Author: Carlin, Larry

April 23, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008

From Mayberry to Parkfield. The other day there was mention here of the bluegrass bands seen on some episodes of The Andy Griffith Show. Band member names were listed, and not only should Leroy Mack’s name been spelled “LeRoy,” it should have also been mentioned that he is one of the nicest guys in bluegrass and you can see his band LeRoy Mack & The Bluegrass Gospel Band play at the 10th Annual Parkfield Bluegrass Festival on the May 8th-11th. Some other bands on the bill are The James King Band, Bean Creek, Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice, Eric Uglam & Sons, The Brombies, Wild River Ramblers, and a whole lot more.

Charlie Memorial -- On Friday the 25th there will be a memorial service for the late Charlie Blacklock at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Sebastopol at 11 a.m. At the service Kenny Blacklock, Art Peterson and Morgan Cowin will be playing a few songs that Charlie played and liked, and anyone wanting to say a few words or tell a story about Charlie is welcome to do so. Following the service there will be a gathering at Charlie & Viola’s cottage on Bodega Highway, so bring instruments if you like. Because of limited parking, some cars may be left at the cemetery and people can carpool to the cottage.

South Bay bluegrass barbeque -- Diana Donnelly & The Yes Ma’ams will be entertaining you tonight with bluegrass and vintage country songs to go along with the spicy barbeque at Sam’s Bar-B-Q in San Jose from 6-9 p.m. Reserve a table at (408) 297-9151.

Another Seeger in town --There were a few mentions here some weeks back about legendary artist Pete Seeger. Tonight at 8 p.m. at The Freight & Salvage in Berkeley Pete’s half-brother and longtime member of The New Lost City Ramblers Mike Seeger will be performing. He will be demonstrating his instrumental versatility on guitar, fiddle, banjo, pan pipes, autoharp, harmonica, and dulcimer.

Jammin’ in Morgan Hill -- In Morgan Hill on the first, third and fifth Wednesdays folks congregate at the El Toro Brewing Company from 6-10 p.m. They also meet on the second and fourth Thursdays. For info contact Dick Simunic at (408) 782-2739 or

Lonesome grass in Berkeley -- Are you feeling lonely and blue? Then tonight from 7-9 p.m. is the night for you to go to Le Bateau Ivre, Berkeley's fine French/eclectic restaurant, to catch great musicians playing in an informal and intimate setting. See Blue and Lonesome playing some hot bluegrass. Le Bateau Ivre is located at 2629 Telegraph Avenue. Reservations are recommended for dinner, as the room is small. Phone (510) 849-1100.

Dancing cowboys -- The Polka Cowboys tonight will be playing a Western dance at Champa Thai Restaurant & Dance Hall, 3550 San Pablo Dam Road, El Sobrante from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Jammin’ in Lompoc -- On the second and fourth Wednesdays there are evening jams in Lompoc from 7- 9 p.m. at the Southside Coffee Company, 105 South "H" Street. Head on over there tonight. For more info call Bill at (805) 736-8241.

Hot ticket in Santa Barbara -- On the 24th at 8 p.m. check out the Singing Out the Country show at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara with acts Peter Feldmann & The Very Lonesome Boys, Giles Apap and special guest Mike Seeger.

Jammin’ in Ventura -- The second and fourth Thursday evening jam at Zoey’s in Ventura will be taking place on the 24th from 6-9:30 p.m. For more info e-mail Gene at

Starry Plough Bluegrass -- The Starry Plough Bluegrass Night takes place once a month, and the next show is on the 24th. The club is located in Berkeley. See Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys and 49 Special. The show starts at 9 p.m. and has a $6 cover.

Jammin’ in Encinitas -- Every Thursday there is a bluegrass jam, so go tomorrow to Today’s Pizza, 481 Santa Fe Drive, in Encinitas. This jam/class is a 35 year tradition now being led by Jason "BanjoJay" Weiss. On Thursday the 24th take your instruments with you 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

Bluegrass theatre -- How often do you get a chance to see/hear live bluegrass and country music played in a theatre setting? Well, now is your chance. The Contra Costa Civic Theatre in El Cerrito is currently staging a production of the play called Foxfire, and the house band features Bay Area pickers Chuck Ervin on bass, Polly Frizzell and Tony Phillips on fiddle and George Martin on banjo. You can read a review of the show in the Berkeley Daily Planet. The production runs through May 11th, so buy tickets now!

Pick along with Dix -- Renowned Bay Area mandolinist Dix Bruce will be hosting a bluegrass jam class in the East Bay starting on April 28th and running every Monday from 7:30-9:30 p.m. until May 19th. Red House Studios in Walnut Creek is the location for a fun weekly jam session for bluegrass and old-time musicians. Dix will provide a few songs on handout sheets to get things rolling, then jamming will ensue. A portion of each session will be dedicated to questions about jamming, tips on presenting songs, picking keys, transposing songs and working as a group. The cost is $20 per session or $65 for the series. For more info go to the Red House site or call (925) 938-6900.

B. Judd, Bluegrass Philosopher -- “I thought I wanted a career, turns out I just wanted paychecks.”
Posted:  4/25/2008

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