Author: Carlin, Larry

January 28, 2009
Wednesday, January 28th, 2009

King Records in the NY Times -- There was a great story in the New York Times on Sunday about King Records, a record company from Cincinnati started by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member (and 2006 IBMA Hall of Honor inductee) Syd Nathan in the 1940s/50s. The label started out with “hillbilly” music and then moved into rhythm and blues, with such notable acts as The Stanley Brothers, Reno and Smiley, Hank Ballard and James Brown all recorded for King at one time or another. You can read the story here.

More on King -- In the story in the Times it is mentioned that a book titled King of the Queen City: The Story of King Records by Jon Hartley Fox will be published by the University of Illinois Press later this year. Jon lives in Sacramento, as he has written countless liner notes for and reviews of American roots recordings. The book will part of the Music in American Life series and it will be available in August or September. In October Jon will doing a mini-book tour, with signings and such at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, The Country Music Hall of Fame, IBMA and The Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, and then in Cincinnati, Dayton and maybe Memphis.

No banjo joke -- Comedian Steve Martin, who played banjo in his early comic days, released his first full-length music album yesterday. Titled The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, it is an exclusive for 90 days. Martin wrote the 15 tracks for the project, and it was produced by his longtime friend John McEuen. Guests include Vince Gill, Dolly Parton and Earl Scruggs, as well as Mary Black, Tim O'Brien, Tony Trischka and Pete Wernick. Martin will host and perform on Saturday Night Live this Saturday.

Plan ahead -- Celebrating 15 years together, the smokin’ bluegrass band Blue Highway (with Bay Area native Rob Ickes on dobro) will be touring out on the coast next month, so clear the calendar and buy your tickets now. They will play at Wintergrass in Tacoma, WA, on the 21st and 22nd, then in state they will appear at the Black Oak Casino in Tuolumne on the 25th, at the Palms in Winters on the 26th, at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley on the 27th, the Redwood Bluegrass show in Mountain View on the 28th, and in Potter Valley on March 1st. Check out their special 15-Year Anniversary web page.

Cowboys and poetry -- The 25th Annual Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering at The Western Folklife Center in Elko, NV, started last weekend and runs through the 31st. Lots of great stuff is going there, including performances by Riders in the Sky, Michael Martin Murphey and many more.

More cowboys in Moss Landing -- Tonight see The Trail Rider Band, led by none other than Peter Hicks, play cowboy music at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing from 6-8 p.m. Speaking of Phil’s, a few months back the celebrated Bobby Flay appeared at there ready to compete for the best tasting cioppino. Tune into the Food Network tonight at 9 p.m. for the Throwdown with Bobby Flay show, as the bluegrass band Deep Elem may even appear on your screen. They had the pleasure of being down there for the big event.

Barbequed crows -- The Mighty Crows will be pickin’ some hot bluegrass to go along with the spicy barbeque at Sam’s Bar-B-Que in San Jose tonight from 6-9 p.m. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151.

Fairfax Fiddle Summit -- Check out three fiddle players tonight for the price of none (no cover) at 9 p.m. at the Sleeping Lady in Fairfax. See John Pedersen, Steve Gardner and Bryan Theriault.

Jammin’ in Paso Robles -- "Matt's Jam" takes place every Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. at Matt's Music, 617 12th Street, in downtown Paso Robles. For more information call (805) 237-0054.

Hoedown Throwdown in Berkeley -- Square dances are now being held on the fourth Wednesday of every month at Ashkenaz in Berkeley starting at 8 p.m. Tonight the Knuckle Knockers, with special guests Maxine Gerber and Steve Swan, will play, and Jordan Ruyle will be calling. No experience necessary.

Jammin’ in Redwood City -- There is a weekly bluegrass and old-time jam at 5th Quarter Pizza, 976 Woodside Road in Redwood City from 7:30-11 p.m. The venue is music friendly, and food and drink are available. For more info contact Mark at

Pickin’ in Petaluma -- Ed Neff and Friends play bluegrass every Thursday at the Willowbrook Ale House in Petaluma from 6:30-9:30 p.m. There is no cover, and you get to hear some of the finest traditional bluegrass in the North Bay. The regular pickers are Ed Neff on mandolin, Mike Wilhoyte on guitar, Jeff King on bass, Paul Shelasky on fiddle, and banjoist Larry Cohea. The address is 3600 Petaluma Boulevard North. Call (707) 775-4232 for more info.

Jammin’ in San Jose -- There is a jam in San Jose on the first and third Wednesday of the month at Round Table Pizza on the corner of Union and Camden. For more info please contact Fiddle’n Steve Pexton at

Jammin’ in Morgan Hill -- In Morgan Hill the jam at the El Toro Brewing Company takes place every Thursday from 6-10 p.m. For info contact Dick Simunic at (408) 316-4745 or

Jammin’ in Berkeley -- Thursday night is beginners jam night at the 5th String Music Store, 3051 Adeline Street, in Berkeley, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Jammin’ in Napa -- There is a bluegrass jam session at the Pizza Hut in the town of Napa every Thursday night from 7-10 p.m. For more info call Pat Calhoun at (707) 318-1913 or email

Martians have landed -- See the Salt Martians play bluegrass every Thursday evening from 5:30-7:30 p.m. for happy hour at the Tupelo Junction Cafe, 1218 State Street, in Santa Barbara. Call (805) 899-3100 for dinner reservations. Full bar and no cover.

Jammin’ in Sacto -- Every Thursday evening, from 7-10 p.m., there is a jam at The Fifth String Music Store, located at Alhambra & J Streets in Sacramento.

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “When you argue with a fool, make sure he isn’t similarly engaged.”
Posted:  1/30/2009

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