Author: Brandli, Darby

Monthly President's Message From Darby Brandli

This is going to be a great year for California bluegrassers and for bluegrass in general! One week into the New Year (with a big bluegrass bash at my house on New Year’s Eve), scores of CBAers descended on Bakersfield for the 4th Annual Great 48 and dozens of the rest of us Californians flew up to Portland for the RiverCity Music Festival.

A few years ago we met Chuck and Chris Palmer at the World of Bluegrass in Nashville. Chuck and Chris one day decided that they could produce a music event in the middle of winter in Portland, Oregon and so they did and became bluegrassers. Last October the Palmers, who loved the ambience of the CBA Jam Suite in Nashville, invited the CBA to their festival to run a Jam Suite there. My husband Bruno and I invited our good friends Emil Nishi and Dave Gooding to join us to try to make this happen and boy did we ever with help from all the Varners, Brenda Hough and Mary Kennedy! We just returned from the first annual CBA Jam Suite at River City still quivering from the excitement of the event. Dozens of Californians made their way to Portland, lured by the amazing musical lineup and the opportunity to jump start the festival season on the first weekend of the new decade. We hope that many of our new friends will join us at Father’s Day this year.

Larry Chung brought many of his friends met at Weiser into the Suite and they set the tone of the jams held in the Suite for the entire event. We had awesome musicians from the Northwest and Canada, all new friends to us who made our Suite their home base. I was amazed to see so many familiar faces as well, there were lots of Californians in Portland over the weekend and they had traveled by car or by train or flown like us. We were visited by many who appeared on stage as well, all friends of the CBA: the Rage, the Infamous Stringdusters, Dan Crary and Steve Spurgeon in Thunderation, Lou Reid & Carolina (lovely and talented new friends whom we hope to see in California), Tim O’Brien, Ivan Rosenberg, David Grier and Californians Laurie Lewis and Paul Knight (appearing with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band and they rocked it). Our Emerging Artist Band for Father’s Day 2011, Northern Departure, were in and out all weekend as well.

There is something to be said about an indoor festival in the middle of winter when the doldrums are setting in and the days are short and the weather is cold and festival season seems a long way in the future. Those of us at RiverCity and the rest in Bakersfield are already planning how to make the Fall to Summer gap shorter and filled with music. There is still time to make plans to attend Wintergrass in Washington, February 24th-27th, the lineup is fabulous.

We have some other scheduled indoor events to look forward to in California in February and you should be marking your calendars now. The CBA is presenting Grasstowne to two separate geographical areas in California this month. Grasstowne appears in Orangevale on February 25th and in Morgan Hill (with OMGG) on February 26th. This is a terrific band and check for specifics in this Breakdown or on the website.

There is still room for you at the 2nd Annual Winter Music February 24th-27th at Walker Creek Ranch near Petaluma (writing this Jan. 10th). Three days of living with music and learning how to play it sounds like heaven… and board….just total music immersion. Check it out. The CBA Music Camps are beginning to draw students and teachers from all over the globe so don’t tarry if you are interested.

Posted:  1/31/2011

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