Author: Cornish, Rick

Mold Archive 12/12
I’ve just been informed by the CBA web master that in a week the three-month pilot of the More or Less Daily News and Stuff will come to an end and he and his editorial board, (frankly, I don’t believe he even has one), will decide the fate of the column. As promised and as I shared with you back in September, they (he) gave me ninety days to sink or swim. So here’s what I’d like you to do…if you enjoy the daily news column send an email to:

and tell him what you think. If you would NOT like to see the Mold continue, just forget you read this important announcement.

Milestone…In 1983, Rose Maddox took the stage at Grass Valley for the very first time. She would be a regular visitor there in the years to come. It’s also noteworthy that that same year Tom Sauber played his first Fathers Day Festival with Barry Soloman and Ed Lowe. Exactly thirty years later Tom will perform on the main stage with Alice Gerrard and Brad Leftwich. And the cherry on top of today’s Milestone, Rose and Vern singing Tramp on the Street.

How do you spell plagiarism? A firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, I’ve been derelict in attributing some of the “Milestone” material I use to start each day’s column to Jack Tuttle, teacher, performer and noted bluegrass historian. You can find Jack’s complete “Bluegrass Timeline by clicking here.

Equestrian act…NOT--Hobbyhorse, a singer/songwriter duet comprised of Phil Campbell and Annie, will be riding into Arroyo Grande down on the central coast this weekend for a live show at Laetitia Vineyard. What better excuse to go on a wine-buying spree. Click here for show time.

It’s to Seoul what the Great Land Rush was to Oklahoma, only fueled by hormones instead of free grassland----“Women must dress in red and men in white and all gather at the park, which sits on an island in the Han River that bisects the capital. The two groups will stand facing each other a few metres apart until the event starts at 3:00pm (0600 GMT) — then run towards a potential date and grab his or her hands.” There aren’t many other rules governing South Korea’s ‘battle of the singles’ scheduled for Christmas eve, though I’m wondering is there isn’t some sort of provision for the off chance that some young man or woman isn’t happy with the hand that has grasped her/him. Click here if you’re curious, as I was, about what led up to this new Yule-tide tradition.

If Garrison Keillor narrates, you KNOW it’s gotta be folksy--The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance, was a one-hour PBS documentary that premiered a year ago last August. According to a network press release, it…”weaves rare performance footage, home movies, and candid photographs with firsthand accounts from fans and performers. Interviews with historians, folklorists, and media experts reveal historical and cultural perspectives of this unique period in America’s history.” So, what's newish about this story is that a group of folks are attempting to raise the money necessary to bring the documentary project to DVD. A HREF=" "target=0>Click here to see a bit of the show that aired and to see if you’d like to help. If so, time is running out. The campaign ends December 31st.

So, you wanna be in pictures? According to, and you KNOW what those folks say is nothing but the truth, the soundtrack for the new Judd Apatow movie about to hit theaters was done, in large part, by the Punch Brothers. The soundtrack’s producer, Jon Brion, who produced the last full Punch Brothers album, Antifogmatic, “has become a friend of the band, and when the time came to record the movie soundtrack, he called upon the Brothers to serve supporting roles behind the big name pop artists whose voices are out front. Listen for them providing accompaniment for Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Lindsay Buckingham, Graham Parker and Wilco.” Click here for the full story, including a left-handed compliment about the film itself.

Ho, ho, ho--We've got a majorly bluegrassy lead up to Christmas in our little corner of the world. Something to ignite that high lonesome yuletide spirit. Put these in your calendar…

13: The Kentucky Twisters – Atlas Café, SF
13: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
13: Rob Ickes & Jim Hurst – Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
14: Rob Ickes & Jim Hurst – Sebastopol Community Center
16 (2 pm): San Bruno Mountain Boys - San Gregorio Store
17: Windy Hill - Amnesia, SFDec.
18: Cabin Fever - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
19: Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
19: Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
20: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
21: Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman; Plough & Stars,
22: Beargrass Creek - Mission Pizza, Fremont
23 (11 am): Paul Jacobs & Friends - San Gregorio Store
24: The Earl Brothers - Amnesia, SF

And speaking of Christmas, which it seems a lot of people are--The bluegrass family band Oak Grove has a part to play in tomorrow night’s very multi-genre “Have Yourself a Little Gospel Christmas in Walnut Creek.Click here to learn exactly where and when.

Milestone…1962 Ralph Rinzler becomes Monroe's manager. Markets him as the "Father of Bluegrass".
Click here

And the hits just keep a’ comin’--MOLD MAIL…The title track of the Kathy Kallick Band's new album, "Time," has entered the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey. This is the fifth title song that Kathy and her band have placed in the BU chart. The others: "Call Me A Taxi," "Walkin' In My Shoes," "Warmer Kind Of Blue," and "Where Is My Little Cabin Home" (from the album "Between the Hollow & the High-Rise"). The other four albums also made the Top 15 Bluegrass Albums chart. Click to the KKB web site.

2012 has been a tough year for music--Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Dave Brubeck, Doug Dillard, and Everett Lilly all lost this year. And this morning the New York Times is reporting the death of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Sitar virtuoso, cultural ambassador, teacher, whose “uncompromising dedication to musical collaboration beyond national boundaries knew no limits” was 92. Click here for the Times story.

Interesting match-up--From…Cia Cherryholmes Adkisson, of the singer-songwriter duo, Songs of the Fall, is excited to be a part of Mark O'Connor's Christmas Tour - a five city tour through the month of December. Cia will be playing banjo, and will sing several selections during the concert. Click here

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer has to be included if the list is to be taken seriously--A Yule Time request from the folks at Mandolin Café…”We're in the process of developing a definitive mandolin Christmas recording list. Join in the fun and add your recommendations. The list grows daily!” Click here if you’ve got one or just want to see what they’ve come up with so far.

Close call clue to cunning Korean catastrophic climate killer? Asteroid 4179 Toutatis Flyby This Morning. Even though its closest distance to the earth was 18 times further than the moon, scientists say that if it struck our planet the three-mile wide asteroid “could have caused catastrophic damage. In general, NASA believes a strike by anything at least 0.6 miles (1 km) wide could have global consequences, most likely by altering the world's climate for many years to come.“ Shortly after the historic flyby, the North Korean News Agency issued a statement that the “near collision with 4179 was actually a test of a new top secret ‘orbital manipulation’ device which Dear Leader # Three, Kim Jong Un, personally developed as a high school science project and which, with this morning’s successful execution, becomes a new weapon in North Korea’s arsenal to protect itself from western imperialism.” Click here for the entire story.

And speaking of natural calamities, these guys are to bluegrass what a real twister is to the Western Oklahoma Panhandle in July--Who are the Kentucky Twisters and where do they come off naming themselves after one of nature’s most cataclysmic events? Well, there’s an easy way to find out, and that’s to click here. And then there’s the more fun…or is it funner…way, and that’s to get your sorry self to the Atlas Café Thursday the 13th.

Public Service Announcement--Rick Cornish, the CBA web master who nobody seems to remember ever appointing to the job, has asked me, through my CBA liaison, Mark Peet, to let my readers know that a new block of rooms has been opened at the Doubletree Hotel for the big doings down in Bakersfield next month. Click here if you’re interested in nailing down a room. (As an aside, I find it a little amusing that the web master is asking the Mold Man share information with my readers. Do you suppose it’s finally dawned on him that the More or Less Daily is a major reason some people come to this site?)

And finally, spreading across the globe, one web site at a time--Leave it to Madame President Brandli to get the CBA all neatly signed up and registered as a “group” on the web site. Click here for a look at our home away from home.

Milestone…In 1952 Jim and Jesse get noticed. Jesse crosspicks the mandolin and the brother harmonies inspire their contemparies across several genres, including the Everly Brothers and Beatles. Click here to see the two perform one of their all time hit ballads, When I stop dreaming

And we can say we knew ‘em when--Husband and wife team court stardom with new music video., ARROGANT MILL

“At the east end of town, where the night sky's dark and inky
Stands a factory still and empty that for so long made our Twinkies.
But there's no carbs at all coming from those hallowed halls
No more Yodels, no more Ding Dongs, no more neon pink Snowballs.”

Click here to hear and see what all of the industry buzz is about.

Just picture Ed with a white beard and big belly--MOLDMAIL…”Hello Moldman, Blue and Lonesome would appreciate if you would post these upcoming gigs in your column. Friday, 12/14/2012, Murphy's Irish Pub, downtown Sonoma on the square (Kid Friendly venue); Sunday, 12/16/2012, 5:30PM, Bergamot Alley, Healdsburg, 328A Healdsburg Ave; Thursday, 12/20/2012, 7Pm, Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma, 3600 Petaluma Blvd. north (This is the annual birthday bash for Sag/Cap birthdays but of course anyone can come and is encouraged!) During this joyous time of year let us not forget the birthday folks who get presents wrapped in Santa Paper! Eat a cupcake, listen to Happy Birthday Bluegrass Style, and support LIVE music (and musicians).”

Donner, Blitzer and Larry--From Larry Carlin who, like clockwork, dons his elf outfit once Turkey Day is out of the way…”‘Tis the season! Dr. Elmo & The Supersonic Reindeer Band will be playing a series of shows in the San Francisco Bay Area this holiday season. Hear Elmo sing his classic hit “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and many more original holiday songs that he co-wrote with Mill Valley’s Rita Abrams.” Oh, and for the one or, at most, two people in the world who don’t know Dr. Elmo and his ‘Grandma’ song, click here.

Say what you will about the Chronicle and its gradual, decades-long slide into the sea of mediocrity, their reporters still know good shows when they see 'em--Hillary and Jim among Bay Area arts and entertainment picks. Click here.

TV alert from our friends over at on Austin City Limits This Week; Catch Steve and the Steeps. Click for the whole skinny.

Oh, I don’t know if they’ll let me use that word--So, when you’re running a country that has a shockingly tragic history of its people starving to death…literally…you plow every spare nickel and dime into projects aimed at boosting food production, right? Well, generally the answer is, yes, that’s what you do, except when the country you’re running is named North Korea or your first name is Kin, in which case you spend $41,000,000 in 2012 building monuments to your recently-departed ‘dear leader’, the last being a 75-foot bronze statue of the late Kim Jong Il erected in April and costing $10 million. Even in death our old pal figures out a way to shit on his people. Click here

This could be a troubling story if we let it be.--Weekend Vote Will Bring Controversial Changes To Psychiatrists' Bible. Twenty high-ups in the American Psychiatric Association will spend the weekend in Arlington, VA, making sweeping changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual…the bible of psychiatry…and since psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners around the country use the DSM to help them piece together their patients' mental conditions, lots and lots of people will be touched by what’s decided there at the Ramada Inn. So what’s on tap? Looks like Asperger's syndrome will be let out to pasture; disruptive mood dysregulation will be a new disorder added to describe unruly kiddies in the classroom, (bipolar, some feel, is a little extreme); a new way to think about sadness in the wake of the death of a loved one will suggest that grieving isn’t all that abnormal; and OHLSD, (Obsessive High Lonesome Sound Disorder will be added back into the manual after being dropped back in the 60’s at the height of the folk revival on college campuses. Read the full story at DSM5.

Please have their tri-tip/hot-links combo for me, please--You don’t have to like bluegrass music to drive to Campbell and eat barbeque at Sam’s; it’s some of the best you can find, even if elevator music was playing. But if you do like the high-lonesome stuff, the ribs and slow-cooked brisket will taste twice as good. Tuesday night, Carolina; Wednesday night, Dark Hollow.

Snappers--I spotted something new on the CBA web site today. I suppose it could have been there all along and I missed it…but I don’t think so. The page introduces the three official photographers of the organization, Mike Melnyk, Bob Caulkins and Randy Shelton and invites folks to go look a their work. I did and was knocked out. Click here if you have a minute.

Milestone…June, 1976, Grass Valley California…the newly created California Bluegrass Association holds its first Fathers Day Festival and proudly announces its line-up…Josh Graves; Ray Park; Vern Williams Band; A Touch of Grass; Arkansas Shieks; Bear Creek Boys; Bill White; Buffalo Bob and the Country Butter Band; Country Ham; Done Gone; Good 'n' Country; Good Ol' Persons; Long Valley Boys; New Depression String; asnd the Caffrey Family

Better late than never--I happen to know that 1) a good number of our daily readers live the the Sacramento area and 2) a good number of them read the MOLD while having their morning coffee. Hence, I’m not going to apologize for making this recommendation precariously late. Jump in your car, drive downtown to the Old Soul for a cup of java and listen to Kathy Barwick and Ross Hammond pick a few. They’ll play 10 till noon, which will give you the rest of the day to…well…whatever.

Already a year since we said goodbye--Shirley Tudor was a dear pal to many, many pickers down in the Santa Cruz area and we’ve been told by Leslie Abbott that next weekend those friends will remember her at a very musical memorial. Organizers are trying to get a general count of those planning to attend so, if you are, drop Leslie a note at

It is at once a profound and abstract question, and a deeply personal one.--What is the meaning of life? For only $84.95 Professor Jay L. Garfield, a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, will lay it all out for you on his latest digital video…$49.95 if you feel you can get by with just the audio version. Is Moldman recommending the doctor’s lecture series? No, he is not. Rather, he is offering you tangible, clickable proof that there exist on this earth men even more presumptuous, self-important, ego-centric, and cock-sure asnd utterly delusional than himself. Granted, there aren’t many, but there are some. Click here if you don’t believe me.

No, in the grand scheme of things, the middle of February is not that far off--What do the Casey Dreissen, Bill Evans, The Bee Eaters, David Thom's Bluegrass All-Stars, The Crooked Jades, The Earl Brothers, Grandpa Banana Band, Snap Jackson & the Knock On Wood Players. Evie Ladin Band. JimBo Trout & the Fishpeople, Gayle Schmitt & the Toodala Ramblers, Savannah Blu, Whiskey Brothers, The Drifter Sisters, and the Lonesome Holler String Band have in common? Well, among other things, I’m sure, these acts will be performing as part of the 13th Annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival. They along with about forty or so other bands and soloists will help keep the SFBOT a compelling reasons that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the best places on the planet for a unplugged music junkie. Click here for the full cast of characters.

Want imported donkey cream in that coffee, Mr.?--I’m certain you’ll find this hard to believe, but I can be a pretty sarcastic guy. One of my all-time favorite comebacks when a friend comes up with a dumb plan, (e.g., “I just ordered one of those rubber thingies you put around your stomach and the pounds just melt away”) is “Right, that and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee.” Or at least that’s what I used to say. In recent years, I’ve changed it to “that and two bucks will get you…” And then this morning I read this…Chain Introduces Cups Of Costa Rica Finca Palmilera.

You be the judge--Welch Casts Doubt On Jobs Report Again…Jack Welch, long-time CEO of General Electric, strongly implied on Twitter Friday that the September and October jobs reports both contained a glaring mistake that skews the Labor Department’s projections and renders them useless. “@jack_welch; Jack Welch; Sept/October employment proj’s all wet; numbers based on FIFTY STATES rather than actual number, which is FORTY-EIGHT STATES; more govt. incompetence” Welch, who led GE between 1981 and 2001 and saw a 4000% increase in the company’s value during that period, later told the Wall Street Journal that “when Hawaii and Alaska become states you can be sure I’ll personally welcome them with open arms. But until then, job numbers from the two territories should not be used in DOL calculations.”

No, it’s not a Martin but it’s well-traveled--A $100 Guitar Makes A 30,000-Mile Odyssey. Click here for the story.

So,honestly, who doesn’t need a little encouragement every now and then? Ran Bush is a great guy and knows a whole lot about bluegrass music. If you haven’t met him he’s a good fellow to get to know, especially if you’re one of those closet pickers who’s on the verge of breaking out but just needs a little nudge. Ran runs a slow jam the second and fourth Sundays, 2:00 p.m., at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley,

I have seen the future and it is now…well, actually it was several months ago when BB was copyrighted--And finally, let’s say that, for the sake of discussion, you are a bluegrass fanatic, you have a nephew and a niece, both toddlers, and you have zero faith that your brother Ralph will do anything of significance aimed at indoctrinating the little ones into ‘our music’ while their little minds are still sponge-like and vulnerable. And let’s also say, again, just to keep the conversation going, that Katie and Tyler LOVE their matching I-Pads and that, even at three and four respectively, they’re both masters at the hand-helds’ operation. Two words…Barnyard Bluegrass.

Milestone…No, Barney, I’m sorry but you can’t play the spoons--In 1963 the Dillards play the Darlings on the Andy Griffith show. Click here for a great rendition of Dooley…Andy plays along.

He gets it now--Good Facebook quote from well-known photog, Mike Melnyk- re: the recent traveling BANJO EXTRAVAGANZA…”There are things out there. You can call them Banjos. Yeah, I've seen them and I've heard them. But, three together, with expert drivers. NOW I get it. Banjo Extravaganza. Look at em go. (Hear them too).

You won’t find anybody bothering to try and prove banjo players are ‘different’--A regular reader sent in the link to a story whose title reads… “Why learning guitar is different from learning other instruments.” (Note it doesn’t say HARDER to learn than other instruments.) Turns out a Nashville guitar player and a psych prof at Vanderbilt got together and hatched a pretty interesting methodology to prove their theory. Works for me. You? Click here

Let the bidding begin! It’s common knowledge among bluegrass pickers that, of all the bluegrass musicians, mandolin players tend to be the best educated and most affluent, hence we thoughts we’d share this piece spotted at…”For Sale: Tim May Mandolin Orchestra Collection 1913-1919. Tim May's remarkable mandolin orchestra collection of Gibson oval hole/sunburst instruments from 1913-1919, highlighted in our 2011 interview with him, is now for sale as an intact collection in our Classifieds. Click here

Upper body male enhancement--Stumped about what to get that man of yours for Christmas? How about a new look that suggests masculinity, wisdom and experience? Pierre Bouhanna, a Paris-based surgeon, says he’s doing 50-60 mustache implants per month. Transplantees are able to wash the next day, have to abstain from shaving for only 5 days, and can expect to see full results after six months. Granted, the seven grand Dr. Pierre charges ain’t hay, but where else are you going to get a 100% natural lip-warmer at any price? Click here

Of special interest to those suffering from cabin fever--Moldy Mail Press Release …”Colorado River Fairgrounds in Blyth, California will once again be the scene of the Blythe Bluegrass Music Festival. The Annual Blythe Bluegrass Music Festival has been part of the excitement of the Palo Verde Valley for over a quarter of a century. It all started with volunteer organizers, and today that tradition still exists. There will be plenty of top name bluegrass talent again this year so you will want to start making your plans now. Don't miss the Gibson Brothers - They'll be there! They recently won the 23rd Annual International IBMA Entertainer of the year award. The talent lineup, so far, includes the award winning The Gibson Brothers, Monroe Crossing, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, Pearce Family Bluegrass Band, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Silverado, The Burnett Family, Bost Family Traditions, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Bill Evans, and New Generation.” Click here

Quick, whose face is on a hundred dollar bill? If you said Ben Franklin’s face, you’d be right. If you came up with some other famous American, you be wrong but, what the heck, it wouldn’t matter. Unless, of course, if you lived in Attleboro, Mass, your name was Dana Leland and you were trying to pass $100 bills that had Abraham Lincoln’s face on them. At least Dana had the good sense to plead guilty. The 29-year-old Leland used the fake notes on three consecutive days at the North Attleborough store to buy items worth less than $25. And you think YOU have problems.

Do you suppose the bees are pathetic, too--Ella Naiman and Scott Dailey cordially invite us all to the 8th Annual Holiday Hootenenanny…Devil's Canyon Brewing Company in Belmont, Friday, December 14…6:00pm until 11:00pm…no Cover, which is always nice…and the best part, we’ll hear: 6:00 - Hello Trouble; 7:15 - Wires & Fools; 8:15 - Pathetic Honey; and 9:45 - Stoney Mt. RamblersClick here for a little Devil’s Canyon info.

With a couple big names, this basnd could catch on--Moldy Mail Bag…Dear MM, my new band – Helen Highwater (David Grier, Mike Compton, Missy Raines, and Shad Cobb) made their debut last night at the Fiddle House in East Nashville. All the best, Marie, Above the Bay Booking” Click here to read the review…it’s pretty derned rave.

Milestone--In 1966 Carter Stanley died. His brother, Ralph, vowed to carry on, and that promise had already blessed a couple of generations. Click here for a little bit of that good old mt. dew.

Notice that playing bluegrass music isn’t on the list--We’re gonna take a wild guess about Kevin Daum at and assume he’s a very bright guy. What other kind of guy would presume to preach to us about the “5 Things That Really Smart People Do”? So here goes…

1. Quiet Your Inner Voice
2. Argue With Yourself
3. Act Like You Are Curious
4. Find the Kernel of Truth
5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger

Want to know what really, really smart people do? Well, for starters, they click here.

A couple of good flat pickers--Moldy Mail Bag item. A little longer than most posts, but it’s worth it…”Hello MM, Told you that Helen Highwater (David Grier, Mike Compton, Missy Raines, Shad Cobb) played their first ever concert at The Fiddle House in East Nashville on Sunday night 12/3/12. Here’s a little snippet from a long ago interview with David Grier:

Q: Who influenced you most?

DG: Clarence White

Q: He came to your house often?

DG: Yes, Bill Monroe and Clarence White always stopped by whenever they came to the area. I was a kid so they usually jammed with my father. My father still has the tape recordings. That's so cool to listen to.

And attached is a photo of David Grier with Clarence White. Here’s the caption for it: “This picture was taken at the Indian Springs festival in Maryland in 1972 (Jack Lawrence said). Clarence is carrying his Whitebook with a cedar top. He also carries a Pabst Blue Ribbon. The young kid is David Grier with a soft drink in his hand. The gentleman behind David is his father, Lamar Grier. The drunken gentleman on the ground is presumed to be Harry Moore.”

Did you know that Clarence White did not sing in public? He was in a band with Peter Rowan, Richard Green, David Grisman, and Bill Keith. Band was called Muleskinner. They did a live television broadcast in early 1973. On that show, as far as we know, was the only time Clarence White sang in public. What song did he sing? He sang “Dark Hollow.” Clarence White died July 15, 1973.

David Grier never sings – NEVER – well at least not in public. He sang Sunday night. And what song did he sing? He sang “Dark Hollow”.

Maria E. Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking

Wow, to make it on this list...Congratulations to Grammy nominees in the Category 46. Best Bluegrass Album…

The Gospel Side Of--Dailey & Vincent
Life Finds A Way--The Grascals
Beat The Devil And Carry A Rail--Noam Pikelny
Scratch Gravel Road--Special Consensus
Nobody Knows You--Steep Canyon Rangers

More like a trickle than a tidal wave--Oh, and just to put things in perspective, the total number of words it took to list out all of the Grammy Nominations for 2012 was 7,085. The total number of words required to list out nominations for the single bluegrass award category was 47. I don’t mean to be cynical, friends, but let’s not kid ourselves about the tidal wave of popularity sweeping the nation for our kind of music. Oh, want to read all 7,085 words? Just click here.

Day of Infamy--Every man, woman and child in this country of ours is living a life that was partly shaped by what happened on this day seventy one years ago. Since then we have called today Pearl Harbor Day

That’s right next to Denny’s and just down from the multi-plex--Okay, this is admittedly short notice…and admittedly, some will choose not to make the long drive, but we at the MOLD felt it our responsibility to let you know that tonight Cliff Wagner & The Old # 7 will do their annual Christmas show at the Cinema Bar!, 3967 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City. I can think of few ways to ensure that by the 25th you will be properly imbued with the Christmas spirit than watching and listening to this absolutely crazy man and his crazy banjo. If you go, please say hello for me.

Milestone…It was a very good year--According to Wikipedia, “Originally, there was no intention to build a group and the main reason for the collaboration was to record a solo album for Tony Rice. They found that this cooperation could work and the result was an album called The Bluegrass Album, released in 1981, Click here to hear a few sample cuts and bring back a tidal wave of memories.

I was young and cute and funny and talented once too, dammit --A word from the Drifter Sisters. They need your help more than you need that sushi night out this weekend. They’re about to get on the CD-producing train and with their “good common sense and the support of our community, there's no reason we can't be successful in this recording endeavor.” Click here and hop on with ‘em.

Relevance thrown under the bus?--From the Moldy Mail Bag…”Dear MM, take this as a question or take it as a criticism, I don’t care. Why do you insist on filling your column everyday with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with bluegrass? I used to love to read Larry Carlin’s Almost Daily News. True, some of what he wrote about didn’t really qualify as bluegrass, but at least it was all about music. Some of the c___ you throw in your column, I don’t know, some of it I don’t think is even true. Why not just keep it to bluegrass? That’s the reason we come to this web site. For the bluegrass. So what if your columns are shorter? Signed, Growing Impatient” Dear Growing, let me give your question some thought. In the meantime, click here for the latest on the Mayan Apocalypse Countdown.

Take Five, hell, take an eternity. You’ve earned it.--Larry Carlin started the tradition a long time ago that the daily news, though dedicated to bluegrass, would include ‘big’ items involving all types of music. Clearly this is a big and a very sad item…the legendary Dave Brubeck has passed. We were especially fortunate here in Northern California to have him so close by for so many years.Click here to view Dave’s obituary.

What does this new band’s name conjure up? Mountain Dojo…new old timey act...Toshio Hirano and Dave Berry…Atlas Café in the City tonight.

The bluegrass version of affordable care; Dr.’s Monroe and Crowe--Stolen from the Breakdown but worth a read…Crowe receives honorary degree. By Tom Adler. I'm truly pleased to announce that the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has designated banjoist/bandleader J.D. Crowe as one of the recipients of an honorary doctorate. The Doctor of Arts de- gree will be conferred at the upcoming Commencement ceremony in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 14th, 2012. To my knowledge, Crowe will be only the second bluegrass musician to receive such an honor from the University of Kentucky -- the first was Bill Monroe, who was granted the degree in 1984 and received it at the June, 1985 UK Commencement ceremonies. Crowe has told me that he is very pleased, but does NOT want anyone to publicly address him as "Dr. Crowe" -- still, I hope all will join me in offering their congratulations to this great artist and exemplary bluegrass leader.

A prescient name? The Civil Wars, Joy Williams and John Paul White, have built a gentle, harmony-rich folk-pop sound in which warm chemistry seeps out of every note. The pair recently announced a hiatus due to "irreconcilable differences," but before that, they performed "Kingdom Come" backstage at the Sasquatch! Music Festival. It’s quite literally a ‘field recording”. Click here for A Song Of Loyalty, Before It's Tested. Quite nice.

Come on, take a joke--Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that occasionally, VERY occasionally, the Mold team will post an item that is, how shall we say, less than entirely truthful, but such pieces are ALWAYS proffered in a spirit of fun and good humor. We’d never dream of putting anything up that could actually be taken seriously, and that’s why we were a little unnerved to read the following…” The Onion has declared North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the "sexiest man alive for 2012." And it appears China's People's Daily Online has taken the story seriously…. The Chinese story reprinted satirical comments describing Kim's "air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side," his "impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and," the story says, "that famous smile." Click here for the gory details.

For safety’s sake stand back when he begins pumping--Quick word from Marcos Alvira…Just bought a CAD C195 mic to augment the gig this Friday at Louie's Saloon in LaGrange (The Poor Valley Band picks till they drop). Ron Cotnam of Red Dog Ash will be joining us on bass. I'm beginning to get pumped.

***Get cultured, would ya please--Eric and Suzy and their daughter are playing at the Creative Growth Art Center exhibition/opening/reception tomorrow night. They play FOR FREE and we think there’s eats. 5:30 to 8:30, Oakland, uptown. Google directions.

Notice, play bluegrass music isn’t on the list--We’re gonna take a wild guess about Kevin Daum at and assume he’s a very bright guy. What other kind of guy would presume to preach to us about the “5 Things That Really Smart People Do”? So here goes…

1. Quiet Your Inner Voice
2. Argue With Yourself
3. Act Like You Are Curious
4. Find the Kernel of Truth
5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger

Want to know what really, really smart people do? Well, for starters, they click here.

Milestone…Oh, and there’ll be this young girl…what’s her name, Laurie Lewis…who’ll be on stage too. Quite the fiddle player--The first CBA sponsored event was held in Fairfield on Sunday, April 7, 1975. Called the Kick-Off Jamboree, the full day of music was meant to launch the just-formed California Bluegrass Association. Headliners were High Country, Phantoms of the Opry and the brand new band, Loomis Quick Step. Jack Sadler was entertainment Coordinator and he was interviewed a few weeks before the event on Cousin Al’s radio show. History was in the making.

President Ulysses S. Grant slept there, the last drink in Nevada County was served there the night before Prohibition became law and…the Banner Mountain Boys will play there Saturday night. The Holbrooke Hotel, 212 Main St, Grass Valley, 530-273-1353,, no cover.

Talmudic volumes, Sabbath candlesticks and a very hot mandolin player--Andy Statman, who was in Country Cooking and Breakfast Special and has appeared in dozens of albums by Tony Trischka, Kenny Kosek and many others, was the subject of a New York Times article. The Times writer wrote of Statman…”In his religious life as an Orthodox Jew, he adheres to rules; in his musical life as a brilliant mongrel, he defies them.” Click here for an interesting read.

This girl really wants a denim CBA jacket--Found in the Moldy Mail Bag…Hello MM, remember Brad Folk of Open Road? Just started a new band. Working title – Bluegrass Playboys. Other members TBA. Actually I think they’re already announced but my source just couldn’t remember. But good to know that Brad is getting back out there. He lives in Nashville. Maria Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking.” Many of us hated to see Open Road go by the wayside. It’s so good to hear Brad is coming back…he’s a killer lead singer.

When’s a girl a fellow? From…”Claire Lynch Receives USA Fellowship Grant! Music artist and songwriter Claire Lynch is among 54 remarkable artists to receive one of 50 USA Fellowships (some collaborative) from United States Artists (USA). The national advocacy organization awarded unrestricted grants of $50,000 today. Out of the 54 winners, only seven are in the music field. Claire now joins previous fellows Tony Trischka and Rob Ickes as the only USA fellows whose roots are in the bluegrass tradition. Click to full story.

Eaves dropping--So, you’re listening to two guys talk and they mention the jam Thursday night at the Fifth String; so much fun, they say, very welcoming. Problem is, you don’t catch which Fifth String…the one in Sacramento or the one in Berkeley? Hey, no problem; there’s a weekly jam at both on Thursday nights. Click here for details.

Calm down, lady, there’s a banjo under there--54-year-0ld Brit, Melvyn Webb, takes his banjo playing very seriously. He knows the importance of practice, practice, practice, and even when he’s commuting on the train and can’t bring his axe along he works out on his air banjo. What could be more natural? More innocent? A Reading Crown Court judge bought Melvyn’s story and, really, that’s all that counts, right? The not-squeamish reader can click here to hear both sides of the story.

”Bluegrass is probably one of the least popular genres in Sweden, but we’re dead sure we’ll change that.” John Joseph Adams prefaces his interview with the boys in the band with a brutally frank admission…”Death Metal and Bluegrass are as natural a pairing as...well, okay, there’s nothing really natural about it. But Swedish band Slaughter of the Bluegrass have merged the two, nature be damned, and the result is a band that plays Bluegrass covers of Death Metal songs. (Deathgrass? Blue Metal?)” You’re asking yourself, should I click here and keep reading? Hey, don’t look at me. Do what you’ve got to do.

Yeah, right, and Shakespeare loved hip-hop--I just realized a few weeks ago that Sunday’s around this place are dedicated to what they call ‘hooked on bluegrass’ stories so I’ve started glancing at them. Some are mildly interesting, but one this past Sunday caught my eye. Purportedly a hooked story by Mark Twain who, of course was dead well before Bill Monroe was ever even a twinkle in his daddy’s eye. So, how do they get around this inconvenient fact? Simple, they, (probably the self-appointed web master) imply that Clemens anticipated bluegrass because of his fondness for the banjo. Read this…”And away back in the beginning to my mind I see an entirely new genre, a pulsing force modulated with sweetness indescribable, a toe-tapping, heart-wrenching invention of sound on sound on sound built on the back of the banjo, that, by the middle of the fast-approaching new century, will sweep across the land and make true believers of us all.” Is this horse pucky or what? You can click here the whole supposed story, though I’m not recommending it.

b>Milestone…momentous but short-lived--In 1944 Lester Flatt became one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.
Click here and have a listen to what would be the prototype for a new and exciting kind of music.

Sexiest man on earth has a few more surprises for us--Does anybody besides me find it just a trifle ironic and unsettling that in the short span of less than one week the North Korean state news agency has reported: 1) that archaeologists recently reconfirmed the lair of a unicorn once ridden by an ancient Korean king; and 2) the country has begun installing a rocket at its Sohae launch pad ahead of a planned launch this month, (a rocket, of course, that could deliver a nuclear payload). This isn’t funny anymore. Click here to read the unicorn story; you don’t want to read about the rocket, believe me.

Well, that leaves Whiskey Before Breakfast out--Artificial brain passes basic IQ test; learns to write signature, play banjo. An artificial brain created by neuroscientists at the University of Waterloo in Canada can pass a basic IQ test according to researchers, reported ExtremeTech. The Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network — SPAUN — contains 2.5 million simulated neurons. It can complete eight different tasks, write its name with one attached arm and play the banjo with both artificial limbs. Not only does it simulate the human brain’s abilities, but it even simulates the brain’s limits, as it has difficulty remembering more than a few numbers and banjo tunes with more than three chords. “We started with the banjo,” said Dennis Coke, the project’s lead scientist, “because it’s well known that that’s the simplest and most primitive of the stringed instruments and requires the least amount of intelligence to master. Assuming our funding is continued, in SPAUN’s Phase II we’ll move to more cerebral and sophisticated instruments. Click here.

Phil one, cancer zero…GAME OVER, MAN--When Phil Leadbetter told the national bluegrass community last year that he’d been diagnosed with cancer it hit like a ton of bricks. Besides being a world class reso artist, ‘Uncle’ Phil is just a great guy. Phil was very upfront about his fight for life and kept us informed from start to successful finish. Proof that he beat the damned thing can be seen very tangibly with the following schedule of Phil and Steve Gulley’s Florida tour…10 (Thursday) Ferandina Beach, FL - Sliders Beachside Grill; 11 (Friday) Bushnell, FL - Bruce and Jody Watson's Hollowpoint Farms; 12 (Saturday) Bushnell, FL - Bruce and Jody Watson's Hollowpoint Farms; 13 (Sunday)...... Plant City, FL- Bailey Acoustic Shop. (On the Plant City date, the two will also be offering workshops.”

Watch for some release shindigs coming up--Very fine new CD out by a local singer-songwriter named Wendy Burch Steel. The project is called Open Wings and one of the cuts, If I Had Wings can be previewed on YouTube by clicking here. Ms. Steel has a lovely voice reminiscent, to me anyway, of Mary McCaslin and her supporting staff on the CD isn’t too shabby either… Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Chad Manning, Patrick Sauber, Todd Phillips, John Schott, Evan Robert Morgan, Nell Robinson, Melody Walker, Richard Brandenburg and the T Sisters

Be still my heart--And speaking of new recording projects, it’s more than a little heart-warming when I sit sipping my morning coffee, scanning through web screens like a high flying, sub-supersonic reconnaissance jet over our shinking world, that I accidentally stumble on news that two of my all time favorite performers, who have about as much in common as aluminum siding and goldfish, have produced a CD together. John Prine and Mac Wiseman have collaborated on a collection of tunes called Standard Songs for Average People. About the title, music critic Daniel Woolstencroft writes…”It's a title that's equal parts accurate and misleading; Standard Songs is such a beautiful, worthy album that it deserves a far less reserved title, and yet it's so comfortable, mellow, and soothing that its title fits. Click here to read the entire review and then, if you’re as sold as I am, go out and buy the CD.

Ah, so like, how high did you want me to jump, sir? Folks familiar with the CBA will remember the name Darrel Johnston. During his career Darrel had a pretty demanding job; he was in charge of the United States Navy’s Nuclear Sub Maintenance and Refueling operation and, well, let’s just say he was known for taking care of business. Upon retirement Darrel cast about for something to do with his time and, as luck would have it…and we’re talking VERY good luck, he became involved with the CBA. Within no time at all Darrel was appointed treasurer, elected to the board of directors and created the Kids Lending Library. And of course he accomplished a myriad of lesser known successes. Like deciding just out of the blue one morning that the newly created world-wide streaming operation back in D.C. needed some West Coast representation in its programming. Darrel approached the challenge like any other he’d taken on during his thirty years at the shipyards and within a month Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal Radio Show was added to bluegrasscountry’s list of weekly programs. Not long after that our friend and champion left us as quickly as he’d arrived, the victim of a massive heart attack. He’s still missed horribly, but his important work is a constant reminder of the larger than life mover-and-shaker we were briefly blessed with. One reminder, of course, can be heard every week on the web. Click here to learn what Bluegrass Signal will be up to over the coming holiday.

Milestone…Where we went to find the words--In December of 1941 People's Songs was founded by Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax, Lee Hays, and others in New York City. Its purpose was to "create, promote, and distribute songs of labor and the American people." Within fifteen years the People's Songs Bulletin was serving as a template for folk music magazines to come like Sing Out! and Broadside.

Is there anything this guy DOESN’T do? I keep mentioning my predecessor Larry Carlin because, well, the more I learn about him the more I realize the guy does a whole lot for our music. For example, I just recently heard about the Sausalito Seahorse Bluegrass Sessions that he helped start years ago…I hear told it’s still going strong.Click here to learn more. Hey, what do you know...tonight's the first Monday night of the month.

Sure, you've seen a squirrel playing a banjo before. But what about a squirrel playing an electric banjo?--Chris Stuart recommends giving a squirrel banjo for Christmas when nothing else will say I love you. Click here

Hillary Clinton wants YOU--From Bob Cherry over at…American Voices Accepting Applications the US Department of State's American Music Abroad tour American Voices, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is now accepting ensemble applications for the American Music Abroad 2013-2014 touring season. In the previous tour, Della Mae represented bluegrass music through American Voices. Artists interested in participating in this outstanding program can now apply. Click here
for more information.

Centuries old--“Her name is Elizabeth LaPrelle. She says she loves the story-telling ballad — Scottish, Irish, English — especially the ones that go back centuries. At 25, she's aware she sounds older, and likes it.” Unadorned by instrumental accompaniment, LaPrelle’s singing is at the center of the heart of our bluegrass music. She could be Ollabelle Reed or Ralph Stanley standing alone at a mic, no instrument, half singing, half telling…no, wailing…a story. Listen to the young woman’s music and hear an interview with her by clicking here. Very powerful.

Pay attention, this could be on a test some time --In 1942 Hedy Lamarr co-stared with Spencer Tracy in the movie version of John Steinbeck’s novel, Tortilla Flat. That same year she and her pal, the composer George Antheil, applied for and received a patent for a radio signaling device they called the "Secret Communications System," that later became an important step in the technology used to maintain the security of military communications during the Second World War and…are you ready for this…sixty years later was foundational in the development of WiFi.

But he didn’t say how often they do it--Nashvile Daily Republican…“Danny McGovern Opens Up About His Sexuality. Nashville (11-27-13)…Guitar player and lead singer of Lost River, one of the industry’s hottest up and coming bluegrass acts, confided today during a CMT live interview that he is heterosexual. “Look,” said the native Floridian whose single, Doin’ My Time, Wastin’ These Years, sits in seventh place on the Roots chart this week, “I’m thirty-two years old, I only like girls, have only liked my wife since we were married twelve years ago, have two sons and one daughter and, yes, my wife and I have sex. Now, can we move on to our latest CD please?” Have you noticed that as newspapers and magazines drift further and further toward oblivion everything…EVERYTHING…they report has a salacious angle to it?

Vassar. Hey Vassar, are you in there? Okay, so there’s this kid in your life…son or daughter…nephew or niece, the next door neighbors little guy or girl…and you’ve convinced yourself that she or he is the next Vassar Clemens. No, the kid doesn’t play an instrument, his/her hands probably aren’t big enough yet to even hold one, but you’ve got this gut feeling and when it comes to music, especially bluegrass music, your gut rarely lies. So whadday you do? What’s the first baby step toward bring that Vassar, or Allison or Laurie or Stuart out? Here’s one thought. There’s this guy, James Crocker, he’s got a blog called Playing with Sound, and it’s pretty much exclusively dedicated to, as he puts it, “introducing the language of music to young kids.” I’ve snooped around some at the site and I think it’s got promise. Click here and see what you think.

You can run but you can’t hide--A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that 85 percent of the sofas and recliners researchers tested contained flame-retardant chemicals that have been identified as carcinogens and potential neurotoxins. But before you jump out of that Lazy boy lazy boy, keep this in mind—these same environmental ‘scientists’ are the ones claiming that the sea level is rising. Click here to thoroughly freak out.

Upswing for sure--We reported not long ago that monster banjoist Dan Mazer, a recent transplant from the east, would be featured at the Brookdale Fest up in the Sandy Cruz Mts. Well, he was, he said the event was quite a success and then he wrote something on Facebook that’s pretty much music to the ears of the CBA leadership…”I enjoyed all the acts, but two stood out, for opposite reasons. The Gloria Darlings are two young women who play early country and traditional covers, and solid original songs, with a sound and look that hearkens to the radio and stage shows of the 1930s, such as Cousin Emmy and the Coon Creek Girls. They have a sweet, charming innocence. By contrast, Front County is very much newgrass, playing tricky arrangements in shifting meters, featuring two powerful guitarists/singer-songwriters. There's a definite upswing of interest in bluegrass and folk music among young people these days, and I like it!” The CBA saw that upswing in spades at last years Fathers Day Festival. Makes all the hard work worth it.

Milestone…He was one of Bill’s favorites--In 1963 Bill Keith became the first "Yankee revivalist" in Bill Monroe’s band. Melodic banjo licks suddenly became an acceptable dynamic in the new genre called bluegrass. A little Cherokee Shuffle to wake open those sleepy eyes this morning?

Soup fit for a bluegrass picker--Butternut squash is the Lloyd Loar of squashes, in my humble opinion, so imagine my delight when I opened up my Bluegrass Breakdown a few days ago and found a recipe for making roasted soup with the stuff. Meet Me In the Kitchen, the new cooking column from Eileen Kleinschmidt, covers four different dishes, but this is the one I’m gonna get somebody to make for me. I don’t know what it is about the CBA…they lose somebody like J.D. to retirement and somehow always bounce back with someone new and just as competent, (though not nearly as crusty). It’s a wonderful thing. Anyways, Click here click here to check out Eileen’s offering for December. She’s no Mountain Man cook, but she sure appears to be an excellent Mountain Woman cook.

Kind of the Fourth of July for bluegrass--Bluegrass Nation reports…“December 12th is the day set aside just for Bluegrass. At least one day of the year, everyone involved in this music can feel appreciated. From the professional artists to the most unknown closet picker. The day is not just for the people that play Bluegrass, but for EVERYONE involved in the music in ANY way.”

Faster than a speeding bullet. We, AS FAST as a speeding bullet--I’ve always found it fascinating that CBA members with liberal leanings believe the vast majority of Association dues payers is conservative, while the right leaning believe our ranks are filled by lefties. I’m not sure which is true or if the truth is somewhere in the middle. One thing I’m pretty sure of though, and that’s that a whole lot of folks who enjoy picking also enjoy hunting, regardless of their political persuasion. Hence, I thought I’d pass along this little tidbit…Two buddies, Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell, back east somewhere have started a business that puts cremated remains into ammunition. Says one recent customer of the fast-growing business, “"It's beautiful that you can see it, (a bullet with a little bit of her husband inside), dispersing and falling, that is just fabulous," Click here to read more about Thad and Clem’s new enterprise and to learn how you too can send your spouse blazing through the air at 370 m/s.

Hell no it ain’t country-western--Some of you may remember an item we ran last week with the banner… “Judge Rules Tobacco Companies Must Take Out Ads Saying They Lied About Dangers Of Smoking”. Well, day before yesterday what’s known as a ‘copy-cat’ suit was filed in the Superior Court of the County of Belgrain, Wooster, MA, charging the nation’s four largest recording companies with lying to the public in product labeling and print and broadcast media. “Any fool who’s got ears knows this crap is about as country-western as Velveeta is cheese,” said Arthur Bloomberg, federal prosecutor, Seventh Circuit Court, at a Wooster press conference this morning.” Stay tuned my friends, and keep your fingers crossed.

No, we’re making no recommendation about the pie, one way or the other--We’re told by people who should know that the Thursday night jam at the Pizza Hut in Napa is a good one. Click here

Please, stick around for the punch line--Perusing through the ads for the big GREAT 48 coming up next month I read that Jonathan Bluemel will be doing the banjo workshop Saturday afternoon. I haven’t been to one of Jon’s workshops, don’t know him personally and, to be perfectly honest, I’ve only heard him play the banjo once, and that was very late at night at Grass Valley and, in Jimmy Martin’s words, I was skip hop and mighty wobbling at the time. So why mention the GREAT 48 workshop? Simple, it gives me an excuse to tell the latest banjo joke…What has 16 legs and 3 teeth? The front row of a banjo workshop.

It’s called learning from the last guy--Got a note from Larry Carlin yesterday letting me know that ‘in the old days’, back when he did this column, he would make sure to mention the Music Art of Karen Cannon in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Here, he said in the email, is what he’d written during his last holiday season doing the Almost Daily…”Seasons Greetings! -- Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like bluegrass. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better set of bluegrass seasonal greeting cards than these here by artist Karen Cannon, who also has a booth at Father's Day every year. While you are at it, look at these prints as well for other times of the year. Get your orders in fast so that you will have the cards to send before the big day.” Well, I went to the woman’s web site, found that I agree with LC’s opinion, so here ya go…click here.

Some kids’ll do anything to get out of homework--Nate Schwartz posts on Facebook…”Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen is a sweet nationally-touring bluegrass band, and they're playing at my house, in my living room! Sunday, December 9, 2012 7:00pm.” Click here for details.

Addis Ababa Breakdown--This is how the article Darby Brandli sent to me begins…”What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they'll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.” So, what’s Darby’s reaction to the story? Come on, you can guess. She wants to send them banjos, of course. Click here

An odd assortment of people if ever there was one--Sourdough Slim, Saddle Pals, Faux Renwah, Robert Armstrong, and Ron Delacy will all pile into Cactus Bob’s Micro Bus and truck on over to the Sutter Creek Theater on December 15, and sing and play their hearts out for you. If you have a shred of decency you’ll be there, 8:00 p.m., and for God’s sake get yourself cleaned up a little bit…these people are professionals! Click here

Milestone…Things would never be the same--In 1971 the Seldom Scene was formed out of the weekly jam sessions in the basement of banjo player Ben Eldridge in Bethesda, Maryland Click here

Send whatever you send--Quoting from, “Guitar hero Tony Rice has again been forced to cancel some shows, owing to further health complications following his treatment for pneumonia last year. A combination of inflammation, fatigue and an adverse drug reaction with antibiotics and prednisone have left him too weak to perform at this time.“ Send your prayers, thoughts, vibes or whatever please.

Okay, I missed, but only by one day--Yesterday was Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain's b-day. Born November 30, 1835. Some sage advice from one of our greatest authors…"When you want genuine music -- music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth's pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose -- when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!"-- Mark Twain, San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, 6/23/1865

Hey, man, pass that bottle over here, would you?“…a perennial favorite of mine, the 2010 Bone-Jolly from Edmunds St. John, a rare American gamay, the grape of Beaujolais, from El Dorado County in California gold country. It’s light-bodied but intensely flavored, agile and earthy, with each sip thirst-quenching yet intriguing enough to inspire another.” So writes Eric Asimov in the New York Times Dining and Wine guide. And why would the Moldman bother sharing this, particularly since he is vociferously a white and not red man? Simple, the Bone-Jolly label was designed by none other than Bay Area bluegrass legend Tom Rozum. does a nice job of telling the backstory. Click here

Suppose that’s what made her shoot so straight? Way, way, way before the discovery of Attention Deficit Disorder, time-outs in the classroom and the wonder drug Ritalin, Annie Oakley, the most legendary of all legendary girl shooters said, ““For me, sitting still is harder than any kind of work.”

I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home done up Bakersfield? Sounds promising to us down here Mold central. Here’s what J.D. sent us…(Nashville, TN-11-24-12) Merle Haggard & Mac Wiseman, both legends in country and bluegrass are making history with their new recording project. They have completed 13 songs and will be putting the finishing touches on the project very soon. No details available on a record label or release date. Hag and Mac are considered to be two of the greatest vocalist in country and bluegrass. There will be updated news on the project in the coming weeks. Hag sings Mac's songs, and Mac sings Hag's songs. Click here

Nibbling their very dry Monterey Jack can be spiritual--Pat Rumiano is an advanced beginner fiddle player who lives up in Willows. She’s also the wife of cheese scion John Rumiano, whose family business produces more cheese annually than Kellogg’s makes corn flakes. Now, as such, one could expect that wife Pat lives a life of leisure, fiddling around both literally and figuratively…but one would be wrong. Rather, she’s a very busy volunteer for CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocates), folks who speak out to help abused and neglected children. While the bulk of her work is spent working one-on-one with kids, Pat also helps fund raise in her community, and you probably won’t be surprised at what kind of talent she hires when doing one of her ‘functions’. Click here and then mark your calendar.

How’s about ‘don’t go there’ while they’re at it? The City Council of El Centro, California, voted on a three-two split last week to prohibit the use of the catch phrase, ‘just sayin’’ within its municipality. Use of the term will constitute a fourth degree misdemeanor and carry a fine of $75. “My God in heaven,” said Councilwoman Margie Susskind after the vote, “isn’t there enough to be annoyed about in this God forsaken town without people finishing every other sentence with that idiotic saying?”

Play a jig and your brain lights up like Casino Row in Reno--Maureen Roddy spotted what she believes is a “really interesting interview with (a) researcher who does functional MRIs on musicians while they improvise on a keyboard--shows dramatic changes in brain during improvising.” We figure if anybody’s plugged into brain research as it relates to the act of making music it’s the mother of the Tuttle kids. Click here

Can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket. Or, in this case, send an email--So, you think all this stuff is easy, eh? You’ve got more people wanting a full hook-up at Grass Valley than you have full hook-ups. Easy, you just hold a lottery; what could be simpler? Actually, it really is simple for the folks entering the lottery. But for the guy who runs it, Craig Wilson, not so easy for him. So, anyway, Craig’s announced this year’s hook-up lottery, including the deadline, January 15. Click here for the whole skinny.
Milestone…A great idea whose time had come--In 1965 Carlton Haney held the first bluegrass festival in the history of man kind near Roanoke, Virginia. Click here and watch some incredible footage.

Attention North Coast ears…you know who you are--A message from Mark Hogan…”Just to let you know. My show has been changed to 7-9pm on KOWS fm 107.3 on Monday evenings. on the net.” Mark’s show is, of course, bluegrass and old-time. So know you know.

Fill in the blanks--It had to happen sooner or later. We who are dedicated to this music called bluegrass knew that one day someone would emerge out of the mist, be instantly recognized for her/his superhuman virtuosity and, in doing so on the world stage, lead bluegrass and old time out of the wilderness. Well, might it have happened? Here’s a press release from the prestigious NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts…”It is rare for a young musician to earn comparisons to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. It is even harder to find an artist who has entirely redefined an instrument by his early thirties. ______ _________ has already accomplished these feats and more on the __________ Click here.

Thankfully it’s getting to be an annual thing with these guys--I know, I know, I’ve mentioned this before, but this time it’s straight from the horse’s, er, star’s mouth via the Moldy Mail Bag…”Hi Folks, Jim Hurst and I are headed West for some shows in Dec., can y'all help us spread the word? If you would like to do an interview, or need more info, feel free to e-mail me. Thanks!! R” Click here for the complete schedule.

Shop locally, shop often AND shop bluegrass--Opening paragraph from Allen French’s monthly Bluegrass Breakdown column…”I thought I’d devote my December column to gift-giving ideas. If you’re a music fan, or you’re looking to buy a gift for one, why not support some of the authors and artists in our midst. This column is mostly about mom-and-pop businesses, especially those that make things suitable for gift-giving, primarily with items made by our members and/or those based in California. In February I’ll highlight our members’ technical and professional services; some not-so-small retailers; some California-based instrument-makers; and anything that may have been left out of this column.” Click here to continue.

A good guy--Sad note in Mold Mail yesterday from Larry Carlin…”I don't know if you knew Randy Campbell or not. I believe Carl knew him. If you didn't, well, then, none of this will matter. He worked with Ralph back before "O Brother" made him a star (to the masses). He also worked with The Dillards and Jesse McReynolds some. He was a good guy. LC” Yes, I did know Randy and, yes, he was a good guy and a tireless booking agent. Click to a memorial web site.

An iris by any other name--Sing the Delta is Iris Dement’s first album of all original materials for quite a while and it’s a good one. She’s an honest-to-God story teller and no doubt will be telling some tomorrow night when she appears at the Freight and Salvage. Click here. ....Or, if you're not in the mood for Iris tonight you head to the Hotel Utah in the City and catch Windy Hill...always good for a toe-tap.

And in keeping with our promise to cover the all the fast-breaking stories in the bluegrass music industry…George Martin reports that first Prairie Rose children's concert of 2013 just got booked. In January at one of the Berkeley branch libraries. “I love playing for kids, though it can be a challenge to hold their attention. That's why I bring a train whistle, giant rubber duck, etc.” As we ponder just exactly what “etc.” could include, let’s listen to a little Prairie Rose by clicking here.

Any competition that doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger--We’re not sure if the’s "B.O.R.N." AWARD, (Band on the Rise Nationally), will make or break a band’s future. We figured we’d let you be the judge. Click here

And finally, if you're feeling like there's not enough cutting edge technology in every crevasse and nook of your life--Crowd funding…the new business model for musicians? How does it work and, more importantly, DOES it work. Listen to an NPR interview with some answers and, of course, more questions by clicking here.
Posted:  12/1/2012

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