Santa Barbara Records Presents: CaliAmericana Vol. 2 (A Compilation Inspired by the Legacy of Kenny Loggins)

by Santa Barbara Records

Track listing: Return to Pooh (Chris Beland), Until You Were Mine (Katie Skene), Head Over Heels (Jackson Gillies), I Want You to Know (Trevor Bahnson), Won't Hold My Breath (Dominique Pruitt), I'm Alright (Glen Phillips), Lovin Me (Katie Skene), What A Fool Believes (Hunter Hawkins), Danny's Song (Dominique Pruitt), Hotel Song (Chris Beland), Seen (Hunter Hawkins), Celebrate Me Home (Trevor Bahnson), Hope In The Light (Glen Phillips), This Is It (Jackson Gillies)

Santa Barbara Records seems to be an anomaly in the music business. Their GM Billy O'Connell writes on the label's website, "more than just releasing great music, we intend to generate meaningful, cultural and economic impact in our community." Huh? Amazing, really. And that philosophy falls right in line with the concept of their series of CaliAmericana records.

The most recent, CaliAmericana, Vol II (A Compilation Inspired by the Legacy of Kenny Loggins, assembles artists and songs in a way I hadn't previously seen. Each contributing artist not only covers one of Loggins' classics but then also performs one of their own original songs. Genius! 

For listeners, you get all your favorite Loggins songs while also getting to know a bit about the participating artists--maybe you'll latch on to a new artist's music or be inspired to take in a show you wouldn't have otherwise. 

For the artists, what an opportunity. It's so difficult to be seen today. The ocean of streaming music is larger than ever and every new release is just another drop in it. But to be on a record that you know will sell to an established fan's such an encouraging endeavor. So kudos to Santa Barbara Records for putting together this project.

As for the songs, CaliAmericana is chock-full of impressively performed covers. Toad the Wet Sprocket lead vocalist Glen Phillips takes a gentle bouncy acoustic approach to "I'm Alright," weaving a web of idyllic harmonies along the way. Another vocal standout on the album is Hunter Hawkins' "What a Fool Believes"--her voice adding an angelic touch to the 1978 Doobie Brothers hit. And the record wraps with an absolutely stunning version of "If This Is It" by Jackson Gillies; the first half of the song a touchingly stark piano and vocal, adding tasteful instrumentation and vocals through to the end. You may recognize Gillies from his viral American Idol audition back in 2019 (if you don't, go watch that video now).

My only complaint is tongue-in-cheek. One of these artists could have taken a risk to record one of Loggins' gems from the Top Gun Soundtrack. I'm only half joking; it would have been a fun departure and I'm willing to bet the result would have been a mature, impressive arrangement of "Playing with the Boys" or "Danger Zone"). But alas...

You've got a bevy of other Loggins' hits rounding out the record: "Return to Pooh Corner," "Danny's Song," Loggins & Messina's "Lovin' Me"...  CaliAmericana, Vol II is worth a listen for Loggins fans (or not), fans of hits they've heard a thousand times, or those looking for the next big thing. The record drops September 22, 2023. Visit for details. And while you're there, sign up for their mailing list! 

Posted on 9/16/23