Author: Carlin, Larry

March 5, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010

Oscars weekend -- Instead of wasting three-plus hours in front of the TV on Sunday watching commercials in between the passing out of awards for actors and movies, why not get out and take in some live music instead? You can always read about the awards in the newspaper the next day, or look at the results on line. Really, is your life going to be affected one way or the other by who wins a gold-painted statue? Go to a concert or, better yet, a bluegrass jam, where you can experience real live art of, and on, your own!

Bluegrass on the Beach -- Here is something much better to do this weekend: Head south to Bluegrass On The Beach in Lake Havasu City, AZ, on the 5th-7th to see The Dalton Mountain Gang, Town Mountain, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, The Bluegrass Brothers, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, The James King Band, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Don Rigsby & Midnight Call and Nothin' Fancy.

Festival in Boulder Creek -- There is also an indoor fest taking place on the 5th-7th called the Boulder Creek Bluegrass & Old Timey Festival with Mike McKinley & Quack Grass, Faux Renwah's Spur of the Moment, Stoney Mountain Ramblers, Mountain Drive, 49 Special, The West County Professional Tea Sippers, Regina Bartlett and others.

Virtual April -- Canadian fiddler April Verch and her band are here in California for a few days. Virtuoso fiddler, stunning vocalist and an electrifying step-dancer, April presents a beguiling blend of folk, jazz, old-time, bluegrass and roots music woven together with precision, intensity and soul, in a heartwarming, foot-stomping, unforgettable concert. See her at Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles on the 5th, in Bakersfield on the 6th, in Santa Maria on the 7th, and in Pleasanton on the 9th.

Dry Branch on tour -- The Dry Branch Fire Squad will be providing mirth and music at the Sausalito Presbyterian Church on the 5th (call 415-383-8716 for tickets and info) and at Redwood Bluegrass Associates in Mountain View on the 6th. Hot fiddler Heidi Clare will be with the band in Sausalito.

Wailin’ Jennys in state -- The fabulous all-female trio known as The Wailin' Jennys are still here this weekend, and you can see them (if you already have tickets) at the Freight in Berkeley on the 5th, at the Napa Valley Opera House on the 6th, and at the Cotton Auditorium in Ft. Bragg on the 7th.

Battlefield Band -- The Scottish group known as the Battlefield Band can be seen playing at The Palms in Winters on the 5th, at the Bankhead Theatre in Livermore on the 6th, and at the Raven Theatre in Healdsburg on the 7th.

Triple bill in Berkeley -- At the Starry Plough on the 5th starting at 9 p.m. you can see the Dark Hollow Band, Vintners' Daughters, and Beastgrass play for a $6 cover. Beastgrass is a special band that recently came together for a monthly gig at Beckett's Pub in Berkeley, and it features Dan Booth on bass, Tyson Alteri on guitar, Jordan Klein on banjo, and Jacob Groopman on mandolin.

Swingin’ in Oakland -- Swing Tonic delivers an eclectic mix of swing, folk, country, jazz, 'round-the-world delicacies and just about anything in between on the 5th starting at 7:30 p.m. at the Spice Monkey Café, a restaurant in downtown Oakland. Drawing from their varied musical background, the four members blend vocal harmony with the surprisingly un-clashing sounds of accordion, trumpet, guitar, mandolin and bass. No cover charge, and the venue is kid friendly.

Murphy’s in Sonoma -- At Murphy’s Irish Pub in the town of Sonoma enjoy the blend of bluegrass and Americana played by the Sonoma Mountain Band on the 5th from 8-10 p.m., and then on the 7th it will be the monthly Celtic jam starting at 6 p.m. No cover, and good food and beer in a family friendly atmosphere.

Guitar workshop in Berkeley -- Bay Area bluegrass guitarist, singer and producer Jim Nunally, who plays with John Reischman & The Jaybirds and in the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, on the 6th will be giving a three-hour rhythm guitar workshop at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley. This is geared to all guitarists who would like insight into country, bluegrass, and folk rhythm guitar styles.

High-octane Americana in Gold Country -- Houston Jones, purveyors of the finest in high-octane Americana, on the 6th will be playing at the Auburn Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30 p.m. Plus you can hear them live earlier that afternoon on radio station KVMR (89.5 on your FM dial) with DJ Wesley Robertson at 2 p.m.

Oak Grove in Lafayette -- The Schwartz family band known as Oak Grove (featuring some members of OMGG) will be pickin’ bluegrass at Mountain Mike's Pizza in Lafayette on the 6th from 5:30-8 p.m.

Three bands in SF -- It will be a jumping night of Americana and old-time at the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco on the 6th when the Black Crown Stringband, Hillstomp and Luke Franks share the bill at this venue in Hayes Valley starting at 9 p.m.

Experienced duo -- Jim Nunally and Keith Little, who also play in the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, on the 6th will be picking and singing at The First Street Café, located at 440 First Street in Benicia, from 8-11:15 p.m. Bring an appetite with you as the café has an extensive appetizer and dessert menu, and beer and wine are offered as well.

Hearts and Hands in Alameda -- At McGrath’s Pub in Alameda on the 6th starting at 8 p.m. the SF band Gayle Lynn & The Hired Hands and The Everhearts will be pickin' all of your favorite tunes and more.

Jammin’ in Paso Robles -- "Matt's Jam" takes place every Saturday from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at Matt's Music, 617 12th Street, in downtown Paso Robles. For more information call (805) 237-0054.

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. Hear cuts by The Infamous Stringdusters, Cadillac Sky, The Farewell Drifters, Kort & Beth McCumber, The Hillbenders, Long Road Home, Martin Gilmore, Greensky Bluegrass, and more. He also welcomes requests, so email him at

Jammin’ in Modesto -- There is a jam in Modesto taking place at Ingram and Bra
Posted:  3/8/2010

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email