Playing in a softer key

When he’s not rocking out for a dance floor crowd with his band, the Missiles of October, on Sundays at the Marine Room, guitarist Poul Pederson likes to mellow out with his acoustic guitar and put on a softer performance.

He recently booked a weekly gig, “Poul Pederson and Friends" from 8 to 11 p.m. Thursdays at MarBar, where he invites other talented musicians to join him on stage to play a folk/rock/blues show for “more of a listening crowd."

Inspired by Southern singer-songwriters, the Austin, Texas, native said he likes to put his own twist on obscure songs by artists like Bob Dylan, Van Morrison and John Hiatt.

“I really like where their music comes from," he said.


In the upcoming weeks, he can be seen playing with a fellow guitarist from Honk, Richard Stekol, contemporary blues artist Chris Whynaught and violinist Daniel Blank, who will put a fresh spin on the cover songs as well as his own and the Missiles’ compilations.

“It’s usually about the acoustic guitar, but we’ve been known to bring in a banjo and mandolin," he said. “This night is really fun for me because I get to play with these great musicians who share their own interpretation of the music. We’ll change the tempo and feel so it’s a different approach."

Pederson said a guest he hopes to play beside in the near future is multi-instrumentalist Greg Leisz, who is best known for his pedal steel parts, and who has recorded with a wide variety of artists from The Smashing Pumpkins to Joni Mitchell to Beck.

With songs about “life, love and just everything," Pederson has released one solo album, “The Lightning in a Jar" (1987) in addition to the three albums he collaborated on with the Missiles.


“Some of my [lyrics] are dark, and some are happy and ‘uppity’ too," he said. “When I’m moved by something, I just write."

Pederson said with such a great lineup, he hopes more people will come in on Thursday nights.

“We’ve got some great players from around Laguna, and everyone should hear them play in this light."