Emmanuel, Without Hesitation: "Clive Carroll. I Think He's Brilliant."

Upcoming World Class 

International Acoustic Music 

Dinner Concerts

at SOhO 1221 State St.

in Downtown Santa Barbara

Join the Acoustic Club for $20pp

to receive invitations to these world class shows:

Joscho Stephan Trio (second night)

Richard Smith (second night)

Clive Carroll

Joe Robinson

Transatlantic Guitar Trio

Calum Graham

Leokane Pryor & Kimo West

Brooks Robertson

Diego Garcia

and more! Send a message here to get instructions to join the Club &

let us know what UnPlugged shows - Joscho, Richard or Clive - you'd like to come to.

All donations go directly to supporting the series.

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So Much Great Music!

It's been an honor & privilege to host live music

by over 100 of of the world’s great string (and more) players since 2016.  

We are so fortunate to have such talent amongst us who have the

freedom of expression to do what they do.

Don't take it for granted ~ get out and enjoy it while you can;

the musicians and venues need you now more than ever.

Thanks for your support.

A Call 2 Peace

(with Federico Ramos,

Eduardo Del Signore,

Scarlet Rivera &

Ron Wagner)

Don Alder

Muriel Anderson

Paul Asbell

Tom Ball & Kenny Sultan

Adrian Bellue

PIerre Bensusan

Claude Bourbon

Trace Bundy

Clive Carroll

Michael Chapdelaine

Nick Charles


Craig D’Andrea

Alex DeGrassi

Diego Garcia (Twanguero)

Jerry Douglas

(with Maura O’Connell

& a huge band)

Antoine Dufour

Ken Emerson (w/ Kimo West)

Tommy Emmanuel

(with Richard Smith

& Brooks Robertson)

Vicki Genfan

Nina Gerber & Chris Webster

Teja Gerken & Doug Young


Trevor Gordon Hall

Mark Hanson

The Hot Club of Nashville

(with Richard Smith,

Annie Sellick,

Pat Bergeson,

Aaron Till,

Charlie Chadwick &

Josh Hunt)

The Idiomatiques

(with Craig Sharmat,

George Quirin,

Kim Collins &

Frank Petrilli/

Brian Mann)

Claude LaFlamme

Christie Lenee

David Lindley

Michael Lorimer

Nick Johnson


(with John Jorgenson,

Herb Pederson,

Patrick Sauber &

Mark Fain)

Laurence Juber

Justin King

Kaki King

Alberto Lombardi

Marley's Ghost

(with Jerry Fletcher,

Ed Littlefield Jr.,

Bob Nichols,

Mike Phelan,

Dan Wheetman &

Jon Wilcox)

Sean McGowan

Tony McManus

Maria Muldaur

(with John Jorgenson &

Simon Planting)

Kai Narezo

Kinloch Nelson

George Quirin

Gareth Pearson

Abby Possner

Donovan Raitt

Del Rey

Brooks Robertson

Joe Robinson

Jose Antonio Rodriguez

Sam ’n’ Ash

Richard Smith

Tim Sparks

Joscho Stephan Trio

(with Sven Jungbeck

& Volker Kamp)

Walter Strauss

Luca Stricagnoli

Kenny Sultan


Sofia Talvik

The Transatlantic Trio

(with Richard Smith,

Joscho Stephan & 

Rory Hoffman)

Hiroya Tsukamoto

Andres Vadin Project

(with Yosmel Montejo,

Diego Alvarez Muñoz,

Manuel Gutiérrez &

Jade Valdes)

Dani Vargas & Jenna Columbet

Carl Verheyen Acoustic Band

(with Dave Marotta

John Mader)

Willie Watson

Kimo West

Andrew York

"The guitar can truly change the world...we've seen that in ministry and education;
it has affected international borders. It's a very dangerous tool." (Richard Hoover, with a smile)

Background image: Benedetto Guitars