Playing Around 

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Me & Julio
Sonterra Grill, 28 S. Tejon St., 471-9222 Friday, Oct. 7, 7-11 p.m. no cover.
Fujiyama Sushi Bar, 28A S. Tejon St., 630-1167 Wednesday, Oct. 12, 8-11 p.m. no cover.

If "Julio" is Julio Garcia, the pony-tailed and golden-voiced salsa music veteran from Cuba, then "Me" must be John Stone, a local blues guitarist who's "crossed over" into salsa. With nearly 50 years of musicianship between them, the two synthesize "son moderna," creating a modern sort of salsa with delightful vocal harmonies and an exceptional combination of salsa and flamenco guitar styles. Stone's Irish, rock/punk and blues background wouldn't seem likely preparation for salsa, but he's got the chops to span the genres. Garcia's carefully honed vocals and guitar work clearly are products of lifelong passion and practice. He's a performer who loves what he does. Me & Julio recently were recognized by the Pikes Peak Arts Council as exceptional musicians, and with good reason. Their energetic salsa sound is pleasing, beautiful and rare in these parts.

-- Sara Gallagher


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