Author: Carlin, Larry

November 9, 2009
Monday, November 9, 2009

A man of a few words -- It was two years ago today that I hacked out my first Almost Daily News column here, and what I wrote here a year ago pretty much describes the past year as well. The numbers have changed slightly – in two years time I have now logged 301 columns and 291,347 words – but everything else in last year’s one-year anniversary column pretty much still applies.

Marin bluegrass moment -- Yesterday afternoon, while driving in the town of Mill Valley, I was listening to the Ray Edlund’s Pig In A Pen show on KPFA radio. Ray was playing a live Bill Monroe recording from 1964, and Bill introduced the new song “Walls Of Time” that he was about to sing with guitarist Peter Rowan. Peter now lives in Mill Valley, and I got to thinking, “Man, wouldn’t it be something to see Peter walking down the street while this song was playing on the radio? What are the odds of that happening?” Well, I did not see Peter, but at a traffic stop this tall, dark haired teenage boy came walking around the corner just as Peter and Bill were into the third chorus, and who should it be but Peter’s son John Rowan

For whom the bells tolled -- Congratulations to Nashville’s happiest couple – Chris Lewis and Randy Pitts– who tied the knot on Sunday the 1st in Music City after a couple of decades of courtship. The odds here are that there were also the sounds of mandolins and fiddles being heard to accompany the wedding bells…

Gryphon Guitars at 40 -- Gryphon Guitars in Palo Alto is celebrating its 40th birthday, and today there is a story and video about the shop on the front page of the San Jose Mercury News. If you have never been to the store, it is worth the trip next time you are in the area.

Winter music camp update -- CBA Winter Music Camp, taking place February 15th-18th near Petaluma in western Marin County, is about half full already, and a finger-style guitar class may be added. Go to the web page above more info.

Life’s railway to heaven -- He was not a bluegrass player, but Norton Buffalo was a well-respected and renowned Bay Area harmonica player. He passed away from cancer on October 30th. He was only 58. He played with The Steve Miller Band for decades and also appeared on over 180 albums. You can read a story about him in the SF Chronicle. He was also a real good guy. There is a Benefit Concert for Norton Buffalo Planned for November 22nd at the Paradise Performing Arts Center, and Steve Miller will be hosting a benefit concert for Norton Buffalo's wife and children on January 23rd at The Fox Theater in Oakland.

Jammin’ in Corona -- There is a bluegrass jam on the second and fourth Monday of every month from 7-10 p.m. at the Crossroads Christian Church, 2331 Kellogg Avenue, in Corona. For more info contact Todd Holtkamp at or (951) 347-2597.

Bluegrass in SF -- The Amnesia bar in SF has bluegrass every Monday, and tonight you can see Toshio Hirano play starting at 8:30 p.m. No cover.

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

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

Burrito grass -- The Monday night Baja Taqueria Invitational Bluegrass Jam in Oakland at 8 p.m. will feature Gene Tortora, Jerry Barush, Alan Bond, Dave Courchaine and Jacob Groopman. Have a burrito and enjoy the bluegrass.

Jammin’ in Alameda -- The place to be for bluegrass jammin’ on Monday nights is McGrath’s Pub in Alameda. Starting at 8:30 you’ll find familiar faces all around you on bass, mandolins, guitars, banjos and fiddles.

Fiddle tunes jam in SF -- The second Tuesday fiddle tunes jam will take place on the 10th at the SoCha Café in SF on Mission Street near Valencia. The picking begins around 8 p.m. Fiddles, banjos, guitars, mandolins, wash tubs, bass, jugs, saws, autoharps etc., are all welcome but they especially need more guitars and fiddles.

Deep Elem bluegrass -- On the 10th at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing from 6-8 p.m. enjoy live bluegrass with Deep Elem. They are there every Tuesday. No cover.

South Bay bluegrass barbeque -- John Murphy’s Carolina Special will be pickin’ some hot bluegrass to go along with the spicy barbeque at Sam’s in San Jose on the 10th from 6-9 p.m. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151.

Jammin’ in La Mesa -- The San Diego Bluegrass Society presents a jam on the second Tuesday of every month at Fuddruckers in La Mesa from 7-9 p.m.

Coming attractions -- For folks that want to plan ahead, at the beginning of the week there are listings found here of upcoming festivals, fairs, campouts, special events and more. All you have to do is click on the links to find out information about each event. As the dates draw near there will be more information about the events posted above. If there is something not included on this list feel free to drop me a note to let me know. Here is what is coming up in the next few months: Bill Evans & Megan Lynch at a San Jose house concert on 11/13, and workshops at the Freight during the day and a show at Asbury United Methodist Church in Livermore on 11/14; John Reischman & The Jaybirds in Mountain View 11/14; The Haden Family at the LA Philharmonic on 11/17; King Wilkie at the Freight in Berkeley on 11/18, The Palms in Winters on the 11/19, the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara on 11/21, McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on 11/22, and at Don Quixote’s in Felton 11/23; Stairwell Sisters at Petaluma Church Concerts 11/21; Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band in Mountain View 12/12; The CBA  
Posted:  11/11/2009

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