Author: Poling, Chuck

San Francisco Celebrates Bluegrass Spring Jubilee

Iíve been the Area Activities VP for San Francisco for about eight or nine years and I try to do all I can to spread the word about the CBA, all the great things it does and all the wonderful people who make up the bluegrass community. If anyone I meet expresses the slightest interest in bluegrass music, they get an earful from me.

Iíve come to realize that the single best selling point for the CBA is the annual Fatherís Day Festival in Grass Valley. Every year I encourage friends, colleagues, and even rank strangers to come up and enjoy the music, the weather, and the community. I always get a few to attend each year for their first trip, and without exception they are hooked. Some have joined the CBA and now block out Fatherís Day weekend on their calendar.

Iím glad that my retail politics gets a few more people up to Grass Valley, but as CBA rep for San Francisco, I figure Iíve got a responsibility to do more to reach bluegrass enthusiasts in SF and connect them to the CBA. To that end, Iím putting together a series of events Iím calling the Bluegrass Spring Jubilee.

The fun starts on Sunday, April 6, with a jam at the Lucky Horseshoe on Cortland Avenue followed by a performance by One Lane Ahead. The Lucky Horseshoe is the latest bluegrass hot spot to pop up in San Francisco and is a meeting place for the many bluegrassers who live in the Bernal Heights neighborhood Ė like Bill Foss and Martha Hawthorne, Larry Chung, Frank Holmes, and LH co-owner Eric Embry.

St. Cyprianís Church is the scene of the Bluegrass Spring Jubilee concert on Sunday, April 26 featuring Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick performing the music of Vern and Ray, and Windy Hill, SFís leading neo-traditionalist bluegrass band.

This is going to be one of best bluegrass shows in San Francisco this year. Longtime fans of Laurie and Kathy will get a chance to see and hear them in a concert hall-type room with great acoustics. And for new fans, Laurie and Kathyís tribute to California bluegrass pioneers Vern Williams and Ray Park is a great introduction to the past and present legends of West Coast bluegrass. Joining Laurie and Kathy are Tom Rozum on mandolin. Sharon Gilchrist on bass, and Patrick Sauber on banjo.

Windy Hill brings an abundance of enthusiasm, serious chops, and a deep respect for the icons of first generation bluegrass. Ryan Breen (banjo), Alex Sharpe (fiddle), Thomas Wille (guitar), and Kyle McCabe (bass) play the music of Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, and other titans of bluegrass, along with their own trad-based original songs.

The concert is scheduled the same weekend as the CBA Spring Campout in Turlock, but I donít see the two events competing with each other. The audience Iím trying to reach are not, for the most part, members of the CBA. The hope is to educate them, get them up to Grass Valley in June and, once theyíre hooked, get them to join and see them at next yearís Spring campout, as well as other CBA activities.

And if youíre not going to the campout anyway, I canít think of a better way to get your bluegrass fix than to come to this show. Besides, itís more than a concert Ė the fun starts at 5 with a jam session in the church hall that goes on until 7:30. Plus Iíll be giving out door prizes, thanks to Tom Diamant and Arhoolie Records.

The final spring event is our annual Pickiní Picnic in Golden Gate Park. Jeanie and I started calling this the Enth Annual Picnic a few years back because, well, we lost track, but we think this has got to be at least the tenth, so letís call it an anniversary. The Pickiní Picnic has become a popular tradition and an effective outreach tool, as it attracts a lot of bluegrass newbies and is a great opportunity to talk up the CBA.

All the details are available on the innerweb at:

Iím adding extra bait to the trap with an incentive for new memberships and renewals. Anyone who joins or renews their CBA membership at any of these events is eligible for a free drawing for two four-day passes to the 2014 Fatherís Day Festival. The drawing will be held at the May 10th Pickin Picnic Ė winner need not be present.

I hope to see many of you at these events and that you spread the word near and far to friends and family that there is an active, lively bluegrass scene in San Francisco. The Bluegrass Spring Jubilee is on!

Questions? Contact Chuck at

Hereís a complete list of events:

Sunday, April 6
Bluegrass Jam and Show
with One Lane Ahead
The Lucky Horseshoe
453 C ortland Avenue
Jam 4 pm Ė Show 8 pm
FREE/21 and Over

Saturday, April 26
Jubilee Concert & Jam Session
Laurie Lewis and Kathy Kallick sing the Music of Vern and Ray
Windy Hill
at St. Cyprianís Church
2097 Turk Street
Jam Session 5 to 7:30 FREE
Concert 8 to 11 pm/$15 Adv/$18 Door
All ages welcome

Saturday, May 10
Bluegrass Pickiní Picnic
In Golden Gate Park/Dahlia Picnic Area
Just east of the Conservatory of Flowers
Noon to 5 pm
FREE/ All ages welcome

Posted:  3/31/2014

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