Author: Carlin, Larry

August 8, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008

Today is the eighth day of the eighth month of the eighth year of this century. If you are superstitious, then do something daring like get married or buy a lotto ticket. If nothing else, this is your lucky weekend because there is so much going on in the bluegrass world that you’ll also be fortunate if you can find any time to get some sleep…

Strawberry Fields Forever -- Well, maybe not forever, but at least for the next five years the Strawberry Music Festival will continue to exist at its longtime site, Camp Mather. There was a lot of consternation on the part of the fest staff and attendees that they might lose their lease, yet as of today the fest can rest easy until 2013.

Bluegrass opera -- In San Francisco there is a performance at the Traveling Jewish Theatrer titled The Ballad of Edgar Cayce: A Bluegrass Operetta which is about the early 20th century fortune teller Edgar Cayce. But it is hard to tell from the website or the review in the SF Chronicle if there is much bluegrass in the show or not. The title may come from the fact that Cayce was from Kentucky, yet at the same time in the review it says that the director and actor wrote three songs for the show and “arranged several others by the Monroe Brothers and Stephen Foster which they play on odd instruments and sing in unique, comedic close harmony.” Perhaps one of the “odd” instruments mentioned here is a banjo? The show runs Thursdays-Sundays until the end of August.

Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass -- The place to be this weekend is the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival south of Hollister. The fest is put on by the Northern California Bluegrass Society. It will feature a veritable cornucopia of bluegrass bands, such as Nell Robinson & Red Level, Stoney Mountain Ramblers, Kitchen Help, Courthouse Ramblers, The Wronglers, Homespun Rowdy, Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys, The Mighty Crows, Houston Jones, Highway One, Scott Gates & Pacific Ocean Bluegrass Band and Grizzly Peak.

Take the stage -- There is a new workshop titled Take the Stage that will be starting in September at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. It is an eight-session program designed to give amateur musicians a chance to participate in a band of their peers, and it culminates in a live performance at the Freight in November. In two-hour sessions each week, band participants will develop a set of songs by learning singing, harmony vocals, soloing, playing backup, band dynamics and more. At this time bass players are sorely needed for the workshop. Nell Robinson is the program director and David Zimmerman of Homespun Rowdy will lead the workshops. Guest instructors include Kathy Kallick, Megan Lynch and Jim Nunally. There is an advanced track for existing bands coached by Laurie Lewis. Signups are happening now so get your applications in ASAP. There is also a welcome party and jam for participants on August 17th.

Special time in Alameda -- In Alameda on the 8th at McGrath’s Pub starting at 8 p.m. check out the ensemble known as 49 Special playing some hot Alaskan bluegrass.

Two cool shows at the Freight -- On the 8th at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley Marley’s Ghost will be playing a blend of English and American folk, gospel, country, R&B, and Scottish bagpipe tunes. And on the 9th High Country will be celebrating its 40-year anniversary of playing bluegrass with many former band members in attendance.

Dead on the Creek -- The annual Dead on the Creek Festival takes place in Willits on the 8th-10th and some of the bands there are Greensky Bluegrass, Hot Buttered Rum, Wake the Dead and Moonalice. Tie-dye optional.

Hot summer nights in Temecula -- There is series of free Friday night shows from 6-9 p.m. in old town Temecula called Hot Summer Nights that has multiple bands playing. One of the acts you can see there tonight is the Blue Creek bluegrass band. They recently released a CD titled Picking Live in California. Next week Scott Gates & Pacific Ocean Bluegrass will be on the bill.

Jammin’ in Sonora -- Tonight is the second Friday so this means that there is a jam at the Old Stan in Sonora starting at 7 p.m. This jam has no ending time so people are welcome to pick until they drop.

Celtic goose -- Nine-8ths Irish (with Kathy Barwick on guitar) will be performing on the 8th at the Fox & Goose in Sacramento. The show starts at 9 p.m. and there's a $3 cover.

Solo Blue Grass Boy -- On the 9th at 8:30 p.m. the next edition of the Bluegrass Gold series will take place at Sweetwater Station in Larkspur. The show is produced by Carltone Music, and it will feature former Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan performing solo. Peter has led a long and varied career. In the 1960s he played with bluegrass legend Bill Monroe and The Blue Grass Boys as well as the bands Earth Opera and Seatrain. In 1973 he formed the all-star bluegrass band Old and In the Way, with David Grisman and Jerry Garcia, and their self-titled recording is one of the best-selling bluegrass albums of all time. He then recorded a few albums with brothers Chris and Lorin, toured with his band The Free Mexican Air Force, and he has recorded several solo albums. His song “Panama Red” was a million-selling hit for The New Riders of the Purple Sage. His most recent recording on Rounder Records is Quartet with bluegrass guitar wizard Tony Rice. Peter has lived in Marin County for over thirty years, and he is one of the most entertaining and versatile performers on the scene today. The venue serves food and drink, so people of all ages are welcome. For more information call the venue at (415) 924-6107.

Turn your radio on -- Tune into Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal radio show on KALW (91.7 FM) in SF on the 9th from 6:30-8 p.m. as the show celebrates anniversaries. Saturday is the 55th anniversary of the
Stanley Brothers’ first Mercury recording session and the 13th anniversary of Jerry Garcia’s death, so he’ll be playing the music of both.

Music Store at 10 -- Shelby Ashe’s Music Store in the West Portal district of San Francisco will be celebrating its ten-year anniversary on the 9th with a huge party and lots of bands. There will be no charge for the music, and food and drink will be available for sale. The party starts at noon and will go until at least 10 p.m., and some of the bands you can see are The Bluegrass Revolution, The<
Posted:  8/11/2008

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