Author: Carlin, Larry

January 2, 2009
Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Starting off on the right foot. There are many New Year’s superstitions and traditions, and with this Internet thing you can find out more than you ever need to know about them. Being an erstwhile journalist, some research was in order. Now, I am not a superstitious guy, but if I were 2009 promises to be a banner year for me. Some of the top ten things to do when the New Year arrives are eating black eyed peas, wearing a new shirt, having a full pantry, having money in your pocket, not spending of that money, kissing your loved one at midnight, and going to a happy place. Amazingly so, all of these things apply to me these past two days. I did, however, take out the trash, so I hope this does not negate any of the others...

Out with the old, in with the old -- One other tradition that should be on this list is picking bluegrass with like-minded souls. New Year’s Eve was spent jamming with some some auld acquaintances not soon forgot in Marin County with the highlight being a one-time Blue Grass Boy in the middle of all of the pickin’. Then New Year’s Day was spent doing the same with many veterans of the Bay Area bluegrass scene at a small house in Oakland. At one time there were five jams going on in a space of about 1,500 square feet, and in some ways I felt like I was at the IBMA convention in Nashville. Now if there is a better way to end one year and start another, I don’t what that is. And speaking of bluegrass in the New Year, there is quite a bit going on already this first weekend, so take down the lights, recycle your tree, and get out of the house and have some fun!

Bluegrass in Sonoma -- At Murphy’s Irish Pub in the town of Sonoma tonight at 8 p.m. The Sonoma Mountain Band will be playing traditional bluegrass music. Tasty food is available in a family-friendly atmosphere, and there is no cover.

Cosmic Rita -- See Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack playing on the 3rd in Placerville at The Cosmic Café.

Turn your radio on Saturday -- Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal airs every Saturday night from 6:30-8 p.m. on KALW (91.7 FM) in San Francisco. This weekend he is taking the day off and turning over the dials to guest host Jose Segue to let him broadcast the best of 2008 from the Bay Area’s twangin’ bands. Devil Makes Three, The Waybacks, 77 El Deora, Pine Box Boys, Axton Kinkaid and many more will be featured.

Blue Ridge Pickin’ -- The Blue Ridge Pickin’ Parlor in Granada Hills has a pickin’ session on the first Saturday of every month from 6-10:30 p.m. The beginner’s jam goes from 6-7:30 in the main store, followed by an open jam there from 7:30-10:30. An intermediate jam takes place from 7:30-10:30 p.m. two doors down at their additional space. Go and strut your musical expertise, pick and sing the night away, meet-up with old friends and make new ones. Everyone is welcome – listener, singer, beginning player and the seasoned picker. For more info email

Mountaineers in Oak Glen -- On the first Saturday of each month Riley's at Los Rios Rancho puts on an old-time music variety show, just like those great old radio and TV shows of the 40s and 50s. There’s one difference – they throw in a hearty family-style dinner! On the 3rd join Riley’s Mountaineers for dinner and a show starting at 6 p.m.

Brunch with the Spillit Quikkers -- On the first Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. you can have a late breakfast or early lunch in Sacramento with the Spillit Quikkers at the Hoppy Brewing Company, 6300 Folsom Boulevard. No cover.

Jammin’ in Clovis -- There will be a bluegrass, old-time and gospel music jam on the 3rd at the Clovis Senior Center, 850 4th Street. Jams take place there on the first and third Saturdays. Coffee, tea and hot chocolate will be available. The time is 7-11 p.m. Each attendee is asked to contribute $1 to cover the rent.

Jammin’ in Sebastopol -- The place for bluegrass pickin' on Saturdays is the Coffee Catz, 6761 Sebastopol Ave, from 2-5 p.m.

Cool dudes -- The Grateful Dudes will be playing bluegrass on the 3rd at Vincenzo’s Pizza in Newhall from 7:30-10:30 p.m. Band members Bill Bryson, Dennis Fetchet, Scott Micale and Rodger Phillips have been playing at Vincenzo’s for 20 years now.

Jammin’ in Marysville -- The 4th is the first Saturday of the month, so from 3-6 p.m. there will be jamming going on at the Brick Coffee House Café, 316 D Street, in Marysville. All skill levels welcome. For info call (530) 743-5283.

Santa Clara Fiddlers -- The Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional types of American music such as old-time, bluegrass and gospel music, as played on the fiddle and other acoustic stringed instruments. On the first Sunday of every month they hold their open jams at the Hoover Middle School in San Jose from 1-5 p.m.

Jammin’ in Sutter Creek -- Join the old-time/Celtic jam session on the 4th that will be happening at Backroads Coffee House, 74 Main Street, in Sutter Creek from 1-5 p.m. For info call (209) 267-0440.

Quakes in San Gregorio -- The bluegrass band Earthquake Country will be playing on the 4th at the San Gregorio General Store south of Half Moon Bay from 2-5 p.m. No cover, you can have a beer and also get you shopping done while you are there!

Bluegrass in SLO -- The Wild River Ramblers play from 2-4 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month at the Santa Maria Brewing Company in the town of Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County.

Jammin’ in Encino -- There is an old-time jam session on the first Sunday of every month from 1-4 p.m. at the CTMS Center for Folk Music in the town of Encino. See long-time friends and make new ones. Play your favorites and learn new tunes. Or just go and listen and relax on a Sunday afternoon.

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “A perpetual holiday is a good working definition of hell.”
Posted:  1/5/2009

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