Jonny Troutner (a.k.a. Harpin’ Jonny) has been playing harmonica in Santa Cruz since 1992. “It was a character I created to publicize my previous business, Antolini Masonry and Landscape Supplies,” Troutner explains. “You might have heard the catchy jingles on KPIG.” The gifted harpist has accompanied dozens of local musicians for several decades and has a laid-back disposition that could have been Jeff Bridges’ inspiration for The Dude in The Big Lebowski.
The name “Harpin’ Jonny” comes from the fact that Troutner “always had to lend the other guys money and give them rides to the gigs,” he says slyly. Troutner recalls the early days, “I started off playing with Stormin’ Norman and the Cyclones. That band featured Norman Lewis, a couple of the Doobie Brothers and Ken Kraft from Snail. We played The Crow’s Nest, 41st Street Yard Line in Soquel, and the Windjammer in Aptos.” In 1994, he formed The Primadons, and later joined up with country mavericks The Larry Hosford Band. His ability to play country, blues and soaring rock interchangeably was showcased on Harpin’ Around, released in 2000. “I have a good ear that likes to fill in and play solo parts,” he says. Though initially fearful of being the lead singer, Troutner found new confidence with Harpin’ Jonny and the Groovehounds. “The band was formerly the rhythm section (keyboard, drum, and bass) of Red Beans and Rice from Monterey,” he says. From jamming with Robert Earl Keen, Tom Snider and Paul Thorn, to opening for The Tubes and Sons of Champlin at The Catalyst, Troutner has appeared on more than 30 local recordings. To mark the release of his newest effort, Harpster, the man of many hats will perform with several of his past collaborators—including The Primadons, The Groovehounds, Larry Hosford Band, and Peter Clark—at Don Quixote’s this Saturday. | DNA
INFO: 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18. Don Quixote’s, 6275 Hwy 9, Felton. $10/adv, $12/door. 603-2294.