Jaqui Hope parlays hitchhiking into standout live music.

Starting Strong: (From left) David Holodiloff, David Barth, Jaqui Hope and Preston Sult have been galvanized by a positive response early on. “People have been really digging our shows,” Hope says.

About a year ago, Jaqui Hope hiked alone up into the mountains of Palo Colorado in Big Sur on what she calls a “vision quest.” For more than 30 hours, Hope meditated in the wilderness without any food. When the Pacific Grove Art Center’s executive director came down the mountain, she decided to hitchhike to where her car was parked. 

The first car that stopped for Hope after she stuck out her thumb happened to contain three local musicians, guitarist David Barth (The Next Blues Band), bassist Preston Sult (Electric Natives, Canyon) and multi-instrumentalist Dave Holodiloff (Microtonic Harmonic, Kangarooster, Tree Top Trio). 

“They went on to tell me that they were practicing in the area and they were looking for a female vocalist,” Hope says. “We all got to talking and it seemed like the right time and place.”

Soon after, Temple Tigers – performing Saturday at Sly McFly’s – was born.

Like Holodiloff, Barth and Sult, Hope’s been involved in the local music scene for several years, performing at spots like the defunct Ol’ Factory Café in Sand City and Bixby’s in Carmel. All parties say she meshed brilliantly with the other musicians. 

As of now, the quartet is a cover band churning out everything from U2 and Blind Faith to The Police and the Stones. But soon Hope wants to start incorporating some original tunes in the mix because all four bandmembers write their own music.

“We started with tunes that we all love but really had never done with the other bands we’ve played with,” Hope says.

Hope’s smoky, rock-and-roll voice adds a unique flavor to lyrics from Sting and Mick Jagger. For both local audiences and the group itself, that’s one of many reasons to believe this quest is just beginning.

TEMPLE TIGERS play at 9pm, Saturday, Jan. 28, at Sly McFly’s, 700 Cannery Row, Monterey. Free. 649-8050.

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