Walking down the streets in the heart of Idyllwild this weekend locals and visitors had the opportunity to enjoy live music blasting in all directions. Musicians were playing live music in front of store boutiques and at Jo’An’s Beer Garden on both Saturday and Sunday.
Joe Baldino, a local musician, was playing smooth jazz, salsa and mood music for building crowds of all ages outside of Tarah Jade Boutique at its new location across from Higher Grounds Coffee House.
Throughout the day he attracted many people who visited the new store and then lingered outside listening to his guitar playing while enjoying Lori Davey’s massages. The music and massage combination every weekend was the brain child of Tarah Jade Boutique owner Shawna Risnes, who has provided live music at her stores in La Quinta for many years.
“I wanted to have a nice flow of people and who doesn’t love Joe’s great music,” Risnes said.
Baldino said he tried to set a calming stage for professional massages and played for each customer.
“We’re going to be here every weekend for the summer,” said Davey, a licensed therapeutic Swedish massage expert from Palm Desert, about her massage area and the peaceful music provided by Baldino. “We’ve had great business this weekend with about 20 massages.”
Baldino, who said he struggles with a form of dyslexia, does not formally read music and the majority of what he plays is simply from a good ear and his heart, he said.
“Everything is a feeling and it’s just emotional playing,” said Baldino, whose passion is felt as he plays, often closing his eyes.
In the nearby parking lot a couple from Palm Springs opened the back of their SUV and enjoyed a picnic from Gary’s Deli while stopping to listen to Baldino’s guitar playing and music.
James Thometz, who was petting his Shi Tzu dog named Lady, said he and wife Nancy were just getting iced coffees at Higher Grounds and looking for a shady spot to relax and the music provided extra energy and ambiance. The couple said they come to Idyllwild at least twice a month in the summer and they are excited to see the great live music scene in the town’s center.
Across the street at Jo’An’s Restaurant, the beer garden was in full swing with a packed crowd eating barbecue and having drinks. Dozens of motorcycles lined the street outside of the restaurant on Sunday afternoon with bikers wearing leather jackets with patches from San Diego and other cities in Southern California.
Jo’An’s weekend music was belted out powerfully by singer Jerome Robinson who played a wide variety of songs including classic rock to audience requests for country stars Allan Jackson, Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash.
Robinson’s vocals embraced the seats in front of the stage and only his music could be heard in the beer garden itself while he was singing.
At times, in between songs the music from both musicians could be heard in the street between the two music venues, but once you picked a side and took a seat, whether at Higher Ground on the patio, on a bench near Baldino or in the beer garden with Robinson you got to hear the music of your choosing with few interruptions.
“I could listen to him all day,” said Nancy Thometz, of Baldino’s jazzy style music.
The Palm Springs couple said they also liked the variety to choose from with the rock and country being played at Jo’An’s and the smoother jazz salsa music at Tarah Jade’s Boutique that poured into the parking lot. They both said their Sunday afternoon in Idyllwild felt more like a music event with several great choices as well as an excellent escape from the Palm Springs hot summer temperatures.