A large group of friends and music lovers came out to the Codiga Museum at the in Watsonville on Saturday night to celebrate the newly released album Starlite Drive-In Saturday Night by Michael Gaither.
Gaither and his crew Aaron Bagchee, Steve Kritzer, Dayan Kai and Steve Ucello took the stage to perform songs such as “Now It’s A Taqueria”, “Tell Me Where It Hurts”, “Waltzes When She Runs”, and of course “Startlite Drive-In Saturday Night”, all off the new CD.
“It’s funny, I haven’t played with a big band for a long time and I forgot how much fun it is,” said Gaither about his fellow band mates. “Especially with these guys, they’re all just incredible musicians. I play solo a lot but it’s neat having people of that caliber backing up your songs and supporting them.”
In the second half of the show Gaither played some of his classics like “Hang It Up”, “I Miss My Town”, “Roselle”, and the first song he ever wrote, “Highway 17” which received a large eruption of cheers from crowd.
Just before things wrapped up, Agricultural History Project President John Kegenbein thanked everyone that came out and reminded people the importance about preserving the local agricultural history of the Pajaro Valley and beyond.
Folks got to endulge into traditional drive-in goodies like beef or turkey hot dogs with the option of chili on top and warm popcorn straight from a classic popcorn machine that . Cold beverages, warm coffee and a large bowl of juicy bright red strawberries for dessert were also available for people to snack on.
Among the group of people was Judie Ferreira who grew up in Watsonville but moved away in 1990, a year to the day of Loma Prieta earthquake. She discovered Gaither’s music via Facebook and came down from San Luis Obispo to watch him perform in a bigger than usual venue.
“I thought it was great,” said Ferreira about Saturday’s concert. “I’ve listened to his music now for about three or four years and it just brings that hometown feeling back to you. There’s a heart to it and you can feel it coming from his music.”
As for the man of the night, Gaither was pleased with the turnout and was delighted that people came out to have a fun time at the fairgrounds.
“I was very happy,” he said. “I wanted to do a big show in South County and I got my big show. And I liked it because a lot of people that came had never heard of the Ag History Project.”
And with all the hours of recording in the studio and preparation of the big event, one would think Gaither was burnt out until a good month from now.
“It’s a big project, the scheduling, the checklist, and the practicing. The ‘can you play on Tuesday? How about Wednesday?’ It’s so much work,” he said. “But as soon as this was over with I went ‘I feel relaxed and tomorrow I don’t have to do a damn thing.’”