Author: Carlin, Larry

January 23, 2009
Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Tough times for artists. As everyone knows, this country is going through a tough patch right now in more ways than one. There are serious economic, employment and housing issues, and it could be a while before things start to turn around. Unfortunately, one of the first casualties during times like these is the arts, as people tend to stay home more. Added to this is the recent disturbing news that Sweetwater Station closed in Larkspur, the Sacramento Ballet canceled the rest of its 2008-09 season, and the California Autoharp Gathering in Dunlap this May has also been canceled. But painters, actors, musicians, etc., need work too, so if you have some discretionary funds on hand, or if you know any corporate CEOs with some TARP cash leftover, please consider supporting your local artists. Sitting idly in your living room and watching Hollywood entertainment game shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent and Dancing With The Network Stars is not the same as experiencing a live performance. This is the same kind of twisted thinking that foolishly leads one to think that he/she is getting exercise by watching sports on TV. Get out and have some fun by going to a show or joining a jam! And if you ever hear someone moan the words “There’s nothing to do,” just send them here to this column. There is a lot of stuff going on if you know where to look for it…

Song catchers -- There was a great story on National Public Radio yesterday about some folks from the Field Recorders Collective that are trying to save old-time music history one recording at a time. You can read or listen to it here.

Crawdads in Winters -- The old-time band The Putah Creek Crawdads with special guests Jim Nunally and Keith Little will be appearing tonight at The Palms in Winters.

Bluegrass in Sonoma -- At Murphy’s Irish Pub in the town of Sonoma on the 23rd at 8 p.m. enjoy the traditional bluegrass sounds of The David Thom Band, and then on the 24th at 8 p.m. it will be Americana music with The Spiral Mystics. Tasty food is available in a family-friendly atmosphere, and there is no cover.

Devil’s Slide bluegrass -- The bluegrass band Devil’s Slide can be seen playing on the 23rd at The Chit Chat Cafe in Pacifica from 7:30-9 p.m.

Busy weekend in Alameda -- On the 23rd at McGrath’s Pub enjoy the Yukon bluegrass of 49 Special from 8-11 p.m., and then on the 24th the Stadler Gibbons Band will be playing classic country and other forms of roots music.

Hot time with Cowtown -- The Hot Club of Cowtown is playing a series of shows up north these next few days. On the 23rd they will be at Don Quixote's in Felton, on the 24th at The Last Day Saloon in Santa Rosa, on the 25th at the Palms in Winters, and on the 26th and 27th at The Great Basin Brewing Company in Sparks, NV.

Flatiron String Band on tour -- The East Coast old-time band The Flatiron String Band continues its tour. On Friday the 23rd they will be at The Phoenix Theatre in Petaluma opening for the Devil Makes Three, and on the 24th you can see them at The Blue Lamp in Sacramento with the same band. Gosh, too bad they did not book a gig at The Flatiron in San Rafael…

Triple bill in SF -- Tonight you can see three bands for the price of one when The Earl Brothers, The Brothers Comatose and The Darktown Rounders perform in San Francisco at Thee Parkside starting at 8 p.m.

Jammin’ in Sonora -- On the second and fourth Friday there is a jam at The Frog and Fiddle in Sonora, so head on over there tonight at 7 p.m. This jam has no ending time so people are welcome to pick until they drop.

Natural Drift in Cameron Park -- The bluegrass band Natural Drift will be playing tonight at Hemalayas in Cameron Park. With a traditional, five-piece bluegrass instrumentation for a foundation, ND adds a fresh blend of the band members’ diverse bluegrass backgrounds to provide audiences with a delightful, engaging musical performance through their own passion and pure bluegrass sound. No cover, dancing, and great food.

Double header at the Plough -- Shelby Ash Presents has a show tonight at the Plough & Stars in SF featuring Pam (Belle Monroe) Brandon & Maurice Tani and The Slow Motion Cowboys. Music starts at 9.

Resin up that bow! -- The 35th Annual Cloverdale Old-Time Fiddle Contest will be taking place on the 24th-25th in the town of Cloverdale. Besides the contest there is also jamming as well as performances by Steve Goodbar & Kenny Blacklock, The Mighty Chiplings, and Sweet Everlasting.

Scott Gates in Ojai -- The Nathan McEuen Band (with Scott Gates on mandolin), will be appearing on the 24th at The Village Jester in Ojai starting at 9 p.m. For info call (805) 640-8001.

Bluegrass in Yuma -- Thanks to Larry and Sondra Baker it will be one great day of music at the Fourth Annual Bluegrass in the Park festival in Yuma, AZ, on the 24th. Starting at 10 a.m. and going until dusk in West Wetlands Park (1st Street & 12th Avenue) you can see The James King Band, Danny Paisley & Southern Grass, Bluegrass Patriots, Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show, and Mark Phillips & IIIrd Generation Bluegrass. For more info call (209) 785-4693.

Slow jam in Berkeley -- The normal second and fourth Sunday afternoon slow jam workshop at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley will be held this weekend on Saturday the 24th due to a scheduling conflict. People that are ready for slow-jamming can check out the gatherings on the afternoons from 1-4 p.m. You can drop-in, or buy a $50 pass for the six sessions each quarter. You can get the pass through the Freight box office, or online at their website. There will be snacks and soft drinks available, and lots of room for jamming. For more information contact Ran Bush at

Turn your radio on -- Tune into Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal radio show on KALW (91.7 FM) in SF on the 24th from 6:30-8 p.m. The show this week is titled What Goes On and it will preview upcoming Bay Area bluegrass events, including the SF Bluegrass & Old Time Festival, RBA concert series, and more.

Posted:  1/26/2009

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