Author: Carlin, Larry

February 2, 2009
Monday, February 2, 2009

Warning to head-banging bluegrassers! -- Playing heavy metal music can be dangerous to your health, especially your head and neck. At least, so says the esteemed British Medical Journal in its December 08 edition. The solution? “To minimize the risk of head and neck injury, head bangers should decrease their range of head and neck motion, head bang to slower tempo songs by replacing heavy metal with adult oriented rock, only head bang to every second beat, or use personal protective equipment.” The good news is that there is no mention of any danger from playing the dang heavy banjo or having a fiddle squeaking just a few inches from your ear…

Do you also suffer from “brain itch”? -- This is the phenomenon where an annoying pop song hook gets stuck in your head and you just can’t seem to shake it. As of now there is no known cure for the disease, short of not listening to commercial radio to begin with. Here is one wag’s list of the most irritating tunes. Amazingly so, “Rocky Top” is not on the list…

A man and his banjo -- Last week here there was a story about comedian Steve Martin's new banjo album The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo. Not only is he featured in the NY Times today, this night he will be appearing on the Late Night With David Letterman show.

Yoshi’s branches out -- The SF jazz club Yoshi’s, which opened in 2007, has decided to offer other kinds of music other just jazz. (Translated, this means that the all-jazz format isn’t cutting it.) Business has dropped 20% recently, so in an effort to get more people into the place they have started booking a mix of contemporary and traditional music from around the world, regional American roots music and genre-crossing artists who draw on rock, soul and other sounds. Tonight and tomorrow you can see Chris Hillman & Herb Pedersen play the club. Will bluegrass be soon to follow?

New Tenbrooks web site -- On Friday there was mention here about the new CD by the Bay Area bluegrass band Tenbrooks. Their new web site is now up and running, and if you missed Ray Edlund's Pig in a Pen radio show yesterday, where the CD was offered as a premium for subscribing to the station, you can now get a copy of the CD direct from the band off their web site.

Dobro workshop -- When Blue Highway comes to Northern California at month’s end their dobro player, Bay Area native Rob Ickes, will be conducting a workshop for all levels of dobro players on February 28th at a location in Burlingame from noon-3 p.m. Rob won the International Bluegrass Music Association's Dobro Player of the Year award for a record-setting tenth time in 2008. For more info go to his site.

Band scramble -- The SF honky-tonk band The Whoreshoes will be calling it a night when they play their final gig on the 12th at Cafe du Nord in SF. They've decided euphemistically to “go their separate ways and explore new musical directions.” Gary Neargarder and Chris Rovetti are no longer members of the North Bay jamgrass band Poor Man’s Whiskey.

Taco grass -- The Monday night Baja Taqueria Invitational Bluegrass Jam in Oakland at 8 p.m. will feature Gene Tortora, Neil Linden, Wayblonde, Pete Kessler and Jeff Crossley. Have a burrito and enjoy the bluegrass.

Bean Creek bluegrass -- Bean Creek always starts off the month with a flourish. Tonight you can see them playing bluegrass at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing from 6-8 p.m., and then on Tuesday the 3rd they will be at Sam’s Bar-B-Que in San Jose from 6-9 p.m.

Jammin’ in Bakersfield -- The first Monday of every month bluegrass jam at Rusty’s Pizza in Bakersfield is happening tonight. Hosted by Kelvin Gregory, the jam takes place from 6-9 p.m. and Rusty’s (in Von’s Shopping Center) is located at 5430 Olive Drive. For more information contact Kelvin at (661) 392-7973 or

Brewglass at Amnesia -- See Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys at Amnesia in San Francisco tonight, starting at 8:30. No cover.

Jammin’ in Alameda -- The place to be for bluegrass pickin’ on Monday nights is McGrath’s Pub in Alameda. Starting at 7:30 you’ll find familiar faces all around you on bass, mandolins, guitars, banjos and fiddles.

Jammin’ in Signal Hill -- Every Monday night, from 6-9 p.m., there is a bluegrass jam at Curley’s Café in Signal Hill. The address is 1999 E Willow Street at Cherry Avenue. Everyone is welcome. For more info contact Jim Wieser at

Deep Elem at Phil's -- On the 3rd at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing from 6-8 p.m. you can experience live bluegrass with Deep Elem. Regular band members John Kael and Annie Staninec will be joined by special guests Chris Smith and Dave Walker from The Mighty Crows.

Book signing in SF -- John Pedersen will be having a book signing on the 3rd for his new old-time mystery novel Scroll and Curl at 7:30 p.m. at Books Inc. (formerly A Clean Well-Lighted Place for Books) in the Opera Plaza complex in SF. John is the longtime leader of Marin’s finest old-time band The Roadoilers and proprietor of Amazing Grace Music in San Anselmo. He has written a delightful tale about an old-time band that goes on the road to play some gigs that also gets caught up in a mysterious plot after one of the members finds a cheap fiddle at a yard sale. Anyone that has every toured or played in a band will love this book, which will officially hit the streets early this month. But you can get copies of it already by either going to the signing on Tuesday, stopping by Amazing Grace and buying directly from him, or by going here to Even though the fictitious band is based in NY there are quite a few Bay Area references in the book.

Bluegrass in Escondido -- In the San Diego County area the North County Bluegrass Association is presenting a night bluegrass band on the 3rd with a band (still to be determined here at press time) starting at 8 p.m. at Round Table Pizza, on the corner of Ash and Washington Streets, in Escondido.

The Bee Eaters on tour -- The new band  
Posted:  2/4/2009

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