Author: Carlin, Larry

Jan. 30, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The last two days of January…it will be good to get this month over with. It has rained around here seemingly every day since the New Year began. The good news about this is that we’ve already gotten twice as much rain this year than all of last winter season, so there will be no shortage of water in the summer months. The bad news is that we still have another good two months of the rainy season to come. With any luck, when the calendar page is turned to February the sun will show its face a little more often. If nothing else, there is a heck of a lot of bluegrass about to happen in the SF area come February 1st, so sunny days are indeed on the horizon…

Rowdy radio -- This afternoon in San Francisco, beginning around 5:38 p.m., the bluegrass band Homespun Rowdy will be featured on KGO (810 AM) radio during their Wednesday Café segment. It's a five-minute interview with a live song or two. Tune in and you will get to hear the debut of their new silken-voiced bass player, Dan Booth. You can also listen on line.

Bluegrass in Moss Landing -- Tonight at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing from 6-8 p.m. you can experience live bluegrass with Deep Elem (formerly known as The Grass Fire Chiefs). The band is John Kael on banjo, mando and vocals, Billy Pitrone on guitar and vocals, Annie Staninec on fiddle and vocals and Sarah Eblen on bass and vocals.

Jammin’ in Sacto -- Every Thursday evening, from 7-10 p.m., there is a jam at The Fifth String Music Store, located at Alhambra & J Streets in Sacramento.

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 regular pickers are Ed Neff on mandolin, Mike Wilhoyte on guitar, Jeff King on bass, Paul Shelasky on fiddle, and banjoist Larry Cohea. The address is 3600 Petaluma Boulevard North. Call (707) 775-4232 for more info.

Jammin’ in Encinitas -- On Thursdays everyone heads to Today’s Pizza, 481 Santa Fe Drive, in Encinitas, for a night of pizza, pickin', and grinnin'. This is an excellent jam for those closet pickers wishing to learn to play bluegrass with others. The time is 6:30-9 p.m. For more info email Jason at

Jammin' in Berkeley -- Thursday night is beginners jam night at the 5th String Music Store, 3051 Adeline Street, in Berkeley, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Hardly Strictly on PBS -- The Public Broadcasting Service will be airing a one-hour special on the Austin City Limits show starting on Friday the 1st about the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which was shot in SF’s Golden Gate Park last October. KQED-TV (channel 9) in SF will air the show on the 1st at 10 p.m., on the 2nd at 6 p.m., on the 3rd at 2 p.m. and 11 p.m., and on the 6th at 3 a.m. For those of you outside the SF area, check your PBS station's web site or in your local newspapers.

SF Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival -- The annual SFBOTF will be taking place from February 1st-9th in SF and the East Bay. There are too many shows, workshops, venues, etc., to mention here, so the best thing for you to do is to go to their web site for complete info.

Solo John -- John McKelvy, former longtime guitarist and singer in The Earl Brothers, will be performing with some other great old-time players on the 1st at McGrath's in Alameda at 8 p.m., opening for Martha Spencer & Jackson Cunningham.

News from Backcounty -- Chris Stuart and Backcountry, one of California’s premier bluegrass bands from San Diego, checks in with this news: “We're working on the new band album up at (band member) Eric Uglam’s studio in Apple Valley and hope to have it out before June. We have photos of our November tour of Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Switzerland on the web site. Also there are a bunch of videos of us playing in Wognum, Netherlands, for the gig that our good friend Loek Lamers presented. Here's our 2008 schedule for this year. Not as much traveling, but we'll be working on the new album and making music closer to home. Chris's feature article on Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out is the cover piece for the February issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. And Chris wrote the liner notes for a couple of new Rounder releases: Rhonda Vincent's Good Thing Going and IIIrd Tyme Out's compilation Footprints. Janet's song ‘From Now On’ was just recorded by Sierra Hull on her new album due out soon. Chris's song ‘Thibodeau’ appears on Claire Lynch's compilation Crowd Favorites, and Larry Cordle recorded Chris's song ‘First Train Robbery’ on Cord's new album Took Down and Put Up on Lonesome Day Records. Chris's song ‘Single Candle’ was used in the Christmas play Angel of the Christmas Mine, by playwright Chris Sorenson, at a theater in Colorado.”

Dreams of a life in radio go up in smoke -- Who hasn’t ever been frustrated by the songs that are played on their car radio? Don’t you just hate the fact that about five programmers nationwide get to set the formats for all of the commercial radio stations in the country? Didn’t you sometimes feel like driving over to your local station and just setting it on fire? Didn’t think so. Most people just turn the radio off or slip in a CD. But not a young, and obviously frustrated (and now former) deejay on a community station down in Texas. He was pretty burned up over changes made to the overnight playlist he had set up, and he decided to take action into his own hands. Read the story here. He now faces 2-20 years in the pokey, with plenty of time to cool off and think of a new career…

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become president. I’m beginning to believe it.”
Posted:  2/1/2008

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