It was a warm night as the sun began to sink behind the low rolling hills and quiet, cool tones resonated off the electric guitars as an all-too-familiar tune began to play.
Known as Woodie and the Longboards, John “Woodie” Keating created the cover band back in 2007, harking back to playing songs from old bands such as The Beatles, Eagles and The Beach Boys, among other popular 50s, 60s and 70s bands.
Keating and bass player Joe Manchego start off a quick riff, progressing into the chorus of an all-time classic, singing, “I wish they all could be California girls,” as he launched into “California Girls” by The Beach Boys in 1965.
Woodie and the Longboards is composed of five members, who wore red Hawaiian shirts and khaki pants as they played at Churon Winery, Saturday, Aug. 31.
“It feels like we’re on vacation here,” Andy and Patti Sinay, members with Churon Winery for the past year and a half, said. They have lived in Wildomar since 1991, but said they enjoy the views that wine country has to offer.
“We had been here many years ago, and we came here to check it out again and liked it because we’ve been to France a number of times and it reminds us of that,” Andy Sinay said. “We like the setting, the view, and so we joined.”
Sheldon and Carol Mazo came out to the winery to see Woodie and The Longboards play from their home in Burbank, as they celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary.
“We came for the music, food, wine and an opportunity to celebrate,” Carol Mazo said.
After sunset, the band sang “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and The Papas.
Churon Winery provided an outside seating, a catered meal that consisted of chicken, rice, rolls and salad. Guests enjoyed their meal while listening to the band sing “I Get Around,” by The Beach Boys, and soon after, guests began to get up and dance.
“I had been in a previous band, we were a house band from high school and we played for Disney,” Keating said. Eventually he said he left Disney and formed his own band.
“We started doing 70s, but it didn’t work so we started playing songs from The Beach Boys and haven’t stopped playing since,” he said. “We did 107 shows last year, and by the end of the year we will probably surpass that.”
Each member of the band sings, carefully crafting their harmonies and tone to match that of the original sounds of these beloved bands.
“I am a teacher, I’ve always loved to play, that’s what I do best,” Keating said. “I wish I was as good a teacher as I am a musician,” he said, laughing. “When you’re a musician and you play with other good musicians that is always a highlight.”
Keating has many different types of guitars but said he mainly enjoys playing Fender guitars because they are so versatile.
“We’ve got four sets tonight so we’re going to mix it up quite a bit,” Keating said. “We may ease into it. It all varies on the audience. Like anything, if you are going to be there a while, you want to hear some variety.”
Churon Winery will host rock, blues and country singer JD Priest next, Friday, Sept. 6, at 7 p.m., and more information can be found at https://innatchuronwinery.com.
Lexington Howe can be reached by email at email@example.com.