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Featured Artist: The SureFire Soul Ensemble

A little story about seeing the musical force known as The SureFire Soul Ensemble

I walk past Pizza Port and towards the giant blue mural that reads Ocean Beach. On it is the striking face of Johnny Cash, dressed in black and smoking his cigarette. Round the corner and through the door, I enter a dark room with filtered lights of red and green. There is a slight stank in the air. Something funky no doubt. People are packed into the OB Winston’s and ready to get loud.

A swelling anticipation is pointed towards the stage for tonight’s show with The SureFire Soul Ensemble. They begin with the percussion section and a rumbling bass:

Clack, clack goes the clave

Boom, boom goes the bongos

Doo, doo goes the bass

Rhythms are flying and 30 seconds in, the stage is set for a flat-out bull rush, and here they come. The heavy hitting horn section, right on cue, and these guys got talent. The melody is harmonized and played through twice before each member takes a spicy lead.

I find myself shifting through the crowd and getting closer to front of the action. The rhythm section is a healthy blend of jazz style drum kit, a gourd shaker, and wood clave. Feet are shuffling and shoulders bumping but when Tim Felton’s organ finally cries out like a gospel choir, the rest of us involuntarily break out into tribal dance.

Such is the instinctual result when listening to the sounds of SureFire Soul Ensemble.

Inspired by San Diego scenes and California dreams, these guys have been all over town. The group formed in 2012 and was a already a force to be reckon with. Tim Felton spearheading the organ, Chris Lea on sax and flute, Jesse Audelo on the baritone, Kiko Cornejo on congas, and backed by local jazz legend Bill Caballero. With such talented musicians coming together, it was no wonder they were awarded Best Blues Album 2015 and later, Best Local Recording 2017 at the San Diego Music Awards.

Fast forward to today. You can find a collage of 45 rpm singles of radio quality, and two amazing full length albums. A personal favorite of mine their album Out on the Coast. Now partnered with one of the top rising Funk/Soul Labels around; Colemine Records, they are becoming unstoppable. If you haven’t checked this label out, Dang! Really epic assortment in the funk category. Some of my favorite bands currently are on this label. Colemine includes Orgone, Jungle Fire, Durand Jones and The Indications, and The Monophonics.

Charge down to the beach to see them live at SaltDog Classic where they are headlining main stage along with Mestizo Beat, Chugboat, and Emily Afton. The 2018 community festival takes place at Seaside State Beach on Sept 22nd.


About SaltDog Classic

Designed with the intent to raise money for local non-profits, state parks, and rising artistic talent, SaltDog Classic brings the community together for a truly great day of song and dance. This annual event features live bands, local vendors, talented artists, and craft brew sponsors. Where art and culture collide is the beach, and why not do it all for a good cause. Check out the movement at

About Rancho Coastal Humane Society

Rancho Coastal Humane Society (RCHS) began its journey in 1960, and was founded by a group of hardworking volunteers. Led by animal lover Maria K. Lloyd, their mission was to care for the homeless animal population of San Diego County and to educate the public about pet over-population and responsible companion animal care. To this day, their mission holds true. SaltDog Classic is proud to support them as our dedicated beneficiary. Contributions from the silent auction, all direct donations, and any profits from the event go towards their cause.

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