Friday, March 7, 2014
One day last summer I was driving somewhere and had NPR tuned in. An interviewer, don’t remember who but surely do remember his winching clumsiness, asked Dame Maggie Smith, and I kid you not, “How it was being so, ah, old.” Without missing a beat and with a response light years better than anything the Downton Abbey writers could concoct, she replied, “Well, I must say I don’t mind it a bit, except, of course, that, when you’re this, ah, old, it feels like every thirty minutes someone is telling you it’s time for lunch.” Meaning, of course, that at age 79, time has sped up beyond anything a younger person could possibly imagine. And ain’t it the truth? It’s now Friday, and twenty minutes ago I was chatting backstage with Tim Edes and Edgar Loudermilk…seven days ago. But don’t get me started...
MILESTONE--Eddie Adcock wrote "Turkey Knob" and recorded it with the Country Gentlemen on Country Songs, Old and New (circa 1966). Doug Dillard recorded the tune along with several other iconic banjo masterpieces on The Banjo Album (1970, two years after he left the Dillards). It is a great tune, and was also a breakthrough as the first widely heard banjo tune played in the key of D, but in standard banjo G tuning.
Vern and Ray and Kathy and Laurie--I just had a look at the Main Stage schedule for this year’s Father's Day Festival, and I spotted something that’s got me more than a little excited. I’d already known that 2014 will feature the bands of two of our most treasured California bluegrass resources, The Kathy Kallick Band and Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands. What I hadn’t realized is that by hiring both to play this year we’ll get a bonus…featured as A Tribute to Vern & Ray with Kathy Kallick & Laurie Lewis, this is going to be 45 minutes that will likely clear out the entire campgrounds, meaning that even the die-hard pickers who rarely, if at all, make it to the stage area will be there. Having two legends sing and play the music of two earlier legends is the stuff long-term festival memories are made of.
Music in Sonoma. All roads lead to Sonoma County this weekend, and Almost Daily News columnist emeritus Larry Carlin is here to tell you where and why:
"The 14th Annual Sonoma County Folk and Bluegrass Festival from 1-9 p.m. on the 8th at the Sebastopol Community Center is the hot ticket in this merry month of March. It is always a great time, and there is a lot of great music to be seen/heard as well as some serious jamming to be done. The fest is produced by the CBA and the Sonoma County Folk Society, while spearheaded by CBA Board Member Mark Hogan. As the title says, the one-day event features a mix of some of the best in folk and bluegrass. This year's lineup includes Missy Raines & The New Hip, High Country, Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack, The Mike Justis Band, Front Country, The Hot Frittatas, and Spark & Whisper. The emcees for the event will be Kevin Russell and yours truly. What, like you have something better to do this weekend?
“Also, in the town of Sonoma on the 8th, if you want to get a head start on the St. Patrick’s Day paddywhackery the following weekend, check out the Mostly Simply Bluegrass series that is produced Carltone Music at Murphy's Irish Pub. The show usually takes place on the second Saturday of every month, featuring the finest in bluegrass, country, old-time and Americana music. At 8 p.m., see the Sonoma County band Rory McNamara & The Ring of Truth Trio performing Americana and Celtic crossover with some really cool songs. The trio features Rory on guitar and lead vocals, Henry Nagle on electric and pedal steel guitars, and John Caulfield on fiddle and mandolin. Murphy's offers fine food and drink at reasonable prices in a family-friendly atmosphere. There is no cover, and children are welcome.
"Speaking of Simply Bluegrass, the series at Murphy's has been running for 3+ years now, and is no way connected to the new show that begins tonight on the RFD-TV cable network titled Country’s Family Reunion: Simply Bluegrass. (Perhaps this show took a cue from Carltone Music? Are there any bluegrass lawyers out there that want a piece of this?) The TV show is hosted by Hall of Fame Inductee Bill Anderson and multiple Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs, and it will feature a cross-section of legendary bluegrass artists, from finger-pickers, to purists, to newgrass contemporaries.
“Finally, in the giving-credit-where-credit-is-due department, the above MOLD image of the day today of Earl Scruggs was borrowed from Marin County bluegrass fan Karen Walter’s Facebook page. Karen also has an amazing collection of photos of Bay Area bluegrass bands from back in the ‘70s (featuring lots of long hair and beards) that we can only hope will someday be archived electronically online for all to see.”—LC
Paul "Moon" Mullins-A Collection
Classic Country Productions CD-CCP-1501
One of those unheralded pioneers of bluegrass music not well known outside the region where he lived and played, but highly regarded by people who have plied the bluegrass trade in one way or another pretty much everywhere, and certainly around Middletown, Ohio, where he lived, played, and made his mark as a broadcaster and radio station entrepreneur for many years. He is the composer of the by now classic bluegrass song Katie Daley--he set lyrics to an Irish fiddle tune--and his version with an early band of his The Bluegrass Playboys, kicks off this collection that spans the years 1962-1990.An outstanding version of False Hearted Lover, presumably from that same Playboys album, follows(great singing, again uncredited here),and a nice We Shall Meet Some Day(source and vocalists uncredited,from 1965-- and How I Miss My Darling Mother from 1966, credits ditto--missing. Fittingly enough, the CD closes with three fiddle tunes from 1990; Black Mountain Rag, Bile Them Cabbage Down, and Orange Blossom Special. Between these sides, there is a lengthy and fascinating career which includes playing withThe Stanley Brothers, The Bluegrass Playboys,The Boys From Indiana(which he helped found), and Traditional Grass, which featured his son, banjo player and fellow broadcaster and promoter Joe Mullins. That outstanding band appeared at Grass Valley 18 or 20 years ago, and Joe has gone on to become a shining light in traditional bluegrass since, with his own group and his membership in super group Longview. Paul was also mc at Beanblossom for a number of years. Paul passed away in 2008, but there is a website devoted to him, and presumably this album can be ordered there. Aside from Katie Daley the three other earlier mentioned songs and OBS, the music is mostly instrumental, featuring Paul's outstanding traditional breakdown fiddling with a variety of outstanding unidentified backup bands (no notes).I must have bought this at a Joe Mullins Band show, can't remember-- but :Classic Country Productions/500 W. Second Street/Xenia, Ohio,45385-937-372-5804-www.wbzl.com. is on the j-card...and I'm searching for that Bluegrass Playboys album...
(Awfully nice clip of Paul and his band singing Who Will Sing for Me from 2008)
All right, Moldscateers, another week wrapped. I don’t know about you, but I can smell the 2014 bluegrass season in the air. Whether you head for the Sandy Cruz Mountains, the North Coast or the High Desert, there’s a huge big bunch of Bill’s music out there just waiting to be heard this weekend. So go hear it!