Author: Carlin, Larry

July 22, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alison at the White House -- Well, you can’t get much more of a high profile gig than performing for the Commander in Chief. The White House Summer Music series recently presented A Country Music Celebration with Alison Krauss & Union Station, modern country artist Brad Paisley and legendary country singer Charley Pride. Read the story in the NY Times. During her set, “Alison glanced nervously in the direction of the Obama family and said, ‘I can’t look down there.’ But earlier she had been gleeful about performing where bluegrass pioneers like Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley had appeared years ago. ‘Something’s going right if there’s a banjo in the White House,’ she said.”

Life's railway to heaven -- John "Marmaduke" Dawson, longtime lead singer in the seminal country rock band the New Riders of the Purple Sage, died in Mexico on the 21st of stomach cancer. He was 64. Okay, it was not bluegrass, but the Riders were a major influence on my musical career in my early days. Having started out playing rock and roll as a teenager, it wasn't long before I fell "under the influence," so to speak, of the New Riders, Flying Burrito Brothers, The Byrds, etc. I knew all of the Riders' songs, and I still have some of their albums on vinyl. One of my biggest musical thrills about ten years ago was to play bass on a few gigs with the Riders in Marin County. Needless to say, I knew the songs before the gig and no rehearsal was required. From country rock it was a short evolutionary jump towards bluegrass, where I have been ever since. Yet I have been singing the song "Glendale Train" (a song Dawson co-wrote) since 1970, and I will go on singing it. Last night on a gig I almost called it out to play, and it would have been a fitting tribute had I done so...

Sidesaddle & Co.’s 30th Anniversary Tour -- Everyone’s favorite bluegrass band from the South Bay, Sidesaddle & Company, is celebrating its 30 year anniversary this month, and this week they will be performing a series of shows in the Gold Country, so make your plans now. On the 22nd see them at the Concert in the Park series in Mountain Ranch from 6:30-8 p.m., on the 24th at 7 p.m. at a house concert in Sonora sponsored by the Calaveras County Arts Council (with Grass Menagerie opening)(email for tickets and location), and on the 25th at the Jack Douglass Saloon in Columbia starting at 8 p.m.

Let them eat 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 on the 22nd from 6-9 p.m. Sarah Eblen (of Bean Creek) will be standin’ in on bass. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151.

Fairfax Fiddle Summit -- Check out some fiddle players tonight at 9:30 p.m. at the Sleeping Lady in Fairfax.

Jammin’ in Palo Alto -- There is a bluegrass jam every Wednesday night at Fandango Pizza in Palo Alto starting at 7 p.m.

Cowboys in Moss Landing -- See The Trail Ride Band, led by none other than Peter Hicks, play cowboy music at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing on the 22nd from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Backstage action in Altadena -- At the Coffee Gallery Backstage in Altadena on the 22nd North Bay singer/songwriter Teresa Tudury will be singing, and then on the 23rd it will be Stephanie Bettman playing a mixture of bluegrass, folk, roots, and jazz with sophisticated lyrics and killer instrumentation set in a folky mountain vibe, both shows starting at 8 p.m.

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.

Scott Gates in LA -- You can see young mandolin wizard Scott Gates playing with singer/songwriter Chelsea Williams on the 23rd in downtown LA in Pershing Square from noon-3 p.m.

Jammin’ in Redwood City -- There is a weekly bluegrass and old-time jam on Thursdays at 5th Quarter Pizza, 976 Woodside Road in Redwood City from 7-10:15 p.m. The venue is music friendly, and food and drink are available. For more info contact Mark at rwcbluegrass@gmail.

Bluegrass in Arroyo Grande -- See the Appellation Bluegrass Band playing at the SLO Down Pub in Arroyo Grande on the 23rd starting at 7 p.m. No cover.

Jammin’ in Napa -- There is a CBA sponsored 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

Black Crown in San Francisco -- The Atlas Cafe presents the best in live bluegrass and old-time music every Thursday night from 8-10 p.m., and on the 23rd it will be the finest in old-time music with The Black Crown Stringband.

Jammin’ in Morgan Hill -- In Morgan Hill the CBA sponsored 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

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 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.

Martians in Santa Barbara -- See the Salt Martians play bluegrass every Thursday evening from 5-7 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.

Megan goes country -- See fab bluegrass fiddler Megan Lynch playing fiddle and mandolin and singing some harmonies with country star Pam Tillis on the 24th at the Colusa Casino Resort starting at 8 p.m.

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.”
Posted:  7/24/2009

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