Author: Carlin, Larry

September 28, 2009
Monday, September 28, 2009

Bluegrassapalooza -- One of the first rules in songwriting is “write what you know.” In the spirit of knowing what you are writing about, your intrepid Almost Daily News reported is now deeply embedded in the Ramada Renaissance Hotel in Nashville for the IBMA World of Bluegrass trade show. It is Monday afternoon, and already the sounds of banjos, fiddles, mandolins, guitars and more are being heard seemingly everywhere in this massive hotel complex. It is an action-packed week of bluegrass that runs through Sunday. The first four days are part of the trade show, and then the place turns into one big bluegrass festival on the weekend. I am here only through Thursday, as the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in SF's Golden Gate Park beckons this weekend. Due to all of the activities that are now going on around me (and continuing until the wee hours of the morning), this column covers bluegrass events in CA for the next four days instead of the usual two. If time allows, there will be an IBMA update somewhere along the way, but no promises here…

Bill & Megan in Nashville -- While IBMA is a great event, there is a dearth of West Coast bluegrass represented here. Sure, there are lots of CBA folks in attendance, and the organization is well respected at IBMA, but there is very little bluegrass from CA and points west. Bill Evans & Megan Lynch are doing three showcases on Tuesday night in the hotel, The Brombies, Angelica Grim, Chris Stuart & Backcountry and OMGG are also due (Marty Varner, AJ Lee, and the Schwartz brothers) but there is little else action from CA. Spring Creek from Colorado is also here doing showcases.

Swimming against breast cancer -- Bay Area bluegrass radio host Peter Thompson will once again be participating in the annual Swim A Mile For Women With Cancer event that will take place on October 3rd and 4th at Mills College in Oakland. Peter has raised over $7,000 over the past few years by doing the swim, and you can help him and the cause by going here to make a donation. Tune into his Bluegrass Signal radio show on KALW (91.7 FM) in SF every Saturday evening from 6:30-8 p.m.

Always Been A Rambler in SF -- The documentary on the New Lost City Ramblers titled Always Been A Rambler, produced by the Arhoolie Foundation and directed by Yasha Aginsky, is playing in San Francisco through October 1st at the Roxie Theatre in the Mission District. It shows nightly at 7 p.m. You can also view a real nice trailer of the film on the site.

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.

Ramblers in Moss Landing -- Tonight is bluegrass night at Phil’s Fish Market with The Courthouse Ramblers playing from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Jammin’ in Ventura -- Zoey’s Café in Ventura features bluegrass jammin’ on the second and fourth Monday of every month from 6-9:30 p.m.

Nellies in SF -- Tonight is bluegrass night at Amnesia in SF, and the The Barefoot Nellies will be playing their usual slot on this fourth Monday, starting at 8:30 p.m. See them also at Hardly Strictly this weekend.

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

South Bay cowboy barbeque -- Enjoy Lone Prairie singing cowboy songs to go along with the spicy barbeque at Sam’s Bar-B-Que in San Jose on the 29th from 6-9 p.m. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151.

Deep Elem at Phil's -- On the 29th and 30th 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.

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.

South Bay bluegrass barbecue -- Natural Drift will be pickin’ some hot bluegrass to go along with the spicy barbeque at Sam’s Bar-B-Que in San Jose on the 30th from 6-9 p.m. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151.

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

Greenstone Quarry in SF -- Greenstone Quarry will be playing two full sets of progressive acoustic, hardly strictly, good-timey music at Giordano Brothers in SF’s North Beach section on the 1st starting at 8:30 p.m. No cover.

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.

Dark Hollow in SF -- The Atlas Cafe in San Francisco presents the best in live bluegrass and old-time music every Thursday night from 8-10 p.m. On the 1st you can see Dark Hollow play. No cover charge.

Jammin’ in Napa -- Head on out to the 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

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.

Jammin’ in Morgan Hill -- In Morgan Hill the CBA sponsored jam that takes place on Thursdays from 6-10 p.m. has a new location, the Morgan Hill Grange, located at 40 E. 4th Street. 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 regu
Posted:  10/2/2009

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