Author: Carlin, Larry

April 27, 2009
Monday, April 27, 2009

Golden anniversary -- It was ten years ago today that the first Bluegrass Gold show (with The Kathy Kallick Band and Keystone Crossing) came to pass at the now gone Sweetwater Saloon in downtown Mill Valley in Marin County. But the series has been homeless and on hiatus now since last September. 151 bluegrass shows took place with over 10,000 people in attendance over the past nine and a half years either at Sweetwater Saloon or the also now defunct Sweetwater Station in Larkspur. The former closed in September of 2007, and the latter went dark in December of 2008. But the good news is that a new Mill Valley location is supposedly being built and it will open sometime soon. I say “supposedly” because the new site was originally predicted to open last spring, but due to serious financial problems (during these trying financial times could the owners have picked a worse time to try and open a new club?) there is no telling at this time when the place will open. If and when it does, with any luck the Bluegrass Gold series will move back there. Stay tuned for details.

On the mend -- East Bay bluegrass mandolin picker Bob Blanshard, who is also an excellent concert bassist who plays with several community orchestras, was injured two weeks back in a serious bicycle accident. He's out of intensive care now, dealing with multiple broken bones, and planning his course of action to get him back to playing music. You can provide encouragement and support in that process by calling, visiting or sending a card. He's in room 814A at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, 280 West MacArthur Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94611. His direct phone number there is (510) 752-0814.

Songwriter's blog -- Northern California bluegrass singer/songwriter/artist Rick Jamison continues with his songwriter’s blog called On Songwriting. In addition to providing insights, tips and examples, Rick also features other songwriters, sharing their thoughts, experience and wisdom on songwriting. The most recent interview is with Derek Sivers, the musician and founder of CDBaby. You can read part one of the interview here.

Fair weekend -- The Northern California Bluegrass Society will be presenting the free 23rd Annual Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair this weekend on May 2nd from noon-5 p.m. at the Duck Pond Stage in San Lorenzo Park, next to the courthouse in downtown Santa Cruz. See Harmony Grits, Page Brownton & Sidetrack, The Down Beets, Mountain Drive, and Ducks On The Millpond (with John Kael, Annie Staninec, Luke Abbott, and Mott Jordan).

Nellies in SF -- Monday is bluegrass night at Amnesia in SF, and since this is the fourth Monday this means it is time again for The Barefoot Nellies playing their usual slot, starting at 8:30 p.m. Jon McNeill will be sittin' in on guitar.

Jammin’ in Corona -- There is a bluegrass jam on the second and fourth Monday of every month from 7-10 p.m. at the Crossroads Christian Church, 2331 Kellogg Avenue, in Corona. For more info contact Todd Holtkamp at or (951) 347-2597.

Taco grass -- The Monday night Baja Taqueria Invitational Bluegrass Jam in Oakland at 8 p.m. will feature Jerry Barush, Gerry Tenney, Steve Swan, Jacob Groopman and Will Fourt. Have a burrito and enjoy the bluegrass.

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

Ramblers in Moss Landing -- Live bluegrass is being served up by The Courthouse Ramblers in Moss Landing tonight at Phil’s Fish Market in from 6:30-8:30 p.m. No cover.

Jammin’ in Alameda -- The place to be for bluegrass pickin’ on Monday nights is McGrath’s Pub in Alameda. Starting at 8:30 p.m. you’ll find familiar faces all around you on bass, mandolins, guitars, banjos and fiddles.

Deep Elem at Phil's -- On the 28th at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing from 6:30-8:30 p.m. you can experience live bluegrass with Deep Elem. They play there every Tuesday. No cover.

Open mic at the Freight -- Most Tuesdays it is open mic night at the venerable Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. The event starts at 8 p.m. There is a $5.50 cover charge, but any performer that shows up with a paying audience member gets to play for free.

Sweet time in Alameda -- The Sweet By & By, featuring Ruby "Baby" Bennett & Cary Miller, have hand-picked their favorite gospel tinged traditional tunes and asked their friends to sit in for a night of soulful singing and silliness at Julie's Coffee & Tea Garden, 1223 Park Street in Alameda on the 28th from 7-9 p.m.

Jammin’ in San Diego -- On the fourth Tuesday of every month The San Diego Bluegrass Society presents a jam at the Boll Weevil Restaurant in Miramar from 6-8 p.m.

South Bay bluegrass barbeque -- Larry Lynch & The Sunshine Mountain Band will be pickin’ some hot bluegrass to go along with the spicy barbeque at Sam’s Bar-B-Que in San Jose on the 28th from 6-9 p.m. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151.

Honoring Archie -- As mentioned here some weeks back, Archie Green, noted San Francisco folklorist, musicologist and author of numerous books (including The Big Red Songbook), died on March 22nd in San Francisco. He was 91. Green is credited with winning Congressional support for passage of the American Folklife Preservation Act of 1976 which established the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. There will be a celebration of the life and work of Archie on June 21st at the McKenna Theatre Creative Arts Building at San Francisco State University from 1-4 p.m. It will be a musical tribute with Hazel Dickens, Mike Seeger, Elaine Purkey and others. For more info or to RSVP, contact Derek Green at

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like his passengers.”
Posted:  4/29/2009

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