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Los Angeles/Laurel Canyon Music Scene, Then and Now


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Back in the 60's

Among the famous places in Laurel Canyon are the log cabin house once owned by silent film star Tom Mix that later became home to the Zappa clan, and another (directly across the street) that magician Harry Houdini may have lived in.

Laurel Canyon found itself a nexus of counterculture activity and attitudes in the 1960s, becoming famous as home to many of L.A.'s rock musicians, such as Frank Zappa; Jim Morrison of The Doors; The Byrds; Buffalo Springfield; and Love. Joni Mitchell, living in the home in the Canyon that was immortalized in the song, "Our House", written by her then-lover Graham Nash, would use the area and its denizens as inspiration for her third album, Ladies of the Canyon

NPR on Laruel Canyon

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Current day scene

Laurel Canyon was a magical place then and still is now thanks to Jonathan Wilson, who is both an earnest and supportive host and active jam parti­cipant. One of Wilson’s regulars is award-winning musician Barry Goldberg, a longtime LC resident and a friend to Neil Young’s band Crazy Horse. For him, the jams are a revelation and reminder of the LC of 40 years ago, when the neighborhood was like a “musical vortex.”

“It’s like a flashback to 1967, when we’d be hanging out at Danny Whitten’s LC house,” says Goldberg. “Whitten was a guitarist for Crazy Horse, and it was the place to jam and listen to records. Then deja  vu—here I am at Jonathan’s. It was for fun then, and it’s for fun now.”

Goldberg relishes the element of surprise. “You never know who’ll show up—it might be members of Oasis, Pearl Jam or Wilco. And I’ve brought friends, like Gary Mallaber [steve Miller Band, Van Morrison] and Elliot Easton [The Cars], who both jumped at the chance.” Indeed the all-nighters have become legend among a who’s who of contemporary indie and veteran folk-rock musicians, including Maroon 5, the Black Crowes, Jakob Dylan and Rilo Kiley.

LA Times article on current scene

Rolling Stone article on current scene

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