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The Roadhouse Series Presents: A Tribute to Buddy Holly

Published on Feb 1, 2023

The Roadhouse Series at the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena presents “A Tribute to Buddy Holly,” a Musical Exploration by J.P. McDermott featuring Buddy Holly’s apartment tapes and his last tour, on Thursday, Feb. 2, starting at 8 p.m.

This show will take place on the 64th anniversary of Buddy Holly’s last performance: February 2, 1959, at The Surf Ballroom in Clearlake, Iowa.

In the two months before the plane crash that took his life at the age of 22, Buddy Holly wrote some of his most beautiful songs. Making plans for the future, he recorded them accompanied only by his guitar in his Greenwich Village apartment.

Buddy’ Holly’s last tour was an almost unimaginable journey through the frozen Midwest in January and February of 1959. Travelling hundreds of miles a day on a series of broken-down buses, often without heat, Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens brought joy to thousands of ecstatic fans who braved the elements for a taste of rock and roll.

J.P. McDermott takes a deep dive into these last few songs and talks about where they came from, how Greenwich Village affected the young man from Texas, and where those songs might have taken him had he not boarded that plane.

In the second half of the show, J.P. McDermott will examine the pains and pleasures of that last tour. He’ll be joined by his band, Western Bop, to play some of the great music from The Winter Dance Party.

J.P. McDermott is a singer, bandleader, and a lifelong Buddy Holly fan. He has organized celebrations of Holly’s life and music on both coasts and has spoken (and sung) about Holly’s life and legacy at The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D,C., and at The Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas.

Tickets to Thursday’s show are $20. For more information, call (626) 798-6236 or visit

The Coffee Gallery Backstage is at 2029 N. Lake Ave. in Altadena.

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