Author: Carlin, Larry

December 18, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009

Dear Santa... "All I want for Christmas are tickets to the CBA's 35-Year Anniversary Father's Day Festival in June. Oh, and maybe a 1940 D-18 Martin guitar."

'Tis the season -- Here's hoping you are having a jolly holiday season so far. If you're fretting about what presents to buy, consider giving music offerings, and look at our musical holiday gift ideas. Buy direct from the artists themselves and cut out the Amazonian middle man. These suggestions are obviously not all bluegrass related, but you may find the perfect item for that special someone in your life. Music – the gift that keeps on giving year round…

Snap Jackson on the air -- The next edition of the Almost Daily News will not be posted until late Monday morning, so make a note now to tune into KXJZ (90.9 FM) Capitol Public Radio in the Sacramento area at 10 a.m. on the morning of the 21st to hear Snap Jackson & The Knock On Wood Players being interviewed and playing some songs. They will also be having a CD release party on January 2nd for their new disc A Breath of Fresh Air at Valley Brew in Stockton starting at 8 p.m. Mark it down on your new 2010 calendar!

Reindeer man -- Dr. Elmo is the Marin County musician who has been singing “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” for the past few decades. The song was first released in 1979, and this year marks the 30-year anniversary. He will be appearing on the Fox And Friends show on the 20th, so tune in. Last weekend he was on ABC’s Good Morning America show, and you can watch that segment here. As noted before, Elmo is also an accomplished banjo player who back in the ‘70s had a Bay Area bluegrass band called The Homestead Act, and he released a bluegrass album titled Wild Blue Grass a few months back with his current band Wild Blue, who will be playing at the CBA's Sonoma County Bluegrass & Folk Festival on March 13. He was also featured in the SF Chronicle’s Pink Section last weekend.

Swing your partner -- The Knuckle Knockers will be playing the music for the Bernal Heights Square Dance in SF on the 18th at 515 Cortland Avenue starting at 7:30 p.m. There will also be some line dancing, and maybe a Mexican polka. Susan Pena will do the calling. No partner necessary, all dances taught! $5 donation requested.

Woody Guthrie in Sonora -- The stage show Woody Guthrie's American Song is back for another run at Stage 3 in Sonora, and it runs through the 20th. Conceived and adapted by Peter Glazer, the show is a “foot-stompin', roof-raisin', toe-tappin' heartbreakin', soul-soarin' musical journey of Woody Guthrie down highways, rail lines and back roads straight into the heart of America.”

Going for the jugular -- The Christmas Jug Band is around again for its annual holiday zaniness, and you still have a few chances to see them. They will play the Freight in Berkeley on the 18th, The Mystic in Petaluma on the 19th, and at The Masonic in Mill Valley on the 21st and 22nd.

High-octane Americana -- The Bay Area’s favorite high-octane Americana band Houston Jones will be showcasing songs from their new Jericho Road CD at McGrath’s Pub in Alameda on the 18th starting at 8 p.m.

Bluegrass musical in SF -- The Custom Made Theatre Company presents a new production of the late Harry Chapin’s bluegrass musical Cotton Patch Gospel and it closes on the 19th at the Next Stage in San Francisco. This is a progressive and musically joyous look at the Jesus story told through a very modern lens. Using 26 songs, one amazing actor, three singers, and a bluegrass band, Cotton Patch is for everyone who wonders if the peace and love promised by the gospels is still possible in our modern world. The music is performed by Pam Brandon (a.k.a. Belle Monroe), David Finch, Jeff Kaplan and Matt Lauer.

Turn your radio on -- Tune into Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal radio show on KALW (91.7 FM) in SF on the 19th from 6:30-8 p.m. The show this week is titled You-Know-What Time's A-Comin', featuring mandolin-based instrumentals of the season, with recordings by Tony Williamson, David Grisman, Ronnie McCoury, Adam Steffey, and Ricky Skaggs, plus a live session with Dix Bruce & Mike Wollenberg. You can listen online on the KALW web site, and the first hour of the show is also broadcast five times each week on

Sourdough Slim & Pals in Sutter Creek -- See Sourdough Slim & The Saddle Pals along with Faux Renwah on the 19th at the Sutter Creek Theater. It will be an evening of swingin' tunes, cowboy crooning, yodeling pyrotechnics, and side-splitting humor. Sourdough Slim transports you to a whimsical, infectious world where vaudevillian camp and cowboy lore intermingle, with the Saddle Pals providing the cowboy trail music. Faux Renwah is an acoustic trio specializing in old-time music with an original twist.

Benefit in Nevada City -- The 4th Annual Night of Giving for Hospitality House benefit will be happening at Miner’s Foundry in Nevada City on the 19th, and some of the acts you can see there are the Anderson Family Bluegrass Band, Mountain Laurel, and The Deadbeats.

Jammin’ in Sebastopol -- The place for bluegrass pickin' on Saturdays is the Coffee Catz, 6761 Sebastopol Ave, from 2-5 p.m.

The Bluegrass Mix -- The site called The Bluegrass Mix streams bluegrass online 24/7. Sky Powers has a show called Pacifically Bluegrass, and it airs every Saturday evening from 4-8 p.m. out here in CA. He plays a fine mix of bluegrass, both old and new, with an emphasis on new releases and he also devotes a portion of his show to playing and promoting the bluegrass bands of the Pacific West and Rockies. Sky also welcomes requests, so email him at

Jammin’ in Modesto -- There is a jam in Modesto taking place at Ingram and Braun’s Musik Shoppe on Saturdays from 3-5 p.m. at their location at 503 Bangs Avenue. Go on by to join the fun!

Alive dudes -- The Grateful Dudes will be playing bluegrass on the 19th at  
Posted:  12/21/2009

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