"Joe City Garcia sings from a body that has shot through both heaven and hell and some of the most heartbreakingly beautiful desert landscapes that lie in between."

Rubén Martínez - journalist/author/performer/educator, Los Angeles, CA

From legendary journalist/author, Bruce Fessier, on our show, My Ravaged Valentine, on Feb. 15 @ Furstwurld Gallery / Performing Arts in Joshua Tree:

February 16 at 7:16 PM

The musical artists who joined in Urban Desert Cabaret's My Ravaged Valentine show Saturday at Furstwurld in Joshua Tree were so tight— singing all compelling original songs—I had to ask their distinctive guitarist, Robert Garson, how many rehearsals they'd had. He laughed and said, "One."

Then, this afternoon, J.R. Roberts said the seemingly off-the-cuff benefit for the restoration of the Plaza Theatre, featuring stories, video clips and live performances by Nancy Sinatra, had also been rehearsed, making me furrow my brow and think, "Really?"

I loved hearing Nancy sing These Boots Are Made For Walking and Bang, Bang (which she could have said was written by Sonny Bono, who wanted to use the Plaza for his film festival). And it was tantalizing to hear her talented daughter A.j. Lambert sing just a few chestnuts with Nancy's great Wrecking Crew pianist Don Randi. The program should have ended with "Boots" so we could have felt like a bit of history had been made.

But I got more of that sensation watching My Ravaged Valentine. Even frontman Joe Garcia was amazed at how engaged that crowd was for his evocative ensemble, including singers Teddy Quinn and Lisa Mednick-Powell, who knew just when and where to put the right phrases on keyboards and accordion to make the whole thing mesh.

Check out Garcia's regular Sunday morning gigs at the Giant Rock Meeting Room Coffee House in Flamingo Heights —10 miles south of the sacred Giant Rock that I'll be describing in my Feb. 29 class in Joshua Tree National Park, "The History and Legends of the Joshua Tree Music Scene," as one of the birthplaces of high desert mystique.