Author: Carlin, Larry

March 6, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bass players needed. Isnít this often the case in bluegrass? There are countless guitars and more than a fair share of mandolins, fiddles and banjos. But not that many bass players. And it is time that someone did something to correct this situation! If you live in the SF Bay Area, and youíve been thinking about getting started on the old doghouse bass but werenít sure who to turn to for lessons, veteran bass player extraordinaire Markie Sanders is now living in the East Bay and accepting students. She is well-known to veteran California bluegrass pickers, having played with Vern & Ray, High Country, Good Ol' Persons, Laurie Lewis & Grant Street, and many others back in the day. She also was a member of Queen Ida's Zydeco band for many years, and played with several jazz groups. After moving to Nashville in the early 90s, Markie continued playing swing and country music, but she was also part of bluegrass bands led by Claire Lynch, Chris Jones, Harley Allen, and others. She's a master of both acoustic and electric bass, and is a fabulous harmony singer as well, should you need some tips on vocalizing. In addition to currently playing with Julay Brooks & The Nightbirds and Ray Bierl, Markie is also booking bass students at all levels. Give her a call at (510) 638-9908 if you're interested in learning from the best.

Thile considered -- There was an interesting piece last Friday on the National Public Radio news show All Things Considered about mandolin player Chris Thile and his new band The Punch Brothers that you can listen to here. Chris has composed a suite using bluegrass instruments, and as anyone that has ever heard his former band Nickel Creek can attest, it is not traditional bluegrass. Very interesting music though.

Old-time photos -- For those of you that attended the Old-Time Music Gathering in Portland in January there are now some photos available on line that you can see here. Heck, take a look even if you didnít go, and see how much fun you missed!

Something to look forward to -- There is a great review on The Bluegrass Blog of The Dan Tyminski Band show that took place at The Jefferson Center in Roanoke, VA, last week. Read it here, and then buy your tickets to the CBAís Fatherís Day Fest ASAP!

Jamminí in San Jose -- The new open jam is off to a great start in the South Bay at Mountain Mikes Pizza, 1532 Branham Lane, San Jose, from 6-10 p.m. The jam is held every first and third Thursday of the month. For more info please contact Fiddleín Steve Pexton at (650) 455-2504 & or Banjo Bob Farrell at (408) 341-8809 &

Bluegrass in San Francisco -- The Atlas Cafe in San Francisco presents the best in live bluegrass and old-time music every Thursday night from 8-10 p.m. Tonight you can see Dark Hollow, and there is never a cover charge.

Jamminí in Encinitas -- On Thursdays everyone heads to Todayís Pizza, 481 Santa Fe Drive, in Encinitas, for a night of pizza, pickiní, and grinniní. 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

Jamminí 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.

Jamminí in Napa -- There is a bluegrass and fiddle jam session in the town of Napa every Thursday night from 7-10 p.m. For details about the location please call Pat Calhoun at (707) 255-4936.

Turn your radio on! -- On Friday the 7th at 8 a.m. tune into KFOG radio (104.5 FM in SF and 97.7 in San Jose) to hear the Stairwell Sisters playing live. Old-time music live on commercial radio? Wow, what a revolutionary concept!

Celtic grass -- The 22nd Annual Sonora Celtic Faire will be happening this weekend in Sonora from the 7th-9th, featuring lots of pre-bluegrass music. Some of the bands you can see are Black 47, Tempest, Black Irish Band, Wicked Tinkers, Golden Bough, and Cooking With Turf.

Meet and greet -- This weekend is your big chance to meet two highly esteemed Bay Are bluegrass luminaries as yours truly and longtime KPFA radio host Ray Edlund (Pig In A Pen) will be sharing the emcee duties at The Sonoma County Bluegrass & Folk Festival on the 8th at the Sebastopol Community Center from 1-9 p.m. The band lineup features Nina Gerber& Kenny Edwards, John Reischman & The Jaybirds, Sol Flamenco, The Roadoilers, The Mighty Crows, Alhambra Valley Band, and Julay Brooks & The Nightbirds. This festival is co-sponsored by CBA and the Sonoma County Folk Society. For more info call Mark Hogan at (707) 829-8012.

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- ďPoliticians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge where there is no river.Ē
Posted:  3/8/2008

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