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INTERVIEW:  JUNE 12th, 2003



The Songwriters Showcase concert - including Jack Tempchin and [Bruce FitzSimmons] of the Shadowdogs - will benefit the Fallbrook Union High School District's education foundation.

CRAFTSMEN WITH RHYTHM - Songwriters Showcase

a `benefit for a good cause,' promises skilled wordplay:

Marcia Manna.

The San Diego Union - Tribune. San Diego, Calif.: Jun 12, 2003.

The Eagles recording of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" became a Top 20 hit in the 1970s, and fans sang along for the next three decades. Tomorrow, [Jack Tempchin] will headline a Songwriters Showcase at the Bob Burton Center for the Performing Arts. North County bands Shadowdogs and Peter Bolland With Broken Hills will join Tempchin in a concert that benefits the Fallbrook Unified High School District's education foundation.

When Jack Tempchin finger-picked the melody of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" on a $13 Stella guitar, he was oblivious to the song's future staying power.

A woman beauty spotted at street fair inspired the final verse, scrawled on a flyer in the parking lot of a Wienerschnitzel restaurant. I like the way your sparkling earrings swing / Against your skin so brown / And I want to sleep with you in the desert tonight / With a million stars all around. The Eagles recording of "Peaceful Easy Feeling" became a Top 20 hit in the 1970s, and fans sang along for the next three decades. Tomorrow, Tempchin will headline a Songwriters Showcase at the Bob Burton Center for the Performing Arts. North County bands Shadowdogs and Peter Bolland With Broken Hills will join Tempchin in a concert that benefits the Fallbrook Unified High School District's education foundation.

Tempchin is an Encinitas resident and a hero to many North County songwriters, who admire his success with songs such as "Already Gone" (Eagles), "Slow Dancing" (Johnny Rivers) and "Smuggler's Blues" (Glenn Frey).

"I would like to pick his brain," admitted Bruce FitzSimmons, vocalist for Shadowdogs. "I'd like to ask him about songs he felt strongly about and songs that didn't work. If you listen to 'Peaceful Easy Feeling' you know that was a hit. You hear it; it's just there."

Many of the songwriters performing at the concert have released albums this year. The new Shadowdogs album, "Somewhere ... South of the Clef," is an Eagles-influenced album bolstered with guest performances by guitarist-songwriter Jerry McCann and Dennis Caplinger on fiddle, banjo and mandolin.

"I'm not so concerned about the album selling," said FitzSimmons, a resident of Fallbrook. "We didn't go after a genre; I just hope people will enjoy it."

"Somewhere ... South of the Clef" features five songs written by Rich Maiorano, a childhood pal of FitzSimmons who plays acoustic guitar. Maiorano has written songs and collected them in a shoe box for 20 years.

"I found the song 'Love Gives Up' and I was knocked out by it," said FitzSimmons, who cites honest lyrics and emotion as the components of a good song. "I built a studio two years ago and brought in Dennis and Rick. We built an album around it."

The song was aired on the FM 102.1 "Music Without Boundaries" program and critically acclaimed by radio host Kenny Weissberg. FitzSimmons looks forward to performing "Love Gives Up" at tomorrow's showcase. The concert came about when a group of North County songwriters began a discussion about performance venues where they could introduce their work. They also share a desire to contribute to arts in education and the 500-seat Bob Burton Performing Arts Center allows them to do both.

"It's a benefit for a good cause," said Tempchin. "I'm hoping I can draw enough people to make it worth everybody's while." Tempchin underestimates his impact on songwriters who hope to attain his commercial success. And he knows the synergy of a well- crafted song, radio airplay and public interest can be as unlikely as drawing a row of cherries on a slot machine.

"I guess I would say that it's always been impossible to get a song placed on the radio," Tempchin said. "It's not any different now than it's ever been -- a billion to one. I'm one of the guys that made it from around here."


Concert Review

Fallbrook Village News

June 19th, 2003


Time Travel

Nathalie Taylor

Staff Writer

The Eagles weren't in concert on Friday the 13th, but if you closed your eyes you might have thought it was so. Jack Tempchin, writer of several Eagles hits including "Already Gone", and "Slow Dancing", took concert guests back in time with his exhilarating performance. Backed by his talented bass player, Norman Sancho, Tempchin was in perfect form.

"You can go home but you can never go back." Temchin told the audience at the Bob Burton Center for the Performing Arts during the benefit concert for the Fallbrook Unified School District Education Foundation. His performance, Punctuated with clever stories about where and when he penned his songs, gave listeners a ‘peaceful easy feeling.'

The energetic evening began with entertainment by San Diego veteran songwriter Peter Bolland leading his band Broken Hills, through a delicious trove of mellow alt-country tunes.

Jerry McCann who has performed in concert with Credence Clearwater Revival. Chicago and several other popular groups, gave a soulful performance of songs from his new CD ‘All Lit Up Like The Moon.'

Fallbrook's own Shadowdogs with Bruce FitzSimmons (vocals/guitar/piano), Jon Scarantino, Kevin Glasse, and pedal steel guitar master Rick Schmidt, thrilled the audience with sounds from their alt-country repertoire. "I particularly liked FitzSimmon's vocals and Rick's playing." Said jazz vocalist Robin Adler who had a chance to sit in the audience Friday evening.

Despite the efforts of Michael Jones and Brenda Montiel, the auditorium was not filled to capacity, However many of those in attendance are hoping another concert will be coming soon. Rick Gord, who records the Padres broadcasts on Channel 4, was glad he came. "All I can say is wow!" he exclaimed. Over $500.00 was raised during a raffle for a beautiful Taylor guitar, won by Larry Robinson. The concert, which lasted almost three hours, was recorded to video and 32-track digital.



"Somewhere South of the Clef"


Released By: Mindful Eye Music

Bill Fark

For the North County Times

On the Shadowdogs' debut CD "Somewhere South of the Clef", the new Fallbrook-based alt/country band takes the country-western genre in a slightly different direction.

The group (which has performed locally at the Fallbrook Farmer's Market) performs songs in traditional style, along with a mix of others influenced by genres from blues to rock. Shadowdogs are a five-member ensemble –Bruce FitzSimmons, Rich Maiorano, and Rick Schmidt, playing various guitars, bassist Jon Scarantino and drummer Kevin Glassel—but for this CD, guests boost the number to 11. This makes for a full-bodied sound and some very interesting arrangements.

"Until You Smile" demonstrates the extent of guitar possibilities. It features spectacular fingering by guest guitarist Jerry Glassel playing an acoustic instrument, as well as guest Ed Casey on pedal steel guitar, and FitzSimmons on a second acoustic guitar. The trio team again on the sentimental "Lean On Me", and Glassel switches to electric guitar on "Baby Don't Like to Be Left Alone," with Maiorano (who wrote the piece) on acoustic guitar.

FitzSimmons is the most versatile musician. He wrote eight of the 14 songs and collaborated on another. He is also the principal vocalist and plays acoustic guitar on all but two tracks.

Maiorano shares creative honors on five of the songs. His "One More Drink" is in typical Western style, with novelty dobro passages. His other numbers are "Dancin'" and "Love Gives Up". Other guest musicians, soloists in their own right, are Dennis Caplinger, on fiddle, mandolin, and banjo, and Scott Sekol, Jim Hollingsworth and Jerry McCann on various guitars.


Alternative country, Americana, roots,

folk, gospel, and bluegrass music news

Vol. 2, No. 10

July 2003


Somewhere...South of the Clef

By Phil Harmonic

Shadowdogs is a very talented country-rock group with a sound spawned in Southern California by such bands as Poco, Buffalo Springfield, the Byrds, Eagles, and Flying Burrito Brothers. Their new CD, Somewhere... South of the Clef is right out of the mold shaped by Gram Parsons, Chris Hillman, et al. The group, headed by Bruce Fitzsimmons, is made up of well-seasoned musicians, including such notable guests as Dennis Caplinger and the late Jerry Glassel.

Fitzsimmons wrote nine of the songs and Rich Maiorano wrote the remaining five. Besides handling all the lead vocals, Fitzsimmons also mixed and produced the CD. His voice is pleasant and quite suited to this style. Bassist Jon Scarantino is listed as the only background vocalist and, if this is so, adds excellent well-balanced, full textured harmonies that remind me of Timothy B. Schmidt and Randy Meisner, two accomplished bass-playing vocalists who both played in Poco and the Eagles.

The lush sound is extended and embellished by Rick Schmidt's pedal steel guitar and Dennis Caplinger's fiddle, mandolin, and banjo. Normally I don't like to see musicians produce and mix their own work, because they tend to overproduce and polish. However, Fitzsimmons, also a multi-instrumentalist, delivers a fine effort. With a wonderful substance that shows through. There is a lot of good listening here, and it is good listening music when you're hangin' around the house. It has pick-me-up flavor that's uplifting. There are also slower songs that create a more melancholy feel, but all in all, this is feel good music, which will find you bouncing in your chair.

© 1995-2004

Created on: 10/01/03


After a 10-year hiatus, the blues/country/rock quintet is back with their third full-length. It’s nominated for the San Diego Music Awards’ Best Country or Americana album this year, and while that’s not really an adequate description, Tangerine is decently produced and features solid players.

–Scott McDonald