Author: Carlin, Larry

September 2, 2009
Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Music in the mountains. By the time you read this I will either be en route to or will have arrived at the Strawberry Music Festival at Camp Mather just outside of Yosemite, where I will be staying until Labor Day. In its early days it was called the “Strawberry Bluegrass Festival,” but it is hardly a bluegrass festival now, and it does not pretend to be. There are always some bluegrass and other good bands on the bill (such as The Del McCoury Band, Bearfoot, The Time Jumpers, Greensky Bluegrass, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Lost Weekend, Alison Brown with Joe Craven, The Belleville Outfit, Avett Brothers, Rodney Crowell) along with singer/songwriters, blues, swing, country, and more. However, there is scant web access at the festival, so the next column will probably not appear here again until next Tuesday. (If access can be made at the fest then this column will get edited down in a couple of days.) So there is more info than usual in this column at mid-week. If by chance you do make it up to the festival, stop by the mess hall some morning for the live Breakfast Club. Yours truly is the host in the bathrobe, red slippers and strawberry pajamas. Or tune into the show on the Hog in-camp radio station. Otherwise, have a fun and safe Labor Day Weekend, and don’t forget that the SF Oakland/Bay Bridge will be closed from the evening of the 3rd until the morning of the 8th…

Down Home Music needs you! -- Down Home Music, a Bay Area institution now for 33 years, has been consistently promoting great roots music locally since 1976. Facing the economic reality of these difficult times, the store has been forced to cut back on days and hours of operation. It is becoming increasingly difficult for an independent record store like Down Home to maintain its level of service and inventory. If you have ideas or suggestions on how they can keep on keeping on, please let them know by e-mail, phone, or just stop by the store. There will be an open house to discuss the plight of independent record stores on the 5th at 2 p.m. So go on by with your ideas, and help keep the music spinning at this great Bay Area institution. The location is 10341 San Pablo Avenue in El Cerrito. (510) 525-2129.

Bill Monroe postage stamp -- There is still a national push to get the Father of Bluegrass onto a US postage stamp, and there were petitions being signed at the recent Father’s Day Festival. Read about it and see photos in the Bluegrass Blog.

Old-time is not a crime in Berkeley! -- The Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention runs from the 9th-13th, and there will be films, workshops, jams and performances by Alice Gerrard, The Tall Boys, Eric & Suzy Thompson, The Knuckle Knockers, The Black Crown Stringband and many more.

Wild bluegrass in Mill Valley -- On the 9th the longtime Marin County bluegrass band called Dr. Elmo & Wild Blue will be putting on a CD release concert at the 142 Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley at 7:30 p.m. The new CD is titled Wild Blue Grass, and the Throckmorton is the nicest venue in the county.

Strictly bluegrass -- The CBA is planning ahead to the end of the month for the Hobbs Grove Festival in Sanger (southeast of Fresno) on the 25th-27th. It will be a great weekend of shows, jamming, workshops and more. Some of the bands you will see there are The Brombies, The Barefoot Nellies, The Anderson Family, Deep Elem, Dalton Mountain Gang, Baloney Creek, Grasskickers, Bluegrass Conspiracy and Uncle Ephus. Buy tickets now and beat the rush!

Jammin’ in SF -- The first Wednesday of the month bluegrass/country jam is normally hosted by Jeanie & Chuck Poling at the Plough & Stars in SF, but Ted and Patti Garber will be guest hosts this evening starting at 8:30 p.m. There is no cover but you must be 21 to attend.

Deep Elem at Phil’s -- Deep Elem on the 2nd will be playing bluegrass at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing starting at 6:30 p.m.

South Bay bluegrass barbeque -- Sidesaddle & Company will be pickin’ some hot bluegrass to go along with the spicy barbeque tonight at Sam’s Bar-B-Que in San Jose from 6-9 p.m. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151. Louise Mintun will be standin' in on bass.

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

Lighthouse in Santee -- The San Diego bluegrass band Lighthouse will be playing tonight at the Friendly Grounds Coffee House in Santee, 9225 Carlton Hills Road, from 7-9 p.m. This is their monthly first Wednesday of the month gig. No admission charge. Call (619) 249-0519 for directions or more information.

The Brombies in Burbank -- The Brombies play bluegrass on the first, third, and occasionally the fifth Wednesday nights at Viva Cantina in Burbank 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.

Brothers in Berkeley -- Tonight The Whiskey Brothers will be playing their twice monthly gig at the Albatross Pub in Berkeley starting at 9 p.m. They play classic Western swing, bluegrass and original music, featuring great vocal harmonies. The band includes local music-scene veterans Jeff Ward on mandolin, Dave Courchaine, guitar, John MacFarlane on fiddle, Bruce Campbell on bass, and Craig Fletcher on banjo. No cover.

Jammin’ in Encinitas -- On Thursdays everyone heads to Today’s Pizza, 481 Santa Fe Drive, in Encinitas, for a night of pizza, pickin’, and grinnin’. This is an excellent jam for those closet pickers wishing to learn to play bluegrass with others. The time is 6:30-9 p.m. For more info email Jason at

Celtic Capital -- See the Celtic band Nine-8ths Irish with their new singer Brady McKay on 3rd starting at 8 p.m. at The Fox & Goose in Sacramento.

Jammin' in Marin -- The Marin Bluegrass Jam takes place on the first and third Thursdays of every month. On the 3rd you can join in at the Marin Lutheran Church at 649 Meadowsweet in Corte Madera, just off the Corte Madera exit of Highway 101. The time is 7:30-10 p.m.

Bluegrass in/on the air -- Tune in on Thursday nights from 8-10 p.m. to Glenn Horn's Basically Bluegrass program on KCBX (90.1 FM) in San Luis Obispo.
Posted:  9/8/2009

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