The Ultimate Sedona Day Trip: Cruisers Café and the Music of John Carpino in Williams, Arizona
Sedona, AZ: It’s a sunny, cool, and beautiful afternoon in nostalgic downtown Williams, and the quaint shops and restaurants are bustling with activity. Suddenly, the air is filled with the pleasant tunes of Arlo Guthrie, Bruce Springsteen, the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, and some catchy tunes that we didn’t recognize. The music attracts us like a powerful magnet, and is emanating from the outdoor patio of one of our favorite Williams hangouts, Cruisers Café on Main Street. The music blends in perfectly with the nostalgia of Route 66, and the historic and picturesque Williams downtown. So, we can’t help but enjoy lunch on the patio and enjoy more of the seductive music.
The music is coming from talented Payson musician John Scarpino, who performs on a regular basis during spring and summer afternoons and evenings at Cruisers Café. John also performs on the Grand Canyon Railway train as it makes its daily trips to and from the Grand Canyon. We purposely sat near the stage and soon John is interacting with the audience and inviting adults and children alike to come up to his stage and accompany him by playing the tambourine and singing.
John has a great voice and is skilled at playing the guitar and the harmonica. His performances are a mix of familiar 60’s 70’s and 80’s tunes, and original songs written by John, that are among other things, inspired by his family, his background, Northern Arizona and the Grand Canyon. Such songs as “These Canyon Walls,” “Under the Blue Arizona Sky,” “Rock and Roll Highway,” and “New Mexico Bound,” give the listener the warm feel of the southwest and its sunsets and canyons. John’s passion for song writing and singing is very evident, and is reflected in his performances. He clearly is living his dream.
At the break, John sat with us and his warm and charismatic personality immediately comes through as he shares his background. John was born and raised in Western Montana. He then moved to Colorado at the age of 18 where he began performing live in clubs and coffee houses as a solo acoustic act. He also studied music at Fort Lewis College in Durango, earning a BA degree in music education. He also was a music teacher in Sedona, and currently splits his time between Williams and Payson, Arizona. Though his musical talents are varied, John's first love is the art of songwriting. Over the years he has compiled a catalog of songs and on this day, his performance was sprinkled with his original creations. He has a number of CD’s available that provide a sampling of his extensive original songs he has written over the last twenty-five years.
John has been recognized in his hometown of Payson as “Best Entertainer” for fourteen consecutive years, and is the most in-demand performer in the area. John has the unique talent of creating and maintaining a mutual sense of enjoyment between audience and performer and it was clearly evident during our visit. We enjoyed his music so much that we returned again a couple days later.
For visitors coming to Sedona, Arizona for multi-day visits, we strongly recommend a day trip to Williams and a visit to Cruisers Café and the music of John Carpino. Williams is about 1.5 hour drive from Sedona, north on SR 89A to Flagstaff, and west on I-40 for approximately 30 miles. You will not be disappointed!
“Time is an ocean, an ever-changing sea. Don’t let time steal your faith in me. Don’t let the changes cool your desire. I believe in this life, we can go higher...” John Carpino, from the song, “Believe In You.”
For more information about John and to hear more samples of his music, visit his website: JohnCarpino.com.