Remember Recon? The punk power trio from 'way back at the millennium? They played from SVHS to Petaluma, and had a devoted if limited following.
Hopefully the same fate does not befall Tony Gibson this time around. Now 30, the singer-guitarist (and mandolinist) has added songwriting to his skillset, becoming one of Sonoma's most promising performers.
Gibson left his power punk career behind him when he went to USC. After graduating from USC in 2005, he landed a long-standing job the music business, working with Nettwerk Records in digital sales. Living alone, he returned to his guitar and spend more time on the craft of songwriting, but did not perform.
Then he returned to his home town about three years ago, and picked up where he left off. "I owe a lot to my friends around here, helping me get back on the stage." For the past year or so you may have caught him at the Songwriters in Sonoma events, at Meadowcroft Wines and the Community Center.
Back on the stage he is: He plays not only solo, but with the Gentlemen Soldiers, the Timothy O'Neil Band and Dan Martin & The NomaRocksteady Band, each with its different playlist and sound.
"A lot of my writing is very personal, autobiographical stories from my life," he said recently. Listen to his tracks on Soundcloud, and you'll hear influences of the Clash and Elvis Costello, Billy Bragg and Bad Religion. But he's moved on to more bluesy, indie-rock sounds, and it suits him like a glove. "It's really something I can't escape, my sound."
Lately I've been listening to Richard Thompson, James McMurty and Steve Earle, and Gibson's stuff fits right in that playlist, with more Irish than country. He's learning, and learning fast.
He'll be at the Epicurean Connection tonight, from 7:30 - 10:30, playing solo for what one of the last times this year. He's also booked at Murphy's Irish Pub on Nov. 15th.
"We're taking the entire month of October to lay down the music" of the first Tony Gibson CD, comprised of the 20 or so songs he's written since he started again in LA.
It will be self-distributed and should become available around the first of the year. "I love playing for people, but I hate it when they ask if I have a CD and I don't! I plan on really making it work for this record.'
Gibson is just 30, but he's sure-footed in music and seems to be making all the right moves, with the talent to back it up. If this keeps up, you can say you saw him when.
NOTE: The Epicurean Connection's Sheana Davis is cited in this month's Sunset Magazine as one of the top "cheesemongers" in California. It's not online, so pick up the October issue and turn to page 71. Congratulations!