Nov 29, 2023 - Music

San Diego guitarist Anthony Cullins, known as "the kid from Fallbrook," is all grown up

Anthony Cullins performs at the Torch Club in Sacramento

Anthony Cullins performs at the Torch Club in Sacramento, on June 23. Photo: Courtesy of Anthony Cullins

It's been almost a decade since people started calling Anthony Cullins "that kid from Fallbrook," after seeing the 12-year-old guitarist tear up weekly jams at the House of Blues downtown.

Driving the news: Now, he's a 22-year-old recording artist just home from playing the world-famous Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. He's adding a growing catalog of original material to the guitar chops that have won him routine comparisons to Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix and just about every other 1970s-era guitar god.

Zoom in: Cullins has two local gigs in the next two weeks.

  • Thursday at Winstons Beach Club in OB. 9pm. $10.
  • Wednesday, Dec. 6 at Moonshine Beach in PB. 10pm. $15-20.

Zoom out: "I didn't give myself that nickname — but I'd meet people and they'd say, 'Oh you're that kid from Fallbrook,' or if I didn't go to a jam they'd say, 'Where's that kid from Fallbrook,'" Cullins told Axios. "So when I first made business cards, I realized no one knew my name, so I put it on there."

  • From there, Cullins won guitar contests and collected press clippings where he was frequently called a prodigy and compared to the greats.
  • Earlier this month, Cullins backed Earl Thomas in London, and he's working on nailing down shows in Norway, France and the U.K. again next summer.
  • "Touring, that's where it's all going for me," he said. "I love getting out and playing with other people, and learning what they do..."

Cullins stood out among a crowd of talented musicians at Belly Up last Sunday night, playing the Clapton role in Chest Fever's annual tribute to The Band's final concert.

Yes, but: His latest studio material highlights a musician who is more than just stellar musicianship, adding Stevie Wonder's soul to his prominent blues rock influences.

What to watch: Cullins loves San Diego's music scene, but said it's time for venues to start paying musicians better.

  • "Established venues need to stop hiring not-so-good bands, because that hurts their reputation, which hurts everyone trying to do this for a living," he said. "And yeah, there should be more cash flow."

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