Author: Carlin, Larry

Jan. 22, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Nitty Gritty Scott -- Young Southern Cal mandolin whiz Scott Gates, besides fronting his own band Scott Gates & Pacific Ocean Bluegrass, also gets to sit in with The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band from time to time. Band banjo player John McEuen has become a mentor to Scott, and recently John had Scott sit in with him on some tunes while playing a show at the Coffee Gallery in Altadena. You can watch some YouTube clips here and here. Also, John surprised Scott by telling the audience that Scott will be joining the NGDB on stage this June when the band plays the Huck Finn Festival in Victorville.

More sweet news -- Last September folks in Marin County and points beyond were saddened when the venerable Sweetwater Saloon closed at its three-decade location on Throckmorton Street in Mill Valley. Good news arrived in early December when the owners of the club got approval by the town of Mill Valley to open up a new Sweetwater this spring around the corner on Miller Avenue. Last summer the owners also took over a venue in the nearby town of Larkspur called the Larkspur Café Theater. But there is also a Lark Theatre in town that shows movies and sometimes has music shows, and this created a bit of confusion. So the Sweetwater folks decided to change the name of the Larkspur Café Theatre last week to Sweetwater Station, which makes a lot of sense, since the building was a train station a long time ago. At the same time they get to incorporate the Sweetwater name to this new venue, to remind people that they are also the owners of the Mill Valley saloon. You can read the story of the name change in the Marin Independent Journal. You can also see Rustler’s Moon w/ Kathy Kallick & Bill Evans play the first Bluegrass Gold show at the newly named venue on the 24th.

Starry Plough Bluegrass -- The new Starry Plough Bluegrass Night takes place once a month, and in January the date is the 24th. The club is located in Berkeley. The Mountain Boys will open, followed by The David Thom Band. The show starts at 9 p.m. and has a $6 cover.

Any Old Time Reunion -- Also in Berkeley this week you will have two chances to see the Any Old Time String Band Reunion show at the Freight and Salvage on the 25th and 26th. The band is Suzy Thompson, Kate Brislin, Sue Draheim, Genny Haley, and Valerie Mindel, accompanied by Steven Strauss on bass.

Resin up that bow! -- All roads lead to Cloverdale in Sonoma County this weekend for 33rd Annual Cloverdale Old-Time Fiddle Festival on the 26th and 27th. You don’t have to be a fiddler to attend, as there is jamming going on as well. And, there will be performances in the evening by The Skiffle Symphony, The Sonoma Little Fiddlers, The Wild Catahoulas and Milt Briggs.

This land is your land -- Stage 3 Theatre Company in Sonora is presenting Woody Guthrie's American Song, a musician play featuring the songs of Woody Guthrie, from February 8th-March 23rd, and some players are needed for the production. They have a bass already, and they are looking for two more musicians and two male vocalists who wouldn't mind doing some acting. For more info email Ron Cotnam at or call Don Bilotti the director at (209) 536-1778.

Bluegrass leaders -- Congratulations to Cindy Gray and Roger Siminoff for being selected to attend the 2008 IBMA Bluegrass Leadership Conference in Nashville in March. Cindy is the director of The Nevada Bluegrass Project, a Reno-based non-profit organization dedicated to promoting education and performance of bluegrass and other forms of traditional American music. Roger is the owner of Siminoff Banjo & Mandolin Parts in Arroyo Grande as well as the author of numerous books on instrument making.

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone else in mind to blame.”
Posted:  1/24/2008

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