Author: Carlin, Larry

May 1, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009

National Bluegrass Month -- Here we are in the merry month of May, which means May flowers, Kentucky Derby and the start of another National Bluegrass Month. To the staff here at the Almost Daily News world headquarters, it is Bluegrass Day 24/7/365, and by the looks of the length of this column below, there is plenty of bluegrass going on this weekend, so get out and have some fun! Just don’t cough or sneeze on anyone along the way…

For Pete’s sake! -- Folk troubadour legend Pete Seeger will be celebrating his 90th birthday in New York City on the 3rd, and he will be having a little party at Madison Square Garden. A partial guest list includes Emmylou Harris, Bruce Springsteen, Dave Matthews, Eddie Vedder, John Mellencamp, Arlo Guthrie and Joan Baez. It should be quite a jam session...

Americana Festival in Virginia City -- Folks up Virginia City, NV, way this weekend will be taking part in the Americana Festival on the 1st and 2nd. There will be workshops, a contra dance, a barbecue, and performances by Tim O’Brien, The Del Williams Band, Westwind, Train Wreck, Ponderosa, and lots more.

Kathy Kallick Band on the go -- The Kathy Kallick Band has been working out a bunch of new songs and rearranging some old ones, and they are excited to be playing at the Dance Palace in Point Reyes Station on the 1st at 8 p.m., and on the 2nd at 8 p.m. at the Mission City Coffee Roasting Company in Santa Clara. Next weekend they will be headed to Parkfield.

O Tim, where art thou? -- Tim O’Brien can be seen and heard at the Carriage House Theatre in Saratoga on the 1st, and, as mentioned above, on the 2nd at the American Fest at Piper’s Opera House in Virginia City, NV.

Blue and green grass in Sonoma -- At Murphy’s Irish Pub in the town of Sonoma tonight at 8 p.m. The Sonoma Mountain Band will be picking traditional bluegrass music. On Sunday the 3rd there is a Celtic jam starting at 6 p.m. Tasty food is available in a family-friendly atmosphere, and there is no cover.

Alameda Americana -- At McGrath’s Pub in Alameda this weekend you can enjoy two fine Americana acts beginning at 8 p.m. On the 1st the duo from Colorado known as The Mitguards will perform (Chris Mitguard is the brother of Bay Area dobro/steel player Jon Mitguard), and on the 2nd it will be party time with the Backyard Party Boys.

Fair weekend -- The Northern California Bluegrass Society is presenting the free 23rd Annual Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair this weekend on the 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.

Banjo with Bill workshops -- East Bay banjo picker and noted author Bill Evans will be teaching two bluegrass banjo workshops on the 2nd at Gryphon Stringed Instruments in Palo Alto. They are designed to help players of all experience levels get ready for the festival season jams that are just around the corner. Both workshops are "hands on, let's play" sessions where you'll learn lots of valuable info right then and there that you'll be able to use in your next jam or band rehearsal. The early workshop is designed for beginners or those with little experience playing with others while the afternoon workshop is for intermediate players wishing to broaden their backup and jamming skills. Each session is $40, or $75 for both. Advance reservations are recommended as these sessions typically sell out. To register go to the Gryphon link above or contact Bill at

Jammin’ in Modesto -- There is a jam in Modesto taking place at Ingram and Braun’s Musik Shoppe on Saturdays from 3-5 p.m. at their location at 503 Bangs Avenue. Go on by to join the fun!

Coyote Hill in Columbia -- Coyote Hill will be playing on the 2nd at the Jack Douglas Saloon in Columbia starting at 8 p.m. The band is Richard Sholer on guitar and mandolin, Dick Todd on banjo, fiddler Rick Barlow and Clinton Day on bass. They play American roots music, a mix of folk, bluegrass, blues, country, swing and jazz. $2 cover. How can you not afford to go?

High Hills in Culver City -- The all-female quartet known as High Hills will bring their energetic, harmony-laden bluegrass to Boulevard Music’s stage in Culver City on the 2nd starting at 8 p.m. For more info, call (310) 398-2583.

Upper crust jam -- On the 2nd from 2-5 p.m. the Butte Folk Music Society sponsors a free acoustic jam at the Upper Crust Bakery, located at 130 Main Street in Chico. Everyone is welcome (including children) to go and play music, share songs, sing-along and get acquainted with others who love folk music and Americana.

Turn your radio on -- Tune into Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal radio show on KALW (91.7 FM) in SF on the 2nd from 6:30-8 p.m. In honor of Kentucky Derby day the show this week is titled Going to the Races. This is a good time to listen to bluegrass songs about horses and racing.

Blue Ridge Pickin’ -- The Blue Ridge Pickin’ Parlor in Granada Hills has a pickin’ session on the first Saturday of every month from 6-10:30 p.m. The beginner’s jam goes from 6-7:30 in the main store, followed by an open jam there from 7:30-10:30. An intermediate jam takes place from 7:30-10:30 p.m. two doors down at their additional space. Go and strut your musical expertise, pick and sing the night away, meet-up with old friends and make new ones. Everyone is welcome – listener, singer, beginning player and the seasoned picker. For more info email

Mountaineers in Oak Glen -- On the first Saturday of each month Riley's at Los Rios Rancho puts on an old-time music variety show, just like those great old radio and TV shows of the 40s and 50s. There’s one difference – they throw in a hearty family-style dinner! On the 2nd join Riley’s Mountaineers for dinner and a show starting at 6 p.m.

Woebegone Nashville -- Garrison Keillor's radio show A Prairie Home Companion on the 2nd will be broadcasting live from the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, and you can hear the show on KQED (88.5 FM) in SF at 6 p.m. Sam Bush
Posted:  5/4/2009

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