Author: Carlin, Larry

May, 30, 2008
Friday, May 30, 2008

Festival fever. Okay, so the Strawberry Music Festival was a bit wet and muddy last weekend, and hardly the best way to kick off the summer festival season. But the tarps and tents are all dry by now, and just like that it is less than two weeks until the CBA’s 33rd Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley! It promises to be a great time. No doubt you have your tickets already. If not, buy them today, and start counting down the hours until June 12th.

Strawberry gem -- Speaking of Strawberry, one bright spot at the fest was hearing the amazing old-time singing on the Breakfast Show and around camp of a talented up and coming young singer from the Fresno area named Amber Cross. She has a clear, powerful voice that you will be hearing around the sites at Grass Valley and down the road.

Honors thesis in bluegrass? -- Indeed, and none other than young Oaklander Joel Sidney is responsible for such. You may have seen Joel sometime in the audience at the Freight and Salvage or at the Father’s Day Festival. Joel has autism and last week he graduated from Berkeley with an almost perfect grade point average and he wrote his honors thesis on bluegrass. Read his story here in the SF Chronicle.

Muddy buddies -- On May 19th the 48th Annual Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest was held. Young mandolin wizard Scott Gates went to the contest with two of his friends, Cate and Molly Pearce, to compete in the band competition as a trio called The Muddy Buddys. The kids have known each other since kindergarten but became reacquainted at last year’s competition when Scott and his Pacific Ocean Bluegrass won the top honors as best band, Molly won for intermediate banjo and Cate won for best back up guitar. They entered this year’s contest and performed two songs, "Fisher's Hornpipe" and "The Fox." When the awards were announced the Muddy Buddys had won best band for 2008. So now Scott has won with two separate bands in back to back years in the Best Band category in this prestigious contest, joining such previous winners as The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Nickel Creek. Quite an honor for this up and coming talent!

High lonesome sound -- On the 30th Suzie Glaze & The Hilonesome Band will be having a CD release party at the Coffee Gallery, located at 2029 N. Lake Street, in Pasadena. Billed as “Appalachian roots meets new bluegrass," the party starts at 8 p.m. On the 31st see her perform at Boulevard Music in Culver City.

Bluegrass in Sonoma -- At Murphy’s Irish Pub in the town of Sonoma on the 30th enjoy the bluegrass sounds of The Moonshiners starting at 8 p.m. Tasty food is available in a family-friendly atmosphere, and there is no cover.

Clovis grass -- The May jam in Squaw Valley (normally on the last Saturday of the month) has been cancelled. There will, however, be a free bluegrass concert on the 30th from 6-9 p.m. in the park outside the Clovis Senior Center, located at 850 Fourth Street in Clovis. It will feature guitarist Doug Bremseth and banjo player Dixon Smith of the GrassKickers, and John Cogdill on mandolin. Folks attending should bring a blanket or lawn chair, and a picnic basket if they wish. Snacks will be available for purchase from the senior center. This will be the second presentation of Bluegrass in the Park, scheduled to take place every Friday evening throughout the summer.

Swing your partner -- Suzy Thompson will be playing for the Ladies Banjo Society of California’s springtime square dance benefit at Community Music Center in San Francisco on the 30th. From 7-8:30 p.m. dance to the Mission Creek Muckrakers (Suzy Thompson, Dan Kluger, Erik Pearson) and there will be easy-to-learn dances. Bring a home-baked donation to the bake sale and get in for half-price. The dance supports the LBSC young musician’s scholarship at the center.
From 9-10:30 The Squirrelly Stringband will play with calling by Jordan Ruyle. The Community Music Center is located at 544 Capp Street at 21st.

More pickin’ in Clovis -- On the 31st there will be a potluck/jam at the home of Kelly and Julie Broyles starting at 5 p.m. There will also be a live mini-concert by the Dalton Mountain Gang. Everyone is welcome and sodas and water will be provided. Please bring a dish to share with others. The address is 8032 East Alluvial in Clovis. For more info call (559) 977-3598.

Acoustic music in Alameda -- In Alameda on the 31st at 8 p.m. check out the Stadler-Gibbons Band when they play at McGrath’s Pub.

Hot time in Benicia -- Renowned flatpicker Jim Nunally, Judy Forrest and Tomas Enguidanos will be playing on the 31st 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. No cover.

Jammin’ in Sebastopol -- The place for bluegrass pickin' on Saturdays is the Coffee Catz, 6761 Sebastopol Ave, from 2-5 p.m.

Quakes in San Gregorio -- The bluegrass band Earthquake Country will be playing on the 1st at the San Gregorio General Store south of Half Moon Bay from 2-5 p.m. No cover, you can have a beer and also get you shopping done while you are there!

Santa Clara Fiddlers -- The Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of traditional types of American music such as old-time, bluegrass and gospel music, as played on the fiddle and other acoustic stringed instruments. On the first Sunday of every month they hold their open jams at the Hoover Middle School in San Jose from 1-5 p.m.

Jammin’ in Santa Margarita -- On the 1st from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at Solomon's Cafe in Santa Margarita there is jam session. The first half-hour is a free music lesson for anyone getting started. The remainder of the evening is an open jam for all pickers.

Old Time Fiddlers Fundraiser -- On Sunday the 1st the Orangevale District 5 of the California State Old Time Fiddlers’ Association is holding a fundraiser for their scholarship program from noon-5:30 p.m. at the Orangevale Grange Hall, 5807 Walnut. The live Old Time Fiddle & Bluegrass Show is from 2:30-5:30. Show tickets are $10/adult, $15/couple, or $20/family with children under 18 and may be purchased at the door. All proceeds go to pay for kids’ beginning lessons on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, bass, or banjo. For more info, call (530) 676-0836 or email

Bluegrass in SLO -- The Wild River Ramblers play from 2-4 p.m. on the first Sunday of every month at the Santa Maria Brewing Company in the town of Nipomo, San Luis<
Posted:  6/2/2008

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