Tuneful treat amid the vines

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2012 - 12:00 am | Page 3D

Laurence Juber has played alongside the biggest names in pop and rock music, including a lead guitar stint in Paul McCartney's Wings. And if you happened to see "The Muppets," that's Jubers playing when Kermit the Frog plucks his banjo.

On Friday, Juber will set the soundtrack for wine sipping while playing soothing solo guitar tunes. He appears at 7 p.m. at Cielo Winery, 3040 Ponderosa Road, Shingle Springs, (530) 672-8575.

Juber's more of a single-malt scotch kind of guy, but he still enjoys a fine wine from time to time. Playing with Al "Year of the Cat" Stewart, who's also a noted wine aficionado in the music world, helped pique Juber's appreciation of wine.

"Al Stewart kind of spoiled me," said Juber, in a call from his Southern California home. "The really good stuff is the stuff I can't afford to drink. I appreciate a finely cultivated wine, but because I tour so much, it's essential to be sober on the road. It makes life a lot easier."

It's this kind of dependability that's made for such a highly successful career as a studio musician and sideman. Even if Juber's name doesn't sound familiar, you've certainly heard his playing, be it on the "Good Will Hunting" soundtrack or the theme for "The Spy Who Loved Me," and backing Barry Manilow.

He's perhaps best known as holding the lead guitar slot for Wings from 1978 to 1981. Along with the dream gig of sharing the stage with McCartney, playing with Wings also found Juber rubbing elbows with other rock icons. The closing of a 1980 benefit concert featured Wings' all-star "Rockestra," which included such players as The Who's Pete Townshend and the late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.

"We were doing 'Let it Be,' and realized nobody was going to step forward and take the solo," said Juber. "So, I've got Pete Townshend and all these iconic people breathing down my neck as I take the solo. It was a magical moment."

Juber will share such stories, along with showcasing his much lauded fingerstyle guitar playing. Tickets cost $25.

"There's a sense of humor about what I do," said Juber. "It's not just a dry recital. Guitar's been my passport to the world of music, and I'm thrilled I can keep doing it."

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Read more articles by Chris Macias

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