Theater & Arts

Artists you should know: Vincent J. Vera

He's a 20-year-old who sings like he's 60.

That's the rap on Vincent J. Vera, a young musician from Reedley -- and it's dead on.

With his harmonica and guitar, a collection of songs and an affinity for folk music, Vera should please fans of Bob Dylan.

Vera is marking the release of his debut CD 4-10 p.m. Saturday at Sanger Music Center, 1703 Academy Ave.

We talked to Vera about the CD, his career plans and that Dylan influence.

How did you get started playing music? I think I was about 4 when I first really heard The Beatles. My dad immediately caught on to my interest and, being a musician himself, shared everything he knew with me.

Describe your sound. To quote Ken Adams of KRDU (AM 1130): "A 60-year-old folk singer in a 20-year-old body." I also can't seem to escape the Dylan comparisons. To speak for myself though, I'd just say I sound like a hungry folk singer.

Your music seems much older than you are. Why do you think that is? Lots of Dylan? I can't deny that my writing style took a turn when I first discovered Dylan, but so did The Beatles'. The melody and rhythm and all that is usually the least of my concern. I focus so much on words and meaning rather than commercialism. I don't think that is so common with most younger artists, so maybe that's part of it.

What can you tell us about your debut album? You should buy it, ha, ha. It's raw and real. Eleven songs of just me, my guitar and my harmonica. Genuine lyrics and genuine feel. I like to think that it'll make you think. It's not an album to rock out and dance to, but instead it's one to contemplate over. And maybe laugh a little.

How long did you work on it? It was recorded in one day. I like to capture my tracks live; I don't really care for overdubbing. As far as the songs: the oldest song on there I wrote when I was 18 and the newest when I was 19. So altogether, about 10 months.

What's coming up for you after Saturday's show? First, I want to mention that Saturday's show is a benefit concert in memory of John Diaz of Sanger. After that, whoever or whatever venue that will have me, I'll be there. I'm always looking for gigs. You also can listen to my radio show on KRDU (AM 1130) at 6 p.m. Saturday, 1 p.m. Sunday and 7 p.m. Sunday.

What song can people listen to online that gives the best glimpse at what you do? Oh man, I think it would be the second song on my MySpace. It's called "You Know Better." If you want to hear it you can find it at

Know a local musician more people should be familiar with? Send the who and why to Mike Osegueda,