Author: Varner, Mark

GRRRRouchy Monday
Dear friends,

Welcome to the entertaining and edifying CBA website, folks. Glad you could drop by, so hitch your pony in the shade and grab a big ol mug of that Cowboy Coffee… oh wait. I’m channeling J.D. I’m in that mode. I’ve been working on the Bluegrass Breakdown for the last couple of weeks and through the beautiful sunny days of this past weekend… while my family was at Disneyland. Sigh. Just fuel for the fire of my GROUCHY MONDAY.

I’m a little more grumpy than I would be on a Monday, in fact. As I worked at my computer this weekend I listened to one of the last installments of one of our few local bluegrass radio shows. KUSP, the public Santa Cruz station is doing the same lunk headed thing my old radio station, KAZU in Monterey, did seven years ago. They are cutting music programming for talk. “Information” they call it. “Blech”, I call it. Drivel piped in from Washington. So Leigh Hill and Chris Jong, two stellar bluegrass and old-time DJs won’t be putting all that pretty music in the air of Saturday afternoons. It’ll probably be a show about finance and how to invest all that money that none of us have, or about Sabu and his water buffalo and their plight to save their village in Cucamonga. Grrrr. It just ain’t right.

Then you’ve got the IBMA Award nominees. There’s a topic where everyone can whine a bit that their favorite artist didn’t get in and that other guy is only nominated because he’s famous and he hasn’t played anything that sounded like bluegrass for ten years. OK, I’ll tell you specifically of my own gripe. I’m a big fan of mandolinist Jesse Brock. If the latest from Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper was taken into account Jesse would be nominated as IBMA Mandolin player of the year. The man is more versatile stylistically that any other you could name with the exception of Tony Williamson and a couple others. The arc of his career has been fun to watch and this guy really deserves recognition. Oh, well, maybe 2009. And he is part of Flamekeeper’s nomination as Instrumental Group.

The wise ones who booked FDF 2009 can be proud for the numerous and impressive nominations of both Dailey and Vincent and the Steeldrivers. It’s going to be quite a festival and it’s nice to know that the left coast will be getting what the rest of the bluegrass world is excited about.

OK, I’ll stop whining. Let me share this clever post from the delightful Polings:

Tom Stinkovich, Channel 13-1/2 EyeBall on the News. This just in. Our Mission District correspondent, Rigo Chicharron, has informed us that there has been a last-minute change to tomorrow’s regular Monday Bluegrass Night series at Amnesia. Rigo, tell us what you’ve learned.

Tom, here are the basic facts:

Jeanie and Chuck’s Country Roundup
At Amnesia
Monday, August 18
853 Valencia between 19th and 20th Streets
8:30 – 11:00 PM
No cover/21 and over
Right after the Third Monday Jam session hosted by Dave Zimmerman
6:30 – 8:15

Now Rigo, I know are viewers are saying, “Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t the third Monday of the month usually held down by the well known bluegrass quintet, Homespun Rowdy?” What’s the word on the street and how did this change come about?

First, Tom, we’ve got to make it clear that it will be Jeanie and Chuck’s Country Roundup onstage at Amnesia tomorrow. While this may come as a shock to regular patrons expecting Homespun Rowdy, they should be familiar with the Roundup’s previous performances there and the mix of bluegrass and honky tonk music they play. The band will feature Jeanie Poling – the Little Lady with the Great Big Voice – on lead vocals and guitar, with Chuck Poling on mandolin on vocals, Dave Magram on banjo and pedal steel, John MacFarlane on fiddle, and special guest Tom Drohan on bass.

My source also wants to let everyone know that the regular third Monday jam is still scheduled and that Dave Zimmerman will be on hand to host it as usual. And my source is hoping that this news will allay some of the concerns of the patrons, and the financial markets, as well.

Thank you, Rigo, important information our viewers need to know. The kind of news you can only get from Channel 13-1/2 EyeBall on the News. Now, Rigo, any comment from the Rowdy camp on why they are unable to play this show?

Well, Tom, it’s the result of some very complex factors that all came together to converge in a matrix of overlapping connections. Simply put, the Rowdies had to cancel the gig at the last minute because longtime Rowdy Richard Wagner received a frantic call from the U.S. Olympic Committee. It seems that Richard is ranked number 37 worldwide in Olympic Rock, Paper, Scissors competition – also known as “Rochambeau”– and while being ranked number 37 means that he didn’t even qualify for the pre-qualifying round, he is on the list. Because of the recent tragedy to hit the U.S. RPS team, well, it looks like Richard Wagner is America’s last, best hope in the brutally competitive world of Rock, Paper, and Scissors. He’s flying tonight to Beijing for tomorrow’s semifinals.

Rigo, you’re of course referencing the horrible fate that befell the American team in Beijing yesterday when the entire 36-member squad developed severe skin rashes on their hands when they mistook a container of Trickster Monkey Brand Toxic Paint for Export #17 for hand lotion.

That’s right, Tom. And now Wagner, this unassuming, modest bluegrass picker from San Francisco stands as American’s lone warrior. Indeed, he is the last man standing, and on his fingers lie the fate of his nation’s standing in the world. For now, all eyes are focused on him, but when Wagner’s in the ring, it’s just him and his and his competitor, both of them desperately seeking to make the correct choice that has challenged mankind since the dawn of humanity: rock, paper, or, ultimately, scissors.

Thank you, Rigo. That’s Rigo Chicharron with a live update from San Francisco’s Mission District on the changing situation at Amnesia tomorrow night. I’m sure all of us will have the plucky Richard Wagner and his fingers in our thoughts. Unless of course, you’d rather be like me, Tom Stinkovich, and blow off watching the tube for an entertaining evening of bluegrass and country music with Jeanie and Chuck and the Roundup, along with the friendliest bluegrass crowd in the Bay Area.

That’s all for now, from all of us here at Channel 13-1/2 EyeBall on the News, I’m Tom Stinkovich, good night and good luck.

Your pal,
Mark Varner
Posted:  8/18/2008

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