Author: Carlin, Larry

January 9, 2009
Friday, January 9th, 2009

Slow start to the month? Guess again. Traditionally the New Year starts off gradually, with a few jams here and there, maybe a concert or two. Okay, maybe that was last weekend. But this weekend there is so much going on that the calendar feels like June already. And this column is one of the longest ever since I began taking notes in November '07. If you have the recession, college-football-withdrawal or post-holiday blues, it is time to cheer yourself up with some good old-fashioned bluegrass!

Jammin’ in Bakersfield -- A possible Guinness Book jamming record may be set this weekend as folks tune up for the 48 Hour Jam II on the 9th and 10th at the Doubletree Hotel in Bakersfield. There will be non-stop picking in the jamming suites, halls, hotel rooms, elevators, and everywhere else in the hotel.

Peter Rowan bluegrass -- Mill Valley’s Peter Rowan is on tour this week around the bay backed by a full bluegrass band. See them at the Palms in Davis 9th, at Don Quixote’s in Felton on the 10th, and in Angels Camp on the 11th. Playing with Peter will be Jody Stecher, Keith Little and Paul Knight.

Festing in River City -- The fifth annual River City Bluegrass Festival in Portland, OR, starts today and runs through the 11th. Some of the acts you can see are Ralph Stanley, Sierra Hull, Longview, JD Crowe & The New South, The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Dan Tyminski Band, Psychograss, Bill Evans & Megan Lynch, Cadillac Sky and The Jim Kweskin Jug Band.

Kathy Kallick in Alameda -- The Kathy Kallick Band will be pickin’ bluegrass at McGrath’s Pub on the 9th from 8-11 p.m. Playing with Kathy will be Chad Manning, Dan Booth, Avram Siegel and Tom Bekeny.

Jamless at the Frog -- On the second and fourth Friday there is usually a jam at The Frog and Fiddle in Sonora, but not this night, as everyone is in Bakersfield.

SFBOTF benefit in SF-- Shelby Ash Presents is hosting an SF Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival Benefit on the 9th at 8 p.m. at the Café du Nord in SF featuring Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys, The Shut-Ins, Bluegrass Revolution and others.

Pizza grass -- Autumn & The Fall Guys can see be seen/heard playing bluegrass, country, etc., on the 9th at Mission Pizza in Fremont from 7-10 p.m., followed on the 10th by the band ‘bout Time. Bluegrass, beer and pizza – what more does one need in life?

Turn your radio on -- Tune into Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal radio show on KALW (91.7 FM) in SF on the 10th from 6:30-8 p.m. The show this week is titled Bluegrass Coal Mining Songs, featuring songs by Hazel Dickens, Stanley Brothers, Carter Family, and Florence Reece to Kathy Mattea, Ricky Skaggs, Jody Stecher & Kate Brislin, and Blue Highway. There have been many powerful songs about the life and work of coal miners, and this show features music from all of the above, plus additional selections from Lonesome Records' "Music Of Coal." You can also listen online.

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

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

Houston Jones weekend -- The high-octane Americana band Houston Jones will be appearing on the 10th at McGrath’s in Alameda starting at 9 p.m., and then on the 11th see them at 4 p.m. at Rancho Nicasio in West Marin.

Blue and green grass in Sonoma -- At Murphy’s Irish Pub in the town of Sonoma on the 10th at 8 p.m. Carolina Special will be playing traditional bluegrass, and then on the 11th at 6 p.m. Shades of Green will be singing Celtic music. Tasty food is available in a family-friendly atmosphere, and there is no cover.

Rita & Jack in Winters -- See Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack along with Fur Dixon & Steve Werner when they play a co-bill on the 10th at the Palms Playhouse in Winters.

Eric & Suzy in Santa Cruz -- Eric & Suzy Thompson on the 10th will be playing a house concert in Santa Cruz, celebrating the release of their new CD Dream Shadows, in which they continue their long-standing love affair with the Southern music of the 1920s and 30s, at the intersection of country blues and rags, old time hillbilly, and early Cajun. Earlier in the day Eric will be giving a flatpicking guitar workshop from 3-5 p.m. He will share the secrets of his approach to flatpicked lead guitar, drawing on licks, breaks, and tunes from Don Reno, Doc Watson and Clarence White, all of whom inspired his own playing. While aimed for the intermediate to advanced player, beginners will learn a lot even if they feel they aren’t keeping up. For more info please contact Steve Palazzo at

Cricket sisters -- The Stairwell Sisters will be playing a Fiddling Cricket Concert on the 10th at Mission City Coffee Roasting in Santa Clara starting at 8 p.m.

Triple bill in SF -- See Jeanie and Chuck’s Country Roundup, Five Dollar Suit and the Black Crown String at the Hotel Utah in SF on the 10th starting at 9 p.m. John McKelvy, formerly guitarist and lead singer in The Earl Brothers, is the leader of this new Black Crown Stringband. They won the 2007 Berkeley Old Time Convention string band contest, calling themselves The Pilot Lighters at that time. The band is John on guitar, Tim Hicks on mandolin, Elise Engleberg on fiddle, Matt Knoth on banjo, and Rob Mellberg on bass.

Special grass -- The band 49 Special can see seen pickin’ some bluegrass at the Café International in SF on the 10th on a bill with Otto Mobile & The Moaners and Crooked Roads starting at 8:15 p.m.

SFBOT Benefit in Oakland -- There will be a special house concert on the 11th to benefit the SFBOTF, featuring The Backyard Party Boys and Gerry Tenney & The Lost Tribe. Show starts at 7:30 p.m., and Tom Lucas will be playing with both bands. To make reservations, call or e-mail Tom Lucas at (510) 339-1872 or

Jammin’ in Santa Barbara -- The monthly second Sunday jam at Tucker's Grove County Park in Santa Barbara will be starting at noon and going until whenever. For
Posted:  1/12/2009

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