Author: Carlin, Larry

Jan. 1, 2008
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year to everyone! Here’s to a great ’08!

The media has been awash lately with the usual boring lists of Best Films, Recordings, TV Shows, Sporting Events, etc., as is the norm at the end of one year and the start of another. Having been at the helm of the Almost Daily News for less than two months, I don’t feel that I have the right to be passing judgment for an entire year’s worth of news. Fortunately, another longtime astute observer of the California bluegrass scene, CBA Area Activities VP-San Francisco Chuck Poling, has come up with a new awards program of his own, so after mentioning that he and his wife Jeanie will be hosting their monthly bluegrass country jam from 8:30-11 p.m. on the 2nd at the Plough and Stars, 116 Clement Street, in SF (no cover/21 and over), I am going to turn the column over to him today. Take it away, Chuck!

Another year gone by and what a year it was, indeed! 2007 has been filled with music and fun and lots of new friends. We feel fortunate to be part of such a great community of musicians and music lovers here in the Bay Area, and we’d like to give something back to all of you who make the bluegrass and country music scene so darned wonderful.

So we decided that we’d start a new tradition of awarding local bands and artists for their contributions to bluegrass and country music. It’s with great fanfare we announce the first annual Chuckie Awards. The Chuckies are presented to bands, venues and individuals in rather random categories based on rather sketchy criteria. Decisions are arbitrary and we are easily swayed by bribes and flattery, and no actual statuettes, plaques or certificates are awarded to the winners. It’s our little way of saying thank you.

For 2007 the Chuckie winners are…

Category – Best over-six-feet-tall genial bearded Bay Area bluegrass radio personality:
Tough, tough call. Drawing upon the wisdom of Solomon, we’re sawing this one down the middle and sending half a Chuckie each to Ray Edlund and Peter Thompson.

Category – Best Bluegrass Benefactor:
Mmm…Whaddya say we just give a lifetime achievement Chuckie to Warren Hellman for staging a fantastic free music festival ( Hardly Strictly Bluegrass) every year for him and 500,000 of his close personal friends?

Category – Best Dressed Dude:
This is, of course, a category that is near and dear to Chuck, so he has split it up into several subcategories to honor the many facets of country music show-wear.

Best Dressed – Just Missed the Lonesome Dove Audition Subcategory:
J.D. Rhynes – you’d want him on your side at the O.K. Corral.

Best Dressed – Polyester Deluxe Subcategory:
Smelley Kelley – Red Meat front man has sass and class.

Best Dressed – Loud, Garish “Look at Me, Look at Me” Subcategory:
Steve Swan – a very bad influence on Chuck.

Best Dressed – Band with Hats Subcategory:
The Mighty Crows – serious chops and trad tops.

Best Dressed – New Fashion Item of the Year Subcategory:
The Riptide hoodie – an absolute necessity for anyone who patronizes this Sunset District tavern where the sounds of bluegrass and country music mix with the fog horns and the pounding surf.

Category – Best Meal Deal for Bands:
Sam’s Bar-B-Que in San Jose – We’ve had the pleasure of playing there several times and the staff is really nice, plus they let you order anything you want. And they serve up some serious, big-ass barbecue, like that side of bronto ribs that tips over Fred Flintsone’s car during the credits. This is in contrast to many establishments that serve fine food to their patrons but restrict the band to a menu of tater tots and egg salad sandwiches. A close second is Jupiter in Berkeley, which always provides generous servings of pizza and salad and more drink tickets than we could possibly use and still get through a gig.

Category – Best All-Female Band:
Another difficult decision. The Stairwell Sisters rock the house, the Barefoot Nellies are cuter than five bugs’ ears, the Whoreshoes are a riot, and Chickwagon is like spring break on wheels, but I’m afraid this year’s Chuckie has to go to the Spice Girls for their big reunion tour. OK, they’re not country and they’re not local, but remember, we promised to be arbitrary.

Category – Best Place to Hear Unforgettable Bluegrass Music on a Monday Night:
San Francisco’s Amnesia – we have so many fond memories of Monday night performances. Well, some memories, anyway. At least we’re told that we had a good time.

Category – Best Place to Hear Bluegrass and Eat Some Mighty Fine Pie:
Redwood Bluegrass Associates produces shows at the First Presbyterian Church Hall in Mountain View. It’s a great place to hear music among a crowd that really knows its grass. Get yourself a slice of homemade berry or rhubarb pie while you’re there and you’ll never want the evening to end.

And finally, the 2007 Chuckie…

Category – Best Description of a Local Band:
The award goes to an unidentified fan for commenting that the performers “look like five middle-aged guys whose wives just left them.” We just don’t have the heart to tell you which band, but we’ve got a gal in the Roundup so you know it’s not us.

From all of us here at Rancho Roundup and the Chuckies Selection Committee, have a Happy, but not too happy, New Year!

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “Many people look forward to the New Year for a start on old habits.”
Posted:  1/3/2008

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