Author: Bartlett, Regina

Harmony Road

My back is finally healing and so, I’m on the road again…out on Harmony Road seeing old friends and hearing their music, and playing and singing with friends.

I recently heard from our friend, Elena Corey, and she and Jim Pate are house sitting for friends up in Alaska. She's working on about a dozen new songs she's written and has written a book or two. It's been a really cold winter so she stays busy arranging and recording the new songs and said to tell you all that she thinks of us all and sees what we're doing when she checks in on the CBA webpage.

This past Monday, Feb. 13, I took myself out to see my friends, The Foghorn String Band play at The Backstage Lounge in Santa Cruz. There were so many Bluegrassers in the audience too. When I was at IBMA, I had met Caleb and Reeb in Nashville at Gruhn’s Guitar Store while we were trying out Martin #00018 Guitars! Later on they played for the CBA for one of our showcases during IBMA. The Foghorn String Band are playing again this Father’s Day at Grass Valley. They are excellent musicians and play everything…very well indeed!

They were part of Earl White’s Seabright Stringfest in Santa Cruz. It was very successful event and Earl says that he may do another Stringfest in Santa Cruz this Summer. Earl White is a wonderful fiddler and his website is . Earl White comes from North Carolina and has been very active at Galax and the East Coast and now lives in Santa Cruz; he’s dedicated to preserving and promoting Bluegrass, Old Time and Celtic music, song and dance by highlighting musicians within and outside our community who preserve this tradition. His goal is to provide educational and entertaining experiences to the public thru affordable live concerts and workshops. Thank you Earl White for a job well done and I look forward to your next project.

On Valentine’s Day I took myself out to dinner to Phil’s in Moss Landing and was entertained by The Abbott Family and the wonderful fiddler, Ella "Diamond" Naiman. 'Papa' (Carl Abbott) plays guitar and sings lead in the band. Luke Abbott plays the five-string banjo (plus the fiddle, mandolin, and guitar from time to time) and sings both lead and harmony. Kyle Abbott plays the mandolin as well as old-time clawhammer picking on an open-back banjo he built himself. 'Mama' (Leslie Abbott) plays the bass fiddle and sings lots of high harmony. The Abbotts play together at home almost every day. They know how to play music and have fun doing it and are very good at sharing this with others. They frequently have given “Learning by Ear” tone way music workshops at many music festivals. . The audience at Phil’s just loved the music and the family.

At the table next to me was a couple from Salinas that was so excited to learn more about Bluegrass Music and told me about a family from Walnut Creek who had played at Phil’s awhile back. They told me about this remarkable little girl who could really play the fiddle. They were really impressed with the family band. I told them that the fiddler was Tessa Schwartz and the family band was Oak Grove. Tessa you have some fans that want you back!

This past Wednesday night I went to the Ugly Mug Coffee House to see my friend from college, Deby Benton Grosjean and William Coulter. The music was absolutely heavenly. Deby is a masterful Celtic Fiddler and teacher of the lore. She is a teacher with Alasdair Fraser and his Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling school. I have listened to William Coulter’s fine guitar playing for over 20 years. He plays classical, Celtic and jazz guitar incredibly well. Their duo was so authentic and wonderful. Sitting in the audience, I felt like dancing, but my healing back said “no you don’t!” Deby’s website is:

Get ready for another sensational musical happening with the Spring NCBS Boulder Creek Bluegrass and Old Timey Festival which will be held at Scopazzi’s Restaurant in Boulder Creek, March 9-10, 2012. The small, fun gathering in the Santa Cruz Mountains will be brought to you by the Northern California Bluegrass Society, Pass Studio, and Eric Burman’s Eric has been sharing musical opportunities to other musicians for quite sometime now in oh so many ways. A tip of the hat sir!

The event is filmed with three tv cameras, by Sandra Leigh of Santa Cruz Community Television. The audience, and the bands are up close and personal and really adds to the feel of the show in a very special way. Don't miss it, and if you do, you'll be able to watch it on television: 'The Brookdale Bluegrass Hour' on Monday nights ch 27 cable tv, and on Charter Communication Cable on Wednesday and Saturday nights at 9:30pm , and also on the internet. See you there!

The lineup so far is:
Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys
Cactus Bob & Prairie Flower
The String Slingers
Whisperin’ Smith
The Down Beets
Common Cents
The Driftless Artifacts
The Juncos
Jean Butterfield
Peg Leg Riza
The Hightone Sinners
Research & Development
Regina Bartlett

I now have a regular gig on Friday nights at Cafe Ella in Watsonville.

This Saturday I am playing at All Saints Episcopal Church for a Memorial Service for my friend's Mother, Eleanor, who I taught school with.

I recently read somewhere that: We Bluegrassers are just like everybody else except that we have an experience with a musical genre which speaks to us from a bygone era and of which most people are mostly unaware.

I leave you on Harmony Road with this chorus from a song by my friend Mary McCaslin:

Remember Old Friends you made a long the way,
the gifts they've given stay with us everyday.
Remember Old Friends you made a long the way,
the gifts they've given stay with us everyday.
Posted:  2/17/2012

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