Author: Carlin, Larry

May 14, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010

Surviving the storm -- Former Bay Area bluegrass banjo player Debby Cotter Kaspari, who lives in Norman, Oklahoma, with her husband Mike and her cat Gizmo, lost just about everything the other day in a devastating tornado that destroyed numerous houses, caused dozens of injuries and five deaths. The couple and their cat huddled in a steel box that they had installed into their garage floor following a tornado scare over a decade ago. Their house was demolished, but they were not injured. The only musical instruments that survived are Debby’s banjo and Mike’s Fender Stratocaster guitar. You can see photos and read her “Surviving the Storm” posting here. CBA folks may remember Debby from the bands The All Girl Boys (with Chris Lewis, Kathy Barwick, Mary Gibbons and the late Carolyn Cirimele) and Heartland. Originally from the Bay Area, Debby is also a graduate of the California College of Arts and Crafts. She has been a fashion and scientific illustrator as well as a jewelry and collectible designer. For over 20 years she has been a painter of highly realistic watercolors of birds, exhibiting in the Oakland Museum, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and the Lawrence Hall of Science.

Loganville Acoustic -- There is a new band on the Bay Area scene called Loganville Acoustic that plays bluegrass, Americana and original songs. Its members are Leighanna Murphy on vocals, Bob Kolb on dobro, Jerry Logan on guitar and vocals, and Robbie Macdonald on banjo and vocals. The band picks material from old country male/female duets, old country and bluegrass, and they have worked up some of Jerry's original material with three part harmony. See them playing on the 14th at the Little India Restaurant in Redwood City starting at 7 p.m.

Party time in Alameda -- The place to be for good music this weekend in Alameda is McGrath’s Pub. Starting at 8 p.m. on the 14th it will be The Backyard Party Boys playing all of your favorite tunes, and on the 15th enjoy Americana with Beggars Jamboree.

Drifting away -- The bluegrass band Natural Drift is sad to report that Karen Orozco will soon be leaving the band. She is an original member, great singer, fiddler and good friend to the band, but she will be moving to the San Diego area. You can hear Karen with the ND at Hemalaya's Restaurant in Cameron Park on the 14th starting at 7:30 p.m. Because this will be her last gig there, dinner reservations are strongly advised. No cover. Her final appearance with the group will be on Vern's Stage at the Father’s Day Festival on June 18th at 2:30 p.m.

Mountain Laurel in Colfax -- There will be bluegrass being played on the 14th by the band Mountain Laurel at Evangeline’s in Colfax. Their new CD is titled Another Sunny Day In California.

Houston Jones in Alameda -- The high-octane Americana band Houston Jones will be playing a show at the Alameda Naval Air Museum Benefit for Special Olympics on the 14th starting at 8 p.m.

Dynamic duo in Benicia -- Jim Nunally and Judy Forrest on the 14th will be singing at The First Street Café, located at 440 First Street in Benicia, from 8-11 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.

Mayhem in Chico -- The band Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem on the 14th will perform at the Laxson Auditorium in Chico at 7:30 p.m. They are a wonderful band of eclectic, energetic musicians that play a range of music including bluegrass, old-time, Gypsy, folk, and any other acoustic category on fiddle, bass, guitar, mandolin, and percussion.

Laurie Lewis down south -- Laurie Lewis and The Right Hands are in SoCal these next few days, and you can see them at McCabe’s in Santa Monica on the 14th, at the CalTech Folk Society in Pasadena on the 15th, at the Del Mar Powerhouse on the 16th, and at Painted Sky Studio in Cambria on the 17th.

Clovis Bluegrass in the Park -- The Friday night Clovis Bluegrass in the Park series on the 14th will present the band Highway 65 from 6:30-8:30 p.m.

Mt. Diablo String Band in Walnut Creek -- The Mt. Diablo String Band will be performing a benefit on the 14th at 7:30 p.m. at the Walnut Avenue United Methodist Church in Walnut Creek. Proceeds of the concert benefits various outreach programs such as The Heifer Project, local food banks and more. The band performs energetic old-time music, featuring inspired fiddle tunes and vocal numbers, and its members are Carl Pagter on banjo, son Corbin Pagter on mandolin, Harry Liedstrand on fiddle, Cindy Liedstrand on guitar, and Matt Dudman on bass.

Ragtime and Tin Pan Alley in Chico -- On the 14th there will be a Ragtime and Tin Pan Alley Open Mic at the Terraces in Chico at 6:30 p.m. Performers are invited to enjoy the music from the mid 1800s to 1950s as well as acoustic music that fits in with the sound of this era. There is no charge for this second Friday of each month event. Fiddle tunes, country, bluegrass, folk, blues, Cajun, boogie-woogie and more are welcome. Performances are held to the ten minute rule. Brief historical presentations about the era’s music and/or composers are encouraged. The address is 2750 Sierra Sunrise Terrace, off Bruce Road. Then on the 15th from 1-3 p.m. at Sunrise see The Harmonaires (Bob Harrison, Sharon Smith and Pattie Smith) in concert. For more info contact Bernie or Bob LoFaso at or

Play Day in Duboce Park -- On the 15th from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. lots of bands will be performing in Duboce Park in SF for a benefit for the Friends of Harvey Milk Recreation Center. See Jeanie & Chuck’s Country Roundup, the Toodala Ramblers, Misisipi Rider, Gayle Lynn & The Hired Hands, D'lilah Monroe & The Tom Cats, The Maurice Tani Combo, and Rich McCulley.

Lost Weekend weekend -- Enjoy the Lost Weekend Western swing band on the 15th at The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley at 8 p.m. and at Don Quixote’s in Felton on the 16th at 2 p.m.

Topanga Festival -- The 50th Annual Topanga Banjo/Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival in SoCal takes place on the 16th and some of the featured acts are Susie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band (who will be performing on the railroad stage at 1:30 p.m.), Richard Greene & Peter Feldmann, Molly’s Revenge, Fur Dixon & Steve Werner, and Stuart Mason
Posted:  5/17/2010

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