by Nancy D. Lackey Shaffer

Ojai-based singer/songwriter Licity Collins brought her guitar, her notebook and some friends to Namba Performing Arts Space on Feb. 15. It was the day after Valentine’s Day, but the good vibes continued to flow, as the artist hosted her very own “Love Fest” featuring herself along with troubadour Rags Rosenberg, Ventura musician Henry Stewart and trombonist Stan “Skabone” Middleton.

Collins — as talented a storyteller as she is a singer and guitarist — shared true tales of love, loss and heartache, many punctuated with moving musical numbers. Rosenberg, a traveling folk bard who sometimes calls Joshua Tree home, gave insight into the people and events behind the songs he played. Collins and Stewart teamed up to perform a duet of Stewart’s hauntingly beautiful ballad “Sleeping in the Graveyard.” She was also joined by Middleton for a spell, with the Barrelhouse Wailers horn player bringing a jazzy touch of trombone to Collins’ folk rock numbers.

While the chocolates handed out to the audience were a treat indeed, the sweetest gift was joining the musicians for genuinely heartfelt moments where poetry and pathos informed the playing. A perfectly delicious Valentine for local music lovers.

Licity Collins

Rags Rosenberg

Henry Stewart

Stan Middleton