Author: Bartlett, Regina


Well it’s warming up out here in the West and Harmony Road is getting busy with jams, camp outs, concerts, festivals and parties.

The Morgan Hill Grange Hall just rocked with the Lonesome River Band. It was standing room only. Hats off to Tim Edes for another magical night of music. Lots of CBA friends were in attendance and there were great door prizes. Cousin Al, Daylite Charlie and The Hippy Chick were the emcees. Tim Edes also presented a historic vintage film about the early days of Morgan Hill. The audience loved it.

On Sunday morning, LRB played on KPIG’s live radio show Please Stand By. Several friends called me to tell me about this turquoise bus parked by the radio station. Sure was wonderful to have Sammy Shelor and Lonesome River Band playing in my neck of the woods!

I also attended Earl White’s 2nd Annual Seabright String Festival at the Seabright Brewery. It was a bright sunny Saturday afternoon and a perfect day for Bluegrass Music. I ran into many friends on stage and there for the food and entertainment. It was really a sweet event.

I went to Don Quixote’s Music Hall in Felton, CA and caught Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers. What a great band. Not strictly bluegrass, but great picking and fantastic singing just the same. I was completely entertained. I have alerted my Granddaughter down in San Luis Obispo to be on the lookout for this band…they are that good.

Many thanks to Eric & Barbara Burman for a wonderful Costanoa Bluegrass Festival. Peter Rowan gave a great workshop with lots of picking patterns and examples that he learned from Bill Monroe. He told stories about all the great ones and also stories behind the songs that he's written. All the bands played their hearts out. The setting was luxurious and magnificent. Don't miss the next one is all I can say today. Wow! Lots of FUN and Picking! Good people & great times and a very sweet location!

Marcos Alvira says: “There aren't enough superlatives to describe this past weekend. What a unbelievably great weekend at the new Brookdale Bluegrass Festival. The Costanoa resort is picture perfect. The jamming and performances were all highlighted by Peter Rowan's magical performance Saturday night under the stars. I look forward to seeing all my new friends again. I might add that festivals like this could very well be the model for West Coast bluegrass festivals in the future.”

There was a dedicated Jam room open for loud all night jamming, and open all day. This is one of the most beautiful places on earth. There were fire rings outside each tent cabin and showers with hot water and heated floors and sauna's, and large enclosed fireplaces, wood provided. There was a wet bar and gourmet snacks right next to the stage.

Friday night’s concert was inside the Lodge in a conference room.

Jim Lewin and David Thom - were the opening band.
Their harmonies and picking was stellar! Don’t miss the opportunity to hear these guys. They have been playing with the great ones for many years and have learned some wonderful songs to pass forward. I was very impressed and I swear I could hear some Don Rigsby and Frank Wakefield in their music when they were playing for us. Reminded me of Dudley Connell and Don Rigsby duets.

Next up was Laura Lind - the autoharp goddess! She is a great singer and songwriter. She is so masterful with the autoharp and is a great entertainer with amazing stage presence.

Santa Cruz locals Sherry Austin & Henhouse played next.
Henhouse includes Sharon Allen on guitar and vocals, Patti Maxine on lap steel guitar and Tracy Parker on Bass. These gals can sing and pick and have quite a following and have performed at Strawberry, and Kate Wolf festivals. Great entertainers.

Up next were the Bluetail Flies - a young acoustic orchestra that really had folks up and dancing and yelling for more. They are a very exciting ensemble that got the crowd up and moving.

Finally, Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players took the stage and just entertained and played their hearts out. Great picking, good singing and FUN. The audience loved them. Michael Hall presented the NCBS Band of the year Award to them. They deserve it. Great performances all there and everywhere!

I guess it’s me and the way I was raised, but folks just talked too much during the concert performance and it was annoying. I find it just plain rude. It’s rude to the performers, and to the other members of the audience. I put up with it for quite some time but finally, I confess, I gave the hairy eyeball to some spoon players sitting behind me. I almost took them away from them too - that's how bad they were!

The jamming commenced and was everywhere. It went on until 4:00am in the lodge that I was in and some folks never did go to bed. One particular jam that was fun to listen to was Pattie Maxine, Sharon Allen and Prairie Flower and Cactus Bob. It was a choice event and I was glad to be there.

Saturday morning opened with a Banjo workshop by BanjerDan Mazer who then moderated a workshop by Peter Rowan. It was just wonderful. Peter told stories about playing for Bill Monroe, hanging out with the great ones, Flatt & Scruggs and John Hartford. He would go into a vocal impression and sound just like Bill Monroe. He turn to the audience for questions and luckily I got to ask him about his song, “Dustbowl Children”. He said that while he was a young man playing at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood, he would meet people who loved the music and their parents had moved from Oklahoma to Los Angeles for jobs. He came up with a riff and kept working on the phrase ‘we’re all Dustbowl Children’ and it became a song. Several folks thanked me for asking the question.

The Saturday concerts started at Noon and were outside on the patio in front of a massive fireplace stage.

Elicia And The Fun Guys - Fiddler Elicia Burton has a great band with great musicians…the Fun Guys.

Banjerdan - gave a banjo workshop, played a single concert and also played with Jean Butterfield, Peter Rowan and Eric Burman’s Brookdale Bluegrass Band.

The Naked Bootleggers - I have heard about this band for a few months and they just drive old traditional bluegrass in a very exciting manner. Lots of fun.

Eric Burman’s Brookdale Bluegrass Band finally got to play and that is just what they did. Eric has written some good originals and has a great band and had a few ringers like BanjerDan sit in with him. I was lucky to be invited up to sing harmony with them. He dedicated and sang “A Good Woman’s Love” to his wife Barbara, who found the Costanoa location and made it all happen.

Jean Butterfield - played a set of heartfelt songs and had BanjerDan play on 3 of her songs. She has a cd coming out. She lives in the foothills, and reminds me of a young Kate Wolf.

Hi Hat Bill & Carr Creek Crossing. Bill Hunter has always written wonderful songs and tastefully played a HiHat drum with brushes. He now has a wonderful band that includes my friend Christopher on guitar. It was incredible to see him on stage with his son and daughter watching. I have known Christopher since he was seven years old

The Stoney Mountain Ramblers - they just get better and better no matter where they play you can always count on good picking and great harmonies and great entertainment. The only thing missing was the fiddler, Steve Joynes, off at the KVMR Celtic Festival!

I became the stage emcee and had the pleasure of introducing my friends,
Cactus Bob and Prairie Flower - with guests Peg Leg, Paul Lee and Paige Brownton just took the stage like the natural entertainers that they are. Great music and lots of fun.

Snap Jackson And The Knock On Wood Players came out in fuzzy warm brown Costanoa robes and wore their hats and looked like a band of Fonzy Bears! They played all the songs from their cd and had folks laughing and dancing and having a good time. The audience loved them. It was a great night of entertainment.

Front Country is Adam Roszkiewicz, Jacob Groopman, Jordan Klein, Leif Karlstrom, Melody Walker and Zach Sharpe. They quickly found a musical rapport that was open to challenging arrangements, unique covers and original songwriting. Their repertoire rapidly expanded and in January of 2012 Front Country decided to take on a Bay Area bluegrass tradition and compete in the prestigious Rocky Grass band competition - and won it! At Costanoa they were sensational and opened for Peter Rowan. You can see them at Grass Valley this Father’s Day. They were Awesome and put on a Great show.

Peter Rowan came out in a black suit with a guitar and the audience hushed to a more reverent tone and with respectful attention. To my amazement, he opened with “Dust Bowl Children” and then played his hits and told stories and on some songs he changed the tempo and made some ballads that he later changed. Land of the Navajo was better than I’ve ever heard it. He told stories about Tony Rice then he invited Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman up to play with him on "Walls of Time". Then he invited Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players up with Front Range. Peter Rowan's encore with Front Range and the Snap Jackson band was the highlight of the weekends shows. I also got to be on stage in the back singing harmony with Peter Rowan. It was a night full of magic and music.

I jammed with The Naked Bootleggers, The Stoney Mountain Ramblers, BanjerDan, Snap Jackson and Prairie Flower and Cactus Bob. Then I went into the Lodge and jammed with Laura Benge, Dan Wiegardt, Chris Rogers, Marcos Alvira and many others that I recognized from other CBA events and we all played bluegrass Standards until 4:00 am. My back was aching and I knew it was time to go to bed. I heard bluegrass music all night.

Sunday morning: I wondered over for breakfast and Peter Rowan was playing there for his breakfast too…a few songs at the outdoor restaurant area! How cool is that!

Until next time, see you at the CBA CampOut in Turlock.
See you out there on Harmony Road!

Posted:  3/15/2013

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