25 Jul
Jody Mulgrew credit: Jacob Mendez

Jody Mulgrew
credit: Jacob Mendez

Jody Mulgrew has come full circle—returning to his home turf of the Central Coast of California where he woos audiences with his stirring vocals and deftly-played guitar. He performs solo, as well as in a number of groups including Jody Mulgrew and the Skeleton Crew, and the Girls and Boys. He also enjoys writing music and performing with other individual musicians. Jody performs many of his own songs with his music being influenced by Sam Cooke, The Everly Brothers, k.d.lang, Smokey Robinson or anyone who is “a good singer with a good song.” He views his voice as his primary instrument, with a focus on music that is “heartfelt” and “easy to listen to.”

The Skeleton Crew features many of his original songs, but with more of an emphasis on danceable music than during his solo performances. The group plays top rock, rockabilly, Sam Cooke, Steve Earl, and music with “a little bit of twang in it and a little bit of sizzle.” Jody notes the Bay Area-based Girls and Boys band have a great female lead singer, Brianna Lee. The group tours the West Coast. When on the Central Coast, they play alternative rock and Americana along with other styles of music. Jody also relishes the opportunity to perform with the talented Nataly Lola at the Paso Robles Inn’s Cattleman’s Lounge. Recently, Jody has relished working with his “old singing and song-writing buddies,” including Gary Garrett, who lives in San Francisco. Jody described Gary’s music as “thoughtful and humorous,” noting that their two voices blend well.

In April 2013, Jody attended a songwriter’s week in Nashville. When asked if he had received any awards, Jody revealed he was nationally recognized for his songwriting. He received the Abe Oleman award for excellence in songwriting by the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. Jody explained that this is a national award, and it was not something he applied for; rather “they found me.” He is thrilled that the award is signed by the current leader of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Jimmy Webb (composer of By the Time I Get to Phoenix, Up, Up and Away and many more hits.) He was also recognized by the Durango Songwriter’s Expo for his song, I Will Not Fall in Love with You Again. The prize for that win was the opportunity to write a song with hit maker, Shawn Mullins. In 2011, local New Times readers voted Jody’s Rocket Ship, the best new album.

Raised in Morro Bay, California, as a young boy, Jody remembers climbing into a self-built “fort” where he would sing along with the radio. In school, he sang in choirs in school before attending Cal State Northridge where he naturally majored in music. After graduating he spent a few years cutting his teeth in the L.A. music scene, and touring throughout the United States and Europe before he and his wife decided to return to their home turf on the Central Coast.

Jody Mulgrew - Brick - by - Brittany App HI

Jody Mulgrew
credit: Brittany App

The now disbanded group, Johnny Starlings, was one of Jody’s early musical ventures. He and fellow musician, Yohei Shikano, created a full-length album, Aiming Too High. They also composed the song, Slow Dance, sung by Inga Swearingen, which was featured on the nationally syndicated radio program, A Prairie Home Companion.

Besides his many gigs, Jody volunteers in local Elementary and Special Day Classes. His eyes lit up as he described a memorable experience he had the prior day. In this class the students are mostly non-verbal. The children were given percussion-type instruments to play. When it came to an appropriate spot during the Bob Marley song, “one little guy” suddenly shined when launching into an energetic, on tempo, drum solo.

Some of Jody’s favorite local performance venues are the Pony Club in Paso Robles and the Cambria Pines Lodge. Jody smiled as he cited the large oak tree that covers the Pony Club patio as contributing to the good vibe. Jody feels dancers inspire and energize his playing, noting that there are often great dancers at the Cambria Pines Lodge.

Jody’s playful nature and other upcoming performances can be found on his website where he describes he fondness of “fondling figuoas” at the local Farmer’s Market.


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