THE MOLDY ARCHIVE
 

April 24, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--10:30 p.m., Saturday night, April 20th, the 2013 Spring Camp Out’s biggest night, and little Jimmy Murdock, long-time official CBA Jam-Counter fans out across the Stanislaus’s County Fairgrounds and when he is finished and shines his flashlight on the clip board he’s been carrying and tallies the jams, Jimmy is startled:

4 traditional jams
3 classic country jams
2 old-time jams
1 swing jam
1 folk jam
1 not-sure-what-to-call-it jam

Though it’s a long walk and he’s tired by now, Jimmy sets off on his route once again. Unless he’s made a mistake somewhere along the line, tonight could set the record for greatest number of jams happening at one time at a CBA Camp Out in recorded history, which would be roughly fifteen years. Sure enough, when his second reconnaissance is completed Little Jimmy Murdock confirms: 12 simultaneous jams.

Lithuania and Insider CBA Dope--You may recall that when we last spoke I shared that my wife Maudie and I were off to Palanga, a little resort town in western Lithuania for a little R&R. I’m so glad I’d written yesterday’s Plymouth sermon before leaving…I was too jet-lagged to have even logged on last night. I feel I’d be derelict in my sacred commission as a journalist if I didn’t at least mention the trip. I’d predicted that the biggest downside for me would be the excessive number of hours in the big shiny bird for only a five-day excursion. Well, surprisingly the air travel was anything but dreary; Siektiek Abejotinas Mergele Airlines, (apparently a less than generous take off on Richard Branson’s fleet name, (loosely translated, Woman Who May or May Not Have Been with Man), was an absolute joy. With a massive infusion of investment from a handful of Chinese sugar daddies, who’ve taken a mighty big interest in several of the Baltic states, the government-run airline has replaced its entire fleet and boasts state of the art EVERYTHING…a round-the-clock casino, Mongolian BBQ run by real Mongolians, and an impressive array of skin rejuvenation and weight loss packages, including laser skin resurfacing (Patent Pending) which appears to be sweeping the continent…to name just a few. I passed on the baccarat and age-stablization specials, (Maudie had several pounds lipo-sucked on the way over, though she gained half of it back by the time we headed home), but did available myself of the BBQ SAMA’s free Wi-Fi service, which kept me both too busy and too entertained to even notice the passage of timetime. I would have to say that, all in all the, the Litvack Quickie, which is how the package is billed here in the states, was damned well worth it. And my of my oh my, the spurgos were heaven; as the locals say, Ir rankos švarios, ir spurgiai/spurgos nepakartojamo minkštumo ir purumo. Šaukštus laikom atsuktus viena i kita, pasemiam maždaug puses .

So then, able to check my email on Woman Who May or May Not Ect. Airlines’ behemoth Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, I found a long message from my Board mole, the person who feeds me all the insider stuff, halfway across the Atlantic. I’m going to share a little of the insider stuff with you…kind of one-on-one. Keep it to yourself, please.

“Dear Moldy—What a excellent camp out you missed, brother. (For the record, this person and I are NOT brothers. We are in no way whatsoever related.) To give you a idea of what a good one it was, I found out this morning that we set a record. (Here the mole goes into great detail sharing the Little Jimmy Murdock story I’ve turned into today’s CBA Milestone.) Of course as you know is our costume (sic) we had a board meeting Sunday morning and I would have to say that it was as good of a board meeting as the camp out was of a camp out. (Hang in with me, please…if you sort of squint your eyes mole’s report will begin to make sense.) One good thing was that we were told that pretty much all of the empty volunteer coordinator jobs that we haven’t been able to shoehorn some poor souls into are now filled, which is ex-lent good news since us board members aren’t gonna have to take on any more stuff that we already do, which is plenty, believe you me. This year we’re gonna try putting up a big, big bunch of signs to help people find their way around the Fathers Day fest. This is a idea that’s been jabbered about since Moses led his people out of Ejibt (sic) but now we’re finally going to take a crack at it, and I suspect we just might pull it off because we got young Cameron Little to take charge over it. Jack Hyland told us…and that was ALL of us—not a single board member didn’t show today…what he was planning to buy in the way of mercantile stuff for the FDF. We said yes, but give him a dollar amount. Another report was made on festival t-shirts, which, by the way, were being sold at the camp out, though only the men’s shirts and them only the standard t’s and none of the fancy stuff, and it appears that everybody on the board, even the picky ones, were pretty happy with them. (There’s a special surprise going to happen with the shirts and I’m not about to give it away here except to say that it’s going to be a humdinger.) There’s a committee who’s supposed to make the CBA web site look better, less “cluttered” is the term they’re using, and they reported that we’ll start using something called “hover” buttons, which means that if you move your cursor over them and then keep it there you can see all the places you can go, and then you choose one of those places with a click. Sounds pretty good to me, though I’ve never really been put off by clutter, having lived for thirty-five years with a hoarder, and FOR GOD’S SAKE, DON’T YOU DARE REPEAT THAT REMARK. We talked about some insurance stuff but, to be honest, I played solitaire through most of that. (Please don’t tell nobody I admitted to that.) ((I’ve complied with mole’s request—I have not told no one…not a soul.)) There was a big meeting of all the area vice-presidents on Saturday morning so we got a report on that and what everybody had to say and I’ll tell you Moldy, we got us some very, very stand-up men and women who represent the Association all over the damn place, and a new one as of today—Vicki Frankel who’ll be the San Mateo area vp, and if she’s not a stand-up woman I don't know who is. All this I told you about so far was what we call “old business”, so after the lunch break, which I though was a pretty ridiculous way to describe the noon recess since nobody except one board member who had the horse sense to bring a sandwich along, had even a bite to eat. (In the past there have at least been a few cookies or donut holes, but by God not this time.) So the new items after lunch were a report from the publicity person on how we’ll be using radio this year for Grass Valley, a excellent report from Larry Kuhn and one of the board members about plans for the big IBMA trip back to Raleigh, (and NOT Nashville which means I just may be able to afford the trip), in October, a presentation from Stan Allen on the Kings River Fest--budget, sponsors, bands, etc., (Laurie Lewis et. al. will be down there this year and she’s always a good draw), a little bit on our hospitality operation up at Wintergrass…Frank Solivan Sr. did another good job for us…a little bit on this year’s Volunteer Dinner on Wednesday night during festival week, hamburgers and all the fix’ins) and a run down on plans for our Wednesday night Vern’s Stage concert, which, as you know, MM, has now become more or less a tradition; don’t know who’s gonna perform but it should be a good show…Lord knows that them woods is full of talent by the time music camp finishes up Weds afternoon. Then there were the usual reports…finance (nothin’ to write home about but still okay), membership way up from a year ago), area vp’s (lots doing all over the place), music camps…notice CAMPS and not CAMP; very excited about the Camp for Kids this year (3/4’s of slots in both camps have been filled)…president’s report and chairman’s report. Which, Molded One, I’ll use to do a fancy segue into my humble conclusion, which is, speaking of the chairman, Tim Edes, who, to be honest, I never figured to be the type of guy who could finesse his way through a boisterous gathering of opinionated elected officials without getting shot or shooting somebody, is one helluva ringmaster. We’re awful lucky to have him. Goodbye for now. And remember, wait till the official minutes come out before you share any of this stuff.” Right! Nice try mole man, but I’m a newsman and I’m not going to NOT use a scoop, no matter how mundane.



April 23, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s Thursday, September 21st, 2000, and rigs are streaming into the Amador County Fairgrounds for the California Bluegrass and Cowboy Music Festival. Ads for the event tell of ….the “Legend", MERLE HAGGARD in a special first time ever appearance, with other acts like IIIrd Tyme Out, the Reno Brothers, Front Range, Lynn Morris and the US Navy Band Country Current…not to mention an authentic cowboy camp featuring cowboy entertainment like Sons Of The San Joaquin, Waddie Mitchell and Lone Prairie. And truth be told, the festival is even better than all the hype. Dale Lawrence, an early CBA board member, had begun producing the festival not long after the Association ended its six-year experiment with a fall fest at Grass Valley. Dale had a good run with Plymouth, then became gravely ill, stopped producing the event for a few years, recovered, and then, as the legend goes, came back strong with the 2000 event and then folded after discovering while driving back home to Oregon that all of his gate receipts had been stolen. Huge, huge loss to Northern California’s bluegrass community.

MOLD MAN RANT--Several days ago Larry Baker posted a note on the Message Board announcing that he and Sondra will produce a 2013 Bluegrassin’ in the Foothills festival in Plymouth. Why was this big news? Because Larry and Sondra have been hit with lowering attendance at the September classic in recent years and each spring we find ourselves holding our breath to learn whether or not the couple will take another run at it. I’ve ruminated on Larry’s post for a while and finally, today, I want to share my thoughts about the whole Plymouth situation. In fact, we’ll dedicate the entire Mold to Plymouth, past and present.

Old timers will remember that it was a guy by the name of Dale Lawrence, and not Larry Baker, who started the annual festival in Plymouth way back twenty years ago or so. As noted in today’s Milestone, Dale was an active member of the CBA, in fact at one time he served on its board of directors, and he was one heck of an event promoter. I remember the first time I heard Country Current; it was at a Dale Lawrence-produced festival at Plymouth. Dale’s concept was that our bluegrass family needed bookends for each bluegrass season…Fathers Day to kick off the year and Plymouth to end it, and the CBA couldn’t have been happier with the idea.

It’s impossible to adequately describe the doom and gloom that befell the Northern California bluegrass community when Plymouth shut down. For many, many years we’d enjoyed the always well produced “book-ends”, and when the fall event went away, some of us wondered if there’d been more we could have done to support Dale and his fest. And, of course, most of us realized we really hadn’t known how much we loved and counted on the Amador County get together each year. In short, we didn’t miss our water till the well ran dry.

And then, as you all well know, the Bakers showed up…the two riding in on white horse couldn’t have caused a bigger stir. Sondra and Larry reinstituted Plymouth, made it bigger and better and more fun than ever and, out of the blue, we had our set of book ends back. But what some didn’t know was that since around 2008, as the national economic stagnation began to take its toll and festivals throughout the U.S. started failing left and right, the Bakers came perilously close to folding up their tent.

Well, that didn’t happen…and it’s the Mold Man’s opinion that those who truly love the music that Bill gave us have it within our power to help ensure that that tent stays upright and in tact. Lord only knows that Larry and Sondra, not to mention an army of faithful volunteers, do everything they can to keep this tradition going. So here’s the bottom line, folks. If you love Bluegrassin’ in the Foothills, if you’ve come to count on it, to depend on it as an excuse to get together with your friends at the end of the summer, let Larry and Sondra Baker know. First and most important, buy your tickets when they go on sale. Then encourage your picking pals, your next-door neighbor, your office mate, your long-lost cousin from Bakersfield, to come join the fun. Over the years every now and then you’ll hear gossip floating around that the Baker’s L and S Promotions and the California Bluegrass Association are in some kind of competition. Nothing could be further from the truth. A strong Plymouth Festival makes the CBA and our bluegrass community stronger; let’s make sure it’s around for another twenty years.

April 17, 2013

Good Tuesday morning, Mold readers. Please note that Mrs. Mold and I will be jetting off to Lithuania tomorrow afternoon for a brief but I can assure you fully packed five-day getaway. Why Lithuania for a quickie, you ask. Well, Maudie went and bought a time-share in, of all places, Palanga, a little resort town in western Lithuania. Sure, it’s on the Baltic Sea, there are ample white sandy beaches, the condo’s got satellite and the kreplachs, kugelis’ and spurgos served every morning at the free, exclusive and absolutely-no-cost continental breakfast are to die for. But, oy vey, the travel time. And I'm also a little worried by the way Palangnites refer to their own city in its official "Essential City Guide"--Lithuania’s favourite bucket-and-spade, kiss-me-quick destination. What the hell does that mean?

Anyway, I’ll be back Monday…and no, Mandarin will NOT be filling in for me. And believe me, if it were not for the fifth principle of thermal dynamics, which is that the only happy home is the home with a happy wife, I’d be joining you in Turlock.

MM


MILESTONE--A year before the Great Depression is ignited by the fall of a house-of-cards stock market, the Brothers Dopyera found the Dobro Manufacturing Company in Los Angeles where they’ve just immigrated. The name is chosen because it’s both a contraction of the brothers’ last name and the Slovak word for "goodness" in their native language. After several tries, John Dopyera settles on a bowl shaped resonator design that will become the standard for the sixth of the traditional bluegrass instruments. A little Angeline the Bakker Ickes style? Click here.

From the Polecats themselves--Chuck and Jeannie Poling, the faces of the CBA in the lovely city in the world, would like you to know the following..."San Francisco's Golden Gate Park is the setting for the 2013 CBA Bluegrass Pickin' Picnic on Saturday, May 11. This event is sponsored by the California Bluegrass Association and is open to all who play or like to listen to bluegrass music. This event starts at noon and continues until 6 pm in the Dahlia Dell Picnic Area near the Conservatory of Flowers (close to the intersection of Fulton and Stanyan Streets) in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.Anyone who joins the CBA or renews their membership is eligible to enter a free drawing to win a pair of tickets to the four-day Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley. If you want to learn more about bluegrass music, get out and pick in beautiful Golden Gate Park, or make some new friends, this is a chance to have a good time and learn more about the California Bluegrass Association.

There’ll be a barbeque grill set up and your hosts will be serving hamburgers and hot dogs during the early part of the picnic and then turning over the grill to anyone who wants to cook their own food. Guests are encouraged to bring a side dish, beverages, and a jug of water. Your hosts will bring plates, cups, utensils, and condiments. Click here.

And the thing is, it NEVER bothered him that he was second-- Robert Zildjian, founder of Sabian, one of the largest cymbal makers in the world, has died, according to the company's website. He was 89. Zildjian ran the second-largest cymbal manufacturer in the world behind only the Avedis Zildjian Company, according to several music equipment websites. His family began the Avedis Zildjian Company in Boston in 1928. Zildjian founded Sabian Inc in 1981 in New Brunswick, Canada, after leaving his family's company as a result of a dispute with his brother.

Get your check books out--From motherjones.com “Alan Lomax's Treasures Land on Ebay…If you're a fan of American roots and blues music, you owe Alan Lomax a big thank you. Lomax spent a lifetime, beginning in the 1940s, traversing the American south—not to mention England, the Caribbean, and many other places—armed with a tape recorder. His quarry: Folk music that had never been recorded before. In the course of his research, he discovered some of our most important folk musicians: Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, and Son House, to name a few. In time, these pickers and singers would go on to inspire everyone from the Beatles to Kurt Cobain to Jack White. For decades, Lomax worked out of a suite of offices tucked into an ugly blue warehouse behind New York City's Port Authority Bus Terminal. When he died in 2002 at the age of 87, his office became the Alan Lomax Archive, home to his vast collection of recordings, records, correspondence, and equipment. Most of his field recordings now live at the Library of Congress, but the archive still holds his personal caches. Now, the building is being sold and the archive is being forced to move across town to a smaller space. Director Don Fleming is faced with the difficult and delicate task of deciding what to keep—and what to put up for sale.” http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2013/04/video-alan-lomax-archive-ebay

You’re only as old as your virtual reality--Senior citizen makes little effort to disguise her reaction to the next generation of virtual reality goggles. You generate this level of enthusiasm when you ninety and you’ll know you’ve aged well. Click here.

An important….IMPORTANT…word from Volunteer Czarina Deb Livermore--Hey all you bluegrass lovers out there! The CBA's Father's Day Festival 2013 is just around the corner....and we need your help! For several different reasons we need Volunteers like crazy this year!!!! There are many different areas that need help. I will list a few here. If you don't find what works for you, just call me and maybe I can find Just the Right Place for you!!!

Water booth - sales
T-shirt booth - sales
Membership booth - sales

Utility crew - set up before the festival and tear down at the end
People mover - must be 21
Gate crew - great our guests
Safety/Hospitality crew - several different jobs

That's if for now! Please remember that we need CBA members for all jobs!
Call me - 916-601-7233
Email - Deblivermore@gmail.com

Thanks and Great Big Ole Bluegrass Hugs to Each and Everyone of You!!!! Deb Livermore

April 16, 2013

MILESTONE--So, wait just one damned minute. What is bluegrass? What the heck is it. It’s 1971 and we got these guys out in Hollywood, are you even believing this…HOLLYWOOD of all places…who’ve started a new band and gave it a name that doesn’t even make sense. What the Peter-Paul-and-Mother-Mary is a Country Gazette and where do these guys, Byron Berline, Roger Bush, Billy Ray Latham and Herb Pedersen get off trying to gin up their own damned version of Mr. Monroe’s music. Get this, this Country Gazette band is getting paid gigs at Disneyland, you know, home of Micky and Minnie Mouse, and now BU is writing that they’ve landed opening spots for Steve Miller, Crosby, Stills & Nash, and Don McLean. I’ll tell you what, partner, this is going to be the ruin of traditional bluegrass music. You mark my words. Hell, the leader of the band, this Berline feller, he’s probably never even heard what the music is supposed to sound like…AND HE’S THE DAMNED LEADER! Click here.

Prepare to be thrust into the future--It’s one of those where were you when Neil set foot on the moon questions, only not quite so much. Okay, here goes…where were you or who were you with or what were you doing when the term Facebook stuck in your brain. Not where or when you heard the term first, because you heard it a whole lot of times before it stuck. And the thing is, when it did finally stick, which is to say when you first realized this thing, whatever it was, wasn’t going away, it hit you like a bolt from the blue. No warning. Well, friends, the Moldy One isn’t going to let that happen to you with Bitcoins. Here’s all you need to know

Bitcoin
Blockchain
Block
BTC
Cryptography
Double Spend
Hash Rate
Bitcoin Mining
Peer to Peer
Private Key
Signature
Wallet

Okay, now that you’ve gotten the key words and phrases memorized, here’s what they mean. Click here.. Oh, am I predicting that bitcoins will become as ubiquitous as friending or timelines? No, I’m not…but I’m not predicting they won’t, either.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldingness; I think it would be appropriate to acknowledge Roscoe Keithley's 91st birthday tomorrow as the milestone for the day. It's not often one turns 91 years old. Roscoe was my mentor as an MC, and was the very first master of ceremonies for the CBA and its festival. Roscoe lives in his native Missouri where he moved back after retiring here in California some years ago. So if I may, here are the particulars, along with a story that Roscoe told of how his grandmother traded his grandfathers model T Ford sedan for a fiddle. Milestone; Roscoe Keithley turns 91 today, in his native Missouri. For many years Roscoe was active in the California bluegrass Association as an MC for many of their festivals and events. He was the very first master of ceremonies for the inaugural festival in Grass Valley. Roscoe was a fine rhythm guitarist as well as one of the funniest men you would ever want to meet. Roscoe returned to his native Missouri after retiring here in California. Roscoe's grandmother was a renowned fiddle player in the Ozarks of Missouri, and he loved to tell a story about the time his grandmother traded his grandfather’s model T Ford sedan for a fiddle. Roscoe said his grandfather came in from work and asked his grandmother where is our car? His grandmother said well I traded it for a fiddle today. Roscoe said his grandmother went and got the fiddle and played the old hoedown "Eighth of January" for his grandfather. His grandfather said; you made a good trade, and that was that. Happy birthday Roscoe ol' HOSS! Another of your adoring admirers, JD Rhynes.” Dear Adoring, well, I’m sorry I missed getting this posted for Roscoe’s birthday, but it’s on the web page now and I’m betting our readers will like reading it as much or more than I’d have liked editing it, which, of course, our notarized contract explicitly forbids me from doing.

Hagg--From wordpress.com…”Coming this fall: “Merle Haggard: The Running Kind-- And now, friends, here is a piece of news I’m quite excited about. Behold, (Note to Mold reader—To behold, you need to click the hypertext below…otherwise this makes no sense), the incredibly cool cover of our next UT Press American Music Series book — “Merle Haggard: The Running Kind,” penned by my former No Depression magazine senior-editor colleague David Cantwell. This is another very fine cover design by the incomparable Lindsay Starr, who has earned some choice recognition for her first two covers in the AMS series (Don McLeese’s Dwight Yoakam book as well as my Ryan Adams book “Losering”) Click here.

Okay, I hear some of you saying, now hold on just one derned minute…where’s the bluegrass in this bluegrass news column?Okay, how’s this, a week’s worth of dates…

April 15: Windy Hill - Amnesia, SF
April 16: Cabin Fever - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
April 17: Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
April 17: Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
April 18: Bruce Molsky - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
April 18: High Country - Kensington Circus Pub
April 18: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
April 18 The Country Casanovas - Atlas Cafe, SF
April 19: Jeanie & Chuck w/the Drifter Sisters - Velo Rouge
April 22: The Earl Brothers - Amnesia, SF



April 13, 2013

CBA MILESTONE-- It’s spring, 1975, and the newly formed California bluegrass Association appoints a committee of Keith Little, Roscoe Keithley, and John Murphy to find a place for the Association to have their first bluegrass festival. So, with orders in hand they all meet at Roscoe's house in Sacramento and jump into Keith Little's car and head up Highway 49 to Grass Valley to take a look at the Nevada County Fairgrounds that Keith has described so glowingly as the perfect place to have a bluegrass festival. On their arrival at the Fairgrounds they find the gate locked, because in these early days the only time the Fairgrounds are open is when the fair itself is operating or on the rare occasion when somebody can afford to rent it. Roscoe and Keith opt wisely to stay in the car while their buddy John Murphy jumps the 8-foot fence to take a look around to see what he can see among the tall pines of the Fairgrounds. Unbeknownst to the three stalwarts of the duly appointed scouting party, the Fairgrounds has a Doberman pinscher watchdog patrolling inside the grounds. John Murphy would later say, “I saw the dog about the same time he seen me and the dog was about 100 yards away. Well sing as how this story takes place 38 years ago and John ain’t quite as portly as he would later become, that North Carolina boy could pick 'em up and lay 'em down! Keith and Roscoe say that John hit that fence like a 53 Buick Roadmaster and cleared that sucker in one jump, only feet ahead of the said Doberman. Thankfully everybody’s safe and sound, and when the scouting party reports back to headquarters they exclaim that they have found "Bluegrass Nirvana,” and boy of boy did they get that right. Submitted by J.D. Rhynes

Read this, please. It’s important on so many levels--“The Oakland Internet Cat Video Festival; Benefiting the East Bay SPCA Announces a Special Appearance by Dusty the Klepto Kitty! Oakland, CA, April 10, 2013 –Dusty the Klepto Kitty will make a rare special appearance at the Oakland Internet Cat Video Festival. Dusty, a domestic Snowshoe cat from San Mateo, CA gained notoriety in early 2011 for his acts of "Cat Burglary." As a result he appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman attempting to "meow out" an explanation for the disappearance of the following items: 16 car wash mitts, 7 sponges, 213 dish towels, 7 wash cloths, 5 towels, 18 shoes, 73 socks, 100 gloves, 1 pair of mittens, 3 aprons, 40 balls, 4 pairs of underwear, 1 dog collar, 6 rubber toys, 1 blanket, 3 leg warmers, 2 Frisbees, 1 golf club head cover, 1 safety mask, 2 mesh bags, 1 bag of water balloons, 1 pair of pajama pants and 8 bathing suits.” So what are the levels and why are they important? Unless you like, really, really like cats, in which case I’m sure you can come up with more than I can, the event caught my attention and I’ll be dragging the misses along simply because I love Oakland. So many problems, so much going against it, so many struggles for so long but it just keeps coming back. And the other “City” does good, it really kicks butt. Click here.

So you can pick a little, eh?perscriptionbluegrass.com… MerleFest Banjo and Guitar Contest Registration Open; MerleFest 2013 has opened registration for the annual Instrument Contests held during the four-day festival slated for April 25–28, 2013. Both the Doc Watson Guitar Championship and the Merle Watson Banjo Contest will be held on Friday, April 26th. The first place winners from both contests will be invited to perform on the Cabin Stage Friday evening following a performance by the winners of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. Online pre-registration is required for the Instrument Contests. The online registration form may be accessed at www.merlefest.org; the deadline to enter is April 22 at 5 p.m. Eastern. Registrants will receive email confirmation of their time slots in the competition by 5 p.m. on April 22.

Interesting reading if you're an IBMA watcher…in fact maybe even if you’re not-- World of Bluegrass in Raleigh – to jam or not to jam…When the International Bluegrass Music Association announced in 2011 that it would be required to find a new home for its signature events in 2013, there was some consternation in the bluegrass world. The closing of the Nashville Convention Center for major renovations reignited disputes about the wisdom of having moved to Nashville 7 years earlier, and a vocal contingent urged the association to consider a return to Kentucky. One of the chief complaints voiced by pickers when the convention moved from Louisville was that areas where jamming was permitted seemed to be far fewer. Part of this was intentional, with a desire to remake World of Bluegrass into a more professional business meeting event, and part had to do with the layout of the facilities and the fact that other groups often hosted events in the hotel while IBMA was there. Click here.

And finally, for some Saturday night entertainment that’s a little bit quieter, but just as satisfying to the soul as all the big shows this weekend.--Keystone Crossing, aka Larry Carlin and Claudia Hampe, will perform tomorrow night at the Hopmonk Tavern in Sonoma. These two have spent years blending their voices to get the most out of the brother duo sub-genre they love so well…think the Delmores, the Louvins, and sthe Everlys. Oh, and we should mention that if you do drive up to catch the Carlin-Hampe act Saturday night you might want to leave early and grab a bite in Sonoma. They say the town and the county have some of the best restaurants on the plant…and they’d be right.

And finally, finally, remember, the Mold Man gets a weekend off the same as all the other rank and file workers out there but he’ll be back bright-eyed and bushy tailed, (well, maybe not bushy bushy), Monday morning. Have a terrific weekend and get out to see some live music…and boy do you have some great options this weekend.

April 12, 2013


MILESTONE--In 1970 Tony Rice leaves California and moves back to the south where he was born. Introduced to bluegrass music by his father, Rice is almost immediately picked up by the Bluegrass Alliance, but then soon after signs on with J.D. Crowe and his New South. Among the most newgrassy of the acts playing in the early ‘70’s, the band (Crowe, Rice, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs and Bobby Slone on bass,) record the groundbreaking J.D. Crowe & the New South 1974, one of Rounders best-selling efforts and still considered today among a handful of records needed to tell the story of bluegrass music. Click here.

IT’S THE REAL THING…sort of--Got kiddies? Catch yourself worrying not too infrequently about what they’re ingesting when you’re not around? Well, you’re not alone…lots of parents do. Ann Lappe does a TED that may help, but will definitely keep you up tonight. Sweet dreams. Click here.

Virtuosity knows virtuosity--If you’ve been to the GREAT 48 down in Bakersfield you’ll know, if not by name then by site and by ear, David Naiditch. He’s the guy who plays the chromatic harmonica like Mark O’Connor plays the fiddle. Anyway, David is such a startlingly good instrumentalist, pretty much in any genre, that when he gushes a rave revue on his Facebook page I stand up and pay attention. You might want to as well. “…listening to Kenny Smith's amazing new instrumental CD--"Return." I highly recommend this CD to those who enjoy virtuoso bluegrass instrumentals. Other great players on this CD are Adam Steffey on mandolin, Aubrey Haynie on fiddle, Barry Bales on bass, and Jim Denman and Adam Hurt on banjo.” David Naiditch,www.davidnaiditch.com

Telluride ‘s 40th Birthday--From cybergrass.com…”With the lineup additions of Mumford and Sons, The String Cheese Incident, Dispatch, Leftover Salmon, Feist and many more amazing musicians, this year's 40th anniversary fest undoubtedly sold-out in record time. In minutes, actually. Weren't able to get tickets or lodging? Telluride.com is here to help. Telluride.com is giving away two, 4-day passes and 4 nights lodging at the Aspen Street Inn to one lucky winner for the sold-out 40th Telluride Bluegrass Festival, June 20-23, 2013: Click here.

Cats vs. dogs--If you’re the kind of person who wonders how poems translated from one language to another still manage to have rhyming lines, why it is that that more humans are killed each year on the African continent by a vegetarian mammal than all the meat eaters combined or what infamous Nazi war criminal won and lost a fortune raising raccoons in the Black Forest a full twenty years before America jumped into WWII, then this story may just be for you. Or not…salon.com:” Here’s why dogs rule literature — but cats run the Web. It should come as no surprise that, at any given moment, life’s eternal battles — Country vs. City, Man vs. Woman, Mac vs. PC, and above all, Cats vs. Dogs — command the attention of multiple thinkers. Still, I was startled last weekend to read Daniel Engber’s article for Slate, in which he observes that, while cats rule the Internet, dogs dominate the realm of print books. I had just been pondering the very same point! Continue...

Celestial Alignment--Who’s to say how or why it happens, but every now and then the planets and stars and asteroids and black holes and comets and, I suppose, even communications and weather and spy satellites come into perfect alignment and create a performance weekend like the one coming up…

Dale Ann Bradley, Black Oak Casino
The West Coast Ramblers, The Chapel
John Reischman & the Jaybirds, Palms Playhouse
Bill Evans' "Banjo in Am.,” 1st United Methodist Point Richmond
Sycamore Slough String Band, The Monkey House
Rock Ridge, The Connecticut Yankee
Craig Ventresco & Meredith Axelrod, Atlas Café
The Earl Brothers,Freight & Salvage
Dale Ann Bradley Band featuring Steve Gulley, Mt. View
Canyon Johnson, Mission Pizza & Pub
Absynth Quintet , The Plough & Stars
Hattie Craven & the Joe Craven Trio, Palms Playhouse
Kathy Barwick, et. al., Luna's Café
Left of Cool, Lava Cap Winery
Houston Jones, Mildred Owen Concert Hall
Harmony Grits, San Gregorio General Store
Jimbo Trouth & the Fishpeople, Sam's Chowder House
An Evening with Mountain Shine Band, Eagles Hall in Folsom

And finally, for those of us who find solace in knowibnf that somewhere on planet earth lives and breathes a human being who’s actions prove he/she is even dumber than we are--“Idiot Criminal of the Week: The Alleged Embezzler Who Threw a Suspiciously Lavish Office Party…You’re an office manager who has allegedly embezzled almost $200,000 of your company’s money, and there’s no reason to think you’ll be caught any time soon. Do you a) take the utmost care to attract as little attention as possible to your creative bookkeeping schemes, or b) throw caution to the wind and surprise your boss with a lavish birthday bash that you paid for with the misappropriated cash? What do you do? What do you do? Click here.
April 11, 2013

MILESTONE-- The year is 1960, and its a warm August evening and the bluegrass band," The San Joaquin Valley Boys" of Stockton, California is having its weekly Friday night band practice. Members of the band present that night are Shelby Freeman, on banjo, Ken Freeman, guitar and Dave Caroll, on bass. Two invited guests on this particularly night are Carl Steward, and JD Rhynes. About 45 minutes into the practice session, Shelby asks if anybody there knows the song "Salty Dog Blues"? Carl Steward points at the 22-year-old JD, and says, “that kid there knows it,” and hands him his Martin D 18 and says “now git up and sing it for ‘em kid.” So the kid does and as soon as they get through playing it, Shelby turns to Kenny and says, “I think we just found the vocalist and rhythm guitar player we've been looking for.” Well, they all agree among themselves, and ask JD if he’d like to become a San Joaquin Valley Boy? Carl says, “tell them yes kid, you can handle the job,” so that began a lifelong dream come true for JD. A year later the band added a dobro player by the name of Gene Fryer, who was originally from North Carolina. The band performed in this configuration for the next three years. Eventually pressures of family life and job commitments greatly reduced the bands playing schedule. They were an important part of bluegrass music history in northern California, and therefore of the CBA’s history, because the San Joaquin Valley Boys were one of three known bluegrass bands in that part of the state back then. The other two being Vern and Ray, and High Country. Shelby Freeman and Dave Caroll passed away some years ago, and only Ken Freeman, Gene Fryer and JD Rhynes are left from that original band.

(Today’s Milestone contributed by JD Rhynes. If you’ve got a milestone moment or event you believe should become part of this collection, please send it to the Mold Man at moldman7676@hotmail.com)

Them Della Mae women--Ever since I heard that this all-woman band was selected for the emerging artist slot at the Fathers Day Festival this year I’ve been sort of watching for them out of the corner of my eye. You see, there are many traditions that developed around the Association’s annual Grass Valley classic and none have been more important than presenting what the CBA, through its leadership, believes are bands that are headed toward making a difference in what we know as bluegrass. For that reason, then, I’ve been keeping track of what’s happening with the band as we edge closer to June 13th. Anywho, here’s a very lovely clip from DM paying tribute to the immortal Hazel Dickens… Click here.

Salt, pepper, heck okay with a little tarragon and some cumin; just bring it on before gasoline prices start going back up--The story of how many different filaments Thomas Edison tried and discarded on his way to making a practical electric light bulb is the stuff science legends are made of. Many such searches are being conducted today, and in as many different disiciplines. Take power generation for example…”Salt-based solar thermal power plant takes shape in Nevada; The notorious Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Plant near Tonopah, Nevada passed another milestone this month, as workers finished placing receiver panels on top of a 540-foot tower that forms the centerpiece of the facility. Crescent Dunes is based on molten salt thermal technology and we say notorious because when completed, Crescent Dunes will give the U.S. bragging rights to the largest renewable energy plant of its kind in the world. In certain quarters, however, the project is also notorious because it benefited from a federally backed construction loan to the tune of a whopping $737 million. The good news is that it appears that Crescent Dunes is on track for completion by the end of this year. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Hi Mold Man. Just sending this note along to you again in case there is anything you can do to help us spread the word about our upcoming concert at the Freight. Would be happy to add you to our guest list too if you could make it out ;) Hope all is well! Take care and thanks! April” April, well heck yes there’s something the old Moldy can do to help, including printing your email in my almost daily news column. But I’m figuring a lot more will be said about the show all over the web site in the coming days. It’s a sheer treat to get your lovely self and the boys in your band out here in the West to perform for crazy Californians. Folks at out here have seen exceptionally talented young women play a hot fiddle on the Freight stage, and they’ve seen the same types of young women sing as good as they play, but I’m not sure they’ve had the chance yet to see that same woman who can dance as well as she plays and sings. Until a week from tonight, of course. All the Best, Mold Man Click here.


April 10, 2013

MILESTONE-- Next in line (in the long string of critical events that helped shape bluegrass) has to be the formation of Old and In the Way in 1973. A whole lot of Deadheads like myself discovered that Jerry Garcia also played banjo with a bluegrass group at a small club in San Francisco, (The Boarding House), and loyally flocked to hear this new (at the time, and for them at least) style of music. We were struck by lightning...desperately wanting to hear more, but who else was doing this at the time? With the exception of High Country nobody was playing it locally, so we had to start searching out records...and eventually discovered the few masters who were playing it at the time. Old and in the Way had, (IMHO), more talent than anybody before or since...and what stood out for me above all was Vassar's fiddling…he had his own style which nobody (not even Kenny Baker) could even get close to—(Milestone submitted by Bruce Prichard, Bay Area banjo and mando picker.) Click here.

The BIG INTERVIEW--“Many hitherto unknown secrets of the Earl Brothers are revealed...Robert Earl Davis and Thomas Wille talk with Ray Edlaund "Pig in a Pen" radio show on KPFA. Live music and songs played from 5th CD "OUTLAW HILLBILLY.” We had great talk with Ray...it's always a pleasure. (Posted on Facebook by band leader Robert Early Davis.” No, I didn’t catch the interview either, but since it aired I listened to in on YouTube, and you can too. Click here.

For Bay Area folks and, more generally, for anyone who found over the years that Les Blank had an uncanny knack for scratching what itched with his lean, close to the bone documentaries, this past weekend was not a good one.--“Les Blank, Filmmaker of America’s Periphery, Dies at 77…Les Blank, whose sly, sensuous and lyrical documentaries about regional music and a host of other idiosyncratic subjects, including Mardi Gras, gaptoothed women, garlic and the filmmaker Werner Herzog, were widely admired by critics and other filmmakers if not widely known by moviegoers, died on Sunday at his home in Berkeley. He was 77. Click here.

There are, of course, some notable exceptions, but--You can always count on Rounder Records co-founder Ken Erwin to post something usefull on the Bluegrass “L”, like this piece from fyiling.com. “Brains Stay Sharp as They Age…Summary: While it is known that practicing music repeatedly changes the organization of the brain, it is not clear if these changes can correlate musical abilities with non-musical abilities. The study of 70 older participants, with different musical experience over their lifetimes, provides a connection between musical activity and mental balance in old age. “The results of this preliminary study revealed that participants with at least 10 years of musical experience (high activity musicians) had better performance in nonverbal memory, naming, and executive processes in advanced age relative to non-musicians.” Changing one’s lifestyle may postpone the onset of problems connected with old age, like Alzheimer’s disease. These diseases cause cognitive changes like loss of memory, reasoning, and perception. Adequate rest and physical exercise as well as a lifelong habit of stimulating the mind are favorable for clear thinking in old age. Musical activities, undertaken throughout the lifetime, have an impact on one’s mental health during old age. This has been studied in this current research work. Practicing music for a number of years brings about certain changes in brain organization. Comparing the lucidity in old age of those pursued music related activities and those who didn’t may help to understand the effect of the music-related reorganization of brain on successful aging. Click here.

Time machine in Felton-- KPIG Radio’s Miss Lonely Hearts will be giving away a pair of tickets to Don Quixote’s April 13 Larry Hosford and Mary McCaslin show. Whether you win the tickets or have to fork out a few bucks, this will definitely bet worth the drive. Show starts at 8. (Incidentally and speaking of Hosford, if you’d like to hear one of the Mold Man’s All-Time favorite recordings...Click here.

Jewelry heists are for thumps--“Thieves in Germany have stolen five tons of Nutella…Thieves in Germany have made off with a truckload of Nutella, stealing five tonnes of the hazelnut chocolate spread from a parked semi-trailer, police said on Monday. The theft of seven palettes of Nutella jars, worth a total of about 16,000 euros ($20,800), took place at the weekend in the city of Niederaula in the central state of Hesse, said police. Thieves in the region have previously stolen other large quantities of food products, including five tonnes of coffee worth 30,000 euros taken in March and 34,000 cans of an energy drink in August. The site of the thefts, northeast of Frankfurt, is near a road transport hub where truck drivers living in the region tend to park their lorries at weekends, said a police spokesman.”

Read between the lines, friends--Well, really, you can just read the lines of this press release to know that the IBMA is dead serious about expanding its base…”The IBMA’s World of Bluegrass schedule is now out and what a week in Raleigh. Visit the association’s web site and you’ll learn, for example, that “the festival portion of the week on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27-28 will be called “Wide Open Bluegrass” this year. Attendees will hear bands that play full throttle, “wide open,” driving, traditional-edged bluegrass alongside edgy bands that draw from old-time string band, progressive, classical and jamgrass influences.” Now if that doesn’t get your juices flowing.” Click here.



April 9, 2013

MILESTONE--1963’s hit song, If I Had a Hammer, is recorded by Peter, Paul & Mary, but its significance to bluegrass lies with its writer, Pete Seeger. Born in 1919 and considered one of America’s greatest folk singers of all time, Seeger introduces the entire nation to the five-string banjo when he uses it to accompany his many songs… Where Have All the Flowers Gone, Turn, Turn, Turn and so many more. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Moldy old boy, my daughter, Megan, is out here in the west for a couple weeks and I think your readers, at least the fiddle players, might be interested in the following…’A Megan B. Lynch Chowning Workshop Saturday, April 20, 2013 1 to3p.m. $40 per person.
Workshop limited to 10 Memorial Hall on Sycamore Street, Willows Workshop Description - Fiddle Workshop - Master Class for All Levels It's a workshop, it's a private lesson, it's both! Famed throughout the world, Megan Lynch's master classes provide a unique opportunity for 10 people to get together and figure out exactly what it takes to make themselves better fiddlers, under Megan's guidance….’ Your pal, Maria Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking” Maria, I think you’re right. Here’s a link to your daughter’s web site where folks can find the rest of the workshop overview…http://www.fiddlestar.com/

Your head on facts--There’s some research to suggest that even worthless information taken in by ears or eyes and processed in the frontal lobe of your brain can be a very healthy thing. On the chance that it’s true, we present the following:

Christopher Columbus was a blonde.

When a Queen Bee lays the fertilized eggs that will develop into a new Queen, only the first to emerge survives then reigns alone.

Lightning strikes the earth 100 times every second.

Lightning puts 10 million tons of nitrogen into the earth each year.

In Calama, a town in the Atacama Desert of Chili, It has never rained.

Leonardo da Vinci invented the scissors.

The original name for the butterfly was "flutterby"

The parachute was invented more than a hundred years before the airplane.

Panama is the only place in the world where one can see the sun rise on the Pacific Ocean and set on the Atlantic Ocean.

The earth travels through space at 660,000 miles per hour.

The population of the world in 5000 B.C. was 5 million.

Celery has negative calories. It takes more calories to eat than it has in it.

There are more than 40,000 characters in Chinese script.

The albatross, or Goony Bird, drinks sea water. Lucky for the bird, it has a special desalinization apparatus that strains out and excretes all excess salt.

It takes 17 muscles to smile, 43 muscles to frown. Ample reason to not worry and be happy.

Attention old-time music Placerites-- The California Gold Rush Country Old-Time Jam has outgrown its old location at the Dutch Flat Hotel and has moved to the Monte Vista Inn. This is an intermediate old-time teaching jam that includes tunes and songs of Uncle Dave Macon, Charlie Poole, and the Fuzzy Mt. String Band. The Inn is located at exit 145 off of Hwy. 80, about one hour east of Sacramento. Monte Vista Inn – 530-389-2333; 32106 Ridge Rd., Dutch Flat, CA; www.auburnbuzz.com/content/view/184/96/.

Big tent time--Did you catch the Deadly Gentlemen a couple years ago at Grass Valley? If yes and you liked them, you might want to have a look at their “The Kids Don’t Stand a Chance” video. It’s the band’s version of an original by another deadly act, Vampire Weekend. Are we recommending the video? Well, that depends on whether you like it or not. Click here.

If we can put a man on the moon wouldn’t you think we could…--Yes, you’ve heard this line ever since Buzz Aldrin landed on the Moon in July of 1969. So what kind of crazy-spectacular scientific accomplishment would it take to retire the man-on-the-moon catch phrase? Would you buy towing an asteroid around in space? Read this and decide whether you’re ready to move on… Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--10 Current Country Singles That Aren’t Completely Terrible. I’ll admit that I’m tough on Mandarin, our student assistant…the kid’s GOT TO learn…however, never let it be said that when young Montag does something right for a change he is not acknowledged by the Moldy One. Here then is what I consider to be one of our more creative top ten lists, discovered by the gradually-less-and-less-sucky student intern, Mandarin Montag.

Ashley Monroe – “Like a Rose”

The Band Perry – “Better Dig Two”

Big & Rich – “Cheat on You”

Chris Young – “I Can Take It From There”

Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel”

Kelly Clarkson w/ Vince Gill – “Don’t Rush”

Kip Moore – “Hey Pretty Girl”

Lee Brice – “I Drive Your Truck”

Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart”

Shane Yellowbird – “Pickup Truck”

To see if you agree that the tunes are not COMPLETELY terrible we invite you to have a little listen. Click here.

April 8, 2013

MILESTONE--You’d think, wouldn’t you, that to write a song whose creation could rightly be called a milestone in the history of a particular musical genre that you’d pretty much have to be a devotee of said genre…but not necessarily. In 1967 Boudleaux Bryant and wife Felice Bryant were living in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and working on a collection of slow-tempo tunes for a recording effort that brought together country performers Archie Campbell and Chet Atkins. Almost as a diversion the two knocked out a little ditty called Rocky Top, which took the couple all of ten minutes to jot down. That same year the Osborne Brothers recorded Rocky Top and before long it reached number thirty-three on the U.S. Country charts…a rarity for bluegrass songs, or bluegrass performers for that matter. But it wasn’t until another three years that country singer Lynn Anderson knocked out her own version, and this time the song about corn mash and revenuers reached #17. When the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ranked it’s top 100 Songs of the South in 2005, Rocky Top was seventh on the list. Click here.

Not exactly crop circles but at least scientists have figured something out--“Fairy Circle” Mystery Possibly Solved in Africa” Click here.

Now, tell me if this ain’t a good deal--You’ve just gotten into bluegrass or old-time, you love the music, taken up an instrument and bang away at home by yourself. Now you’re ready to try this stuff out with…gulp…other people. And, as luck would have it, you live in the South Bay. We’ll, have I got news for you! This Sunday, April 7, the Santa Clara Valley Old Time Fiddlers jam happens…1:00 to 5:00; Hoover Middle School, 1635 Park Ave. (at Naglee), San Jose; www.fiddlers.org. BUT WAIT! as they say in the super-veggie-chopper commercials…THERE’S MORE. It so happens that the association has as its beginners’ circle slow jam leader none other than the legendary Pete Hicks. You probably know Pete for his sweet, sweet fiddling, but you may not know that he’s an absolutely magical teacher of music. He just KNOWS how to do it. If you’re a beginner, get yourself down to Hoover this Sunday, please.

There’s hope for me yet--This is probably not going to surprise you…I love to write. Like some people love to hear themselves talk, I love to read what I write. And if there’s one thing I enjoy more than reading my own stuff it’s having other people read it. But, alas, except for a little blogging here and a little blogging there, that doesn’t happen all that often. It seems that major publishing houses don’t see much demand for my kind of ramblings and I have absolutely, positively refused to go the “Vanity Press” route…that’s where you publish your own stuff and then hope to sell enough copies to pay for the printing. But I don’t know…after reading the following article I’m starting to have second thoughts…”Self-publishing is the Future -- and Great for Writers. I could live with that designation. Click here.

”Window into our national preoccupations”…really? Okay, well alternet.org said it, not me…”Merriam-Webster Online has created a window into our national preoccupations by releasing the Top 10 most-looked-up words of 2005, in order of their most-looked-uppedness.

1. integrity
2. refugee
3. contempt
4. filibuster
5. insipid
6. tsunami
7. pandemic
8. conclave
9. levee
10. inept

I don’t want to sound uppendnessy, but if this list doesn’t get you thinking about your fellow Americans, well, nothing will.

Farwell, Stairwell-- I swear, it seems like just yesterday that I read the name “Stairwell Sisters” for the first time. Obviously it’s been quite a bit longer than that. Anyways…Wednesday, May 15, Stairwell Sisters Say Farewell Show, Strings, Oakland, CA; 6320 San Pablo Ave, just north of Alcatraz; 8pm Concert, $10-20 donation; Strings is an intimate house concert-type venue, with no sign, just look for the address. There are no advance tickets - first-come first-served. People bring snacks to share, and likely we'll have a CAKE!

New Folk Radio Now On iTunes --Good follow-up to yesterday’s mini-op-ed…As reported by perscriptionbluegrass.com “(NFR) announces that its IP Radio service has been accepted by iTunes. NFR is the only radio station in the Pacific Northwest that streams folk, roots, and bluegrass music 24/7 without subscription fees or commercials. Now in its second year of broadcasting online, NewFolkRadio.com streams its service via Live365, which means the stream can be heard on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. "With the addition of iTunes, NFR is now technologically agnostic -- we can be heard on any IP stream anywhere around the world," said John Hart, owner and founder of NFR. "We are ready for the next stage of IP Radio in car radios which the Big Three automakers are planning for next year," he said. Click here.


April 6, 2013

MILESTONE--You’d think, wouldn’t you, that to write a song whose creation could rightly be called a milestone in the history of a particular musical genre that you’d pretty much have to be a devotee of said genre…but not necessarily. In 1967 Boudleaux Bryant and wife Felice Bryant were living in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, and working on a collection of slow-tempo tunes for a recording effort that brought together country performers Archie Campbell and Chet Atkins. Almost as a diversion the two knocked out a little ditty called Rocky Top, which took the couple all of ten minutes to jot down. That same year the Osborne Brothers recorded Rocky Top and before long it reached number thirty-three on the U.S. Country charts…a rarity for bluegrass songs, or bluegrass performers for that matter. But it wasn’t until another three years that country singer Lynn Anderson knocked out her own version, and this time the song about corn mash and revenuers reached #17. When the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ranked it’s top 100 Songs of the South in 2005, Rocky Top was seventh on the list. Click here.

Not exactly crop circles but at least scientists have figured something out--“Fairy Circle” Mystery Possibly Solved in Africa” Click here.

Now, tell me if this ain’t a good deal--You’ve just gotten into bluegrass or old-time, you love the music, taken up an instrument and bang away at home by yourself. Now you’re ready to try this stuff out with…gulp…other people. And, as luck would have it, you live in the South Bay. We’ll, have I got news for you! This Sunday, April 7, the Santa Clara Valley Old Time Fiddlers jam happens…1:00 to 5:00; Hoover Middle School, 1635 Park Ave. (at Naglee), San Jose; www.fiddlers.org. BUT WAIT! as they say in the super-veggie-chopper commercials…THERE’S MORE. It so happens that the association has as its beginners’ circle slow jam leader none other than the legendary Pete Hicks. You probably know Pete for his sweet, sweet fiddling, but you may not know that he’s an absolutely magical teacher of music. He just KNOWS how to do it. If you’re a beginner, get yourself down to Hoover this Sunday, please.

There’s hope for me yet--This is probably not going to surprise you…I love to write. Like some people love to hear themselves talk, I love to read what I write. And if there’s one thing I enjoy more than reading my own stuff it’s having other people read it. But, alas, except for a little blogging here and a little blogging there, that doesn’t happen all that often. It seems that major publishing houses don’t see much demand for my kind of ramblings and I have absolutely, positively refused to go the “Vanity Press” route…that’s where you publish your own stuff and then hope to sell enough copies to pay for the printing. But I don’t know…after reading the following article I’m starting to have second thoughts…”Self-publishing is the Future -- and Great for Writers. I could live with that designation. Click here.

”Window into our national preoccupations”…really? Okay, well alternet.org said it, not me…”Merriam-Webster Online has created a window into our national preoccupations by releasing the Top 10 most-looked-up words of 2005, in order of their most-looked-uppedness.

1. integrity
2. refugee
3. contempt
4. filibuster
5. insipid
6. tsunami
7. pandemic
8. conclave
9. levee
10. inept

I don’t want to sound uppendnessy, but if this list doesn’t get you thinking about your fellow Americans, well, nothing will.

Farwell, Stairwell-- I swear, it seems like just yesterday that I read the name “Stairwell Sisters” for the first time. Obviously it’s been quite a bit longer than that. Anyways…Wednesday, May 15, Stairwell Sisters Say Farewell Show, Strings, Oakland, CA; 6320 San Pablo Ave, just north of Alcatraz; 8pm Concert, $10-20 donation; Strings is an intimate house concert-type venue, with no sign, just look for the address. There are no advance tickets - first-come first-served. People bring snacks to share, and likely we'll have a CAKE!

New Folk Radio Now On iTunes --Good follow-up to yesterday’s mini-op-ed…As reported by perscriptionbluegrass.com “(NFR) announces that its IP Radio service has been accepted by iTunes. NFR is the only radio station in the Pacific Northwest that streams folk, roots, and bluegrass music 24/7 without subscription fees or commercials. Now in its second year of broadcasting online, NewFolkRadio.com streams its service via Live365, which means the stream can be heard on smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. "With the addition of iTunes, NFR is now technologically agnostic -- we can be heard on any IP stream anywhere around the world," said John Hart, owner and founder of NFR. "We are ready for the next stage of IP Radio in car radios which the Big Three automakers are planning for next year," he said. Click here.


April 5, 2013

b>MILESTONE--It’s 1969 and two young brothers, the Whitley boys, Dwight and Keith, drive up to Ezel, Kentucky, to try their luck in a small town talent show. Although the two don’t win, it does turn out to be a very, very lucky day, because also on the show’s line-up is a young picker and singer named Ricky Skaggs. Keith and Ricky, barely in their teens, form an immediate and lasting friendship and a few years later, at ages 15 (Whitley) and 16 (Skaggs) lady luck knocks one more time and the two are “discovered” in Ft. Gay, West Virginia by Ralph Stanley. As the story goes, Ralph and his band “were 45 minutes late due to a flat tire. Ralph was in a bad mood and when he opened the door of the club he heard the Stanley Brothers playing on what he figured was a jukebox. He said it was two young gentlemen who ‘sounded just like me and Carter in the early days.’ (from Keith Whitley, A Biography; Stephen Thomas) Not long after that the two youngster were hired on as Clinch Mountain Boys. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Greetings Mold Man, here's some information about our up coming Record Release at the Freight & Salvage. It would be a real pleasure to see you and yours at the show. If you can’t make it, we will be live-streaming our upcoming concert at The Freight & Salvage, which starts at 8p PT. Wherever you are in the world, you can tune in! The show will not be recorded, but you can watch it live in HD. Oh, here’s what they’re saying about our new project…’The Earl Brothers, based in San Francisco and led by banjo master Robert Earl Davis, have been delving into the dark side of bluegrass for more than a decade now, and their fifth and latest album, Outlaw Hillbilly, takes them further down that rough road with songs like “Troubles,” “Cold and Lonesome,” and “When the Lovin’s All Over,” and grisly lines like “I stabbed her dear brother and cut off his head, and buried him deep so I knew he was dead.” They’re not a good time bluegrass band – they’re more interested in exploring the really bad times – but their music, like the blues, has that paradoxical effect of taking you so deep into the mire that you come out feeling a little better than you did before. Bobby”

From the New York Times, March 23, 1990--“President Bush declared today that he never, ever, wants to see another sprig of broccoli on his plate, whether he is on Air Force One or at the White House or anywhere else in the land. ''I do not like broccoli,'' the President said, responding to queries about a broccoli ban he has imposed aboard Air Force One, first reported this week in U.S. News and World Report. ''And I haven't liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I'm President of the United States, and I'm not going to eat any more broccoli!''. You’ve got to hand it to the guy, like all good Presidents, Bush Sr. was decisive. Still, we here at Mold Plaza can’t help but believe that our forty-third Commander and Chief hadn’t tried Broccoli Tempura with Black-Bean Hummus before making the now famous declaration. What’s Broccoli Tempura with Black-Bean Hummus, you ask, and how would one go about making it? Click here.




Lovely Rita--If you live up in the Sacto area, or if you’re not averse to driving there on occasion, we want you to get this show on your calendar…it promises to be a good ‘un… Rita Hosking Trio, May 3, Folsom
The Rita Hosking Trio will perform a house concert at the home of John & Loretta Hettinger May 3, 730 PM. Rita has thrilled audiences all over the country. Donation of $15 adv for CBA members; $20 for everyone else or at the door. Seating is limited, & this concert is likely to sell out so I’m giving you plenty of lead time. Email bluegrass@shaunv.com or call 916-990-0719 for reservations.

From the This-Really-Sucks Department--From salon.com…”Yu Darvish nearly achieved perfection. In his first start of the 2013 season, the Texas Rangers pitcher retired the first 26 batters that the Houston Astros sent to the plate on 110 pitches. Darvish needed just one more out to become the 24th pitcher in MLB history to toss a perfect game. With two away in the home ninth at Minute Maid Park, the right-hander from Japan delivered a 4-seam fastball to Marwin Gonzalez. A career .234 hitter, Gonzalez turned the 91-mph offering around and sent a sharp single right back up the middle, through Darvish's legs. After the 26-year-old wheeled around to see if his infielders could preserve his bid for history, a smile crept across his face as the ball scooted into center field for a base hit.” The only positive thing you can possibly say about this story is that Darvish, a relatively young man, has at least gotten the worst day of his life out of the way.

MOLD MAN RANT--Not so much a rant as a calm, matter-of-fact opinion. Three years back the Brain Trust behind the California Bluegrass Association had what I thought at the time was an awfully good idea. They would come up with a plan, beginning at their annual Fathers Day Festival and continuing through the summer, to try to bring the Old-Time music community into their tent. In year two the campaign picked up steam with the election of Steve Goldfield, a card-carrying old-time guy, to the board and now, three years later, it’d be hard to argue that the CBA’s efforts haven’t paid off big time. More and more emphasis is placed on the old style of music and more and more folks from that community are joining up. So, here’s my thought—why not try the same with the folk community? Just like old-time music, folk shares the same instruments as bluegrass, many of the same songs just sung a little differently and, most importantly, folkies love getting together, standing in a circle and sharing the music that they love. Recently we mentioned here the San Francisco Folk Music Club and its Free Folk Festival coming up in June. Maybe some thought could be given to initiating a little CBA presence at the shindig.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

MILESTONE--On the Fourth of July, 1973, and an Independence Day Celebration is held in Telluride, CO, and a bluegrass band is hired to entertain the small but enthusiastic crowd. Well, the band, and the brand of music they play, seems just right for the powerfully beautiful natural setting that is Telluride, so the next year organizers tried it again, this time calling it, of all things, a “bluegrass festival”, and three acts are hired: Fall Creek, Black Canyon Gang and the Denver Bluegrass Band. By the fourth festival bands that head for the Colorado high country include New Grass Revival, Ophelia Swing Band (with Tim O'Brien), John Hartford • Bryan Bowers, John Hartford and New Grass and Byron Berline and Sundance. And what do you know, a Great American tradition is born. Happy Independence Day, bluegrass fans. Click here.

They say you can tell a great deal about a society by the games it plays--“Breaking Bad' Board Game: Fans Can Play 'Methopoly' For Free--"Breaking Bad" fans, have you always felt like there was something missing in your life? All that's about to change with the creation of "Methopoly" -- a fan-made board game inspired by both Monopoly and the "Lostopoly" tribute version that popped up online in 2008. Ever wanted to own the show's infamous RV or share a piece of Gray Matter Technologies? Now's your chance -- just try to stay out of jail. The game's creator, Joanne Silverman, shared her reasons for creating the game on Methopoly.com, where fans can download their own copy of the board for free: When Season 5 of BREAKING BAD began, I knew I would design my own board and call it METHOPOLY. I wanted to learn Photoshop and knew this would be the perfect project. This has truly been a labor of love and I dedicate it to BREAKING BAD, one of the greatest series in television history. Click here.

And you can tell even more by what its spiritual leaders say they “never leave home without”--And that’s just what Deepak Chopra, Founder Of Deepak Chopra LLC, told the HuffPost he takes along on every business trip….”A Dream Weaver--"Working with Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Rudy Tanzi, we have created a light and sound mind machine called the Dream Weaver which safely and automatically puts the user into a meditative, relaxed, dream, sleep, creative or altered state of consciousness. The device is controlled by digital programs I have designed and narrated with music. When the program ends you are back to 'normal' except with a smile, a sweet memory and you are more relaxed. Rudy, I and many of our friends (some daily meditators and others who never have meditated) now use the device regularly."

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldymess; Sir, once again you have stepped on your Ying Yang! In regards to the band IIIrd TYME OUT, here is the correct line up of members when they first played the Father's Day Festival at Grass Valley in 1992; Russell Moore rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Steve Dilling banjo and vocals, Wayne Benson mandolin and vocals, Mike Hartgrove fiddle and vocals, Ray Deaton bass and vocals. Moldy old pal, I'm starting to worry about you. Are you taking your dementia pills? As ever, your most ardent fan, JD Rhynes” My dear Mr. Rhynes, you don’t honestly think I could write one of these columns every five out of seven days per week unless I was taking my little blue pills, do you?

This guy is just NOT slowing down--From John Cherry at cybergrass.com…”Nashville, TN -- “The Old School is a big school. It is where the tributaries of the river came from,” says bluegrass legend and GRAMMY-winner Peter Rowan of his new album The Old School. Influenced by his experience with the dynamic and enigmatic father of bluegrass Bill Monroe and written with the “bluegrass code” in mind, the now 70-year-old Rowan recorded the album with an intergenerational cast of players. Old masters such as Bobby Osborne and Del McCoury sat shoulder to shoulder with younger players including The Traveling McCourys, Michael Cleveland, Bryan Sutton and more, everyone playing and singing in a circle and recording old school style. It was an apt way to capture the raw spirit of bluegrass music and, for Rowan, the album became the perfect vehicle through which to explore the complex musical strands of the bluegrass. Click here.

And finally-- John Hettinger, the CBA’s man in the Sacramento Valley would like you to know about the following…

Banner Mountain Boys: April 20, 500 - 800 PM, Sierra Building, Gold Country Fairgrounds, Auburn, 530-887-9573, www.horsesforhealing.org, $15. Benefit dinner & silent auction fundraiser for Horses for Healing.

Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives: April 23, 730 PM, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, 1075 E 20th St, Chico, 530-893-3520, www.sierranevada.com, $32.50. Buffet dinner available at 600 PM for $12.50.

Yonder Mountain String Band: April 25, 800 PM, Harlow’s, 2708 J St, Sacramento, 916-441-4693, www.harlows.com, $27.50.

Natural Drift: April 25, 600 -1000 PM, Northridge Country Club, 7600 Madison, Fair Oaks, 916-344-0199, www.youthsolutions.org/vintage-2013, $125. Food & wine tasting & silent auction fundraiser for Stanford Youth Solutions.

Notorious Shank Brothers: April 27, 400 - 700 PM, Sudwerk Dock Store, 2001 2nd St, Davis, 530-756-2739, www.sudwerkbrew.com. No cover.



April 3, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--In 1992 the CBA welcomes IIIrd Tyme Out to its Grass Valley stage for the very first time. Comprised of Russell Moore (lead vocals and guitar), Steve Dilling (vocals and banjo), Justen Haynes (vocals and fiddle), Wayne Benson (vocals and mandolin) and Edgar Loudermilk (vocals and bass), the act had only formed the previous year but that didn’t slow down the selection committee. You see, they’d had plenty of opportunity to see these guys play together before, seeing as how most of them were veterans of Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver and had, in fact, performed together in that group. Still and all, there was more than a little feeling that the new act with the strange name would be a flash in the pan…just one more band on and then off the scene before you could blink. Well, twenty-two years later it would appear that Russell and the boys are hear to stay. If you haven’t heard their acapela version of Only You, you’d better not let another day go by. Click here.

Now THAT’S progress--What was it, a week ago, that we reported on Saudi Arabia’s decision to abandon the practice of slicing off heads? They haven’t quite decided yet whether they’ll go lethal injection of the old-fashioned hangman’s noose, but the head folks there have definitely signaled that head lopping is on its way out. And know, this morning, word from the oil-rick middle-eastern national that women….GET THIS…women, the fairer sex, will be allowed to ride bicycles. Yes, you read correctly, thought there are a couple little catches…” they have to be accompanied by a male relative and dressed in the full Islamic head-to-toe abaya.” Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Staff, yeah, this is to all of you, I simply can’t find the words to express the depth of my disappointment yesterday when I logged onto cbaontheweb.org, scrolled down to your news column and found not a single, lousy April Fool’s joke. I mean, I can understand why the stodgy CBA web team wouldn’t go for the gold but, hey, you guys I figured for some pretty creative wisecrackers. What gives? You couldn’t come up with just a little snippet of off-the-wallness…like maybe the new chairman showing up at the Morgan Hill jam in a tank-top or launching a new line of Yves Saint Laurent at the June Grass Valley Mercantile. You’ve failed us, my friends. Joey from Bethel Island” Dear Bethel, you’re complaining to the wrong people. We, along with all the rest of the web content developers, received a directive from the web master saying there would be no April Fools jokes WHATSOEVER this year. It seems that a few years back said web master wrote an April 1st Welcome column in which he admitted to syphoning off money from the Kid’s on Bluegrass fund to finance a cruise ship romp to the Caribbean. It must have been pretty convincing because the Association was inundated with calls and letters demanding that appropriate action be taken. Well, it wasn’t, the web master is still the web master and we’re still not able to deliver a few deliciously misleading stories. I guess there’s always next year.

MOLD JOB ANNOUNCEMNT--”Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced that longtime IBMA staff member Jill Crabtree will be departing the association after a long time of great service. Her departure will be no later than July 1, 2013. This means the association has an immediate position available for the right candidate. Click here.

She’ll be comin’ up the mountain when she comes--Which, according to area vp Bill Schneiderman in Sonora, will be pretty soon…Dale Ann Bradley will be at the Willow Lounge at the Black Oak Casino on April 12. If you can make it up there for the show you’ll want to check out the Mi Wuk’s brand new hotel at Black Oak opening this month.

Look into the future--I’ve always wanted to be an inventor, and I think I’d be a good one if 1) I knew anything about science or engineering or how things work; 2) if I was capable of even a single original thought or idea; 3) if I had a modicum of the kind of patience that is required for the trial and error so important to product development and 4) if I had just a lick of common sense. Having none of any, I nonetheless enjoy reading about other people’s conquests, to wit…Node: the electrical outlet of the future? While many of us obsess over the latest smartphones, apps, and tablets, the less glamorous, hidden side of technology is being considered by innovators.
Click here.



April 2, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1975 , thirteen year old O'Connor wins his first big competition, the WSM (AM), Tennessee, and Grand Ole Opry sponsored Grand Masters Fiddle Championships in Nashville. That same year he takes another national championship, this time on acoustic guitar, at the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship in Winfield, Kansas. And a few years later Mark travels to Kerrville, Texas, and when he leaves he’s the Buck White International Mandolin Champion. Sure, the term ‘multi-instrumentalist’ had been used in the bluegrass genre before Mark O’Connor…it just never quite meant the same after he showed up. Click here.

Some DANG good music and a chance to help--So, okay, you were planning to go to the laundry tomorrow night and then wash your hair. Well, hell, let’s be a little flexible, shall we?

Concert for Sue Draheim at the Freight in Berkeley
Monday, April 1, 2013, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm)
Featuring Eric & Suzy,Thompson, Jody Stecher,,Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Golden Bough, and more
$28.50 advance / $30.50 at door
A host of Bay Area musicians – classical andCeltic, old time and bluegrass, Cajun and more – gather for a benefit concert honoring Sue Draheim, a beloved Bay Area musician who now lives in Berea, Kentucky. Sue was recently diagnosed with an incurable form of brain cancer, and many of her musician friends want to do what they can to offer their support.

And speaking of the wonder kid, you could do worse than learn to play like him--From The O'Connor Method Official Website! “The O'Connor Method is excited to announce the launch of its new website, www.oconnormethod.com! The site features a fresh look, easy navigation and more focus on what the method has to offer. The new site announces new releases, lists upcoming teacher trainings and events, videos, photos, recent press, a radio station of Method tunes and orchestrations, and of course, the growing registry of O'Connor Method Teachers. We invite you to visit and share the www.oconnormethod.com site today!” Wonder if there’s a link to Suzuki.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Top Ten Cars Tom and Ray Magliozzi (Car Talk guys) hate the most. Hate, of course, because the brothers run a car repair business and don’t see many of these in their shop. Nope, it would seem American cars, except for the ones listed, are still outliers when it comes to reliability.

Honda Civic
Honda Accord
Toyota Camry
Toyota Prius
Ford Fusion and Ford Fusion Hybrid
Honda CR-V
Honda Element
Subaru Forester
Nissan Altima

Here’s a link to find out what’s so hot about these vehicles. Click here.

MOLD MAN Commendation--I don’t know whose idea it was or, more importantly, who makes it happen every day, but the new feature on this web site’s splash page called Coming Attractions is pretty nifty; each day it features, via little graphical tiles, shows and events for the next seven days. It’s been going for a bout a week now and I can see they’re gradually getting the kinks out. You know what they say about businesses…the three top factors in success are location, location and location. Well, the corollary for web sites is fresh content, fresh content and fresh content. Good to see somebody around here understands that.

And now a quick word from our Bluegrass Breakdown Editor, Mark Varner…and we’re only a month getting it posted here--“Readers will notice the absence of the cooking column from the March issue. Unfortunately, Eileen, who has been doing a GREAT job after assuming J.D.'s Kitchen column, needs to be away for a few months to care for a family member. But! We have a celebrity fill-in host for the months she will be gone! None other than Frank Solivan II! He's a renowned chef and will certainly bring us some great treats, along with some fun stories. We are VERY grateful to Frank!”

This would require some serious thought--“Ali Meyer, Homeless Oklahoma Man, Lets People Vent To Him For 50 Cents A Minute.” Now, that’s all well and good, and if venting is all that people are allowed to do I think Ali’s gig could be pretty sweet. But here’s the concern I’d have…the thing I’d give some serious thought to before I hung out my shingle, as it were. You know that little thing in human nature we call kicking the dog? You’ve never heard that expression? It’s when someone’s really PO’d and the source of their anger isn’t around to punch out. It’s akin but different to another saying…killing the messenger. Click here.

There’s hope for we recluses-- Thanks to Alan Aleksander for posting a note on the CBA Message Board re: the…okay, I use the word…historic Freight show Wednesday night…the Good Ol Persons Reunion…”If you can't be there you can also watch the show live on Concert Window: concertwindow.com.” I’ll be watching this one, one way or the other.



March 29, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1974 Pop Parmley loads up the van and with mandolinist Randy Graham and fifteen year old son David strikes out for Virginia where the Bluegrass Cardinals soon produce their first album, Rounder’s classic called Welcome to Virginia. Almost instantly the band starts landing premiere bookings throughout the south and one of the strongest acts in bluegrass through the late ‘70’s and ‘80’s is launched. In 1982 the Cardinals are the “east coast act” at Grass Valley. No one did Ridin’ on the L and N better than the Cards. Click here.

Very, very small--The Moldy gang went for pizza and beer at quitting time yesterday and one of the team…alright, it was Mandarin…quickly drank enough Corona to voice what he claims is a growing concern among the More or Less Daily News crew, and that is that my choice of news items becomes a little cheesier by the day. They are, Montag confessed, worried that the Mold News will become known as just another tabloid like the Inquirer or the National Review. Bottom line—they’ve asked me to ease up on the “strange news” approach to journalism. I agreed to give their request some thought. In the meantime, here’s a story about the littlest car in the world…”In the latest episode of the BBC show Top Gear, host Jeremy Clarkson unveils the world's tiniest car, the P45, which he apparently designed himself. A takeoff on the Peel P50, the P45 has the drivetrain of a four-wheel all-terrain vehicle, but all the turn signals, lights, and license plates needed to make it street-legal in the United Kingdom.” So, just how small is small? Click here.

A green festival?--You betcha. From timesfreepress.com…”With the recent flip of a switch, Bonnaroo officials in Manchester, Tenn., turned on the power of the sun to energize the country's first permanent solar array for a music festival. Click here.

Catch ‘em if you can--The Rockridge Bluegrass Band, which seems to betting a better and better with age, will perform a concert up in Oroville at the Long Creek Winery, 233 Ward Blvd. Says the winery guy, “Come and join us at the pond for this fun event! Bring your lawn chairs and picnic blankets and kick back under the Oaks. Rock Ridge played at our wine trail event in November and they were a big hit! The Hunter and the Farmer will be bringing their food truck and will have their culinary creations available. They have Norcal's first Paleo friendly and Gluten free food truck. We are happy that they will be featuring our own Baja Vaca Ranch Beef.
Tickets $15, purchase at: http://www.eventzilla.net/web/event?eventid=2138988873” Okay, now where do I pick up my complimentary case of Merlot?

The house that Pen built--Our pal Brian O’Neil over at perscriptionbluegrass.com scooped the following last week…” Uncle Pen’s Cabin Replicated and Open To The Public”. Pen’s Cabin –Just opened to the public this week and already it is listed on the Kentucky tourism webpage. That’s how popular anything connected to Bill Monroe is in Kentucky. This rustic mini-museum will take you back to the roots of Bluegrass Music. Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass Music,lived and played music here with his Uncle Pendleton Vandiver. Uncle Pen was one of Kentucky's finest fiddle players. Well it is rustic, but it won’t quite be a mini-museum until this coming summer according to James Monroe, son Bill Monroe and grand nephew of the cabin’s original owner James Pendleton Vandivir.

And the house that Homer built--Well, actually a replica. Here’s a story that could only happen in an incredibly advanced society…”Perhaps you've dreamt of skateboarding into a cartoonish orange and yellow house after an annoying day at school, a la Bart in the opening sequence of "The Simpsons." And, uh, even if you haven't, it's surprisingly a viable option. As well as living in Barbie's Malibu Dream House, which is, naturally, kitted out with monogrammed "B" everything. The Jonathan Adler-designed space featured circular couches and a sunburst mirror constructed from 65 Barbies. The contents of the house have since been moved to a Las Vegas hotel room. Or if the Batcave is more your speed, you too can bring a little bit of the movies into real life. One fan in Greenwich, CT constructed a 12,000 square foot home theater that features an escape tunnel, Batcomputer and a room that houses a Batmobile.” So dear friends of the Mold, if you inclined to realize your life-long dream of actually sleeping in the house of a made-up person, click here.


March 28, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--At its annual organization meeting held at the Fall Campout in 2002, the CBA board of directors decides, on a split vote, to assign a small working committee to explore moving the Association’s membership files, comprised of thousands of 5X7 index card, to a web-enabled data base. The following month the committee reports back to the board with a proposed set of specifications for the new automated system and three months later, in December, 2002, the board of directors is informed that the new on-line system has been launched. A “milestone” you ask? Really? Well, if you're the VP in charge of Membership, the answer is clearly yes; replacing index cards with a powerful and dynamic computerized system was that big of a deal.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mold Man, I am a brand new to the California Bluegrass Association and recently I visited this web site for the first time. Generally I find the site useful and fairly easy to use. I am, however, puzzled by some of the content that appears under the header, “News.” Apparent there are five new items each day and they rotate each time the page is refreshed. Now, most of these items make sense to me…a link to an article in bluegrasstoday.com, somebody’s favorite video clip an announcement of some upcoming event, etc. But often thrown into the mix will be an item that just doesn’t make any sense. With some of them I’ll just think it’s a failed attempt at humor, but with others, there’s really no explanation I can even come up with. I’ve taken the time to write to you today because, logging on this morning I discovered that two of the five “news” items call into the WTF category, namely, ‘Disturbing Yet Compelling’ and ‘Now just a tragic statistic’. Who posts these non-sequiturs and is the leadership of the Association aware it’s being done? A new but concerned member from Antioch.” Dear Concerned from Antioch, I have to assume that the postings about which you refer are the brainchildren of the current web master, a man with whom, I know many would agree, Father Time is in hot pursuit. If more folks like you spoke up I believe that in short order the CBA board would decide to put this guy out to pasture.

From the Department of Sorry-You-Just-Don’t-Have-Enough-To-Worry-About --Another in our effort to expand your inventory of things to ponder as you drift off into slumber…”Scientific American Physicists recently confirmed that the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, the particle physics laboratory in Geneva, had indeed found a Higgs boson last July, marking a culmination of one of the longest and most expensive searches in science. The finding also means that our universe could be doomed to fall apart. “If you use all the physics that we know now and you do what you think is a straightforward calculation, it is bad news,” says Joseph Lykken, a theorist who works at the Fermilab National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. “It may be that the universe we live in is inherently unstable.” Click here.

Only YOU can help ensure that top flight pickers and singers keep going out mid-week to play for next to nothing-- And to help you help them may we recommend…

Black Crown Stringband - Cato's Ale House, Oakland
Loganville - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Just Picked String Band - Upstairs Jazz Café, Morgan Hill

Dear Cary--A few days ago we directed your attention to a particularly good, some would say even inspiring, essay written by a tuba player who sees a lot more in music than just music. Well, our student intern Mandarin Montag, ran this by the Mold Team and we concluded a little more inspiration could hurt. Here’s a letter written to a salon.com blogger and her response”--Dear Cary, almost one year ago, I returned to my career as a musician after spending a number of years outside of music pursuing a “normal” job. Despite the success I was lucky to enjoy during an economically tumultuous time, working outside of music made me feel like a fraud, like my life was a charade — surrounded by people with whom I could not identify, doing work that supported projects that, I believe, ultimately do more harm than good to society overall, and letting my talent and passion for music languish. Through career workshops and classes, books, certain friendships and self-reflection, I finally found the courage to return to music. The crux of my focus now is addressing and putting to rest the reason I left music originally. I believe that the essence of my motivation was to raise a white flag and surrender to the “practical” thinking and fears that had been instilled in me by my parents, particularly my mom (my dad passed away when I was a teenager). These fears show up when I am practicing, rehearsing, performing and auditioning as a little voice of doubt that tells me that I will never conquer my nervousness and insecurities sufficiently to be able to present myself as I am capable of playing for each rehearsal, performance and audition so that I might have a chance at making a viable living as a working musician.” Continue by clicking here.

And finally--I know I’ve passed my self-imposed 700-word column limit but I just learned about this show yesterday and it’s simply not possible to keep it to myself for another day…”Good Ol' Persons; Wednesday, April 3, 8:00; Freight and Salvage--At a Freight Open Mic in 1975, five daring young women took the stage to play bluegrass. Imagine: women playing bluegrass! What an idea! Oh, and the group needed a name. Their spur-of-the-moment choice? The Good Ol’ Persons – a name that winked at the good ol’ boys of bluegrass and cleverly claimed full membership in the club. The lineup changed over the years, but the name still brings a warm glow to bluegrass lovers in the Bay Area and beyond, and tonight several stalwarts from the band’s glory days – glory decades, really – gather to celebrate the music and have a good time at the coffeehouse that started it all. With Kathy Kallick on guitar and vocals, John Reischman on mandolin and vocals, Sally Van Meter on dobro and vocals, Paul Shelasky on fiddle and vocals, and longtime friend of the band Trisha Gagnon on bass and vocals, these Persons will bring new life to some fine ol’ songs!” Hard to imagine a finer way to celebrate the emergence of this thing we call California Bluegrass.

March 27, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1972 a double album is released by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and in the years that follow it will be given the same kind of accolades Bonnie and Clyde and Deliverance received for bringing a new audience to bluegrass music. The project is called Will the Circle Be Unbroken and it’s pulled off via an epic collaboration of bluegrass and country-western legends like Roy Acuff, Mother Maybelle Carter, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Merle Travis, Pete "Oswald" Kirby, Norman Blake, Jimmy Martin and Vassar Clements. Click here.

Back in the field again--You may remember Joe Weed’s critically acclaimed project a few years back, the Music of Stephen Foster. Well, it sounds like he’s once again combining his love music and history…”Poked around Kosse, Texas today, the birthplace of Bob Wills. I'm on the trail of the Wills classic "Faded Love." I was helped greatly by Jack Foshee, who worked with me all day so we could see (and I could photograph) the remains of the Wills family home on the farm outside of Kosse. The spot where the house stood is shaded by a pair of lovely oaks, which were there in Wills' time. The fireplace and well are all that remain, but the spot is beautiful and looks out over broad pastures, gently descending to the old road. Yesterday Marty and I interviewed and dined with Louise Rowe, who played bass and guitar and sang with Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Louise is sharp, funny, and full of great stories. She plays bass and sings every Friday with a western swing band at the Texan Kitchen in Euless, TX. Thanks mucho to Paul Glasse for helping us find Louise!” Check back here for developments.

It couldn’t happen to a nicer dictatorship--I guess snipers armed with powerful Russian-made assault rifles are as good as any other way to assassinate the little guys. “Tehran Rats: Iran Reportedly Battles Giant 'Mutant' Rodents With Snipers The International Business Times quoted Tehran city council environment adviser Ismail Kahram, who told Iranian news website Qudsonline.ir that the rats ‘seem to have had a genetic mutation, probably as a result of radiations and the chemical used on them. They are now bigger and look different. These are changes that normally take millions of years of evolution. They have jumped from 60 grams to five kilos, and cats are now smaller than them," Kahram said, according to the outlet.’ But Dr. David Baker noted ratspert at LSU, will have none of that—‘Nearly all genetic mutations identified across the field of biology are harmful and confer a disadvantage to the species rather than an advantage. It’s not like in the sci-fi movies.’ However, he pointed out that there are several species of "giant" rats found around the world that can achieve the sizes described by Kahram. Because their growth plates don't fuse after puberty, Baker explained, even common black rats can get very large. Click here.

A calendar-marker for folks in the San Joaquin’s southern end--The Roustabouts Bluegrass Band; April 5; 7:00 p.m.; Dagny's Back Room; 1600 20th St, Bakersfield

Mandolin players, pull your calendars out and mark this date--From Mandolin Café…”2013 San Diego Classical Mandolin Camp. San Diego, Calif. — The 2013 San Diego Classical Mandolin Camp led by classical mandolinist and educator Chris Acquavella along with guest instructor Mari Fe Pavón will take place July 30 - August 4, 2013 at the beautiful Kona Kai Resort on Shelter Island in sunny San Diego. Click here.

Here’s one to watch for--From cybergrass.com…“Nashville, TN -- March 25, 2013 -- Don Rigsby’s life-long passion for the music of Dr. Ralph Stanley comes to full boil in his forthcoming album from Rebel Records, Doctor’s Orders: A Tribute to Ralph Stanley. Rigsby salutes his chief inspiration with this new album which includes bluegrass and mountain music legend Ralph Stanley and the clinch Mountain Boys alumni as guest artists. Stanley has been referred to as Dr. Ralph Stanley since receiving his honorary doctorate in music from Lincoln Memorial University in 1976.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Six Top Ways to Avoid the Classic Broken Bottle Scam:

Run away, toward a crowd.

Raise your voice.

Extend the encounter.

Demand proof of what you broke.

Carry around your own bag of bottles.

To more fully understand these strategies and, more importantly, to learn what the Broken Bottle Scam is, which, after all, you’ll need to do if these six top ways to avoid the it are going to do you any earthly good, you’ll need to read the whole article. Click here. (Note to Reader:

(Dear Reader, it's 4:38 a.m. and I have pasted the slate.com link to the Broken Bottle Scam article into today's Mold four times and each time I test it...yes, I have to test every last link I use in the daily news...I'm being told by slate that the article is no longer available. But, of course, it is, because I just went there; it's where I got the link in the first place. So what's happening is that for whatever reason, it's taking the link and adding a br with carrots on either end at the very end of the address, which redirects to the error statement. This problem has exhausted me...sucked every ounce of energy out of me. If you'd like to read the broken bottle story, though at this point I can't imagine why you would, just place your cursor in the address box at the top of your browser and back space out the br, ass well as the carrots, and hit enter.)


March 26, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--It won’t be for another fifteen years or so that we switch from “all-girls” band to “all-women” band. It’s 1980 and the ALL-GIRL band Sidesaddle debuts at Grass Valley. One of their songs, “Mr. Soundman”, a take off on “Mr. Sandman,” steals the hearts of attendees and instantly becomes the unlikeliest song ever to become Grass Valley Song of the Year. Click here.

Very excellent Chron piece--You gotta love those local color writers at the San Francisco Chronical…”Come Thursday night at San Francisco's Atlas Cafe, there will be six or seven bluegrass musicians up front and six or seven sitting in the audience, their mandolins and guitars strapped on and their banjos on their knees.” Click here to read the entire piece.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldingness, here is something for your readers to consider. I read this article in National Geographic magazine. According to Francis Schwarze, tree pathologist, fungi may be able to deliver the sounds of the Stradivarius to a lesser violin. Violins work like this; bowed strings vibrate the bridge beneath them, the bridge moving against the violin's body bounces sound, and Stradivarius violins from the 1700's are said to move the notes around best. According to Mr. Schwarze applying two arboreal fungi, Physisporinus vitreus, and Xylaria longipes- to a lesser violin can help it perform on a par with the famed makers instruments. The fungi work by thinning cell walls in Norway spruce, one of the best woods used to make a violin top plate, and Maple so that sound can move more freely. Less weight means louder and more resonant tones. It's not all about volume though. The fungi also doubles the dampening function of the wood, taking away too high, irritating sounds, thereby making the instrument more mellow throughout its range. Mr. Schwarze says fungi can improve other instruments as well including hammer dulcimers and guitars. So after gleaning all of this knowledge from such a world-class publication as National Geographic, do you suppose we could talk Mr. Cornish into investing in a dose of fungi for his fiddle? God knows he could use it to improve the quality of his fiddle playing. Hopefully the quantity be would be less, but if the quality could be improved that would be a plus for all concerned within hearing distance of that left-handed fiddle. I for one, would be willing to donate to the cost of a double shot of "fiddle fungi", if it wasn't more than $.50 per person. So there you have it from your resident mountain man, how to improve left-handed fiddle players’ fiddle playing. I remain your most ardent fan, JD Rhynes

Here’s a story we’re not happy about reporting--From cybergrass.com…”Jim Van Cleve Extremely Ill with Dengue Fever: Jim Van Cleve, founding member of Mountain Heart (fiddle) contracted Dengue Fever from mosquito bites he got from a recent trip to St. Croix and his body is over worked and not fighting the illness properly. Since returning he has suffered extremely high fever (105), severe headaches and body pain in his muscles and joints and a terrible rash over his upper body, all associated with this tropical disease.

Pig out…in at this place they expect it-- Hog Wild BBQ, Saturdays, Placerville; 530-622-3883; www.hogwildbbqca.com. The Hog presents bluegrass music most Saturday nights, 500 - 800 PM. Confirmed bands are The Notorious Shank Brothers on March 30, Banner Mountain Boys on April 6, & Natural Drift on April 20. Come out & enjoy some great bluegrass music that goes well with their fine BBQ.

There’s not much else to say--“Tilda Swinton Sleeps In A Glass Box At The Museum Of Modern Art” Well, that’s not totally true. We can also tell you what the little description card said which hung next to the are piece, which is called ‘The Maybe’ “"Living artist, glass, steel, mattress, pillow, linen, water, and spectacles," a description card said. Click here.

We don’t care how damned traditional you are when it comes your taste in bluegrass music. You’ve got to at least look at this thing.--From mandolincafe.com…”Fender MandoStrat Solidbody Electric Mandolin…Scottsdale, Ariz. — The classic Fender electric mandolin returns as the new Mando-Strat. This highly distinctive and charmingly diminutive instrument evokes the Fender electric four-string mandolins of the 1950s and '60s, with an updated and improved design for modern players. The distinctive shape and chiming tone of Fender's late-'50s electric mandolin are back, with features including a solid alder body, 13.78" scale, "C"-shaped maple neck with 24-fret rosewood fingerboard, and specially designed pickup with volume and tone controls. Click here.

March 23, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s February 23, 2013, and when millions of radio listeners around the world undertake their weekend ritual, that of dialing in or logging on to their favorite radio show, they hear Garrison Keillor say, “This week on A Prairie Home Companion, we're live from The Fitzgerald Theater in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota with a show celebrating all things banjo. With special guests, five-string masters Noam Pikelny, Joe Newberry, and Bill Evans, singer Suzy Bogguss, and country music historian Bill C. Malone.” Yes, it’s most certainly a bluegrass milestone when one of the most listened to radio shows ever decides it’s about damned well time that the population as a whole learns a thing of two about the five-string banjo. And learn they did. Click here.

From the Department of Sorry-You-Just-Don’t-Have-Enough-To-Worry-About --So, dear friends, add this to your inventory of things to ponder as you drift off into slumber…“A mysterious burst of charged particles from space hit Earth at some point from 774 to 775 C.E. Scientists know this thanks to a spike in radioactive carbon found in ancient tree rings. What they didn't know was the source of the burst Now, a team of physicists argues that our own sun was the culprit. The sun normally emits bursts of charged particles called coronal mass ejections (lower left of image), but they either never strike the Earth or are too weak to do much damage. Theoretically, however, the sun could release a burst strong enough to explain the tree rings, the researchers will report in an upcoming issue of Geophysical Research Letters. They estimate that such a blast would have been about 70 times as powerful as that which knocked out power for millions in Quebec in 1989. It could also have been about 20 times as powerful as the blast behind the solar storm of 1859, which disrupted telegraph systems in North America and Europe. Our sun is probably capable of such a huge blast, given that many distant sunlike stars have been spotted releasing flares that big, if not bigger, the scientists say, though the blast would still have been too small to cause massive extinctions.

Tuba Man Follow-up--Cornish posted a good Welcome column yesterday. Funny how his most memorable are those written by someone else and introduced by him. Be that as it may, the piece yesterday addressed how, if at all, serious study of music at the undergraduate and graduate level of higher education can prepare one for a successful career in most any field. This salon.com article, which originally appeared in Scientific American, might be a nice follow-up. “ Do music lessons make you smarter?Studies indicate that practicing an instrument can help build the brain, but the final answer remains murky. Practice makes progress, if not perfection, for most things in life. Generally, practicing a skill—be it basketball, chess or the tuba—mostly makes you better at whatever it was you practiced. Even related areas do not benefit much. Doing intensive basketball drills does not usually make a person particularly good at football. Chess experts are not necessarily fabulous at math, and tuba players can’t just put down their tubas and pick up cellos. That said, some learning does transfer from one skill to another. If you play a lot of basketball, you might be physically fit and also have discerned rules about ball movement and how to work with a team—which could be useful for playing other sports. Younger players who master chess notation learn something about coordinates, which show up in math. And tuba lessons often require or include instruction reading music, knowledge that comes in handy for the cello as well.” Click here.

So you just can’t figure out what to do this week--Here are a few tips from Thompson’s Bay Area Bluegrass Calendar:

March 22 (6:30 pm): The Dim Lights - Pacifica Moose Lodge
March 22: Loafer's Glory - Palms Playhouse, Winters
March 22: Blackberry Bushes Stringband; Front Country - Starry Plough
March 23: High Country - Frog & Fiddle, Alameda
March 23: Beargrass Creek - Mission Pizza, Fremont
March 23: Savannah Blu - Montessori School Benefit – St. Mary’s, Moraga
March 24 (noon): Sugar Moon - McNear Park, Petaluma
March 24: Robin & Linda Williams; Robinson & Nunally - Freight & Salvage,

Need details? Click here.

Is there a fiddle in your family’s future--I met the guy who runs this camp a while back at the GREAT 48…one of those people you meet and instantly know they’re on a mission. “The Julian Family Fiddle Camp April 10-14 Instructor Notes: Sara Watkins is a well-known fiddler, singer and songwriter who, along with brother Sean, and Chris Thile, comprised the grammy award-winning band, Nickel Creek. Today, Sara has two solo albums out, and has a busy touring schedule. With roots in San Diego, Sara knows the importance of nurturing. Click here.

MOLD MAN RANT--And while we’re on the subject of music camps, I spoke to CBA President Darby Brandli early this week to find out how things are shaping up for the new Bluegrass Camp for Kids. Was happy to learn that, still in March with plenty of time left, the FDF-week offering is now officially a third full. Though it’s certainly none of the Mold Man’s business, I shared with Madame Prez my thoughts about this brand new endeavor. When the Association launched its regular camp twelve years ago, it was lucky enough to make a few bucks after expenses even the very first year. Doing a kids camp, I opined, is a much, much more challenging proposition. First, the CBA dramatically reduces its target population by limiting enrollment to a fairly narrow age group, 8 to 16. But more significantly, because of the 'rank beginner' nature of the camp experience, they’re not recruiting from the already-picking-true-believer pool of potential campers. While making the launch of this new kind of camp that much more daunting, seeking out and bringing together the young and uninitiated is, after all, the point of the whole effort. And for that, I applaud the work the Association leadership is doing. If there’s a way you can help ensure that Camp for Kids gets off the ground, the Moldy dude asks you to consider pursuing. One thing’s for sure, Darby will find a way for you to pitch in and help. Email her at darbyandbruno@comcast.net

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Top 6 Lesser-Known Branches of Forensic Science

6. Forensic Botany
5. Forensic Entomology
4. Forensic Meteorology
3. Forensic Geophysics
2. Forensic Astronomy
1. Forensic Limnology

Raises a few questions in your mind? You may want to Click here.


Remember, no more Mold until Monday. Please, have the weekend you deserve.
March 22, 2013

MILESTONE--On May 11, 1979, Reunited, by Peaches and Herb, is the most popular song in the U.S.; Merv Griffin’s guest today are actor-comedian Art Carney, actor Barry Bostwick, actresses Jean Stapleton, Polly Holliday and Beth Howland; a bizarre plot to assassinate President Jimmy Carter is revealed by the FBI, (with very few details), and Lester Flatt passes into eternity. Click here.

Thompson Alert. Repeat…THOMPSON ALERT--What? I got your attention? Oh, I didn’t think so. Be that as it may, the Mold Man is a more or less fanatical fan of Peter Thompson. Why, you ask? Is it his looks? No, not really. The fact that he’s Kathy Kallick’s soul mate? Well, that helps, but no cigar. Do I admire the man because of his radio show, (Bluegrass Signal, Saturday nights, http://kalw.org/listen-live or 91.7 FM in the Bay Area)? To be honest, I’ve never listened to it. That’s not because it’s not a good show; it’s because I’m a sufferer of Adult Attention Deficit Disorder and if I sit and listen to anything longer than seven to nine minutes I start ripping the foam rubber out of whatever over-stuffed furniture is nearby. With my TEETH. (I know, you read my column and you’re not surprised.) No, I’m crazy about Peter Thompson because I’m crazy about bluegrass…and so is he. And what’s more, he puts his TIME where his mouth is. Meaning he works very, very hard for all of us, collecting and editing and collating and distributing every scrap of information available about the bluegrass scene in the San Francisco Bay Area…which, by the way, is one of the hottest bluegrass and old-time scenes in the nation. End of testimonial. Now the news…Peter’s put his latest calendar up on the web. Click here.

Way more interesting than watching the grass grow--Okay, this makes total sense, but you’ve got to take a minute to wrap your head around it…”Dateline Oslo: ‘The TV program, on the topic of firewood, consists mostly of people in parkas chatting and chopping in the woods and then eight hours of a fire burning in a fireplace’, says Rune Moeklebust. ‘My first thought was, ‘Well, why not make a TV series about firewood?’” So, using the recent Norwegian best seller, Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood — and the Soul of Wood-Burning, that’s just what Rune did and, yes, it’s been a smash hit. One problem though. “We received about 60 text messages from people complaining about the stacking in the program. Fifty percent complained that the bark was facing up, and the rest complained that the bark was facing down. One thing that really divides Norway is bark.” So, who’s in favor of replacing the top two or three controversies in the U.S with a good old fashioned debate on wood stacking?

Quick note from the next-door-state--The folks who produce the Bowers Mansion Festival have just announced their headliner for 2013. Drum roll please…they’ve booked Michael Martin Murphey.

And speaking of bookings--The San Francisco Folk Music Club has just published it’s schedule for the SF Free Folk Festival coming up in June. Think Grass Valley for folkies, but with a much, much broader range…as in workshops that cover Claw Hammer Guitar to Argentine Tango, How to Run a Successful Pickers Circle to Jimmie Rodgers Song Swap, East Coast Swing to Guitar Fretboard Theory. If you haven’t been, you should. Click here.

More Seeds and Nuts--Our special feature on pumpkin seeds yesterday lit up our switch board so we thought we’d point you in the direction of another compelling, not to mention controversial, nut story…. How to Make Your Own Almond Milk. Click here.

The school of album reviews--I like Chris Jones. He’s a fine picker and singer, a great serius.com bluegrass disc jockey and, as it turns out, an awfully good writer. Not only does he write a whole lot of CD reviews, he’s even taken a crack at writing about writing about CD’s. In a recent bluegrasstoday.com piece, Chris writes, “Reviewers may ask: “What do they want from me? A rave?” The simple answer is “Yes,” and preferably, a well-written rave. Sadly, only in a perfect world would all our CDs receive glowing reviews. And even if that did happen, it wouldn’t really matter if everyone else was getting them. Still, a world of CD reviews that’s a little more predictable and maybe a little less like going up on a rickety roller-coaster run by a grizzled ex-con would be nice.” Now, normally at this point I would simply write, 'to keep reading just click here', and then I would stroke in a little bit of html and you'd have a dandy little link to Chris' bluegrasstoday.com article. HOWEVER, for some reason known only to the INTERNET GODS, I'm unable to make that work. I've tried five times and, frankly, I've got other fish to fry this morning. So here's the entire article..."The school of album reviews
Chris Jones | February 20, 2013 | 7 Comments

Chris JonesNo recording artist likes bad reviews. In fact, most recording artists are pretty unhappy with reviews that are even mediocre. When was the last time you heard an artist say, “Well, it was a pretty bad review, but it was fair. Our material was a ‘weak blend of trite and poorly-written originals and tired and badly-executed covers.’ It was pretty much what I had hoped for.”

Reviewers may ask: “What do they want from me? A rave?” The simple answer is “Yes,” and preferably, a well-written rave.

Sadly, only in a perfect world would all our CDs receive glowing reviews. And even if that did happen, it wouldn’t really matter if everyone else was getting them. Still, a world of CD reviews that’s a little more predictable and maybe a little less like going up on a rickety roller-coaster run by a grizzled ex-con would be nice.

Part of the problem for recording artists is that there are so many ways that reviews can go wrong, often because of factors that have nothing to do their CD or their music, and so few ways that they can go right. “Straight is the way and narrow’s the gate,” to quote Hank WIlliams.

Below are some of the reviewing styles that cause artists to toss and turn at night. I wish I could tell you there was a way to avoid getting these kinds of reviews. There isn’t.

The Just the Facts style: This is the kind of review that makes it clear that the reviewer read the liner notes thoroughly, and may or may not have actually listened to the CD:

“The new CD by Gerald Lambert and Windy Heart has just been released on Grasscatcher records. It’s their third release for the label, and features 12 songs, including four originals by Lambert, two instrumentals, two gospel selections, and four covers from various sources. Mr. Lambert does the lead singing on all but one of the songs, sharing the spotlight with his banjo player Arnie Crump on their version of “Take This Hammer.”

And on it goes in this style, until you eventually skim to the bottom looking for an opinion to be expressed, but it never happens. What is the point of this kind of review, unless its purpose is just to provide you with the information in the booklet, in case you’re only planning to download it. It’s really a non-review.

Then we have the over-the-top Everybody Gets A Rave style (i.e., be careful what you wish for). In this kind of review, no matter how average the recording or the artist, every release is a life-changing gift from God, a jewel of pure artistic genius hand-delivered by angels on a golden platter of musical pricelessness:

“I’ve recently been given a gift of music profound enough to warrant 35 straight plays on my iPod, and I’m still left wanting more and more. It’s the new project lovingly given to the world by one Gerald Lambert and Windy Heart, humbly entitled Our Kind of Bluegrass. From the opening mandolin licks from the fleet-fingered Ronald Cranston on their heart-wrenching original “My Mountain Home,” to the final fiddle pull on the last track, the band’s inventive cover of “Blue Ridge Cabin Home,” we’re treated to a smorgasbord of real and powerful musical performances, steeped in bluegrass tradition but never held back by it. If there was ever a worry among true bluegrass aficionados about who will carry the torch of bluegrass music into the next generation and beyond, I submit Gerald Lambert and Windy Heart and this collection that is destined to go down in tradition.

This writer stops just short of recommending the Nobel Prize for Lambert and band. Yes, this would be worth splashing all over the Windy Heart’s web site, if the same reviewer hadn’t just given similar praise to Angela Stoughton and Mountain Fire the previous week. I guess it’s nice that someone is still that positive and unjaded about music.

Could we at least banish the word “steeped” from all writing that isn’t specifically about brewing tea?

These are two of the kinder ways an artist can receive a review that isn’t particularly helpful. Things could be so much worse, and next week we’ll take a look at some of the ways it could. We’ll have examples of the following reviewing styles: The Jaded and Bitter, The Rock Critic Wannabe, and the I’d Rather Be Reviewing Someone Else schools of album reviewing.

For the record, Gerald Lambert’s Blue Ridge Cabin Home cover wasn’t that inventive.

March 21, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--RIP Fall Grass Valley Festival, 1979-1985. In September 1985, bluegrass diehards bid a sad farewell to a noble experiment conducted by the CBA for six years. The experiment, holding a second annual bluegrass festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds each fall, falls victim to its own success, which is to say each year it grew a little bigger than the year before until, by 1979, the Association simply could not staff the event with enough volunteers. During its seven year run, the fall festival hosted some truly great acts, including the Lilly Brothers and Don Stover, the Bluegrass Cardinals, Joe Val and the New England Boys and the Country Gazette.

Mold Man, how do you do it? That’s a question I’m asked quite a bit by Mold News fans who are astounded at the number of words our team is able to crank out day after day. The answer is simple and it’s a single word…INTERNET. I wrote my first bluegrass newsletter more than 25 years ago for the legendary Paul’s Saloon, for many years THE place to hear bluegrass on the West Coast. It was a monthly tri-fold and I struggled every thirty days to scare up enough “news” to make it worth the postage. But no more…now the columns pretty much write themselves what with literally dozens of sources at my fingertips. Take Facebook, probably a web site you wouldn’t have thought of immediately in the context of current happenings in bluegrass. Why, just this morning I learned that, not satisfied with destroying his girlfriend’s social calendar with his endless performance dates, Luke Abbott has now somehow connived Bronwyn Ciccone into taking up old time banjo. And Facebook friends of Mark Peet have learned that he’s parlayed his long-term relationship with the lovely Julie into a thriving little business called BANJO FIDDLE, (BanjoFiddle.com)…”Ah, HONEY, remember those good old days of sweet courtship before we had three gigs a weekend?” And a quick check in a Facebook each morning can even yield news about the Association, as per Mark Varner’s post this a.m. announcing that he’s just landed Guitar Showcase as a Bluegrass Breakdown sponsor. Yep, old Mark Zuck-Whatever may have made a fortune for himself but he also created a bonanza for tired old columnists too beat to do their own sleuthing.

Columbia warm-up--Thanks to Michael Sharps we who are pacing the floor in anticipation of the bluegrass camping season to finally commence are will a destination for a little shakedown cruise two week prior to the CBA Spring Campout in Turlock. Miachael and his wife are hosting the first annual Marble Quarry Bluegrass Campout in Columbia April 5-7. Click here.

Cold War residue--Those Cold War years, with their iron curtains and missile silos and short little pudgy guys beating podiums with their wingtips; seems like so long ago…and thankfully, there are fewer and fewer reminders of that mutli-national madness. Unless, of course, if you live in Albania, where “750,000 Communist-era bunkers populate the landscape, relics of the paranoia and skewed priorities of former dictator Enver Hoxha. Now they exist as quirky homes, animal shelters, ad hoc storage and make-out spots. The peculiar program of bunkerization, which lasted Hoxha’s entire 40-year rule, resulted in one bunker for every four citizens. In November of last year, Dutch photographer David Galjaard won the 2012 Aperture Foundation/Paris Photo First Photobook Award for Concresco, a book that surveys the scattered and now repurposed or deteriorating concrete blobs. As much as the bunkers have intrigued historians, Galjaard laments how little the general public knows about Albania. “Everyone knows about Stalin but nobody knows Hoxha,” says Galjaard. “It’s a secret history, probably because Albania is so small. You can see Concresco as an introduction to a country that only a few people know.” The bunkers’ abandonment, reuse and reimagining for Galjaard reflects the changing politics, lifestyles and aspirations in the former Eastern Bloc nation. Click here.

The We Love Lucy Show--In a word, Lucy Smith, singer, picker, organizer extraordinaire, is, in fact, loveable. If you know her, you know what I’m talking about. If you don’t know her, meet her. For close to a year now Lucy has served as the CBA’s Tehama/Butte Counties Area Vice President, and during that time she’s run and expanded a CBA jam in her area, helped produce to great shows, including the recent Lonesome River Band gig up in Chico and has begun a jam-packed monthly newsletter for the region. Have a look at the latest edition by Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--A DOZEN OR SO THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT PUMPKIN SEEDS…

Pumpkin seeds were discovered by archaeologists in caves in Mexico that date back to 7,000 B.C. North American tribes were the very first to observe the particular miracle in pumpkin seeds. Pumpkins and their seeds were an important Native American Indian food used for their dietary and medicinal properties.

Pumpkin seeds are called pepitas in Mexico and they are a trademark of Mexican cuisine.


Pumpkin seeds were very popular in ancient Greece.

The nutrition in pumpkin seeds improves with age; they are among the few foods that increase in nutritive value as they decompose. According to tests made at the Massachusetts Experimental Station, squash and pumpkin seeds stored for more than five months show a marked increase in protein content.

Pumpkin seeds are high in calories, about 559 calories per 100 g.

Are filled with lots of minerals including phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, iron and copper.

Are a good source of vitamin K.

Contain phytosterols, compounds that that have been shown to reduce levels of LDL cholesterol.

Contain L-tryptophan, which helps with good sleep and lowering depression. Tryptophan is converted into serotonin and niacin. Serotonin is also very helpful in helping us to have a good night’s sleep.

Are high in zinc, making them a natural protector against osteoporosis. Low intake of zinc is linked to higher rates of osteoporosis. In a study of almost 400 men (age from 45-92) published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition they found a correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.

Are a good source vitamin E; they contain about 35.10 mg of tocopherol per 100 g.

Are the most alkaline-forming seed.

Are an excellent source of vitamin B group (thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine) and folates).

Contain good quality protein. 100 g seeds provide 30 g.

According to studies, pumpkin seeds prevent calcium oxalate kidney stone formation.

Reduce inflammation for arthritis without the side effects of anti-inflammatory drugs.

Are used in many cultures as a natural treatment for tapeworms and other parasites.

Are good for prostate health! The oil in pumpkin seeds alleviates difficult urination that happens with an enlarged prostate.

Taste really, really good.

To read more on this critically important subject click here.


March 20, 2013

MILESTONE--The term “progressive” is used in 1961 to publicize, of all things, a BLUEGRASS BAND playing at the world famous Carnegie Hall. The boys in the band, Charlie Waller,John Duffey, Eddie Adcock and Tom Gray, make a little history that night, which is fortunately captured in one of the best-ever live recordings. Click here.

I’ll tell you this, if I played guitar I’d be there in a New York second.--Posted by genius guitar player Mike Wilhoyte on is Facebook page…”I'm thinking about blocking out Sat morning and giving guitar lessons at my house in Novato. Let me know if you would be interested in this. Thanks!” From the looks of response to the post, if you’re interested you’d better give Mike a call.

SECOND? I’m calling for an investigation--2013 United States Championship Cheese Contest—Open, Class Hard Cheeses, Second Award: Dry Monterey Jack Cheese (RUMIANO CHEESE COMPANY. But seriously, Congratulations to John and Pat. Recognition well-deserved.

Well, Johnny, if you’re too sick to go to school today you’re too sick to play with your shark friends--“A British man hailed as a hero for wrestling a shark away from an Australian beach said Tuesday he had been sacked after it emerged that he was on sick leave at the time. Paul Marshallsea, a 62-year-old charity worker from Wales, won praise in January when he ran into the sea near Brisbane to grapple with the 1.8 metre (6-foot) shark, fearing it would attack paddling children. A local television crew caught the incident on camera and images of him pulling the creature away from the beach were beamed around the world. But they also caught the eye of his employers, the Pant and Dowlais Boys’ and Girls’ Club children’s charity — who were not pleased to see Marshallsea on the beach when he was on sick leave with stress. Marshallsea says he and his wife Wendy — who also worked for the charity and was also on sick leave when they went on holiday — returned to their home in the town of Merthyr Tydfil to find letters informing them that they had been fired. “Where do I now get a job? There’s not much call for shark wrestlers in Merthyr Tydfil.” Well, Paul, you may want to consider moving to San Diego…they’ve got this attraction there called Sea World.

Very nice piece on NPR about one of your Northern California treasures--Arhoolie Records: 50 Years Of Digging For Down-Home Music. For the past 37 years, Down Home Music Store has sat on a lonely block in El Cerrito, Calif. For all that time, Chris Strachwitz has stocked the store with a treasure trove of American roots music. He produced many of the records filling Down Home's bins. Strachwitz's Arhoolie label has recorded blues singer Big Mama Thornton, Tex-Mex accordionist Flaco Jimenez, Cajun band BeauSoleil and hundreds of others. He bought the building that houses Down Home Music thanks to the money he earned recording a little-known San Francisco folk musician, Country Joe McDonald, in 1966. The session took place in Strachwitz's Berkeley living room. Click here.

You just never know when someone’s going to ask you what the world’s largest amphibian is, so listen up--“The giant salamander (Andrias davidianus) isn't just the world's largest amphibian. A new study shows the animal, which can reach 50 kilograms and 1.6 meters, has an outsized talent: It's a supersucker. Researchers found that the mammoth creature, which lives in rivers in China, can vacuum up a whole fish in 0.05 seconds, engulfing the tidbit and more than a liter of water in its gaping maw, as seen in the time-lapse video above. So powerful is its suck that prey enters its mouth at accelerations comparable to those of rocket-powered cars. The team's computer simulations show that the salamander creates suction by whipping open its broad, flat jaws with the help of huge muscles—an unprecedented technique. Writing in today's Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the researchers note that the giant salamander resembles the Earth's earliest four-legged creatures.” Click here.

Pedersen and crew--Here at the Mold we’re pretty excited about this show…actually thinking of carpooling up to catch ti…so we thought we’d run this one more time. THURSDAY, MARCH 21ST, 2013, 8 PM, STUDIO 55, 1455 EAST FRANCISCO BLVD., SAN RAFAEL, CA (415) 453-3161--The Los Angeles band Loafers’ Glory plays a seamless and compelling blend of traditional bluegrass and-old time music. Three of the band members – Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson and Tom Sauber – have each been playing acoustic music for more than 40 years, and the fourth – Patrick Sauber – is one of the hottest young banjo players on the scene. Everyone sings lead and harmony, creating a sound that makes Loafers’ Glory one of best sounding bands around. Their debut eponymous CD was released last year on Arhoolie Records. Opening the show will be the Marin County duo Keystone Crossing – Larry Carlin and Claudia Hampe – and they sing the songs of the brother duos from the early days of country and bluegrass.

YOU GOTTA GET THIS--The Mold Man doesn’t often make product endorsements so when he does it’s usually worth a check out. The Jambox by Jawbone is a little, very elegantly designed and extraordinarily powerful Bluetooth speaker that I’ve begun taking EVERYWHERE. Amazon is asking a hundred and sixty bucks. Click here.


March 19, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--News Flash!...March 23, 2005: At long last the CBA web site features a Welcome column NOT written by Rick Cornish. Bruce Campbell makes his debut as the Every-Wednesday-Welcomer and he’s been going ever since. Always witty, always wise and, more often than not, just a little bit crazy, his columns have helped wash down more English muffins than all the orange juice squeezed in Florida. Bruce, WE LOVE YOU! Click here.

It wouldn’t be Monday without sharing lst Friday’s extraordinarily interesting yet so utterly useless musings from our friend on the North Coast-- Drum roll…

Every hour 12,500 puppies are born in the United States, no data on how many make it to you tube;>

The first traffic light was installed in England in 1868 in front of the House of Parliament.

The largest cockroach on record was caught and measured at 3.8 inches in length..

This is a breakdown of modern wedding costs... As reported by modern bride

1. Venue: $12,905.

2. Engagement Ring: $5,431

3. Reception Band: $3,084 OK musicians pick yourself up and keep this in mind.

4. Photographer: $2,379

5. Florist/Décor: $1,997

One of those no-brainers that our brains sometimes forget--I saw this piece last week and decided I’d share it with my Mold News friends…” Where Should Special Needs Kids Be Special? Tricky questions about how to share public spaces. Earlier this year, I was out to dinner with a friend and our combined eight kids. My 14-year-old son, Jonah, who has autism, was very excited about the imminent arrival of his hamburger and french fries, so he was acting as he does when he’s happy: bouncing in his seat, clapping his hands, and vocalizing a mishmash of squawks and catchphrases from his favorite Sesame Street videos. He wasn’t exceedingly loud, but the oddness of his behavior had clearly caught the attention of an older gentleman at the one other table occupied at that early hour. “Shhhhhhh,” he hissed from across the room. Click here to continue.

Randy’s fifteen minutes of fame…more or less--A Facebook post from well-known luthier and all around good guy, Randy Allen…”Got a call from the UK for a custom fret-board job today that will be on an instrument for one of the Led Zeppelin boys! That is always fun to hear. We have had a little part in a number of projects like this over the years. We did one a while back for a guitar that was going to Ted Nugent. We often don't hear who the end customer will be but it is kind of fun hearing about them from time to time! We are kind of like proud parents around here!”

A little ray of sunshine for your busy day--RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- A Saudi newspaper says a ministerial committee is looking into formally dropping public beheadings as a method of execution in the oil-rich kingdom. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where a death sentence results in beheading in a public square. The authoritative daily Al-Watan says in its Sunday edition that the ministerial committee is considering fatal shootings as an alternative. There have been calls in the kingdom for replacing public beheadings with lethal injections carried out in prisons.

Almost in time for St. Patrick’s Day--From our pals at cybergrass.com: “Classic Celtic Music from Smithsonian Folkways…Smithsonian Folkways Classic SeriesClassic Celtic Music from Smithsonian Folkways, the 20th album in the popular Classic Series, is now available in CD and digital download format. Few genres carry such a rich and deep history as Celtic music, which reflects centuries of culture of Ireland and the British Isles, as well as their North American inheritors. Compiled by musician, historian and folklorist Richard Carlin, Classic Celtic Music delves into this diverse world of musical traditions. Carlin has compiled a wide spectrum of 23 tracks that contrast the better-known early recordings with some of the best contemporary interpreters. Styles ranging from Sligo fiddle tunes to Northumbrian piping to sean nós singing are represented in this enjoyable introduction to the Celtic music riches of the Smithsonian Folkways archives. 58 minutes, 40-page booklet with photos.” Click here.

And finally, the Adcocks are headed our way--Eddy and Martha will be doing some shows out here in California starting tomorrow. Catch them if you’re able

TUESDAY, MARCH 19
in Burbank, California, at VIVA CANTINA,
900 Riverside Drive, 7:30 p.m.
For details call 818-221-4680,
email bascinfo@socalbluegrass.org,
or visit http://socalbluegrass.org/bascnite.html

THURSDAY, MARCH 21
Workshop AND House Concert events
in Atascadero, California, at ROGER & ROSEMARY SIMINOFF'S,
reservations 805-365-7111, or at siminoff@siminoff.net ;
Workshop (includes pizza & salad) 4 p.m. $30; Concert 7 p.m. $20.

SATURDAY, MARCH 23
in San Diego, California, at FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH OF PACIFIC BEACH,
4747 Soledad Mountain Road, 7 p.m.
For details call 858-386-8459,
or visit http://www.sandiegobluegrass.org/ .

SUNDAY, MARCH 24
in Northridge, California, at
TAMURAS' HOUSE CONCERT, POTLUCK AND JAM,
17417 Dearborn Street; 12 noon potluck, 1 p.m. concert, jam after;
818-249-2969, 818-800-4926, 818-249-2969;
suggested min. donation $15.

March 16, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s September 8, 1897, and though no one, not even his parents, knows it, the birth of little James Charles "Jimmie" Rodgers will usher into existence a thing called country music. Click here.

So, ah, like what’s next? Higgs Boson Discovery Confirmed After Physicists Review Large Hadron Collider Data At CERN Click here.

Old Man Weed--It’s not that Joe is a stuffy or stodgy kind of guy; he’s anything but. However, Joe Weed has been on the bluegrass, old-time and acoustic scene for a long, long time in the Western United Stated and his accomplishments as a musician, song and book writer, sound engineer and documentarian have certainly installed him squarely in what could be called the bluegrass establishment…using that term in its most positive sense. So when we hear that our friend’s daughter fiddles for a punk-bluegrass band it’s okay if we’re a little startled. You see, Joe Weed's daughter Katie plays fiddle in Old Man Markley. The band just released its second CD, called Down Side Up. It debuts this week at #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. Old Man Markley is now touring with Drop Kick Murphys in the eastern U.S. Then they will jet to Japan to play a couple of festivals, and then return to Europe for a second tour across the continent. If you are curious to hear what "punk/bluegrass" sounds like, you can listen to the first cut on their new album for free: http://www.fatwreck.com/record/detail/792 The next tune on the album, Rehearsal, is one that Katie wrote, inspired by a story told in Joe's documentary, the Waltz to Westphalia.

The story that just keeps on giving--cmt.com seems especially thrilled by this development…”This is so nice of Merle Haggard. He has publicly forgiven Blake Shelton for some uncharacteristically disparaging remarks about the older generation of country stars. Those comments were uncharacteristic because Shelton has always been one of the new artists who seems to genuinely revere the ones who came before him. Anyway, Shelton had said some things about old farts and jackasses in Nashville, and it angered a few folks. Ray Price was mad. Dale Watson was so mad, he made a music video. And I'm sure Haggard was probably mad, too. But on Tuesday (March 5), the Hag tweeted that he was over it. "On behalf of all the old farts, we forgive you Blake! But you should do a tribute album! Don't ya think?" Shelton had taken to Twitter to apologize and say that what he really meant was that he and his country brethren have to keep reinventing country music. "Country music is my life and its future AND past is important to me," he'd said. "I'll put my love and respect and knowledge about it up against anybody out there ... ANYBODY." So now Shelton has the legendary Haggard asking him to do a tribute album, which is an excellent idea. And maybe Hag could come and sing on a couple of songs, like he did for other new stars Gretchen Wilson ("Politically Uncorrect") and Eric Church ("Pledge Allegiance to the Hag"), both in 2006. Click here.

If Bob Dylan Wrote a Folk Song about the Fung Wah Bus Company --this is what it would sound like. "target=0>Click here. "target=0>Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Sir Moldness, if you would agree to share this bit of news with your readers I would be forever grateful. (Well, I’d be grateful for at least a week…five days guaranteed.) Folks; today, March 12, I had the first procedure done to charge the generator implanted in my chest to quell the tremors of Parkinson's. It took about two hours for the first session, and I go back in two weeks to get fine-tuned on the voltage and frequencies that the generator applies to my brain. My doctor deemed today's procedure a success as it quelled the tremors about 50% in my right hand and about 90% in my left hand. I can tell I could walk easier, and I can turn my head from side to side which was an impossibility for the last six months. It is just going to take time to get everything dialed in and tuned up. To put it in racecar parlance, as my old Sprint car driver buddy Gary Patterson would say; when they put my number one cylinder on top dead center this morning, they found I was 30° retarded on the mag, and the points were only opening two thousands. They set my timing at 20° advance, the points at .030", and the dwell at 32°. They are aiming for for a final tuneup setting of 36° advance, at full throttle. I thank you all for the wonderful phone calls, and e-mails of support, but most of all thank you for your prayers. May God bless you all,yer friend JDRhynes


One more argument to dispute “American Exceptionalism”--I don’t know about you, but the title of World’s Craziest Citizenry is one global distinction I’ve always felt we could live without. Thanks guys…“Russia Already Has Meteor Truthers--2013 is already making a strong push to be the Year of the Truther (although, obviously, that'll be no easy title to take). Via the APA: Russian nationalist lawmaker Vladimir Zhirinovsky, long known for his flamboyance and outrageous remarks, said Friday that meteorite fragments had not rained down on Russia in the morning, but that the light flashes and tremors in several of the country’s regions resulted from US weapons tests, APA reports quoting RIA Novosti. “Those aren’t meteors falling, it’s the Americans testing new weapons,” Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, told journalists several hours after the Emergencies Ministry began issuing statements on the incident, which has injured hundreds and damaged scores of buildings.”






March 15, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--At the 1992 Fathers Day Festival Jim Eanes, singer, songwriter and friend of the CBA makes his last appearance on our stage. Jim, who recorded albums on both Starday and Blue Ridge as a member of the Shenandoah Valley Boys, had a long-standing love affair with the Grass Valley classic. Just a few of the chart-topping songs Eanes is credited with include "Your Old Standby," which became his signature song, and "I Wouldn't Change You If I Could," which became a number one hit for Ricky Skaggs in 1982. Just three years after his ’92 return to the FDF Jim passes on, but his name will forever be linked to those warm June evenings under the tall pines. Click here.

In death as in life, history repeats itself--When in 1976 the Leader of The People's Republic of China, Mao Zedong, died his loyal subjects figured that if Lenin’s body deserved to be embalmed for PERMANENT display, so did the Chairman’s. Problem was, the Chinese, so well known for so many centuries-old esoteric practices, knew virtually nothing of the art of mummification, so naturally they turned to the Russians who’d done such a bang-up job on their founder’s corpse. But, as luck would have it, the mid-seventies were also marked by a frigid chill in Russo-Sino relations and the technical team sent to Moscow for some necessarily quick training returned home with…you’re way ahead of me here, aren’t you…bad information. So bad, in fact, that many believe some pretty crucial features of Great Leader’s face are wax reproductions. Now we learn that a contingent from Venezuela is jetting over to meet with the Russian pros. Good luck, fellas… Click here.

KK appearances--If you’re a recipient of the Kathy Kallick Band newsletter, and if you’re not you should be, you know we’ll have several chances this spring to see the band in action. Kathy’s best song in quite a while, Time, has opened up so new and exciting doors for the quintet…

Fri., May 3 (7:30 pm): The Woodshed @ Keith Holland Guitars - Los Gatos

Sat., May 4 (7:30 pm): Pacifica Performances - Mildred Owen Conceret Hall, Pacifica, CA

Sun., May 5 (1:30, 4:40 pm):Cloverdale Fiddle Festival - Cloverdale, CA

May 10-12: Parkfield Bluegrass Festival -
Parkfield, CA

Darn it, he’ll teach that Bill Maher a lesson he won’t soon forget--“Gun rights activist and musician Ted Nugent claimed in a radio interview on Monday that he killed more than 450 pigs with a machine gun while shooting from a helicopter. According to the website RumorFix, Nugent made the claim in an interview with Brett Winterble on Sirius XM Radio and said that he dedicated the kill to HBO host Bill Maher and “all those other animal freaks out there. ‘I took my machine gun in the helicopter — in the Texas hill country – me and my buddy ‘Pigman’ … his name is ‘Pigman’ – I’m the swine czar, said Nugent. ‘I killed 455 hogs with my machine gun. i did it for Bill Maher and all those other animal rights freaks out there.’” And that, folks, is how you preserve the Second Amendment to the Constitution…one pig at a time.

Okay, ya’ll ready? Here we go--So, ah, like, just what is bluegrass, anyway? “Jim Lauderdale, Building From The Bluegrass Blueprint, by Steve Morley…For decades now, the question has been hotly debated: What truly constitutes bluegrass? The genre’s division between traditional and progressive styles has long been a controversy of Ford-versus-Chevy proportions, made all the fuzzier by the likely notion that the entire genre is benefitting from the diversification. Somewhere between those two opposing camps stands Jim Lauderdale. As staunchly traditional-minded as he is artistically independent, Lauderdale may be bluegrass’s closest thing to a great reconciler.” Wanna finally, after long last, know the truth? We did too, but guess what, the “continue” link is broken. If you know where we can read the rest of Morley’s piece we’d appreciate you passing it along.

MOLD MAN RANT-- Well, technically speaking this isn’t actually a rant since, at least the way I’ve always figured it, if you’re going to rail on and on about something you have to either really hate it or really hate people who hate it and, alas, I’m not yet quite sure which camp I’m am. In fact, ever since I spotted this Chronicle headline while standing in line at the Safeway, there’s been a raging, and not particularly civil, battle going on in my brain--“Judge Blocks Mayor Bloomberg's Ban on Large Sodas.” ALL RIGHT, YOU ROCK, STATE COURT JUDGE JAOQUIN SILVERBURG. Who does the Mayor of New York City think he is trying to tell people what they can and can’t buy with their own damned, hard-earned money? I’ll tell you who he thinks he is, he’s the chief administrative officer of a city of nearly twenty million souls and he’s got a sacred duty to make life as livable as possible for them. And that includes keeping them as healthy as he’s able given his mayoral powers. Oh, come on, enough with the left wing crap! When did it become a big city mayor’s job to monitor what the electorate ingests. Bloomberg’s constituency is significantly larger than New York’s registered voters. And more importantly, nearly a third are children, and if their parents are going to take responsibility for the health of their kids, then he will. That’s so much crap; have you ever heard the term “nanny state”? Oh, you mean local and state and federal jurisdictions that steal personal freedoms like being able to drive sixty miles an hour in a school zone, building houses on swampland and keeping lead paint away from toddlers. No that’s not what I mean. I worry about THE MAN trampling on basic individual rights that for 250 years have been a given and are now somehow subject to the ‘what’s best for everyone’ doctrine. What the hell has changed? How about for starters, you moron, what’s changed is the percentage of Americans who are clinically designated as obese. And what’s changed is how much it costs to care for men and women and boys and girls who suffer from Type II diabetes, a medical condition that’s quickly, and needlessly, racing past all other health problems to become the most costly with which to deal. And the beat goes on…I don’t know about Mayor B’s soft drink initiative…but Joaquin obviously thinks he does.

March 13, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1960 a toe-headed little boy, age six, steps on stage with Bill Monroe with his mandolin. A year later he appears on the Martha White television program with Flatt and Scruggs. Ricky Skaggs will go on to become one of the most influential performers in the genre…he’ll leave bluegrass music only to return with even greater commitment to the music than before and, ultimately, Skaggs will introduce the music of Bill Monroe to millions of people who’d otherwise have never heard it. Click here.

Six legged vampires--do you have a quarter in your pocket? If so, pull it out and set it on your desk or table next to your computer. Stare at if for just a moment…get its size relative what’s around it firmly implanted in your brain. Got it? Okay, now close your eyes and imagine a mosquito the size of that quarter. Okay, now imagine hundreds…thousands swarming in the damp and humid heat of central Florida. Thousands of them, each and every last one with just one thing on her mind—dinner. Meet Psorophora ciliate, or as they’re less formally known down south, gallinippers. Jumbo blood suckers whose bite is compared to a stab wound, able to pierce clothing, unlike regular mosquitoes, feeding around the clock, so huge and hearty that their larvae are known to attack polliwogs. Trip to the Epcot Center this summer, you say? Takin’ the kids to Disney World? Who knows, maybe you could convince one of the little nippers to come home with you. You know, surprise the neighbors. Click here.

When it rains it pours for little Frankie--Yep, that’s what we call Mr. Frank Solivan, Jr. around CBA-land, in deference, of course, to Frank the Bigger. Anyway, late week we reported that Frank’s band just signed a record deal and yesterday he posted this on his Facebook page…”Happy to announce that I have been featured in the March/April issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine! Available now! I had a wonderful time chatting with Dan Miller for the interview. We covered some fun bases, including what made me want to play guitar, who I love to listen to, and my experiences having played music over the last few years.” Click here.

Caught us a good ‘un--As much as I like to needle former CBA chair Rick C., I have to admit that he always got one thing right; he never, ever forgot who makes it all work…the volunteers. So it was good to see on the Message Board the other day that Cornish’s successor, Tim Edes, operates on the same wave-length—“After months and months of searching for someone to take over the Instrument Lending Librarian Coordinator position, I just found out that Bruce Long, aka Mando Boy, is going to continue the job, for....in his words "until the day I take my last breath". Of course we won't hold Bruce to that, but just knowing that he will continue the great job he has accomplished over the last few years is very comforting. Bruce is the epitome of a great volunteer, sacrificing his time and talent for an organization and music that he loves. We cannot thank him enough, but I will try and do that in person when I see him at the campout. If you see Bruce, please do the same. And, if you love the music, and appreciate what the CBA does, or maybe you do not like the direction, please step up and volunteer. WE NEED GOOD, DEDICATED volunteers....as well as fresh ideas. Thanks again Bruce, Tim Edes.”

Beware of false fish--Or more precisely, fish fraud. Here’s some news you’d probably wish I’d never told you. Oops, too late…of all of the geographic areas in the United Snakes of America, Northern California is the place most likely to have fish mislabeled by restaurants and meat counters. Can you guess why we have that dubious distinction? Me neither. If you figure it out let us know. Click here.

Here’s something to mull over--From savingcountrymusic.com ….”The Music That Paved The Way For Mumford & Sons…The case can be made that Mumford & Sons is the biggest thing in all of music right now, with Babel winning the Grammy for Album of the Year and their worldwide sales rivaling all other artists. This is a weird reality for many roots fans who fell into favor with acoustic music many years ago. Roots music has always been a quiet, shy sphere of the music world, not really craving popularity or hype. Meanwhile Mumford’s wild success has some talking about a roots backlash, and has opened up the possibility of an impending crash in the popularity arch that could leave elements of the roots world feeling like a fad.” Read if you have the time. Boy, I’m really liking this savingcountrymusic enterprise. Click here.


March 12, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1947 two brothers, Ralph and Carter take their band, the Clinch Mountain Boys into the studios of Rich-R-Tone Records and record their very first single. Click here.

If this works folks are talking about taking on mullets next--Posted on the”L” yesterday. (You think maybe super-fabulistic modern country singer Blake Shelton has begun yet to regret his choice of words in expressing disdain for the old ways?) “Margaret (Maggie) Penn is organizing a protest march on 16th Ave. in Nashville, TN, which will take place on April 17th. This march is titled-- 'Old Farts And Jackasses' march to protest the fact that modern radio and record labels are ignoring Classic Country and Bluegrass Music. I don't have all of the particulars but so far part of the March might possibly go by the CMA (Country Music Assn.) and will feature the delivering of several thousand signatures to Steve Moore, the CEO of the CMA. These signatures are signatures of people that want to have country and bluegrass music back in the main stream. Also, the CMA, under Steve Moore's leadership, has started to ignore Classic Country and Bluegrass music during their annual Fan Fair or Music Festival. News media, including the local television stations, will all be notified of the march and the delivering of the signatures. Marchers will have big posters much the same as the protest when we all gathered in front of WSM radio a few years back protesting their plans to change WSM to a FM radio station only. If anyone in the Nashville area, bluegrass or country, is interested in being one of the marchers and protesters please let me know and I will pass the info on to Maggie. We have proved in the past that a protest march can help on certain causes. Thanks, Dave Burley.)

And speaking of wish-I-hadn’t-said-that’s--DC columnist George Will and perennial Sunday news shows talking head dude shared his impatience with women who complain about the challenges of full-throttle careers and the raising of offspring. “…no one can have it all,” George opined. But alas, despite the absolute veracity of his statement…and come on, who would argue this one…Will’s no-nonsense analysis has once again landed him in hot water. Man, you talk about a guy with wrinkly skin all over. Click here.

On the importance of the Hawaiian parasitic fruit, the lactose intolerant horde and the importance of not counting you pre-historic chickens before they have hatched fly used the insects --Certainly not everybody’s cup of tea to be sure, but I just can’t resist a good pot boiler thast pokes fun at what super smart Ph.Ds.’ think they know. “Paleofantasy: Stone Age Delusions" isn't a book I can't recommend yet because I've just ordered it but I promise to let you know.

The boys from the dark side of town--Go show coming up at the Freight…Bob Cherry at cybergrass.com writes…”San Francisco, CA -- The Earl Brothers, based in San Francisco and led by banjo master Robert Earl Davis, have been delving into the dark side of bluegrass for more than a decade now, and their fifth and latest album, Outlaw Hillbilly, takes them further down that rough road with songs like “Troubles,” “Cold and Lonesome,” and “When the Lovin’s All Over,” and grisly lines like “I stabbed her dear brother and cut off his head, and buried him deep so I knew he was dead.”

Sactovalleyites may we have your attention please--John Hettinger, keeper of the calendar in his area, would like you to know…

Riverbend: March 15, 600 -800 PM, Ludy’s BBQ, 667 Main St, Woodland, 888-666-3088, www.ludys.com. No cover.

Natural Drift: March 16, 500 - 800 PM, Hog Wild BBQ, 38 Main St, Placerville, 530-622-3883, www.hogwildbbqca.com. No cover.

Bryan Sutton, David Holt, & T Michael Coleman: March 16, 800 PM, The Center for the Arts, 314 W Main St, Grass Valley, 530-274-8384, www.thecenterforthearts.org, $25. A tribute to Doc Watson.

Notorious Shank Brothers: March 16, 300 PM, Berryessa Brewing Co, 27260 Hwy 128 (west of Winters), 530-795-3526,
www.berryessbrewing.com. No cover.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldingness; in regards to your recent blurb about Nellie Wilson in your daily column. I clicked on to that particular website, and yes I am holding you responsible for the damage to my psyche. That broad could not carry a tune in a peach basket, and that so-called band of hers can't pick one damn lick in tune or in time, and they need to shoot that overbearing drummer they had in their so-called band. How any group of people with a complete lack of talent could call themselves a band and have the nerve to get up and perform in public when they don't have one shred of talent among them collectively, shows the standards that the people in that part of the country are used to. Surely they didn't pay that miserable band to play for that performance, and if the band paid to get up there and perform it is a fact that the people didn't get their monies worth. That performance took my psyche and stomped on its aorta and mashed that sucker flat! I doubt if it ever recovers. Your most ardent fan, albeit wounded, JDRhynes” Dear Mr. Rhynes, two things: first, please note that I did issue a serious warning to readers about clicking to the offending video; and second, I’d feel a lot worse if I thought your psyche could possibly be more damaged than it obviously already is. Knowing human nature's insistence on slowing down while driving past car wrecks, I offer readers a chance to view first hand the car wreck of a performance about which J.D. complains. Click here.

March 11, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1996 the Father of Bluegrass Music, Bill Monroe, passes away. The bluegrass world has never seemed so connected and singular in focus and vision than it does this day. Click here.

With enough time and patience and planning, anything in the world of international politics is possible--Just think of how many decades, how many administrations, how much super-human effort has gone into trying to finally pierce the bubble that envelopes North Korea. Western leader after Western leader has sent his emissaries to Kim’s One, Two and Three, only to get a colder and colder and colder shoulder. And then, last week, who should finally break through just before the buzzer? Dennis Rodman, who else? Where else to find the maturity, the wisdom and wit and political savvy necessary for such delicate detente than the NBA? The favorite quote among journalists covering the Rodman trip Pyongyang …”My friend Kim Jong Eun wants Obama to call him.” The Mold Man’s personal favorite…“There is nobody at the CIA who can tell you more personally about Kim Jong Eun than Dennis Rodman, and that in itself is scary,” said Steve Ganyard, a former deputy assistant secretary. Scary and a little depressing, too. Click here.

Down the Valley a piece--Each year right around this time the CBA folks down in the central part of the Central Valley host their CLOVIS WINTER FEST. Turns out there’s a whole lot of good bluegrass going on down there and you can get yourself a nice sampling by taking in the March 23 mini-festival. This year’s bands are the Valley Oak Band, Grassfire, and the Grasskickers. And of course the evening ends with the event’s long-standing tradition, the ALL-BANDS BIG FINISH.

The double album that just keeps on ticking--From our pals over at prescriptionbluegrass.com…”Dirt Band Continues to Make New History with 40-Year-Old Album--ground-breaking Nitty Gritty Dirt Band is getting some new historical mileage out of their “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” album. Originally released in 1972, the recording was re-mastered and digitized ten years ago for the 30th anniversary. Now for the 40th anniversary, the band has once again re-mastered and digitized using today’s new digital standards and on March 12th, they will once again make music history with the first ever High-Definition digital audio Re-Issue on VINYL.”

Humans Yelling Like Goats Yelling Like Humans--Don’t ask, just go there and peace be with you. Click here.

Always a better mouse trap just around the corner--I have a recurring dream. No, not the real kind that, if one’s lucky, will come with the REM level of sleep. No, I’m talking about the other kind of dream: as in a goal, the brass ring just out of reach, that I’ve carried around since childhood. My dream is to come up with a completely original idea that I can parlay into a fortune so vast that I can buy my very own island nation and there set up a bluegrass and old-time music-based society where everyone either picks or loves to hear others pick. Is that so much to ask? Well, anyways, that’s my dream and the want of it is particularly vexing when someone else, in this case a Japanese ad firm, steals my idea right out from under my nose. Salon.com is reporting that turning women’s thighs into billboards is becoming a big business. Did I actually have the idea first? Well, not exactly, but I have a strong sense that it was just about to pop in my brain when I read the article. Life isn’t fair. Click here.

April in April--I like April Verch. Even before I heard and saw her sing and play the fiddle and dance I like her just by virtue of her name. Just has a nice sound to it. Anyway, April’s recorded again and bluegrasstoday.com was kind enough to point me in the direction of a video in which she performs a delicious cut from the project. The new album, Bright Like Gold, will release April 2. Click here.

Convention time--A week from tomorrow, March 16th, you’ll be well-advised to drive up or down or over, whichever the case may be, to Berkeley for the annual Old Time Music Convention Spring Situation… Freight & Salvage, Berkeley- Concerts: 1 pm: West-Running Ramblers * 1:30 pm: John Blasquez & a fiddlekids sampler * 2 pm: Heath Curdts * 2:30 pm: Oak Grove * 3 pm: Mt. Diablo String Band * 3:30 pm: Martha Hawthorne & Bill Foss. Workshops (upstairs) include Old Time Fiddle, Kenny Hall repertoire, Clawhammer Banjo, Backup Guitar, Duet Harmony Singing, Stringband Songs. Hosted open jams and kids activities (lobby) Tell ‘em the CBA sent you.

What’s in a name? Sometimes a lot. So I’m scanning my usual sources for a little grist for today’s MOLD and I stop over at what’s becoming an increasing favorite of mine, savecountrymusic.com, and my retinas trip on a name--Nellie Wilson. Intentional or not, one could do a lot worse than start a career in country music with a moniker like that. Sure made me stop and the next thing I knew I was reading an album review of Willie’s…er, I mean Nellie’s “Not This Time”, which read in part…”It’s not that the impressive voice, the use of wit, and solid country instincts were still not evident in Nellie Wilson 1.0, but in no way were you expecting the level of depth, composition, artistry, and just downright immediate and long-lasting appeal for the songs she slays the audience with in Not This Time. Nellie Wilson shocks the world, and puts out one of the best, and most intelligent country music works in 2013 so far.” I’m pasting in a link to a YouTube performance of her I Rose Above, but I want you to promise that if you go there and listen you will not hold me personally responsible if the experience in any way results in psychic repercussions. Click here.

March 8, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Five-year-old Daisy Anderson does her breakout performance on the Main Stage at Grass Valley. It’s the Saturday of the Fathers Day Festival, 2006, all four Anderson kids are onstage as part of the Kids On Bluegrass show and are singing Get Down on Your Knees and Pray when Daisy does her solo a cappella line and brings the house down. For many it will be the most memorable moment of all their Grass Valley memories. We are so very, very thankful that Tom Tworek was there standing directly in front of the stage to capture the image. Click here.

You’ve got to look for that silver lining wherever you can find it--That North Korea is the most politically, socially and culturally isolated country on the planet is not really a matter of debate. That it’s the most isolated in recordered history is also not worth wasting a whole lot of time discussing. But how about this to spark a little lively back and forth? Are there any upsides to being utterly and completely cut off from the rest of humanity? A recent article that came out of China would seem to suggest the answer is yes. It’s a well-known fact that Kim Jong-un and his pop before him are HUGE b-ball fans. It’s also common knowledge that a propensity for boredom and a hunger for excitement run in the Kim clan, so it’s not surprising that, answerable to no one, father and son have simply rewritten the rule book to keep games moving ahead at break neck speed. For example, three points are awarded for a dunk and three-pointers that swoosh, (don’t touch the rim), get you four points. Oh, and they’ve come up with an ingenious way to increase the number of cliffhangers…eight points go to a team if they score in the final three seconds. And it’s not just carrots they use…sticks are also in the mix. Miss a free throw and you’ll lose a toe. Naw, we’re only kidding, but your team does get docked one point for every miss.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mold, Please settle an argument for me and my brother, the most negative and cynical and suspicious man in whom the good Lord ever breathed life. Occasionally I’ll read something in your column that I find particularly clever…you know, like a humorous play on words or maybe a quirky take on story in covered by the mainstream media…and I’m email it to my brother. Well, the other day I did that and he sent me the following response—“Doris, you can be so clueless sometimes. Don’t you get that this guy’s a plagiarist? He just copies and pastes all of this crap and lets you think that he wrote it. Mold Man’s a fake with an ego the size of a battleship.” M, please tell me my brother’s wrong. Tentatively your fan, Doris from Watsonville.” Dear Doris, well, your sibling is right on target with one thing—I do have an ego the size of a battleship. In fact, some would argue it takes on more ballast than an aircraft carrier. But plagiarism? No, at least not intentionally. Note that I make great use of quotations. Paragraphs, sentences, phrases and even sometimes words are always in quotes to denote that they belong to someone else. I say always, because that’s my policy. I’m sure that occasionally…VERY OCCASIONALLY, I’ll slip up, but that’s rare. Note, for example, the piece directly above—not a single quotation mark…every word straight out of the Mold Man’s twisted brain.

Their time in the sun--From perscriptionbluegrass.com…”Doc’s Sidemen Release New CD – Ready For The Times…Grammy Award winners Bryan Sutton, David Holt and T. Michael Coleman explore the richness of that musical culture. Each has been inspired by and performed with Doc Watson over the years and honor his musical genius. "Doc was a primary influence on all of us. We are following his lead. . .in performing a wide range of songs and tunes that reach out and grab people. We are not trying to recreate the past. We are playing music for today,” says Holt. “We want to sound like Western North Carolina,” adds Sutton. “It’s not bluegrass, it’s not old-time, it’s mountain music, and it’s ours. It has a unique kind of bounce.”
For Larger Player scroll to end of this post. Says Coleman, "The music on this project was recorded pretty much the same way Doc, Merle and I recorded, sitting in a circle playing and singing it live. It felt like coming home. For me it captures not only what the music feels like now, but what it felt like back then." To continue… Click here.

Some John to brighten your dayIt sure brightened mine. When Reischman plays it, as he does here for fretboardjournal.com, you almost start actually believing in the Land of Oz. Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Easy Jobs…Please note, WE’RE not saying these jobs are easy, the people at www.iretireearly.com are the ones saying it.

Internet Surveyor
Secret Shopper
Toll Booth Collector
Sports Agent
Embalmer
Message Board Administrator
House-Sitter
Lab Rat
Newspaper Delivery
Freelance Writer
Amusement Park Ride Attendant
Greeter

To learn more about these wonderful job opportunities visit the www.iretireearly.com web site. If you find something you like and need a recommendation, drop me a note written on the back of a twenty. Twenty-four hour turnaround. Click here.


March 7, 2013

MILESTONE-- It’s a telegram from respected talent agent Lance LeRoy circulated in 1985 to a small cadre of influential leaders that is the spark for a meeting to form a trade organization for bluegrass. From that meeting grew the International Bluegrass Music Association. As one founding member put it, if having an Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists makes sense, why not one for professional pickers? Why not, indeed? Click here.

One of our CBA Welcome columnists passes-- From the Bluegrass L…Sad news...Geoff Morris, one of bluegrass music's most enthusiastic DJs died today after battling cancer. A delightful fellow that was a blessing to many and a friend to bluegrass. I first met him online many years ago when someone posted that a blind DJ was in search of bluegrass related material in Braille. I used to have one of my high school students with a visual impairment braille song lists for him. I had the pleasure of working with him in person a couple of years ago when he was the emcee for a bluegrass event in Dalton, GA. He will be missed by many. T. Brown, Spatial Effects, Dalton, GA

MOLD MAN RANT--I could have gone two different ways with this next item. Clearly this piece from Mother Jones could have been a MOLD’S LIST, but I had such a visceral reaction after reading it…and then re-reading it just to make certain it wasn’t a put-on…that it pretty much HAD to be my rant for this week.

1. Owlcatraz , Florida Atlantic University's football stadium
GEO Group, a billion-dollar private-prison firm that owns or operates 101 "correctional, detention, and residential treatment facilities" worldwide, jumped into the sports world Tuesday when it was announced that the company will pay $6 million over 12 years for naming rights to Florida Atlantic University's new football stadium.

2. Citi Field, New York Mets
Timing is everything, right? So don't sell the rights to your new ball field to a bank that just took $45 billion in bailouts from the federal government. (Even at $20 million a year for 20 years.) Because you're basically handing the headlines over to the New York tabloids: TARP FIELD! BAILOUT PARK!

3. University of Phoenix Stadium, Arizona Cardinals
Also enticed into forking over big money for increasingly low standards: Cardinals fans.

4. Jobing.com Arena, Phoenix Coyotes
Maybe the real problem is naming a site Jobing.com.

5. O.co Coliseum, Oakland Raiders and A's
Because Overstock.com Coliseum was too hard to say, and Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum was too…municipal.

6. Hunky Dorys Park, Drogheda United
Hunky Dorys is a brand of potato chips, and Hunky Dorys Park is where the Irish city of Drogheda's soccer team plays. This is sort of like naming a venue after, say, Whataburger. Wait…

7. Whataburger Field, Corpus Christi Hooks
Damn you, minor league baseball.

8 and 9. Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and KFC Yum! Center, University of Louisville
Not content to have sold its football naming rights to this guy, Louisville went back to the well and named its by-all-accounts beautiful basketball arena for a company that produces the Supremo P'Zone Pizza and the Doritos Locos Taco Supreme.

You say tomato and I say SEE YOU IN COURT, you big know-it-all--You may recall the more than a little surprising Stanford research meta-analysis “proving that eating healthy (read organic) foods doesn’t really help much health-wise. Well, you won’t be shocked if I tell you not everyone, especially folks who know their way around organically grown tamaters, have one or two bones to pick. Click here.

Honey, do you remember before we were married, you used to take me out almost every night. Such a gay and carefree life we had. Now you sit and read your newspaper and watch Greta Van Susteren. I don’t know, John, I just don’t know--For God’s sake, John, wake up and smell the coffee. GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, John? Really. Get thee to a show. Tonight, before it’s too late. Here are three…

Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
Blue & Lonesome - Le Bateau Ivre, Berkeley

News form Palo Alto--Gryphon Strings--Big news; Gryphon has signed on to be a Gretsch dealer! Tom, Derek and Matt all own, play and love Gretsch guitars, so it's a great fit for us here. While we wait for the initial order, check out this great sounding '78 Gretsch Country Club to hear "That Great Gretsch Sound"! Click here.

Some investigator--9 out of 10 French wines contain pesticides, this according to investigative reporter Tom Philpott. So, how does that compare to U.S. wines? Tom says he’s never seen any numbers on that. Click here.

Turlock? Why in heaven’s name Turlock? I’ve been ask by the Lew’s, Vaughn Glenda, who have taken over the job of State-Wide Activities VP’s, to remind you that they need a few good people to volunteer at the Spring Camp Out coming up next month in Turlock. (Oh, why Turlock? Simple, it’s a very central location for our members scattered around the state and the county fairgrounds there meet pretty much all of our requirements.) Anyways, check out Glenda’s call for volunteers on the Message Board and, whatever you do, make sure the camp out is on your list of places to be in April. Carolina BBQ, music from Red Dog Ash, and jamming till your fingers fall off. Click here.

March 6, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--In 1982 John Green opened the doors to his new business endeavor in Sacramento, the Fifth String. Truly a man of great wisdom, John had found a way to to parlay his great love of bluegrass into a great way to make a living. In the thirty year that followed the grand opening, the Fifth String became a mecca for acoustic music of all sorts, but has never lost it’s primary focus on the music Bill gave us. Thank you, John Green, for three decades of service to our bluegrass community. Click here.

The wisdom of Solomon--I read this the other day and thought, how apt…Old Testament Sequestration--And the king said: 'Fetch me a sword.' And they brought a sword before the king. And the king said: 'Divide the living child in two, and give half to the one, and half to the other.' First Kings, Chapter Three, Verses 24-25

It’s about time--I listened to this NPR interview over the weekend and enjoyed it immensely…”Emmylou Harris And Rodney Crowell: Staying Low--Almost 40 years after their first collaboration, Emmylou Harris and former bandmate Rodney Crowell are back with a new album of duets. Old Yellow Moon includes Crowell originals as well as revivals of songs by Roger Miller, Patti Scialfa and Kris Kristofferson. "The whole spirit of this record was just two people singing together," Harris says. "That was the most important thing." "Technology allows you to produce and manipulate," Crowell adds. "You can manipulate sound and you can manufacture recordings, but you cannot manufacture a performance." Click here.

Stunned--Okay, I promise, I’m not going to get all artsy with you; it’s not in my nature. And I’ll be setting a MOLD News precedent here, but, folks, if you can spare a minute click over to this black and white photograph shot by a young Hungarian-born visual artist named Noell Oszvald's. The image is called "Prejudice" and I hope it will do for your day what it did for mine. Click here.

You go, Frankie--It’s always so much fun to brag on one of our own, especially when the particular member of our bluegrass family took their early steps under the tall pines at Grass Valley…”Nashville, TN -- Compass Records is proud to welcome Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen to its award-winning bluegrass roster. Fresh off their nomination for the 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association's Emerging Artist of the Year Award, the band will release their Compass Records debut album On The Edge on April 30, 2013. Compass co-owner Garry West welcomes the new addition: “Frank and his excellent band have been making waves in the bluegrass world over the past few years – including their IBMA nomination for Emerging Artist last year - and we're delighted that they have chosen to align with Compass. They are clearly a band on the rise and we are really looking forward to working with them and achieving great things together.”

BU knows one when they see it--And speaking of honking our own horn, here’s some more excellent news re: one of our tribe. I’m gonna share the whole thing because, well, I can…BLUEGRASS UNLIMITED REVIEWS KK’S TIME; AND GUESS WHAT—THEY LIKE IT: “Kathy Kallick, an esteemed veteran of the thriving West Coast bluegrass community, shines on her 17th album, not only as a singer and songwriter, but as a bandleader, as well. Time is very much an ensemble project, with Kallick and her four bandmates all making major contributions to these 14 cuts as pickers and writers, as well as lead and harmony singers. Kallick & Co. keep one foot firmly and tastefully anchored in tradition. Included here are stirring covers of a handful of bluegrass chestnuts, including the Delmore Brothers’ “I’m Lonesome Without You,” Vern (Williams’) and Ray (Parker’s) “Thinkin’ Of Home,” Fiddlin’ Arthur Smith’s “North Carolina Breakdown,” and Bill Monroe’s “Lord Protect My Soul.” The newer material, including four Kallick originals—“Fare Thee Well,” “Bird,” “Lulu And Jack,” and the title tune—more than holds its own when juxtaposed with the above-mentioned classics. Ditto for the thrilling instrumentals, including “Shuckin’ The Acorns” (written by reso-guitar/banjo player/vocalist Greg Booth) and “Old Red Mandolin” (penned by singer/mandolin player Tom Bekeny). On “Old Black Choo-Choo,” co-written by Terry Fell and Henry Maddox and recorded previously by both Rose Maddox and the Strange Creek Singers, Kallick turns in a particularly delightful vocal performance that features both clever word play and lively sound effects. On their immensely soulful duet rendition of the traditional “Long Time Travelin’,” Kallick and fiddler/vocalist Annie Staminec serve up shared lead and harmony vocals that are nearly magical in their beauty and intensity. (Live Oak Records, P.O. Box 21344, Oakland, CA 94620, www.kathykallick.com.) BA”

Make that 201--“Spontaneous human combustion (SHC) describes reported cases of the burning of a living (or very recently deceased) human body without an apparent external source of ignition. There have been about 200 cited cases worldwide over a period of around 300 years.” Danny Vanzandt May Have Died From Spontaneous Human Combustion” Click here.

What’s down the road? From cybergrass.com…”Los Angeles, CA – LA bluegrass punks Old Man Markley have premiered a new song, “Train of Thought,” from the band’s upcoming album, Down Side Up, today on CMTEdge.com! Down Side Up is due out on March 5th via Fat Wreck Chords and can be pre-ordered now. Readers can stream Old Man Markley’s new track “Train of Thought” now, exclusively at CMTEdge.com.” So I followed their advice and went and had a listen. I’m a happy slave to traditional bluegrass music…that said, I liked what I heard. The tension created by juxtaposing modern, even futuristic melody lines and timing with the completely familiar licks of traditional banjo and mando and fiddle source material worked for me…and that’s saying a lot coming from a stodgy old fart like the MOLD Man.

March 5, 2013

MILESTONE--On March 4, 1934, John H. Duffey is born in Washington D.C. Born John Humbird Duffey, Jr., one of the best-loved bluegrass performers in the ‘second wave’ of pioneers lived nearly all his life in the D.C. area. He graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in suburban Maryland and learned to play the mandolin, dobro, and guitar, in addition to learning tenor singing parts. Duffey was co-founder of two bluegrass bands, the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene, and it’s fair to say that his unique picking and singing styles were partly responsible for making both bands legendary in the bluegrass universe. His eclectic approach to bluegrass, (he embraced Dylan to rock to jazz and blues), gave bands permission to experiment for decades to come. Click here.

Gone-- I woke up this morning feeling like I just had to say something to acknowledge the strange, creepy and very, very sad story of Jeff Bush, the Tampa man who was swallowed by what’s being called one of the most unusual sink holes in American history. If ever there was a real-life story that could and probably would have gotten the creative juices of existentialist writer Franz Kafka going it would have been this one. Imagine, going to bed one night, flicking off your reading lamp and the next moment simply falling through space in utter darkness. “I heard him cry out for help,” said Bush’s brother, “but by the time I got to his room and looked in it was all gone. My brother’s bed, his dresser, his TV and my brother. All gone.” No clever punch line on this one. No reach to find some moral to the story. We simply honor the memory of this lost man. Click here.

Freaky Fridays--Got my Friday email a couple days ago from the North Coast collector of strangeness I mentioned a while back and here are a few tidbits…”T E Lawrence, AKA Lawrence of Arabia, used a fleet of Rolls Royce's to transport his unit, when he led the British forces against the Turks in Syria….sheep prefer to drink running water…General Douglas MacArthur's mother dressed him in skirts until he was eight years old...could a just named him Sue….the thong accounts for 25% of the United States women's underwear market…on average, 40% of all hotel rooms in the United States remain empty every night……the classic American toy, Lincoln Log,s were invented by John Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son…and last but certainly not least…the Slinky was invented by Naval engineer Richard James who inadvertently knocked a spring off of a shelf when he was working to develop springs that could keep ship instruments stable in choppy waters. The spring did what a Slinky does; it stepped down to a stack of books,

And lastly, an excuse to spend the weekend in wine country? I’ll take it.--Just read this on the CBA web site…who knows, maybe I’ll finally talk my wife into coming along…This year's Sonoma County Bluegrass & Folk Festival promises to one of the best ever, featuring the likes of Laurie Lewis and her band, the eastern band James Reams and the Barnstormers and many others. Click here.

Also, we’ve moved our 13th festival to Sunday this year so visitors to this most beautiful place have an excuse to drive up for the weekend.

Saturday afternoon, the Lagunitas Taproom in neighboring Petaluma will host an Afternoon with the Central Valley Boys at three p.m. http://www.yelp.com/biz/lagunitas-brewing-co-petaluma

Immediately after the CVB show the CBA will host a picking party. For details about the party, include location and directions, drop an email to co-festival Director Colleen Hogan. colleen_hogan@comcast.net

Later than night Ed Neff’s Blue and Lonesome will be featured at Murphy's Irish Pub in Sonoma.

And of course the next day it's the California Bluegrass Association’s annual bluegrass blow out, this year featuring James Reams and The Barnstormers, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, the Central Valley Boys, Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally and Chris Webster and Sonoma’s perennial favorite Nina Gerber. As always there’ll be plenty of in-door and out-door jamming, workshops fine Sonoma wines and the absolutely dreamy eats offered up by Conscious Cooks Catering, which specializes in bringing only the best small-farmed Sonoma and Marin county meat, produce and dairy to your table.

Sure, Sonoma’s wine country is world-famous for its vino, but there’s a long list of other reasons that our county is a favorite destination of travelers the world over. And on the weekend of March 9th and 10th, add to that list some of the best bluegrass and folk music you’ll find anywhere on the planet

Oh, and lest we forget, March is the wine country’s slow season so you’ll find great deals on overnight accommodations.
Click here.

Missed yesterday's MOLD News? Looking for a past news item to settle a bet with a friend? Want to file a complaint with the California Standards and Practices Bureau but need tangible evidence? Click here.

MILESTONE--On March 4, 1934, John H. Duffey is born in Washington D.C. Born John Humbird Duffey, Jr., one of the best-loved bluegrass performers in the ‘second wave’ of pioneers lived nearly all his life in the D.C. area. He graduated from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School in suburban Maryland and learned to play the mandolin, dobro, and guitar, in addition to learning tenor singing parts. Duffey was co-founder of two bluegrass bands, the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene, and it’s fair to say that his unique picking and singing styles were partly responsible for making both bands legendary in the bluegrass universe. His eclectic approach to bluegrass, (he embraced Dylan to rock to jazz and blues), gave bands permission to experiment for decades to come. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWIZKUZjZi0

Gone-- I woke up this morning feeling like I just had to say something to acknowledge the strange, creepy and very, very sad story of Jeff Bush, the Tampa man who was swallowed by what’s being called one of the most unusual sink holes in American history. If ever there was a real-life story that could and probably would have gotten the creative juices of existentialist writer Franz Kafka going it would have been this one. Imagine, going to bed one night, flicking off your reading lamp and the next moment simply falling through space in utter darkness. “I heard him cry out for help,” said Bush’s brother, “but by the time I got to his room and looked in it was all gone. My brother’s bed, his dresser, his TV and my brother. All gone.” No clever punch line on this one. No reach to find some moral to the story. We simply honor the memory of this lost man. http://www.wfla.com/story/21442239/fla-sinkhole-that-swallowed-man-grows-deeper

Freaky Fridays--Got my Friday email a couple days ago from the North Coast collector of strangeness I mentioned a while back and here are a few tidbits…”T E Lawrence, AKA Lawrence of Arabia, used a fleet of Rolls Royce's to transport his unit, when he led the British forces against the Turks in Syria….sheep prefer to drink running water…General Douglas MacArthur's mother dressed him in skirts until he was eight years old...could a just named him Sue….the thong accounts for 25% of the United States women's underwear market…on average, 40% of all hotel rooms in the United States remain empty every night……the classic American toy, Lincoln Log,s were invented by John Lloyd Wright, Frank Lloyd Wright’s son…and last but certainly not least…the Slinky was invented by Naval engineer Richard James who inadvertently knocked a spring off of a shelf when he was working to develop springs that could keep ship instruments stable in choppy waters. The spring did what a Slinky does; it stepped down to a stack of books,

And lastly, an excuse to spend the weekend in wine country? I’ll take it.--Just read this on the CBA web site…who knows, maybe I’ll finally talk my wife into coming along…This year's Sonoma County Bluegrass & Folk Festival promises to one of the best ever, featuring the likes of Laurie Lewis and her band, the eastern band James Reams and the Barnstormers and many others. http://www.cbaontheweb.org/cba_news.asp?newsid=9032

Also, we’ve moved our 13th festival to Sunday this year so visitors to this most beautiful place have an excuse to drive up for the weekend.

Saturday afternoon, the Lagunitas Taproom in neighboring Petaluma will host an Afternoon with the Central Valley Boys at three p.m. http://www.yelp.com/biz/lagunitas-brewing-co-petaluma

Immediately after the CVB show the CBA will host a picking party. For details about the party, include location and directions, drop an email to co-festival Director Colleen Hogan. colleen_hogan@comcast.net

Later than night Ed Neff’s Blue and Lonesome will be featured at Murphy's Irish Pub in Sonoma.

And of course the next day it's the California Bluegrass Association’s annual bluegrass blow out, this year featuring James Reams and The Barnstormers, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, the Central Valley Boys, Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally and Chris Webster and Sonoma’s perennial favorite Nina Gerber. As always there’ll be plenty of in-door and out-door jamming, workshops fine Sonoma wines and the absolutely dreamy eats offered up by Conscious Cooks Catering, which specializes in bringing only the best small-farmed Sonoma and Marin county meat, produce and dairy to your table.

March 2, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1994, Nickel Creek is named Pizza Hut International Bluegrass Band of the Year. A few years later their first album is produced, Why Should The Fire Die? and sells 800,000 copies, earns two Grammy nominations, and scores Nickel Creek the IBMA award for Best Emerging Artist in 2000. Bluegrass music just got different. Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY-- Ten Scientific Facts About Lists Do you ever get up in the morning and hear something, see something, read something, etc., that determines how the rest of your day will go? Well, it happened to me this morning. How do I know how the rest of my day will go? Simple, what I found put me in such a positive, upbeat, indefatigable frame of mind that nothing will bring me down. You see, I LOVE lists, as you may have noticed, and a group of research scientists have helped me finally understand why.

1. People will tend to remember the first thing on a list

2. The human brain may automatically structure information in list form (although it may not)

3. Lists take advantage of a limited attention span

4. You probably won’t remember all the things on a typical list

5. People are very good at grouping random things together, so lists can be about anything

6. Popular things can be listed

7. Lists fit the way humans tend to read

8. There are many popular types of list, not just on the internet

9. Some entries on a list are likely to be just padding

10. People will tend to remember the last thing on a list

Want to see these conclusions fleshed out a bit? Click here.

Ted’s got important news--Sunday Streets is here again! On Sunday the10th we'll be picking outside Red's Java House on the Embarcadero from noonish to 4 pm. The Embarcadero will be closed to car traffic for the day and there will crowds (large to huge, depending on the weather) on foot, bikes, skates, strollers, and wings. Bluegrass and old-time pickers at all levels are welcome to join us and bring a friend. It's always a good time. Here's a new twist: If you have a gig or jam or other event coming up in March, April, May or June, please bring along a few dozen of whatever flier or card you are using to promote it. We'll have a little table with space for some stacks. If all you have is a business card, bring that. Every time we do this, dozens of people coming by suddenly remember how much they love bluegrass and old-timey music, and ask us where they can hear more of it. Let's give them what they want!
The Sunday Streets web site will have details about public transit and parking and so on. And do check the weather before coming out; this is San Francisco. Looking forward to picking with you! Ted Kuster

Banjer Dan in MarchYou wanna talk about somebody who consistently fills up his dance card. Go no further. Click here.

Ah, would you hurry it up there, please--Scientists Uncover Invisible Motion in Video. Why, you ask? Well, one of the egg-heads is quoted as saying, “Once we amplify these small motions, there’s like a whole new world you can look at.” Okay, I’ll bite, go on… Click here.

OTHER KINDS OF MUSIC DEPTARTMENT-- Red Cup Rhapsody. Click here.

In the vast wilderness called TELEVISION, something worth watching--From PBS…”Note By Note The Making Of Steinway L1037 In our age of mass-production and consumption, what is the role of the musician — both an instrument's craftsman and its player? Musically, what have we gained? More importantly, what are we losing? The most thoroughly handcrafted instruments in the world, Steinway pianos are as unique and full of personality as the world-class musicians who play them. However, their makers are a dying breed: skilled cabinetmakers, gifted tuners, thorough hand-crafters.” Click here.

One step closer to perfect isolation--We have so very, very much to thank lab rats for. Medical breakthroughs, insight into the rudiments of social interaction, the development of safe, (we’re told), genetic engineering that will help feed the planet and now, with a lot of hard work and a little luck, our rat friends are poised to teach us how to talk to one another without the hassle of actually BEING with one another. Think of it, human communication sans all the things that go wrong in human interaction. 'Mind Melds' May Point Way To Long-Distance Brain-To-Brain Communication…NEW YORK (Reuters) - The scientists call it a "brain link," and it is the closest anyone has gotten to a real-life "mind meld": the thoughts of a rat romping around a lab in Brazil were captured by electronic sensors and sent via Internet to the brain of a rat in the United States. The result: the second rat received the thoughts of the first, mimicking its behavior, researchers reported on Thursday in Scientific Reports, a journal of the Nature Publishing Group. Click here.


March 1, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Ten p.m., Saturday night, June, 1995, Nevada County Fairgrounds, the sound man gives the thumbs up to the MC that he’s set for the last band of the night and J.D. Rhynes steps up to the mic and introduces “A new band…I reckon it’s one you maybe heard of, (a wave of laughter rolls through the 3,500 people sitting in their lawn chairs in the darkness)…Now put yer hands together for BLUE HIGHWAY. And so began a run at the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival that continues to this day. Why the peel of laughter? Yes, Rhynes was right; though a new band, new to the FDF, new, in fact, to the world, Blue Highway had a member, a kid named Rob Ickes, who’d grown up at the festival and had returned triumphant. After helping "found the band Dusty Miller", and "a key player in Alison Krauss & Union Station when it was named IBMA Entertainer of the Year in 1991, Tennessee native Tim Stafford "organized" Blue Highway in 1994. Their first project, It's a Long, Long Road, spent six months at the top of the Bluegrass Unlimited charts and won IBMA's Album of the Year Award in 1996. Oh, they’ll be back for a fifth appearance at Grass Valley in June. Click here.

You have a good day now, yall hear?Why is it that some people would rather rain on your parade than march in it? Call it human nature, I guess. Okay, so all you fools out there, and I’m one of you, you can just forget last September’s viral video 'Pig Rescues Baby Goat' that brought a little sunlight to your otherwise war-global warming-economic hee-bee-jebbies-moral collapse of humankind life. It, like so much else in life, was a hoax…staged so that Fox and NB and ABC could pull out yet another carpet from under our collective feet.
Click here.

This guy’ll march in your parade, no questions asked--Bless his heart, John Hettinger, on the other hand, just lives to bring us good news…and all of it absolutely true. Today’s bit of sunshine…the Palms Playhouse in Winters is bringing up Loafer’s Glory for a March 22. You’ve seen then at Parkfield, you’ve seen then at Grass Valley. They are Herb Pederson, Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber and Bill Bryson and, let me tell you, these four have been around the bluegrass track a few times. Just a terribly entertaining act.

From our Music; Other Types Department--Imagine his surprise when, according to the NY Times, “Singer Scott Weiland said he learned that he'd been fired by the Stone Temple Pilots when the band released a one-sentence statement to the media Wednesday. "I learned of my supposed `termination' from Stone Temple Pilots this morning by reading about it in the press," he wrote in a statement. "Not sure how I can be `terminated' from a band that I founded, fronted and co-wrote many of its biggest hits, but that's something for the lawyers to figure out." Oh yes, Scott, they’ll figure it out for you, and at only $750 per hour.

Got a free weekend open and several hundred bucks that ain’t doin’ nothin’--Posted at ibma.com…”Raleigh Preview Scheduled for April 13. Are you curious about World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, North Carolina? Want to get a peek at the facilities before arriving in September? Or are you maybe just looking for an excuse just to get away for a weekend? Well here’s your chance! You’re invited to join the IBMA Board of Directors, IBMA staff, and all our Raleigh hosts on April 13, 2013 for some hospitality, North Carolina style.

MOLD’S SCIENCE FOR THE SCIENTIFICALLY CHALLENGED--There’s something going on over at the Red Planet that we don’t know about…and SHOULD! Of course there’s Mars’ latest exploration rover; for months it’s not been possible to get away from that story unless you go on your own expedition to outer space. Then last week I read that NASA has finally bitten the bullet and announced a target date for sending some poor saps up there—2018. And now we read that India will send an unmanned space craft to Mars next year. So, hey, NASA dude, what’s up? You can tell us…after all who do you think is paying for that buggy up there right now, the Koch Brothers? Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--And finally, another typical piece of fan mail to the Mold Man…goodness do they love me. “Mold Man, YOU’RE A FRAUD. F R A U D. Just how stupid do you think we are? Don’t you know that the vast majority of people who read this crap of yours know that all you’re doing is just copying the hard work done by others and then pasting it into your so called column? Have you ever had an original thought in your entire life? I doubt it. And not only that, but you’re not even good at the scan you’re trying to pull off—you choose the most boring, insipid, non-bluegrass stories on the Internet. “Inside An Amish Trade Show”? Are you kidding me—who CARES? Mold Man, with all due respect, why don’t you get a life…a life of your own, that is. Disgruntled from Kern County.” Dear Disgruntled, well, the Amish care.

February 28, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s October, 2001, and everybody who doesn’t actually know the guy figures this Warren Hellman dude is, well, just a little nuts. He’s taken over a huge piece of real estate in the City’s Golden Gate Park and will hold something with the commercially unlikely name of the Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Well, it’s hardly a strictly bluegrass festival and Mr. H is hardly a nut case. Turns out he has the same vision for producing mega musical events that Cecil B. DE Mille had for his cinematic spectacles. Redubbed Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the gigantic week-end long gathering has since that first year become the largest free and non-commercial music festival to celebrate the bluegrass, old-time genres. Of course there’s all kinds of other music too, but if you’re lucky enough to be one of the hundreds of thousands of attendees at the HSB, there’s no doubt in your mind about the love affair Warren had with our music. Thanks, Mr. H., what a wonderful way you dreamed up to bring more people into the fold. Click here.

The good, the Bad and the Rhynes, all on four-stringers--“Yer high moldyness; here is a little video I thought you might use in your daily welcome column"musical news tidbit". This shows a ukulele Orchestra playing the theme from the movie The Good The Bad and The Ugly, a spaghetti Western from the 60s that starred Clint Eastwood. It is quite entertaining, and frankly I was amazed at the music that they could extract from these small instruments. I am sure your readers would get a kick out of this. I know I did, your ardent fan JD Rhynes.” Thanks Mr. Ryhnes. Good recommendation, I am passing it along. Click here. Oh, and I’ll bet your still blushing from Ted Kuster’s Welcome yesterday. Quite a tribute. I wonder if he knows that you dictate every word to your computer…could be part of the reason for that ‘ring of authenticity’ he admires so much. Click here.

Nice little follow-up to a wonderful visit out west--Happened upon this article about Don Rigsby and that it a good one to run here after Mr. R’s memorable but all-too-short stint out here week before last. One last big thanks to David T. for making the trip happen…always a little magic when real good east meets real good west. Click here.

MOLD’S SCIENCE FOR THE SCIENTIFICALLY CHALLENGED --Finally, a way to understand permafrost without having to spend an entire afternoon…the fine people over at Blue Marble have ginned up a ninety-second video that tells use what we need to know about permafrost. I don’t want to seem inflexible here but don’t plan on taking part in any permafrost discussions here at the Mold unless you first check out this video. Give me a break, man, we’re talking ninety seconds. Click here.

Seek and ye shall find--Okay, pilgrims, if you don’t get out for some red-hot bluegrass music tonight it’s your own damned fault…

Loganville - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
David Thom Band - Sweetwater, Mill Valley
Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellies with Bill Evans - Kensington Circus Pub

Well, what ever the reason, keep it coming--Matthew Yglesias is a Slate correspondent, but his beat isn’t music, it’s business and economics. So why listen to what he has to say about this morning’s headline on many of the wire services? Keep reading and you’ll find out…Music Sales Rise for the First Time Since 1999 The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reports today that last year "global recorded music industry revenues rose by an estimated 0.3 per cent to US$16.5 billion in 2012, the first year of industry growth since 1999" with digital revenue growing 9 percent. That's good news for the music industry, but also a sobering reminder of the extent of the collapse. But what I think is really important to remember is that this epic decline of the music industry has occurred during a period of time when it's never been easier for music fans to find new music to listen to. It's a great example of how the health of an industry as a generator of profits can become completely detached from actual human welfare.

And finally a word from Mr. Bill--Thanks to all for your vibes of encouragement and words of support this past week. It was an amazing couple of days in St. Paul with A Prairie Home Companion. The collective effort of so many extremely talented people, all under the direction of Garrison Keillor, is something that's astounding to witness and to be a part of. I was humbled and honored to be in the midst of such greatness and professionalism - not only from Garrison, the actors, the band and the stage staff but also Suzy Bogguss Music, Joe Newberry and Noam Pikelny, who are all amazing musicians as well as warm, generous and loving human beings. And a big shout out to my good friend Bill C. Malone, who got the biggest laugh of the show (you'll have to listen to hear it!) and could very well be the world's best radio sheriff. The full show will be streaming up on the Prairie Home Companion website with video and audio selections available sometime in the next few days. Thanks everyone...Bill Evans. Click here.

February 27, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--At a CBA board meeting in January, 2002, rookie director Tim Edes presented what seemed at the time an odd proposal to his colleagues. Why not, he said, go into the electric power business. Well, for starters, someone spoke up, because we’re in the bluegrass business, not the utilities business. Ah, said Tim, and that’s exactly the reason we should offer electric power to our members. First, because by dedicating an area of the campgrounds to electric only hook-ups we could begin to made better use of the underutilized space over by the pond, thus easing the overall crowding problem at the campground and second, because a whole lot of folks are limited to the number of days they can do pre-festival camping because their RV batteries give up the ghost before the fest even begins. Tim’s argument made sense to enough board members that he received approval to try a pilot program in June with just a few spaces and a small generator. A decade later the electric-only hook-up program has grown to over 90 spaces and pays for itself with a little money left over, which is used to keep ticket prices down. One or two new ‘out-of-the-box ideas like that each year are what’s made the Grass Valley festival one of the best in the west. Oh, wanna reserve a little 110? Click here.

Well, they’re going up the country/Where the water tastes like wine--Spotted a Facebook post last evening from long-time CBA’er and well-known 6-stringer Kathy Barwick…”Lots of firsts and lasts this week. Yesterday, first jamlet in the new house. Tonight, last snooty guitar jam in the old.” Seems that Kathy and husband Jon Fox have realized a years-old dream to leave the big city, (Sacto), for the country, a place just outside of Grass Valley. Congrats to both

MOLD MAN RANT--At least once each month, sometimes twice, I run a story that mocks North Korea. Yep, MOCKS. Mocks their leader(s), that is. No, I don’t feel good about it, anymore than Rush Limbaugh could possibly feel good about the tongue-in-cheek excrement that he flushes onto the airwaves most days. But, (and oh how I dread having to admit that Rush and I could possibly share a real, personal feelings), sometimes I feel so utterly helpless to do anything for these millions of men and women and children whose lives are stolen for no damned good reason. I don’t know how it works for you, but for me, it can be a random quote on the news, a glance at a news magazine article, or in the case of the swine called Kim, a review of, Barbara Demick’s non-fiction book Nothing to Envy. Demick’s book rocked me, more than anything because it wasn’t her story; rather it was the stories of a half dozen North Koreans who found a way to get out from under history’s most astonishingly lead-pipe totalitarian government ever. After you go through the mental and, of course, futile gyrations of trying to understand how in this modern era any three men, granddad, dad and grandson, could possibly get away with this monstrosity called the People's Republic of Korea all that you’re left with…all that I’m left with…is a tooth-ache like sorrow that just never completely goes away. That’s why these news items keep popping up. It’s just how it is. Click here.

RIP Don--We learned yesterday that Don Evans, a decades-long CBA member, has suffered a heart attack and has passed on. Don was the Friday night MC at the Fathers Day Festival for many, many years and for a time served on the Association’s board of directors. A brother to two other CBA lifers and volunteers, Kathy Kirkpatrick and Neil Evans, Don will be missed for his humor, his passion for the music and his willingness to pitch in and work when the need arose.

MOLD JOB ANNOUNCEMNT--Ugly Model Agency Recruits Bearded Ladies, Tattoo Artists. Those for whom this job announcement holds interest will know who you are. Click here.

You don’t stop just because of a little thing like a world war--While scouting around the Internets a few days ago I stumbled on a great little piece from Bob Cherry over at cybergrass.com… Story of the Women Who Built Gibson Guitars During WWII --"Kalamazoo Gals” by John Thomas, tells the forgotten story of the women who kept up Gibson’s long tradition for producing high quality git-boxes during the war years. Click here.

Now this one’s a little counter-intuitive--Who’d a’ thought that a UK Music store sells more Deering banjos than any other retail outlet in the solar system…well, at least on the planet. “Five-string specialists at Eagle Music Shop have received an award for the sixth year running from The Deering Banjo Company. Having officially sold over two thousand Deering Banjos, more than any other retailer worldwide, Eagle have set a benchmark within the traditional music retail industry. Founder of Eagle Music Shop and seasoned musician Steve Noon stated: “When you consider that Deering are the largest banjo manufacturer in the world, having over 350 Dealerships throughout America and the rest of the world, it puts it into perspective what our UK business has achieved in the world of banjos”. Boy oh boy, that’s a hard one to disagree with. Click here.



February 26, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1951 the Stanley Brothers break up, briefly. Carter sings and records with Bill Monroe, only to rejoin his brother, Ralph, the following year. A close call for bluegrass, to be sure.

Winston Churchill loved them--Paraprosdokians are figures of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently humorous. Here are six…

There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'

You're never too old to learn something stupid.

Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Of mice and men and the Guamanian Brown snake--You wanna talk about self sacrifice These brave and dedicated mice deserve an award, even if it’s posthumous. “Guam's Brown Tree Snake Problem To Be Solved With Toxic Mice, Officials Hope” Click here.

Cramer tried it with pizzas--Mandolin Cafe ”D'Addario Introduces Build A Pick Customization Site…Farmingdale, N.Y. — D'Addario, the industry's leading music accessory manufacturer has announced the launch of the Planet Waves do-it-yourself guitar pick customizing website - www.BuildAPick.com. Whether you're looking to promote yourself, your band, or an event, Build A Pick's personalized process lets you connect with your fans loud and clear. Build A Pick's easy-to-use interface allows bands to print custom designs on D'Addario/Planet Waves Celluloid guitar picks, which are then packaged in bulk bags of 100 picks. Guitarists can choose between four gauges with four-color double-sided printing for complete creativity. "We're excited about Build A Pick because its such a small yet powerful tool for people to get themselves really noticed," said Rob Cunningham, Planet Waves Product Manager. Click here.

Bushes back even better than before...no bull--You can always tell when John Hettinger is really excited about a new show he’s producing by the adjectives use chooses to describe the band. “Back for their third appearance at the home of John & Loretta Hettinger, 113 Puffer Way, Folsom, will be the Blackberry Bushes Stringband on Tuesday, March 19 at 730 PM (door opens at 700 PM). Although this configuration of the band is a little smaller, it still promises to thrill the audience with the fiery fiddling of Jakob Breitbach, Jes Raymond on guitar, & Taylor Kent on bass. The Bushes’ innovative acoustic sound draws from the deep roots of American traditional music to create a rich patchwork that shares threads with artists like Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, Sean Hayes, & Crooked Still. Joyful singing & songwriting are supported by carefully constructed soundscapes that feature virtuosic fiddle. “ Click here.

Inside An Amish Trade Show --Think about it. What’s one of the few things you know about the Amish? Yeah, me too. A tenant of their faith is to resist all things modern and, hence, most don’t have electricity in their house OR their workshops. So how do these industrious people compete in a world of power tools? Simple, they use another kind of power. Click here.

We’re thinking Martin’s thinking the recession is over--Straight off bluegrasstody.com, a report on a new line of gits called “Authentic Series Guitars”.

“D-18 Authentic 1939 – This replica is based on a ’39 model in Martin’s private museum, with the identical neck, heel and headstock shape and taper as the original 14-fret guitar. Like the old 18, it is made with an Adirondack spruce top and mahogany back and sides. List price, $6749.

D-28 Authentic 1931 – A 12-fret, slotted headstock guitar, built with Adirondack spruce and Madagascar rosewood. Purists may disagree, but many modern builders and vintage fans find the structural and sonic properties of this East African timber to be remarkably similar to the Brazilian rosewood so highly prized by collectors. With the South American wood all but unavailable for current guitar makers due to export restrictions, Madagascar rosewood is becoming the top choice for guitars of the finest quality. List price, $8499.

D-28 Authentic 1941 – The classic herringbone D-28, made with Madagascar rosewood and Adirondack spruce. Like the other Authentics, this one mirrors all the specs of the original museum instrument, including the bracing as determined through a CAT scan. List price, $7999.

OM-18 Authentic 1933 – This 14-fret, shaded top guitar is a replica of a vintage original on loan from a private collector. Again, all the specs and detailing are exact matches with the original. List price, $6499.

D-45S Authentic 1936 – Martin holds nothing back in this museum replica, with back and sides made from their reserve stock of Brazilian. The Adirondack top is taken from their highest grade of spruce, on a slightly oversized body, as per the original. Fingerboard inlays are snowflakes, with a style 42 rosette inlay and style 45 inlay on the top, back and sides. List price, $59,999.”

I’ll take three of the D-45S’s, please. Click here.

February 23, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--In 2000 Bob Thomas gets the green light from the CBA board to have a go at a Veteran's Day Festival. Five years later the event comes to a sad end, due mostly to the fact that most of those five years saw very wet and cold Veteran’s Day weekends. But while it lasted the Woodland-based festival brought bluegrass fans some very fine music from far and wide. Bands like High Country, Lost Highway, the Kathy Kallick Band, Within Tradition, Cliff Wagner’s Old Number 8, True Blue, Carolina Special and Donner Mountain kept the Yolo County Fairgrounds jumping. Have a pictorial look back by…clicking here.

These pretzels are making me thirsty--You remember Dan Mazer…I’ve mentioned him here a couple of times. He’s an east coast banjo pheenom who moved out west not long ago. Recently he posted on his Facebook page that he landed a part as an extra in a pirate movie. When he showed up for work Dan learned that an actor was home sick and he was promoted to AN ACTOR, which is to say they gave him some lines. Remind you of at least a couple of Seinfeld episodes? I dare you click this link and tell me you’ve seen a more believable pirate. Click here.

Mountain Piping --Oh, you thought they only had outhouses? Sorry, bad joke. But don’t let that stop you…the headline, Bagpipes in old-time music says it all. Click here.

Everything’s comin’ up petunias in Pyongyang--“North Korea Says Everyone Wants to Visit—Especially with All the Nuclear Threats” I know, at first blush this seems a little counter-intuitive. Okay, A LOT counter-intuitive but come on, what reason would the Korean Central News Agency have for fudging the truth? Why would they make up something like, “The number of arrivals from European countries is…on increase. The increase is fueled by many attractions. Eye-catching achievements made by the country in the effort for building a thriving socialist nation in recent years are one of the attractions.” Frankly, I’m more inclined to believe the sudden spike in tourism is caused by the recent uncovering of the “unicorn lair” near the center of the country’s capital. Click here.

Not bluegrass but man oh man is it good stuff--A Facebook post from Houston Jones guitar player from outer space, Glenn Pomianek…”Last night was pretty special. HJ played to an overflowing house in Bakersfield, the City That Buck Owens Built (ok, maybe with a little help from some guy named Merle). In attendance was the keyboard player for the Buckaroos, Jim Shaw. Jim graciously agreed to sit in with us as we performed Buck's first #1 hit, "Act Naturally." How cool is that? The audience, as one might expect, went wild. But wait, there's more: I made a multi-track recording of the evening's performance. Stay tuned.

FROM THE MOLDY BLUEGRASS POLICE BLOTTER--Case #72122…”Tourist who killed with banjo jailed for 12 years—by Clio Francis, Budapest, Hungary--The Hungarian divemaster who shoved a banjo down a man's neck, killing him, is a "disgrace" to his country, his victim's family says. Ferdinand Ambach, 31, successfully used the controversial provocation defense during his trial for the murder of Aucklander Ronald James Brown, 69. On December 7, 2007, police discovered Mr Brown lying on the stairs at his Onehunga flat with a red banjo shoved down his throat. Ambach was found barricaded in a cupboard on the second floor. Mr Brown died two days later in hospital. Click here. (Important Note to Mold Readers: If you hear of or read about any crimes that in one way or another involve bluegrass music, please let the Mold Man know…moldman7676@hotmail.com

You too can be in the Seldom Scene for a day--There’s so much I love about bluegrass music. I mean, for sure what I love most is the sound of it, but once it becomes a given that you’re bought in, hook, line and sinker, to a musical genre there becomes just so much collateral to adore. My favorite thing, without a doubt, is the do-it-yourself nature of the beast. Just by accident I ran into this Facebook post last week by Melissa Blas and it pretty much sums up what I’m talking about…Just Picked String Band--Best. Gig. Ever!! Love the Hunter Hill Winery in Soquel! First time we've been described as "phenomenal"!! What kind of poison is in that wine?!” With Duane Campbell,Keith Davis, Topher Gayle, Melissa Blas, Jake Davis, Rich Giuffrida and Cory Welch. Hope I didn’t leave anybody out.

February 22, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1955 Don Reno and Arthur "Guitar Boogie" Smith record "Feudin' Banjos," later known as "Duelin' Banjos." If you don’t listen to any other music today, listen to this. Click here.

You talk about a good eye for composition--In the 1950’s and 60’s a quiet nanny named Vivien Maier spent her free time prowling the streets of Chicago snapping photographs of what it was like for average people to live in the big city. So far as anyone knows, Vivien never shared her photos with anyone. In fact, most of the film she used was never even developed. Nearly sixty years later another Chicagoan, a history buff name John Maloof, bought a box of the never-before-seen negatives at an auction for $380 and boy was he surprised when he took the stuff into his dark room. This is a story, with photos, worth reading. Click here.

A little CBA business to attend to--First off, February is not to early to start chatting it up with Volunteer Czarina Deb Livermore if you’ve not worked the FDF before and think you might want to… deblivermore@gmail.com. Second, Mark Varner asked me to let you all know that the Breakdown for March is ready to download. Click here.

Another Flattbellys plug--Got this press release and spotted Lindsay Lou and the gang…all the way from Michigan. “The Kensington Circus Pub steps up their acoustic music schedule over the next few weeks with great music from local favorites Jim Nunally & Judy Forrest as well as an incredible new band from Michigan, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys. And don't forget that the next Bangers & Grass is Thursday, March 7. All shows 8 to 10 p.m. with no cover - but your generosity is always greatly appreciated. 389 Colusa Avenue, 510-780-6446.”

Please don’t automatically believe what you’re about to read. (As if anyone would)--I am by nature a skeptic, and one of my guilty pleasures is telling and showing people that. Let’s be honest…people who are skeptical are generally assumed to be, well, smart. So why wouldn’t I want anyone who’ll listen to know that I’m a dedicated practitioner of “the rigorous application of science and reason to test the validity of any and all claims.” But the thing I hate about being a skeptic is that, if you’re really one, you can’t pick and choose when you are and aren’t…it’s pretty much a 24/7 proposition. So when you stumble on an article written by the publisher of Skeptic magazine and it lays out in tortured detail of what being one is, well, if you are one, or think you are one, you can’t look away. So, am I really a skeptic? Are you one? Click here.

MOLD JOB ANNOUNCEMNT--The last one we did steered readers toward being a Safari Guide in Africa. This one’s a little tamer but, for most people, just as unattainable. But here goes. Bluegrass pioneer Melvin Goins is looking for a banjo player for his act. Think he might have a little to teach you if you get the job? Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldyness; I never figured you to be a cat person, so you must be really scratch'in the bottom of the barrel to come up with a subject for your daily column.[Pun intended] Come on Moldman, cats names? Real men could care less what a cat is named! A buddy of mine had a cat when we were young'ns and he called him Benji Finfiber, how's that for a rare name for a cat? The horse is the most noble animal that God ever made, so why don't you try to come up with a list of names fitting the noble steeds of yore, instead of some flea bitten alleycat that I could give a hoot about. What was the name of Charlemagne's favorite horse? Or Richard the lion heart of England,favorite charger? Here's a little more recent one for you, what was the name of Will Rogers favorite horse? Even the cartoon character Dudley Doright had a name for his horse. History is full of noble men, doing noble deeds, while riding on noble steeds. A subject worthy of research to enlighten all of your adoring fans. Cats names? Indeed my friend you can do better than this. Your most ardent fan JDRhynes” Mr. JD…1) Welcome back to the living; 2) I don’t care for cats; and 3) When I have to start scrapping the barrel for things that have real interest for me, and thus that I want to share with my friends, I’ll take the Hemmingway out.

CBA MILESTONE--In late 2004 Suzanne Denison announces her retirement as Editor of the Bluegrass Breakdown, the CBA’s monthly newspaper begun in 1977. Suzanne took on the BB challenge in the early 1990’s and built it into the highly respected and iconic tabloid-sized, multi-color publication that it is today. Even though it’s time for her to step down, Suzanne will play an active roll in helping find her replacement and then training that replacement to ensure the newspaper’s continuity and continued excellence.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Trendiest Cat Names of the Year…Here’s the introductory paragraph that introduces this little feature on one of the big Internet new sites: “We looked at the names of more than 643,000 kittens born in 2012 to determine the trendiest cat names of the year. Below, find the top 10 names for both male and female cats.” Hmm, 643,000 kitten names. Source please. SOURCE PALEEEZE! I’ve personally experienced one, just one, of these names used for a cat. Well, sort of. Actually, the cat’s name is Ginger, but her owner’s name is Caroline Cooper, so by extension…

#10 Sheldon (Male) / Charlie (Female)
#9 Jackson (Male) / Fiona (Female)
#8 Bentley (Male) / Olive (Female)
#7 Winston (Male) / Ellie (Female)
#6 Ziggy (Male) / Katniss (Female)
#5 Zeus (Male) / Willow (Female)
#4 Cooper (Male) / Luna (Female)
#3 Thor (Male) / Stella (Female)
#2 Loki (Male) / Izzy (Female)
#1 Dexter (Male) and Penny (Female)

Cluck, cluck--Okay, it’s time to drop whatever your doing and spend a few minutes on the subject of chicken. Yes, chicken as in poultry. Chickens were the very first animal domesticated as a food source, they’re a treasured provider of protein for virtually all peoples on the planet and, if you took the time to get to know one, which, of course, you won’t, you’d find that every chicken has her own distinctive personality. They are not the simplistic little feathered egg and all-white-meat producing machines most people mistake them for. So, come on, click the link below and give five minutes of your time to our fellow feathered traveler, the chicken. Hell, you’ll spend that much time today boiling an egg. Click here.

Nope, as a matter of fact, nothing IS sacred--In his lead story over at prescriptionbluegrass.com called “The Fight Continues over Use of Bill Monroe’s Name” Brian O’Neil supplies further evidence that, given enough time, we Americans can find a way to monetize EVERYTHING. Click here.

Webinar; arghhhh--I like the IBMA. I don’t agree with every decision its board makes, and it’s made its share of mistakes over the years, but the group does a great deal for the Children of Bill, particularly those who’ve found a way to scratch out a living doing something connected to bluegrass. For example, tomorrow their “series of professional development webinars will continue in the WebEx.com video conference format Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. Central with a session led by IBMA Marketing Committee chair/ Music City Roots producer Craig Havighurst and IBMA’s Katherine Coe. The topic is How to Utilize Bluegrass Nation Effectively.” Now that I’ve plugged the session I believe I’ve earned the right to say what I think about the term “webinar”. I think it’s a hideous contortion of the English language, I feel embarrassed for the IBMA for using it in the name of one of its quite valuable activities and if I were in charge of the world I would track down the person who originated the term and put him/her through a hellish re-education program. Seriously.

No banjo-nerd requirement--Ron Stewart has always been a favorite of mine. Like, I know more than a few people who can rightfully call themselves ‘multi-instrumentalists” but it’s rare that these jack-of-all-traders reach IBMA fill-in-the-blank of the year proficiency. But that’s just what Ron did in 2011 when he took home the best banjoist award. Anyway, there’s a nifty little interview with him in the latest issue of the Banjo Newsletter…and you don’t have to be a banjo nerd to enjoy it. Click here.

February 20, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1956 Flatt & Scruggs, now part of the GRAND OLE OPRY, add dobro player Josh Graves, who remains with the Foggy Mountain Boys until the group's break-up. Josh’s contribution to establishing the resophonic slide guitar, which grew out of the Hawaiian steel guitar tradition, is immeasurable. Click here.

Please, no emails about my spelling--According to the fine folks on the Internets, “Dreadnoughts Unlimited has raised funds and provided financial aid to Steve Kaufman's Acoustic Kamps since 2001. Scholarship recipients have attended sessions in flatpicking and fingerstyle guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, or bass. The qualifications for a financial aid are that a person be wanting to learn and improve his or her musical skills, but needs financial aid in order to attend kamp. Recipients must agree to attend the entire week of kamp and participate in classes. More information on the camp can be found at http://www.flatpik.com/Steve-Kaufman-Acoustic-Kamp.

The guy deserved a medal--And who knows, maybe somebody gave him one. In any event, I’m a little late in reporting the passing of a great American…the man who invented the Etch-a-Sketch. Andre Cassagnes had a profound impact on the generation of American humans we call the ‘baby boomers’. I was one of the millions he touched. Of course, there was the obvious influence his machine achieved in unlocking the creative juices of all our little minds, but for me, there was another, equally earth-shaking connecting of synapses. My family was too poor for me to have my own Etch-a-Sketch so I got to play with one only when we visited my cousin Tommy’s house. Tommy was an only child and his parents bought him every toy under the son, hence, Cassagnes’ invention unlocked in me at the tender age of seven the bitter realization that in this world there are haves and have-nots. Boy oh boy, did that change everything. Click here.

True love--You may have noticed that every now and then I like to share little tidbits from the Bluegrass L list serve. I share this one partly because it warmed my heart and partly because, for those of you who don’t L, it will give you a sense of how the list serve can occasionally fill in the little details in the mental pictures we have of bluegrass legends. “On this day 70 years ago Tut Taylor and Lee Blount eloped. Caught the old Greyhound bus over to the next county and were married by the county ordinary. The bus ticket was thirty-five cents and the marriage license was $1.00. I am one happy guy. Tutbro, (Tut Taylor).

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Uncle Moldy, I can’t remember which one of you…you or the so-called CBA Web Master…promised to splash the Lonesome River Band tour for me so am writing to both of you. (Who knows, maybe that means I’ll get two splashes.) So, all gigs are in…

Friday February 22 – The Palms Playhouse, Winters – 8 p.m. www.palmsplayhouse.com

Saturday February 23 – Morgan Hill Grange – 7 p.m. www.cbaontheweb.org

Sunday February 24 – KPIG Radio Interview with Sleepy John 11 a.m. www.kpig.com

Tuesday February 26 – Mid-Valley Baptist Church, Durham, CA 7 p.m. – For more info: Lucy Smith - (530) 894-1449

Thursday February 28 – Black Oak Casino, Tuolumne – 8 p.m. www.blackoakcasino.com

Friday March 1 – Boulevard Music, Culver City – 8 p.m. www.boulevardmusic.com

Sat & Sun March 2 & 3 – Lake Havasu City BG Fest – www.landspromotions.com

Oh, and here’s the url for their web site--www.lonesomeriverband.com. As always, thanks very much for your help, Maria Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking.” Got it, Maria. As for a double splash, I wouldn’t count on any favors from Cornish. Many believe the term skinflint was added to the English lexicon specifically to better describe his personality. (Others of us aren’t sure he has one.) MM.

Count down to Prairie Evans Companion--Less than a week until A Prairie Home Companion hosts a special almost all banjo show this Saturday, February 23rd with Noam Pikelny, Joe Newberry, Suzy Bogguss and Bay Area boy genius, Bill Evans. (Well, the Bay Area part is true) Click here.
February 19, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--What do the bands Lost Highway, Country Current, Country Ham, Done Gone, Good Ol Persons, High Country and Sidesaddle have in common? They’re all acts hired for the thirty-year anniversary of the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival because of the individual roles each played in making the FDF one of the premiere bluegrass festivals in the country. These seven bands, which played the main stage over seventy times in the history of our Grass Valley gathering, each put their distinctive imprint on what’s called ‘California Bluegrass’. Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Best Bluegrass Albums of 2012, (In the humble opinion of the Roots Music Report)

1. RUSSELL MOORE & IIIRD TYME OUT; PRIME TYME
2. SIERRA HULL; DAYBREAK
3. CLOSE KIN; CLOSE KIN
4. LOU REID & CAROLINA; CALLIN ME BACK HOME
5. BILL EMERSON & SWEET DIXIE; THE TOUCH OF TIME
6. ALISON KRAUSS & UNION STATION; PAPER AIRPLANE
7. BEARFOOT; AMERICAN STORY
8. SPECIAL CONSENSUS; SCRATCH GRAVEL
9. SPRING CREEK; HOLD ON ME
10. THE GRASCALS; LIFE FINDS A WAY

If you’d like to see all 100 click here.

To the family of hard, dry cheeses what J.R. was to the Ewing Family--In 1979 I found at the SPD supermarket in Grass Valley, (Raley’s had not yet been built), a small wedge of cheese called Dry Jack, which I’d never seen before. Not the least expensive cheese in the deli cold box, I bought it nonetheless on a lark. Since 1979 I have never, ever pulled into the Nevada County Fairgrounds, home of the Fathers Day Festival, without first stopping to buy some Rumiano Dry Jack and a a big bag of apples. This Dry Jack of which I speak (write) has been a staple of the Rumiano Cheese Co. for decades, beginning with the founding fathers. In their latest blog post the fine people at RCC offer a little back story about their (and my) beloved Dry Jack. Start your morning off with a good, wholesome family-made and family-sold cheese by clicking here.

Come on now, admit it fellas. Deep down you always knew that women were smarter than men--Lauren Marbe, a sixteen year old Brit, known to her teachers as a “clever girl” but a bit of a blond ditz, underwent an IQ test not long ago. When the results were in, the administration at her high school had her retake the test. Then they sent her up to Oxford where she took it a third time. Nope, no mistake here. Lauren has an IQ of 161, higher than Albert Einstein and Steven Hawking. Blonde, yes, but we’re thinking the “ditz” part has been dropped. Click here.

Fifty years isn’t that long a time when you’re having fun.--Bob Cherry at cybergrass.com reports that Doyle Lawson “is also celebrating 50 years of bluegrass and gospel music as a professional career path. He has not only made a name for himself but contributed to making other groups common names in the genre. (Boy is THAT an understatement.) Performing with JD Crowe, The Country Gentlemen and others trained Lawson to spread his wings and venture into the music world on his own. We are certainly happy that he did! For 34 years, band leader Doyle Lawson and his band Quicksilver have created some of the finest bluegrass in the genre. A trail of trophies attests to that achievement. Doyle's Latest Release Available for Pre-Ordering. Click here.

ATTENTION-- ALERT RED HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED. REPEAT, ALERT RED HAS BEEN DOWNGRADED--—And from this old boy’s perspective, not a moment too soon…”Maker’s Mark Reverses Decision To Decrease Alcohol Content in Whiskey--Fans of Maker’s Mark can rest easy. The producer of the iconic bourbon is reversing its decision to cut the amount of alcohol content in Maker’s Mark to 42 percent, or 84 proof, from 45 percent, or 90 proof, after lots of backlash from customers, reports the Associated Press. “You spoke. We listened,” wrote Rob Samuels, Maker’s Mark’s chief operating officer, and Maker’s Mark Chairman Emeritus Bill Samuels, in a statement posted on the company’s Facebook page. “We’re sincerely sorry we let you down.” Click here.

And one last thing--For those who’ve been putting off making any social commitments…dinner parties, weddings, sewage treatment center openings, attendance at kid’s soccer game…until Peter Thompson latest calendar of bluegrass events came out you might want to click here.

February 17, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--What do the bands Lost Highway, Country Current, Country Ham, Done Gone, Good Ol Persons, High Country and Sidesaddle have in common? They’re all acts hired for the thirty-year anniversary of the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival because of the individual roles each played in making the FDF one of the premiere bluegrass festivals in the country. These seven bands, which played the main stage over seventy times in the history of our Grass Valley gathering, each put their distinctive imprint on what’s called ‘California Bluegrass’. Click here.

MOLD MAN RANT #6—I’ve told you about TED before. It stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, but within those categories can be found just about any topic under the sun. Since April of 2007 these people have worked to amass more than 1,400 videoed talks and performances given by some of the brightest and most creative people inhabiting the planet. Each talk lasts fifteen to twenty minutes and is a contained unit…meaning that ‘to get’ what the speaker’s trying to articulate, the listener needs no pre or post information or grounding. It’s all RIGHT THERE. Exactly 100 of the 1,400 TED videos fall in the category of “Music”. Now guess how many of the 100 music pieces are bluegrass-related. Good job! You’re right on the money. The answer is ZERO. Virtually every type of music imaginable…opera, big band, country, Tibetan throat singing, accordion interpretations of Mahler and Chopin and on and on and on…are included in the collection of video EXCEPT ONE. Am I the only one of Bill’s Children who find this a bitter pill to swallow? Well, I don’t want to swallow it. I WON’T SWALLOW IT! Here’s what their web site says…”This site is an ever-evolving work in progress, and you're an important part of it. Have an idea? We want to hear from you. Click here.

A new one--We were pretty happy to hear that Eric Burman is up to his old tricks…he’ll be presenting the Brookdale Bluegrass Festival at Coastanoa on March 8-9 and, get this, Peter Rowan will headline the first annual event. Read all about it by clicking here.

Just how bad would your life here on earth have to be? A new HuffPost/YouGov poll reveals that 7% of us would, if given the rare opportunity, volunteer to go on a mission to Mars, and here’s the hooker—given the physics involved, (distance, fuel requirements, etc.) the trip would be ONE-WAY. Of course the yes’s depended on there being a Martian colony to join upon arrival, but even still, talk about burning one’s bridges. Click here.

Pete Seeger turned down a gig? The working-est banjo picker of all time? Impossible--But it’s true. Famously the American folk music icon said, “I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers”, but, he said, he refused to sing for the House Committee on Un-American Activities on August 18th, 1955. The official transcript of the hearing read, “I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.” Chair Sidney Walter of the HUAC declined to take him up on the offer. Go figure.

You gotta love them Mi Wuk’s--The CBA’s man up in the mid-Foothills wants to remind everybody that, once again, the Black Oak Casino just outside of Sonora is brining in major east-coast talent. This month the Lonesome River band is featured and next month Dale Ann Bradley. Our hats are off to the Mi Wuk Tribe for continuing its fine tradition of brining the cream of bluegrass to the Children of Bill in the foothills. Catch Billy Schniederman’s twice-per-month Mother Lode newsletter by clicking here.

Good news for Eric fans--Eric Uglum used his Facebook page to make an announcement that’s sure to please his legion of fans out here in the west, to wit…”After almost 20 years of talking about it, Bud Bierhaus and I are recording a duet CD. All acoustic - one song finished! That's Bud on finger style guitar and myself on lead guitar. Both Bud and I doing the singing...” Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Top Ten Healthiest Veggies…I’ve got to tell you that I was both surprised and thrilled when I read this list, which was concocted by sheknows.com. Surprised because I’d read over the years about many much more exotic vegetables hyped as the best for you and thrilled because I serve every one of these at least once during most weeks.

Tomatoes--Though technically a fruit, tomatoes are most often served like a vegetable. Full of lycopene, these beautiful red orbs (and all tomato-based products) are renowned for their cancer-fighting capabilities.

Broccoli--Few foods measure up to the disease-fighting potential of broccoli. This cruciferous veg is packed with antioxidants that help reduce the risk of stomach, lung and rectal cancers.

Brussels sprouts--These little green veggies are especially important for pregnant woman because they're packed with folic acid, a B-vitamin that prevents neural tube defects.

Carrots--These orange-wonders are loaded with eye, skin and hair-enriching nutrients. They're also the richest vegetable source of some important antioxidants, like vitamin A.

Squash--A good source of anti-inflammatory nutrients like vitamin C and beta-carotene, squash, especially summer squash, can help treat dozens of conditions including asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Sweet potato--This root vegetable has dozens of anti-cancer nutrients like vitamin A, C and manganese. They're also a good source of fiber and iron, so not only do they give you energy, they can also help regulate your digestive system.

Eggplant--High in heart healthy nutrients, eggplants are rich in antioxidants like nasunin (a unique compound that protects your brain cells from damage).

Bell Peppers--Whether you prefer red, orange or yellow, bell peppers are packed with dozens of heart-healthy nutrients like lycopene and folic acid. And recent research suggests digging into a pepper every day may lower your risk of developing lung, colon, bladder and pancreatic cancers.

Spinach--This chlorophyll-packed type of produce is an excellent source of almost every vitamin and nutrient you need. Scientists believe a diet heavy in spinach may be able to prevent everything from heart disease to colon cancer, and arthritis to osteoporosis.

Onions--These pungent smelling veggies are particularly good for people suffering from (or at risk of developing) osteoporosis. That's because onions are loaded with a peptide called GPCS which scientists believe slows your body's loss of calcium. Onions may also be useful in the fight against heart disease and diabetes because they're loaded with vitamin C and folate.









February 16, 2013

MILESTONE--The King, Elvis Presley, performs a rock 'n' roll rendition of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" on the GRAND OLE OPRY in 1954. The popularity of rock 'n' roll, seemingly a threat to old-style country music, actually bolsters interest in what is coming to be known as bluegrass music, attracting fans of traditional music who are alienated by the country music industry's increasingly modern sound. Click here.

Say goodbye, Ella. Goodbye Ella--Well she’s finally gone and done it. Ella Naiman, fine bluegrass fiddler and a young woman with a one-way bus ticket into the heart of everyone she meets, has left us for another man. His name is Henry Ward, he is the sweetheart of Ella and, not coincidentally, the newest member of the Larry Gillis Band. The two have gone off to Georgia. Henry, you take care of that girl, you hear?

Goodbye, Mike--It seems fair to say that the Mike Auldridge Tribute at The Birchmere earlier this week was pretty successful. We thought Howard Parker’s Bluegrass L posting provided a nice taste of what the gathering was like…”The tribute started at 7:30 and yes....it ended at 11:30P What a love fest! The show was pretty loosely scripted. Different groups of folks would come and go from the stage. Most of the first half were interpretations of Mike's first solo album "Dobro" which I thought was way cool. The reso players were Jerry, Rob, Sally Van Meter (YAY1), Fred Travers and Jay Starling (John's son). Many of the original players were on stage to recreate the project. David Bromberg, Tom Gray, Ben Eldrdige. Rob got to be Josh on "House Of The Rising Sun" to Jerry's Mike solos. Way cool. One of the highlights were the Jerry and Rob duet version of "Silver Threads Among The Gold". That is the only classic Mike tune tha new trio CD (2013 release?) I remember Sally really rocking on "Jamboree"! The 2nd half of the concert featured the current Seldom Scene. You could hear Mike playing "Lorena" on the PA as the Scene kicked in with Fred playing the part...whew! The show moved on to interpretations of tracks from Mike's "Blues and Bluegrass" solo album. Then Moondie Klein, T Michael Coleman, Jimmy Gaudreau and Rob take the stage as "Chesapeake" (The bad boys of bluegrass) and just nailed it. A real special moment amongst many was Emmylou Harris singing "Satan's Jeweled Crown" with Jerry playing Mike's part. I want to that Jerry and Rob for putting this together. You have my love and admiration.” Bluegrass is sure going to miss Mike.

One step forward, two steps back--Facebook post from Rita Hosking a couple days ago…”Just found the first illegal download of my new record, (Little Boat’, in its entirety, before it's release dates, online. Feels like a knife in the back when you're independent, and trying to make a living. I've only sent it UK and NL radio/reviewers, and sold pre-release at some shows in CA. That's it. Screw it.” Please consider supporting Rita's fine work...buy a CD, see a show.

Excuse me, is that your stone-tipped arrow I found lodged in my left butt cheek? You’ve met the kind of person who needs only to open his mouth and rancor and controversy quickly follow like a bad case of poison oak. Well, take such a person and give him training at the finest educational institutions we have to offer in physiology, anthropology, ecology, geography, and evolutionary biology, make him a tenured professor at UCLA and then stand back and let the itching begin. In his latest book, The World Until Yesterday, Diamond makes an argument that few find fault with—modern man can learn valuable lessons from the few remaining isolated and traditional societies (tribes) scattered around the globe’s rain forests. No problem there, but in advancing his position he goes on to postulate that tribal peoples across the world live in a state of near-constant warfare. A group called Survival International whose mission is to try to help preserve the dwindling number of primitive tribes says…"It’s a profoundly damaging argument that tribal peoples are more violent than us. It simply isn’t true.” Seeing as how this thing of which we, you and I, find ourselves members, this thing called modern society, has never been in greater need of a refresher course on people getting along with people, let’s hope Diamond and Survival International can get things worked out quickly so we can get started with our lessons. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, I read with interest the little note your intern, Mandarin Montag, posted yesterday about you’re missed column. In the note the young lad wrote, “Just so you know, I offered to pull together a column myself, which I could have easily done, but Mold Man said no.” I get the feeling, and I’ll bet a lot of other people do too, that you’re averse to allowing any of your Mold staff to take part in actually writing the daily items. I do understand they help research the material for the Mold, but when it comes time to present it here at the CBA web site, it seems you just don’t trust anyone else to write the copy. (Could this have something to do with your insistence in getting your own little spin on stories, no matter if they’re about bluegrass or blue fin tuna?) This type of Mold Man-centric, hyper control-obsessed management style has brought down many a house of cards in journalistic history; let’s hope it doesn’t happen here. Affectionately yours, Moldicide Man” Dear Moldicide Man, your note brings to mind one of my favorite Hank Williams song...Click here.

Good show tonight at Studio 55 Marin--Grandpa Banana Band and Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players will let ‘er rip around eight we’re guessing. Might want to check the clubs web site at http://www.studio55marin.com
MILESTONE--The King, Elvis Presley, performs a rock 'n' roll rendition of Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky" on the GRAND OLE OPRY in 1954. The popularity of rock 'n' roll, seemingly a threat to old-style country music, actually bolsters interest in what is coming to be known as bluegrass music, attracting fans of traditional music who are alienated by the country music industry's increasingly modern sound. Click here.

Say goodbye, Ella. Goodbye Ella--Well she’s finally gone and done it. Ella Naiman, fine bluegrass fiddler and a young woman with a one-way bus ticket into the heart of everyone she meets, has left us for another man. His name is Henry Ward, he is the sweetheart of Ella and, not coincidentally, the newest member of the Larry Gillis Band. The two have gone off to Georgia. Henry, you take care of that girl, you hear?

Goodbye, Mike--It seems fair to say that the Mike Auldridge Tribute at The Birchmere earlier this week was pretty successful. We thought Howard Parker’s Bluegrass L posting provided a nice taste of what the gathering was like…”The tribute started at 7:30 and yes....it ended at 11:30P What a love fest! The show was pretty loosely scripted. Different groups of folks would come and go from the stage. Most of the first half were interpretations of Mike's first solo album "Dobro" which I thought was way cool. The reso players were Jerry, Rob, Sally Van Meter (YAY1), Fred Travers and Jay Starling (John's son). Many of the original players were on stage to recreate the project. David Bromberg, Tom Gray, Ben Eldrdige. Rob got to be Josh on "House Of The Rising Sun" to Jerry's Mike solos. Way cool. One of the highlights were the Jerry and Rob duet version of "Silver Threads Among The Gold". That is the only classic Mike tune tha new trio CD (2013 release?) I remember Sally really rocking on "Jamboree"! The 2nd half of the concert featured the current Seldom Scene. You could hear Mike playing "Lorena" on the PA as the Scene kicked in with Fred playing the part...whew! The show moved on to interpretations of tracks from Mike's "Blues and Bluegrass" solo album. Then Moondie Klein, T Michael Coleman, Jimmy Gaudreau and Rob take the stage as "Chesapeake" (The bad boys of bluegrass) and just nailed it. A real special moment amongst many was Emmylou Harris singing "Satan's Jeweled Crown" with Jerry playing Mike's part. I want to that Jerry and Rob for putting this together. You have my love and admiration.” Bluegrass is sure going to miss Mike.

One step forward, two steps back--Facebook post from Rita Hosking a couple days ago…”Just found the first illegal download of my new record, (Little Boat’, in its entirety, before it's release dates, online. Feels like a knife in the back when you're independent, and trying to make a living. I've only sent it UK and NL radio/reviewers, and sold pre-release at some shows in CA. That's it. Screw it.” Please consider supporting Rita's fine work...buy a CD, see a show.

Excuse me, is that your stone-tipped arrow I found lodged in my left butt cheek? You’ve met the kind of person who needs only to open his mouth and rancor and controversy quickly follow like a bad case of poison oak. Well, take such a person and give him training at the finest educational institutions we have to offer in physiology, anthropology, ecology, geography, and evolutionary biology, make him a tenured professor at UCLA and then stand back and let the itching begin. In his latest book, The World Until Yesterday, Diamond makes an argument that few find fault with—modern man can learn valuable lessons from the few remaining isolated and traditional societies (tribes) scattered around the globe’s rain forests. No problem there, but in advancing his position he goes on to postulate that tribal peoples across the world live in a state of near-constant warfare. A group called Survival International whose mission is to try to help preserve the dwindling number of primitive tribes says…"It’s a profoundly damaging argument that tribal peoples are more violent than us. It simply isn’t true.” Seeing as how this thing of which we, you and I, find ourselves members, this thing called modern society, has never been in greater need of a refresher course on people getting along with people, let’s hope Diamond and Survival International can get things worked out quickly so we can get started with our lessons. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, I read with interest the little note your intern, Mandarin Montag, posted yesterday about you’re missed column. In the note the young lad wrote, “Just so you know, I offered to pull together a column myself, which I could have easily done, but Mold Man said no.” I get the feeling, and I’ll bet a lot of other people do too, that you’re averse to allowing any of your Mold staff to take part in actually writing the daily items. I do understand they help research the material for the Mold, but when it comes time to present it here at the CBA web site, it seems you just don’t trust anyone else to write the copy. (Could this have something to do with your insistence in getting your own little spin on stories, no matter if they’re about bluegrass or blue fin tuna?) This type of Mold Man-centric, hyper control-obsessed management style has brought down many a house of cards in journalistic history; let’s hope it doesn’t happen here. Affectionately yours, Moldicide Man” Dear Moldicide Man, your note brings to mind one of my favorite Hank Williams song...Click here.

Good show tonight at Studio 55 Marin--Grandpa Banana Band and Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players will let ‘er rip around eight we’re guessing. Might want to check the clubs web site at http://www.studio55marin.com

February 14, 2013

MILESTONE--Although it had been around for a while, the new genre called bluegrass had not been actually defined, but in 1959 that changed with Mike Seeger's brochure notes written for the Folkways record MOUNTAIN MUSIC BLUEGRASS STYLE. They’re the first detailed description of bluegrass music. Click here.

CLEAR YOUR CALENDAR!--Okay, you don’t have to actually clear it; just be prepared to revise it once you read about the show I’ve just discovered. Last week I think it was I waxed eloquently about a new bluegrass act that I learned about from Snap Jackson, who learned about it from Bill Evans, who learned…well never mind. Suffice it to say that when I shared my rave about Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellies based way back in Lansing, Michigan, I had no idea they’d be popping up over here on our side of the continent. But they are--February 23, 800 PM, Sutter Creek Theater, 44 Main St, Sutter Creek, 916-425-0077, www.suttercreektheater.com, $21. Lots of energy, strong writing, sweet singing and all based on solid traditional licks.

Twain seeing Twain--The gift was signed simply, “Done by truly yours, Mark Twain; N.B. I cannot make a good mouth, therefore leave it out; There is enough without it anyway; Done with the best ink, M.T.” The etched copper plate, secured inside a leather cover, was given to artist John W. Alexander and, yes, it was scribbled by Samuel C. himself. Quite an artifact when you consider that a respectably sizeable group of American literary scholars believe that Twain was this country’s greatest writers…at least so far. Click here.

Well, they got four strings ain’t they? Ukes in bluegrass? That was the question some unsuspecting soul ask on the BLUEGRASS L list serve last week. The responses might surprise you. Click

Truman, baby, say it ain’t so--Well, this is more than a little painful to tell you but, hey, I’m a journalist, (in my own mind, at least.)…”Documents Raise Fresh Doubts About In Cold Blood Accuracy.” Truman Capote’s book detailing “the brutal 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a successful farmer from Holcomb, Kansas, his wife, and two of their four children” was nothing short of a literary explosion back in 1966. Classified by the author himself as a novel, the narrative was nonetheless touted to be a thoroughly accurate account of one of the nation’s most horrific crimes, from Richard "Dick" Hickock’s and Perry Smith’s detailed planning to their hangings on April 14, 1965, in Lansing, Kansas. Part of Capote’s sudden renown, among readers and critics alike, lie in the fact that In Cold Blood was in a very real sense a kind of new literary form; a novel told as non-fiction and true to events down to the last detail. And, if it’s not that true, then what do lit proff’s do about teaching Truman? I kind of hope we don't Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Moldman’s Ten Favorite Harry Truman Quotes. What, you don’t keep lists of your favorite quotes from American Presidents? Have you no patriotism?

The buck stops here. (Everybody’s heard it, not many know it was Harry’s.)

If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. ( Another axiom from the former president that’s useful in a broad range of contexts; there have been times the bit of wisdom seems particularly well-suited for a few CBA board members I’ve known.)

A bureaucrat is a Democrat who holds some office that a Republican wants. (Harry was nothing if not a party-line Democrat.)

Nixon is one of the few in the history of this country to run for high office talking out of both sides of his mouth at the same time and lying out of both sides. (Not a big fan of Dick’s.)

I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell. (Not true—everybody in the country, including little kids on the playground, knew he gave a ration of horse-doo to General Douglas Macarthur.)

It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose yours. (I can think of only one former president more qualified to wax philosophic about economic calamity and that was Harry’s boss.)

My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there’s hardly any difference. (Far and away Truman’s best known quote, probably because it keeps getting truer and truer. Thought had he said “banjo-player” bluegrass music might be a more widely accepted genre today.)

Richard Nixon is a no good, lying bastard. He can lie out of both sides of his mouth at the same time, and if he ever caught himself telling the truth, he’d lie just to keep his hand in. (Became even less of a fan as the years wore on.)

When even one American who has done nothing wrong is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth then all Americans are in peril. (Truman’s stance on the commie-peril craziness of the early fifties was never in question and in the final analysis was partly responsible for the esteem in which he’s held today.)


You and I are stuck with the necessity of taking the worst of two evils or none at all. So I’m taking the immature Democrat as the best of the two. Nixon is impossible. (Not a big Kennedy fan either, but Harry S. was, at his core, a pragmatist. Oh, did I say he was also not one to mince words?)





February 13, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--In January, 2006 and again in January, 2007, Bakersfield, internationally known for its Country/Western music, became known, for two short but wonderful weekends, as the Winter Wonderland of Bluegrass. Lost and Found, the Wilders, Donner Mountain, the Cherryholmes Family, the Grasscals, Special Consensus, Due West, Blue Highway, Nashville Mandolin Ensemble, the Mighty Crows, the Brothers Barton, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, J.D. Crowe and the New South, the Isaacs, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Audie Blaylock and Redline, Hillman And Pedersen, the Bluegrass Brothers, the Laurie Lewis Band and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. It was called SUPERGRASS because, well, it just was. Click here.

An awfully nice way to start the day--Got up this morning to check the Message Board and found this…” Just got word from J.D.'s kid that the old man spent four hours in surgery, the deed was done, he's back in his room, awake and cracking jokes, and oggling the nurses. (We're not surprised by any of this, are we?) The brain hardware was implanted today...the tricky part...and reaches from the top of his cranium to the base of his skull. The rest of it...battery pack, transceiver and who knows what else...will be implanted under his collar bone in two weeks in an out-patient procedure. Friends, we have a lot to be thankful for.” (I think Cornish meant to write “for which to be thankful” but, other than that, a perfectly enjoyable little post.) Here’s to Mr. Mountain Man!

Fridays soon to become even sciencier--First, yes, in fact, ‘”sciencier” is an actual word. Look it up. Second, more than a couple of times I’ve mentioned stuff here at the Mold that I first got wind of on NPR’s Science Friday. Usually very good stuff on the show, dumbed down enough for me to understand and enjoy, which for years now has made Friday’s a little better than most other days. (Of course it was one of my favorites even before that, what with the whole weekend thing going for it.) Well, I’ve just discovered that Friday’s will be the day of the week that , ‘My New Video Science Series: TWIST’, (the ‘my’ is Carin Bondar, a pretty famous biologist), will start running. The first one’s already up and it passed the Mold Man Test…For the entire 5 minutes and 21 seconds I remained unbored (also an actual word) and unconfused. Click here.

And how’s this for a segway--Bill Nye, the Science Guy, did a little reporting this morning on one of the items included in the debut TWIST mentioned above. Several of the wire services are carrying his, Asteroid 2012 DA14 Will Miss Earth By Just 15 Minutes . Hmm, fifteen minutes, Good think earth didn’t stop for a carton of milk on the way home from work. Click here.

Rita’s Little Boat--Most mornings before posting the day’s Mold I peruse the news and scan through Facebook. This a.m. I spotted a quite nice little review of Rita Hosking’s latest recording project and felt it worth sharing. Rita’s a gem nestled in our Northern California Foothills, a true natural resource. Anyway’s, “I've been enjoying this new CD (Little Boat” from Rita Hosking today in the car. "Clean" is my current favorite for it's subtle depth, and quiet intensity, perfectly captured the subtext, and revealed a little more with each listen. "Sierra" bound had me thinking about our own childhood pine tree we climbed at our grandfather's house. "Where Time Is Reigning" brings cowriter and daughter Kora Feder's perspective on the wonder and why of the order of all things. There's plenty more here, including a little boat and a die in the road. The instrumentals are warm and clear and homey and lush. I want these folks playing my personal soundtrack the next time I take a good kong drive in the mountains or a walk in the forest.”

Now this couldn’t hurt our cause--“Acclaimed Bluegrass Underground Wins Emmy Award…Nashville, TN -- January 29th, 2013 - Producers of the acclaimed PBS music concert event series Bluegrass Underground today announced that the series is a proud recipient of a coveted EMMY award from the 27th Annual Mid South Emmy Awards. Click here.

One last Grammy story…I promise--Grammy Award for Old Mountain Music Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY—Five Best Restaurants in Raleigh…I don’t know about you, but before I head off to a new city for an extended stay I do my research and at the top of my list of questions is, where’s the eats. Even though it’s several months away, the IBMA trip next October has already got me looking, to wit…

1. Second Empire Restaurant and Tavern
2. Saint Jacques
3. Angus Barn
4. Bloomsbury Bistro
5. Sullivan's Steakhouse

You can get the skinny on these eateries. Click here.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

MILESTONE--Filmmaker Arthur Penn completes work on BONNIE AND CLYDE in 1968 and the sound track he uses for the epics many cops and robbers chase scene, a little something called "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" recorded by Flatt & Scruggs, gives an almost atomic boost to the popularity of bluegrass. Click here.

And while we’re on the subject--So, just how murderous were these love birds? It was just seven months after Clyde and Bonnie met that the two traveled to Dallas for a visit with the girl’s mom. While having a little nip out in the parking lot at a country dance, Barrows and two associates, otherwise known as henchmen, were approached by two hapless lawmen, Sheriff C.G. Maxwell and his deputy, Eugene C. Moore, and the next thing you knew, the deputy was dead and the sheriff was wounded and the young, two-bit thief was a killer. By the time it was all over just two years later in 1934…you know, the part where the feds make Swiss cheese out of the Model A just outside of Shreveport…Clyde’s kill count for law enforcement officers alone would reach nine souls. How murderous? Pretty dern’d murderous.

Awe inspiring collection of banjo, guitar, and mandolin tabs--Reported by Bob Cherry, the cybergrass.com dude…”Layne Publications Introduces New Bluegrass YouTube Video Channel. SC -- Layne Publications has recently launched their new YouTube channel to help their rapidly increasing pool of students. They are a familiar name in the bluegrass music community as the number one educational platform for bluegrass music fanatics. The website of the company has an awe inspiring collection of banjo, guitar, and mandolin tabs prepared considering the specific requirements of their students.” And remember, Bob never exaggerates. Click here.

The periodic MOLD RANT--‘Pet peeve’ doesn’t come anywhere near conveying my annoyance at huge jams. The other night I drove an hour to a new jam, new for me, and when I arrived I found I was the thirty-first member of the circle. And what I found crazy was that there was a room right next door, unoccupied and obviously meant for entertaining. (Later I found out it ‘hadn’t occurred’ to the host to split.) I’m of the opinion that anything over eight people or so should be bifurcated if at all possible. If I were President of these United Snakes, I’d pass an executive order AND make sure that there was a line item in the federal budget to enforce it.

In an otherwise wasteland of TV junk--Rhonda and Rage coming to you from RFD-TV tomorrow night, 9:30 p.m.

A happier group of mando-nerds you’ve never seen-- Modern Mandolin Quartet Grammy Interview--Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold, my answer to your question from yesterday is that Phil Cornish, Hailey Pexton, A.J. Lee, Marty Varner and Frank Solivan Jr. are all mandolin players and are all second generation pickers. Now, here’s my question to you—how are you gonna maintain your anonymity if you have breakfast with the winner at Grass Valley this June? Will we need to sign some kind of non-disclosure agreement, because, if that’s what you’re planning, I’m down with it? I’m known as the “vault” among my friends. Also, I’m not really a breakfast person so I wouldn’t be running up the tab with steak and eggs and biscuits and waffles and all that stuff. Coffee and a Danish and I’m good to go. Jerry the “Vault” from Millbrae.” Dear Vault Man, you’ve never heard of a disguise?

Eighteen thousand miles an hour/fueled by banks of solar power--“Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield took one small step into the record books on Friday, taking part in the first real-time musical duet from spac4, that is from the observation deck on board the International Space Station. According to Space.com, Hadfield was joined from Earth by his friend and countryman Ed Roberson and members of his band, the Barenaked Ladies, as well as a youth group, the Wexford Gleeks.” This is just the coolest thing I’ve seen on the www in this new year of ours. If you don’t click to anything else this morning, Click here.

THIS JUST IN!--Bruno and the KY Twisters will be at the Atlas Thursday night. Yes. YES! That’s Valentines Day night. Men, do you have any idea of the potentiality for SSL, (sweet, sweet lovin’), inherent in this booking? Bruno and Steve and Nishi and Tom and Frank and Lou have brought more couples together than V-J Day…and the thermal nuclear bomb these guys use ain’t dropped from no thirty-thousand feet. The Atlas offers an intimate setting for the enjoyment of traditional bluegrass music, and what better way for you and your Valentine to get a kick start on intimacy?

And finally, this is a very, very BIG DEAL--Congratulations to the Steep Canyon Rangers on their Bluegrass Album of the Year Grammy Award. The and the other nominees represented our music well to the heathens not yet brought into the light.



February 10, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1974 the GRAND OLE OPRY moves from Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville, TN, where it has been staged since 1943, to a multi-million dollar entertainment complex in the suburbs that is part of the Opryland theme park. Click here.

It’s just common sense…you NEVER buy mixed nuts with peanuts--Every smart shopper on the planet knows this; if the mix has peanuts, 90% of the nuts are going to be peanuts. The same is true of buying snakes in bulk. You never purchase a batch with rat snakes…”Hong Kong customs authorities investigating a shipment from Thailand marked as fruit were shocked to discover the consignment instead contained 2,600 live snakes, officials said Friday. Customs intercepted the air cargo shipment of 2,400 common rat snakes and 200 cobras on Tuesday and returned them on Thursday, a government spokeswoman said, just days before the start of the Year of the Snake in the Chinese horoscope.” Click here.


Public service kind of announcement--“IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Events and hotel reservations will open March 1, 2013, for bluegrass music’s annual industry gathering and family reunion in Raleigh, North Carolina. The five-day event will feature the best in bluegrass networking, showcasing and professional development, with lower prices across the board for all tickets and hotel rates. The IBMA has also announced the schedule for this year's big event.

Get ready to be sick--I do not do politics…AT ALL. And especially not gun politics. And this story is not a political story, nor does it have any political bias…except possibly one: Let surviving families mourn in peace. “Aurora victims harassed by conspiracy theorists In a document filed with the Arapahoe County District Court Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney George Brauchler wrote that conspiracy theorists “have contacted victims in this case, some of whom have even gone so far as to recruit other members of the public to contact the victims and to publicly post maps with the home addresses and phone numbers of the victims on various social media sites.” So why include this story? I’m not sure, to be honest, but part of me says that if decent people know about this somehow, some way, things might change. Click here.

Man of man do I miss that guy-- “In April 2013, Open Records will release a multi-disc collection of 92 never-before-heard recordings from the Watson family archive, compiled and organized by Doc Watson’s daughter Nancy Watson. The collection features rare 1950s recordings of Doc Watson playing electric guitar and original songs by Doc and other members of the family. Also included are songs and stories from the family, recorded by the family themselves, that offer an intimate look into the musical life of this extraordinary family. Collages of hundreds of Watson family photographs dating back over 100 years accompany the collection. Click here for more info and to listen to sample tracks and see samples of the art.“ Click here.

Want to feel really, really, really, really old? So old that it might give you nightmares? ”Hi, I’m Jerry Mathers. Thank you for stopping by my website. We’re going to have a lot of fun. There is going to be a lot of behind the scenes information about Leave it to Beaver, some of my work with Alfred Hitchcock, Bob Hope, Alan Ladd. We’ll talk about all sorts of things from the past but also what I’m doing now and what I’ll be doing in the future. So come back often because it will always be changing. Thanks, bye! Click here.

Bluegrass foreplay before the BIG DAY OF LOVE--Jim Nunally, Bill Evans, Chad Manning, Tom Bekeny, Steve Pottier? I suppose you could find five more talented bluegrass dudes to hang with for an evening, but I’m not sure where. As luck would have it, these guys will be over at the Kensington Circus Pub on the 13th. You might want to consider joining them.


Economic downturn? Not if your name is Greg or Janet Deering--And finally, from where else but the L.A. Times, the daily that keeps its finger on the pulse of the five-string…“Deering Banjo in a groove” is the name of this L.A. Times feature article about the banjo-making couple and the astounding success their hard work has brought them. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear MM, have you read today’s ‘Daily Grist’? Do you know who Harry Von Zell was? If so, can you imagine him saying something like, …"I think that sometimes procrastination gets a bum rap. It’s true that in its meanest, basest form it can reflect one’s unwillingness to take care of business. But procrastination can just as easily signify one’s inner child saying to one’s up-tight, paradigm-driven self, ‘Would ya lay off, please, I’m havin’ a good time here and do not wish to be disturbed.” Just the modern colloquialisms alone are a dead give away that no one in the 1950’s uttered such nonsense, and certainly not George Burns radio announcer. ‘Uptight’? ‘Inner child’? Why this foolishness? Who writes this stuff? Fed Up from Merced.” Well, Fed, I’ll give you one hint. He writes like he dresses.




February 9, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--October, 2004, the hushed ball-room awaits the announcement…”Winner of this year’s IBMA Bluegrass Event of the Year is the California Bluegrass Association”. Male Vocalist that year was Larry Sparks; Female, Rhonda Vincent.

Tis the season--Early February and just like clock work the big eastern festivals begin to announce their lineups. At Gray Wolfe…Dry Branch Fire Squad, Tim O'Brien, Bryan Sutton, Casey Driessen and Mike Bub Jerry Douglas Band, the Infamous Stringdusters, Gibson Brothers, the Duhks, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Della Mae. Oh, who’s playing Grave Valley, you ask? Click here.

Audio visual--Mother Jones is one of those outfits that aren’t universally loved by the generally conservative bluegrass community. I’m not about to try to tell you that, as news organizations go, MJ isn’t left-leaning, but though most of their reportage is aimed at politics, social issues and justice, both their web site and hard-copy magazine are frequently peppered with the arts and culture. “Appalachia, As the Crow Flies; the craftspeople and musicians of Appalachia” is one mighty fine example. A brief story about a new collection of portraits, with CD, of Appalachian craftspeople and musicians by photographer Tim Barnwell, it includes shots of Doc and Colonel Ralph and a bunch of other less-recognizable good old boys and gals. Worth a look…and not a tree-hugger or war-protester in sight. Click here.

Not much trunk space--World's Tiniest Car Click here.

High lonesome and very, very throaty--Bluegrass and Mongolian Throat Singing. Need I say more? Click here.

Not exactly bluegrass but, oh, so nice--Anybody remember Amber Cross? When she was up here in Northern CA she made it to some CBA events, then drifted off. What a powerful and gripping voice she has and, it turns out, what a terrific songwriter she is…wherever she is. "You Can Come In" accompanied by James Moore on lead guitar and Gary Arcemont on bass and back-up Click here.

High lonesome and very, very throaty--Bluegrass and Mongolian Throat Singing. Need I say more? Click here.

The Mystery History Question that just won’t go away--So, really, where did all those dinosaurs go anyway? And why do we care so much? Well, it seems to me the second question’s a whole lot easier to answer. Humans, at least most of us, feel a little self interest when it comes to the subject of extinction…you know, the old ‘if you don’t learn from history’ dictum. Re: the second question, which it seems we’re no closer to having an answer to than we were a hundred years ago…Click here.

From the How-You-Can-Boost-Record-Sales Department--Grammy Awards are this Sunday and all four members of The Special Consensus will be there. Special C was hired to play a festival in Montana this weekend – Big Sky Big Grass, and when the promoters found out the band was nominated for a Grammy, they graciously not only let them out of their Sunday portion of the show but offered up a limousine to take them to the airport and then pick them up on their return for the Monday festival activities. (I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m thinking it couldn’t happen to a nicer buy than Greg Cahill.) In any event, good luck to Special C and the other noms…the Grascals, Steep Canyon Rangers, Noam Pikelny, and Dailey and Vincent.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mr. Moldy, I’m wondering if you can help me. Last month I attended my first ever Great 48 Jam down in Bakersfield. One of the things I liked most about it was the ‘cross pollination’ happening between the two halves of California; kudos to the CBA and the other organizations who helped make this happen. So, to my question—I was in a couple jams with a harmonica player from L.A. Never in my life have I heard anyone play a harp like this guy. He could play every damned note in every damned fiddle tune, and he could play ‘em as fast as anybody cared to. I’d like to contact this guy and see what he’s recorded. Do you know who I mean and, if so, do you have his contact info? Thanks in advance, Duane from Walnut Creek” Dear D from WC, your speaking of David Naiditch, and everything you said about him is true times 10. Hell, times 100. They say that playing the harp ain’t rocket science, but David, who by the way is a rocket scientist, makes it sound like it might be. I heard recently that he’s an odds-on favorite for the WOH ALBUM OF THE YEAR 2012, WHO being, of course, the World of Harmonica. I don’t have specific contact info but he’s definitely on Facebook. Oh and here’s a pretty thorough bio. Click here.



February 8, 2013

MILESTONE--The legendary end of perhaps the most influential partnership in bluegrass music ends in 1969 when Flatt & Scruggs breaka up. Lester Flatt continues playing traditional music, while the Earl Scruggs Revue, featuring Scruggs' two sons, integrates rock and other non-country musical forms into its sound. Click here.

The WTF’s? Chances are you’ve only seen and heard him in one of his Keystone iterations, but this coming Saturday Larry Carlin will be teaming up with a couple of old friends at Murphy's up in Sonoma. These guys, Larry, Don Rich and Doug Adamz, have been playing together in one form or another for twenty years so I guess they’ve earned the right to call their trio any damn thing they want, even The Whutknotts.

17,000,000--Largest Prime Number Known Is 17-Million Digits Long, Mathematician (Discovers)…I won’t say anything more about this because, frankly, one would need to at least know what a prime number is before he’d have any chance of being pithy or ironic. But I figure somebody out there is gonna wanna click to this story. Click here.

You go, girl--If you like the music of Claire Lynch and if you’re lucky enough to have discovered that Clair the person is as cool and full of life as the music she makes, you’ll find this clip heart warming…USA Fellows Celebration for 2012, of which she is one, hosted by Tim Robbins Click here.

Lions and tigers and...banjo pickers? --Ross Nickerson, the crazy-as-bat-crap guy who’s taking a group of banjo players to Africa for a five string workshop/safari…yes, I said banjo players wandering around the African Continent…is actually better known for his playing and his writing. His “The Banjo Encyclopedia” is a comprehensive, in-depth banjo instructional book and CD that covers in depth the intricacies of bluegrass banjo playing, including numerous topics that have been overlooked in banjo instruction to date.” So there! Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--2012 Ig Nobel Prizes Winners…It’s no surprise that this time-honored, nerd-centric event is held during the same timeframe as the Emmys, the Oscars and the Grammies. The competition is pitched, the drama is high and the one-hour lectures given by each of the winners following the ceremony are, well, one hour. In a word, the Ig Nobel Prizes are given each year for unusual or trivial achievements in scientific research. The stated aim of the prizes is to "first make people laugh, and then make them think". The ceremony is held at Harvard University's Sanders Theater, and they are followed by a set of public lectures by the winners. So, without further adieu, the bestest and bizarrist scientific achievement of 2012

The SpeechJammer--A pair of Japanese research scientists won or a device that disrupts a person's speech by repeating his or her own voice at a delay of a few hundred milliseconds. The device created is meant to help public speakers by alerting them if they are speaking too quickly or have taken up more than their allotted time.

Eiffel Tower Optical Illusion Study --Dutch researchers won the psychology prize for studying why leaning to the left makes the Eiffel Tower look smaller.

Dead Fish Brain Activity Detector Four Americans took the neuroscience prize for demonstrating that sophisticated equipment can detect brain activity in, you guessed it, dead fish.

Ponytail Bounce Theorem A British-American team won the physics prize for explaining how and why ponytails bounce.

Groundbreaking Report on…ReportsThe U.S. General Accountability Office won the literature prize for a report about reports.

Coffee Slosh Principle An engineering professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara and one of his graduate students took home the fluid-dynamics prize for research into the sloshing that goes on in a coffee cup as it's carried.

Just exactly why were these achievements deemed prize-worthy? Click here.

I think I’ve got a new favorite bluegrass act--Well, a new favorite up and comer anyways. Says bluegrasstoday.com of Lindsay and the Flatbellys, “This young group based in Lansing, MI has been performing together for about two years, and traces its start to a chance encounter. Founders Lindsay and Josh Rilko met at an open mic at a club. Her background was in classical and pop music, while his was bluegrass. Josh, on mandolin, was already part of a
traditional bluegrass band called the Flatbellys. He says that he and his band mates converted Lindsay to the ways of the bluegrass. Now, the two are married and she is fronting the group. Click here.

And finally--"Singing From the Heart" is the name of the vocal workshop that will be given by Don Rigsby at the Freight and Salvage tomorrow night. (And there aren’t many better authorities on the subject that this guy.) And then Sunday Don will play the Freight with the David Thom Band



February 7, 2013

Note from the Mold Man—IMPORTANT! If you don’t care about cooking, skip now to “Milestones”. Last week I shared an eye-opening slate.com news item on the mystery of cooking good risotto and I announced my intention to give this wonderful Italian dish one last try. I found a recipe that called for oyster, shitake, porcini and chanterelle mushrooms, two cheeses, Romano and goat, and a white wine good enough to serve friends. Armed with the recipe and my Slate article and the freshest of ingredients, I gave it my best shot Saturday night. I won’t say it was the best risotto I’ve ever eaten, but certainly it was among the best for or five…ever. The secret, don’t get impatient and DON’T turn the heat up; doing so burns off the liquid and conspires against ever having suitably soft product.

CBA MILESTONE--On a Saturday morning in June of 1991 a curious thing happened in the little community of Grass Valley, California. When folks tuned in the local public radio station expecting to listen to DJ Erik Rice spin some bluegrass records on his weekly “County Line” show they were surprised to hear instead a live feed from the weekend’s Fathers Day Festival held out at the county fairgrounds. So began a tradition carried on at KVRM for the past twenty-two years. Although early on there were a few who feared that broadcasting the stage acts live would keep locals away from the festival, the reverse proved to be true. Eric’s live broadcasts have done more to raise the awareness of Nevada County folks of our event that any advertising we could possibly do. You can catch Eric’s weekly show online at Click here..

Love that woman-- I don’t know how, but for some reason I got on Peter Thompson’s mailing list and, I’ll tell you what, I’m glad of it. Always been a big fan of his wife’s, and never more than now with her current configuration. Here’s the latest dope from PT…”Just a note to thank all the DJs who have been playing music from the Kathy Kallick Band's latest release, "Time." The title track and the album are both #14 (and climbing) the BU charts, and the response to "Time" has been thrilling for the band. The KKB's 2013 schedule takes them to several parts of the country, and I hope you'll get to experience their fabulous live show. It contains plenty of music from "Time," as well as from their previous hit album, "Between the Hollow & ther High-Rise," earlier Kathy and Good Ol' Persons recordings, classic bluegrass/country, and some new delights. Just check the web site for upcoming dates. Thanks again for all your support & keep on the sunny side, Peter for the Kathy Kallick Band, www.kathykallick.com

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Yo, Moldy, bluegrasstoday.com has announced the winners of the International Band Competition but I’d like to add a few (maybe more than a few) words to the announcement. Competition started with 15 bands. Three eliminated and third round had 12 bands competing. 11 of the 12 bands were what I would call “youth bands”. That means 30 and younger - mostly lots younger. Top ten winners went home with money. And the Top 5 went home with this much money:

5th - $600
4th - $800
3rd - $1,000
2nd - $2,000
1st - $4,000

Not one California band competed. Get with it you California youth bands. Opportunity is knocking for 2014. Bluegrassfully your, Maria Nadauld, Above-the-Bay Booking www.spbgma.com
Click here.

What comes after a trickle? A dribble? No, this is not funny, not funny a bit. The old Mountain Man, aka JD Rhynes, covered this crisis a couple of days ago, focusing on a pal of his back in Nashville. Here’s a broader perspective of the same issue. “As Music Streaming Grows, Royalties Slow to a Trickle” Click here.

Don't it always seem to go, That you don't know what you've got, Till it's gone, They paved paradise, And put up a parking lot--That handful of lost souls who read my column on a regular basis have no doubt concluded that Old Moldy has a penchant for science-related news. (This is owing to the fact that the last science class he successfully completed, with a D- grade, was in junior high school; his deep-rooted sense of inadequacy is somehow salved by reading science stuff he doesn’t quite understand.) But that’s not true of this piece…” Body found under parking lot is King Richard III, scientists prove. Leicester, England (CNN) -- DNA tests have confirmed that human remains found buried beneath an English car park are those of the country's King Richard III. British scientists announced Monday they are convinced "beyond reasonable doubt" that a skeleton found during an archaeological dig in Leicester, central England, last August is that of the former king, who was killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.” This is without question the best post I’ve done since beginning the column in October. If you don’t read the rest of the article I will lose all respect for you. Click here.



February 6, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1957 the Country Gentlemen, one of the first urban bands to play in the bluegrass style, is formed in Washington, D.C. Three years later the band records Poor Ellen Smith. Click here.

Remember the turning point in Rosanne Barr’s career? Between the Presidential Inauguration and the Super Bowl we’ve had our share lately of rousing performances of the Star Spangled banner. But is it really as easy to sing as Beyoncé and Alicia Keys make it seem? Apparently more than a few folks think not…”The National Anthem Is Too Hard To Sing.” Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--From regular bagger Maria Nadauld still back in Nashville…”Dear Moldperson, pretty cool here at Megan’s, (Lynch that is; Maria’s daughter and fiddle phenom), house. She and husband Adam Chowning have started mini-camps. One student at a time comes and lives in for however many days they want and have fiddle and guitar lessons – or just fiddle – or just guitar – throughout the day. Hour or so of lesson then to his/her room to practice. Then another hour lesson. Then play/practice with Adam backing up on guitar. Then more lesson, etc. Then maybe to town in the evenings to see a BG show or jamming with friends who drops by or whatever. Megan cooks three meals a day. Pretty neat set up. The gal we have here now is a vet and is from Australia and came to one of Megan’s group camps last year and then wanted the private experience so came back for private camp. She’s moving to The Grand Caymans next month for her brand new Vet job. She lectures on animal anesthesia and will be working for a vet hospital. Very interesting.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Yesterday’s Moldy Soapbox piece generated a little back-and-forth between a couple loyal readers…First, ”Mold Man, you forgot to mention the older genteel, southern way of "just sayin." As long as you end the remark with "bless her heart!" you can say anything about anybody. Carolyn” Then later in the day, after sharing Carolyn’s comment with friend and noted practitioner of questionable colloquialism critiques, Peter Thompson, I found this in the MMB…“Moldy, Ah, that is so true. I learned this while eating lunch with a couple members of the (REDACTED) Family years ago at MerleFest. They were talking trash about some newgrassy wanker on the stage, but always added the "bless his heart" modifier. They also ended nearly every sentence with, "I tell you what." It took me about 15 minutes to realize that this is simply a type of explanation point, and that no additional telling would be forthcoming. Southern things. Keith can channel this stuff when he's of a mood …” I’m assuming Keith is Keith Little, who, while not being a southerner by birth, spent enough time in Nashville to pick up the natives’ imaginative way of expressing themselves. Hell, I only went there once a year for four or five years and each time came home sounding like Gomer Pile. Just sayin’.

And while we’re doing follow-ups of past Mold items-- “Willie Nelson Renames Tour “Old Farts & Jackass” Tour. Willie Nelson, whose currently on a tour of the east coast that started in Durham, North Carolina on January 18th, and included a performance at the Presidential Inauguration on January 21st, has just renamed his tour the “Old Farts & Jackass” tour. The move comes in response to the controversy over Blake Shelton’s recent comments on a GAC Backstory interview, saying in part: ‘Nobody wants to listen to their grandpa’s music. And I don’t care how many of these old farts around Nashville going, “My God, that ain’t country!” Well that’s because you don’t buy records anymore, jackass. The kids do…’ The somewhat veiled and tongue-and cheek announcement declares Willie Nelson the co-leader of the “Old Fart Party,” and also includes a reference to the ongoing lip-sync controversy involving Beyonce.” Bless his heart, that good ol’ boy Blake Shelton must be as happy as a coon in a tropical fish store with all the attention he’s gittin’. I’ll tell you what…

Our man in Sacto--A few dates worth circling in your calendar from Area VP John Hettinger…

Keith Little & Keith Greninger: February 9, 700 PM, Gold Trail Grange Hall, 319 Hwy 49, Coloma, 530-622-4914, houseconcerts@lotushocuspocus.com, $20.

Natural Drift: February 15, 900 - 1030 PM, Fox & Goose, 1001 R St, Sacramento, 916-443-8625, www.foxandgoose.com. No cover.

Chris Webster & Nina Gerber: February 15, 800 PM, Palms Playhouse, 13 Main St, Winters, 530-795-1825, www.palmsplayhouse.com, $20.

That sweet, sunny south--And why not go out today with another homage to our brothers and sisters in bluegrass who live in the southern portion of this great country of ours. The Muddy Roots Festival held each Labor Day down in Tennessee has just announced its 2013 Official Lineup. A leisurely perusal of this year’s acts will, for the discerning reader, offer more than a little insight into the hearts and minds of folks south of the Mason-Dixon Line…or, in fairness, into the hearts and minds of live music fans in and around Nashville who, after all, you’d expect to be a little eclectic.

Black Flag
Red Simpson
The Monsters
Shooter Jennings
Scott Kelly of Neurosis
Larry & His Flask
Possessed by Paul James
Dale Watson
Deadbolt
Whitey Morgan & The 78's
Greg Garing
Hellbound Glory
Those Poor Bastards
Reverend Beatman
Jack Oblivian
Left Lane Cruiser
Austin Lucas
The Planet Rockers
Hillbilly Casino
Eerie Von
Joe Buck Yourself
Good For You
Bob Wayne & The Outlaw Carnies
The Movie Star Junkies
The Gladezmen
Brownbird Rudy Relic
Los Bastardos Magnificos
The Calamity Cubes
The Goddamn Gallows
Carrie Nation & The Speakeasy
Dad Horse Experience
Joe Huber
Holly Golightly & The Brokeoffs
The Harmed Brothers
Two Man Gentlemen Band
The Tillers
Rickets Pass
Delaney Davidson
Bob Reuter’s Alley Ghost
Otis Gibbs
Dash Rip Rock
Cuttthroat Shamrock
Hangdog Hearts
Carolina Still
Joshua Black Wilkins
Stuck Lucky
Phil Hummer & The White Falcons
Joe Fletcher & The Wrong Reasons
Rachel Brooke
Black Jake & The Carnies
Ten Foot Polecats
Hooten Hallers
John The Conquerer
Ray Lawrence Jr.
Sarah Gayle Meech
Rachel Kate
Grass Crack
The Dead Soldiers
The Broken Spirits
Scott McDougall
Hellfire Revival
Last False Hope
Peewee Moore
White Trash Blues Revival
Psycho Devilles
JB Beverley & Wayward Drifters
Charlie Overby
Filthy Still
Burlesque Le Mustache
Muddy Roots Berlesque Troupe

Once again we have savingcountrymusic.com to thank for this piece of reporting. Oh, I should add that the author of the news story mentioned that some of these acts are bluegrass bands. Can you tell which?

February 5, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--June, 1996, and Doyle Lawson and his band, Quicksilver, take the stage in its new location—within the Nevada County Fairgrounds. For thirty years the festival took place entirely within the campgrounds of the site, with the Fairgrounds proper padlocked. After the very, very wet 1995 “mud-fest” the board made the decision to move the stage, audience area and concessions into the Fairgrounds. Attendees were treated to a sprawling lawn area for their seating, vendor’s row could make use of the amenities used by the county fair each year and a huge tract of land was freed up for additional campers where the old stage area had been. Click here.

Big SoCal news for jammers--Brand new Westside jam starts tonight at the Industry Café and Jazz in Culver City. What will make this particular bluegrass jam a little different than most we write about here in the Moldy News are its hours…7:30 p.m til DAWN.

THE MOLD SOAP BOX--The Mold Man’s current most detested catch phrase in the popular vernacular is “just sayin’”. If I never hear another person say these words I will die a happy curmudgeon. So what is ‘just sayin’ even supposed to mean? The Urban Dictionary takes a stab at the answer…

1. A phrase used to diffuse any ill feelings caused by a preceded remark. (sort of like a mentos). “Dude, your girl has cankles…just sayin’.”

2. A term coined to be used at the end of something insulting or offensive to take the heat off you when you say it. “Honey, you’ve really let yourself go. I think you need to go to the gym. Just Sayin’.”

3. This term is used after you inject your statement/opinion into a conversation. Generally, this statement/opinion is non-factual, so by saying “just sayin’”, you are clarifying that this statement/opinion is unprovable and it is just a thought off the top of your head. “Bill: So, what are your thoughts on Chrissy?
Dean: Honestly, I think she’s pretty stupid lookin’.
Dean: Just sayin’.
Bill: Truth.”

4. As a phrase it is used to emphasize a point, conclude a statement, or to generally annoy. This phrase was coined and is frequently used by members of Open Mind, a popular MySpace Group. “There are some funny people in that group. Just sayin’.”

5. This often rage-inducing saying is typically preceded by a blatantly honest statement that’s likely to insult at least one person with it’s cold, bitter truth. Frequent usage of this saying can spread it’s use like a highly aggressive plague, eventually saturating almost all conversations, particularly on the Internet where anonymity encourages impolite truths.

I urge everyone who reads these words today to resist the temptation to ever again in your life utter the phrase “just sayin’.” You will be a better person for it.
Righteously

Prepare for ship to come in…repeat, prepare for ship to come in--If you’re like the old Mold Man you’ve probably spend a portion of your day-dreams trying to conjure up a scheme for actually making a living on bluegrass music. Right, a little like spinning gold from hay. But wait! Here’s an ad I just happen to spot at bluegrasstoday.com…”BLUGRASS PUBLISHING BUSINESS FOR SALE: Established national brand; perfect home business; 20 years in business.” That’s it. I mean, that’s ALL OF IT. Nothing more. But there is a click to send an email for more information. And that email address is bluegrassbiz12@aol.com.

Yep, all the nominees are winners but, let’s get real; winning is just friggin’ cool--2013 SPBGMA Award Winners have been announced. A few of the hightlights…Guitar Player of the Year – Josh Williams; Fiddle Player of the Year – Hunter Berry; Female Vocalist of the Year (Contemporary) – Rhonda Vincent; Entertainer of the Year – Rhonda Vincent. Just a coincidence that the highlights selected by the Mold team are all performers scheduled to play at the Fathers Day Festival this year? Nope, I don't think so. But there were some other winners and you should have a look. Click here.

Skyping your way to good health--I don’t know…I guess it’s because I’ve become so damned old, but anymore when I spot something in the news that just might possibly be good news about health care in America, (and we all know how rare a phenomena that is), I’m immediately inclined to share it with my dear readers. Hence, Your phone will soon be your new doctor…Your phone will soon be your new doctor. Imagine a day when your phone has all of your health information. It knows your goals, your time horizons and what activities you need to focus on to achieve those goals. It knows your schedule, whether you like to do things alone or in groups and who you like to train with. It knows what you eat, how much you’ve slept and all of your vital signs in real-time. Click here.
February 4, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1953 the Martha White Flour Company begins sponsoring a weekly radio show featuring Flatt & Scruggs on WSM in Nashville. Click here.

Why Old-Time? I don't know Geff Crawford…never met the man…but I’ll tell you this, each month when that old boy comes out with one of his Old-Time Rambler columns here on the CBA web site I click right over to see what he’s come up with this time around. Yup, he’s a good enough writer and, yup, being a bluegrass firebrand most of my adult life I can use some schooling in the Old-Times ways, but my main reason, I think, for liking Geff’s monthly essays is that they clearly come from his heart. That boy flat out loves old-time music and he’s got a way of telling about it that makes that love come out. Just finished reading this month’s offering, “Why Old-Time” and I recommend it. Click here.

Cheaper than an ADT Home Security System and you’re supporting your local enconomy--Each Friday I receive, along with everybody else on her mailing list, an email called “It’s Friday” from Brijet Neff. One of the items caught my eye the day before yesterday…”HOW TO INSTALL A SOUTHERN HOME SECURITY SYSTEM--1. Go to the Goodwill and buy a pair of size 14-16 men's work boots, 2. Place them on your front porch, along with a copy of Guns and Ammo Magazine. 3. put four giant dog dishes next to the boots and magazines. 4. Leave a note that reads....’Bubba, Me and Marcel, Donnie Ray and Jimmy Earl went for more ammo. Back in an hour. Don't mess with the pit bulls. They got the mailman this morning and messed him up bad. I don't think Killer took part, but it was hard to tell from all the blood. Anyway, I locked all four of 'em in the house. Better wait outside. Be right back, Cooter.’”

MOLDY MAIL BAG--SPBGMA report for Mold Man’s Nashville eyes and ears…” Dear M, I was oh so excited when I walked in the doors of the Sheraton Music City in Nashville today. Looked to me like twice the number of attendees as last year. Could it be that some folks are thinking they won’t be going to Raleigh so better get their yearly bluegrass partying in at SPBGMA? Here’s the realization that hit me like a ton of bricks today……There was not one single young person in the concert room watching the bands perform. All white hairs and no hairs. But do not be dismayed. Every nook and cranny in the hallways was filled with young people – very young people – playing some of the best bluegrass you’ve ever heard. I swear those kids are no older than 15 or 16. Devotedly yers, Maria Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking...www.abovethebaybooking.com”

Comb your hair and strand up straight!--You know, of course, that people decide who you are, how useful you are as a person, essentially your worth as a human being, before you ever open your mouth, right? Huh, you didn’t know that? Watch this TED talk from Amy Cuddy called “Your body language shapes who you are” and then try to have a good rest of the day. Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Stupid Theories About Movies. Readers are granted permission to process this MOLD item in in Quick-Scan Mode.

1. The Shining (1980) The Theory: This film is Stanley Kubrick's way of admitting to faking the moon landings.

2. Ghostbusters (1984) The Theory: The Ghostbusters die after crossing the streams, and the scene where they are celebrated by the city is the last piece of glory they receive before passing on.

3. Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986) The Theory: Ferris and Sloan aren't real, and are a figment of Cameron's imagination.

4. Batman (1989) The Theory: The Joker didn't actually kill Batman's parents, and Batman only sees the face of his parent's killer in every criminal he sees.

5. Radio Flyer (1992) The Theory: The brother actually dies at the end.

6. The Theory: The events of Alien 3 were all a dream of Ripley's while she was still in hyper-sleep.

7. Wes Craven's New Nightmare (1994) The Theory: The events of New Nightmare don't take place in the Real World, but in the "Beautiful Place" Kristen sends Nancy at the end of NOES

8. Scream (1996) The Theory: There was a third killer, who was Dewey.

9. The Big Lebowski (1998) The Theory: Donny is an old Vietnam buddy of Walter's, and is part of his imagination.

10. Minority Report (2002) The Theory: The ending was all imagined by John, while still trapped in captivity.

You’re invited to visit the web site where the compiler of these crack-pot hyperlations opines on their respective plausibility. If you decide to click over, please don’t bring along any high expectations. Click here.

Well, it’s music, dammit, so I’m going to report it--27th Annual KPFA Grateful Dead Marathon! Hosted by David Gans, featuring exclusive new music premieres by the Mickey Hart Band, live in-studio performance by Sycamore Slough String Band, rare live and studio recordings and more! February 4, 9 am to 1 am

February 3, 2013

Note to MOLD Readers…Mandarin, the intern charged with monitoring the contents of the Moldy Mail Bag, alerted me to the fact that it was starting to bulge at the seams and made an interesting suggestion. Why not do a column’s worth of letters and give old Moldy a day off. Now, there’s nothing I hate more than good ideas that someone else has hatched, but, for the sake of getting a little break from the daily grind I’m going with the kid’s idea.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--First another note from Mrs. Rittenhouse…”Dear Mr. Mold, today, you probably realize, is Groundhog Day, which to my mind is one of the best holidays in the year, for so many reasons: you don't need to have a family, a spouse, a date, or special shoes. You don't have to send cards, go shopping, give presents, dress up, or decorate. There's no holiday media blitz, no pre- or post- sales events. I've never heard any Groundhog Day songs sung by dopey pop singers in spandex, cherubic children, or animatronic chipmunks.

But--and note bluegrass-/old-timey-related content here -- there's "Ground Hog," recorded by, among others, the (Doc) Watson Family and the Dillards. All that's needed for the holiday is a groundhog somewhere in Pennsylvania (or elsewhere) to crawl out of its burrow and to see its shadow. Or not. What could be simpler? And who doesn't like Marmota monax? (Which is why I have initiated an annual Groundhog Day Jam. Waffles, coffee, and scotch are served. But no groundhog--though according to the song mentioned above, it's some kind of a rustic delicacy).

Want to know more about this underrated holiday? Here's what I learned from, yes, Wikipedia: In celebration of Groundhog Day in Pennsylvania Dutch country, gatherings (fersommlinge) are held at the local Grundsow Lodge. Amusing speeches are made, jokes are told, and skits are skitted, all in Pennsylvania Dutch/German dialect. Penalties (a nickel or a dime a word) for speaking in English are collected. I don't know if they sing "Ground Hog," but it seems that it's traditional to sing "My Country 'Tis of Thee," again in Pennsylvania German. Think I'm making any of this up? Nuh-uh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groundhog_Day. I particularly enjoy the "Predictions of various groundhogs since 2008." Sure, we all know Punxsutawney Phil -- but what about Mount Joy Minnie, Balzac Billie, Queen Charlotte, Sir Walter Wally, and good old Staten Island Chuck? Note: the accuracy of these lovable rodents' weather predictions is, er, not really so hot. That's all from me for now, Mold Man. Best wishes to you and a very happy Groundhog Day. Mrs. Rittenhouse” Dear Mrs. R, I hope you don’t mind that I’ve shared your treatise with the world…my teeny-weeny little slice of it, anyway. Re: Groundhog recordings, my favorite’s always been Red Allen’s version. But here’s the link you sent. All the best, the Mold Man
Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, I’m quite sure that there’s someone more appropriate to whom to ask this question, but in reading your column most days I’m finding that your absolute candor and disdain for pussy-footing around sensitive issues is refreshing. So I’ll ask you…will last year’s Fathers Day Festival Dog Pilot Program be continued this year? My husband and I don’t have dogs ourselves, but some dear friends of ours, Snow Birds, travel with their two beagles and have expressed an interest in coming to the Grass Valley Festival if their two “boys” can come. By the way, I like reading most of the material in your daily column but am especially fond of your Mold Lists. Keep up the good work. All the best, Iron Lizzy” Dear Iron, yes, the Fathers Day Festival Dog Pilot is, I’m happy to report, now called the Fathers Day Festival Dog Program, meaning there is no longer anything pilot about it. However, folks who avail themselves of this new feature at Grass Valley are cautioned to read very, very carefully the rules developed for governing doggie attendance. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Yo Mold Dude, Well, you got me riled up, blood’s getting’ near boilin’. Last week you had a story about this super-fabulistic country singer, Blake Shelton, who described fans of real country music, you know the good old stuff, as ‘old farts and jackasses.’ Kinda set me off, if you know what I mean, me bein’ one of ‘em he was describing. And you also told us about something I never heard of before, a web site called savingcountrymusic.com. Well, I checked it out and now I’m going there a lot. Here’s a thing that ran there yesterday…’Garth Brooks & The Super Bowl’s Lip-Sync Legacy…It seems somewhat fitting that a lip-syncing controversy would grip the latest Presidential Inauguration. The underfunding of arts and music in education from the federal level down has caused such a deficiency in both talent and musical appreciation throughout the country, it’s no wonder we lean on technology to deliver on the American promise of unattainable perfection.’ You should tell people who read your news column to go have a look at this…pretty funny and I’m guessing true. All the best to you, No-Old-Fart Kevin in Monterey” Dear No-Fart, I agree, I’m going to the SCM web site more and more. Good writers with a CAUSE. Click here.

February 2, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--With a total of 27, Alison Krauss holds the record for the most Female Vocalist of the Year Grammys, so is it any wonder that in 1996 she and her band, Union Station, headlined at the single biggest Fathers Day Festival ever? For the first and only time, the Association was forced to rent space from a rancher on the other side of McCord Road to accommodate over-flow parking. Alison’s big hit that year? Baby, Now that I’ve Found You. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--This from Mr. JD Rhynes, who is quickly moving up the ladder toward Chief Nashville Correspondent…” Your Moldyness; I had occasion to speak with my friend Rich Adler in Nashville last night. For many years Rich owned Soundwave Recording Studio, but sadly due to lack of business he was forced to shut it down a couple years ago. That is a shame, because Rich is one of the top two or three sound engineers in the business. Not only did Rich engineer some the best bluegrass recordings in history, in years past he recorded artists like Dolly Parton, Count Basie, and Duke Ellington just to name a few. He told me that there is not one sound recording studio on music Row anymore, and there are only two or three in the whole city of Nashville that the major labels use. So basically what Rich said is this, the recording industry is dead in Nashville, and we will never see it again like it was our lifetime. There are several mitigating factors that precipitated this turn of events, but the biggest one is the free music that's available on the Internet. Plain and simple. It is a shame that one of the finest sound engineers in the history of the music is now managing a tree farm, instead of doing what he loves to do, mainly record award-winning records for bluegrass bands. The music industry as a whole is in a sad state of affairs, and I don't look for it to get better in my lifetime. The basic underlying problem in my opinion is one basic facet of human nature, that facet being greed. Your devoted fan JDRhynes

A little friendly competition--From the Chicago Tribune…”Take your picker--Student and teacher vying for bluegrass album Grammy. Chicago has gotten its bluegrass due with this year's Grammy nominations. Noam Pikelny and Greg Cahill — two players with strong local connections — are competing in the best bluegrass album category. Pikelny, a Skokie native currently based in Brooklyn, is nominated for his solo release "Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail." Cahill, born and raised in Chicago, is an original member of the Special Consensus, the local bluegrass outfit nominated for the release "Scratch Gravel Road." (The other members of the Special Consensus are David Thomas, Rick Faris and Dustin Benson.)” Click here.

Now, please, just take a deep breath and be patient. Patient…I said p a t I e n t--Risotto is a type of Italian rice dish cooked in broth to a creamy consistency. The broth can be meat, fish, or vegetable-based. Lots of risottos contain Parmesan cheese, butter, and onion. There’s one additional factoid that’s essential to any explanation of risotto, and that’s that it is harder than hell to make, at least to make right, since its signature characteristic…its creaminess…can only be attained through a chemical process that requires great time and patience, neither of which the Mold Man is known for. Anyways, I’m including this piece today in the MOLD because I am absolutely determined, utterly committed, to finally creating a risotto that is in all respects good and because I have found that my chances of achieving a personal goal are dramatically increased if I make a public profession of my oath. So, dammit, I’m oathing right here and now. Please, somebody ask me how the risotto came out on Monday. Oh, and here’s the recipe I’ll be using. Click here.

Your week in Bay Area bluegrass--At least if we can believe Peter Thompson…

Feb. 1: Canyon Johnson - Plough and Stars, SF
Feb. 4: Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys - Amnesia, SF
Feb. 5: Bean Creek - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Feb. 6: Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Feb. 6: Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
Feb. 7: Dix Bruce & Julie Cline - Atlas Cafe, SF
Feb. 7: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Ten Most Common Themes Found in Recurring Dreams…

Losing things
Flying
Nakedness in a public place
Being held back or failing in school
Being visited by the dearly departed
Finding new rooms in one's house
Not being able to find a toilet
Being unable to turn on the lights in one's house
Losing control of a car
Having one’s teeth fall out.

Believe it or not I picked up this little tidbit from Cornish’s Welcome column yesterday. I rarely read the scratchings of the so-called CBA web master but something caught my attention last evening so I had a look. No, the drivel he wrote about his own dreams is about as interesting as reading a voter registration role but I did find the common themes in recurring dreams of passable interest. Now, I’m NOT recommending this, but if you’re so inclined you can read the Welcome from yesterday yourself. Click here.

Wanna talk about some tight harmonies? he Last of the Andrews Sisters Has Died at 94… Patty Andrews, the lead singer of the Andrews Sisters, one of the earliest and most popular girl groups of the last century, died yesterday at the age of 94. Click here.








February 1, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1958 three pals, Mike Seeger, John Cohen, and Tom Paley, decide they’re going to revise some old-time string band tunes from the twenties and thirties and the history-making New Lost City Ramblers is founded. Here’s a remarkable clip of the band being introduced by none other than Pete Seeger. Click here.

Why tails? What better question for a Thursday morning? Come on, now, be honest, you’ve never wondered about this? No? Really? All right then, dammit, don’t click. Click here.

Sacramento Valley places to be--And who knows better the places to be in the Sacto area if you’re a bluegrasser than John Hettinger, the hard working area vice president, who, truth be told, sets the pace for the twelve other vp’s. Anywho, John just posted his area newsletter and it’s chalked with February show dates, not to mention a pretty excellent overview of what’s coming once bluegrass season starts in a couple month. Yes, my friends, I said A COUPLE MONTHS and we’ll be ready to start all over again,,,the 2013 Bluegrass Season…kinda rolls off the old tongue, don't it? Click here.

Opening act? You gotta be kidding--Hard to believe, but a mere half century ago the Beatles were billed as an opening band. According to slate.com, which is running a series of stories on the Fab-Four, “They were about to set out on what would become a grueling year of touring, and, on their first tour, they were listed dead-last on a six-band bill. The headliner was the far more popular Helen Shapiro, who was only 16 or 17 years old.” Continue? Click here.

Bet you didn’t know this--We offer another episode in the continuing story of luthier Jon Franke’s 100th violin wherein he attempts to explain the inexplicable…”Since wood is not consistent from one piece to another, violin makers use methods to get the potential out of each piece of wood. Methods include monitoring the weight, translucency, specific gravity, thickness, flexibility, and the natural resonate frequencies of the plates. The dark curved lines in the photo are the nodal lines of a natural frequency of the top for violin #100. The top is being vibrated over a speaker. Glitter is sprinkled over the top. The black lines are glitter that pool at the nodal lines. This same frequency info was available to Stradivari by taping the plate and listening to the plate ring. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Now, this is a strange one…maybe the strangest letter yet. “Dear Mandarin Montage, I am Isabel Gülck living of Bergen auf Rügen, state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, country of Germany. Last week I am surfen im Internet too look for rezepte for to cook chicken with mandarin orange for husband for birthday and find Mandarin Montage with link to something mold. I think maybe bad fruit we say verschimmelten Lebensmitteln but find http://cbaontheweb.org/#mold_news and looking to see I find Bill Monroe and ahhh, we know this name and this music and we love. Please explain this, Mandarin Montage. alles Gute, Isabel Gülck (I be not other Isabel Gülck who was Miss Deutschland of 2012, but some say just as gut aussehend” Dear Ms. Gülck, I am responding for Mandarin, who is our student intern here at MOLD Central and not, as I believe you’ve already ascertained, moldy fruit. It appears that while looking for a recipe calling for Mandarin oranges you stumbled upon the web site of the California Bluegrass Association and there discovered our little daily news feature. How lovely, and better still because, if I understood correctly, you like the music of Bill Monroe, who we call the Father of Bluegrass Music. All in all, Ms. Gülck, quite a happenstance…or in your language, zufall.

LRB to NCA thanks to CTE-- Oh, sorry, I’m reading the new Scientology tell-all, “Going Clear”, and that L. Ron did have a fancy for acronyms. LRB is Lonesome River Band, NCA is Northern California and CTE is Chairman Tim Edes. Tim’s bringing the band out west for his once-each-year Night at the Grange Show, February 23 and we’re just getting wind of some other gigs the band’s line up. On February 22, the night before the South Bay date, the Lonesome River Band will play in concert at the Palms Playhouse, (www.palmsplayhouse.com.) Last year the LRB celebrated their 30th anniversary with three albums, Chronology, Volumes One -- Three. This mega group continues its reputation as one of the most respected names in bluegrass music. Longtime band member & four-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, Sammy Shelor, has put together a wealth of talent that includes Brandon Rickman on guitar, Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, Barry Reed on bass, & Randy Jones on mandolin. In short, five guys who know what this music is supposed to sound like.

Yesterday was D-Day--Designated Daughters Day. No, really, it was --Bob Cherry over at cybergrass.com reported yesterday that “Daughters of Bluegrass around the world will be celebrating the global premier of their 69 song Pickin' Like A Girl box set when Kyle Cantrell lowers the needle launching 133 of the most talented ladies EVER out into orbit!” Wondering what this is all about? Click here.

January 31, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--By the time one millennium ends and another begins, the California Bluegrass Association, not to mention its signature event, the Fathers Day Festival at Grass Valley, has seen some changes since its birth in 1976. Things are bigger, more complicated…problems loom larger, opportunities, more promising, and in 2001, the CBA board appoints as FDF Director the person they believe can meet the challenges of the new century head-on. His name is Montie Elston and he will serve with enormous distinction for a decade. Click here.

The MOLD Soapbox--I don't know how he’s done it, but Joe Gigliano, store manager of the SAVMART grocery store I frequent, has trained his checkers to ALWAYS ask the customer if she or he has a S.H.A.R.E.S card before they start ringing up the items. S.H.A.R.E.S stands for Supporting Humanities, Arts, Recreation, Education & Sports and somehow the CBA has wheedled its way into the program and actually gets a tiny bit of money each time an Association member answers ‘yes’ and hand the checker her or his card. Now, I say a ‘little bit’ of money because, in truth, the amount really is quite small. But that said, it doesn’t require a certified public account to run the numbers and discover that if just ten percent…just one in ten…families who belong to the CBA used a S.H.A.R.E.S card when they bought their weekly groceries the Association would make a big sack of cash, cash I can almost guarantee you, that would be used to keep festival ticket prices down. I can visualize at least a couple of you thinking, hmm a way to support bluegrass, help keep events affordable and feel like a good person, all without contributed zero money and zero time. But, how do I get one of these card? Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mr. Mold, I happened upon this article in yesterday's (January 27) New York Times, and I thought that you might find it of interest and perhaps even MOLD-worthy: Study Links Aging in Brain to Sleep-Related Memory Decline http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/health/brain-aging-linked-to-sleep-related-memory-decline.html?hp&_r=0. Let me add that I very much enjoy the MOLD, and I think you do a great job of informing, entertaining, and perhaps occasionally outraging your readers. You have yet to outrage or offend me, but you do make me laugh out loud on a regular basis, which is very good medicine. It's largely because of your column that I've gone from only occasionally checking out the CBA site, mostly for the calendar listing, to visiting it almost daily, and I always read the MOLD. I've wanted to send you a note of appreciation for some time now, so here it is. (FYI, I'm a new CBA member, having joined in November. I have no idea who you are and am quite sure we've never met. And, like you, I prefer to remain incognito in certain contexts, thus the use below of one of my several AKAs). I also appreciate that you include coverage of all kinds of music and I enjoy your non-music-related items, as well. As for those who don't, well, as they say, illegitimi non carborundum; and it's easier to obtain forgiveness than permission. Sincerely, Mrs. Rittenhouse” Dear Mrs. Rittenhouse, thank you for the suggested news item and for letting me know you read the daily MOLD column. You bring the total of people who I know read the stuff to eight. Seven was enough to keep me writing…who knows, the addition of another pair of eyes might inspire me to start proofing. I make no promises on that score, however.

Just one more reason you might want to reconsider all this effort you’re expending--I mean, really, admit it; all these visits to this specialist and that specialist, endless trips to the pharmacy, swearing off one favorite food after another, tread-milling when you’d rather be doing…I don’t know, just about anything else. And for what? So you can forget who’s trying to screw over whom in Downton Abby from one week to the next? Thank you Mrs. Rittenhouse for backing up with scientific investigation what we only suspected…that as we get older a good night’s sleep is harder to come by, which depletes the brain’s ability to remember, which causes us to forget more and more, which is just one more thing to worry about late at night instead of sleeping. We refer to this as a closed circle, just one of many in which we find ourselves orbiting in that long trudge from cradle to grave . Click here.

Happy, happy birthday--It’s hard to believe that this year’s San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival will celebrate its fourteenth birthday in 2013. The event, which takes place at venues all over the San Francisco Bay Area, will start on February 7th and continue through the 17th. It features a rich and unique blend of concerts, dances, children's shows and workshops and, of course club dates just about everywhere you can think of. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of planet earth’s undisputed hot spots for our kind of music…little wonder that the SFBOT Festival was born and raised right here in Northern California. Click here.


January 30, 2013


CBA MILESTONE--By the time one millennium ends and another begins, the California Bluegrass Association, not to mention its signature event, the Fathers Day Festival at Grass Valley, has seen some changes since its birth in 1976. Things are bigger, more complicated…problems loom larger, opportunities, more promising, and in 2001, the CBA board appoints as FDF Director the person they believe can meet the challenges of the new century head-on. His name is Montie Elston and he will serve with enormous distinction for a decade. Click here.

The MOLD Soapbox--I don't know how he’s done it, but Joe Gigliano, store manager of the SAVMART grocery store I frequent, has trained his checkers to ALWAYS ask the customer if she or he has a S.H.A.R.E.S card before they start ringing up the items. S.H.A.R.E.S stands for Supporting Humanities, Arts, Recreation, Education & Sports and somehow the CBA has wheedled its way into the program and actually gets a tiny bit of money each time an Association member answers ‘yes’ and hand the checker her or his card. Now, I say a ‘little bit’ of money because, in truth, the amount really is quite small. But that said, it doesn’t require a certified public account to run the numbers and discover that if just ten percent…just one in ten…families who belong to the CBA used a S.H.A.R.E.S card when they bought their weekly groceries the Association would make a big sack of cash, cash I can almost guarantee you, that would be used to keep festival ticket prices down. I can visualize at least a couple of you thinking, hmm a way to support bluegrass, help keep events affordable and feel like a good person, all without contributed zero money and zero time. But, how do I get one of these card? Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mr. Mold, I happened upon this article in yesterday's (January 27) New York Times, and I thought that you might find it of interest and perhaps even MOLD-worthy: Study Links Aging in Brain to Sleep-Related Memory Decline http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/28/health/brain-aging-linked-to-sleep-related-memory-decline.html?hp&_r=0. Let me add that I very much enjoy the MOLD, and I think you do a great job of informing, entertaining, and perhaps occasionally outraging your readers. You have yet to outrage or offend me, but you do make me laugh out loud on a regular basis, which is very good medicine. It's largely because of your column that I've gone from only occasionally checking out the CBA site, mostly for the calendar listing, to visiting it almost daily, and I always read the MOLD. I've wanted to send you a note of appreciation for some time now, so here it is. (FYI, I'm a new CBA member, having joined in November. I have no idea who you are and am quite sure we've never met. And, like you, I prefer to remain incognito in certain contexts, thus the use below of one of my several AKAs). I also appreciate that you include coverage of all kinds of music and I enjoy your non-music-related items, as well. As for those who don't, well, as they say, illegitimi non carborundum; and it's easier to obtain forgiveness than permission. Sincerely, Mrs. Rittenhouse” Dear Mrs. Rittenhouse, thank you for the suggested news item and for letting me know you read the daily MOLD column. You bring the total of people who I know read the stuff to eight. Seven was enough to keep me writing…who knows, the addition of another pair of eyes might inspire me to start proofing. I make no promises on that score, however.

Just one more reason you might want to reconsider all this effort you’re expendingI mean, really, admit it; all these visits to this specialist and that specialist, endless trips to the pharmacy, swearing off one favorite food after another, tread-milling when you’d rather be doing…I don’t know, just about anything else. And for what? So you can forget who’s trying to screw over whom in Downton Abby from one week to the next? Thank you Mrs. Rittenhouse for backing up with scientific investigation what we only suspected…that as we get older a good night’s sleep is harder to come by, which depletes the brain’s ability to remember, which causes us to forget more and more, which is just one more thing to worry about late at night instead of sleeping. We refer to this as a closed circle, just one of many in which we find ourselves orbiting in that long trudge from cradle to grave . Click here.

--It’s hard to believe that this year’s San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival will celebrate its fourteenth birthday in 2013. The event, which takes place at venues all over the San Francisco Bay Area, will start on February 7th and continue through the 17th. It features a rich and unique blend of concerts, dances, children's shows and workshops and, of course club dates just about everywhere you can think of. The San Francisco Bay Area is one of planet earth’s undisputed hot spots for our kind of music…little wonder that the SFBOT Festival was born and raised right here in Northern California. Click here.


January 29, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s July of 2003 and regular visitors to cbaontheweb.org log on to find a brand new feature…something called “Hooked on Bluegrass”. Lisa Burman, veteran of the Crooked Jades, (then in its infancy), explains how she’d been listening to a record at a friends house by a band called, "Fiddlestix" (Cactus Bob, Prairie Flower, Sara Elizabeth Campbell, etc.) when in college. So I started going to Strawberry Bluegrass Festival in '84. I later saw Jerry Douglas on stage, and that was that...” She was hooked. Since that first story was submitted to the web team, over two hundred and seventy more have been added to the web-based collection. Have you told your story yet? Click here.

Holy sticker price, Batman!--Associated Press on slow news day…”Batmobile Sells for $4.2 Million…But it can’t even fly. The Batmobile that featured in the 1960s Batman TV series sold at auction for $4.2 million. The Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. in Scottsdale, AZ sold the 19-foot-long car to a bidder whose name has not been released. The Batmobile was actually a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car that was transformed for the television show. A publicist said that the car’s previous owner was pleased with the auction result.”

So, you say you’re in a bluegrass band and you and the crew are thinking it’s time for a little national exposure--Well, it just so happens that International Bluegrass Music Association is looking for a few good bands…right around 50 of them, to showcase at the very first World of Bluegrass to take place in Raleigh. Interested? Click here.

She’s nothing if not alliterate--From Masha Goodman Crawford…”February 9, 16, 23: Kirkwood Inn - Live music from the era of Log cabins and Outlaws, played in one of California's finest Log-built inns by the Sierra's favorite behind-the-times fiddle and banjo duos, Old Soles. Snow, snow, snow, Songs, steak, skis, shots. Banjos, beer, boards, burgers, Fiddles, fireplace, friends, fettuccine, french fries. Something for everyone. All ages, no cover. Saturdays, 6:00-8:00pm, 209.258.7304, phone to confirm. www.OldSolesMusic.com

Ever-present dark, banjo-drive drone--You read this phrase and you just automatically think of Bobby Earl Davis and his Early Brothers, right? Well, the folks at Deep Roots Magazine do anyways, and here’s an excerpt of their review of Outlaw Hillbilly to prove it…”When he sings of killing and decapitating his woman’s brother (and, for good measure, “I buried him deep so I knew he was dead”) and burning her family alive (“I stirred up their ashes and no one survived”), you know Robert Earl Davis and the Earl Brothers are back in town.” Worth reading the entire review. Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Band Names. Continuing this column’s long and proud tradition of covering ALL music news, not just bluegrass, let us share the latest batch of fiendishly clever band names unearthed by Mold intern, Mandarin Montag…

Subserviency Brusquer
Splatter Theory
Sterile Mucus
Say what now?
Curse of the Harmonics
Sales Rep
Alien intestines
Negative Notion
Rotten RV Rinds
Livingroom Antics
Bloody Snow
Blurred Reality
Tested On Animals
Creeping Art

Tips on how not to make a come back in politics, Italian style--I know, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever we need to look across the pond for advice on how to sabotage a political comeback…the papers and news blogs are full of endless examples. But none, I think, more colorful than that of Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. No, we’re not talking about his dalliance with a sixteen year-old “adolescent of the night”, though that would certainly qualify as a fool-proof way to derail one’s political ambitions. Nope, we’re thinking of something much more current…as in this past weekend…and much more grounded in European history. We’ll give you a hint…”Mussolini Wasn’t So Bad (Except for the Whole Anti-Jew Thing) Click here.

Bucket list--I know I’ve already mentioned the fact that Special Consensus got it’s first Grammy nomination recently, but while skulking around cmtedge.com I stumbled upon a pretty nifty article on the bands accomplishment. I love the way it begins…”There’s a line in the title track of the latest Special Consensus album, Scratch Gravel Road, where the singer describes coming from a place where a “man can live his life away and never see the sun.” No doubt a familiar spot for most who dedicate their lives to making music, toiling away in obscurity and going unheard.” Click here.





January 28, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s July of 2003 and regular visitors to cbaontheweb.org log on to find a brand new feature…something called “Hooked on Bluegrass”. Lisa Burman, veteran of the Crooked Jades, (then in its infancy), explains how she’d been listening to a record at a friends house by a band called, "Fiddlestix" (Cactus Bob, Prairie Flower, Sara Elizabeth Campbell, etc.) when in college. So I started going to Strawberry Bluegrass Festival in '84. I later saw Jerry Douglas on stage, and that was that...” She was hooked. Since that first story was submitted to the web team, over two hundred and seventy more have been added to the web-based collection. Have you told your story yet? http://cbaontheweb.org/news.aspx?search=hooked

Holy sticker price, Batman!--Associated Press on slow news day…”Batmobile Sells for $4.2 Million…But it can’t even fly. The Batmobile that featured in the 1960s Batman TV series sold at auction for $4.2 million. The Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. in Scottsdale, AZ sold the 19-foot-long car to a bidder whose name has not been released. The Batmobile was actually a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car that was transformed for the television show. A publicist said that the car’s previous owner was pleased with the auction result.”

So, you say you’re in a bluegrass band and you and the crew are thinking it’s time for a little national exposure--Well, it just so happens that International Bluegrass Music Association is looking for a few good bands…right around 50 of them, to showcase at the very first World of Bluegrass to take place in Raleigh. Interested? http://www.prescriptionbluegrassblog.com/2013/01/ibma-sends-out-call-to-bandsartists.html

She’s nothing if not alliterate--From Masha Goodman Crawford…”February 9, 16, 23: Kirkwood Inn - Live music from the era of Log cabins and Outlaws, played in one of California's finest Log-built inns by the Sierra's favorite behind-the-times fiddle and banjo duos, Old Soles. Snow, snow, snow, Songs, steak, skis, shots. Banjos, beer, boards, burgers, Fiddles, fireplace, friends, fettuccine, french fries. Something for everyone. All ages, no cover. Saturdays, 6:00-8:00pm, 209.258.7304, phone to confirm. www.OldSolesMusic.com

Ever-present dark, banjo-drive drone--You read this phrase and you just automatically think of Bobby Earl Davis and his Early Brothers, right? Well, the folks at Deep Roots Magazine do anyways, and here’s an excerpt of their review of Outlaw Hillbilly to prove it…”When he sings of killing and decapitating his woman’s brother (and, for good measure, “I buried him deep so I knew he was dead”) and burning her family alive (“I stirred up their ashes and no one survived”), you know Robert Earl Davis and the Earl Brothers are back in town.” Worth reading the entire review. http://www.cbaontheweb.org/read.aspx?messageid=62302&search=

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Band Names. Continuing this column’s long and proud tradition of covering ALL music news, not just bluegrass, let us share the latest batch of fiendishly clever band names unearthed by Mold intern, Mandarin Montag…

Subserviency Brusquer
Splatter Theory
Sterile Mucus
Say what now?
Curse of the Harmonics
Sales Rep
Alien intestines
Negative Notion
Rotten RV Rinds
Livingroom Antics
Bloody Snow
Blurred Reality
Tested On Animals
Creeping Art

Tips on how not to make a come back in politics, Italian style--I know, there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever we need to look across the pond for advice on how to sabotage a political comeback…the papers and news blogs are full of endless examples. But none, I think, more colorful than that of Italy’s former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. No, we’re not talking about his dalliance with a sixteen year-old “adolescent of the night”, though that would certainly qualify as a fool-proof way to derail one’s political ambitions. Nope, we’re thinking of something much more current…as in this past weekend…and much more grounded in European history. We’ll give you a hint…”Mussolini Wasn’t So Bad (Except for the Whole Anti-Jew Thing) http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2013/01/27/silvio_berlusconi_under_fire_for_defending_and_praising_mussolini.html

Bucket list--I know I’ve already mentioned the fact that Special Consensus got it’s first Grammy nomination recently, but while skulking around cmtedge.com I stumbled upon a pretty nifty article on the bands accomplishment. I love the way it begins…”There’s a line in the title track of the latest Special Consensus album, Scratch Gravel Road, where the singer describes coming from a place where a “man can live his life away and never see the sun.” No doubt a familiar spot for most who dedicate their lives to making music, toiling away in obscurity and going unheard.” http://www.cmtedge.com/2013/01/23/special-consensus-scratch-a-grammy-nod-off-the-bucket-list/



Sunday, January 27, 2013

MILESTONE--The first Newport Folk Festival is held in 1959 and features the Stanley Brothers, Earl Scruggs, and the New Lost City Ramblers. The event launched the urban folk revival in the U.S., and some would argue it continues to this day. Click here.

Did she or didn’t she? She DIDN’T. And this guy got paid big bucks to find out, one way or the other. So, who is Mike Doughty and why is he an expert on lip syncing? Click here.

From SKyPAC, the Bowling Green folks--“Bluegrass music got more than it bargained for when the 2012 IBMA awards show opened by unveiling an unprecedented collaboration between a quintet of the genre’s greatest and most admired talents. Dubbed the Masters of Bluegrass, the five musicians—J. D. Crowe, Bobby Hicks, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury and Bobby Osborne—bring to the stage a creative fire stoked by literally centuries’ worth of experience and partnerships that have encompassed every aspect of the music’s fabled history. Home-grown artists who have been blazing trails from rural schoolhouses to urban rock clubs and from early morning local radio shows to national prime time TV appearances, they’ve each been bringing bluegrass to audiences old and new from its earliest days—and as their wildly acclaimed IBMA debut proved, they’re not through thrilling those fans yet. Click here.

A little over half a million people, every damned one of them wonderin’ what ever happened to country music--“Nashville, TN -- The Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum set an all-time attendance record in 2012, museum officials announced today. The 2012 attendance total of 564,777 people is the largest in the institution’s 45-year history. The museum is host to much of our music's heritage including the Father of Bluegrass Music Bill Monroe's famed Loar Mandolin and instruments from the Carter Family and more.” So why am I telling you this? You try writing eight or nine hundred words more or less daily and see how easy it is to keep readers interested. It ain’t! Click here.

Do unto monkeys what you would have monkeys do unto you, more or less--“You might think of "morality" as special for humans, but there are elements of it that are found in the animal kingdom,” says prominent primatologist Frans de Waal says, “namely, fairness and reciprocity. His latest study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that chimpanzees may show some of the same sensibility about fairness that humans do. I read this article and then watched the accompanying video three days ago and I’m still not sure what to think about it. Click here.

From bay to bay--Suggestions for your Saturday…

Jan. 26: Kitchen Help - Frog & Fiddle, Alameda
Jan. 26: Beargrass Creek - Mission Pizza, Fremont
Jan. 26: Keystone Crossing - Iron Springs Pub, Fairfax, 2-4 this afternoon

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY—Top Five Chain Meals NOT to Eat if Your Life is Worth a Plug Nickel…These are not, by the way, NOT recommendations from the Mold team…unless you happen to be ordering your last meal from the warden.

Johnny Rockets' Bacon Cheddar Double burger has 1,770 calories, 50 grams of saturated fat, and 2,380 milligrams of sodium. An order of the chain's Sweet Potato Fries adds another 590 calories and 800 mg of sodium.

No Limits!
IHOP serves a breakfast consisting of deep-fried steak with gravy, two fried eggs, deep-fried potatoes, and two buttermilk pancakes. The Country Fried Steak & Eggs combo has 1,760 calories, 23 grams of saturated fat, 3,720 mg of sodium, and 11 teaspoons of added sugar.

The Veal Thing
Veal Porterhouse from Maggiano's Little Italy, which is drizzled with butter sauce and comes with half a pound of roasted, fried, and garlic-buttered Crispy Red Potatoes. This meal totals 2,710 calories (almost 1.5 days' worth), 45 grams of sat fat (a two-day supply), and 3,700 mg of sodium (2.5 days' limit).

Spaghet(not so)tini
One might think that the Bistro Shrimp Pasta from The Cheesecake Factory is one of the less-fattening things on the menu, what with its mushrooms, tomato and arugula. It actually has more calories than any other entrée (at 3,120) along with 89 grams of saturated fat (enough to keep your arteries busy from Monday morning to noon on Friday).

Pot Belly And Jowls?
Smoothie King combines peanut butter, banana, sugar, and grape juice in its Peanut Power Plus Grape Smoothie. Some may think that sounds healthy, but a 40-ounce large size has 1,460 calories and 3.5 days' worth of added sugar (22 teaspoons).

There actually ten meals but we could only make it through the first five. Go ahead, knock yourself out. Click here.





January 26, 2013

MILESTONE--With the addition of Scruggs and Flatt, the "classic" line-up of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys is fixed in 1946: Monroe on mandolin, Scruggson banjo, Flatt onguitar, Cubby Wise on fiddle, and Howard Watts (aka Cedric Rainwater) on bass. In addition to his guitar picking, Flatt sings lead vocals, a duty Monroe would rarely again leave to anyone other than himself. Earl Scruggs' distinctive three-finger banjo picking, a style indigenous to his home in western North Carolina, becomes synonymous with what is later called "bluegrass" music. This group makes a number of now-legendary recordings, including "Blue Moon of Kentucky," a waltz Monroe wrote to exploit the success of his first hit song, "Kentucky Waltz." Click here.

He said WHAT? You just gotta wonder if this was Blake’s idea or if it’s some part of a larger master career strategy cooked up by his management gone horribly wrong. “Blake Shelton Calls Classic Country Fans “Old Farts” & “Jackasses.” Whichever it is, the interview this young and handsome modern country music star gave to the press has finally given the legions of depressed, hopeless and resentful country music fans who long for the real stuff…fans of all ages, by the way…a single target for their decades-worth of pent-up rage. If you’re on Facebook, you’ve seen the heated reactions in just the first twenty-four hours. Ya’ll enjoy, Blake. Click here.

Very big trees--Happy to see that Audie Blaylock and his crew had a chance to see a few sights in our most beautiful and wondrous little corner of the universe during what had to be a most successful tour. Kind of interesting to see what they snapped. Click here.

So where would you ride the time machine? Have you ever considered how lucky you are to be living when you’re living? I mean lucky to be alive in this, humankind’s 21st century? No, you’d pick a different time if you could? One that was simpler, closer to nature. Say, well, 2.5 million years ago? The climate was pretty stable back around that period; Iran wasn’t trying to make the big one; and political divisiveness was, in the grand scheme of things, not something that folks got worked up over. Of course earth back then wasn’t exactly a stroll through the garden. A fella had to pay attention to where he stepped. For example, crocodile’s back then could grow to twenty-seven feet…that’s 8.3 meters. The good news if you did meet up with one, however, was that you didn’t have to worry about the big guy’s sharp teeth. Scientists tell us that these crocs ate their meals WHOLE…no chewing. Click here.

Message from the big guy--Don’t know if you caught J.D. Rhyne’s Welcome column yesterday. If you didn’t you should take a minute and read it. The old guy’s a good storyteller and Lord knows he’s got plenty of them to tell. Yesterday’s piece was no exception, but there was more to the Welcome than just his regular story. Mr. Rhynes is fighting a fierce battle and he's asking for help. Click here and scroll down a bit.

Lonesome River Skiing--Here’s an idea for you bluegrassin’ skiers out there, and we’ll give you plenty of lead time to do your planning. Snow up at Dodge Ridge is especially good this year and should be even better by the end of February, which just happens to be when the Lonesome River Band is scheduled to play at the Black Oak Casino, just a hop and skip from the slopes. That’s February 25 according to little Billy Schniederman, the CBA’s man up in the Lode.

Huck--Well, the waiting and wondering is over, and we’re very, very happy to share the following…”When we spoke to Don Tucker at Plymouth he was "threatening" to move or cancel Huck Finn. He said he was very unhappy with the old venue, less real estate, less support, more money, etc etc. We didn't know if Don was bluffing (he was a very shrewd negotiator) or if he was serious. Well,he was serious and Huck Finn is not only going to occur this year BUT is moving to a new place.” www.huckfinn.com. Boy, it’s hard to believe Don is gone. His brain for promoting the music that we love was only matched by his heart. Truly a decent man.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Turns out I received piece of mail mistakenly, but it was so sweet I decided to share it here anyway…”I was given your name and email addresses as the person to address my comments to about the recent 48 hour jam in Bakersfield. I enjoyed every minute of the weekend and will certainly be there again next year. I also wish to express how much I enjoyed the Saturday afternoon fiddle workshop presented by Gail Reese. I am an intermediate fiddler and came way with a world of new strategies for my fiddle playing. She took subjects that were always difficult for me and broke them down into easy to understand concepts. I hope she is on your "A" list, 'cause she certainly is on mine. I loved that you had Rhonda Vincent as art of the weekend, she is so awesome. And the band scramble Saturday night was so much fun. Again, kudos to you and everyone who put the festival together, it was grand. Elaine Fetterman PS I had never been to the Double Tree before, what a perfect venue for the festival.”







January 25, 2013

MILESTONE--June, 1991, and as people show up at Gate #5 at the Nevada County Fairgrounds and are handed a program they find a headliner unfamiliar to many of them. It’s name is Country Current, and the program says it’s the official band of the United States Navy. The Navy has a BLUEGRASS BAND? SERIOUSLY? Very seriously. That year started a tradition at the Fathers Day Festival that has lasted well into the twenty-first century. Country Current has performed at our Summer classic seven different years, and you can bet they’ll be back. Click here

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldyness; just thought I'd share a word of humor with you today that came from none other than Merle Haggard. I called my good buddy Ronnie Reno in Nashville this Tuesday morning just to shoot the. breeze for a while, when he told me about a phone call he received from Merle Haggard Monday morning. Merle told him, Ronnie I have found out that if you lay a banjo or guitar capo on the dashboard of your car, you can park in the handicapped zone and nobody will bother you. Words of wisdom to live by from Merle Haggard. I told Ronnie that he has made my complete month with this bit of humor from our good friend Merle Haggard. Whoever said that geniuses don't have a sense of humor were dead wrong.Yer devoted fan, JD Rhynes"

Live on the radio…well, taped live anyways--Old Garrison Keillor had a heck of an act on his show recently. Run Boy Run was a featured guest when A Prairie Home Companion aired from Tempe and I’ll tell you they make some very fine music. Have a listen to one of their songs on the radio show. Click here.

Why aren’t we surprised? A.J. Riger posts on Facebook…”Yessss! Made the school talent show! If no one has anything to do on February 7th or 8th, come down to Kimball High and see the show :) ...I'd come if I were you... There's unicycles. Click here.

THE MOLD SOAPBOX--Well, it happened again down at the Great 48 Jam in Bakersfield. I’m in a very hot, very good jam for nearly an hour, and when it breaks up I reach over and shake the hand of the banjo picker who’s been there the whole time, introducing myself and letting him know how much I enjoyed his picking. “I know you, man, we’ve jammed together a half dozen times,” he says with an irritated tone. This scenario has played out over and over and over throughout my life. I don’t remember faces and I don’t remember names and, believe me, this can have downright terrible consequences. Folks feel discounted when you don’t remember them…I know I do, and you’d think that would cause me to try harder. And it does, but trying harder is very little help for nominal aphasia…that is, problems in name and face retrieval. So, here’s what I’m suggesting. When you run into someone you’ve met before and they don’t remember you, please don’t automatically assume it’s because you don’t matter enough for your face and name to stick in their brain. Could be faulty wiring. Click here.

Hot off the press--SFBOT 2013 is proud to announce a newly added show date by an icon in the folk world, David Bromberg! David will appear on February 14th at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage. Audience attendees will experience his original songswhich are clever, funny, and frequently profound. David's depth of knowledge of traditional folk and blues is staggering. His current quartet includes Mark Cosgrove on guitar, mandolin, and vocals, Butch Amiot on bass and vocals, Nate Grower on fiddle, mandolin, and vocals, and David on guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and vocals. David has performed with the likes of the Grateful Dead, Dylan, Carly Simon, John Prine, Kris Kristofferson & Rita Coolidge, and Phoebe Snow. David continues to delight his live audiences and continually up the ante with his recorded work. His latest CD, "Use Me", features guest appearances from John Hiatt, Tim O’Brien, Vince Gill, Los Lobos, Widespread Panic, Dr. John, Keb’ Mo’, Linda Ronstadt, and the late Levon Helm.

A couple last minute items for your listening pleasure--From Rita Hosking…”Know any folks in/near Humboldt county? We're playing at the Arcata Playhouse Friday night, Jan. 25th--they can pick up a pre-release copy of my new record, Little Boat! http://www.arcataplayhouse.org/; Arcata Playhouse
www.arcataplayhouse.org.” And from Kathy Barwick…”Last minute notice.... I will be playing Irish and American tunes with my good friend and awesome musician Alan Fuller, tomorrow night (Thursday 1/24) at The Wine Smith in Placerville. It's the open mic, hosted by Hugh Hoeger...we're on at 8 pm with a half hour set. www.thewinesmith.com







January 24, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1948 Rich-R-Tone releases the Stanleys' recording of a Monroe tune, "Molly and Tenbrooks." Monroe claims they are merely copying his style and is especially vexed by their recording of this song, which he often plays. Earl Scruggs, Lester Flatt, and Cedric Rainwater leave Bill Monroe and start their own group -- Lester Flatt, Early Scruggs, and the Foggy Mountain Boys. They sign with Mercury Records, a deal that produces the classic "Foggy Mountain Breakdown." (Monroe refuses to speak to either Flatt or Scruggs until their band breaks up in 1969.) Click here

It’s that time of year--News of the Parkfield Festival is starting to heat up and that means that, yes, another spring is definitely in the works. Very fun event every year. This time around expect to see the likes of the Junior Blankenship Band, Roland White and his band, the wonderful Kathy Kallick and many others. So where is Parkfield, you ask? You can go to their web site and find out. Click here

Fascinatin’ history--Although the 13th century had its share of problems...most trying of which was this little thing called ‘the black death’, during which just under half the earth’s population went down for the count, (that is, died), it had its share of medical advances. For example…”some doctors wore a primitive form of biohazard suit called “plague suits”. The mask included red glass eyepieces, which were thought to make the wearer impervious to evil. The beak of the mask was often filled with strongly aromatic herbs and spices to overpower the miasmas or “bad air” which was also thought to carry the plague.” If you too are fascinated by the Black Plague, otherwise known as the Great Mortality, Black Death, Bubbonic Plague, Septicemic plague, Pneumonic Plague and just plain outta-luck, Great Pestilence, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century, written by Barbara W. Tuchman is your best bet. Click here

Head for Winters--Very, very special treat for lovers of the genre tonight. Claire Lynch and her band will be at the Palms Playhouse in Winters tonight. The woman is an absolutely delight and she always travels with a very good crew of pickers. http://cbaontheweb.org/calendar/show.aspx?eventID=36335

Banjo on steroids--Per Brian over at prescriptionbluegrass.com….”The first Bluegrass Festival of the season for the Southwest produced some excitement for crowds at one stage of the Blythe, CA Festival this past weekend. Mark Anderson of Monroe Crossing surprised the audience on the band’s third number when he exited the stage very prematurely in the set but quickly returned with something that looked like a banjo on steroids.” Click here

You can't sing a protest song without a fabulous gown, a glamorous wig, and matching heels--With all of the pressure it causes, all of the colossally abusive uses people find for it, all of the uncertainties we must live with in its shadow, every now and then up pops an undeniable example of why technology is, at its root, good for the soul. To wit, Debbie Reynolds singing If I Had A Hammer. Fifteen years ago the chances of your ever seeing this clip, let alone having it suddenly show up in your email que , would be, well…Click here

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold, I have a bit of a problem and I’m hoping you can help me decide what to do about it. I have a good number of bluegrass friends who have political opinions pretty much the opposite of mine. For years that’s been okay since, as I’m sure you know, we have a sort of unwritten rule in the bluegrass world that, dammit, we just don’t talk politics or religion. But what’s changed that for me is Facebook. One of my picking friends asked to friend me, she was a long-time friend so of course I said yes. The problem is it turns out this woman routinely writes just the most hateful stuff you can imagine on FB…and she does it ALL THE TIME. Every time I see one of her posts I grow a little less fond of her. I’m afraid if I de-friend her we won’t be picking pals anymore. But the vile posts she spews is really starting to get to me. Should I just tell her and deal with the consequences? Distraught from Campbell.” Dear Distraught, there’s another way to deal with your problem…that Mark Z thinks of everything. Just click on the woman’s profile pic, which will take you to her home, then click on the “Friends” button and unclick “Show in News Feed”. You won’t see her posts but you two will still be friends. Simple, really. And she’ll never know the difference.

Music to our ears--And here’s a quick bit of EXCELLENT news to end todays MOLD News…a post from Phil Leadbetter “Excellent report today at Vanderbilt....no further treatments of any kind needed. This now makes all 3 of my doctors in agreement that I'm cured. Ah yes...........” Phil one, cancer ZERO!





January 23, 2013

MILESTONE--The year is 2009, the place is Grass Valley and when the first three sets of the Fathers Day Festival on Thursday morning are finished attendees discover, for the very first time, that the music continues on something called Vern’s Stage. Located at the Wine Pavilion in the heart of vendors’ row, this new break time feature is an instant. And in one fell swoop, the CBA has added by around 25 the number of bands it hires each year. In this clip, Homespun Rowdy does a Ricky Skaggs number that very first year, and the fellow who sings the lead part, Dave Zimmerman, just happens to also be the very first Vern’s Stage Coordinator. Dave’s hand could be seen in every part of the new endeavor. Click here

And while we’re on the subject of Vern’s Stage--I’m told it’s right around this time of the year that CBA area vice presidents start getting calls from bands in their region that would like to be considered to play the little stage at the beer and wine pavilion. Of course in order to make that call the interested party needs first to know who her/his area vp is, and then they need contact information. So, please, allow me…Click here

Singer-turned-filmmaker--From perscriptionbluegrass.com…”James Reams Film Selected for Film Fest. The line-up for the 6th Annual NCBS and International Bluegrass Music Museum's Bluegrass on Broadway Film Festival has been announced and James Reams’ “Rollin’ On” made it! “Rollin’ On” is a behind the scenes look at life on the road with James Reams & The Barnstormers. Viewers ride along with the band on the Redbird Express as they criss-cross the northeast playing at Lincoln Center, radio shows, bluegrass festivals and even a square dance.” Reams, you’ll recall, is a headliner at this year’s CBA Sonoma Bluegrass Festival. Click here

And the possible winners are--SPBGMA nominees are announced mid-January each year and this year is no exception. Oh, what’s SPBGMA you ask? It’s the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America. Click here

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Not all of the letter and emails featured in the MMB are actually sent to yours truly. Here’s an email received by Leslie Abbott…” Leslie Abbott…Hi Guys, I am an amateur musician living in the south of England with my main interests now being Bluegrass/Old-time music. I learned violin years ago by means of the conventional method e.g. scales arpeggios and studies etc. and despite all this I could only ever play stuff if I had sheet music in front of me. I discovered your website by happy accident this morning and was totally bowled over by the way you teach music! Although I have already discovered for myself a lot of what you teach I will definitely work through your videos to fill any knowledge gaps I may have. I just love your "upside down" approach and the way in which you provide ONLY the information that is strictly necessary. I wish that your information was available when I first took up music "donkeys years" ago. I have the utmost admiration not only for the way in which you have formulated your project and your teaching abilities but also for the website where all the different elements integrate seamlessly. You are to be congratulated for a magnificent achievement and also for sharing it with the world, Best wishes, Steve Syrett” Steve is, of course, referring to the Abbott families TONEWAY music instruction program. Quite often the approach is enormously useful for folks picking up stringed instrument for the first time. Click here

We’re talkin’ a wall of sound here-- 14th ANNUAL SAN FRANCISCO BLUEGRASS AND OLD-TIME FESTIVAL Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands, Casey Dreissen, Stairwell Sisters, The Bee Eaters, Brothers Comatose, David Thom Band with Don Rigsby , The Crooked Jades, The Earl Brothers, Bill Evans, Black Crown Stringband, Windy Hill, Belle Monroe and Her Brewglass Boys, Dustbowl Revival , Water Tower, JimBo Trout & the Fishpeople, Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman, Savannah Blu, Knuckle Knockers, Front Country, Snap Jackson & the Knock On Wood Players, Misisipi Mike's Southern Comforts, Gayle Schmitt & the Toodala Ramblers, Emily Bonn and The Vivants, SUPERMULE, Evie Ladin Band, Toshio Hirano, Anne and Pete Sibley, Scott Nygaard & Sharon Gilchrist, Jordan Ruyle, Misner & Smith, Paige Anderson and the Fearless Kin, Triple Chicken Foot, Henhouse Prowlers, Grandpa Banana's Band, Big Jugs, The Creak, Arann Harris & the Farm Band, Sassparilla, Whiskey Brothers, Poor Man's Poison, The Juncos, Willy Tea Taylor, Hook & Anchor, The Drifter Sisters, Cascada de Flores, The Get Happy String Band, Left Coast Country, Lonesome Holler String Band, Fret Not, Keystone Station, The F**king Buckaroos, Barbwyre , Red Dog Ash Taco Jam and many others.

January 22, 2013

Milestone…--It’s 1934 the Texas Crystals Company, which makes laxatives, asks the Monroes to perform on several radio programs the firm sponsors. Birch stays in Indiana, while Charlie and Bill Monroe continue on as the Monroe Brothers, playing on radio stations in Iowa, Nebraska, and, for the rest of their career together, in Georgia and the Carolinas. The brothers gain a reputation for singing higher and playing faster than any of the other "brother duet" country music acts that are popular at the time. Over the course of two years and several sessions, they record 60 songs for RCA Victor. Click here

Pretty good gig if you can get it--Now, here is a big, big, big deal—the Grascals will play and Inaugural Ball tonight. They’ll “perform at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian on Mondayvat 7:00 p.m., for a celebration of the Inauguration of the President of the United States, Barack Obama. The Native Nations Inaugural Ball will feature music, dancing and native cuisine. Funds raised will support the educational programs of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI). The cost of tickets starts at $1,000 each. Located on the National Mall in Washington D.C., the museum is one of three facilities operated by the NMAI. It offers exhibition galleries and spaces for performances, lectures and symposia, research, and education,” writes bluegrasstoday.com

TweelX --I am not a stupid person. I’m not especially bright, but I’m not stupid either, and that’s why I become frustrated when after four tries I still can’t understand what I’ve just read. Just three hundred and thirty words, all English words, written into pretty straightforward sentences and addressing something I’ve always figured I new at least something about. Okay, so here’s the first sentence…” TweelX is a stock exchange in music as well as a powerful tool for artists and writers to achieve career breakthroughs while monetizing their music in a revolutionary way” Click here

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY—World’s Top Ten Strangest Competition. With yesterday’s play-off game, GO NINER’S, capturing the imagination of sports fans here in California it’s not inappropriate to tell you about some other competitions that ten to attract obsessive compulsive.

10. Wife Carrying
9. World Gurning Championship
8. World Pea Shooting Championships
7. The World Beard and Moustache Championships
6. Nettle-eating Championships
5. Air Guitar Championships
4. Rock Paper Scissors World Championship
3. Curling
2. Cheese Rolling
1. Extreme Ironing

Of course we wouldn’t want you to take our word for it…please have a look at our source material if you’re interested. Click here

Ain’t love grand?--You just gotta be crazy about an act that brings husband and wife onto the stage together. One such is the Dim Lights, and they’ll be performing this Friday at the Pacifica Moose Lodge starting at 6:30. Good, inexpensive grub, and a special reason to show up…Vicki Frankel’s 50th birthday will be celebrated! The band’s will include guests Yoseff Tucker on mandolin and Doug Holloway on fiddle.

MOLDTRACTION--Owing to our sparkling intellects, an unswerving dedication to our reading public and, in no small part, an increasingly litigious society whose members will bring suit against a neighbor who’s unlucky enough to own a dog given to crapping occasionally on the wrong lawn, we here at MOLD Plaza rarely make mistakes. When we do, however, we correct them as quickly as possible. We call ‘em “moldtractions.” Hence the following…“Your mighty moldiness; concerning your remark the other day that the word “irregardless” is not a word, may I refer you to the Merriam – Webster dictionary. It defines it as an adverb, and a product of American dialectal speech, first coming to notice in 1927. But of course you probably knew that, or is that just an assumption on my part? I love your daily column and look forward to it excitedly with each coming day. I am your biggest fan, both physically and literally. Keep up the good work, Yer friend, JDRhynes.” Thank you, Mr. JD. I’ll stand corrected, despite the fact that just now as I typed the offending word MicroSoft Spell highlighted it as misspelled. The correct spelling? You guessed it…regardless.



January 20, 2013

Milestone…--On April 15, 1998, Rose Maddox, country and bluegrass singer, songwriter, fiddler and a source of great pride for Californians throughout the state who understood the enormous impact her life had on ‘West Coast Bluegrass’, died. She was eighty-six years old. Rose was a constant fixture at the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival and the music she made with Vern Williams and his band has become the stuff of legends. Emmylou Harris once said that she believes Rose Maddox has never received the recognition she deserves, in part because of what Harris calls reluctance in American society to celebrate the value of white country and roots music. That may be true in other parts of the country, but here in Northern California, Rose reigned undisputed queen. Few songs bring back the rush of memories associated with Rose more than her rendition of the Philadelphia Lawyer performed with Vern. Click here

So you say you got a problem with your mother-in-law and need some common sense advice--No doubt Pauline Friedman Phillips could have gotten you on the right track. But, alas, Ms. Phillips, better known as Dear Abby, has died at the age of 94. Probably America’s best known advice columnist ever, Abby was not one to mince words. Case in point…

Dear Abby: Our son married a girl when he was in the service. They were married in February and she had an 8 1/2-pound baby girl in August. She said the baby was premature. Can an 8 1/2-pound baby be this premature? — Wanting to Know

Dear Wanting: The baby was on time. The wedding was late. Forget it.

On a personal note, I don’t think I ever fully appreciated how much hard work goes into helping folks sort our their personal problems until I started writing the MOLD New. Now that I get a couple requests for advice in the MOLDY Mail Bag each week, I can appreciate Dear Abby’s dedication. The people over at slate.com did a nice job pulling together this fine women’s backstory. Click here

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY—Twelve Thinks I Believe Could Save Your Life…Each Friday I, along with a big bunch of other people, receive an email from Brijet in which she passes along an assortment of seeming unrelated facts. Read closely, however, and patterns begin to become visable.

It takes your food seven seconds to get from your mouth to your stomach.

One human hair can support 6.6 pounds.

The average man's male part is two times the length of his thumb.

Human thighbones are stronger than concrete.

A woman's heart beats faster than a man's.

There are about one trillion bacteria on each of your feet.

Women blink twice as often as men.

The average person's skin weighs twice as much as the brain.

Your body uses 300 muscles to balance itself when you are standing still.

If saliva cannot dissolve something, you cannot taste it.
Women will be finished reading this by now.

Men are still busy checking their thumbs

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Yer High Moldiness; Thank you for the plug in your daily column today, I appreciate it immensely. Why you are constantly complimenting me I cannot imagine, but I do appreciate it, and I appreciate you spelling my name correctly. My motto has always been, all press is good press, irregardless of who the "pressor" is. Please keep up the good work, your biggest fan JDRhynes” Mr. JD, thanks for the note. And, if you would please allow me, “irregardless” is not a word.

Kenny Blackwell and the boys--The following caught my eye the other day while visiting BU’s web site at bluegrassmusic.com…Little Black Train is a little trio with a broad reach. While planted mainly in old-time music, the inclusion of Irish fiddle tunes and the prominent presence of California bluegrass stalwart Kenny Blackwell on mandolin sets it apart from most revivalist string bands.” The copy was from a CD review of the band’s latest CD project, Barn Dance and the reason, of course, the piece jumped out at me was that just a few days before it was announced that LBT had been selected as one of the 2013 Fathers Day Festival California Showcase bands. Kenny surely is a California bluegrass stalwart and it will be a delight to finally have him walk up the stairs onto the main stage. Click here

Two-fifths is better than no-fifths at all--It's very clear to me that there is no small number of bluegrass aficionados in the sound of these words who still miss awfully the Mother Lode's very own Mt. Laurel Band. And you can most assuredly count me in that number. While there's no substitute for the real thing, the following is way better'n a stick-in-the-eye....Kathy Barwick & Pete Siegfried: January 19, 600 - 900 PM, 151 Union Square, 151 Mill St, Grass Valley, 530-205-9513, www.151unionsquare.com. $7 cover includes a glass of fine wine.


January 19, 2013

Milestone…CBS launches Hee Haw in 1969 and keeps it in its line up for only two year…but for the next twenty years the show runs in local syndication. Though best known for its unrelentingly corny jokes and skits, the show brought to TV and thus to the American public some of the best classic country and bluegrass acts of the time. No small number of hardcore bluegrass junkies got their first exposure to the genre watching Buck and Roy and the gang. And amidst all of the craziness and scantily clothed young women the show was never hesitant to include some gospel music, bedrock of the genre. Click here

Well, I guess they’re gonna show us--Although there continues to be some speculation about its nuclear project, Iran is open and transparent about its latest movie making venture. The pariah nation is deep in development of its movie about the American hostage drama during the 1979 Islamic revolution to counter the “distorted” film “Argo” by Ben Affleck, which swept the Golden Globes awards, media said Tuesday. Watch out 2013 Oscar hopefuls.

Let thy calendars be marked-- SF Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival Presents: Grandpa Banana's Band + Snap Jackson & The Knock on Wood Players will Perform Old & New Songs to Jump Start Your Dancin' Moves on Friday February 15, 2013 @ 8:00 p.m.! Location: Studio 55 Marin, 1455-A East Francisco Blvd., San Rafael, CA 94901, Friday, February 15, 2013, 8:00 p.m., tickets: $13.00-$15.00; www.studio55marin.com

The Gathering--Details are just beginning to trickle out about the third annual Old-Time Gathering which will once again be part of the Fathers Day Festival. CBA board member and honcho of the OTG Steve Goldfield took time out of his busy preparations for the event to share a little about the 2013 /gathering, to wit…Tom, Brad, and Alice (Tom Sauber, Brad Leftwich, and Alice Gerrard)--Thursday and Friday; Earl White String Band Saturday and Sunday; California Showcase Old-Time Bands: Lonesome Holler String Band, Little Black Train; more Old-Time acts to be chosen to play on Vern's Stage; square dance with Earl White String Band Saturday night; workshops; special jams, and of course camping under the pines at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley. It was OT devotee Carolyn Faubel who came with the idea of the Old-Time Fathering to the CBA board in 2010; if the Association wants to bring old-time folks into the fold, why not organize something just for them. Why not, indeed?

THE MOLD MAN SOAPBOX--What most men would kill for I have been running from my entire life. My problem? I am a beautiful man. By 20th century standards, my body is, well, perfect in every way. J.D. Rhynes, in his prime, couldn’t have polished my boots for me. Hair, face, build, the whole package is to die for. And yet, my God-given physical self has been more of a curse than a blessing. In a word, it’s tough being this good looking, and that’s why I was so interested in a just-published piece in Esquire on Megan Fox and her struggles dealing with her own amazing good looks. The article captures some of the angst I have experienced as one of the ‘perfect ones’, from a female perspective, of course. You may want to have a look, particularly if you’ve the same one-in-ten-million good looks that Megan and I have. Click here

Freight Tip--They’re gearing up for the Joni Mitchell "Blue" shows next Monday and Tuesday at the Freight! “This,” says Suzy Thompson, “is an amazing show, so many different styles of music and many, many wonderful musicians including Kitka (their unaccompanied rendition of the song "blue" is unbelievable!!), Dina Macabee (who curated the show), Beth Custer, Amy X. Neuberg, and many many others - everything from hip hop to South Indian-jazz fusion. This is not a bunch of musicians imitating Joni Mitchell, most of the interpretations are very, very different from the originals and it just proves what a genius songwriter she is. Note: FB Event seems to say it's just one night - actually, the same show is happening BOTH Monday and Tuesday.

From the What-Carlin-Would-Post Department--There are just so many, many things that, in opinion of the Mold Man, makes Fox’s American Idol emblematic of what’s wrong with television in the twenty-first century. High on the list is the show’s cringeworthy practice of kicking off each new season with a parade of terrible contestants at whom the TV audience is expected to ridicule with embarrassed laughter. Leave it to a Rupert Murdoch enterprise to find just that special sweet spot for bringing out the worst in American society. More or less the modern-day equivalent of Rome’s Coliseum spectacles. Click here


January 18, 2013

Milestone…In 2002 the relatively new national bluegrass act, Rhonda Vincent and Rage, comes to Grass Valley for the first time. Rhonda, who first played the Fathers Day Festival with her family’s band, The Sally Mountain Show in 1984, has since become among the most popular bands in the genre. Along with her band mates she’s returned to the main stage at Grass Valley four times since that first 2002 debut and has generously returned to California ot play multiple CBA benefits. More recently, she and her band wowed the audience down at the GREAT 48 and will, of course, be back at Fathers Day this June. Click here

Who they are and why they do it-- A very good piece that ran in the LA Times goes a long ways toward explaining what’s been to me a naturally occurring phenomena…“Singers and Musicians are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, they face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get real jobs, and their own fear that they'll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every note, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. Why? Because musicians and singers are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that melody, that lyric, that chord, or that interpretation that will stir the audience's soul. Singers and Musicians are beings who have tasted life's nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another's heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts, they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes.”--David Ackert, LA Times

From the desk of Sacto Area CBA VP John Hettinger--Banner Mountain Boys: January 26, 700 - 1100 PM, Holbrooke Hotel, 212 Main St, Grass Valley, 530-273-1353, www.holbrooke.com/saloon. Saloon menu, no cover. Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack: January 27, 700 PM, Center for the Arts, 314 Main St, Grass Valley, 530-272-5333 (BriarPatch Co-op), www.thecenterforthearts.org, $18.

Gryphon’s guy on the tube--If you were watching Antiques Roadshow Monday night you’d have seen Richard Johnston appraising a 1914 Gibson F-4 Mandolin. If you didn’t and would like to, here ya go. Click here

Don’t want to bring you down but…Tex-Mex pheenom Freddy Fender, (Texas Tornados), isn’t really Freddy Fender at all. His name is really Baldemar Huerta

Come on, come on, step a little closer to the ledge. Keep going, a little more, a little more. OPPS!--Chantal Beyer, a South African woman, was try for that perfect photo to send to her family back in the States…you know, how we spent our summer vacation, when she was attacked by a rhino while posing with her husband. The amazing thing about the photo linked to below is that it was taken just seconds before Mr. Rhino used his single horn to enter Chantal’s chest cavity. The South African survived but has probably posed for her last nature shot. Oh, before we move on, please not that…” Rhino horns are not, as once believed, made simply from a clump of compressed or modified hair. Recent studies by researchers at Ohio University using computerized tomography (CT) scans, have shown that the horns are, in fact, similar in structure to horses’ hooves, turtle beaks, and cockatoo bills.” From PBS’ Nature. Click here

Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about him--Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but if you wanna know what’s up with banjo maven Bill Evans these days you could do worse than check out his most recent newsletter. Click here

Listen Up Old-timers--And finally, Steve Goldfield, CBA board member and a significant cog in the Bay Area’s old-time music apparatus, tells us that this year’s Golden State Old-Time Camp Out has been scheduled for August 22 through 25. Oh, while I’m at it, you should know that we have a web page here at cbaontheweb.org that lists all the Association’s events and their dates…a good resource with which to schedule one’s life. Click here





January 17, 2013

Milestone…In 1922, New York, the Victor Talking Machine Company makes the first recording of "authentic" country music performed by "real" country folks (formalized versions of folk songs had been recorded by military bands and pop musicians since the turn of the century) fiddlers Eck Robertson and Henry C. Gilliland. By 1928 Victor had it down pat. Here’s HILLBILLY LOVE SONG by Mack Allen. Click here

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, Natural Drift will kick off the 2013 season by appearing at Hog Wild BBQ in Placerville on this Saturday, the 19th, from 5 PM until 8 PM. Hog Wild is located at 38 Main Street in Placerville and renowned for its great BBQ. Joining Natural Drift will be bassist Angela Personeni…Signed, Dan Bernstein” Good band and good new bassist.

The caption reads Early Barwick--Here’s a lovely photo of one of NorCal’s Claim-to-Picking-Fame, cica 1978, that’s running on today’s CBA web site. Aren’t we all glad she stuck with it? Kathy posted it on Facebook and it was grabbed post-haste. Click here

MM SOAPBOX--I found I kind of enjoyed by little outburst of righteous indignation re: CBA membership re-upping yesterday, so I thought I’d get something else off my chest, and that’s my belief in the importance of using proper grammar. In my career I’ve interviewed a few hundred people for a variety of jobs and how well each spoke was always near the top of my list of hiring criteria. Because I’m a snob and like them high-tone ways? Hardly. For me the way people speak, which is to say how effectively they get across what needs to be gotten across, is a foundation for everything else they attempt to accomplish. But, hey, don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Kyle Wiens, a regular contributor at the Harvard Business Review has to say in his “I Won't Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar.” Click here

Talking head with a brain and a little taste.--Here’s to Marcos Alvira, founder and mainstay of the CBA Bluegrass Radio Show. Airing each Tuesday night at 7:00, the show benefits from Marcos’ rampant stream of consciousness style of DJ’s, an example of which…” After playing Sacred Harp Music from 1707 (very traditional American sacred music), I put on Uncle John's Cabin (the Dead) and Bruce Springstein doing Froggie Went a Courtin' of the Seeger Sessions. Only on CBA Radio. Tune in next week at 7pm on KCSS.net.” The show originates from CSU Stanislaus and occasionally has guest hosts; but believe me, at some point you’ll want to have an Alvira Experience. Click here

Mandolin, fiddle, banjo, drums…whatever--If the kid’s got it, he’s got it. A very young, very talented percussionist. Click here

And she can sing, too--I’ve not met many A-List entertainers back in Nashville who have their head screwed on as common-sensically as Claire Lynch. And I can’t think of better proof that a recent interview she cave nashvillescene.com about her career and what it’s meant to her. Worth reading. Click here

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear M. Man, I realize that you are intent to keep your identity a secret and, frankly, if I wrote some of the stuff you put out each day, I probably would too. But you obviously don’t give a wit about folks knowing your true POLITICAL identity. It seems like every news story you cover that isn’t bluegrass-related comes from propaganda pushers like Slate, HuffPost and Mother Jones. Ever try foxnews.com, Mold Man? Fair and balanced isn’t just a catch phrase for that outfit. Here’s hoping you take a few lessons from Roger Ailes, Courtney from Fort Bragg” Dear Ms. Bragg, okay, here goes…a little something energy drink abuse. (Wonder if that could be Hannity's problem. Click here

MOLDY'S LIST FOR THE DAY--Top 10 Zaniest Crazies...So your husband's crazy...everyone knows he's crazy...even HE knows he's crazy. But the question is, what kind of crazy? There are different kinds? You bet.

#1: Haphephobia—fear of being touched
#2: Doraphobia—dread of touching animal skin/fur
#3: Eremophobia—dread of being alone
#4: Ergophobia—aversion to work
#5: Hypnophobia—fear of sleep
#6: Brontophobia—fear of thunder
#7: Kakorrhaphiophobia—fear of failure
#8: Ophidiophobia—fear of snakes
#9: Taphephobia—fear of being buried alive
# 10: Crainiajaraphobia—fear of hearing or reading new ideas

Okay, I’ll admit I made the last one up just for Courtney but, be hones now, you’ve met a few people in your life who seem to have an innate, deep-rooted dream of having their cranium left just slightly ajar. For more on phobias you may not have heard of before click here.

January 15, 2013

Milestone…In October, 2001, cbaontheweb.org is unceremoniously launched with big dreams and zero budget by the California Bluegrass Association. In the first week the web site enjoys a grand total of 81 “hits”; today the CBA home page averages over forty-five thousand during a seven day period.

MOLD MAN’S HUMBLE OPINION--Every now and then I take advantage of the fact that I write a daily news column to voice my opinion…and boy oh boy, do I have opinions. Well, this morning’s isn’t all that controversial, but it’s something that’s been on my mind. The other day I was looking for the date of the Fathers Day Festival for this year when I happened upon the “CBA Events Calendar” page. There I found dates listed for the Fall Campout, the Fathers Day Festival, the Great 48 Jam, the King's River Festival, the Night at the Grange, the Sonoma Festival, the Spring Campout, the Summer Music Camp, the Music Camp for Kids and the Golden State Old-Time Campout. Until you see them listed, all in order and neatly typed, you don’t really get the full impact of just what the California Bluegrass Association delivers each year to its members. Believe me, this is not meant as a slam or a dis, but if other bluegrass organizations around the state and the country are able to pull off one or two big events in a calendar year they’re feeling pretty good. So, what’s my point? Simply this…if you care enough about one or more of these ten events to attend them, you should, in my humble opinion, care enough to keep your damned membership paid up. The end.

It's alive...IT'S ALIVE--I don’t know how or why, but some songs…really just a tiny handful…have the power and the depth to take on a life of their own. One such, for me anyways, is Hazel Dickens’ ‘West Virginia. See if you don’t agree and click over to watch Hazel and Phyllis Boyens perform the song at the 1978 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Click here

Did he ever leave? “David Bowie Is Back” the headlines have read the past couple of days. Apparently he’s just released a CD after ten or twelve years of doing…I don’t know…something else. Larry Carlin keeps reminding me that if I’m going to write a daily column about music I need to broaden my vision. Or at least open my ears. So here you go…Click here

MOLDY’S LIST OF THE DAY--Top Ten Deadliest Animals in Africa. What's the connection to bluegrass music you ask? Well, there doesn't really have to be any but, for the purist, I'll remind you the Ross Nickerson is doing a safari banjo workshop in southern Africa this summer. So there...

1. Hippopotamus
2. Mosquito
3. Human
4. African Elephant
5. The Black Mamba
6. Nile Crocodile
7. Great White Shark
8. Lion
9. Puff Adder
10. Cape Buffalo

Don’t believe it? Click here

Did the American songbook kill jazz? If you’re like me, you didn’t even know it was dead. But, if you’re like me and don’t know much about jazz and have only a vague idea of what is meant by “American songbook”, you might find this piece from salon.com worth reading. Click here

Like honey to a bear…or fly…or poor bastard with the flu who wants to mix it with some hot water, lemon and a little brandy--I just read where Front Country was selected to be the CBA’s so-called “edge band” for Fathers Day this year. I’ll tell you one thing, the band… Adam Roszkiewicz (mandolin), Jacob Groopman (guitar), Jordan Klein (banjo), Leif Karlstrom (fiddle), Melody Walker (guitar), and Zach Sharpe (upright bass)…gets its share of honors. This past year it won the RockyGrass competition and Adam was just nominated for a Grammy for his work with the Modern Mandolin Quartet. If you don’t know this SF band, here’s a good place to start…Click here

THE MOLDY MAIL BAG--And finally, a regular reader writer, “Dear M, since a young child my life has orbited around two consuming passions: bugs and bluegrass, so naturally I chose to become an entomologist and banjo player. I have achieved what can only be described as a Zen-like balance between the two, though I must admit, it takes hard work to stay at the top of my game in both arenas. Anyway, to the reason for my note to you. I’ve noticed in reading your column every day that usually you include at least one item dealing with some facet of science. So I thought I’d write in a nomination…you know, a story that you could include. Actually, from a bug scientist’s point of view, the news story is a little disturbing. It appears that pubic lice are about to go the way of the dinosaur, which is to say, to go extinct. If you’re interested, the story is on slate.com today. Keep up the good work, Mold Man. All the best, Denny from Livermore.” Yes indeed, Denny, disturbing to say the least. Click here





January 14, 2013

Milestone…Rounder Records is founded by music fans Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin, and Marian Leighton-Levy in 1972 as an outlet for folk and traditional music styles. Two years later, with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Rounder releases a series of records chronicling the history of bluegrass. Click here for Hand Picked: 25 Years of Bluegrass on Rounder Records

Victory Breakdown in the key of G--"’Super Niner’ is his preferred nickname, but "Banjo Man" is the name that has stuck. He can be heard as soon as the parking lot opens, four hours before kickoff, as he strolls through, strumming for food. He used to also strum for a ticket to the game, but now he receives a pass from the 49ers, his only form of compensation. He also gets tips, which he has noticed have gotten a lot better with the arrival of the camera phone.” This begins a nice piece in the Chronicle last Friday about Stacy Samuels. Apparently whatever magic his five-string casts was in full control Saturday night…the Niner’s kicked some Packer read. Click here

Change for the sake of change is all about reinvention--Since beginning the Mold three months ago I’ve gotten chummy with Brian O’Neal over at prescriptionbluegrass.com. An Arizona bluegrass DJ and creator and operator of what’s becoming one of the more visited Internet sites featuring the music we love, Brian knows a thing or two about the genre and this morning he posted a nice piece called ‘Redefining a Genre’. Oh, did I mention that Brian is also a guy with no qualms about expressing his opinions? Click here

New versions of old classics--Thanks to slate.com for this bit of news…”Sony recently put out 86 previously unreleased Bob Dylan recordings from 1962 and 1963. Among the tracks are several versions of “Mixed Up Confusion” as well as alternate takes of “Blowin’ in the Wind.” Some of the recordings have appeared on bootlegs, but the versions on this compilation are reportedly of better quality. There’s one catch: The new compilation isn’t available to listeners in the United States. Just 100 copies were made, and they were released only in Europe, where they arrived late last year. Click here

A couple of shows in the Gold Country--As reported by Billy Schneiderman, CBA area vp up in them hills…Thursday, January 17 High Country Friends of the Library Benefit at the Twain Harte Golf Course with Sequoia from 4-6:00 pm; Saturday, January 19 Tom Rigney and Flambeau at the Sutter Creek Theater for info go to www.suttercreektheater.com Cajun.

Hmmm, eloquently rootsy compositions --Bob Cherry, the man behind cybergrass.com, purported to be the very first BG blog ever, is reporting this morning a little good news for Steve Martin fans…”Rounder Records will release Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s inaugural duo effort Love Has Come For You on April 23. The remarkable new collaboration offers 13 eloquently rootsy compositions that combine Martin’s inventive five-string banjo work with Brickell’s distinctive vocals and vivid, detail-rich lyrics. Love Has Come For You is a substantial departure, as a well as a creative milestone, for both artists. Click here By the way, does anybody out there know if Bob is the same Bob Cherry that lived up around Palo Alto thirty years ago?

Let Avram help you with your New Years resolution re: finding the baritone part--I’ve not met many nicer guys in our bluegrass family than Avram Siegel, East Bay banjoist and a superb teacher. And I can’t think of many people in our music from whom I’d rather learn how to sing harmony or play bluegrass rhythm guitar. Therefore, a quick word from Mr. Avram…”Hi Everybody and Happy New Year! I just want to put the word out that I have two classes starting up at the Freight this week: Bluegrass Harmony Singing Class which has turned into a real fun staple of my program. For more info: http://www.thefreight.org/bluegrass-harmony-singing-winter-1-2013
and; Introduction to Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar. If you or some guitar player you know is ready to start playing bluegrass, send them over. For more info: http://www.thefreight.org/bluegrass-rhythm-guitar-winter-1-2013
And more information about me can be found at http://www.avramsiegel.com or email me at avram@avramsiegel.com. Thanks and I hope to see you soon, Avram”

Combined FROM THE MOLDY MAIL BAG and MOLD’S LIST OF THE DAY--“Dear Mold Man, which is obviously not your name and just one more example of your incessant, chronic lying. As a general rule, I don’t like liars, but I especially detest the kind of lies you tell in your so-called news column. What makes them particularly heinous to me is that you take great pains to hide the untruths in otherwise truthful narratives, thus forcing readers to screen for honesty virtually every word in your daily column. This may be cute to you, but it’s downright annoying to your readers. I think I speak for the vast majority of visitors to the CBA web site when I ask that you stop this childish practice of peppering each day’s copy with ridiculous, often fantastical fabrications. Carl, an increasingly annoyed reader from the North Coast” Carl, honestly, I can’t stop. I’m too old to even try. It’s in my blood…my DNA. And this born-to-lie phenomenon is nothing new and certainly didn’t start with the Mold Man. As proof, the TEN BIGGEST LIARS IN HUMAN HISTORY…

10. Herodotus
9. Robert Ripley
8. Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin
7. Count of St. Germain
6. Jasper Maskelyne
5. Aleister Crowley
4. Raoul Wallenberg
3. Harry Gerguson
2. Alan Abel
1. Wilhelm Voigt

To learn how these ten made the list, Click here


January 13, 2013

Milestone…--Banjo virtuoso Rick Abrams forms the Piney Creek Weasels in 1987 and three years later they debut on the Fathers Day Stage. In the years that follow Rick and the Weasels will become Grass Valley legends. We have some memorable photos of Rick in the Photo Gallery…Click here

Bluegrass Trending? The following announcement was posted on the Bluegrass-L yesterdasy. Unless I’m mistaken, which my loyal, every-day readers know is a distinct possibility, I’d say the uke is making in-roads into bluegrass music…”Howdy Folk's…Just a reminder for our Bluegrass / Ukulele Jam this coming Saturday,1-19-2013, at the Kenton Station Peddler's Mall. Jam Hours:

Ukulele Jam
9am - 1-am

Bluegrass Jam
10am - 2pm

Kenton Station Peddler's Mall, 825 Kenton Station Road / AA Highway 9
Maysville, Kentucky, Everyone Welcome! Nelson Hopwood, Bassman on the banks of the Ohio” Personally, I’m for it, and I’m guessing Pete and Snap are also on board.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Those of us who’ve spent any time with our bluegrass brother down in L.A. know that Cliff is as funny as he is musically talented. That’s why it wasn’t surprising to receive the following note from his wife …” Hi Mold Man, Happy New Year! Hope all's well with you. Cliff's play is finally opening. Would you please post it? I'll make a calendar event also in CBA. Thanks! Robin” And included in the email was this press release…”Going from coalmine to prime time, a small town sees hope for salvation. On the verge of living the American Dream, this satirical musical lowbrow hoedown is about to be outsourced. Can a charming new preacher and a bombshell sidekick, he's rescued from the stripper pole at the Innuendo Lounge, save the day? "Growing up in the Bible Belt, I had folks pushing me to do what they said would bring me the salvation they thought I needed...and after being a contestant on the reality TV show America's Next Great Band I got to experience a whole different set of people pushing me to do what they said would bring me the momentary success that they thought I needed. Tom, Bill, and I have tried to create a story that shows these very different forces acting on an innocent town whose past suffering has made them easy prey. Through music and comedy, we ask questions about the best and the worst in all of this." - Cliff Wagner (Co-Creator)” Moldy has two thoughts about this hot-off-the-press news item. One, if you’re down in socal, get the heck over to see Cliff’s play. And two, if you’re up here like me, let’s figure out a way to get the play on a limited engagement in the City or Sacto. For more on the play...Click here

TODAY’S MOLD LIST… List of Common Misspellings --You wouldn’t believe how many emails of complaint I receive about my spelling mistakes in the More Or Less column. Well, maybe you would. Anyways, here’s a list of the ten most commonly misspelled words. I can’t remember when I last typed housewife.

housr (hours, house)
houswife (housewife)
howver (however)
htat (that)
hte (the)
hten (then, hen, the)
htere (there, here)
htey (they)
htikn (think)
hting (thing)
htink (think)
htis (this)
humer (humor, humour)

Listen and learn--I’m a lousy guitar player, so lousy in fact that I’ve made a decision to give my 1973 D-28 to my son the next time I see him. No point in making him wait until I croak. But if I could still play decently, I have no doubt that I’d be investing a little time in taking advantage of a Flatpicking Guitar Magazine offering I just accidently stumbled upon. You can go to their web site and download, FOR FREE, podcasts with noted pickers who share tips, tell their stories and do a little playing. Click here for a look.

Today’s MOLDY history lesson--Granted, not as pleasant as studying a map of U.S. National Parks, but just as much a part of our American heritage. Societies that make a point of remembering their lowest ebbs are less likely to repeat them. Hence, A Lynching Map of the United States, 1900-1931 Click here

Coming on the Signal--And finally from the man with his finger on the pulse of Bay Area bluegrass…the January 26 edition of KCLAW’s Bluegrass Signal: Bay Area Treasures Jody Stecher and Alan Senauke each have new albums; Jody's Wonders & Signs is all originals, and Alan's Everything Is Broken: Songs About Things As They Are is a collection of "buddhistic songs. For the complete listing of Peter Thompson’s monthly bluegrass brain-dump. Click here



January 12, 2013

Milestone…In 1970 Bill Monroe is inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as the "Father of Bluegrass." Click here to view one of the best full-length documentaries about Monroe. It’s an hour and a half long and features people like Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys, Emmylou Harris, Paul McCartney, the Osborne Brothers, Dolly Parton and Ricky Skaggs.

On the road again-- Bill Evans will debut his Banjo in America and a Working Up Scruggs-Style Solos Bluegrass Banjo Workshop in the Los Angeles area at Boulevard Music. Click here

Remember Captain Nemo? First-Ever Video of Giant Squid Emerges Click here

Wanna know the RIGHT WAY to launch a new CD? If you do, you might want to chat with Wendy Burch Steel who birthed her “Open Wings” project at the Freight last night. Of course part of the recipe is having Mike Melnyk there snapping photos. Click here. (I know, I know, I'm mixing metaphors. I'll work on this problem.)

If you’re a musician, don’t read this just before falling asleep tonight--Airline smashes $10,000 guitar…An airline grinds a guitar in a baggage elevator.” Click here

Palindrome pals--Bertramo the Great (aka Bert Daniels) announced January’s Trivia Contest winner yesterday, but it was his bonus question winner who I have to take my hat off to. The question was If you were a baker and you were fond of palindromes, in what California town would you set up shop. Think you know the answer? Click here

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear MM, you might have already gotten this, but CBA member and photographer Michael Sharps got a nice big acknowledgement on the TV news for his photos of "graupel" in the Sonora area. Carolyn Faubel.” Thanks Carolyn. Click here

And then there was this from my Nashville eyes and ears--Your moldyness; I was talking to a friend of mine in Nashville today, and he mentioned that our friend Mark Newton is going through some serious health problems with his liver. The problem surfaced last May and Mark ended up in the hospital for six days. The octors have him on a strict diet, with plenty of rest. I don't know the prognosis at this time, but I'll ask all of our bluegrass family to keep him in their prayers. Mark is a great vocalist and entertainer, and his rendition of the song Fraulein, is right up there in the top two as far as I'm concerned. Get well soon Mark, all of your fans in California love you.

Also, I talked with David Parmley about a week or so ago, and he is now driving a bus for the country group Rascal Flatts. He said he knows it isn't bluegrass, but he's sure making a hell of a lot more money, although at times he's a little sleep deprived. But hey, that ain't nothing new for a bluegrass bandleader who drove his own bus for many years, while trying to keep it between the mustard and mayonnaise. [Yellow lines and white lines]

And speaking of buses, Larry Stephenson bit the bullet, and had a brand-new engine installed in his bus last month, after the old engine blew to smithereens about 50 miles out of Nashville a couple of months ago. Hopefully this new one will get him up and down the road for the next 10 or 15 years. We look forward to seeing your bus pull into the Nevada County Fairgrounds in June my friend. God
speed.

My Nashville contacts tell me there might be some potential major personnel changes in a couple of prominent bands, but nothing they can talk about right now until the deals are finalized. Keep your ear close to the speaker. So there you go my friend, that's the latest news from the East.

Yer obedient servant, J.D. Rhynes

Banger Dan--I was pleased but frankly a little surprised to learn while down at the 48 last weekend that my column is read by a good number of folks in the central coast and socal bluegrass communities. Hence, I’ll start sharing more upcoming events down that way and I’ll start by telling you about my pal Banjer Dan Mazer’s shows this month…1/18/13, Cambria Ale House, Cambria, CA, 7:00PM, 805-395-1295; 1/19/13, Last Stage West BBQ, Atascadero, CA, 6:00PM, 805-461-1393; 1/24/13, San Luis Obispo Farmers Market, San Luis Obispo, CA, 5:00PM, 805-541-0286; 1/25/13, Cambria Ale House, Cambria, CA, 7:00PM, 805-395-1295; 1/26/13, Paso Robles Brewing Company, Paso Robles, CA, 8:30PM, 805-239-1000

A little rough, but nonetheless some historical footage--Recorded from the third row at the "Helen Highwater' concert held at the "Fiddle House" in Nashville, TN. on 12/2/2012. This was the band's second public appearance, and first clip on YouTube. The musicians are: Shad Cobb - fiddle, David Grier - guitar, Mike Compton - mandolin, and Missy Raines - bass. Click here

TODAY’S MOLDY LIST--Current Irony Contest entries…I defy anyone to prove that us bluegrass folks are just a bunch of dumb hillbillies that don’t know nothin’ about literary devices such as irony. Here are the first fourteen entries in the Irony Contest currently running on the Message Board.

Tragic Romance
Ballad of Maudie Dawson
Echo Mountain
Just Don't Look Good Naked Anymore
I Hope You Have Learned
Let the Mystery Be
I Haven't Seen Mary in Years
I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby
Who Showed Who
Long Black Veil
Dear Irony
Long Black Limousine
Bed By The Window
Take Me in Chains

I’m told there’s plenty of time for you to get your entry in. Click here

And finally one more FROM THE MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Herr Mold Man, konzert von Süddeutschlands besten bluegrass-musikern. Klicken Regards, Walter Pfender” Dear Walter, huh?






January 11, 2013

Milestone…In 1927 Victor Records talent scout Ralph Peer visits Bristol, TN to record hillbilly musicians and string bands. There, he captures the music of Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family, some of country music's first national stars. Chances are Jimmie’s Waitin’ for a Train was recorded on that trip.

Oh, and she’s a mighty fine person, too--Do you know Lucy Smith? She’s one of the CBA’s area vice presidents, hers being Butte County, she’s a very gifted guitar player and singer, a retired teacher of music to public school kiddies, and, most recently, a music event promoter. Yep, Lucy’s using her vast reservoir of energy to bring bluegrass to the Chico community and she’s begun with a heavy hitter…Audie Blaylock and his band, Redline. Click here for the whole skinny.

As though any of us even cared if the size of an atom is about a billionth the size of a coffee cup and the size of a string is about a billionth, billionth, billionth the size of the atom. --Some idiot somewhere, probably MIT or Berkeley, decided that the string theory of how the universe works wasn’t hard enough to understand for mere mortals so he, (couldn’t have been a she, women just aren’t that vindictive), came up with something called “Superstring Theory”. You can click here if you have any interest in this latest development but I give fair warning that watching the video gave me a headache from trying to understand…just the first one minute.


DAILY MOLDY LIST…Top Ten Most Frequently Banned and Challenged Books of 2011--Each year the American Library Association publishes this listing. Each items has a link to information about the book as well as the reasons for the ban/challenge. Some on the list surprised me and may you, too.

ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism

Click here to visit the ALA web site and check out what other books you shouldn’t be reading.

Meeeeeeeeeesmerizing--'Gangnam Style' is the first to surpass one billion hits on YouTube, that much is an undeniable fact…you can check with the Guinness Records folks. But what’s not clear is exactly why. It’s not because the music or the dancing is high quality, or even good for that matter. And it’s not because the originator and chief practitioner, Psy, is any kind of gorgeous. Nope, it’s something else entirely and I’m no more able to put that something in words than anyone else. But I do have something to offer in the way of understanding. It’s not much, but it could be a nugget. The Gangnam thing has the same quality as the dancing waitress in the Hot Pockets TV commercial, the one who says “Hey funky party people are we having fun?” When she starts her little dance it’s impossible to look away. You know who I mean, right? Click here

Inside a very successful studio--We’ve mentioned Joe Weed here a couple times since Mold News began its daily run. He was given kudos for the spectacular promotional video he and Chip Curry did for the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival and, more recently, for his collaboration with Ken Burn’s on the powerful Dust Bowl documentary that aired on PBS last month. But what we didn’t mention is that for years and years now Joe has been a contributor to the Bluegrass Breakdown newspaper produced by the Association each month. His regular BB column, called Studio Insider, is the natural out-cropping of his long career running a recording studio up on the Santa Cruz Mountains. But even if you’ve caught a glimpse of Joe’s work in the Breakdown you may not be aware that the CBA web team maintains an archive of Studio Insider columns here at cbaontheweb.org….there are pieces dating back six years. It’s a handy resource, particular since, here on the web site, you can scan the titles and look for what’s of interest to you. Check it out by clicking here

January 9, 2013

Milestone…--In 1963 David Grisman meets Del McCoury at the first show Del, on banjo that night, would play with Bill Monroe. A year later the two performed at NYU in Greenwich Village. The two long-time friends would go on to celebrate the arrival of first-born sons, Monroe Grisman and Ronnie McCoury, within a month of each other. If you’ve got a minute, click here and watch Del and David, along with Tony Rice and Bill Keith, do Use To Be at Winterhawk in 1990.

Get thee to the Freight--Solid buzz for Wendy Burch’s new CD, Open Wings, and finally tomorrow night at the Freight the project’s release party will happen. Here’s what you need to know… Thursday, January 10, 2013, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:00 pm) luminous songstress' album release show w/ Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, and more $20.50 advance; $22.50 at door

An “irony” contest? This CBA web site, this cbaontheweb.org, is indeed a strange place, even as web sites go. The person who dreams up the stuff you find here, (I think we all know to whom I’m referring), obviously tries hard and that is to be commended. But the truth is, most days his content is shy of the mark, sometimes a little but more often a lot. That’s why I was pleased and more than a little surprised when I spotted the new “Irony Contest” posted yesterday on the Message Board. Clever and for once appropriate to the stated purpose of the web site. There can be no denying that bluegrass lyrics virtually drip with irony, and running a contest to find the drippiest is, well, not a bad idea. And there’s even an element of brilliance to the endeavor…none other than Carl Abbott, Zen master, author, translator, and scion of the vast Tone Way empire, was somehow convinced to serve as the contest’s judge. Mr. Abbott will not disappoint. As for the self-appointed web master, who knows, maybe he’s turned some kind of corner. Click here to enter the Irony Contest. Nothing to lose and a fairly nifty jacket to win.

The profession of a sound engineer 2013--No arguments please. Just Click here

It sounds like an award you’d like to win, till you understand how the winner’s picked.--Andrew Wakefield,,,do you remember this jerk? You would for sure if any of your children, or any children you love, suffered from autism. Wakefield was the doctor behind discredited vaccine-autism link research, and for his creative work in the lab he was handed the Golden Duck Award for Quackery, given to those “who have supported or practiced pseudoscience in the most ludicrous, dangerous, irrational or irresponsible manner.” Click here to get a sense of how many lives of children the good doctor endangered.

The Carlin Show--We don’t usually just copy and paste press releases, but when Larry Carlin writes ‘em 1) you know they’ll be well written; 2) they’ll be about something worth knowing; and 3) Larry’s more or less a hero here at the MOLD. “Bluegrass, football, beer and burgers…what more do you need on a Saturday night? Keystone Station will be providing the bluegrass this Saturday the 12th at Murphy’s Irish Pub (www.sonomapub.com) in the town of Sonoma. The normal starting time for music is 8 p.m., but due to a little football game that will be taking place in San Francisco, the music will not begin until a little past 8. If you want to watch the 49er/Packer game on the big screen before the music starts, the pub is offering a beer & burger special for only $10. Go early to get a seat. Enjoy the game and then celebrate the 49er win with some traditional bluegrass. Keystone Station (www.carltone.com/ks.htm) features hot pickin’ and singing by members Larry Carlin on bass, Claudia Hampe on guitar, Dave Earl on mandolin, Kenny Blacklock on fiddle, and newest addition Dave Magram on banjo. There is no cover, and Murphy’s has a full bar and tasty food at reasonable prices. Children are welcome.”

Yeah, but can you eat the stuff--Today’s MOLD List…The Food Chains With The Best Value. Well, that’s not exactly what the list is; rather, it’s a rating of what consumers BELIEVE ate the best values, as per YouGov BrandIndex, which analyzes mountains of consumer perceptions polling data and generates the list. And the lucky winners are...drum roll, please…

1. Subway
2. Wendy’s
3. Dairy Queen
4. Olive Garden
5. Outback Steakhouse

To see six through ten, as well as the raw scores of these and a dozen other, less well-perceived chains, Click here We suggest, however, that you don’t click if you’re hungry.

Them danged computers git smarter ever day--So you’re having a friendly argument with your bluegrass pal; he says it’s time for Larry Sparks and His Lonesome Ramblers to be booked at the Fathers Day Festival because, after all, they haven’t played there since 2004. You agree that Larry should be brought back, but you’re certain his last visit was in 2006. No, 2004. No, dammit, 2006. Wanna put ten bucks on it? No, make that twenty. You’re on. So you pull out your I-Phone, go to fathersdayfestival.com, click on “Past Festivals”, then click on 2004. Nope, no Larry Sparks. Then you try 2006. BINGO! Yes, it’s true. Thanks to the diligent and faithful volunteer, Ken Reynolds, the CBA Fathers Day web site contains a searchable data base of every band ever booked at Grass Valley. Don’t believe me? Click here



January 8, 2013

GREAT 48 SPECIAL EDITION OF THE MOLD

I attended the GREAT 48 Jam in Bakersfield this past weekend. It was my first time. Even with all the hype about the event here and in the Breakdown and on Facebook, I really didn’t know quite what to expect when I pulled up to the Doubletree on Thursday. Now, five days later, I’m a 48 veteran and I’m certainly able to tell you what took place at the hotel each day. But giving you who didn’t make it down, and you who have never attended, a sense of what the GREAT 48 felt like…the spirit of the thing, the vibe…I’m not sure I can pull that off. Mainly because the event doesn’t fall into any of the categories of bluegrass and old-time events that happen year-round here in California.

It certainly wasn’t a festival, though with Rhonda Vincent and Rage doing a concert and four very decent bands performing in the Showcase Showdown it sort of felt like one…in a way. It wasn’t a CBA camp out, obviously, no pickers standing around a campfire, (strictly against Doubletree corporate regulations, and yet a fair number of folks drove down to the south end of the Big Valley in their rigs and ‘camped’ behind the hotel, on the street in front of it and at a full-hook-up RV park nearby. In some ways the GREAT 48 was like the huge IBMA trade show and fan fest held back east each October…there were the hall-way jams that slowed down traffic but were well worth the wait, the buzz leading up to and following late night band showcases held in private rooms and the sudden and lovely budding of brand new friendships between strangers for whom the many miles separated them are melted away by the music Bill gave us. But the tempo was nothing like the Nashville craziness; the 48 had a lazy, unrushed flow to it and felt far less structured and scripted.

In any event, I loved my long weekend in the valley and will dedicate today’s mold to it.

Today’s MOLD List--Top Ten GREAT 48 Numbers…

72—Actual number of hours the GREAT 48 Hour Jam lasts

16—Number of loaves of potato bread used by Deb Livermore to make the midnight grilled cheesers Friday and Saturday night in the Presidential Suite. We’re told that Pat Rumiano and her husband John donated the cheese part of the sammies…oh so good.

360—The final number of tickets sold for the Rhonda and Rage concert Friday night. Initially 300 tickets were printed and sold before people even began arriving to the hotel on Thursday. Craig Wilson and Kelvin Gregory wisely decided, as much as a matter of self preservation as any thing else, to fit another 60 chairs in the ballroom and tickets for each of them sold out in less than twenty minutes. And still a number of jam attendees couldn’t catch Rage’s act.

7—Number of times Rick Cornish sang the Milk Cow Blues. Please, somebody…anybody…convince the guy to learn the lyrics to another song or two. I’d say something but I don’t think he’d take the suggestion well.

92—The percentage of the 262 guest rooms at the Doubletree Hotel that were occupied by what the hotel staff have come to call “banjo people”. All rooms were sold out early in the week and five surrounding hotels absorbed the 48’s overflow.

7—The number of California bluegrass organizations that were represented at the jam this year. Most ran their own jam and hospitality suites.

6—The total number of bands that scrambled Saturday night. Like the night before with Rhonda and the night before that with the Showcase Showdown, the hotel’s ballroom was pretty much at capacity for the annual GREAT 48 BAND SCRAMBLE. Example of the jokes told by the entrants (each band plays three songs and tells one joke): A skeleton walks into a bar and asks for a beer and a mop.

0—The number of hours each day that a jam was not happening somewhere on the four floors of the Bakersfield Doubletree.

470—Total number of Bluegrass Breakdown copies hauled down to the jam and distributed over the four days the event lasted.

1—Number of outfits worn by official greeter and Band Scramble MC Slim Stuart, which is not to say Mrs. Slim didn’t dress him in fresh clothes each day, only that his snake skin boots, blue jeans, long-sleeve white shirt, blue vest and white cowboy hat comprised, as it always does, Slim’s look-de-jour, Thursday through Sunday.

And the winner is--This year 13 bands entered the G-48 Showcase Showdown contest. The four finalists were Grassland, Grassfire, Red Dog Ash and the Git Down Boys. Each band was paid five hundred bucks for a thirty minute set and the winner was given a contract to play a full set on the Pioneer Stage at Grass Valley. The 2013 Showcase Showdown winner was Grassland. To date, two Showdowns and two SoCal winners.

Bluegrass Kismet--Derived from Arabic, Sanskrit, Urdu or Hindi, nobody knows for certain which, Kismet means fate or destiny or a predetermined course of events. On Saturday night, just down the street from where the GREAT 48 was rumbling toward its grand finale, Buck Owens Crystal Palace filled to capacity as it’s done every Saturday night since opening in 1996. While Stampede, a local act known for its smooth, homey renditions of classic country, was setting up the band’s leader and lead singer Steve Davis approached a large table of diners near the stage. “Any of you folks from the big bluegrass hullabalu up the street?” In one voice the entire group answered yes. “Well, hell, git yer axes out and let’s pick,” Davis responded. And so that’s exactly what David Rietz and Jonathan Blumel did…they dashed back to the Doubletree grabbed their fiddle and banjo, respectively, and returned to the Palace to play an entire set with Stampede. AN ENTIRE SET. So, where’s the Kismet come in? Well, now this is only my opinion mind you, but of the hundreds of pickers attending the 48, and believe me, many, many of them were very good on their instruments, there couldn’t possibly have been more than a handful as well-suited to take the stage and play an hour’s worth of classic country music as Dave and Jon, both of whom have a natural talent for seamlessly transitioning from one genre to another. The two fit in perfectly and laid important groundwork for a CBA/Palace collaboration next year. You can snatch a look of Dave sawing on his fiddle by clicking here. I’m told that we could have video of the extraordinary event within a few days.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Moldy, I was at the big Bakersfield blowout over the weekend and I’m 99% sure I was in a jam with you. You play the fiddle, right? Barry, the dude with the D-28 and the Oakland A’s baseball cap” Dear A’s dude, no.

That’s enough for now. No doubt we’ll cover a lot more of the GREAT 48 in the days to come, along with everything else you expect to find here. I’m told the CBA already has a draft of the 2014 Doubletree contract…if you can make it down there next year, do it.

January 3, 2013

Milestone…No, Barney, I’m sorry but you can’t play the spoons--In 1963 the Dillards play the Darlings on the Andy Griffith show. Click here for a great rendition of Dooley…Andy plays along.

Prepare to migrate north in February
--Here’s just a small sample of what to expect at Wingergrass this year…

The Seldom Scene Saturday & Sunday
The David Grisman Sextet Friday
Peter Rowan and The Travelin’ McCourys Friday
California Friday & Saturday
Darol Anger and the Furies Saturday & Sunday
Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands Saturday
Della Mae Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
The Cleverlys Saturday & Sunday
Sarah Jarosz Thursday & Saturday
18 South Saturday & Sunday
Hills to Holler Thursday & Sunday
Mollie O'Brien & Rich Moore Friday
The Kenny and Amanda Smith Band Thursday & Saturday
Spinney Brothers Thursday & Friday
Joe Craven Saturday

And when you get up there, be sure to stop in and say hello to Frank Solivan at the CBA’s hospitality suite.

Dawgishly good--Founded in 1990 by mandolinist, composer, bandleader and producer extraordinaire David Grisman, Acoustic Disc is an independent record label dedicated to the preservation and integrity of acoustic music, musicians and instruments. Varied releases cover acoustic music of all genres—be it David’s own award-winning dawg music, bluegrass, classical, latin, jazz or folk. Click here.

San Diego music camp on a roll--MOLDY MAIL BAG…Got a note from one very happy Avery Ellisman, the guy who runs the Julian Family Fiddle Camp down in San Diego County. “Fractured Atlas was established in 1998 in New York as a public non-profit arts service organization, and provides an array of services that help nascent arts-related enterprises develop. The Julian Family Fiddle Camp applied to Fractured Atlas for membership and support, providing detailed information about the Camp, it's administration, policies and budget. After significant due diligence on both our parts, Fractured Atlas notified us on Nov. 15, 2012 that their Board had elected to take us under their wing. We are honored to become part of the Fractured Atlas family of projects, and in this capacity...and delighted that the Julian Family Fiddle Camp is now able to solicit and receive tax-deductible donations! Click here for the skinny on the Julian Camp.

Can you be a denizen and not even know it? According to slate.com, Pyongyang Racer is a video game produced by the North Koreans as an advertising tool to generate tourism. Problem is it’s incredibly, incredibly boring. For example, one of the very few objectives is to collect barrels of petrol—so your car can keep running. Sounds fun, eh? But, given my interest in all things North Korean, which a few of you have commented on in emails, I found the following Slate statement interesting… “All weirdness aside, Internet denizens—who are obsessed with North Korea because of its isolation and peculiarities— can't seem to get enough of the game.” Click here

What's your oink IQ--Some crazy cultural trends seem to explode on the scene over night; others sneak up on us gradually. Take bacon, for example. I’d say it’s been a good year and a half since this cured, salted pig food stuff has been creeping into our American consciousness. No you can’t open a web page or scan a magazine without seeing a slice of bacon being used for something God didn’t intend. But, rather than fight it, I’m advocating that we buy into the bacon bandwagon, jump in feet first as it were. If you agree, start by clicking here for a quick quiz. Once you’re able to assess your bacon aptitude you’ll be ready to start filling in the missing slices. There’s a great big bacon world out there, folks.

A musical oasis in the Sacramento Valley--Our man in Sacrament, John Hettinger, knows good shows when he sees ‘em, and he’s seeing some good ones at the Palms this month…have a look: Palms Playhouse, multiple dates, Winters, at 13 Main St, 530-795-1825, www.palmsplayhouse.com.

Claire Lynch Band: January 23, 730 PM, $20
Hot Club of Cowtown: January 24, 800 PM, $20
Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack: January 26, 800 PM, $20

What John Lennon's 'Imagine' was really about--+I’ll end today’s news column with one final personal recommendation to drive down to Bakersfield tomorrow and find out what all the fuss is about. The GREAT 48 is a fleeting glimpse of how wonderful and peaceful and downright blissful the world could be if every major city in the world, rather than just Bakersfield, was taken over for a long weekend by bluegrass pickers. I’ll be there…be sure to say hello if you can spot me.


January 2, 2013

Milestone…No, Barney, I’m sorry but you can’t play the spoons--In 1963 the Dillards play the Darlings on the Andy Griffith show. Click here for a great rendition of Dooley…Andy plays along.

Prepare to migrate north in February--Here’s just a small sample of what to expect at Wingergrass this year…

The Seldom Scene Saturday & Sunday
The David Grisman Sextet Friday
Peter Rowan and The Travelin’ McCourys Friday
California Friday & Saturday
Darol Anger and the Furies Saturday & Sunday
Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands Saturday
Della Mae Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
The Cleverlys Saturday & Sunday
Sarah Jarosz Thursday & Saturday
18 South Saturday & Sunday
Hills to Holler Thursday & Sunday
Mollie O'Brien & Rich Moore Friday
The Kenny and Amanda Smith Band Thursday & Saturday
Spinney Brothers Thursday & Friday
Joe Craven Saturday

And when you get up there, be sure to stop in and say hello to Frank Solivan at the CBA’s hospitality suite.

Dawgishly good--Founded in 1990 by mandolinist, composer, bandleader and producer extraordinaire David Grisman, Acoustic Disc is an independent record label dedicated to the preservation and integrity of acoustic music, musicians and instruments. Varied releases cover acoustic music of all genres—be it David’s own award-winning dawg music, bluegrass, classical, latin, jazz or folk. Click here.

San Diego music camp on a roll--MOLDY MAIL BAG…Got a note from one very happy Avery Ellisman, the guy who runs the Julian Family Fiddle Camp down in San Diego County. “Fractured Atlas was established in 1998 in New York as a public non-profit arts service organization, and provides an array of services that help nascent arts-related enterprises develop. The Julian Family Fiddle Camp applied to Fractured Atlas for membership and support, providing detailed information about the Camp, it's administration, policies and budget. After significant due diligence on both our parts, Fractured Atlas notified us on Nov. 15, 2012 that their Board had elected to take us under their wing. We are honored to become part of the Fractured Atlas family of projects, and in this capacity...and delighted that the Julian Family Fiddle Camp is now able to solicit and receive tax-deductible donations! Click here for the skinny on the Julian Camp.

Can you be a denizen and not even know it? According to slate.com, Pyongyang Racer is a video game produced by the North Koreans as an advertising tool to generate tourism. Problem is it’s incredibly, incredibly boring. For example, one of the very few objectives is to collect barrels of petrol—so your car can keep running. Sounds fun, eh? But, given my interest in all things North Korean, which a few of you have commented on in emails, I found the following Slate statement interesting… “All weirdness aside, Internet denizens—who are obsessed with North Korea because of its isolation and peculiarities— can't seem to get enough of the game.” Click here

What's your oink IQ--Some crazy cultural trends seem to explode on the scene over night; others sneak up on us gradually. Take bacon, for example. I’d say it’s been a good year and a half since this cured, salted pig food stuff has been creeping into our American consciousness. No you can’t open a web page or scan a magazine without seeing a slice of bacon being used for something God didn’t intend. But, rather than fight it, I’m advocating that we buy into the bacon bandwagon, jump in feet first as it were. If you agree, start by clicking here for a quick quiz. Once you’re able to assess your bacon aptitude you’ll be ready to start filling in the missing slices. There’s a great big bacon world out there, folks.

A musical oasis in the Sacramento Valley--Our man in Sacrament, John Hettinger, knows good shows when he sees ‘em, and he’s seeing some good ones at the Palms this month…have a look: Palms Playhouse, multiple dates, Winters, at 13 Main St, 530-795-1825, www.palmsplayhouse.com.

Claire Lynch Band: January 23, 730 PM, $20
Hot Club of Cowtown: January 24, 800 PM, $20
Rita Hosking & Cousin Jack: January 26, 800 PM, $20

What John Lennon's 'Imagine' was really about--+I’ll end today’s news column with one final personal recommendation to drive down to Bakersfield tomorrow and find out what all the fuss is about. The GREAT 48 is a fleeting glimpse of how wonderful and peaceful and downright blissful the world could be if every major city in the world, rather than just Bakersfield, was taken over for a long weekend by bluegrass pickers. I’ll be there…be sure to say hello if you can spot me.








December 31, 2012

Milestone…In 1900 the expression "hillbilly" is coined in an article in the NEW YORK JOURNAL. "Hillbilly music" becomes synonymous with music popular in the rural South. Other names for this sound include mountain music, old-time music, or country music. Click here to watch String Bean’s interpretation of the art form in 1950.

And that’s the way it was--I don’t think I have to remind you of who Ted Lehmann is, but I’ll do it anyway. Ted is a retired university professor who taught literature, a gifted writer and photographer and a, how shall I put this, bluegrass bum. That’s “bum” in the finest sense of the word. He and his wife spend the better part of each year traveling the country hitting every bluegrass festival they can find. Ted documents, in words and photos, the couple’s adventures and maintains a blog that’s become awfully popular. He also writes the CBA’s second Tuesday of the month Welcome column. Okay, so I said that to tell you this. If you click here you can visit Dr. Lehmann’s 2012 Year in Review. You take your time going through that and you’ll know what’s happening with contemporary bluegrass music in the United States.

Home-wrecker--From the MOLD Mail Bag…Dear Mr. Mold, my name is James but people call me Jimmy, except my best friend LJ who calls me JT because we like breviation sounding names. Anyway, I am twelve and last night my mom and dad had an awful fight over him reading your news column so much. My mom doesn’t like you and says that you use bad words and make things up and that my dad shouldn’t read your news anyway because when he does he hears about too much places to go to listen to bluegrass and stuff and he should spend more time at home with me and my two brothers and my sister Montana. Anyway, I am writing to you to ask you to stop writing the More or Less Daily thing or at least to make it less than more. And please don’t mention that I wrote you ‘cause my mom would be really mad. So do you think you could stop?’ My response…”Dear Jimmy, no.

And it’s commercial free…more or less--Sam Bush television? Sure, why not…Sarah got her TV show, Gomer Pile got his, why not Sam? Now, the Mold team isn’t exactly recommending Bush’s new endeavor, but we thought we’d at least alert our readers to it. Click here for a little taste.

Something to do with the tilt of the earth on its axis?I’m not a banjo player, (thank you, Jesus), but occasionally I pick up a copy of Banjo Newsletter, partly because I’m always trolling for bluegrass news, partly because the publication is just so damned venerable, but mostly because my buddy, Tommy, has back issues strewn all over his music room. Looking through an issue from 2011 the other day I chanced to notice an article called Learning to Play Banjo in the New Millennium. What, I wondered, changed from 1999 to 2000 about how to learn the banjo? I was skeptical, I read Ian Perry’s piece and now I am not. A HREF=”http://www.banjonews.com/interview-2011-11.html “target=0>Click here

--And here’s how we’ll get 2013 off to a good bluegrass start…

Jan. 1: Bean Creek - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Jan. 2: Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Jan. 2: Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
Jan. 3: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
Jan. 3: The Country Casanovas - Atlas Cafe, SF
Jan. 3: The Tuttles with AJ Lee - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
Jan. 5: The Bootcuts; The Birdhive Boys (Brooklyn) - Plough & Stars, SF
Jan. 6 (1 pm): The Tuttles with AJ Lee - Don Quixote's, Felton
Jan. 7: Belle Monroe & Her Brewglass Boys - Amnesia, SF

He wants a baby, she doesn’t--So, this guy wants to be a dad but his girlfriend, who’s been his girlfriend for five years, doesn’t wanna be a mom. And so they do the only sensible thing they can do…they produce a video…with vocals, instrumentals, even dance steps. I found this real life, not made up, drama set to a snappy tune most enjoyable and recommend you give it a try. Unless you have something better to do in which case you shouldn’t even have read this far. Click here


And finally, here’s our suggested activity for a rainy day--I know, end-of-the-world news stories have become passé, but I’m not linking to this NASA piece to inform you as much as I am to get your inquisitive juices flowing. For weeks the National Aero Space Administration received two or three hundred calls per day from people about the About Mayan Apocalypse. So here’s what I’m inviting you to do. Find a quiet, peaceful spot, sit down, make yourself comfortable, take three or four deep breaths, close your eyes and then try to imagine a few of those telephone conversations…the callers, what they asked, their back stories, what led to their calling, what the NASA people said, the tone of voice used when they said it. If you need your imagination neurons jump-started, Click here.





December 28, 2012

Milestone…--It’s 1985 and Neil Rosenberg , along with his partner, Charles Wolfe, publish Bluegrass: A History, which instantly became the definitive work on the first 40 years of bluegrass. Rosenberg one very interesting character…Click here to read more about Rosenberg, his take on bluegrass music and its pappy, Bill Monroe.

A pretty tough year--Pretty decent article in the Nashville Scene yesterday…Music in Memoriam…the unusually high volume of legendary figures in the biz. Click here.

Sunday Jam--In Folsom Click here for everything you need to know.

Major state-hopping--Audie Blaylock and Redline are coming west after the first of the year and here’s their California/Arizona tour schedule:
Saturday January 12 – Private house concert in Willits Friday January 18 – Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton, www.firehousearts.org Saturday January 19 – Redwood Bluegrass Assoc. Mountain View www.rba.org Sunday January 20 – Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center, Weaverville, www.tapaconline.org Monday January 21 – Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Folsom – www.mountolive.cc Tuesday January 22 – Trinity United Methodist Church – Chico - contact CBA area VP Lucy Smith for info. Thursday January 24 – San Diego Bluegrass Society – www.sandiegobluegrass.org Friday January 25 and Sunday January 25 – Agri-Country Bluegrass Festival, Casa Grande, Arizona –
www.pinalcountyfair.com Saturday January 26 – Yuma Bluegrass Festival – www.landspromotions.com. Audie’s a tremendous performer and a very good friend of the CBA’s. If you can make one of his shows, DO IT! (Note that in the Bluegrass Breakdown’s December issue the band was shown as having a date in Sutter Creek on Sunday January. Audie and the boys will NOT be doing Sutter Theater this time around.

The Audie show--Okay, so here are the most current tour stops…

Friday January 11 Studio 55 Marin, San Rafael, www.studio55marin.com

Saturday January 12 – Private house concert in Willits

Tuesday January 15 gig at Don Quixote’s www.donquixotesmusic.com

Wednesday January 16 – Humboldt Brews, Arcata – www.humboldtbrews.com
January 3, 2013January 3, 2013
Friday January 18 – Firehouse Arts Center, Pleasanton, www.firehousearts.org

Saturday January 19 – Afternoon Band Workshop at Gryphon Strings, Palo Alto – www.gryphonstrings.com

Saturday January 19 – Redwood Bluegrass Assoc. Mountain View www.rba.org

Sunday January 20 – Trinity Alps Performing Arts Center, Weaverville, www.tapaconline.org

Monday January 21 – Mt. Olive Lutheran Church, Folsom – www.mountolive.cc

Tuesday January 22 – Trinity United Methodist Church – Chico - contact CBA area VP Lucy Smith for info.

Thursday January 24 – San Diego Bluegrass Society – www.sandiegobluegrass.org

Friday January 25 and Sunday January 27 – Agri-Country Bluegrass Festival – www.pinalcountyfair.com

Saturday January 26 – Yuma Bluegrass Festival – www.landspromotions.com.

Audie’s a tremendous performer and a very good friend of the CBA’s. If you can make one of his shows, DO IT!

(Note that in the Bluegrass Breakdown’s December issue the band was shown as having a date in Sutter Creek on Sunday January. Audie and the boys will NOT be doing Sutter Theater this time around.

FROM THE MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear M. Man, Let me start on a positive note. I’ve read every column you’ve written since the first one in late October and, overall I enjoy your stuff. Your writing style is perky, though some of it uses too damned many words, and generally speaking, I like the subject matter of your columns most days. But it’s the content of you daily feature that has caused me to write to you. I find that, though your prose can be a little irreverent and edgy, which I like, you clearly steer away from controversial issues and what I’d call adult, contemporary topics. We are not children, Mold Man, and your strong emphasis on presenting “family friendly” stories is, I believe, a little over done. Wishing for a little more adult content, Alice from Red Bluff.” Dear Alice, you’re right, I have tried very hard to ensure that MOLD News is appropriate for bluegrasser of all ages. However, I think you assessment that I may have gone overboard could have some validity. The item below is an atempt to broaden my horizons. Your work in progress, MOLD MAN.

Y'all sleep like a bunch of kindergartners --Barely 1 in 10 Americans Sleep Naked, Says SoCal-Based Survey…Now what, you ask, is Anna of Anna's Linens, a southern-California retailer of, you guessed it, linens, doing conducting surveys. Surveys, I might add, that are executed by reputable, licensed marketing firms who employ bright young UCLA and USC graduate students. Well, we’re not exactly sure and Anna’s spokesperson has “no comment”, but that won’t stop the Mold team from sharing the studies results. Click here.

With a lot of help from his friends--Now, don’t anybody get mad at me for saying this but, really, I just don’t think Jerry Douglas’ latest album, Traveler, which came out last June is necessarily proof that the guy’s any good on the reso. I mean, sure, the New York Times and Billboard Magazine and James Taylor all said it was sheer genius but, man, give me a break. With guest artists like ERIC CLAPTON, MARC COHN, ALISON KRAUSS AND UNION STATION, KEB’ MO’, MUMFORD & SONS, PAUL SIMON, DR. JOHN, BÉLA FLECK, DEL MCCOURY, SAM BUSH, OMAR HAKIM AND VIKTOR KRAUSS who wouldn’t sound good.
December 27, 2012

Milestone…In 2007 a not-so-very-much bluegrassy act called the Greencards takes the main stage at Grass Valley and by the time their set is over it feels like everyone at the Fairgrounds has joined up with either the “fer ‘em” or ‘agin ‘em” group. In the often-emotional discussions that follow in the weeks and months after the ’07 FDF, a plan is eventually hammered out to set aside one main stage slot each year for “on the edge” acts. The plan has seemed to have the desired effect. People wanting to see cutting edge new stuff know there’ll be some each year and folks who were afraid traditional bluegrass music would be pushed out of the picture have pretty much accepted that they’ll have to find something else to do during three sets out of the festival’s dozens.
--Click here for an astounding glimpse at the Cards.

Get over there and make sure they don’t repeat A SINGLE tune the second night…but don’t tell ‘em we suggested it.--Now this doesn’t happen very often, or does it. David Grisman and his boys, the Bluegrass Experience, are at Freight and Salvage two nights in a row…tonight and tomorrow night. Sounds like an and or situation to me.

Financed by just one month’s worth of loan principal payments--Picture this…a sprawling compound called “Music Valley”, requiring ten years and one billion dollars to make, which will be home to recording studios, instrument makers, music schools, five-star hotels and an arena in the shape of a peach. Nashville? Nope, Pinggu, about an hour’s drive from Beijing. And the full name is the “China Music Valley.” Remember when we used to dream big? Click here to read the story

TODAY’S MOLD LIST--I don’t know what it is about counting down from ten to one but I just love it…one of the reasons I enjoy the Christmas/New Years holiday season. Here’s what CNN thought were the top ten most important science stories they covered this past year. Remember, you don’t have to believe the nation’s lowest rated news channel; this is strictly opinion

10. Lytro camera

9. NASA's Dawn spacecraft sends photos of Vesta asteroid, which is one of a kind in our solar system

8. Research organization find Higgs Boson. aka the God Particle

7. Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking jump from 128,000 feet

6. Aggressive disease kills kids in Cambodia

5. Space X is first commercial company to rendezvous with to dock spacecraft with International Space Station

4. Scientists discover Great Barrier Reef, the largest in the world, is in trouble

3. Film director James Cameron takes Deep Sea Challenger submersible down to 35,000 feet

2. Melting ice; Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are losing ice three times faster than 20 years ago

1. Seven minutes of terror -- The rover Curiosity survived a harrowing ride through the Martian atmosphere in a landing method never before attempted, prompting an outpouring of emotion from the NASA team. Curiosity is now roaming the landing site

Number one hundred in the oven Jon Franke is a violin maker up in Monroe, Oregon. I happened upon Jon’s work…where else…on Facebook, really, just because of the images he posts. Nearly all of them are shop shots of fiddles in progress and they’re beautiful. Currently Jon’s in the process of making his 100th instrument, and he’s taking his Facebook friends along for the ride, posting photographs of the instrument as it passes from one phase to another. Each day I visit to see how the birthing process is coming along. You can too…Click

Streamers, noise makers, silly cone-head hats held on by a rubber band under the chin and, of course, Butch-- We’ll undoubtedly mention this event again as he get closer to 2013, but it’s never too early to remind you of what’s become a Bay Area tradition, the New Year's Eve Bluegrass Revue" at the Freight. High Country, Dix Bruce and Julie Cline and, if the past is any indication, probably some ‘special guests’

This just in--Kathy Barwick gets in just under the wire…”The Mike Justis Band will be at the Fox & Goose TOMORROW, December 27... 8 pm to 11-ish, depending on how much fun yall are having. Join us!”

And finally, they report, you decide--The New York Times, known, of course, as a leading authority on the current state of bluegrass in the Americas, called them “the most celebrated new bluegrass act of the last few years.” Needless to say, well, probably needless, the Times was talking about Dailey and Vincent. And if that weren’t enough of a recommendation, the other venerable news organization known for keeping a finger on the pulse of our favorite music, I speak of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal, naturally, opines that “a new dynasty may be taking shape in bluegrass music…” meaning Rhonda’s brother and his pal. Well, probably the best way for you to assess the accuracy of the New York establishment is to actually go out and spend an evening listening to the boys, and it just so happens you’ll have a chance to do that on January 17Have a look then meet me back here.

And to think, somebody gets to eat that thing. No Michele, no, not you. Don’t do it! What if someone I-Phone’s you and passes it to Mother Jones…these things happen, you know.

Okay, time to get dad in the act, you know, the Father of Bluegrass, and by God, he sings this song like the song-writer, Tex Logan, wanted it sung. Click here

Neil deGrasse Tyson, thought of by some as the Carl Sagan of our generation, spends most of his time pondering what God did, astrophysically speaking, to create this universe of ours, (or these universes, perhaps). For a couple days during the Christmas season, however, he’s not above speculating on the even more universal question… how does Santa get all those presents delivered?

I know, I know, I can already hear some of you crying foul…’lazy Mold, doing re-runs already.’ Well, I’m sorry, but it’s just not within the realm of possibility to do a Christmas Special Mold news column without including the Welsh border collies. If you’ve already watched this, for goodness sake, watch it again. It as the potential of making your wonderful Christmas even wonderfuller. Click to the dogs.

A few Decembers ago a band that calls itself Foxfire uploaded onto YouTube a song called the 12 Days of Bluegrass Christmas and bluegrass DJ’s around the country have been grateful ever since. There just aren’t that many bluegrass Christmas songs, and precious few that are this Christmasy. The classic 12-days melody line used to sing some clever lyrics by good old boys who know their bluegrass. Click

So here’s an interesting little Christmas story on the wire service this morning…dateline, the Korean Peninsula. It’s fair to say that I have a problem with the Kim boys from North Korea. Let’s just say that I have a problem with starvation as a national strategy to correct “wrong thinking”. So, let me share with you…when the leadership of North Korea begins to run low on controversy they become, how shall we say, creative in their own special crazy North Korean way. Christmas Tower Kerfuffle

Okay, you know the Mold Man’s MO and, hence, you know he’s not about to do any kind of special, Christmas or otherwise, without throwing some strangeness in. After all, around our house it’s what the holidays are all about. (And, yes, my favorite Christmas tradition is from Estonia.) Very peculiar Christmas traditions around the globe.

When I was growing up my family was so poor we sat around a homemade wire coat hanger Christmas tree to exchange glances. Okay, okay, no more bad jokes this early in the morning. Here’s the Christmas edition of Moldy Lists…Count how many of the hottest ten Christmas toys of all time have been under your tree...

10. Mr. Potato Head
9. Pet Rock
8. Pong
7. Atari
6. Cabbage Patch Doll
5. Game Boy
4. Tickle Me Elmo
3. Furby
2. Playstation 3
1. Zhu Zhu Pets

My favorite Christmas song is White Christmas, and, boy oh boy, have there been some wonderful renditions done by some wonderful world-class artists. The version I’m sharing this morning doesn’t have the production values of most of those recordings, there were no big names in front of the mic and it may not be exactly what Irving Berlin was thinking of when he wrote it but, just the same, it’s at the top of my list. Click.

Pretty much all the folks in my family who were older than me are gone now, and there’s no time more than Christmas time that I get to missing them. It’s not so much feeling sad as it is feeling happy and lucky to have had them around me for so many Christmases. Even when someone you loved and who gave you so much is gone they’re still able to make you feel warm inside. My family can do that, and so can Doc Watson. Here’s the last Christmas show he performed in his hometown, Johnson City ,TN., singing one of my favorite songs. Click to Doc.

Merry Christmas, folks. Have a joyously bluegrassy day and let’s all say a prayer for peace on earth. What a wonderful Christmas present that would be.








December 24, 2012

Milestone…In 1959 two young men meet in the central valley of California and immediately discover they have a good deal in common. Both are natives of Arkansas, both land in California after serving in the U.S. Marines and both, they quickly learn, have the ‘old music’ running liberally through their veins. The men are named Vern Williams and Ray Park and the fifteen years they spend making music together will profoundly effect what is today know as California or West Coast Bluegrass. Click here and go back to 1992 when Vern sings Tragic Romance at Grass Valley.

bluegrasstoday.com comes through with meat.--We mentioned, (actually SCOOPED) the Auldridge, Douglas, Ickes project in the works, late last week, but since then some details on this historic endeavor are starting to bubble up. HREF=” http://bluegrasstoday.com/auldridge-douglas-ickes-project-in-the-works/ “target=0>Click here and check the bubbles.

Radio potlucks?--Masha Goodman Crawford used her Facebook page to tip off fellow banger pickers about a pretty interesting web-based interview with Jere Canote, who talks about banjo building and radio potlucks. We have now officially passed the tip on…Click

They say folks are nice in Dinuba--MOLDY MAIL BAG…”Moldperson, I happened to read your column a couple days ago and was surprised to see that you’ve now incorporated an advice component into your More or Less Daily. A fellow wrote in about a problem he’s having with his next-door neighbor and, the good Lord above only knows why, asked you for your opinion. And what was even more surprising, you offered it to him. Are you sure that was a smart thing to do? I’ve read enough of your writing to have some real questions about your own grasp on reality and here you are advising others on how to live their life. I hope the CBA has a rider in their insurance policy for this sort of thing. Skeptically yours, Rob in Los Banos” Dear Bob, I strongly advise you to consider moving to some other town, preferably as far away from LB as possible. I’ve read and heard more than once that the folks in Los Banos do not suffer fools well. Good luck house hunting, MM

Good news for cave pickers--From cybergrass.com…” Bluegrass Underground Announces Third Season PBS Taping Lineup” Click

And you thought YOU were getting sick and tired of what they call ‘country music’ these days.--From nashvillescene.com…”With every popularity cycle, there’s a new threat to the integrity of country music. At the end of last year it was Taylor Swift. Earlier this year it was the so-called “new Outlaws” like Eric Church and Josh Thompson. Now Music Row has stopped trying to dress up pop music as country like they did with Taylor, or trying to capitalize on anti-pop country sentiment like they did with the new Outlaws, and are now going straight forward with pop, period, designed to sell out stadiums in the arena rock mold. No mandolins or fiddles buried deep in the mix like we used to bitch about; the country music fan has been so desensitized, the need for lip service has even evaporated.” He’s just getting started. Click here to read what he REALLY thinks.

Oh boy, home for the holiday--Got word from the Tuttle family that Molly is coming home for the holidays and she and father and brothers and pal A.J. have booked a handful of performances. You remember Molly, right? First place song writing award at MerleFest…recent lead singer gig on a Pam Tillis CD…second place in Prairie Home Companion's duet contest with dad Jack? Sure you do. Well, you can see and hear the Tuttle Family Plus A.J. Lee over the holiday season and here’s where: Freight & Salvage, Thursday, Jan. 3, 8pm; Don Quixote's, Sunday, Jan. 6, 1pm; KPFA, Sunday, Dec. 16 on Mary Tilson's America's Back Forty (which runs 1-3pm); and KPIG, Sunday, Jan. 6, on Sleepy John's show at 10am.

Umbrellas advised--What do Manhattan and Panama's San Lorenzo rainforest have in common? Inhabitants in both locations have to beware of winged creatures with up to two-foot wingspans flying above their heads that are capable raining down piles of poop at any moment…big piles. In the Big Apple they’re called pigeons, in the rainforest they’re known as Aeria eurimedia agna, or…Giant Silkmoth. Right, moth as in insect. Don’t they’re two footers? Click.

Come on, you know you wanna pick tonight--PickJam at the Amnesia tonight…Promoting bluegrass and country music in the San Francisco Bay Area. All levels are welcome to come jam on the 2nd and 4th Mondays of the month at Amnesia (853 Valencia St, San Francisco) from 6:30 to 8:30 before the free bluegrass.

Proper pre-planning prepares population for pandemic possibilities--I am NOT a pessimistic person. I am not dark, nor gloomy, and I never, ever assume the worst. When others see a storm cloud, I get my binoculars out and look for the rainbow…I know it’s there somewhere. However, all that said, let me share the following…6 Safe, Strong—and Chic—Bomb Shelters You Can Buy Now. Click


December 23, 2012

Milestone…In 1967 Bill Monroe launches his first festival out of the Brown County Jamboree Barn in Bean Blossom, IN, calling it a "Big Blue Grass Celebration." The festival, now known as the Bill Monroe Memorial Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival, is as close to an annual pilgrimage as we have in bluegrass. Click here to see what’s new with the fest a half century later.

Low-slung Sylvan Park bungalows--Do you know the name Joe Ross? Maybe not, but if you’ve been receiving your Bluegrass Breakdown every month you’ve no doubt read his CD reviews; Joe’s been a contributor to the CBA’s newspaper for years the guy can really turn a sentence. For example, here’s how he begins a review of the soon-to-be-released SteelDrivers project, ‘Hammer Down’…”Nashville, Tennessee is a nexus – a point where tradition and innovation intersect, where commerce collides with art. It may be the only town where salaried songwriters and full-time session musicians are as common as accountants and schoolteachers. Music is the product, and the factories line the street, from the swank Music Row mini-high-rises to the low-slung Sylvan Park bungalows.” Add to his fresh and almost cinematic writing style the fact that the guy knows his bluegrass and, well, you can see why Joe Ross is just one more reason why finding a Breakdown in your mail box something to look forward to each month. Oh, click here to finish the SD review.

Fellas you’d just as soon not want to share a cab with--Today’s MOLD List…FBI’s Ten Most Wanted

Fidel Urbina
Jason Derek Brown
Eric Justin Toth
Alexis Flores
Robert William Fisher
Joe Luis Saenz
Glen Stewart Godwin
Semion Mogilevich
Eduardo Ravelo
Victor Gerena

I’d planned on writing a quick one-liner about how each managed to get on the list but was stopped dead in my tracks after beginning to type just the first one by my good sense. Click here if you’re up to it.

Hello southerners! Can you hear us?Bluegrass Association of Southern California Bluegrass Jam in the Park, Encino, lots of pickers. XXXX

--Jan Scheuermann has been unable to move any part of her body below the neck. The UPMC Rehabilitation Institute worked with Scheuermann to create a robotic arm operated entirely by her brain signals, and the project’s success means she fed herself chocolate for the first time in a decade. It’s a remarkable feat that hangs on the cutting edge of robotics and brain science, and it perfectly captures just how powerfully robots can change lives. “This is the ride of my life,” Scheuermann says. “I keep saying this is the rollercoaster, this is the skydiving. It’s just fabulous and I’m enjoying every second of it.” The video’s a bit long, but hit play and you too will enjoy every second. (Along the same lines, don’t miss the video from May of a paralyzed woman sipping coffee by herself for the first time in 15 years.)Click here

2013 BLUEGRASS AND OLD-TIME EVENTS--It’s hard, probably impossible, to overstate the contributions that Peter Thompson makes to our bluegrass community here in Northern California. His radio show, the RBA, his writing. Well, here’s just one more…Peter’s annual list of bluegrass and old-time events, painstakingly collated after dozens of phone calls and twice as many emails. Peter, we appreciate you, man. Click here

For SERIOUS mandolin geeks only--Found in the MOLDY MAIL BAG from Pacific North West reviewer Joe Ross…”Hey Moldy, your readers might be interested in this. The Mando Chronicles is the new 3-CD collection from Emmy Award-winning composer and mandolin master Peter Ostroushko. Documenting the mandolin’s roots in Europe and its journey to the Americas and into the world’s finest orchestra halls, it spans many continents and musical genres–from old-time folk and bluegrass to jazz, classical and Latin styles. Out on November 27, this sparkling collection is a perfect gift for any music lover, coming in a beautiful box set with detailed liner notes by Ostroushko about the tunes and instruments he plays. Click here to continue.

Their long-time sales slogan—“Look what I found at Walgreen’s!”--Here’s a little bit of irony buried deep within the pages of our nation’s history. Today, in 2012, the illegal prescription drug trade is booming and the Drug Enforcement Administration believes some rogue pharmacies could be fueling the epidemic and is now investigating Walgreens, the nation’s biggest drugstore. In Florida, six Walgreens stores were investigated after inspectors spotted a major red flag, a huge spike in the amount of the highly addictive painkiller Oxycodone the stores were ordering from distributors. Why’s that ironic, you ask. Well, it’s like this…during the Prohibition era, which lasted from 1920 to 1933, all alcohol sales were banned in the country…except, that is, whisky prescribed by doctors and sold through licensed pharmacies. During this same period, Walgreens pharmacy chain grew from 20 retail stores to almost 400.







December 22, 2012

Milestone…--It’s June, 1978, a mild Friday evening under the Ponderosa pines at the Nevada County Fairgrounds, and unto the stage steps Jake Quesenberry to make his Fathers Day Festival debut. The first song Jake and Friends do is Little Maggie and the crowd, not a huge one back in those days, goes wild. Of course Jake, a co-founder of the California Bluegrass Association would make many, many more appearances on the Grass Valley stage, but that first one was truly a milestone in the history of West Coast Bluegrass. Click here to read Jake’s ‘Hooked on Bluegrass’ story.

Who’d a figured playing the banjo could open doors? Click here and watch J.D. Crowe being presented with an honorary Doctor of Arts degree by the University of Kentucky.

Another one of them damned ukuleles--Nellie McKay sings "Mother of Pearl" (with the immortal first line "Feminists don't have a sense of humor") and "If I Had You" Click here

You just don’t much more Americana than this, folks--A new Carter Family book is out and getting a whole lot of buzz. Here’s what a Pulitzer Prize winner says about the Carter Family story told in a graphic novel…“What a fine marriage of form and content! Humble and moving—straightforward with occasional breathtaking bravura passages—this book echoes the Carter Family’s rough-hewn sounds. It tells of the lives, sorrows, and values of a lost America in short episodes like a giant stack of old 78s. Using the vocabulary of comic strips like Little Orphan Annie and Gasoline Alley, it’s as obsessive in its dedication to vernacular craft and hard work as A.P. Carter himself. Frank Young and David Lasky have spun a work of visual music that will replay in your head and heart well after you’ve finished reading it.”—Art Spiegelman, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer/artist. Click here for a look.

Make your Christmas the very, very, very best it can be--The Christmas Tree Vibrator, probably only available in thrift shops, garage sales or flea markets, but well worth the effort to track down. Click here.

TODAY’S MOLD LIST…Twelve good reasons to buy this one-- What with Pandora and Spotify and Sirius and all the rest I find I’m buying fewer and fewer actual CD’s these days, but I’m absolutely POSITIVE I’ll be grabbing this one. Timeless Hits From The Past Bluegrassed, the new IIIrd Tyme Out project, will include 12 tracks, “mixed between hit songs from the bluegrass and country music worlds – all done up in IIIrd Tyme Out’s inimitable trademark style,” according to bluegrasstoday.com. All it took was a quick look at the tracks—

Gentle On My Mind
Modern Day Bonnie And Clyde
Golden Ring
Old Home Place
Only You
Country Roads
My Window Faces The South
Farewell Party
Big Spike Hammer
Tulsa Time
Mama Tried
John and Mary

From the MOLD MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, my wife reminded me that a few weeks ago you did a news thing on a group of shrinks that were working on changing whatever book that is used by mental health people to put kinds of mental conditions in categories. She remembers, and I do to, you using the term “Asperger’s” in the article. Then, after the terrible, terrible killings back east, we read the shooter had that same thing. Sheila and I want to read what yuo wrote again. Is there a place we can go on the Internet to do that? Thanks, Bob.” Bob, you’re referring to a story from NPR back in late November. Yes, Asperger’s was purged from their manual. To find my piece, which links to the NPR piece, school to the bottom of this column, click on Archive of All Mold News, then, using your keyboard, hold down the ‘control’ key and type the letter ‘f’, which stands for ‘find’. A little box will open at the bottom of the screen where you’ll type in Asperger’s and that will take you right to the news item you’re looking for. Your welcome, MM.

Just one more thing to worry about--Have you ever gotten up in the morning and been suddenly struck by the haunting suspicion that you, everyone you knew, your surroundings, the entire world, the universe, everything was nothing more than a massive computer simulation? No, I didn’t think so. Me neither, but back in 2003 a philosophy professor across the pond at the University of Oxford had been wondering about just that thing and decided to write a scholarly paper about it. Now, nearly ten years later, a physics professor at the University of Washington and several of his colleagues have discovered what they believe is a way to finally know for certain if we’re just some computer geek’s hobby in some other, actual universe. Wonder if they’re factoring in the possibility that the simulator could be simulating a simulation to determine if there’s actually a simulation going on. In any event, click here if you’re the least bit suspicious that you’re not who you think you really are, or might be.

My G-boots have been on since Thanksgiving, man--Facebook post from Kelvin Gregory, co-honcho of the Bakersfield epic…”Folks a new addition to the Great 48: On Friday and Saturday there will be a Music Caravan Mid-Night Showcase beginning at 12:00 Mid-Night--Friday Night = The Drifter Sisters and Hello Trouble; Saturday Night = The Roustabouts and The Central Valley Boys. Gonna be Rocking in the Music Caravan Suite. Get your groove boots on and be there.

December 21, 2012

Milestone…In 1924 The NATIONAL BARN DANCE radio program debuts on WLS in Chicago to provide country music to rural and urban listeners who have recently migrated to the city from the South. Radio station sponsor Sears, Roebuck complains about the show's "disgraceful low-brow music" until it becomes obvious that the program is immensely popular. (A short while back we ran a story about a PBS show dedicated to the history of the Barn Dance and efforts to make a DVD of the program available. Click here to have a look.

Cheery but dark--If you were here yesterday you might have caught the Welcome column written by Cornish about Bobby Earl Davis and his housing woes. It appears that the gentrification that began several years ago around the City, and then lost steam when the housing industry went south, is beginning to come back strong and folks like Bobby, who’s lived in his Castro apartment for forty years, are likely to be pushed out. You can read the piece by click here and then scrolling down a bit. Oh, and speaking of Bobby, the Earl Brothers will do their Christmas show, Ho Ho Hoedown: Hillbilly Holiday, at the Plough & Stars tonight. It’s always a good one. Cheery but dark.

Head screwed on straight--MOLDY MAIL BAG…”Dear Mold Man, I’ve been reading your column for a couple of months now and I think you got your head screwed on straight so I want to get your opinion. I’ve got a neighbor who’s got a dog that’s got a bark that keeps me and my wife up every night. It just don’t stop, we don’t get no sleep and the more tired she gets, the meaner my wife gets. She just keeps nagging and nagging and nagging me to talk to the feller about his dog, but I tell her I’m not about to give him the satisfaction. It’d be like he has, you know, he has something over on me, and I can’t abide that. It’s a man issue, you know. I want to solve this problem my own way but I can’t think of nothin’ short of poisoning the dog and I wouldn’t do that because I like dogs, to tell the truth, more than I like people. Got any thoughts? Affectionately, Old Bleary Eyes.” Dear Old Eyes, well, given everything you’ve told me the logical thing to do would be to poison your neighbor instead of his dog, and then take care of your old bitty of a wife the same way. BUT, we both know that sort of anti-social behavior will land you in the slammer where, I can guarantee you, getting a good night’s sleep would be the least of your worries. Here are a few suggestions in order of least to most likely to work): 1) have your wife go over and try to reason with the guy, if she can’t, have her punch his lights out; 2) get a louder dog, obviously his isn’t loud enough to keep him up at night; 3) move out and leave the neighbor and your wife behind and take the dog with you. Best of luck, MM

Little monsters--“Brothers Jonny, Robbie and Tommy Mizzone are The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, a trio of virtuoso bluegrass musicians who play with dazzling vivacity.” I know, before you event ask…(vi·vac·i·ty (v-vs-t, v-) n. The quality or condition of being vivacious; liveliness. I probably wouldn’t have chosen that word to describe the three, but then I don’t write for a living. In fact, I don’t even write for one lousy four-day comp to the Fathers Day Festival…but don’t get me started. In any event, click here to watch some very hot picking by people not old enough to drive, vote or have a beer. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention…the Sleepyman’s latest CD debuted on Billboard’s bluegrass chart at #3.

Under new management? Just visited the IBMA web site (ibma.org) and wow, these folks have been very busy. For several years running the association’s web presence was, well, not the most dynamic among non-profit music organization. But that’s all changed now. Very nice new graphics, easier navigation and, best of all, NEW CONTENT at least once per week. And their newsletter, which I have to admit is one of the better sources of information for keeping track of the bluegrass industry, (yes, folks, it is an industry), is now made available digitally. Of course you have to be a member to open it but, in truth, that’s almost reason enough to join up. Currently they’ve got a big piece on Raleigh next year and that is NOT password protected. Click here to see what new flesh has been put on the bones of next year’s gathering. Pretty exciting stuff.


Got a story about a program that makes a difference? Tell it to Mold Man--A while back we did a story about one of our CBA family who’s on a mission. Pat Rumiano, who lives up north in Willits, is a volunteer at CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocate), and is a real living, breathing part of the social ‘safety net’ we usually only read about when state and federal budget cuts are in the news. Pat posted a link on Facebook yesterday to a brief video called Candace and Her Brothers; the piece shows how CASA is making a difference for a legion of kids who would otherwise become part of a lost generation of foster children, and it does it in a way that words simply can’t achieve. Click here and there’s a real good chance your Friday morning will be a little brighter.

Evidence? EVIDENCE? I don’t got to show you no dirty, stinkin’ evidence--If we heard William Jennings Bryan say it once in the film version, we heard him say it a dozen time—“You’re missing the link. Show us the link, Mr. Darrow.” Okay, so it took eight-seven years, but the link is finally on display. From the Daily Beast… “There now exists a fish with legs, thanks to genetic researchers who worked feverishly for years to re-create the evolutionary step that moved life from water to land 300 million years ago. According to a paper published in the scientific journal Developmental Cell, researchers have discovered that by altering part of a zebra fish’s gene cluster called HOXD13, they were able to create limb abnormalities. Researchers manipulated the gene cluster so that fins grew into legs resembling those on terapods. Fishing just got a lot more interesting.”

Damned smart dogs if you ask me--And finally, more Christmas lights. Click here.





December 20, 2012

Milestone…--In 1968 a young northern California man who was clearly smitten by the bluesy down strokes and vibrant tremolos of mandolin master Bill Monroe decides to form a bluegrass band. His name is Butch Waller and he calls his new bluegrass act High Country. The importance of Butch’s band to California bluegrass is apparent throughout its now four-decades history, but probably no single accomplishment stands out more dramatically than High Country’s being the first band from the West Coast invited to play at Bill Monroe’s classic Bean Blossom Festival. Click here to check out the band’s current configuration.

From the It’s-Not-Bluegrass-But-It’s-Good-Music Department--A brand new documentary about the Fab Four making their largely-forgotten Magical Mystery Tour movie. Whatever the movie is like, the soundtrack is sure to be good. Click here.

Save a buck here, save a buck there--Coal Mining Museum Installs Solar Panels To Save on Energy Bill Click here

Absolutely the most unbelievable You Tube clip you’ve ever seen--Eagle tries to snatch small child. Click here. So unbelievable, the clip is proven to be fake, but, hell, I’m leaving this item in because the fakery was done so well. And tell me this, if you can…why do people put so much effort into these faked videos? Is there a money angle I’m missing?

So, like, hey dude, don’t go away mad--As a native Californian who’s heard his entire life that his home state is for everyone else in the country, the continent and the globe the land of milk and honey, it came as quite a shock to me when I read this morning that there appears to have been a pervasive disenchantment with the golden state for over two decades. How could this have happened without me noticing? According to the “newly released 2011 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, for the 21st year in a row more people have moved away from California than have moved in. 468,428 people came, 562,343 said adios. And still we continue to be on a one hundred and fifty year long growth spurt. Why? Because we Californians make A WHOLE LOT of babies. Click here if you don’t believe me.

Coming out of the woodwork whistling a catchy tune with a strong hook--If you have even a passing interest in bluegrass music and live in Northern California you’re aware of the fact that there are many, many, many bluegrass bands either active, active until recently, or about to be active. I mean like, there are tons of them and I believe it would be safe to generalize that the vast majority do at least some ‘originals’…meaning songs written by one or more band members. Which means that within our little bluegrass community we have a big bunch of songwriters, which is why I’m passing this item along to you from perscriptionbluegrass.com…”Since 1984 the American Songwriter Amateur Lyric Contest has helped thousands of songwriters become involved. America Songwriter magazine sponsors six (6) contests per year that run in conjunction with each issue published. Entry fee is $15 per lyric which comes with a complimentary trial issue of American Songwriter. Contest is open to entrants in all countries Click here if you’d like to know more but, please, be aware that I’m not endorsing this outfit nor is the CBA. Buyer beware.

Don’t you just love that girl--Ah, Rhonda. Rhonda, Rhonda, Rhonda. The closest thing we’ll ever have to a glamorous star in hillbilly mountain music. And she can COOK, too! All this week Rhonda’s doing a thing at bluegrasstoday.com called the FIVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS, cooking up something scrumptious each day, using a Martha White product, of course, and the whole deal includes videos, prizes, recipes…the whole nine yards. Believe me, you want to head on over there. Click here for today’s treat.

You can take what this guy says to the bank-- Marcos Alvira’s Valley Bluegrass Facebook page is an oasis in a parched desert seemingly devoid of God’s Music. For example, he writes of the Coffee Bandits in Merced, “Always a fun, crowded evening at the Bandits. Check it out Valley folk! Open Mic Night on Wednesdays. And, yes, this is the same Marcos Alvira who hosts the CBA’s weekly radio show every Tuesday night, 7pm (PST) on KCSS.net or 91.9 in the northern SJ Valley.

TODAY’S MOLDY LIST…FACEBOOK REACTIONS TO THE NEW THAT THE PLYMOUTH FESTIVAL WILL HAPPEN IN 2013

Praise God! It's one of my favorites.
Yea! Great news!
Awesome!
That's great news,
Larue Pork I'll start by just showing up for the first time in 4 years.
15 hours ago · Like
Great news!
Plymouth is the CADILLAC
Only 30 miles and what fun!!
Yay!!
ALL RIGHT!
Best Christmas gift ever!
Our fave !


December 20, 2012

NEWSFLASH: The Holy Trio--Here’s some big news whether you’re a reso nut or not. The web sites of Rob Ickes and Gerry Douglas are simultaneously announcing this morning that they’ve just completed what’s been a secret project up until now…”Coming in 2013: A special "dobro trio" CD by Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas & Rob Ickes! Read more about it here, and check back for more details as they become available!” I just checked the other bluegrass blogs and, hey, nobody’s announced yet. I think maybe this is the Mold Man’s first scoop! Couldn’t happen to a more inept reporter.

Milestone…In 1987, Alison Krauss, who won the Illinois State Fiddle Championship at age 12, releases her first album, TOO LATE TO CRY, on Rounder Records. Her success in the 1980s and 1990s is a significant contributor to the resurgence in bluegrass popularity which was born at colleges and universities in the ‘60’s. In 1995, her compilation, NOW THAT I'VE FOUND-- YOU A COLLECTION, goes to #2 on the country charts and hits the top ten on the pop charts. And today, 2012, Alison and her band hold the distinction of winning more Grammy’s than any other act in history. Here they are performing Too Late in 1991…
Click here.

You can expect to hear more and more of these little music machines-- Pretty classy Merry Christmas from Gryphon’s Stringed Instruments…Tom Culbertson, one of their guys, plays "Angels We Have Heard On High", on a Kamaka HF-3 Tenor ukulele. Pretty sweet. Click here for Angels.

Automotive abandonment--I tend not to be a worrier and that’s why I surprised myself when, after reading that Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, would stop producing new episodes of Car Talk after thirty-five years I couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen. It was an irrational reaction, I’ll admit, but it was very real nonetheless. After a couple months of low-level fretting about I-wasn’t-sure-what, it suddenly dawned on me…I was worried about what no Car Talk was going to do to my Saturday mornings. They were going to be different; not necessarily awful or even bad, but they would definitely be different. For most of the past three and a half decades of Saturday mornings, clearly the best four or five hours of the entire week have been subliminally shaped by the white noise background of Tom and Ray Magliozzi’s clap-trap bickering. So now what? Well, I found out this morning and I am at peace, finally. Even though the brothers are quitting, they did their last show in late October, NPR will continue airing re-runs probably until the end of time and, given the direction my memory is going here in mid-sixties world, I probably won’t even notice. Need a little something to tide you over until next weekend? Click here and get all the dope on the show’s very fine acoustic musical themes.

A great reason to get out of the house while old Saint Nick is arranging presents under the tree---What could be a more homespun and traditional Christmas Eve than snuggling up with your sweetie, sipping on some steaming egg nag with a little Jack Daniels and listening to the Earl Brothers sing about the murder and dismemberment of Little Sarah, ‘everybody’s girl’, (wink), at the Amnesia. We think the show starts at nine, but you’d better check.

Yep, somebody just standing in front of a camera and talking--I could try to trick you into believe this item is about the banjo player Abigail Washburn. But I won’t. Instead, it’s about this web site I’ve discovered called TED. Many of you probably know TED, so this is for those of you who don’t. The acronym is for Technology, Entertainment and Design and what the site does is bring together hundreds upon hundreds of really, really engaging six minute or less clips of people talking about things. Yes, “things”…the range is remarkable and from what I’ve seen so far, the quality of the pieces in the enormous collection is superb. Have a look at TED by click here. And view an example of one of the 6-minuters, one I think you’ll be able to related too (Abigail with her banjo), by clicking here.

Ya’ll come, you hear--In case you missed it on the Message Board, late Tuesday afternoon the Doubletree added yet another block of rooms for the BASC, SWABA, CBA, BMSCC, NCBS, SDBS NCBFC and CBA bluegrass organizations. I do believe there’ll be a big bushel of pickers in Bakersfield just over two weeks from now. Click here to lay claim to your room.

Brought to you by cybergrass.com--Americana Music Association's Top 10/100 Albums of 2012…”Nashville, TN -- The Americana Music Association has announced its year-end Top 10 & Top 100 Albums of the Year. The Top 100 albums are based on those records reported to the Americana Airplay Chart during the period of November 15, 2011 through November 17, 2012.

This year’s Top Ten most played albums are:

JD McPherson, Signs And Signifiers / Rounder
Darrell Scott, Long Ride Home / Full Light

Click here to continue.

And there’s more happy Christmas news--Hasbro Makes an Easy Bake Oven for Boys…”When some companies are called out for being small-minded or bigoted, they get even more small-minded and stupid. Others do the right thing. This week, Hasbro did the right thing.” Click here to continue, unless your daily requirement for Christmas cheer has been met, in which case skip down to next news item.






December 19, 2012

Milestone…In 1987, Alison Krauss, who won the Illinois State Fiddle Championship at age 12, releases her first album, TOO LATE TO CRY, on Rounder Records. Her success in the 1980s and 1990s is a significant contributor to the resurgence in bluegrass popularity which was born at colleges and universities in the ‘60’s. In 1995, her compilation, NOW THAT I'VE FOUND-- YOU A COLLECTION, goes to #2 on the country charts and hits the top ten on the pop charts. And today, 2012, Alison and her band hold the distinction of winning more Grammy’s than any other act in history. Here they are performing Too Late in 1991…
Click here.

You can expect to hear more and more of these little music machines-- Pretty classy Merry Christmas from Gryphon’s Stringed Instruments…Tom Culbertson, one of their guys, plays "Angels We Have Heard On High", on a Kamaka HF-3 Tenor ukulele. Pretty sweet. Click here for Angels.

Automotive abandonment--I tend not to be a worrier and that’s why I surprised myself when, after reading that Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, would stop producing new episodes of Car Talk after thirty-five years I couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen. It was an irrational reaction, I’ll admit, but it was very real nonetheless. After a couple months of low-level fretting about I-wasn’t-sure-what, it suddenly dawned on me…I was worried about what no Car Talk was going to do to my Saturday mornings. They were going to be different; not necessarily awful or even bad, but they would definitely be different. For most of the past three and a half decades of Saturday mornings, clearly the best four or five hours of the entire week have been subliminally shaped by the white noise background of Tom and Ray Magliozzi’s clap-trap bickering. So now what? Well, I found out this morning and I am at peace, finally. Even though the brothers are quitting, they did their last show in late October, NPR will continue airing re-runs probably until the end of time and, given the direction my memory is going here in mid-sixties world, I probably won’t even notice. Need a little something to tide you over until next weekend? Click here and get all the dope on the show’s very fine acoustic musical themes.

A great reason to get out of the house while old Saint Nick is arranging presents under the tree---What could be a more homespun and traditional Christmas Eve than snuggling up with your sweetie, sipping on some steaming egg nag with a little Jack Daniels and listening to the Earl Brothers sing about the murder and dismemberment of Little Sarah, ‘everybody’s girl’, (wink), at the Amnesia. We think the show starts at nine, but you’d better check.

Yep, somebody just standing in front of a camera and talking--I could try to trick you into believe this item is about the banjo player Abigail Washburn. But I won’t. Instead, it’s about this web site I’ve discovered called TED. Many of you probably know TED, so this is for those of you who don’t. The acronym is for Technology, Entertainment and Design and what the site does is bring together hundreds upon hundreds of really, really engaging six minute or less clips of people talking about things. Yes, “things”…the range is remarkable and from what I’ve seen so far, the quality of the pieces in the enormous collection is superb. Have a look at TED by click here. And view an example of one of the 6-minuters, one I think you’ll be able to related too (Abigail with her banjo), by clicking here.

Ya’ll come, you hear--In case you missed it on the Message Board, late Tuesday afternoon the Doubletree added yet another block of rooms for the BASC, SWABA, CBA, BMSCC, NCBS, SDBS NCBFC and CBA bluegrass organizations. I do believe there’ll be a big bushel of pickers in Bakersfield just over two weeks from now. A HREF=" http://doubletree.hilton.com/en/dt/groups/personalized/R/RLBK-DT-BLU-20130103/index.jhtml?WT.mc_id=POG"target=0>Click here to lay claim to your room.

Brought to you by cybergrass.com--Americana Music Association's Top 10/100 Albums of 2012…”Nashville, TN -- The Americana Music Association has announced its year-end Top 10 & Top 100 Albums of the Year. The Top 100 albums are based on those records reported to the Americana Airplay Chart during the period of November 15, 2011 through November 17, 2012.

This year’s Top Ten most played albums are:

JD McPherson, Signs And Signifiers / Rounder
Darrell Scott, Long Ride Home / Full Light

Click here to continue.

Just one more thing to worry about--Have you ever gotten up in the morning and been suddenly struck by the haunting suspicion that you, everyone you knew, your surroundings, the entire world, the universe, everything was nothing more than a massive computer simulation? No, I didn’t think so. Me neither, but back in 2003 a philosophy professor across the pond at the University of Oxford had been wondering about just that thing and decided to write a scholarly paper about it. Now, nearly ten years later, a physics professor at the University of Washington and several of his colleagues have discovered what they believe is a way to finally know for certain if we’re just some computer geek’s hobby in some other, actual universe. Wonder if they’re factoring in the possibility that the simulator could be simulating a simulation to determine if there’s actually a simulation going on. In any event, click here if you’re the least bit suspicious that you’re not who you think you really are, or might be.



December 18, 2012

Milestone…--June, 1989, two women decide it’s time for the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival to acknowledge the fact that, like other types of people, bluegrass folks have children, lots of them, and they frequently bring them along to Grass Valley. Lynn Quinones and her pal Jill Crury pitched the Association’s board a plan for a Children’s Program in ‘88, the board showed excellent judgment in approving the proposal and for four days the two women worked their you-know-what’s off. “We (the two’s relatively young Alhambra Valley Band) did four shows that weekend, as well as crafts projects, clogging, folk instrument making and other cool stuff like bubble workshops,” Jill recalls. CBA kids programming has come a long ways since that first year, but, like any other successful enterprise, it needed a visionary or two to get it off the ground and take flight. We can thank our lucky stars we happened to have Lynn Quinones and Jill Crury in our bluegrass family who had the vision, the necessary talent and the follow-through. Read more about the founding of the Children’s Program by clicking here

People, people who need people--“Well, I’d LOVE to play music with other folks, really I would, but there’s just not anybody in my area who picks.” Heard frequently and certainly possible in your circumstance. But let our Mold Team point out that in the next seven days 37 jams are posted in the online calendar. 37. Click here to see if one’s in your area.

Cage match is what I’d call it--I know some folks in our music who have a downright antagonism toward anything remotely connected to the concept of a contest when it comes to picking. Me, I’ve never been bothered much by them…of course I’ve never lost a bluegrass contest because I’m too smart to enter one. Or too poor a player. Anyway, coming up down at the 48 hour jam in Bakersfield next month is something the CBA calls their “Showcase Showdown”, which any fool would know is another way of saying band contest. The finalists are Red Dog Ash, the Get Down Boys, Grassfire and Grassland. Of course all the bands get paid to perform, and the winner gets a set on the Pioneer Stage at the Fathers Day Festival, and the going rate for that gig, I’m told, isn’t half bad. My money’s on Red Dog Ash, but that’s only because of the four bands it’s the only one I’ve ever heard. I’m supposed to tell you to click here to make a room reservation online. I did it and it worked fine.

Well, yes, by now they actually are ‘ol, but, damn they’re good--Okay, I know April 3rd is a long ways away friends, but this is definitely something you’ll want to get on your calendar. It’s hard to believe this show will not sell out. The Good Ol' Persons have scheduled a reunion show at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.

Automotive abandonment--I tend not to be a worrier and that’s why I surprised myself when, after reading that Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, would stop producing new episodes of Car Talk after thirty-five years I couldn’t shake the feeling that something bad was going to happen. It was an irrational reaction, I’ll admit, but it was very real nonetheless. After a couple months of low-level fretting about I-wasn’t-sure-what, it suddenly dawned on me…I was worried about what no Car Talk was going to do to my Saturday mornings. They were going to be different; not necessarily awful or even bad, but they would definitely be different. For most of the past three and a half decades of Saturday mornings, clearly the best four or five hours of the entire week have been subliminally shaped by the white noise background of Tom and Ray Magliozzi’s clap-trap bickering. So now what? Well, I found out this morning and I am at peace, finally. Even though the brothers are quitting, they did their last show in late October, NPR will continue airing re-runs probably until the end of time and, given the direction my memory is going here in mid-sixties world, I probably won’t even notice. Need a little something to tide you over until next weekend? Click here and get all the dope on the show’s very fine acoustic musical themes.

TODAY’S MOLDY LIST…REJECTED LIST IDEAS--Each day our MOLD Hotmail account sees a little more activity than the last. Since we started doing our daily MOLDY LISTS last week we’ve even begun receiving some suggestions from readers. Here are our top five rejected suggestions...

7 Reasons Why Doritos Locos Were A Good Idea
The Ten Most Influential People In The Latex Industry
10 Biggest Closed-End Mutual Funds
Ten Ugliest Mansions in New Jersey
Celebrities with Birth Defects List

But, hey, keep those suggestions comin’.

May we recommend the following pairings for your listening and dining pleasure--Tuesday night, Cabin Fever juxtaposed with the ever sumptuous Carolina Pulled Pork, Smoked 16 hours, pulled and seasoned with authentic Carolina spices (1/4 pound); Wednesday night, Sidesaddle and Company enjoyed with Sam’s famous Sampler Combo, a choice of three separate items: baby back ribs, brisket, bbq pork, chicken, Italian sausage, beef ribs, hot link or Carolina style pork. A HREF=" http://www.samsbbq.com/menu.html"target=0> Sam's BBQ, Campbell

I’ve fallen out of my car and I can’t get up--If you’re reading this right now you’re undoubtedly at the CBA web site, which means it’s likely that you are a CBA member, which suggests that there’s a two in three chance that you’re over age fifty, and that means, maybe, you’d be interested in knowing more about “New Car Features May Keep Older Drivers Out Of The Big Yellow Taxi. Then again, maybe you’re one of the youngsters in the Association (I hate you people for reminding me of what I’ve lost forever) or, you may be so old that you’ve already given up driving (I hate you people for being living examples of what I have to look forward to. In any event, click here if you have a hankering for edification.




Milestone…June, 2001, the California Bluegrass Association holds its first Music Camp as part of the annual Fathers Day Festival. It was a rough start…somebody forgot to order the lasagna for the Sunday night meal, the sprinklers kept going off unexpectedly and drenching entire classes and some instructors found out too late that there wouldn’t be a copy machine available to them…but students had a great time and said they’d be back for camp number 2, which they were. And now, registration for camp number 13 is open. Click here and grab a sweet, sweet slot.

The Ray Edlund Present Wendy Burch Steel Show--Here’s a Facebook note from Wendy Burch Steel that could help you decide how to spend part of your afternoon tomorrow…”Please visit KPFA tomorrow around 3 PM, for Pig in a Pen where you get to hear my CD as well as interview.... 3-4 Pm. And that's it.

And for good measure--From Maureen Roddy…KPFA 94.1 fm or KPFA.org (for livestream) -- tomorrow from 2-2:30 The Tuttles with AJ Lee will be playing on Mary Tilson's show, America's Back 40. Also, my sister Sully Roddy will join us -- I love to hear her and Mary together on the radio. :) Mary's show runs 1-3 and there are a lot of other great bluegrass shows on KPFA too.

And while we’re on the Tuttles--When a national article about the Berklee College of Music carries the headline, “Five Rising Stars at Grey Fox” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that one of those stars is a young woman named Molly Tuttle, who, with her dad…”appeared on that public radio institution, “A Prairie Home Companion,” where they took second place in the show’s duet singing competition.” And it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why the CBA is about to burst with excitement that 2013 will see the first BLUEGRASS CAMP FOR KIDS to be held festival week at Grass Valley. Ms. Tuttle would, I’m guessing, tell you she learned a thing or two about bluegrass under those tall pines. Click here for the story about Grey Fox.

So, what’s wrong with buying bananas at a mega-box-store? Today’s MOLD List—Useless Facts About Walmart:

1. Walmart has more full-time employees -- 2.1 million -- than seven times the population of Iceland.

2. Walmart's $405 billion in revenue last year makes it the 23rd-largest economy in the world, bigger than Sweden.


3. This year, everyone in the world will make an average of 1.1 purchases at a Walmart.

4. Last year Walmart sold more bananas than any other item.

5. Walmart has put more mom-and-pop operations out of business than four Great Depressions and three Great Recessions combined.

Okay, I’ll admit, I made this last one up, but there are eleven more groovy facts about the Big W that you can read by simply clicking here.

The Daley Instrument Company--There may be six degrees of separation in Kevin Bacon’s world, but in ours there are a whole lot fewer. Let me give you an example. Scanning the screen at bluegrasstoday.com I happened on a story about Sim Daley, who I know as a monster Nashville banjoist but who was the subject of a featured article about instrument making. It seems Sim is well known for his mandos but just recently has expanded his business to make flattop guitars…and here’s were the degrees of separation start falling away. Turns out he’s able to branch out to guits because of an assistant he’s brought on, master luthier, Adam Chowning. So now, I asks myself, self, where have you heard that name and the answer is, well that’s the hot picker, also in Nashville, who not long ago married the lovely and talented Megan Lynch, who happens to be the daughter of Maria Nadauld, proprietor of Above-the-Bay Booking, who happens to be the sister of Welcome columnist Brooks Judd, who happens to be the childhood friend of Rick Cornish, who happens to be the guy who runs the CBA site and is holding my column hostage. Help me, here, how many degrees is that, anyway. Click here to see Brad Davis give his brand new Daley Guitars a work out or here to read the bluegrasstoday article. Or, just keep moving to the next news item.

December 16, 2012

Milestone…June, 2001, the California Bluegrass Association holds its first Music Camp as part of the annual Fathers Day Festival. It was a rough start…somebody forgot to order the lasagna for the Sunday night meal, the sprinklers kept going off unexpectedly and drenching entire classes and some instructors found out too late that there wouldn’t be a copy machine available to them…but students had a great time and said they’d be back for camp number 2, which they were. And now, registration for camp number 13 is open. Click here and grab a sweet, sweet slot.

The Ray Edlund Present Wendy Burch Steel Show--Here’s a Facebook note from Wendy Burch Steel that could help you decide how to spend part of your afternoon tomorrow…”Please visit KPFA tomorrow around 3 PM, for Pig in a Pen where you get to hear my CD as well as interview.... 3-4 Pm. And that's it.

And for good measure--From Maureen Roddy…KPFA 94.1 fm or KPFA.org (for livestream) -- tomorrow from 2-2:30 The Tuttles with AJ Lee will be playing on Mary Tilson's show, America's Back 40. Also, my sister Sully Roddy will join us -- I love to hear her and Mary together on the radio. :) Mary's show runs 1-3 and there are a lot of other great bluegrass shows on KPFA too.

A nd while we’re on the Tuttles--When a national article about the Berklee College of Music carries the headline, “Five Rising Stars at Grey Fox” it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to guess that one of those stars is a young woman named Molly Tuttle, who, with her dad…”appeared on that public radio institution, “A Prairie Home Companion,” where they took second place in the show’s duet singing competition.” And it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure out why the CBA is about to burst with excitement that 2013 will see the first BLUEGRASS CAMP FOR KIDS to be held festival week at Grass Valley. Ms. Tuttle would, I’m guessing, tell you she learned a thing or two about bluegrass under those tall pines.Click here for the story about Grey Fox.

So, what’s wrong with buying bananas at a mega-box-store? Today’s MOLD List—Useless Facts About Walmart:

1. Walmart has more full-time employees -- 2.1 million -- than seven times the population of Iceland.

2. Walmart's $405 billion in revenue last year makes it the 23rd-largest economy in the world, bigger than Sweden.


3. This year, everyone in the world will make an average of 1.1 purchases at a Walmart.

4. Last year Walmart sold more bananas than any other item.

5. Walmart has put more mom-and-pop operations out of business than four Great Depressions and three Great Recessions combined.

Okay, I’ll admit, I made this last one up, but there are eleven more groovy facts about the Big W that you can read by simply clicking here.

The Daley Instrument Company--There may be six degrees of separation in Kevin Bacon’s world, but in ours there are a whole lot fewer. Let me give you an example. Scanning the screen at bluegrasstoday.com I happened on a story about Sim Daley, who I know as a monster Nashville banjoist but who was the subject of a featured article about instrument making. It seems Sim is well known for his mandos but just recently has expanded his business to make flattop guitars…and here’s were the degrees of separation start falling away. Turns out he’s able to branch out to guits because of an assistant he’s brought on, master luthier, Adam Chowning. So now, I asks myself, self, where have you heard that name and the answer is, well that’s the hot picker, also in Nashville, who not long ago married the lovely and talented Megan Lynch, who happens to be the daughter of Maria Nadauld, proprietor of Above-the-Bay Booking, who happens to be the sister of Welcome columnist Brooks Judd, who happens to be the childhood friend of Rick Cornish, who happens to be the guy who runs the CBA site and is holding my column hostage. Help me, here, how many degrees is that, anyway. Click here to see Brad Davis give his brand new Daley Guitars a work out or here to read the bluegrasstoday article. Or, just keep moving to the next news item.

December 15, 2012

Milestone…In 1972 a recording called Duelin' Banjos was used in a John Boorman film called Deliverance. Taken from Reno and Smith's "Feudin' Banjos" the song swept across the country and would be demanded by drunken bar patrons for decades and decades to come. --Click here and enjoy once again the entire scene from Boorman’s film…a classic.

Don’t know as I’ve seen these two together--D.J. Peter Thompson dropped us a line containing a recommended YouTube video…"Can't You Hear Me Calling" - Del McCoury & Danny Paisley with Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter, Bela Fleck, and Alan Bertram…Boy are we glad we took his advice. Click here and prepare to be overcome by the power that is high-lonesome.

Look, we don’t make the rules, we just report ‘em-- Belly-Putting Banned Nation-Wide; Decision Considered Irreversible. Click here for the chilling details.

So, would that be twenty-two ears? It’s always music to the ears of the CBA Powers that Be when good news comes out about one of their Fathers Day head liners. Bob Cherry over at cybergrass.com had some just yesterday…”Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers received an exciting and early Christmas gift this week with the news that the band's latest music on Rebel Records has hit the top of not one, but two charts! The new CD, They're Playing My Song, is this month's #1 CD on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction's Most Played Albums chart. Bluegrass Today's Top 20 Songs chart for the week of December 7th put the CD's first single, "Bottom Of A Mountain" at #1.

Well, yes, by now they actually are ‘ol, but, damn they’re good-- Okay, I know April 3rd is a long ways away friends, but this is definitely something you’ll want to get on your calendar. It’s hard to believe this show will not sell out. The Good Ol' Persons have scheduled a reunion show at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley.

All words are equal, but some words are more equal than others--This quote, taken from the classic allegorical novel Animal Farm, are at the heart of the article that Gregory Ciotti makes when proposing what he believes are the five most persuasive words in the English language. The marketing director at Help Scout, the invisible help desk software for small business owners and writer about behavioral psychology and the arts of persuasion on his blog Sparring Mind, Ciotti offers the following…note that only two of the five are more than one syllable…

1. You
2. Free
3. Because
4. Instantly
5. New

Okay, so you have three choices here. 1) Pretend you never read this; 2) start using these words as often as possible when you want someone to do something (e.g., I want YOU to try some of my NEW gin BECAUSE it will INSTANTLY make you amorous. And did I mention it’s FREE?); or 3) Click here click here and find out what

So here’s another one--As I become older I have found that lists are more and more attractive to me. I think it has something to do with they’re sort of ‘blocked-out’ nature, as opposed to just a flowing, free-form jumble of items; you know, like a paragraph. Then again, it might be that, with a list, a single glance can offer some assurance that there’s an end to what ever it is you’re trying to move into your brain, and at my age that’s become increasingly important. You know, like not wanting to by green bananas. So anyways, here’s a dandy little list of suggestions, ten in all, that should help you remember your dreams. (If you don’t want to remember them, STOP READING NOW! Click here for the list.

Okay, one more list--What with Pandora and Spotify and Sirius and all the rest I find I’m buying fewer and fewer actual CD’s these days, but I’m absolutely POSITIVE I’ll be grabbing this one. Timeless Hits From The Past Bluegrassed, the new IIIrd Tyme Out project, will include 12 tracks, “mixed between hit songs from the bluegrass and country music worlds – all done up in IIIrd Tyme Out’s inimitable trademark style,” according to bluegrasstoday.com. All it took was a quick look at the tracks—

Gentle On My Mind
Modern Day Bonnie And Clyde
Golden Ring
Old Home Place
Only You
Country Roads
My Window Faces The South
Farewell Party
Big Spike Hammer
Tulsa Time
Mama Tried
John and Mary

Have a happy little high-def Christmas--Mark Fiore, a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist and animator, has produced a short but jam-packed little video aimed at making us all more aware of the gratitude we should feel toward the Apple’s and Sony’s and Hewlett’s and Packard’s for making the Christmas season so much better than it was before silicon chips found their way into teddy bears and toasters. Fiore’s little piece might just be just the thing for you as you take a break from gift shopping and tree trimming and Christmas light display wiring, just, for God’s sake, watch it with a light heart and turn the cynical node of your brain to sleep mode. Otherwise it could be a real downerClick here.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT—PLEASE READ
I’ve just been informed by the CBA web master that in a week the three-month pilot of the More or Less Daily News and Stuff will come to an end and he and his editorial board, (frankly, I don’t believe he even has one), will decide the fate of the column. As promised and as I shared with you back in September, they (he) gave me ninety days to sink or swim. So here’s what I’d like you to do…if you enjoy the daily news column send an email to:

rickcornish7777@hotmail.com

and tell him what you think. If you would NOT like to see the Mold continue, just forget you read this important announcement.


December 14, 2012

Milestone…In 1983, Rose Maddox took the stage at Grass Valley for the very first time. She would be a regular visitor there in the years to come. It’s also noteworthy that that same year Tom Sauber played his first Fathers Day Festival with Barry Soloman and Ed Lowe. Exactly thirty years later Tom will perform on the main stage with Alice Gerrard and Brad Leftwich. And the cherry on top of today’s Milestone, Rose and Vern singing Tramp on the Street.

How do you spell plagiarism? A firm believer in giving credit where credit is due, I’ve been derelict in attributing some of the “Milestone” material I use to start each day’s column to Jack Tuttle, teacher, performer and noted bluegrass historian. You can find Jack’s complete “Bluegrass Timeline by clicking here.

Equestrian act…NOT--Hobbyhorse, a singer/songwriter duet comprised of Phil Campbell and Annie, will be riding into Arroyo Grande down on the central coast this weekend for a live show at Laetitia Vineyard. What better excuse to go on a wine-buying spree. Click here for show time.

It’s to Seoul what the Great Land Rush was to Oklahoma, only fueled by hormones instead of free grassland----“Women must dress in red and men in white and all gather at the park, which sits on an island in the Han River that bisects the capital. The two groups will stand facing each other a few metres apart until the event starts at 3:00pm (0600 GMT) — then run towards a potential date and grab his or her hands.” There aren’t many other rules governing South Korea’s ‘battle of the singles’ scheduled for Christmas eve, though I’m wondering is there isn’t some sort of provision for the off chance that some young man or woman isn’t happy with the hand that has grasped her/him. Click here if you’re curious, as I was, about what led up to this new Yule-tide tradition.

If Garrison Keillor narrates, you KNOW it’s gotta be folksy--The Hayloft Gang: The Story of the National Barn Dance, was a one-hour PBS documentary that premiered a year ago last August. According to a network press release, it…”weaves rare performance footage, home movies, and candid photographs with firsthand accounts from fans and performers. Interviews with historians, folklorists, and media experts reveal historical and cultural perspectives of this unique period in America’s history.” So, what's newish about this story is that a group of folks are attempting to raise the money necessary to bring the documentary project to DVD. A HREF="http://hayloftgang.com/ "target=0>Click here to see a bit of the show that aired and to see if you’d like to help. If so, time is running out. The campaign ends December 31st.

So, you wanna be in pictures? According to bluegrasstoday.com, and you KNOW what those folks say is nothing but the truth, the soundtrack for the new Judd Apatow movie about to hit theaters was done, in large part, by the Punch Brothers. The soundtrack’s producer, Jon Brion, who produced the last full Punch Brothers album, Antifogmatic, “has become a friend of the band, and when the time came to record the movie soundtrack, he called upon the Brothers to serve supporting roles behind the big name pop artists whose voices are out front. Listen for them providing accompaniment for Fiona Apple, Norah Jones, Lindsay Buckingham, Graham Parker and Wilco.” Click here for the full story, including a left-handed compliment about the film itself.

Ho, ho, ho--We've got a majorly bluegrassy lead up to Christmas in our little corner of the world. Something to ignite that high lonesome yuletide spirit. Put these in your calendar…

13: The Kentucky Twisters – Atlas Café, SF
13: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
13: Rob Ickes & Jim Hurst – Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
14: Rob Ickes & Jim Hurst – Sebastopol Community Center
16 (2 pm): San Bruno Mountain Boys - San Gregorio Store
17: Windy Hill - Amnesia, SFDec.
18: Cabin Fever - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
19: Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
19: Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
20: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
21: Melody Walker & Jacob Groopman; Plough & Stars,
22: Beargrass Creek - Mission Pizza, Fremont
23 (11 am): Paul Jacobs & Friends - San Gregorio Store
24: The Earl Brothers - Amnesia, SF

And speaking of Christmas, which it seems a lot of people are--The bluegrass family band Oak Grove has a part to play in tomorrow night’s very multi-genre “Have Yourself a Little Gospel Christmas in Walnut Creek.Click here to learn exactly where and when.

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT—PLEASE READ
I’ve just been informed by the CBA web master that in a week the three-month pilot of the More or Less Daily News and Stuff will come to an end and he and his editorial board, (frankly, I don’t believe he even has one), will decide the fate of the column. As promised and as I shared with you back in September, they (he) gave me ninety days to sink or swim. So here’s what I’d like you to do…if you enjoy the daily news column send an email to:

rickcornish7777@hotmail.com

and tell him what you think. If you would NOT like to see the Mold continue, just forget you read this important announcement.



December 13, 2012

Milestone…In 1975 J.D. Crowe pulled himself together some boys and started him something called the New South. They were Ricky Scaggs on mandolin, Tony Rice on guitar, Jerry Douglas on dobro, and Bobbly Sloane on fiddle and bass. It was more or less a revolution. Years later one of their best known was performed at the IBMA. Click here for the Old Home Place.

So, would that be twenty-two ears? It’s always music to the ears of the CBA Powers that Be when good news comes out about one of their Fathers Day head liners. Bob Cherry over at cybergrass.com had some just yesterday…”Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers received an exciting and early Christmas gift this week with the news that the band's latest music on Rebel Records has hit the top of not one, but two charts! The new CD, They're Playing My Song, is this month's #1 CD on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction's Most Played Albums chart. Bluegrass Today's Top 20 Songs chart for the week of December 7th put the CD's first single, "Bottom Of A Mountain" at #1.

IMPORTANT: DO NOT CLICK THE LINK BELOW!--Well, actually what we’re suggesting is that you don’t click it right now. Send it to yourself in an email or otherwise stow it away somewhere until you’re truly suffering, (e.g., just got your tax bill, little Billy’s been suspended for trying to pull together a heist team of third-graders to knock off the 7-11, your wife has moved out but left your mother-in-law behind), then click it open and feel the pain wash away. I’m not kidding, this really works. Click here, but only when you really need relief.

Yes sir, Tony, you play that thing, boy--Our friend Bob Cherry over at cybergrass.com is running a pretty encouraging headline this week…”Banjo Master Tony Trischka Wins USA Fellowship and Grant>” Awfully good to see people from our genre winning some recognition. Click here for the story.

Some things…and banjo pickers…never change--I’m guessing that if you were to ask true, dyed in the wool bluegrass nuts what they remember most about the 2012 Fathers Day Festival, better than half of them would say watching the Seldom Scene on the main stage is what stays with ‘em. Not only did they do three superb sets, but it’s just a plain fact that the band just drips with bluegrass history. Seeing the Scene is like witnessing the budding of a new branch of the genre, this despite the fact that the only remaining original member is Ben Eldrige. That’s why I found Greg Cahill’s recent interview with him for the Banjo Newsletter a treat.Click here and you may too.

That’s it. End of story.-- The number-one ranked singles tennis player in the world, has purchased the entire global supply of donkey cheese.

That Bluegrass Association of Southern California knows how to put on a show--SoCal Kingpin Harley Tarlitz dropped the MOLD Department a note asking we get the following word out--the Claire Lynch Band will perform a concert tonight at the Mission Theater in Northridge. Click here for the full skinny. Great show with a great lady.

Landfill Harmonic--Stories and video clips about this Catuera Paraguay project have been making the rounds on the Internet for the past several days and, frankly, there have been few innovative kids projects that have struck me as deeply as this one. The town of Cateura was built virtually on top of a landfill. “One day it occurred to me to teach music to the children of the recyclers and use my personal instruments,” explains 36 year-old Chávez, who worked as an ecological technician at the landfill. “But it got to the point that there were too many students and not enough supply. So that’s when I decided to experiment and try to actually create a few.” And, you guessed it, the materials he used were found in the landfill. A full length documentary will be out soon that details Chavez’s work. In the meantime, Click here to view a teaser. Sure got me thinking about what more I can do to support the CBA’s Darrell Johnston Kid’s Lending Library.

This is important, because…?Simply stated, Bergmann's Rule says that populations and species of larger size are found in colder environments; hence, the further north you go, the bigger animals you’ll find. A nineteenth-century German biologist, Carl Bergmann was only a little more committed to his scientific study than to his avocation, which was playing in a string quartet. He began playing violin as a child in Hamburg, switched to viola upon being accepted at Oxford’s Royal Academy of Science and did his most important work, including authoring the size-latitude rule, in Norway, where he took up the cello. Click here for a more complete explanation of Bergmann's Rule…or don’t.

Don’t know as I’ve seen these two together--D.J. Peter Thompson dropped us a line containing a recommended YouTube video…"Can't You Hear Me Calling" - Del McCoury & Danny Paisley with Ronnie McCoury, Jason Carter, Bela Fleck, and Alan Bertram…Boy are we glad we took his advice. Click here and prepare to be overcome by the power that is high-lonesome.

December 12, 2012

Milestone…1962 Ralph Rinzler becomes Monroe's manager. Markets him as the "Father of Bluegrass".
Click here

And the hits just keep a’ comin’--MOLD MAIL…The title track of the Kathy Kallick Band's new album, "Time," has entered the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey. This is the fifth title song that Kathy and her band have placed in the BU chart. The others: "Call Me A Taxi," "Walkin' In My Shoes," "Warmer Kind Of Blue," and "Where Is My Little Cabin Home" (from the album "Between the Hollow & the High-Rise"). The other four albums also made the Top 15 Bluegrass Albums chart. Click to the KKB web site.

2012 has been a tough year for music--Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, Dave Brubeck, Doug Dillard, and Everett Lilly all lost this year. And this morning the New York Times is reporting the death of Pandit Ravi Shankar. Sitar virtuoso, cultural ambassador, teacher, whose “uncompromising dedication to musical collaboration beyond national boundaries knew no limits” was 92. Click here for the Times story.

Interesting match-up--From perscriptionbluegrass.com…Cia Cherryholmes Adkisson, of the singer-songwriter duo, Songs of the Fall, is excited to be a part of Mark O'Connor's Christmas Tour - a five city tour through the month of December. Cia will be playing banjo, and will sing several selections during the concert. Click here

Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer has to be included if the list is to be taken seriously--A Yule Time request from the folks at Mandolin Café…”We're in the process of developing a definitive mandolin Christmas recording list. Join in the fun and add your recommendations. The list grows daily!” Click here if you’ve got one or just want to see what they’ve come up with so far.

Close call clue to cunning Korean catastrophic climate killer? Asteroid 4179 Toutatis Flyby This Morning. Even though its closest distance to the earth was 18 times further than the moon, scientists say that if it struck our planet the three-mile wide asteroid “could have caused catastrophic damage. In general, NASA believes a strike by anything at least 0.6 miles (1 km) wide could have global consequences, most likely by altering the world's climate for many years to come.“ Shortly after the historic flyby, the North Korean News Agency issued a statement that the “near collision with 4179 was actually a test of a new top secret ‘orbital manipulation’ device which Dear Leader # Three, Kim Jong Un, personally developed as a high school science project and which, with this morning’s successful execution, becomes a new weapon in North Korea’s arsenal to protect itself from western imperialism.” Click here for the entire story.

And speaking of natural calamities, these guys are to bluegrass what a real twister is to the Western Oklahoma Panhandle in July--Who are the Kentucky Twisters and where do they come off naming themselves after one of nature’s most cataclysmic events? Well, there’s an easy way to find out, and that’s to click here. And then there’s the more fun…or is it funner…way, and that’s to get your sorry self to the Atlas Café Thursday the 13th.

Public Service Announcement--Rick Cornish, the CBA web master who nobody seems to remember ever appointing to the job, has asked me, through my CBA liaison, Mark Peet, to let my readers know that a new block of rooms has been opened at the Doubletree Hotel for the big doings down in Bakersfield next month. Click here if you’re interested in nailing down a room. (As an aside, I find it a little amusing that the web master is asking the Mold Man share information with my readers. Do you suppose it’s finally dawned on him that the More or Less Daily is a major reason some people come to this site?)

And finally, spreading across the globe, one web site at a time--Leave it to Madame President Brandli to get the CBA all neatly signed up and registered as a “group” on the bluegrasstoday.com web site. Click here for a look at our home away from home.

December 11, 2012

Milestone…In 1952 Jim and Jesse get noticed. Jesse crosspicks the mandolin and the brother harmonies inspire their contemparies across several genres, including the Everly Brothers and Beatles. Click here to see the two perform one of their all time hit ballads, When I stop dreaming

And we can say we knew ‘em when--Husband and wife team court stardom with new music video., ARROGANT MILL

“At the east end of town, where the night sky's dark and inky
Stands a factory still and empty that for so long made our Twinkies.
But there's no carbs at all coming from those hallowed halls
No more Yodels, no more Ding Dongs, no more neon pink Snowballs.”

Click here to hear and see what all of the industry buzz is about.

Just picture Ed with a white beard and big belly--MOLDMAIL…”Hello Moldman, Blue and Lonesome would appreciate if you would post these upcoming gigs in your column. Friday, 12/14/2012, Murphy's Irish Pub, downtown Sonoma on the square (Kid Friendly venue); Sunday, 12/16/2012, 5:30PM, Bergamot Alley, Healdsburg, 328A Healdsburg Ave; Thursday, 12/20/2012, 7Pm, Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma, 3600 Petaluma Blvd. north (This is the annual birthday bash for Sag/Cap birthdays but of course anyone can come and is encouraged!) During this joyous time of year let us not forget the birthday folks who get presents wrapped in Santa Paper! Eat a cupcake, listen to Happy Birthday Bluegrass Style, and support LIVE music (and musicians).”

Donner, Blitzer and Larry--From Larry Carlin who, like clockwork, dons his elf outfit once Turkey Day is out of the way…”‘Tis the season! Dr. Elmo & The Supersonic Reindeer Band will be playing a series of shows in the San Francisco Bay Area this holiday season. Hear Elmo sing his classic hit “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and many more original holiday songs that he co-wrote with Mill Valley’s Rita Abrams.” Oh, and for the one or, at most, two people in the world who don’t know Dr. Elmo and his ‘Grandma’ song, click here.

Say what you will about the Chronicle and its gradual, decades-long slide into the sea of mediocrity, their reporters still know good shows when they see 'em--Hillary and Jim among Bay Area arts and entertainment picks. Click here.

TV alert from our friends over at prescriptionbluegrass.com--Bluegrass on Austin City Limits This Week; Catch Steve and the Steeps. Click for the whole skinny.

Oh, I don’t know if they’ll let me use that word--So, when you’re running a country that has a shockingly tragic history of its people starving to death…literally…you plow every spare nickel and dime into projects aimed at boosting food production, right? Well, generally the answer is, yes, that’s what you do, except when the country you’re running is named North Korea or your first name is Kin, in which case you spend $41,000,000 in 2012 building monuments to your recently-departed ‘dear leader’, the last being a 75-foot bronze statue of the late Kim Jong Il erected in April and costing $10 million. Even in death our old pal figures out a way to shit on his people. Click here

This could be a troubling story if we let it be.--Weekend Vote Will Bring Controversial Changes To Psychiatrists' Bible. Twenty high-ups in the American Psychiatric Association will spend the weekend in Arlington, VA, making sweeping changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual…the bible of psychiatry…and since psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners around the country use the DSM to help them piece together their patients' mental conditions, lots and lots of people will be touched by what’s decided there at the Ramada Inn. So what’s on tap? Looks like Asperger's syndrome will be let out to pasture; disruptive mood dysregulation will be a new disorder added to describe unruly kiddies in the classroom, (bipolar, some feel, is a little extreme); a new way to think about sadness in the wake of the death of a loved one will suggest that grieving isn’t all that abnormal; and OHLSD, (Obsessive High Lonesome Sound Disorder will be added back into the manual after being dropped back in the 60’s at the height of the folk revival on college campuses. Read the full story at DSM5.

Please have their tri-tip/hot-links combo for me, please--You don’t have to like bluegrass music to drive to Campbell and eat barbeque at Sam’s; it’s some of the best you can find, even if elevator music was playing. But if you do like the high-lonesome stuff, the ribs and slow-cooked brisket will taste twice as good. Tuesday night, Carolina; Wednesday night, Dark Hollow.

Snappers--I spotted something new on the CBA web site today. I suppose it could have been there all along and I missed it…but I don’t think so. The page introduces the three official photographers of the organization, Mike Melnyk, Bob Caulkins and Randy Shelton and invites folks to go look a their work. I did and was knocked out. Click here if you have a minute.

December 10, 2012

Milestone…--Sad day this past Saturday, as J.D. Crowe finished his era with the "New South" with their final performance at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA. Boy, you talk about one of the all-time greats…

After all, what could be simpler? I have seen with MY OWN EYES dogs that were trained how to drive a car actually drive a car. So can you if you click below. This is NO JOKE…no trick photography. So here’s what I’m wondering…if dogs can be trained to drive doesn’t it stand to reason that they can be trained to play the banjo? Click here

Opps, he forgot to mention his name-Now, here’s an invitation that’s gonna be hard to pass up if you live anywhere even near Modesto. Thursday, December 27 at six p.m. all you singer-songwriters are invited to go and have hot coffee, hot cocoa, cool cocktails, and even cooler tunes at this guy’s flat. The rule is only one song per singer-songwriter. For directions and more information, click here.

Rumors of our demise have been greatly exaggerated--Last Spring Harold Camping, founder and president of Family Radio, predicted the end of the world and was stunned when it didn’t happen. After a couple of days he allowed as he might have made a math error that threw him off a month. A month later rolls around, still no trumpets blaring so Harold folds up his tent and goes home. He was finished, he said, with making predictions. Thief in the night, dagnabbit, means thief in the night. So you’d think we’d be finished for a while with end of the earth forecasts but, nope, got another coming in just a couple weeks. Here are just a few of the headlines related to the latest chapter in end time madness…”Mayan Apocalypse: Cuban Beach Hosts Sacred Rites By Sages”; “Julia Gillard, Australian Prime Minister, Delivers Mayan Apocalypse Speech”; and “NASA Statement—No Apocalyptic Meteors Headed Our Way”. Click here for Julia’s speech. Amazing composure for a Prime Minister about to kiss her butt goodbye.

Feeling a little out of it lately? So, you say you get into a jam with ‘the big dogs’ and you realize half the time you don’t know what they’re talking about? References fly right past you? What you need is a bluegrass terms and saying refresher course, and Chris Stuart is just the guy who can give it to you. Click here.

We won’t even predict what kind of music they’ll play, but we’re sure it will be good--Before we forget to tell you, Kathy Barwick and Pete Siegfried will play this Friday night at Luna’s Cafe, 1414 16th St, Sacramento, 916-441-3931, www.lunascafe.com. No cover. For those who, like me, still mourn the passing of Mt. Laurel, this act is some solace.

Who is that mysterious stranger from the east? MOLD MAIL from David Thom….”?Don Rigsby will be an honorary member of the DTB for 5 days in February, and that is raging good news, but better than that is the workshop he is going to give at the Freight while he's here. And in my opinion, it's the one California needs most... Stay tuned! Click here

The first step is to nail their head to a 2X4--I’ll share something about myself I’ve never told anyone; I have an irrational and almost debilitating fear of catfish. I think it’s because when I was growing up I was drug along by my parents to the Delta on catfishing trips. I just saw too many hundreds, maybe thousands, of catfish get their head cut off and their skin pulled off their flesh for a little boy my age. As an adult I’ve learned to empty out the visions of headless, skinless catfish from my brain, but then, wouldn’t you know it, I stumbled on this today…”Pigeon Hunting Catfish, the ‘Freshwater Killer Whales.’” And not in water. ON LAND! Don’t click here unless you’re mentally and emotional prepared. I wasn’t.

New location, same lean silhouette --Larry White posted to California Bluegrass Association Facebook page..."The ThinMan, Larry White (me, probably the 1st music vendor at CBA festival, every year now for at least 30!) now has a jam every Saturday in his music store hidden inside the Gualala Pharmacy. Our motto, Drugs & Music, get 'em both now in the Gualala Pharmacy! I've moved to the north coast, between Jenner and Gualala, and local jammers are mostly raccoons & bannana slugs!
I now have a new line of custom parlor guitars, and a new website: www.laurencewhiteluthery.com/

So terribly sad--Finally, it is with the deepest sorrow that I must report that the evening before last Shelby King, the daughter of James King, was killed in an automobile accident. She was only eighteen years old. has details. Our hearts go out to James and his family.

December 9, 2012

Milestone…In 1952 Jim and Jesse get noticed. Jesse crosspicks the mandolin and the brother harmonies inspire their contemparies across several genres, including the Everly Brothers and Beatles. Click here to see the two perform one of their all time hit ballads, When I stop dreaming

And we can say we knew ‘em when--Husband and wife team court stardom with new music video., ARROGANT MILL

“At the east end of town, where the night sky's dark and inky
Stands a factory still and empty that for so long made our Twinkies.
But there's no carbs at all coming from those hallowed halls
No more Yodels, no more Ding Dongs, no more neon pink Snowballs.”

Click here to hear and see what all of the industry buzz is about.

Just picture Ed with a white beard and big belly--MOLDMAIL…”Hello Moldman, Blue and Lonesome would appreciate if you would post these upcoming gigs in your column. Friday, 12/14/2012, Murphy's Irish Pub, downtown Sonoma on the square (Kid Friendly venue); Sunday, 12/16/2012, 5:30PM, Bergamot Alley, Healdsburg, 328A Healdsburg Ave; Thursday, 12/20/2012, 7Pm, Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma, 3600 Petaluma Blvd. north (This is the annual birthday bash for Sag/Cap birthdays but of course anyone can come and is encouraged!) During this joyous time of year let us not forget the birthday folks who get presents wrapped in Santa Paper! Eat a cupcake, listen to Happy Birthday Bluegrass Style, and support LIVE music (and musicians).”

Donner, Blitzer and Larry--From Larry Carlin who, like clockwork, dons his elf outfit once Turkey Day is out of the way…”‘Tis the season! Dr. Elmo & The Supersonic Reindeer Band will be playing a series of shows in the San Francisco Bay Area this holiday season. Hear Elmo sing his classic hit “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer” and many more original holiday songs that he co-wrote with Mill Valley’s Rita Abrams.” Oh, and for the one or, at most, two people in the world who don’t know Dr. Elmo and his ‘Grandma’ song, click here.

Say what you will about the Chronicle and its gradual, decades-long slide into the sea of mediocrity, their reporters still know good shows when they see 'em--Hillary and Jim among Bay Area arts and entertainment picks. Click here.

TV alert from our friends over at prescriptionbluegrass.com--Bluegrass on Austin City Limits This Week; Catch Steve and the Steeps. Click for the whole skinny.

Oh, I don’t know if they’ll let me use that word--So, when you’re running a country that has a shockingly tragic history of its people starving to death…literally…you plow every spare nickel and dime into projects aimed at boosting food production, right? Well, generally the answer is, yes, that’s what you do, except when the country you’re running is named North Korea or your first name is Kin, in which case you spend $41,000,000 in 2012 building monuments to your recently-departed ‘dear leader’, the last being a 75-foot bronze statue of the late Kim Jong Il erected in April and costing $10 million. Even in death our old pal figures out a way to shit on his people. Click here

This could be a troubling story if we let it be.--Weekend Vote Will Bring Controversial Changes To Psychiatrists' Bible. Twenty high-ups in the American Psychiatric Association will spend the weekend in Arlington, VA, making sweeping changes to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual…the bible of psychiatry…and since psychiatrists and other mental health practitioners around the country use the DSM to help them piece together their patients' mental conditions, lots and lots of people will be touched by what’s decided there at the Ramada Inn. So what’s on tap? Looks like Asperger's syndrome will be let out to pasture; disruptive mood dysregulation will be a new disorder added to describe unruly kiddies in the classroom, (bipolar, some feel, is a little extreme); a new way to think about sadness in the wake of the death of a loved one will suggest that grieving isn’t all that abnormal; and OHLSD, (Obsessive High Lonesome Sound Disorder will be added back into the manual after being dropped back in the 60’s at the height of the folk revival on college campuses. Read the full story at DSM5.

Please have their tri-tip/hot-links combo for me, please--You don’t have to like bluegrass music to drive to Campbell and eat barbeque at Sam’s; it’s some of the best you can find, even if elevator music was playing. But if you do like the high-lonesome stuff, the ribs and slow-cooked brisket will taste twice as good. Tuesday night, Carolina; Wednesday night, Dark Hollow.

Snappers--I spotted something new on the CBA web site today. I suppose it could have been there all along and I missed it…but I don’t think so. The page introduces the three official photographers of the organization, Mike Melnyk, Bob Caulkins and Randy Shelton and invites folks to go look a their work. I did and was knocked out. Click here if you have a minute.

December 8, 2012

Milestone…June, 1976, Grass Valley California…the newly created California Bluegrass Association holds its first Fathers Day Festival and proudly announces its line-up…Josh Graves; Ray Park; Vern Williams Band; A Touch of Grass; Arkansas Shieks; Bear Creek Boys; Bill White; Buffalo Bob and the Country Butter Band; Country Ham; Done Gone; Good 'n' Country; Good Ol' Persons; Long Valley Boys; New Depression String; asnd the Caffrey Family

Better late than never--I happen to know that 1) a good number of our daily readers live the the Sacramento area and 2) a good number of them read the MOLD while having their morning coffee. Hence, I’m not going to apologize for making this recommendation precariously late. Jump in your car, drive downtown to the Old Soul for a cup of java and listen to Kathy Barwick and Ross Hammond pick a few. They’ll play 10 till noon, which will give you the rest of the day to…well…whatever.

Already a year since we said goodbye--Shirley Tudor was a dear pal to many, many pickers down in the Santa Cruz area and we’ve been told by Leslie Abbott that next weekend those friends will remember her at a very musical memorial. Organizers are trying to get a general count of those planning to attend so, if you are, drop Leslie a note at leslie@playingbyear.com.

It is at once a profound and abstract question, and a deeply personal one.--What is the meaning of life? For only $84.95 Professor Jay L. Garfield, a Ph.D. at the University of Pittsburgh, will lay it all out for you on his latest digital video…$49.95 if you feel you can get by with just the audio version. Is Moldman recommending the doctor’s lecture series? No, he is not. Rather, he is offering you tangible, clickable proof that there exist on this earth men even more presumptuous, self-important, ego-centric, and cock-sure asnd utterly delusional than himself. Granted, there aren’t many, but there are some. Click here if you don’t believe me.

No, in the grand scheme of things, the middle of February is not that far off--What do the Casey Dreissen, Bill Evans, The Bee Eaters, David Thom's Bluegrass All-Stars, The Crooked Jades, The Earl Brothers, Grandpa Banana Band, Snap Jackson & the Knock On Wood Players. Evie Ladin Band. JimBo Trout & the Fishpeople, Gayle Schmitt & the Toodala Ramblers, Savannah Blu, Whiskey Brothers, The Drifter Sisters, and the Lonesome Holler String Band have in common? Well, among other things, I’m sure, these acts will be performing as part of the 13th Annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival. They along with about forty or so other bands and soloists will help keep the SFBOT a compelling reasons that the San Francisco Bay Area is one of the best places on the planet for a unplugged music junkie. Click here for the full cast of characters.

Want imported donkey cream in that coffee, Mr.?--I’m certain you’ll find this hard to believe, but I can be a pretty sarcastic guy. One of my all-time favorite comebacks when a friend comes up with a dumb plan, (e.g., “I just ordered one of those rubber thingies you put around your stomach and the pounds just melt away”) is “Right, that and fifty cents will get you a cup of coffee.” Or at least that’s what I used to say. In recent years, I’ve changed it to “that and two bucks will get you…” And then this morning I read this…Chain Introduces Cups Of Costa Rica Finca Palmilera.

You be the judge--Welch Casts Doubt On Jobs Report Again…Jack Welch, long-time CEO of General Electric, strongly implied on Twitter Friday that the September and October jobs reports both contained a glaring mistake that skews the Labor Department’s projections and renders them useless. “@jack_welch; Jack Welch; Sept/October employment proj’s all wet; numbers based on FIFTY STATES rather than actual number, which is FORTY-EIGHT STATES; more govt. incompetence” Welch, who led GE between 1981 and 2001 and saw a 4000% increase in the company’s value during that period, later told the Wall Street Journal that “when Hawaii and Alaska become states you can be sure I’ll personally welcome them with open arms. But until then, job numbers from the two territories should not be used in DOL calculations.”

No, it’s not a Martin but it’s well-traveled--A $100 Guitar Makes A 30,000-Mile Odyssey. Click here for the story.

So,honestly, who doesn’t need a little encouragement every now and then? Ran Bush is a great guy and knows a whole lot about bluegrass music. If you haven’t met him he’s a good fellow to get to know, especially if you’re one of those closet pickers who’s on the verge of breaking out but just needs a little nudge. Ran runs a slow jam the second and fourth Sundays, 2:00 p.m., at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley,

I have seen the future and it is now…well, actually it was several months ago when BB was copyrighted--And finally, let’s say that, for the sake of discussion, you are a bluegrass fanatic, you have a nephew and a niece, both toddlers, and you have zero faith that your brother Ralph will do anything of significance aimed at indoctrinating the little ones into ‘our music’ while their little minds are still sponge-like and vulnerable. And let’s also say, again, just to keep the conversation going, that Katie and Tyler LOVE their matching I-Pads and that, even at three and four respectively, they’re both masters at the hand-helds’ operation. Two words…Barnyard Bluegrass.

December 7, 2012

Milestone…No, Barney, I’m sorry but you can’t play the spoons--In 1963 the Dillards play the Darlings on the Andy Griffith show. Click here for a great rendition of Dooley…Andy plays along.

He gets it now--Good Facebook quote from well-known photog, Mike Melnyk- re: the recent traveling BANJO EXTRAVAGANZA…”There are things out there. You can call them Banjos. Yeah, I've seen them and I've heard them. But, three together, with expert drivers. NOW I get it. Banjo Extravaganza. Look at em go. (Hear them too).

You won’t find anybody bothering to try and prove banjo players are ‘different’--A regular reader sent in the link to a story whose title reads… “Why learning guitar is different from learning other instruments.” (Note it doesn’t say HARDER to learn than other instruments.) Turns out a Nashville guitar player and a psych prof at Vanderbilt got together and hatched a pretty interesting methodology to prove their theory. Works for me. You? Click here

Let the bidding begin! It’s common knowledge among bluegrass pickers that, of all the bluegrass musicians, mandolin players tend to be the best educated and most affluent, hence we thoughts we’d share this piece spotted at mandolincafe.com…”For Sale: Tim May Mandolin Orchestra Collection 1913-1919. Tim May's remarkable mandolin orchestra collection of Gibson oval hole/sunburst instruments from 1913-1919, highlighted in our 2011 interview with him, is now for sale as an intact collection in our Classifieds. Click here

Upper body male enhancement--Stumped about what to get that man of yours for Christmas? How about a new look that suggests masculinity, wisdom and experience? Pierre Bouhanna, a Paris-based surgeon, says he’s doing 50-60 mustache implants per month. Transplantees are able to wash the next day, have to abstain from shaving for only 5 days, and can expect to see full results after six months. Granted, the seven grand Dr. Pierre charges ain’t hay, but where else are you going to get a 100% natural lip-warmer at any price? Click here

Of special interest to those suffering from cabin fever--Moldy Mail Press Release …”Colorado River Fairgrounds in Blyth, California will once again be the scene of the Blythe Bluegrass Music Festival. The Annual Blythe Bluegrass Music Festival has been part of the excitement of the Palo Verde Valley for over a quarter of a century. It all started with volunteer organizers, and today that tradition still exists. There will be plenty of top name bluegrass talent again this year so you will want to start making your plans now. Don't miss the Gibson Brothers - They'll be there! They recently won the 23rd Annual International IBMA Entertainer of the year award. The talent lineup, so far, includes the award winning The Gibson Brothers, Monroe Crossing, Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, Pearce Family Bluegrass Band, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Silverado, The Burnett Family, Bost Family Traditions, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, Bill Evans, and New Generation.” Click here

Quick, whose face is on a hundred dollar bill? If you said Ben Franklin’s face, you’d be right. If you came up with some other famous American, you be wrong but, what the heck, it wouldn’t matter. Unless, of course, if you lived in Attleboro, Mass, your name was Dana Leland and you were trying to pass $100 bills that had Abraham Lincoln’s face on them. At least Dana had the good sense to plead guilty. The 29-year-old Leland used the fake notes on three consecutive days at the North Attleborough store to buy items worth less than $25. And you think YOU have problems.

Do you suppose the bees are pathetic, too--Ella Naiman and Scott Dailey cordially invite us all to the 8th Annual Holiday Hootenenanny…Devil's Canyon Brewing Company in Belmont, Friday, December 14…6:00pm until 11:00pm…no Cover, which is always nice…and the best part, we’ll hear: 6:00 - Hello Trouble; 7:15 - Wires & Fools; 8:15 - Pathetic Honey; and 9:45 - Stoney Mt. RamblersClick here for a little Devil’s Canyon info.

With a couple big names, this basnd could catch on--Moldy Mail Bag…Dear MM, my new band – Helen Highwater (David Grier, Mike Compton, Missy Raines, and Shad Cobb) made their debut last night at the Fiddle House in East Nashville. All the best, Marie, Above the Bay Booking” Click here to read the review…it’s pretty derned rave.

December 6, 2012

Milestone
--In 1966 Carter Stanley died. His brother, Ralph, vowed to carry on, and that promise had already blessed a couple of generations. Click here for a little bit of that good old mt. dew.

Notice that playing bluegrass music isn’t on the list--We’re gonna take a wild guess about Kevin Daum at Inc.com and assume he’s a very bright guy. What other kind of guy would presume to preach to us about the “5 Things That Really Smart People Do”? So here goes…

1. Quiet Your Inner Voice
2. Argue With Yourself
3. Act Like You Are Curious
4. Find the Kernel of Truth
5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger

Want to know what really, really smart people do? Well, for starters, they click here.

A couple of good flat pickers--Moldy Mail Bag item. A little longer than most posts, but it’s worth it…”Hello MM, Told you that Helen Highwater (David Grier, Mike Compton, Missy Raines, Shad Cobb) played their first ever concert at The Fiddle House in East Nashville on Sunday night 12/3/12. Here’s a little snippet from a long ago interview with David Grier:

Q: Who influenced you most?

DG: Clarence White

Q: He came to your house often?

DG: Yes, Bill Monroe and Clarence White always stopped by whenever they came to the area. I was a kid so they usually jammed with my father. My father still has the tape recordings. That's so cool to listen to.

And attached is a photo of David Grier with Clarence White. Here’s the caption for it: “This picture was taken at the Indian Springs festival in Maryland in 1972 (Jack Lawrence said). Clarence is carrying his Whitebook with a cedar top. He also carries a Pabst Blue Ribbon. The young kid is David Grier with a soft drink in his hand. The gentleman behind David is his father, Lamar Grier. The drunken gentleman on the ground is presumed to be Harry Moore.”

Did you know that Clarence White did not sing in public? He was in a band with Peter Rowan, Richard Green, David Grisman, and Bill Keith. Band was called Muleskinner. They did a live television broadcast in early 1973. On that show, as far as we know, was the only time Clarence White sang in public. What song did he sing? He sang “Dark Hollow.” Clarence White died July 15, 1973.

David Grier never sings – NEVER – well at least not in public. He sang Sunday night. And what song did he sing? He sang “Dark Hollow”.

Maria E. Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking

Wow, to make it on this list...Congratulations to Grammy nominees in the Category 46. Best Bluegrass Album…

The Gospel Side Of--Dailey & Vincent
Life Finds A Way--The Grascals
Beat The Devil And Carry A Rail--Noam Pikelny
Scratch Gravel Road--Special Consensus
Nobody Knows You--Steep Canyon Rangers

More like a trickle than a tidal wave--Oh, and just to put things in perspective, the total number of words it took to list out all of the Grammy Nominations for 2012 was 7,085. The total number of words required to list out nominations for the single bluegrass award category was 47. I don’t mean to be cynical, friends, but let’s not kid ourselves about the tidal wave of popularity sweeping the nation for our kind of music. Oh, want to read all 7,085 words? Just click here.

Day of Infamy--Every man, woman and child in this country of ours is living a life that was partly shaped by what happened on this day seventy one years ago. Since then we have called today Pearl Harbor Day

That’s right next to Denny’s and just down from the multi-plex--Okay, this is admittedly short notice…and admittedly, some will choose not to make the long drive, but we at the MOLD felt it our responsibility to let you know that tonight Cliff Wagner & The Old # 7 will do their annual Christmas show at the Cinema Bar!, 3967 Sepulveda Blvd. Culver City. I can think of few ways to ensure that by the 25th you will be properly imbued with the Christmas spirit than watching and listening to this absolutely crazy man and his crazy banjo. If you go, please say hello for me.

December 5, 2012

Milestone…It was a very good year--According to Wikipedia, “Originally, there was no intention to build a group and the main reason for the collaboration was to record a solo album for Tony Rice. They found that this cooperation could work and the result was an album called The Bluegrass Album, released in 1981, Click here to hear a few sample cuts and bring back a tidal wave of memories.

I was young and cute and funny and talented once too, dammit --A word from the Drifter Sisters. They need your help more than you need that sushi night out this weekend. They’re about to get on the CD-producing train and with their “good common sense and the support of our community, there's no reason we can't be successful in this recording endeavor.” Click here and hop on with ‘em.

Relevance thrown under the bus?--From the Moldy Mail Bag…”Dear MM, take this as a question or take it as a criticism, I don’t care. Why do you insist on filling your column everyday with a bunch of stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with bluegrass? I used to love to read Larry Carlin’s Almost Daily News. True, some of what he wrote about didn’t really qualify as bluegrass, but at least it was all about music. Some of the c___ you throw in your column, I don’t know, some of it I don’t think is even true. Why not just keep it to bluegrass? That’s the reason we come to this web site. For the bluegrass. So what if your columns are shorter? Signed, Growing Impatient” Dear Growing, let me give your question some thought. In the meantime, click here for the latest on the Mayan Apocalypse Countdown.

Take Five, hell, take an eternity. You’ve earned it.--Larry Carlin started the tradition a long time ago that the daily news, though dedicated to bluegrass, would include ‘big’ items involving all types of music. Clearly this is a big and a very sad item…the legendary Dave Brubeck has passed. We were especially fortunate here in Northern California to have him so close by for so many years.Click here to view Dave’s obituary.

What does this new band’s name conjure up? Mountain Dojo…new old timey act...Toshio Hirano and Dave Berry…Atlas Café in the City tonight.

The bluegrass version of affordable care; Dr.’s Monroe and Crowe--Stolen from the Breakdown but worth a read…Crowe receives honorary degree. By Tom Adler. I'm truly pleased to announce that the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees has designated banjoist/bandleader J.D. Crowe as one of the recipients of an honorary doctorate. The Doctor of Arts de- gree will be conferred at the upcoming Commencement ceremony in Lexington, Kentucky, on December 14th, 2012. To my knowledge, Crowe will be only the second bluegrass musician to receive such an honor from the University of Kentucky -- the first was Bill Monroe, who was granted the degree in 1984 and received it at the June, 1985 UK Commencement ceremonies. Crowe has told me that he is very pleased, but does NOT want anyone to publicly address him as "Dr. Crowe" -- still, I hope all will join me in offering their congratulations to this great artist and exemplary bluegrass leader.

A prescient name? The Civil Wars, Joy Williams and John Paul White, have built a gentle, harmony-rich folk-pop sound in which warm chemistry seeps out of every note. The pair recently announced a hiatus due to "irreconcilable differences," but before that, they performed "Kingdom Come" backstage at the Sasquatch! Music Festival. It’s quite literally a ‘field recording”. Click here for A Song Of Loyalty, Before It's Tested. Quite nice.

Come on, take a joke--Okay, I’ll be the first to admit that occasionally, VERY occasionally, the Mold team will post an item that is, how shall we say, less than entirely truthful, but such pieces are ALWAYS proffered in a spirit of fun and good humor. We’d never dream of putting anything up that could actually be taken seriously, and that’s why we were a little unnerved to read the following…” The Onion has declared North Korean leader Kim Jong Un the "sexiest man alive for 2012." And it appears China's People's Daily Online has taken the story seriously…. The Chinese story reprinted satirical comments describing Kim's "air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side," his "impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and," the story says, "that famous smile." Click here for the gory details.

For safety’s sake stand back when he begins pumping--Quick word from Marcos Alvira…Just bought a CAD C195 mic to augment the gig this Friday at Louie's Saloon in LaGrange (The Poor Valley Band picks till they drop). Ron Cotnam of Red Dog Ash will be joining us on bass. I'm beginning to get pumped.

***Get cultured, would ya please--Eric and Suzy and their daughter are playing at the Creative Growth Art Center exhibition/opening/reception tomorrow night. They play FOR FREE and we think there’s eats. 5:30 to 8:30, Oakland, uptown. Google directions.

Notice, play bluegrass music isn’t on the list--We’re gonna take a wild guess about Kevin Daum at Inc.com and assume he’s a very bright guy. What other kind of guy would presume to preach to us about the “5 Things That Really Smart People Do”? So here goes…

1. Quiet Your Inner Voice
2. Argue With Yourself
3. Act Like You Are Curious
4. Find the Kernel of Truth
5. Focus on the Message Not the Messenger

Want to know what really, really smart people do? Well, for starters, they click here.

December 4, 2012

Milestone…Oh, and there’ll be this young girl…what’s her name, Laurie Lewis…who’ll be on stage too. Quite the fiddle player--The first CBA sponsored event was held in Fairfield on Sunday, April 7, 1975. Called the Kick-Off Jamboree, the full day of music was meant to launch the just-formed California Bluegrass Association. Headliners were High Country, Phantoms of the Opry and the brand new band, Loomis Quick Step. Jack Sadler was entertainment Coordinator and he was interviewed a few weeks before the event on Cousin Al’s radio show. History was in the making.

President Ulysses S. Grant slept there, the last drink in Nevada County was served there the night before Prohibition became law and…the Banner Mountain Boys will play there Saturday night. The Holbrooke Hotel, 212 Main St, Grass Valley, 530-273-1353, www.holbrooke.com/saloon, no cover.

Talmudic volumes, Sabbath candlesticks and a very hot mandolin player--Andy Statman, who was in Country Cooking and Breakfast Special and has appeared in dozens of albums by Tony Trischka, Kenny Kosek and many others, was the subject of a New York Times article. The Times writer wrote of Statman…”In his religious life as an Orthodox Jew, he adheres to rules; in his musical life as a brilliant mongrel, he defies them.” Click here for an interesting read.

This girl really wants a denim CBA jacket--Found in the Moldy Mail Bag…Hello MM, remember Brad Folk of Open Road? Just started a new band. Working title – Bluegrass Playboys. Other members TBA. Actually I think they’re already announced but my source just couldn’t remember. But good to know that Brad is getting back out there. He lives in Nashville. Maria Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking.” Many of us hated to see Open Road go by the wayside. It’s so good to hear Brad is coming back…he’s a killer lead singer.

When’s a girl a fellow? From persriptionbluegrass.com…”Claire Lynch Receives USA Fellowship Grant! Music artist and songwriter Claire Lynch is among 54 remarkable artists to receive one of 50 USA Fellowships (some collaborative) from United States Artists (USA). The national advocacy organization awarded unrestricted grants of $50,000 today. Out of the 54 winners, only seven are in the music field. Claire now joins previous fellows Tony Trischka and Rob Ickes as the only USA fellows whose roots are in the bluegrass tradition. Click to full story.

Eaves dropping--So, you’re listening to two guys talk and they mention the jam Thursday night at the Fifth String; so much fun, they say, very welcoming. Problem is, you don’t catch which Fifth String…the one in Sacramento or the one in Berkeley? Hey, no problem; there’s a weekly jam at both on Thursday nights. Click here for details.

Calm down, lady, there’s a banjo under there--54-year-0ld Brit, Melvyn Webb, takes his banjo playing very seriously. He knows the importance of practice, practice, practice, and even when he’s commuting on the train and can’t bring his axe along he works out on his air banjo. What could be more natural? More innocent? A Reading Crown Court judge bought Melvyn’s story and, really, that’s all that counts, right? The not-squeamish reader can click here to hear both sides of the story.

”Bluegrass is probably one of the least popular genres in Sweden, but we’re dead sure we’ll change that.” John Joseph Adams prefaces his interview with the boys in the band with a brutally frank admission…”Death Metal and Bluegrass are as natural a pairing as...well, okay, there’s nothing really natural about it. But Swedish band Slaughter of the Bluegrass have merged the two, nature be damned, and the result is a band that plays Bluegrass covers of Death Metal songs. (Deathgrass? Blue Metal?)” You’re asking yourself, should I click here and keep reading? Hey, don’t look at me. Do what you’ve got to do.

Yeah, right, and Shakespeare loved hip-hop--I just realized a few weeks ago that Sunday’s around this place are dedicated to what they call ‘hooked on bluegrass’ stories so I’ve started glancing at them. Some are mildly interesting, but one this past Sunday caught my eye. Purportedly a hooked story by Mark Twain who, of course was dead well before Bill Monroe was ever even a twinkle in his daddy’s eye. So, how do they get around this inconvenient fact? Simple, they, (probably the self-appointed web master) imply that Clemens anticipated bluegrass because of his fondness for the banjo. Read this…”And away back in the beginning to my mind I see an entirely new genre, a pulsing force modulated with sweetness indescribable, a toe-tapping, heart-wrenching invention of sound on sound on sound built on the back of the banjo, that, by the middle of the fast-approaching new century, will sweep across the land and make true believers of us all.” Is this horse pucky or what? You can click here the whole supposed story, though I’m not recommending it.

December 3, 2012

b>Milestone…momentous but short-lived--In 1944 Lester Flatt became one of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.
Click here and have a listen to what would be the prototype for a new and exciting kind of music.

Sexiest man on earth has a few more surprises for us--Does anybody besides me find it just a trifle ironic and unsettling that in the short span of less than one week the North Korean state news agency has reported: 1) that archaeologists recently reconfirmed the lair of a unicorn once ridden by an ancient Korean king; and 2) the country has begun installing a rocket at its Sohae launch pad ahead of a planned launch this month, (a rocket, of course, that could deliver a nuclear payload). This isn’t funny anymore. Click here to read the unicorn story; you don’t want to read about the rocket, believe me.

Well, that leaves Whiskey Before Breakfast out--Artificial brain passes basic IQ test; learns to write signature, play banjo. An artificial brain created by neuroscientists at the University of Waterloo in Canada can pass a basic IQ test according to researchers, reported ExtremeTech. The Semantic Pointer Architecture Unified Network — SPAUN — contains 2.5 million simulated neurons. It can complete eight different tasks, write its name with one attached arm and play the banjo with both artificial limbs. Not only does it simulate the human brain’s abilities, but it even simulates the brain’s limits, as it has difficulty remembering more than a few numbers and banjo tunes with more than three chords. “We started with the banjo,” said Dennis Coke, the project’s lead scientist, “because it’s well known that that’s the simplest and most primitive of the stringed instruments and requires the least amount of intelligence to master. Assuming our funding is continued, in SPAUN’s Phase II we’ll move to more cerebral and sophisticated instruments. Click here.

Phil one, cancer zero…GAME OVER, MAN--When Phil Leadbetter told the national bluegrass community last year that he’d been diagnosed with cancer it hit like a ton of bricks. Besides being a world class reso artist, ‘Uncle’ Phil is just a great guy. Phil was very upfront about his fight for life and kept us informed from start to successful finish. Proof that he beat the damned thing can be seen very tangibly with the following schedule of Phil and Steve Gulley’s Florida tour…10 (Thursday) Ferandina Beach, FL - Sliders Beachside Grill; 11 (Friday) Bushnell, FL - Bruce and Jody Watson's Hollowpoint Farms; 12 (Saturday) Bushnell, FL - Bruce and Jody Watson's Hollowpoint Farms; 13 (Sunday)...... Plant City, FL- Bailey Acoustic Shop. (On the Plant City date, the two will also be offering workshops.”

Watch for some release shindigs coming up--Very fine new CD out by a local singer-songwriter named Wendy Burch Steel. The project is called Open Wings and one of the cuts, If I Had Wings can be previewed on YouTube by clicking here. Ms. Steel has a lovely voice reminiscent, to me anyway, of Mary McCaslin and her supporting staff on the CD isn’t too shabby either… Laurie Lewis, Tom Rozum, Chad Manning, Patrick Sauber, Todd Phillips, John Schott, Evan Robert Morgan, Nell Robinson, Melody Walker, Richard Brandenburg and the T Sisters

Be still my heart--And speaking of new recording projects, it’s more than a little heart-warming when I sit sipping my morning coffee, scanning through web screens like a high flying, sub-supersonic reconnaissance jet over our shinking world, that I accidentally stumble on news that two of my all time favorite performers, who have about as much in common as aluminum siding and goldfish, have produced a CD together. John Prine and Mac Wiseman have collaborated on a collection of tunes called Standard Songs for Average People. About the title, music critic Daniel Woolstencroft writes…”It's a title that's equal parts accurate and misleading; Standard Songs is such a beautiful, worthy album that it deserves a far less reserved title, and yet it's so comfortable, mellow, and soothing that its title fits. Click here to read the entire review and then, if you’re as sold as I am, go out and buy the CD.

Ah, so like, how high did you want me to jump, sir? Folks familiar with the CBA will remember the name Darrel Johnston. During his career Darrel had a pretty demanding job; he was in charge of the United States Navy’s Nuclear Sub Maintenance and Refueling operation and, well, let’s just say he was known for taking care of business. Upon retirement Darrel cast about for something to do with his time and, as luck would have it…and we’re talking VERY good luck, he became involved with the CBA. Within no time at all Darrel was appointed treasurer, elected to the board of directors and created the Kids Lending Library. And of course he accomplished a myriad of lesser known successes. Like deciding just out of the blue one morning that the newly created bluegrasscountry.org world-wide streaming operation back in D.C. needed some West Coast representation in its programming. Darrel approached the challenge like any other he’d taken on during his thirty years at the shipyards and within a month Peter Thompson’s Bluegrass Signal Radio Show was added to bluegrasscountry’s list of weekly programs. Not long after that our friend and champion left us as quickly as he’d arrived, the victim of a massive heart attack. He’s still missed horribly, but his important work is a constant reminder of the larger than life mover-and-shaker we were briefly blessed with. One reminder, of course, can be heard every week on the web. Click here to learn what Bluegrass Signal will be up to over the coming holiday.

December 2, 2012

Milestone…Where we went to find the words--In December of 1941 People's Songs was founded by Pete Seeger, Alan Lomax, Lee Hays, and others in New York City. Its purpose was to "create, promote, and distribute songs of labor and the American people." Within fifteen years the People's Songs Bulletin was serving as a template for folk music magazines to come like Sing Out! and Broadside.

Is there anything this guy DOESN’T do? I keep mentioning my predecessor Larry Carlin because, well, the more I learn about him the more I realize the guy does a whole lot for our music. For example, I just recently heard about the Sausalito Seahorse Bluegrass Sessions that he helped start years ago…I hear told it’s still going strong.Click here to learn more. Hey, what do you know...tonight's the first Monday night of the month.

Sure, you've seen a squirrel playing a banjo before. But what about a squirrel playing an electric banjo?--Chris Stuart recommends giving a squirrel banjo for Christmas when nothing else will say I love you. Click here

Hillary Clinton wants YOU--From Bob Cherry over at cybergrass.com…American Voices Accepting Applications the US Department of State's American Music Abroad tour American Voices, in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, is now accepting ensemble applications for the American Music Abroad 2013-2014 touring season. In the previous tour, Della Mae represented bluegrass music through American Voices. Artists interested in participating in this outstanding program can now apply. Click here
for more information.

Centuries old--“Her name is Elizabeth LaPrelle. She says she loves the story-telling ballad — Scottish, Irish, English — especially the ones that go back centuries. At 25, she's aware she sounds older, and likes it.” Unadorned by instrumental accompaniment, LaPrelle’s singing is at the center of the heart of our bluegrass music. She could be Ollabelle Reed or Ralph Stanley standing alone at a mic, no instrument, half singing, half telling…no, wailing…a story. Listen to the young woman’s music and hear an interview with her by clicking here. Very powerful.

Pay attention, this could be on a test some time --In 1942 Hedy Lamarr co-stared with Spencer Tracy in the movie version of John Steinbeck’s novel, Tortilla Flat. That same year she and her pal, the composer George Antheil, applied for and received a patent for a radio signaling device they called the "Secret Communications System," that later became an important step in the technology used to maintain the security of military communications during the Second World War and…are you ready for this…sixty years later was foundational in the development of WiFi.

But he didn’t say how often they do it--Nashvile Daily Republican…“Danny McGovern Opens Up About His Sexuality. Nashville (11-27-13)…Guitar player and lead singer of Lost River, one of the industry’s hottest up and coming bluegrass acts, confided today during a CMT live interview that he is heterosexual. “Look,” said the native Floridian whose single, Doin’ My Time, Wastin’ These Years, sits in seventh place on the Roots chart this week, “I’m thirty-two years old, I only like girls, have only liked my wife since we were married twelve years ago, have two sons and one daughter and, yes, my wife and I have sex. Now, can we move on to our latest CD please?” Have you noticed that as newspapers and magazines drift further and further toward oblivion everything…EVERYTHING…they report has a salacious angle to it?

Vassar. Hey Vassar, are you in there? Okay, so there’s this kid in your life…son or daughter…nephew or niece, the next door neighbors little guy or girl…and you’ve convinced yourself that she or he is the next Vassar Clemens. No, the kid doesn’t play an instrument, his/her hands probably aren’t big enough yet to even hold one, but you’ve got this gut feeling and when it comes to music, especially bluegrass music, your gut rarely lies. So whadday you do? What’s the first baby step toward bring that Vassar, or Allison or Laurie or Stuart out? Here’s one thought. There’s this guy, James Crocker, he’s got a blog called Playing with Sound, and it’s pretty much exclusively dedicated to, as he puts it, “introducing the language of music to young kids.” I’ve snooped around some at the site and I think it’s got promise. Click here and see what you think.

You can run but you can’t hide--A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology found that 85 percent of the sofas and recliners researchers tested contained flame-retardant chemicals that have been identified as carcinogens and potential neurotoxins. But before you jump out of that Lazy boy lazy boy, keep this in mind—these same environmental ‘scientists’ are the ones claiming that the sea level is rising. Click here to thoroughly freak out.

Upswing for sure--We reported not long ago that monster banjoist Dan Mazer, a recent transplant from the east, would be featured at the Brookdale Fest up in the Sandy Cruz Mts. Well, he was, he said the event was quite a success and then he wrote something on Facebook that’s pretty much music to the ears of the CBA leadership…”I enjoyed all the acts, but two stood out, for opposite reasons. The Gloria Darlings are two young women who play early country and traditional covers, and solid original songs, with a sound and look that hearkens to the radio and stage shows of the 1930s, such as Cousin Emmy and the Coon Creek Girls. They have a sweet, charming innocence. By contrast, Front County is very much newgrass, playing tricky arrangements in shifting meters, featuring two powerful guitarists/singer-songwriters. There's a definite upswing of interest in bluegrass and folk music among young people these days, and I like it!” The CBA saw that upswing in spades at last years Fathers Day Festival. Makes all the hard work worth it.

December 1, 2012

Milestone…He was one of Bill’s favorites--In 1963 Bill Keith became the first "Yankee revivalist" in Bill Monroe’s band. Melodic banjo licks suddenly became an acceptable dynamic in the new genre called bluegrass. A little Cherokee Shuffle to wake open those sleepy eyes this morning?

Soup fit for a bluegrass picker--Butternut squash is the Lloyd Loar of squashes, in my humble opinion, so imagine my delight when I opened up my Bluegrass Breakdown a few days ago and found a recipe for making roasted soup with the stuff. Meet Me In the Kitchen, the new cooking column from Eileen Kleinschmidt, covers four different dishes, but this is the one I’m gonna get somebody to make for me. I don’t know what it is about the CBA…they lose somebody like J.D. to retirement and somehow always bounce back with someone new and just as competent, (though not nearly as crusty). It’s a wonderful thing. Anyways, Click here click here to check out Eileen’s offering for December. She’s no Mountain Man cook, but she sure appears to be an excellent Mountain Woman cook.

Kind of the Fourth of July for bluegrass--Bluegrass Nation reports…“December 12th is the day set aside just for Bluegrass. At least one day of the year, everyone involved in this music can feel appreciated. From the professional artists to the most unknown closet picker. The day is not just for the people that play Bluegrass, but for EVERYONE involved in the music in ANY way.”

Faster than a speeding bullet. We, AS FAST as a speeding bullet--I’ve always found it fascinating that CBA members with liberal leanings believe the vast majority of Association dues payers is conservative, while the right leaning believe our ranks are filled by lefties. I’m not sure which is true or if the truth is somewhere in the middle. One thing I’m pretty sure of though, and that’s that a whole lot of folks who enjoy picking also enjoy hunting, regardless of their political persuasion. Hence, I thought I’d pass along this little tidbit…Two buddies, Thad Holmes and Clem Parnell, back east somewhere have started a business that puts cremated remains into ammunition. Says one recent customer of the fast-growing business, “"It's beautiful that you can see it, (a bullet with a little bit of her husband inside), dispersing and falling, that is just fabulous," Click here to read more about Thad and Clem’s new enterprise and to learn how you too can send your spouse blazing through the air at 370 m/s.

Hell no it ain’t country-western--Some of you may remember an item we ran last week with the banner… “Judge Rules Tobacco Companies Must Take Out Ads Saying They Lied About Dangers Of Smoking”. Well, day before yesterday what’s known as a ‘copy-cat’ suit was filed in the Superior Court of the County of Belgrain, Wooster, MA, charging the nation’s four largest recording companies with lying to the public in product labeling and print and broadcast media. “Any fool who’s got ears knows this crap is about as country-western as Velveeta is cheese,” said Arthur Bloomberg, federal prosecutor, Seventh Circuit Court, at a Wooster press conference this morning.” Stay tuned my friends, and keep your fingers crossed.

No, we’re making no recommendation about the pie, one way or the other--We’re told by people who should know that the Thursday night jam at the Pizza Hut in Napa is a good one. Click here

Please, stick around for the punch line--Perusing through the ads for the big GREAT 48 coming up next month I read that Jonathan Bluemel will be doing the banjo workshop Saturday afternoon. I haven’t been to one of Jon’s workshops, don’t know him personally and, to be perfectly honest, I’ve only heard him play the banjo once, and that was very late at night at Grass Valley and, in Jimmy Martin’s words, I was skip hop and mighty wobbling at the time. So why mention the GREAT 48 workshop? Simple, it gives me an excuse to tell the latest banjo joke…What has 16 legs and 3 teeth? The front row of a banjo workshop.

It’s called learning from the last guy--Got a note from Larry Carlin yesterday letting me know that ‘in the old days’, back when he did this column, he would make sure to mention the Music Art of Karen Cannon in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Here, he said in the email, is what he’d written during his last holiday season doing the Almost Daily…”Seasons Greetings! -- Nothing says “Happy Holidays” like bluegrass. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better set of bluegrass seasonal greeting cards than these here by artist Karen Cannon, who also has a booth at Father's Day every year. While you are at it, look at these prints as well for other times of the year. Get your orders in fast so that you will have the cards to send before the big day.” Well, I went to the woman’s web site, found that I agree with LC’s opinion, so here ya go…click here.

Some kids’ll do anything to get out of homework--Nate Schwartz posts on Facebook…”Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen is a sweet nationally-touring bluegrass band, and they're playing at my house, in my living room! Sunday, December 9, 2012 7:00pm.” Click here for details.

Addis Ababa Breakdown--This is how the article Darby Brandli sent to me begins…”What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they'll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.” So, what’s Darby’s reaction to the story? Come on, you can guess. She wants to send them banjos, of course. Click here

An odd assortment of people if ever there was one--Sourdough Slim, Saddle Pals, Faux Renwah, Robert Armstrong, and Ron Delacy will all pile into Cactus Bob’s Micro Bus and truck on over to the Sutter Creek Theater on December 15, and sing and play their hearts out for you. If you have a shred of decency you’ll be there, 8:00 p.m., and for God’s sake get yourself cleaned up a little bit…these people are professionals! Click here

November 30, 2012

Milestone…Things would never be the same--In 1971 the Seldom Scene was formed out of the weekly jam sessions in the basement of banjo player Ben Eldridge in Bethesda, Maryland Click here

Send whatever you send--Quoting from bluegrasstoday.com, “Guitar hero Tony Rice has again been forced to cancel some shows, owing to further health complications following his treatment for pneumonia last year. A combination of inflammation, fatigue and an adverse drug reaction with antibiotics and prednisone have left him too weak to perform at this time.“ Send your prayers, thoughts, vibes or whatever please.

Okay, I missed, but only by one day--Yesterday was Samuel Clemens/Mark Twain's b-day. Born November 30, 1835. Some sage advice from one of our greatest authors…"When you want genuine music -- music that will come right home to you like a bad quarter, suffuse your system like strychnine whisky, go right through you like Brandreth's pills, ramify your whole constitution like the measles, and break out on your hide like the pin-feather pimples on a picked goose -- when you want all this, just smash your piano, and invoke the glory-beaming banjo!"-- Mark Twain, San Francisco Dramatic Chronicle, 6/23/1865

Hey, man, pass that bottle over here, would you?“…a perennial favorite of mine, the 2010 Bone-Jolly from Edmunds St. John, a rare American gamay, the grape of Beaujolais, from El Dorado County in California gold country. It’s light-bodied but intensely flavored, agile and earthy, with each sip thirst-quenching yet intriguing enough to inspire another.” So writes Eric Asimov in the New York Times Dining and Wine guide. And why would the Moldman bother sharing this, particularly since he is vociferously a white and not red man? Simple, the Bone-Jolly label was designed by none other than Bay Area bluegrass legend Tom Rozum. perscriptionbluegrass.com does a nice job of telling the backstory. Click here

Suppose that’s what made her shoot so straight? Way, way, way before the discovery of Attention Deficit Disorder, time-outs in the classroom and the wonder drug Ritalin, Annie Oakley, the most legendary of all legendary girl shooters said, ““For me, sitting still is harder than any kind of work.”

I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home done up Bakersfield? Sounds promising to us down here Mold central. Here’s what J.D. sent us…(Nashville, TN-11-24-12) Merle Haggard & Mac Wiseman, both legends in country and bluegrass are making history with their new recording project. They have completed 13 songs and will be putting the finishing touches on the project very soon. No details available on a record label or release date. Hag and Mac are considered to be two of the greatest vocalist in country and bluegrass. There will be updated news on the project in the coming weeks. Hag sings Mac's songs, and Mac sings Hag's songs. Click here

Nibbling their very dry Monterey Jack can be spiritual--Pat Rumiano is an advanced beginner fiddle player who lives up in Willows. She’s also the wife of cheese scion John Rumiano, whose family business produces more cheese annually than Kellogg’s makes corn flakes. Now, as such, one could expect that wife Pat lives a life of leisure, fiddling around both literally and figuratively…but one would be wrong. Rather, she’s a very busy volunteer for CASA, (Court Appointed Special Advocates), folks who speak out to help abused and neglected children. While the bulk of her work is spent working one-on-one with kids, Pat also helps fund raise in her community, and you probably won’t be surprised at what kind of talent she hires when doing one of her ‘functions’. Click here and then mark your calendar.

How’s about ‘don’t go there’ while they’re at it? The City Council of El Centro, California, voted on a three-two split last week to prohibit the use of the catch phrase, ‘just sayin’’ within its municipality. Use of the term will constitute a fourth degree misdemeanor and carry a fine of $75. “My God in heaven,” said Councilwoman Margie Susskind after the vote, “isn’t there enough to be annoyed about in this God forsaken town without people finishing every other sentence with that idiotic saying?”

Play a jig and your brain lights up like Casino Row in Reno--Maureen Roddy spotted what she believes is a “really interesting interview with (a) researcher who does functional MRIs on musicians while they improvise on a keyboard--shows dramatic changes in brain during improvising.” We figure if anybody’s plugged into brain research as it relates to the act of making music it’s the mother of the Tuttle kids. Click here

Can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket. Or, in this case, send an email--So, you think all this stuff is easy, eh? You’ve got more people wanting a full hook-up at Grass Valley than you have full hook-ups. Easy, you just hold a lottery; what could be simpler? Actually, it really is simple for the folks entering the lottery. But for the guy who runs it, Craig Wilson, not so easy for him. So, anyway, Craig’s announced this year’s hook-up lottery, including the deadline, January 15. Click here for the whole skinny.

November 29, 2012

Milestone…A great idea whose time had come--In 1965 Carlton Haney held the first bluegrass festival in the history of man kind near Roanoke, Virginia. Click here and watch some incredible footage.

Attention North Coast ears…you know who you are--A message from Mark Hogan…”Just to let you know. My show has been changed to 7-9pm on KOWS fm 107.3 on Monday evenings. www.KOWS.com on the net.” Mark’s show is, of course, bluegrass and old-time. So know you know.

Fill in the blanks--It had to happen sooner or later. We who are dedicated to this music called bluegrass knew that one day someone would emerge out of the mist, be instantly recognized for her/his superhuman virtuosity and, in doing so on the world stage, lead bluegrass and old time out of the wilderness. Well, might it have happened? Here’s a press release from the prestigious NYU Skirball Center for Performing Arts…”It is rare for a young musician to earn comparisons to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis. It is even harder to find an artist who has entirely redefined an instrument by his early thirties. ______ _________ has already accomplished these feats and more on the __________ Click here.

Thankfully it’s getting to be an annual thing with these guys--I know, I know, I’ve mentioned this before, but this time it’s straight from the horse’s, er, star’s mouth via the Moldy Mail Bag…”Hi Folks, Jim Hurst and I are headed West for some shows in Dec., can y'all help us spread the word? If you would like to do an interview, or need more info, feel free to e-mail me. Thanks!! R” Click here for the complete schedule.

Shop locally, shop often AND shop bluegrass--Opening paragraph from Allen French’s monthly Bluegrass Breakdown column…”I thought I’d devote my December column to gift-giving ideas. If you’re a music fan, or you’re looking to buy a gift for one, why not support some of the authors and artists in our midst. This column is mostly about mom-and-pop businesses, especially those that make things suitable for gift-giving, primarily with items made by our members and/or those based in California. In February I’ll highlight our members’ technical and professional services; some not-so-small retailers; some California-based instrument-makers; and anything that may have been left out of this column.” Click here to continue.

A good guy--Sad note in Mold Mail yesterday from Larry Carlin…”I don't know if you knew Randy Campbell or not. I believe Carl knew him. If you didn't, well, then, none of this will matter. He worked with Ralph back before "O Brother" made him a star (to the masses). He also worked with The Dillards and Jesse McReynolds some. He was a good guy. LC” Yes, I did know Randy and, yes, he was a good guy and a tireless booking agent. Click to a memorial web site.

An iris by any other name--Sing the Delta is Iris Dement’s first album of all original materials for quite a while and it’s a good one. She’s an honest-to-God story teller and no doubt will be telling some tomorrow night when she appears at the Freight and Salvage. Click here. ....Or, if you're not in the mood for Iris tonight you head to the Hotel Utah in the City and catch Windy Hill...always good for a toe-tap.

And in keeping with our promise to cover the all the fast-breaking stories in the bluegrass music industry…George Martin reports that first Prairie Rose children's concert of 2013 just got booked. In January at one of the Berkeley branch libraries. “I love playing for kids, though it can be a challenge to hold their attention. That's why I bring a train whistle, giant rubber duck, etc.” As we ponder just exactly what “etc.” could include, let’s listen to a little Prairie Rose by clicking here.

Any competition that doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger--We’re not sure if the nationalbluegrass.com’s "B.O.R.N." AWARD, (Band on the Rise Nationally), will make or break a band’s future. We figured we’d let you be the judge. Click here

And finally, if you're feeling like there's not enough cutting edge technology in every crevasse and nook of your life--Crowd funding…the new business model for musicians? How does it work and, more importantly, DOES it work. Listen to an NPR interview with some answers and, of course, more questions by clicking here.


November 30, 2012

Milestone…Ah, yeah, I’ll have a light trim, a shave and that old piece of junk over there. Whaddah ya want for it? In 1943 Bill Monroe bought his 1923 Gibson Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolin (#73987) in a barber shop in Florida for $150. Click here to have a gander.

Okay, so where do I sign up? Holy mackerel, we were pretty sure the CBA would hire someone good to take over its Music Camp program, but Peter and Janet are, well, spectacular. Click here for a report on them from Geoff Sargent, the board camp liaison.

Listening to bluegrass was never so easy--A Moldman recommendation…Worldwide Bluegrass at loudcity.com spins some great stuff and it’s non-stop. Click here

Keep those emails coming--From the Moldy Mail Bag yesterday…”Dear Moldman, or whatever you real name is. I’m writing this to you because for years my letters and emails to the so-called ‘web master’ of the CBA web site have been ignored. I’m hoping, but frankly not really expecting, that you will show some respect and respond in a serious manner to my complaint. Recently I read in a reposting of the Mother Lode Bluegrass Newsletter about the following event: “Satrday, December 8 A Celtic Christmas with Molly’s Revenge at the Sutter Creek Theater for info go to www.suttercreektheater.com.” A quick and cursory review of the literature reveals that the Celts were an ethno-linguistic group of tribal societies in Iron Age and Medieval Europe who spoke Celtic languages and had a similar culture and that the earliest archaeological culture that may justifiably be considered as Proto-Celtic is the Late Bronze Age Urnfield culture of central Europe from the last quarter of the second millennium BC. In short, the Celts, a half-civilized band of barbarians, didn’t even know there was a Christmas, let alone that they were supposed to celebrate it. Rather, the holiday they observed during the third week in December was called Alban Arthuan, an ancient Druidic fire festivals. Please speak to the powers that be and either remove the subject event from your calendar or at the very least describe it accurately. Signed, a Concerned Historian.” My response sent the same day. “Dear concerned historian. Shut the ____ up."

So the first guy stops the second guy on the street--and asks, “How Do you get to Carnegie Hall?” And the second guy says, “Practice.” That is, of course, unless your name is David Robinson, Derek Johnson, Lisa Fuglie, Mark Anderson or Matt Thompson. If you’re one of these five, then you’re a member of Monroe Crossing and you just call your manager, Art Blackburn, and ask him for the details, which are Monday, February 18, 7th Avenue between 57th and 56th Streets. These people work very, very hard and they deserve everything they get. CONGRATULATIONS MONROE CROSSING!Click here

Oh, I didn’t know you frowned on that sort of thing here--A famous line from Seinfeld. Wonder if Ana Gloria Gutierrez took her cue from George C. when she was arrested for riding a manatee in Florida and told police she was, ah, new to the area. Click here

Journalist experience, solid ability to network, strong sense of boom-chuck--There are only three things certain in life, right? Death…taxes…and the fact that there’s no money in bluegrass. None. Zero. Null. Nada. But not so fast…”IBMA is now accepting applications for a full-time, Nashville-based staff member. The new Publications Editor & Special Projects Director will edit and write publications and press releases, manage content and promotion of BluegrassNation.org, manage professional development for IBMA members year round, and serve as a staff liaison with several committees.” Click here to read the entire announcement.

Nor-Cal, one of the planet’s bluegrass hot spots, and don’t you forget it--Jody Stecher has for a long time been just one more reason the Bay area bluegrass and old-time community should, from time to time, fall to its knees and thank the heavens above the incredible concentration of talent we enjoy here. Reports the Mandolin Café…”San Francisco, Calif. — Jody Stecher has announced the release of his first project, Wonders & Signs, devoted entirely to his own original compositions.” Click here for the full skinny.

Okay, take your best shot, then I’ll take mine--Hunter has terrifying experience with p_____-off deer. Click here.

November 29, 2012

Milestone…And they loaded up their truck...The Beverly Hillbillies brings Flatt and Scruggs to TV in 1962. Click here for their small screen version of Pearl Pearl Pearl.

It’s beginning to taste a lot like Christmas--That’s right, every year about this time we receive an invitation from Richard Brooks to come to Hoover Middle School in San Jose and join he and the Fiddlers’ Association for their annual holiday potluck. This Sunday, the 6th. Oh, and bring your axe. Click here

Don’t hold your breath--We’re not much for quotes here at the Mold, but, hey, inspiration is inspiration. From Pete Hicks…”I think it is marvelous that out species has learned to speak and write. It will be really marvelous when we figure out how to listen and read.

So, okay, we’ll bite. What’s in the jars? Rough and Ready is a tiny little hamlet about five miles west of Grass Valley, which is home to the CBA’s annual Fathers Day event. The heart of this Mother Lode community is its Grange Hall, where every Sunday, from ten till noon, you’ll find the Fruit Jar Pickers. The FJP’s have been holding their little get together for as long as anyone can remember…some claim it used to entertain the gold miners in the region, which seems a bit of a stretch. In any event, Rough and Ready and its Grange Hall is an excellent place to start off a day trip to the Gold Country. 530-272-4320, www.roughandreadychamber.com. Donations accepted.

Finally, a new technology for the masses--Okay, picture this: You’re half-way through your second set, which, instinctively every member of the band knows, WITHOUT QUESTION, is the best you’ve ever played…anywhere, anytime. The joint is packed and everyone, including the paunch, middle-aged guy sitting by himself who came in for the purpose of getting de-boned drunk because his wife left him, is into the music like you’ve never witnessed. If they could, every soul in the audience right this moment, this instant, would tip the band ten bucks each if they could. Well, my musician friends, they can. It’s called Digital Tip Jar and it will blow your mind. Click here.

You can say that again, Steve--CBA member and banjoist Steve Kling publicly thanks Bill Evans on the Message Board…”I wanted to take a moment to thank Bill Evans for the absolutely exceptional night of banjo he crafted for those of us who could attend the Don Quixotes show last Sunday night. I am a banjo player and owe much of what "I am" on the instrument to Alan Munde and Bill Keith. I expected a moderately attended event last Sunday to see these legends, and boy was I surprised to see a packed house and incredible level of enthusiasm from the crowd. The show was exactly what a fan would want, hearing each legend playing some of their "hits" as well as new material, and I have to say that Bill's playing very strongly compared to his idol's work as well. Click here to read the rest of the post.

Slower than a one-legged dog on Xanax --Judge Rules Tobacco Companies Must Take Out Ads Saying They Lied About Dangers Of Smoking . In other words, Phillip Morris, et. al. will have to very, very, very publicly admit that they were lying about lying. (The companies had run ads saying the feds forced them to admit that smoking was harmful.) Oh, and along with the new ads they’ll have to run statements like “smoking kills more people than murder, AIDS, suicide, drugs, car crashes and alcohol combined, and that "secondhand smoke kills over 3,000 Americans a year.” And what does this have to do with one-legged dogs? The ruling adjudicated a case that was brought by the justice department in NINETEEN NINETY-NINE! Click here to be amazed and outraged.

Triumphant return from Georgia--Regina Bartlett’s got some advice for you so LISTEN UP From her Welcome column this month and it’s just in time to alert you to a must see act at the Sandy Cruz Mts. Fest this weekend…” Have you seen Hello Trouble? Some of the usual suspects are: Ella Naiman, Meghan Leslie, Curtis Leslie, Henry Warde, Tom Naiman, and sometimes Linus Tremaine. Well they all went back to Georgia and played with Larry Gillis at the SwampGrass Festival. Of course they stirred up trouble everywhere they went, cause you know how they are…so good, so fine, so there you have it. Just love those humble great ones!!”

Rest assured, they’ll cook up something tasty--A reminder that on Thursday, December 6, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen will perform at the Black Oak Casino at 8:00 pm in the Willow Lounge. Yes, this is up in Sonora and could be a little bit of a drive. On the other hand, Frank and the boys are riding a crest that, some say, will land them in the top tier of bluegrass acts before too long.Click here to visit the Black Oaks web site. Oh, and if you head up there, consider dining at the Seven Sisters on the upper level of the casino. Exceptional, mind-blowing food.

November 28, 2012

Milestone…The King steps outIn 1950 Jimmy Martin formed his first band and hired two brothers, a big guy on the banjo and a little guy on the mando.

Decent obit--Yesterday I reported on the death of banjo legend Walter Hensley. Since then, close friend and band mate James Reams has written a very thorough and moving obituary. Those interested in the history of our music will find it good reading.Click here

Eclecticist comes clean--William Bill Jirsa, CBA regular and bluegrass devotee, takes a moment on Facebook to make a confession…”You may know me as a Bluegrass guy, but I just booked tix to the Eagles (Revisited) (Jan), Janis Ian (Mar), and Don Williams (Apr), at the Tower Theater, Fresno. Call me Mr. Eclectic. And I'll see all my Bluegrass friends in January at the Rhonda Vincent Show in Bakersfield. Gonna be a great year, I think!” We’re with you, Bill.

You lyin’ sack a…--It probably won't take me or the fine folks at MIT’s state-of-the-art neuro-imaging center to convince you that there’s a whole lot of lying going on these days. It’s all around you, it’s non-stop and, unless you know what to look for, well, lying has the very real potential of making your life unlivable…or at least very unpleasant. Did you know, for example…

It's estimated that a typical organization loses 5 percent of annual revenue to fraud. This figure translates to a potential projected annual fraud loss of more than 3.5 trillion, according to a recent study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.

One in four Americans believes it's OK to lie to an insurer.

One-third of all resumes contain false information.

One in five employees say they are aware of fraud in their workplace but won't report it.

Researchers have determined that in a given day we may be lied to anywhere from 10-200 times.

Click here if you’d like a few ideas on how to spot your wife, employee, child, grocery store clerk, accountant or the federal government lying to you.

In case you’re wondering, and why wouldn’t you, the MOLD staff makes no claim of authenticity in the daily common, and an even less than zero claim for items submitted by isolating of mountain men--Another note from the one who calls himself J.D…. Sir Moldy One; here's another good story that Ronnie Reno told me a few years ago. This good friend of his was playing drums for Jim Ed Brown. His name is Stacy, and he heard George Jones was looking to hire a new drummer, so he went and auditioned for the job with the band. That was in the middle of the week, and the bandleader said he really liked his play in and would get back to him on Monday. Stacey figured he had the job so on the way back home after playing a gig with Jim Ed on Sunday, he told Jim Ed that he could cram that drum playing job up his ass. So, on Monday Stacy called George's bandleader and ask him when he wanted him to come to work. The bandleader told Stacy that George had hired a different band drummer that weekend. Whereupon, Stacy called Jim Ed and asked him; Jim Ed, just how far up your ass did you cram my job? That got Jim Ed to laughing so he gave Stacy his job back. Now is that a funny story or what? JD PS I'm sure with your editing skills you can clean this up enough so you can print it.

Help wanted--Cindy’s Gray’s Americana Music Festival has started excepting band applications for it’s next cycle. Click here.

The Stan Tour--From Public Radio International…”The members of the band Della Mae come from all over the United States: Vermont, South Carolina, Colorado, Wyoming and Washington State. And they are steeped in the Appalachian bluegrass tradition. You can’t get much more American than that. Perhaps that’s why the US State Department selected Della Mae to be America’s cultural ambassadors to Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The band calls it their “‘Stan Tour.”Click here for the written story and the interview audio clip. Della Mae, you’ll recall, is the CBA’s emerging artist pick for the FDF 2013
November 27, 2012

Milestone…And in the beginning…Bill Monroe was born September 13, 1911, near Rosine, Kentucky. He was the youngest of 8 children.

It was a dark and blustery night…So, let me ask you a personal question. It’s all right, I won’t tell anybody. Honest, just between you and me. What got your vote for word of the year? What, you say you forgot to vote? You forfeited your civic right in this great democracy of our? Okay, I’ll lighten up, but please, don’t miss next year’s election. Oh, you wanna know what one? It was the undergod, BLUSTER, as in 1. to roar and be tumultuous, as wind; 2. to be loud, noisy, or swaggering; utter loud, empty menaces or protests: He blusters about revenge but does nothing. Click here for details.

FAT is where it’s AT, Jack--KCSS FAT SUNDAY from Turlock begins at 9 AM with Texas Red until Noon; Sundance, (or FAT automation) from Noon until 3; and Uncle John every other Sunday afternoon from 3-6 with old-time, bluegrass, classic country, western swing, etc. Tune in at 91.9 FM or kcss.net. Everyone will, of course, remember Uncle John Gwinner from his years and years of wonderful bluegrass and old-time Sunday broadcasts at Capitol Radio in Sacramento. A truly wonderful tradition until station management decided that 13,000 hours of jazz per week was just not enough and threw our uncle out of the engineering booth. Take a guess at how much money I’ve contributed during pledge drive since that decision.

So, why in the name of Santa Clause and al his elves would anybody adopt a blind kitten?--Simple, just Click here.

Hurry back, please--In a surprise announcement for most of David Parmley’s fans, he posted this note on his Facebook wall just a few days ago. “I would like to announce that I will be taking some time off from the music business to pursue other interests” You can’t name many lead singers in bluegrass music who logged as many years in the upper tier as David; we wish him well…Click to continue.

Rest in peace, Walter--Walter Hensley died yesterday. He played banjo for many great bands but was probably best known for the work he did with Earl Taylor and the Stoney Mountain Boys. Click here to learn more about Walter. There’s also some nice stuff of his on YouTube, including a classic version of Train Forty-Five.

Can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket--The Americana Music Festival folks will be accepting band applications now through January 15th for the July event in Virginia City. Click here

A word to the wise--It’s not like she’s going to yell at you, or humiliate you in public, or get you blacklisted at bluegrass venues. No, what Darby Branli does to ‘encourage’ people to review their CBA memberships is much more sublet that any of that…and much more frightening. Here’s an email the intelligence branch of the Mold Nest intercepted. “Howdy Darby, I just got off my butt renewed my membership. I couldn't take the guilt and pressure knowing that you were looking over my shoulder! :) Merry Christmas!” Believe me, you just don’t want to go there.

Nineteen days floating in water warm as a bath tub--Got a note from Paul Trenwith, a down under guy who’s band played at Grass Valley some years back…”Hello Mold, member me? Banjo picker from New Zealand? I'm part of a real bluegrass 'first' - a bluegrass music cruise in the South Pacific, from Sydney, Australia, around the east coast of NZ (stopping at various ports for sight-seeing), through Milford Sound, on to Hobart Tasmania and eventually to finish in Perth, Western Australia. This starts 19 February 2013, finishes 9 March 2013 - summer in the South Pacific. Best cruising weather. Featured on the cruise are a number of the best of Australasia's bluegrass bands, including my HCBB, and many others. I'm one of the hosts on the tour.” Click here if you, like me, you fancy the idea of floating around the South Pacific picking and singing.

November 26, 2012

Milestone…His mama, of course, had discovered him years before--In 1960 Doc Watson was "discovered" by Ralph Rinzler, which meant that it was officially okay to play fiddle songs on the guitbox.Click here fer a good un.

Something you’d expect to hear from a banjo player’s wife--Pretty funny and very perceptive I-Phone post on Facebook the day before Thanksgiving. “It's that time of year again when women inexplicably send their menfolk to the grocery store. Boy does that change the flow of things. All these men wandering around the store transfixed by many varieties of sweet potatoes. Calling their women in front of the confusing spice bottles. It's madness in here. No, the poster, Gail Miles Schwartz, is married to a guitar player, not a banjo player.

Come on now, Chris, you’re gonna hafta sweeten the offer, dude--The Punch Brothers are sweeping through Northern CA next week and if seeing and hearing what is arguably the most innovative act out there right now, Chris and the boys are traveling with an opening act….the Milk Carton Kids. They are, according the sales people…”a harmonizing, minimalist duo. Two guitars and two voices are used to create their unique combination of back porch Americana and classic folk. Relying on compelling narratives, a seamless interplay between their 1950s acoustics and well-constructed harmony lines, and their natural stage chemistry, TMCK have excited sold-out crowds across North America since their formation in early 2011” Okay, okay, we get the picture In truth, they could have gotten by with simply saying, the Brothers asked ‘em along.

Nov. 27: Laxson Auditorium, Chico
Nov. 29: Napa Valley Opera House; Napa
Nov. 30: Rio Theatre, Santa Cruz

So, wait a second, you can actually hawk stuff on the CBA Message Board? Of course--Linked to from the Message Board…”Achieve and Maintain Vintage Tone Now…A key to great tone is constantly playing-in your instrument. The ToneRite® is the world's most advanced and premier play-in device. Significantly accelerating the play-in process and providing increased tone, playability, and balance, the ToneRite® makes all of this available in a nearly silent, high quality, and portable manner.” So, I’ve got to ask. Do these things really work? Actually make a difference. Would like to hear from someone who actually owns one. Click here

Decked out in denim, with that poppy-and-axe patch on the back, collar turned up, man, you’re gonna have to beat ‘em away with a stick--A famous guy once said, ‘Knowing that you need help and two bits will get you a cup of coffee; asking for help, that’s when things start happening.’ Obviously the famous guy said this a long, long before the era of Starbucks, but the sentiment still seems pretty right on to me. Here’s what I posted on the Message Board yesterday…”I need help and I ain't ashamed to admit it, so here's the deal. Every time someone sends me a news item that I use I'll put their name into the hat. I'll pull a winner in June and that person will be awarded a very cool denim CBA jacket. Check it out at http://www.cbaontheweb.org/cba_news.asp?newsid=8833. You get an additional chance at the jacket each time I use one of your items. Why wouldn't I use your item? Because I already had it. Because I didn't think it was good enough to use. Will I use your item verbatim? Probably not. What kind of news? Read my column and you'll know. Nothing else comes to mind. Pretty simple. Send me some news at moldman7676@hotmail.com and each time I use one of your items you have an additional crack at the drawing.” So that’s it. Drop me a line.

November 25, 2012

Milestone…and choreography suddenly becomes as important as tight harmony singing--In1994 Doyle Lawson brought back the single mic.

CBA TO ANNOUNCE INSTRUCTORS FOR 2013 MUSIC CAMP! Well, of course it will. So why is that big news, deserving of capital letters and an exclamation mark? Actually, it’s not. We’re just taking our queue from NASA. Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but for more than a week the Space Agency has been leaking stories of a “history-book-changing” discovery made by the Curiosity rover…but that’s all they’re saying. The MOLD nose smells a new ad firm on the scene. So, figured what’s good for the Mars folks is good enough for the bluegrass folks. Oh, click here to read what all the red planet hype isn’t about.

Cause music is good, too--Thanks to Maureen Roddy for alerting us to a music video project undertaken by country music great Pam Tillis and Mark Simos and his students at the Berklee School of Music. The song focuses on climate change, but don’t worry…if you ain’t buyin’ it you’ll still enjoy the music. Oh, almost forgot to mention Maureen’s daughter, Molly, sings and plays in the video. You may have heard of her.Click here

Hello, America, is anybody home? Headlines on just a single national news site yesterday: FRIDAY FEVER…Man Pulls Gun On Line-Cutter... Couple Hit By Suspected Drunk Driver In Store Parking Lot... Stabbing Threat Incident... Shoplifting Suspect Subdued With Taser... WATCH: Arrest Caught On Camera... Send Us Your Horror Stories...Store Hours... Best Bargains... Return Policies You Need To Know...LATEST UPDATES... FULL BLACK FRIDAY COVERAGE

Get in line, brother--The Moldman is not one for heaping praise on the Welcome column feature of this web site, it being one of my greatest competitors in the eternal struggle to grab and hold reader attention, but I did find Bill Evan’s column yesterday, Bluegrass Black Friday, pretty derned interesting. And here I didn’t even know old Bill was a contributor to the Welcome column. Click here if you didn’t catch his column. You may have to scroll down a bit.

Rest in peace--I’ve just read that Rosa Lee Watson has died. Doc’s wife, who was eighty-one, was fabled in her support to the legendary flat-pick guitarist. Click here to read Rosa Lee’s obituary.

Not as in talent, as in folding cash--Found in the Moldy Mail Bag…”If you caught the high energy show Poor Valley did at the Coffee Bandits in Merced, then you'll love us at Louie's Saloon on Dec 7! We call it Poor Valley Picks Again. Louie’s is LaGrange and has absolutely great food and a wild audience that dances and raises cane. Check it out at 6pm on the 7th. Marcos Alvira” Click here

You know that bird-worm thing they’re always sayin’? Well, it’s true--Just got word from Tim Edes down in Morgan Hill that early bird online tickets will go on sale December 1st for the big Lonesome River Band concert down there on February 23. Tim’s six year old Night at the Grange concert series has brought to the south bay some of the finest bluegrass talent in the country. Not bad for an electrician.

What’s in a name? A lot if you ask political science wonk and Dean of the School of Governmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Dr. Emil Fischbaum. Noting that our neighbors to the south are on the verge of constitutional name-change, from United Mexican States to the easier-to-remember, Mexico, Fischbaum argues that the U.S. should consider following suit. “Think about it…since its inception the United States has had enormously high and, essentially, self-imposed, expectations placed on its performance simply by virtue of the name selected by the Founding Fathers. Everything we do as a nation is evaluated scrutinized and dissected under the unrelenting microscope of that name.” Fischbaum, recipient of the Adelaide Stevenson Award for Social and Political Nomenclature in 1999, believes that a simpler name, one that does not “eternally conjure up” the not-always attainable ideal of UNITED, would make the nation less difficult to govern and less vulnerable to “criticism from every direction.” “Simply renaming the United State of America, I don’t know, say, ‘Steve”, says Fischbaum, "could put the nation on a track toward political reconciliation." I'm not sure I buy Fischbaum's solution to politics in our country but I'll tell you one thing for certain, before the end of the day I'm going to Google Adelaide Stevenson Award for Social and Political Nomenclature.

November 24, 2012

Milestone… And still goin’ strong --In 1966 Bluegrass Unlimited began publishing a monthly magazine dedicated solely to bluegrass music.Click here

Annoyed elf? We don’t know what all of the fuss was about, but when we came into work this morning we found a dozen or so emails from people worked up over yesterday’s cbaontheweb.org mast head. Apparently the CBA’s two leaders, Darby Brandli, President, and Tim Edes, Chairman, did a little photo shoot to promote the idea of buying Music Camp registrations for Christmas gifts. Personally, I found the ad more or less effective…the two decked out in elves outfits was a nice change from the normally somber countenance of the pair. But some folks were clearly alarmed. “YIKES!” wrote one person, while another noted that President Brandli “looks like a nun from the famous "Red and Green" order. (Note how her hands are folded in prayer.)” If you missed the now infamous ad, Click here

Whopper, hold the onions--Update from Mark and Colleen Hogan on the March 10 Sebastopol Festival line-up: The Central Valley Boys; Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally; Chris Webster with Nina Gerber; James Reams and the Barnstormers; and Africa Entsha. Mark’s still in negotiations with one other band but, as things stand right now, he and his wife will be producing a whopper of a show.

Don’t look now but you got some déjà vu about to fall on you--Maria Nadauld, By-the-Bay Booking to Moldman: Exclusive “Ramblin’ Rooks. ¾ or 3/5 - I’m not sure which–-but some portion of the Lonesome River Band iteration that everyone calls “’91”, the LRB band that everyone says was the best ever - is hitting the road as the new trio of: Ramblin’ Rooks. Might even be Rambling (with the “g”) Rooks – not sure yet. Kenny Smith, Don Rigsby, and Ronnie Bowman. Watch for further news and tour dates.”

Who is Winston Marshall--I took my nephew to Santa Cruz Boardwalk three weeks ago…we hit one of those very unusual dreamy mid-eighties days on Monterey Bay. Rocky’s reason for wanting to go to the amusement park, really, his reason for being according to his mom, is to ride the roller coaster at the Boardwalk. THE BIG DIPPER! He’s soooooo close. Every other month or so Rocky cons one adult or another into taking him down to the walk and attempting to get past the attendant and aboard the rickety, ancient ride. And, so far, he’s failed each time. The bright-red arrow on the oversized measuring stick still remains just a few precious, damnable inches above the top of his Giants baseball cap. Soon, I told Rocky, soon my friend. Okay, so what’s the kid’s problem have to do with Winston Marshall? Well, Winston, or more precisely knowing WHO WINSTON IS happens to be the red arrow needed to demonstrate your youth…preferably in years, but acceptably in attitude. So, who is this dude? Click here.

And he was the ‘kid’ in the business--Lead art from BU this month: Larry Sparks Fiftieth Anniversary…Beyond the glow and allure of the night lights of Columbus, Larry Sparks illuminated the stage of a bluegrass festival on a hot and humid July night. He was dressed in Carolina blue from shoulders to shoes. Bluegrass dripped from his heart like a leaky faucet. He captivated with each dripping drop. He turned the knob ever so slightly from song to song, from “I Want To Thank You” to that night’s finale, “Tennessee 1949.” Click here to read the whole article. It’s a good one.

When Masha tells you something is important, you don’t ask why--Sunday afternoon, from 4pm-6pm, the banjo duo known as Old Soles will appear at the Volcano Union Inn and Pub in Volcano, which is a lovely little town in the central foothills. When Masha and Geff let the Moldman know of their date at the inn and pub, they made a point of insisting that I share this little tidbit…”It's the 60th anniversary of the opening of ‘The Mousetrap’ in London. Don't take that literally, it's the play by Agatha Christie. We won't tell you whodunit, but if it puts you in the mood for cheese, there are several dishes on the menu you'll love. http://www.volcanounion.com http://www.oldsolesmusic.com no cover, all ages.”

November 23, 2012

Milestone…His first choice for a band name was Old Hickory--In 1938 Bill Monroe went to Atlanta, Georgia, to form the first edition of the Blue Grass Boys with singer/guitarist Cleo Davis, fiddler Art Wooten, and bassist Amos Garren. Imagine, we'd all be called Oldhickoryer's

Little blessings--The national holiday has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens", to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. Although common practice on this day is to consciously focus on and acknowledge to whoever will listen the major reasons we have to be thankful…family, good health, a country for which to be proud…it’s always sort of bothered me that the little blessings don’t get much attention. On this one hundred and forty-ninth officially celebrated Thanksgiving, I’d like to remedy that oversight as follows. I am thankful for spellchecking technology. I am thankful that our founding father, the first President of the United States, happened to have such an easy name to remember. I am thankful that milk gone bad has such a distinctive odor that, unless we’re really, really hung-over, we smell it before we drink it. I am thankful that David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, did not win the Republican Presidential primary in 1992. I am thankful that dogs are man’s best friend, and vica versa. I am thankful that I am not redheaded, NOT THAT THERE’S ANYTHING WRONG WITH THAT. I am thankful that someone, somewhere back in history, discovered that mint jelly goes indescribably good with lamb chops. I am thankful that the English language gives us so many different ways of saying the same thing. I am thankful that Kurt Vonnegut defied his father, who insisted that he become a lawyer, and spend his adult like writing fiction. I am thankful that Napoleon finally met his Waterloo, that Hannibal made it through the Alps and that Adolph Hitler turned out not to be the genius everyone thought he was in 1938. (Okay, I’ll admit this one isn’t a LITTLE blessing, but after nearly seventy years it’s an easy one to overlook.) And finally, I am thankful that the bluegrass people let me write my column each day; it keeps me off the streets. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Digestive aid--The inimitable Laura Lewis, who co-hosted this year’s IBMA awards show with the other inimitable guy, Del McCoury, will do a post-bird day show at the Freight and Salvage tomorrow night. It’ll be a good one.

Wanna know how to sell a guitar? Simple…Make sure it’s a Martin '67 D-18, get Derek See to play it and get the demo on video with exceptionally high production values. Or there’s always the flea market. But seriously, Gryphon Music in Palo Alto has for years used some clever and effective approaches for letting the picking world know what treasurers they have in stock and this YouTube clip is just one more of them. No pasrticularly interested in marketing? Then just Click here to see one very fine rich and buttery Martin.

Major eastern import--Just read that Banger Dan (Dan Mazer) will do a set at the Bluegrass Festival at Scopazzi’s Saturday afternoon between two and three. Dan spent quite a bit of his musical career, a full-time career, back in the DC area. I’d heard that he relocated to the West, but didn’t know where till now. Banger Dan is one utterly monster banjo player. If you’re anywhere within forty miles of the Sandy Cruz Mountains you owe it to yourself; this guy’s a heavy hitter.

Okay, but who’s gonna play the 320 members of his band--I don’t know about everybody else, but I’m getting’ a little impatient for the Bill Monroe biopic that’s been brewing for a couple years now. Last April BluegrassToday gave us the skinny on casing, to wit…Bill Monroe – Michael Shannon (Take Shelter, Vanilla Sky, Pearl Harbor); Bessie Lee Maudlin – Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy, House, Cowboys & Aliens); Lester Flatt – Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, The Incredible Hulk, Holes); Earl Scruggs – Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover, The Lorax); Charlie Monroe – John C. Reilly (Step Brothers, The Aviator, Gangs Of New York); Uncle Pen – Sam Shepherd (The Notebook, The Right Stuff, Black Hawk Down); Carolyn Monroe – Ashley Judd (Heat, Double Jeopardy, High Crimes). And all that’s good. But WHERE’S THE MEAT?Click here

Turning into a relic is not necessarily a bad thing--You know who Bill Knowlton is, right? The guy who’s hosted "Bluegrass Ramble" on WCNY back in New York since the end of the Ice Age? The guy who inexplicably dresses only in pajamas at the IBMA every year? Good. Okay, you know who I’m talking about. Well, here’s a pretty cool story about him, the National Archive, PBS and a new documentary that’s in the works. Click here

Messenger boy--When I took this news and stuff writing job I told them I worked along, as in loner, as in you do what you do and I’ll do what I’ll do. Once I got out from under the thumb of the Web Mistress, (drives him nuts when I call him that), and started working with Mark Peet, things have gone okay, as in they leave me along. Occasionally, though, I get a note asking me to include this or that in my column. Got two this morning….from Mark Varner: “Just in time for Thanksgiving, the December issue of your favorite periodical is available to all our members in electronic form. Please visit this site's Bluegrass Breakdown page and find the link. It's a big issue, back after taking off November. There's even a B Section this month and it's full of review and photographs. Please enjoy! Click here to link to the download page.” And from the Web Meister: “Thanksgiving Eve Day, yesterday, cbaontheweb.org established a new record. 12846 hits in one day.” And do they give me any credit for that? Hell, no.

November 22, 2012

Milestone…So, really, what’s in a name?--Sometimes, plenty! Wednesday, January 12, 1927 the WSM’s Saturday night “barn dance” program took a new name, the Grand Ole Opry.

Advance warning for you brew lovers--Belle Monroe and Her Brewglass Boys at the Amnesia in San Francisco December 3. But, wait, while we’re on the subject, just what society first invented beer? Think you know? The Germans? Before them? Actually, pall, it was a trick question. Beer was not invented. It was discovered. And it happened a long, long time ago, when mankind was still hunting and gathering instead of farming and raising live stock. Fred and his lovely wife Wilma were out gathering some wild wheat and inadvertently left it out in the rain where it got wet, sat a long time, fermented and was eventually recovered and drank, to everyone's great surprise and satisfaction. And of course that led to all that followed...wine making, distillation of booze, the creation of the first Martini, all of which were inventions following that one accidental discovery. Ain't life wonderful?

Save this for the next time you wake up in the morning feeling low down--Uploaded by AcousticBoxOffice—On November 11, 2000, the original members of John Hartford's Aereoplane Band gathered in Albany, NY, their 30th Anniversary Reunion Concert. In addition to John Hartford, Tut Taylor, Norman Blake and Vassar Clements their were special guests Sam Bush, Chris Sharp and Mike Compton. From the Reunion Concert here's the original theme song "Steam Powered Aereoplane"Click here

Red Joedog Cravenash-- So what could be better? A lovely drive to the country, a chance to get some Christmas shopping accomplished and a solid line up of fine acoustic music. Friday-Sunday, November 23-25 Sonora Christmas Faire at the Motherlode Fairgrounds, Sonora

Cremation would probably require some kind of EPA waiver--Found in the Moldy Mail Bag from the one who calls himself J.D.…”You're moldyness; I just remembered a conversation I had with my buddy Ronnie Reno on Thursday last. He said his good friend Larry Stephenson called him one morning last week about eight o'clock. Ronnie said you are sure up bright and early this morning, what are you up to? To which Larry replied, Ronnie I have been up all night sitting here beside the highway waiting for a tow truck to tow my bus back to Nashville. Seems as how Larry and his band were heading out on his bus for a gig and about 50 miles from Nashville a rod broke in the engine and blew the whole engine up. Turns out to be about a $30,000.00 cost for that gig without even picking one note. I asked Ronnie if they were going to hold a memorial service for the bus to which he replied, given the scarcity of gigs in this climate of business that we're going through right now that would probably be a good idea. He said Larry doesn't know if he's going to fix the bus or have a huge cremation ceremony for it, and go buy a Volkswagen bus to travel around in. I'll keep you posted on this as I hear more.”

What’s this, fan mail from some flounder? Hardly. It’s from the esteemed Chuck Poling and it tells of a wondrous place where variety is Queen and the village is named for oaks, the most sagacious of the deciduous trees. “It’s with very happy hearts that we embark upon this holiday season with music on our minds. We’re thrilled to be invited by those fabulous T-Sisters to perform a couple of songs in their zany and wonderful revue:

Fall Follies Variety Show
Friday, November 23
Doors 7:30/Show at 8 - All Ages
2935 Chapman St/Oakland
$5 – 10/cover

featuring the T-Sisters, Jeanie & Chuck Poling
Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman, and many, many more extraordinary acts.” < HREF="http://t-sisters.com/oakland-ca-112312-chthonic-theater-fall-follies-variety-show/--<"target=0>Click here.

When pigs fly--Have you noticed what’s happened with bacon? Of course you have, you couldn’t not have noticed. At first it was bacon chocolate, crazy, of course, but it somehow made a little sense. Even bacon and Martinis could be connected if you really, really squinted reality hard enough. But now we see bacon bikinis, bacon wigs and fake Hitler mustaches, bacon lamp shades and statues and hats and mittens and…oh My God help us…bacon lip balm. So is it any wonder that those whose minds are sufficiently untethered to imagine these new product lines wouldn’t find equally imaginative ways to increase production of the raw materials, (forgive the pun), needed for them? Huang Demin is not your typical pig farmer in the vast reaches of Hunan province. He’s stumbled upon a strategy for breeding more pigs faster, pigs that are healthier, tastier and, presumably pigs that produce bacon better able to protect our lips on the ski slopes. Please, you owe it to yourself, click here if only to enjoy the video.

November 21, 2012

I know, I was surprised too. This is something you’d expect to hear from a banjo players wife--Gail Miles Schwartz, wife of Bob, mother of Nate and Max, bass player the Oak Grove Bluegrass Band, posts to Facebook via her phone from the grocery store as Thanksgiving creeps closer and closer…”It's that time of year again when women inexplicably send their menfolk to the grocery store. Boy does that change the flow of things. All these men wandering around the store transfixed by many varieties of sweet potatoes. Calling their women in front of the confusing spice bottles. It's madness in here.”
Benchmark…So, really, what’s in a name?--Sometimes, plenty! Wednesday, January 12, 1927 the WSM’s Saturday night “barn dance” program took a new name, the Grand Ole Opry.

Well, Johnny, just be sure you bundle up before going outside--FOX News reports “Evidence indicates astronauts could survive on Mars”. Surviving is all well and good, but we’re guessing that a life on Mars would be no picnic. Since the planet has no atmosphere to speak of, it’s pelted with unimaginably high levels of radiation emanating from the sun and it never really gets warmer than sixty-five degrees F below zero. Oh, and there’s one other feature of the trip which will undoubtedly make expedition crew recruitment challenging…engineers say the only realistic approach to bringing off a manned trip to the red planet would be for it to be ONE WAY. You’d want to take along a lot of reading material. Click here

Not a single one in me--So I’ve got this list, but before I give it to you let me tell you how I got it…so embarrassing. It started with an email last week to the Mold Mail Bag. It was brief, to the point and stuck with me like a tasty bit of salami stuck between two incisors. “Dear Mold Man,” it read, “I like your writing. It’s quirky.” I’m not sure why, but I really, really, really liked the sound of that. Quirky. Kind of Holden Caulfield. So for nearly a week I’ve been trying to come up with a news item that would prove her right, (yes, it was a her, Mary from Piedmont), and you know what? Turns out I’m not quirky. I don’t have a single quirk in me. Pathetically, here’s the best I could come up with in the way of quirkiness. Embarrassing. sushi cologne, fat blocking Pepsi, bacon lip balm, Star Trek pez dispenser, bed bug trap and donkey milk cheese.

Accordions in Berkeley? Yes, indeed, at least one anyway…at the Ashkenaz December 4—“Three of the Bay Area’s top traditional musicians teamed up a few years ago to form the Midnite Ramblers, playing roots music steeped in Cajun and Creole traditions. They deliver irresistibly danceable Cajun classics. A year of intense musical experiences in Louisiana has made the Ramblers’ sound even more authentic to the Cajun tradition.”

Them crazy mountain people are at it again--Friday-Saturday November 30-December 1 Boulder Creek Old Bluegrass and Old Time Festival with The String Slingers, Prairie Flower and Cactus Bob, Rainy Escobar, Page Browntown and Sidetrack and many more. For info go to www.brookdalebluegrass.com this event is at Scopazzi’s in Boulder Creek. 13300 Big Basin Way.

“You're bound to get idears if you go thinkin' about stuff”--John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath--Watched the second episode of Ken Burns new documentary on the Dust Bowl last night. Still picking sand out of my teeth. What a powerful, powerful piece of film-making. Night before last we were shown and told how the greatest man-made environmental disaster on the North American continent happened…the ‘great plow up’. You have to wonder if the young folks watching are making the connection between then and now. And you have to hope. Let us remind you that our own Joe Week was a collaborator on the documentary’s sound track, having composed some of the original music and, as a respected documentarian in his own right, he produced a video for the Association last spring that tells the story of our Fathers Day Festival. Click here to view Joe’s fine work.

Count yer blessings, pilgrim--There’s some much to be thankful for if you are a Follower of Bill…a FOB’er is what we call you down here at Mold Central. Let me give you a for instance…

Caffé Sportivo, Redwood City
Napa Jam
The Frog and Fiddlel Alameda
Morgan Hill Grange Hall
Bluegrass and old-time jam, SF
The Frog & Fiddle Jam
5th String Music Jam, Berkeley
5th String Music Jam, Sacto
Sonora Jam
Main Street Music Jam, Placerville
Dublin Heritage Center
Coffee Catz, Sebastopol
West Sacramento Jam
Sacramento area house jam
Smokin' Okies BBQ Joint, Pelasant Hill
United Methodist Church, Castro Valley
Sebastopol Christian Church
LaGrange Saloon and Grill, La Grange
Progressive Grounds Coffee Shop, SF
Carnegie Haul, Paso Robles

November 21, 2012

These are just some of the jams that will take place this weekend. Now,
click here, load the axe into the car and get out there!

Return engagement--Bob Cherry over at cybergrass.com surprised us with this headline: Rhonda Vincent Welcomes Bluegrass Artist Josh Williams to The Rage. Josh was with Rhonda when she and her band played the Association’s bluegrass festival up in Sebastopol several years back and having been in the audience I can tell you that Rhonda and Josh together on stage is something to behold. And behold we will…Rage headlines the 2013 Fathers Day Festival, early bird tickets for which can be had by click here.

What they DON’T tell you--What YELP says about the Willowbrook Ale House in Petaluma is…

Delivery: No
Take-out: Yes
Waiter Service: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Music: Live, Juke Box
Best Nights: Thu, Sun, Sa
Attire: Casual
Good for Groups: Yes
Good for Kids: No

What YELP leaves out is that in August the Willowbrook was the first recipient of the CBA’s “Certified Bluegrass Friendly Venue Award”. (This is for real--you can see the plaque hanging in the bar.) The Willowbrook Ale House brings in some of the finest bluegrass acts in the region, perhaps best known, Ed Neff’s Blue and Lonesome. In fact, the band will do its unabashedly traditional bluegrass act tomorrow night at the WAH…that Tuesday the 20th. Oh, and if you see the owners Gary and Bob, give ‘em a nod on their new plaque and tell ‘em the Mold sent you.

Who, in the name of God, is Harry Styles and why has he been allowed to creep into my consciousness? A headline story on cnn.com Sunday morning that was simply set in too large a font to be ignored…”Taylor Swift seen holding hands with Harry Styles”. If you click here I’ll reach through your screen and slap your hand.

Inside-out and absolutely amazing--Thanks to Chris Stuart for sharing this video…James Taylor doing a finger picking lesson, with a camera mounted INSIDE his axe. Worth a look. Click here

The guy’s got a way with words-- Quote from THE BOSTON GLOBE in regards to a Gibson Brothers show Saturday night at the Finch Coffeehouse in Newburyport, MA? "The Gibson Brothers have been upholding the legacy of brother acts in bluegrass for a couple of decades now, marrying their classic hand-in-glove high lonesome harmonies to a musical combination that finds room for both traditionalism and fearless forays beyond it." Stuart Munro boston.com.

Is anybody checking this stuff besides me? Don’t know how many other people wondered about the so-called “DAILY GRIST” that accompanied Geoff Sargent’s Welcome column yesterday.…’The first Thanksgiving feast took place in up-state New York in 1621. It lasted three days, and was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. It would be another two hundred and fifty years before family arguments around the dinner table over politics and religion would become fashionable.’—Edwin Mauler, noted American historian” The quote sounded a little, shall we say, disingenuous, so I wrote Geoff a note and asked him where he found it. “Oh,” he said, “we columnists don’t post the Grist; that’s done each day by the web master.” Hmm, now why wasn’t I surprised to hear that? Of course when I searched the name Edwin Mauler I found no ‘noted historian’…and certainly no Thanksgiving quote. So you have to ask yourself, don’t you, why does this guy, this web master guy, continually make stuff up? Is it a compulsion? Between these ‘grist’ things and Julia Child playing the mandolin I just have to wonder if we might not have one of those less-than-full-deck situations. Not that it’s any of my business.

All jacked up--Trying to give the kiddies a little extra boost and the sugar in their Cracker Jacks just isn’t doing the trick? Have we got a deal for you. The nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) reported that Frito-Lay, the manufacturer of Cracker Jacks, will soon introduce a new version of its snack called Cracker Jack’d – which will have added caffeine. Now come on, CSPI, back off, would you? Parents know what’s best for their children. Right? Click here

You think the spend a few bucks on their entertainment budge maybe? Merelfest has announced its 2013 lineup and it’s a doozy. Click here

Now, here’s an idea--Martin and Company has been very, very, very good to the CBA over the years so we’ll pass along a little suggestion made by the folks back in PA. Click here.

All I need’s a job with honest pay, All I need’s a job with honest pay, Gotta git me a job with honest pay, And I ain’t a’ gonna be treated this away--Washington Post film critic Ned Martel likes Ken Burn’s latest effort, ‘The Dust Bowl’. “As ever, the screen scans historic images — strong, clear, artful ones. Photographer Dorothea Lange trains her lens on wind-whipped faces. Burns knows by now how to pull emotion out of first-person documents and underscores the testimony with piano chords and violin whines. Woody Guthrie finds his voice. And one of many older survivors recalls her mama’s hymn that hoped for “higher ground.” Of course Martel doesn’t mention in the review that one of the fellas making that violin whine is Joe Weed, Santa Cruz musician, composer and documentarian in his own right. We’re excited to see the new Burns epic but, really, just as excited to hear the original material composed for it by our pal Joe. Dust Bowl airs tonight. Check your local listings, tune in and listen to local boy makes good…again. Click here for the complete Post review.

November 20, 2012

Hail to the Chief – of bluegrass! --We’re not sure of exactly what this means but that shouldn’t stop you from wondering. Click here

Go Giants. I know, but better late than never--Got a semi nasty note in the Mold Mail Bag a couple days ago. Why, the writer wanted to know, did I think it was okay to write a daily news column and not mention the biggest news in Northern California in the last two years? Of course he was referring to the Giants winning the National Championship and of course I didn’t mention it because I’m not a big baseball fan and I’m not going to lie about that, championship or no championship. But that said, he did have a point. So, well, go Giants. And to prove my sincerity, here’s the best damned baseball song of all time…not bluegrass but mighty fine just the same.
Larry Hosford’s "Home Run Willie" Click here

Pandora’s Box--Ken Irwin, co-founder of Rounder Records, is sharing this with friends. We don’t usually run a piece this long here at the Mold, but we were impressed by the diversity of the signatory listing. ”A Musicians' Perspective on Pandora. We are big fans of Pandora. That's why we helped give the company a discount on rates for the past decade. Pandora is now enjoying phenomenal success as a Wall Street company. Skyrocketing growth in revenues and users. We celebrate that. At the same time, the music community is just now beginning to gain its footing in the new digital world. Pandora's principal asset is the music. Why is the company asking Congress once again to step in and gut the royalties that thousands of musicians rely upon? That's not fair, and that's not how partners work together. Congress has many pressing issues to consider, but this is not one of them. Let's work this out as partners and continue to bring fans the great musical experience they rightly expect. Signed, Bryan Adams, Alabama, Greg Allman, Steve Angello, Rodney Atkins, Sara Bareilles, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Clint Black, Jack Blades, Blondie, Jonatha Brooke, Jackson Browne, Jimmy Buffett, Oteil Burbridge, The Cab, Colbie Caillat, Camper Van Beethoven, CoCo Carmel, George Clinton, Keyshia Cole, Common, Easton Corbin, Cowboy Mouth, Cracker, Randy Crawford, Robert Cray, David Crosby, Joel Crouse, Sheryl Crow, Drew Davis, Taylor Dayne, Dead Kennedys, Raheem DeVaughn, The Doors, Down, The Dream, Vikter Duplaix, Missy Elliott, Lupe Fiasco, The 5th Dimension, Flyleaf, John Fogerty, Guy Forsyth, The Game, Vince Gill, David Gilmour, Genevieve Goings, Martha Reeves, Rihanna, Eric Roberson, Darius Rucker, Rush, Bobby Rush, Joe Sample, David Sanborn, Skid Row, Michael W. Smith, Britney Spears, Dave Stewart, Survivor, T.I., Susan Tedeschi, Robin Thicke, George Thorogood, Toto, Butch Trucks, Derek Trucks, Josh Turner, Frankie Valli and Bob Gaudio (The 4 Seasons), Dionne Warwick, Roger Waters, Bobby Whitlock, Whodini, Chuck Wicks, Otis Williams (The Temptations), Ann and Nancy Wilson (Heart), BrianWilson, BeBeWinans, Zac Brown Band, Andy Grammer, Amy Grant, CeeLo Green, Gyptian, Warren Haynes, Don Henley, Hootie and The Blowfish, Mallary Hope, Bruce Hornsby, Mick Hucknall (Simply Red), The J.Geils Band, Jaimoe, The Jazz Crusaders, Billy Joel, John Paul Jones, Mick Jones (Foreigner), Journey, Jim Kerr and Charlie Burchill (Simple Minds), KISS, Jana Kramer, Ludacris, Maroon 5, Nick Mason, Duff McKagan, Megadeth, Janelle Monae, Alissa Moreno, Jason Mraz, Nas, Graham Nash, Ne-Yo, Stevie Nicks, Night Ranger, Ted Nugent, Owl City, Christina Perri, Katy Perry, Pink Floyd, Robert Plant, John Pointer, The Pointer Sisters, Primus, Marc Quinones, Joel Rafael, Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Raitt.

Too much of a good thing? An interesting note from a MOLD fan: “Dear Mold Man, I read your column everyday and enjoy it very much. It’s informative and interesting and even funny sometimes. But, if you’ll please allow a little criticism, well, I think maybe you might be overdoing it just a bit. In two ways. First, you say it’s the MORE OR LESS Daily News but, unless I’m mistaken, it’s been DAILY. You haven’t missed a single day since the column started. And second, you present way, way more stuff than we working stiffs can get through during our morning coffee. You know what they say, a little is sometimes better than a lot. Please don’t take this the wrong way, Mold, I truly do like reading your stuff, just not so much every day. Gratefully yours, Inundated.” Dear Inundated, let me mull this over, please.

November 19, 2012

A taste of history you can nibble on for decades to come--Got a note from genius photographer Mike Melnyk the other day that led us to the following information about as new Arhoolie offering: 4 CDs with a 192 page, full color, hardcover book; over 4 hours and 58 minutes of music; 70 songs; over 175 color photographs by Mike Melnyk; Commentary by Chris Strachwitz and band members. On February 4, 5, and 6, 2011 there was a benefit for the Arhoolie Foundation celebrating the 50th anniversary of Arhoolie Records. Three joyous days of concerts and panel discussions were held in Berkeley, California at the Freight and Salvage to honor Chris Strachwitz and Arhoolie’s 50 years of documenting and preserving traditional music. The concerts were hosted by American Routes radio host Nick Spitzer. The events were recorded by Fantasy Studios and the Bay Area’s premier concert photographer Mike Melnyk captured the performances and backstage activities. This limited edition book and CD set is filled with passionate music, stunning full color photos and remembrances. Chris Strachwitz writes about each band. Click here

I just do as I'm told around here at the Tower--I found a note from the web master dude when I came into work this morning directing, (no, he didn't ask), that I announce in the MOLD that "hits" on cbaontheweb.org have reached or exceeded 7,000 per day for the last six out of seven days. Apparently this is good news..but do you think they'd give me even a little credit?

If ever the Association did God’s work…Hi everybody. Bruce-the-Librarian here. I'm looking for someone to step up and take over my duties as the Librarian for The Darrel Johnston Kids Instrument Lending Library. I've been at this job for about four years now. Boy does the time fly! This is a year round volunteer position. Which means there are a lot of "perks!" Heck, just seeing the kids with instruments is a real blast. Contact me at: kidslendinglibrary@gmail.com for any question one might have. Bruce Long, DJKLL/Librarian.

This has gotta be a good sign--The last time Zeke Griffin was mentioned at cbaontheweb.org it was in connection with his just-diagnosed cancer. He assured his friend via Facebook that he was okay, hangin’ in and would pull through. That was some months ago and he was just starting some treatment. Well, he popped up on Facebook again the other day, this time in a cool video of he and his band, Strange on the Range, doing a benefit show in Reno. Looked good and sounded even better. High five, Zeke! Click here

Who says California doesn’t deserve it’s long-held reputation for being just a few degrees off center --Warning: If you’re dismayed by, or simply indifferent to, bugs, skip to the next item. Northern California scientists have long been baffled by the rare 750-legged millipede, Illacme Plenipes. Click to continue. The Plenipes do get even more odd.

So, so fast when you’re having fun--Just read where Lou Reid and Carolina are celebrating their 20th anniversary. My or my how time flies. I remember reading that this new band was coming out with a debut CD. Congrats, boys.Click here

Early Bird Special…and we don’t mean festival tickets--Early Bird as in the night before Turkey Day you all living in the Bay Area have a couple of options to prepare for the big feast with a little bluegrass. Sidesaddle & Co. will be at Sam's BBQ on Wednesday the 21 and the Whiskey Brothers will be picking and singing that same night up at the Albatross Pub in Berkeley.

Say good bye, Twinkie. Okay, goodbye Twinkie--With all of the news oozing out of every electronic contrivance sent down to mankind by the Technology Gods, it can be eye-opening, (and usually disheartening, to just sit back every once in a while and see what’s garnering the biggest coverage. For an example, I was visiting cnn.com yesterday day and found not one but six separate stories about the sudden, and for most of us, I think, surprising, demise of the Twinkie: Hostess Brands closing | 18,000 jobs; Workers react | Potential buyers; Ebay goes crazy for Twinkie stuff; Ode to the Twinkie Ode to the Twinkie | Hoard them!; Twinkie fan's plea | Share your recipes; 11 brands that vanished HLN. Six different takes on the confestions disaster, while missiles tragically lit up the skies over Israel and Palestine.

Hey. HEY! You there…the guy holding the fiddle case, or mandolin case, or whatever it is--“Dave (Guitar) in Berkeley, and Ken (Bass) in Alameda are looking for other Blue Grass Players (Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin, Dobro, etc.) to practice with us, and maybe play an occasional Gig.” Many a life long friendship has begun with a simple note like this. Write Ken at kgranberg@smithandgranberg.com.

Please, please, please don’t do this--California teen looking for cell service steps into snake pit, bit 6 times. What kind of snakes, you ask? Were they deadly you wondering. Doesn’t matter. JUST DON’T DO IT!
Click here

November 18, 2012

They just might have what’s ailin’ ya--In our constant quest for raw meat to keep the insatiable newshounds at bay we’ve recently discovered Prescription Bluegrass. They do a good job and are worth a bookmark in our humble opinion. Click here to visit the site.

Southern delicacies highlighted whenever possible--Some Mold readers, the more perceptive one anyways, may have already noticed that our team of investigative reporters keeps its collective eye out for any news related to fine Southern cuisine, particularly of the kind of dishes that can be shot from trees or huddled in burrows. Why, because of the long tradition of wild game hunting and gathering in bluegrass and old time music. So there was really little question we’d run with this story, sad as it may be. Click here

In the low eighties and dry--So says, Ted Lehman, bluegrass writer and CBA Welcome columnist in a piece recently published about next years gig in Raleigh…”IBMA's World of Bluegrass, as most of you know by now, will be held in Raleigh, NC from September 24 - 28, 2013. The events will center on the Convention Center complex, which includes the Raleigh Convention Center, two key hotels (The Sheraton & the Marriot) and the Red Hat Amphitheater, a 5,990 seat outdoor performance area located directly behind the Convention Center. The Amphitheater is designed to accommodate large events in comfort. Some considerable criticism of recent Fan Fests has rested on the grounds that bluegrass music works best in an outdoor, festive environment. Boasting flexible seating, a huge stage, and easy accessibility, the Red Hat Amphitheater offers unparallelled opportunities for Fan Fest to schedule the best in bluegrass while attracting a large audience to support the Bluegrass Trust Fund and IBMA's efforts to promote bluegrass around the world. September weather in Raleigh features an average high of 81 and an average low of a comfortable 61 degrees. Precipitation may be expected on 8.0 days in September, the second driest month with October being the driest. The convenience of the Convention Center across the street from the Red Hat Amphitheater makes this a highly promising location for a shortened, but extremely attractive outdoor event.”Click here the rest of the piece as well as photos.

Bluegrass in paradise--It was with a heavy, heavy heart that I read the email pasted below in the Moldman hot mail account this morning: “Would you please add Bluegrass Hawaii to your list of links? We are a pretty small non-profit organization, but we have quite a lot of activity to which visitors from your region are always welcome including two festivals/camps each year. See the attached flyer that was made to distribute to people on a nearby military installation so they might know of the opportunity to play with us. We currently have around one hundred dues paying members and another four hundred people receive our e-mail notices but can't seem to come up with the ten bucks for membership. Hard times. At the camps we hold in the spring we'll attract over 130 campers and nearly 400 will be present during the day. The autumn camps are less well attended with numbers more like 90/200. Mike Spengel” Why a heavy heart, you ask? Because it’s 42 degrees as I type these words and steam comes out of my mouth when I breathe out. Mike probably an okay guy, and Bluegrass Hawaii is no doubt a good group of folks, but that in no way makes them immune from my jealous rage.

This could explain EVERYTHING-- I mean, come on, folks, just look around you. Noticed anything a little unusual? Like having to explain a lot more things to a lot more people a lot more thoroughly? Like reading more and more news stories about polling that shows a greater and greater belief in things that simply cannot be true? Bumped into greater numbers of folks that seem genuinely confused…about most everything? Well, guess what: Human Intelligence Declining, Controversial New Study Suggests…Click here

This guy will knock you down with his voice-- Note from Don: Please join us for our musical doins this Sunday, November 18, 2012 - It's a 7:30 PM downbeat ARMANDO'S Music Emporium, Martinez CA DON BURNHAM & THE BOLOS.

Easy to get lost--That’s the cut we moldy ones are recommending you give a listen to from Monroe Crossing’s soon-to-be-released new project, The Road Has No End. This band has a big fan base out here in the wild west and we’re guessing it’ll get even bigger once this CD hits the ground. Click here

November 17, 2012

End of the road for New Found Road--Not sure how many people will remember this, but NFR played at Grass Valley just about a decade ago as that year’s Emerging Artist, and what a career they’ve had since then. There were plenty of personnel changes during that time, and what started as a gospel band eventually evolved into a secular one, but through it all Tim Shelton held the group together and made some truly wonderful music. The boys have some outstanding commitments through part of 2013, but then it’s adios. Another chapter ends…thanks fellas. Click here

Not all family traditions just sort of happen--Sometimes you can make them, and that’s just what Carl and Leslie Abbott did. With two young home-schooled sons, the parents decided home-made music would be a nice addition to the kids’ curriculum…of course they didn’t know at the time that their decision, more or less an academic one in the beginning, would send the family on a deeply textured musical adventure for the next decade and a half. Luke, the oldest of the sons, tells the tale…click here to read it.

Never had so much fun--I remember volunteering some years back to take a shift each day monitoring a discussion board for a little community project web site. It’s not like I had to sit there and watch every minute of every second of every hour; I just had to make sure that if a discussion took a wrong turn, I needed to let the web master know. No big deal, right? Wrong, at least for me. I tendered my resignation a little less than a week. I found the job nerve wracking, not so much because there were a lot of crazies posting, but because I really cared about the project and the community behind it and I was nervous that a thread would blow up on my watch and somehow bring the web site down…permanently. You’d be surprised how many times this actually happens with sites. In fact, I heard it almost happened once with the CBA site. So, here’s what I think—be thankful you’ve got people who care enough to watch over your message board.Click here

You’d be in despair, too, if you were drinking what they’re drinking--Do you remember “Gloom despair and agony on me?” No? Click anyway.

New voice in the Lode--At least new to us. Sammy Leverone is one fine singer and we’re seeing her book more and more dates up in the hills. For example, December 7 she’ll be at the Frogstooth Winery in Murpheys, a 2-5 afternoon gig with some good wine a-flownin’. (I know, you were pretty sure that frogs don’t have teeth…but then you were pretty certain that chickens don’t have lips, right? In any event, click here if you’d like to get a little taste of Sammy’s singing. Can’t beat Hoyt Axton now can ya?

Police blotter, Strongville, Ohio, first week of November…really--ANIMAL COMPLAINT, DRAKE ROAD: Residents called police because they were trapped in their home by a temperamental squirrel. The squirrel was desperate to get in the house, according to the residents. The squirrel kept jumping at the garage door and would run at the residents any time they opened a door.

ANIMAL COMPLAINT, SOUTHPARK CENTER: Several motorists called police on Sunday because a large turtle was blocking the entrance to the Westfield-SouthPark Shopping Center. The turtle was taking a long time to cross the Howe Road entrance to the mall. The motorists were afraid the turtle would get hit by a car.

ANIMAL COMPLAINT, CHANDLER GREEN: A man reported Sunday that he was bit by a dog while walking in his neighborhood. The man said he was bitten in the hip by a German shepherd-Labrador retriever mix, who was being walked by children.

MISCHIEF, COOK AVENUE: Someone plastered eggs and toilet paper all over Zellers Elementary School on Sunday night.

MISCHIEF, WEST 130th STREET: Motorists called police Saturday because a group of juveniles were jumping into traffic. One of the boys was wearing a bear costume, according to the callers. The group was gone when police arrived.

DISTURBANCE, PEARL ROAD: Two Cleveland men and a Cleveland woman were advised Saturday for trying to load items from a dumpster behind the Honey Hut into their vehicle. The group was confronted by police after several calls reported hearing screaming coming from the area. Officers found the group arguing over the best way to stuff a large freezer unit into their vehicle. Officers made the trio put all the items back that they were trying to take.

From the Moldy Mailbag--“Hello Bluegrass friends, here’s a chance to listen to Compass Records recording artists Special Consensus live from the World Famous Station Inn in Nashville. Tune in to WSM Online Thursday November 15, 2012 from 6 to 7 p.m. Central Time. Thanks, Maria from By the Bay Bookings.” The staff here at CBA Towers is following news of SC pretty closely since they’ll be one of our headliners in June. We invite you to listen to what you’ll be seeing. Click here

November 16, 2012

Bring your axe…PLEASE--I think we’ve mentioned this already, but we’ll do it again in case 1) you’ve forgotten or 2) you need that little extra touch of encouragement. Invariably we have a small number of closet pickers who attend CBA events and don’t even bother to bring their banjo or guitar or whatever because, heck, they’re only beginners and they’re not used to playing with other people. Well, this year at the GREAT 48, the organizers are doing something about that, at least for the git-box folks. Bill Jirsa, a solid CBA member who knows his way around jamming, will do as beginners’ guitar workshop. So, what’s covered in a session like that? Click here to find out. And then PACK THAT GUITAR FOR BAKERSFIELD!

Print media melancholy--Sorry to hear that the good folks at Bluegrass Music Profiles will shut down their publication. Kevin and Lori Kerfoot put their heart and soul into the publication and the result was a top-notch magazine that kept bluegrassers informed across the country. Let’s hope they decide to keep the effort going with a web-based version. Click here to pick up back issues before they’re gone.

Dirty Kitchen blowing into town--From Bob Schwartz: We'll be hosting Frank and Dirty Kitchen at our home in Walnut Creek on Sunday evening December 9. Should be a great evening, these guys were up for IBMA Emerging Artist this year . . . We've still got some room left, if you'd like to come drop me an email or call my cell, 415-999-3136. $20 per person requested donation, all proceeds go to the band . . .Bob Schwartz, bob@oakgrovebluegrass.com, 415-999-3136

Reminder from Uncle Bill--But seriously, these are three of the all time greats, right here in our backyard…so to speak. Click here

Where in the heck is Newman? Well, we urge you to find out by Friday night, cause that’s ween Red Dog Ash at there at the Westside Theater. It’s a CD Release party and admission is only ten bucks. Click here

Hey, keep that criticism coming. I don’t promise I’ll listen to it, but keep it coming--I recently received a note in the old Mold Mail Bag from a reader who noticed that some of my items are actually stories repeated from the rotating ‘news items’ at the top of the page, you know, the five items that run each day. “It’s like, I see something one day up at the top of the page and a few days later your writing about it. What’s going on? Why the re-cycling, dude?” You can call it recycling, dude, I’m going to call it writing about what I find interesting or important. Cornish and Peet do their thing with the five rotating items each morning, I do mine. We don’t try to coordinate…probably wouldn’t work if we did try. Here’s a pretty simple solution—when you see something you don’t like, or that you’ve already read about, or that you just don’t give a damn about, DON’T READ IT.

Violins for vets--Don’t know if you know him, but Allan French is a very cool dude. You’ve seen him around if you go to bluegrass events. He’s one of these guys who’s just always on the prowl to find a way to help make things better. Does a column in the Bluegrass Breakdown. Helps with the web site. Works security at Grass Valley. And he’s also the kind of guy who keeps his ear to the ground. Leave it to Allan to run across a feel good story that’s actually worth feeling good about. He posted this one on the Message Board. Click here

So, you got a song inside of you just screaming to get out--A lot of folks do, we’re told, but just don’t how to get it out. For many, it’s just a matter of not having the tools. In recognition of the fact that we’ve got a lot of potential song writers out there in our bluegrass community, GREAT 48 organizers conducted a little experiment last year—they got Randy Morton, lead singer, guitar player and original material machine for the band Pineridge, to do a song writing workshop. People loved it and Randy’s set to do another this year at Bakersfield. Early afternoon, Saturday, be there.

You don’t need to have a family OR play the fiddle--We’ve been reminded of the Julian Family Fiddle Camp coming up in April…and of what makes it a good one…

Stellar instruction for all ages and levels
Special topic seminars &/or tutorials
General and master classes in fiddle, mandolin, guitar and old-time banjo
Great evening concerts
Delicious food
A beautiful location
Activities for the entire family
Nearby tourist attractions
Varied accommodations

Click here

November 15, 2012

Lovely Rita, nothing can come between us.
When it gets dark I tow your heart away
-- Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack plus The Railflowers will be at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company tonight. Show ticket for twenty bucks, and throw in an additional twelve for a buffet dinner. Can’t beat that with a stick!

Now here’s a good idea--A note from long-time CBA member Yvonne Tatar….Hi All, a great new EPK is up and running on the Foundation for Bluegrass Music's website at www.bluegrassfoundation.org. I am proud to have helped with this project and also proud to have Molly Tuttle included in it, along with the Tuttles, and AJ Lee, and a host of other notable musicians. Please take moment to view and learn more about the Foundation's important work. Consider a donation and enjoy the video!

Chances don’t come up like this everyday…either you grab for the brass ring or you continue to go ‘round and ‘round endlessly--Unpaid intern position available--Huge, real-life experience guaranteed. Imagine being able to put on your resume, ‘Played key role on Moldman Team’. And the cherry on top—we’d never have to meet face to face. Reach me at moldman7676@hotmail.com.

The man with the mighty axe--Just got word today from the organizers of the GREAT 48 Jam in Bakersfield that they’ve booked a monster picker for this year’s guitar workshop. Joe Ash, who I’ve always thought of as the Arnold Schwarzenegger of the guit-box, (and believe me, I mean that in a positive way), will be leading the session scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Joe doesn’t just play guitar well…he knows and understands guitar, and more importantly for us, he knows how it is to be used in the genre called bluegrass.

So, you actually CAN believe some press releases--Got this emailed to the MM but, truth is, he’d already heard Bill’s latest and needed no promoting. Very good stuff indeed. “Bill Evans' latest CD "In Good Company," featuring 26 guest musicians including The Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O'Brien, David Grier, Rob Ickes, Stuart Duncan and many others, is currently the #1 CD on the Cash Box / Roots Music Report Bluegrass Charts (two weeks running). Earlier this year, Bill's CD topped the Folk DJ-List charts, making it one of the few bluegrass-oriented releases to top both folk and bluegrass charts this year.”

Sorry, we don’t have no stinikin’ corner on the market when it comes to murder--I know, one of the unique qualities about our bluegrass genre is the number of murders that take place. Let’s be honest, we feel just a little bit of dark pride in the killing catalogue that is old-time and bluegrass. But now there’s word from Scandinavia that we may not hold the record after all. Squeezebox Brutality: Murder Ballads From Finland has just been released and it just might be the stocking stuffer you’ve been looking for. Oh, and you think our old-timey ballads were long…ah, think again. Says Kimmo Pohjonen, the guy squeezing the squeeze on the new release, “"Our national epic, 'Kalevala,' is something like 23,000 verses or even more. In old days, people were singing for days and days. That's why the stories used to be really long."Click here

For that guy or gal who’s got everything--So you say you’ve got a significant other who 1) plays the mandolin and 2) has everything, which is to say, is impossible to by a Christmas present for. Hold on. She/he doesn’t have EVERYTHING. I’ll bet you he/she doesn’t have an Adam Steffey. Click here

God love this democracy of ours--So, Bill G. posts innocently enough on the Message Board…” I've played blues/rock bass for 10 years and would like to start playing Bluegrass. Most Blu'grs bassists use acoustic. Must I spend lots of time and money to learn the acoustic or can I manage to jam and maybe join a band with my electric. Thanks for any comments.” I submit to you, oh valued readers, that the thread which develops exemplifies better than most discussion ever held on the MB just how utterly diverse our little community is. Click here

No, friends, not just lint--The headline read, “Belly Button Bacteria: Biologists Seek Reason For Navel Flora Differences”. If in the three-plus weeks that we’ve been doing this column you’ve learned anything about the Moldman it’s that there’s no way in heck that this story wouldn’t make into the More or Less Daily. There’s certainly nothing even approaching grossness contained in this story. That said, it IS from Scientific American and we acknowledge that such attribution could be off-putting to some. So, click here at your own descreition.

We have met the enemy and he is us.--The other day I found myself skimming over the Message Board posts, (I find this more edifying than playing solitaire), and stumbled upon a reference to Pogo. After sitting back and enjoying the flood of memories released by the sheer mention of the little guy’s name I was suddenly struck by the awful thought that some folks out there may not have even ever heard the name. So, here goes…Pogo is the title and central character of a long-running daily American comic strip, created by cartoonist Walt Kelly (1913–1973) and distributed by the Post-Hall Syndicate. Set in the Okefenokee Swamp of the southeastern United States, the strip often engages in social and political satire through the adventures of its anthropomorphic funny animal characters. Pogo combined both sophisticated wit and slapstick physical comedy in a heady mix of allegory, Irish poetry, literary whimsy, puns and wordplay, lushly detailed artwork and broad burlesque humor. The same series of strips can be enjoyed on different levels by both young children and savvy adults. The strip earned Kelly a Reuben Award in 1951.Click here for more.

November 15, 2012

Emerging or exploding? You be the judge--Each year the contingent of CBA’ers who head back to the IBMA to work in the Association’s hospitality suite are rewarded with a special perk; at the end of the week they get to take part in selecting the Emerging Artist that will be featured at the FDF the following June. This year the volunteer team selected Della Mae. Seen ‘em? Want to? Click here

***As Homer Simpson would say, “Aggggggggggg”-- November 13 you can head to Campbell and here Carolina Special. Our recommendation is to get to Sam's very early, say 4:30 or 5:00, order a plate of ribs, drink a couple glasses of wine, listen to the band and then, by nine or so you’ll be ready for more ribs. Extreme, you say? Obviously you haven’t had Sam’s ribs!

A picture is worth a thousand words. A good picture…composition, lighting, etc…maybe five thousand--And for that reason organizers of the GREAT 48 Hour Jam have announced they’ll be adding a new workshop this year…BLUEGRASS PHOTOGRAPHY. Like wildlife photography but where the subjects are more human that than animal like. Randy Shelton, one of the Association’s three Official Photogs, will be the presenter and he’s quite good. Some may remember way back when at Grass Valley when our beloved Tom Tworek did snap workshops…talk about one of the best.

”So, ah, like what’s this BLUEGRASS L thing all about? You know, the listserv where bluegrass go and exchange information and rant at one another? Signed, Don’t-Care-Enough-to-Find-Out-for-Myself.” Another email sent to the Moldman…and yes, I do take questions. Hello, Don’t-Care. Let me share a typical BG L thread. “My recollection is that Lester and Earl appeared on one episode performing "My Little Girl In Tennessee" as a duo (and somewhat less reliably that it was in the key of D, with Earl singing tenor). I'm curious to know if that's correct, and, if so, what the episode title is and if it's ever been commercially released. Thank you. Jon Weisberger Cottontown, TN…You are correct, I remember it exactly that way, but don't know what episode it was. John Mackin… It's from the episode "Flatt, Clampett and Scruggs", season 3, episode 25 (original air date: March 31, 1965). It is available commercially (Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/The-Beverly-Hillbillies-Official-Season/dp/B001LM64VK/ref=pd_cp_mov_2).Here it is on YouTube (F&S start around 11:00 minutes in).http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seBxMQOSlgo

Hey, a little help over here! A note from Chris Stuart: I'm writing a Blue Yodel piece called "Bluegrass Dictionary" and am asking for slang words or phrases having to do with bluegrass, such as "mash it" or "shared the stage with..." I doesn't have to be unique to bluegrass, but slangy...is that a word? chris@chrisstuart.com.

Synapses on his synapses--We’re betting most people who read the MOLD know this already, but we’ll say it anyways, Pete Grant is considered, and deservingly so, somewhat of a regional treasure when it comes to the reso guitar. He’s played with some of the best and he’ll be playing tonight at Friar Tuck's Restaurant and Bar tonight in Nevada City with Kelly Fleming and Juliet Gobert. They start at six-something and you’ll be inspired. The guy’s got musical synapses on his synapses. Click here

Wash your mouth out! I noticed on the Message Board a few days ago that we had a “deleted thread”. Haven’t seen one of those for a while. Ironically, its genesis was a post complementing someone on his well-crafted message about GETTING ALONG. What better topic to start a thread that would gradually swell and redden and churn until it was toxic enough to require deleting. And here’s the thing—it’s doubtful that there’s a single, solitary soul out there that doesn’t understand and accept the simple principle that if we’re going to play together we can’t politic together. I guess understanding and actually doing, or in this case, NOT doing, are just two different things.

Thank you, Fox News, for this little nugget--MOUNT PLEASANT, MI (WNEM) -Mount Pleasant High School athletic director Jim Conway is in shock. He's still trying to figure out why a 21-year-old would lie his way back to high school and play football. That's exactly what happened to his Oiler team this season. "Anytime you're duped or lied to, if you will, there's some frustration that comes with that. When it comes to something like this - an integrity issue - that becomes difficult to swallow," Conway said. James Nash, 21, used false documents to attend the school under the alias Javier Jones. He played five games for the football team. After the school received a tip from a concerned parent, Nash's true identity was discovered. He was immediately removed from the district. Now two Oiler victories may be forfeited.

Nashville Blind Item--MOLDGIRL has spoken and she came out of nowhere. I’m not asking any why’s or where from’s; don’t need no personal history or a vitae. I’ll just gratefully take what she dishes, to wit: “Nashville Blind Item: What amateur Nashville videographer/musician whose YouTube is circulating wildly right now – is in a BIG battle with which one of the musicians (from a band you all know) who was videoed for this particular video while ‘under the influence’ shall we say and said a whole bunch of things that he’d like to take back now but did give permission at the time for it to be used in the video.”

Riddle! What’s better than a really good banjo joke?--Answer: An entire song full of banjo jokes. BAN-JOKES is a new song by Michael Johnathon recorded live that includes more bad banjo jokes than you can shake a banjo at. The song was recorded with Howard's Creek bluegrass band. Even though the audience mics were left off, the overall recording is pretty good.
Prepare to laugh, or at least giggle. Thanks to Bryan Klausing at WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, PoetMan Records USA, Inc

November 14, 2012

Can’t ever have too much bluegrass music floating around the atmosphere.--In his new radio show launched last month David Thom plays his favorite bluegrass recordings, as well occasionally hosting live performances. Tune in! 91.3 FM in Sonoma or www.ksvy.org every Sunday at 11 am.

Just a little less popular than Bulgarian Throat Rattling--I read Chris Jones’ column at BluegrassToday fairly often. I find him opinionated and, for the most part, I tend to agree with his opinions. But the other day, when he presented his list of types of events that bluegrass bands SHOULDN’T play, I found myself squarely on the other side of the argument. Wrote Chris about bands playing weddings, “In general, though, there’s a reason this is number one on the list. I can’t think of an engagement (no pun intended), public or private, that is less suited to a bluegrass band. I also can’t think of a genre of music, with the possible exception of Gregorian chant or Mongolian throat-singing, that is less suited to a wedding gig.” Nope, Chris, have to disagree here, and vociferously. As a decades long semi-professional purveyor of bluegrass music, I can’t think of a more APPROPRIATE gig for bands to play. And here’s the reason: Everyone knows that the source of the greatest single argument during wedding planning is what kind of music will be played…people tend to dig their heels in on this one. In more instances than you could possibly believe, these near-disasters are averted by both sides agreeing to hire a band that NO ONE wants…a bluegrass band. And when no one wins, everybody wins. We used to think of it as a public service, and 7 receptions out of 10 served better food than any of us could have expected at home. Click here for Mr. Jones’ entire column.

Doomed dobro debacle--This will mean nothing to most people, but if you’re a reso soul or a rare instrument freak, it’ll be a heart breaker. The Dopyera Collection is to be auctioned off piece meal unless some angel steps up, and very soon.Click here

So, what in tarnation do Yale University and bluegrass and the CBA have to do with one another?Well, here’s what. Peter Salovey, who’s a banjo picker, Vice Chairman of the International Bluegrass Music Museum's board of trustees, a very close friend of member #1 Carl Pagter and a contributor to our collection of Hooked on Bluegrass stories, has just been name the new President of Yale University. CONGRATULATIONS Peter. So how did such a smart guy end up a banjo picker? Click here

It’s not healthy to form a grudge against a person, but it’s even worse to form one against a TV commercial--HP has performed that very special type of curse that can only be done by mega corporations with mega a budgets. We’re talking about the Officejet Pro sales campaign with annoying Bananarama song…it’s actually the Macarena song, but with its own special words, which are…you ready? ‘It’s not what you do it’s the way that you do it.’ I’m sorry, but this just is not a philosophy of life and of work and of consumer products that I can get behind, and hearing this message set to the music of the last century’s most obnoxious songs, a song with its own dance routine, for God’s sake, is just…well…too much. So, you see, I do hold a grudge, I know it’s not good for me and yet I can’t shake it. I keep having this image of hiring someone to build a redwood deck in my backyard and giving him final instructions. ‘Now, listen Jack, it really doesn’t matter what you build. Could be anything, really. The wife and I are much more concerned with how you do it. No, really, just do whatever you want to do…we’ll be fine…just please, do it well.’

By the way, By-the-Bay Booking has become a regular MOLDY Mail Bag user--Dear Moldman, whoever the hell you are, here’s a nice story: Megan Lynch, my daughter, and her husband, Adam Chowning just had their first ever Nashville Flatpick Camp. Bill Rinehart who works for John and Pat Rumiano, the cheese people and CBA’ers went to it. All the way from California. He had a great time and camp was a big success. Looks like they’ll have another one in March. Kenny and Amanda taught at it and it turns out they really are America’s Sweetheart Couple. Here’s a link.

Now, if this doesn’t make your day…We don’t usually cut and paste FaceBook status here at the MOLD, but this one, well, it’s different. From Phil Leadbetter…"Getting ready to head out for ResoSummit in Nashville. So happy to be teaching there this year. I used to go to Nashville at least 2-3 times a month. I haven't been there since February when I went to Vanderbilt to see if my cancer could be cured. Last trip I was almost hopeless....this time I am well. Ain't God good !!!”

An adventure just waiting to happen…maybe--There’s a note hanging on a wall at the San Gregorio General Store that reads ‘One of these days, half the folks here are going to arrest the other half—A. Vermillius Wormcan Let’s hope that doesn’t happen Saturday, when Harmony Grits starts its first set at 3:00 p.m. Click here to find out just where in the hell San Gregorio is. Who knows, this could be an adventure just waiting to happen.

November 13, 2012

’A band without a discernable gimmick’; almost sounds like a challenge to show up at the show and watch for me--Peter Thompson write: It happens THIS SATURDAY (Nov. 10th) at the First Presbyterian Church of Mountain View. Redwod Bluegrass Associates presents the mighty Foghorn Stringband in concert! As many of you know, Foghorn is the band that sets the standard for contemporary old time (which is not an oxymoron) music. They play the old way, but they've been riding on the cutting edge for more than a decade. Co-founders Caleb Klauder (mandolin, vocal) and Sammy Lind (fiddle, vocal) are now joined by Nadine Landry (bass, vocal) and Reeb Willms (guitar, vocal) for music that incorporates bluegrass, Cajun, honky tonk, and originals into their distinctive brand of old time. It’ll cure what ails ya. The Portland Mercury writes…"Foghorn Stringband is among the finest practitioners of American old-time music on the globe, a string band whose faithful renditions of songs from bygone decades are no less than living, breathing history. That’s not to say they play museum pieces; Foghorn’s remarkable achievement is in making these careworn tunes sound vital, present, and fully relevant. Foghorn Stringband remain absolutely authentic and without discernible gimmick." See you there! www.rba.org (Pssst: old time -- as well as bluegrass -- jamming begins at 5 pm. Concert showtime: 7:30 pm)

***Jam in your neck of the woods? Tell the MOLDMAN--Heard from my first CBA area vp yesterday. Bill Schniederman, the central Mother Lode guy asked that we remind folks of the every other week Sonora Jam…second and fourth Fridays, which, low and behold, would be tonight. Bill tells me this jam has been going on for over ten years, though for most of them it was held at the Smoke Café in Jamestown. Now, he says, it’s moved to Mi Pueblo Restaurant on Sonora’s little main street. Oh, he told me one other thing…the Camerons Diablo will knock you on your butt, but you’ll get back in your chair and eat some more.

How about those kids-- Found in the Mold-Mail Bag from Richard Brooks…Photographer Karl Mondon of the San Jose Mercury News posted his photos of the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association's 11th annual Youth Fiddle Contest held on November 4, 2012. These wonderful photos are at http://tinyurl.com/b6l9ybz link. Be sure to view them while they are still online. Photos of the contestants in Division 1, 2, and 3 will be in the Fiddler's Rag, our monthly publication. Back issues of the Rag are available at the [Newsletter] link on the left side of the www.fiddlers.org website. The following contestants are named in Karl's photos (listed here alphabetically by first name):

Doniella Dumont, 7
Edward Ross, 11
Gilford Ting, 8
Jerry Wong, 8
Katherine Kline, 7
Lexie Cotterel, 4
Ronald Sit, 8
Sophine Wong, 6

In search of the northwest passage? Well, I suppose in their off hours they’ll have time to do a little of that, but mainly the Kathy Kallick Band his headed up the Pacific coast to play some fine music and promoted their new CD project, Time, on their Northwest Tour. Here’s the deal…

Fri., Nov 16 (7:30 pm)
Carvlin Hall - 1636 SE Hickory (just north of SE 17th & Division), Portland OR
Presented by the Portland FolkMusic Society

Sat., Nov. 17 (7:30 pm)
Phinney Neighborhood Center - 6532 Phinney Avenue N (at N 67th St.), Seattle, WA
Presented by the Seattle Folklore Society

Sun., Nov. 18 (2:00 pm)
Nancy's Farm - 2030 E. Smith Rd., Bellingham, WA

NOTE: Acoustic bass maestro Cary Black will be joining Kathy, Annie, Tom, and Greg for all three of these shows!

Now, you five, if you do happen to stumble on the Great Northwest Passage, for God’s sake let someone know. A discovery like that could, heck, open the west up or something.

November 12, 2012

Hey, those dates work for me--The folks at the International Bluegrass Music Association have spoken…September 24-28 in Raleigh, N.C. is when we’ll once again have the chance to experience bluegrass wonderland. Information on how to make hotel reservations will be available in December 2012.

Our first Music Camp Scholarship donation of the year--Got this note from our Assistant Treasurer, Val Cornejo who was writing back and forth with one of our web site sponsors over a refund owing him. “Hello Val, How about this? It will make things easier for me if the CBA can work with this. Put $140 towards the e-band page tile and with the $60 balance make a $30 donation to each of the Music Camp Scholarship fund and the DJKLL (Darrel Johnston Kids Lending Library. Dave” Now, we understand that the writer CLAIMED the donation was to make things easier ‘book keeping-wise, but we think we know the real reason. Pickers have heart!

”Alt-Grass”…a rose by any other name--Joe Ross, prolific Bluegrass Breakdown CD reviewer, shared his thoughts about ‘alt-Grass” on the “L” recently, and in the process promoted a new band from up his way…Congrats to Portland band Wayward Vessel on a "highlight review" (by Richard D. Smith) in this month's Bluegrass Unlimited magazine! Wow, that's so cool to see BU recognize a band from out west in my state in this manner. Heard them (as only a trio) at last July's Siskiyou Bluegrass & Folk Festival (at Lake Selmac) and really enjoyed them. I uploaded a YouTube video of them from that show. An excerpt of the BU review says "Is there an emerging style that we can call 'alternative bluegrass'? .... But alternative bluegrass is definitely emerging as a distinctive variety of bluegrass, one that is proving pleasing to a wide spectrum of the music's fans. It embraces folk music at its core, its bands typically exhibit beautifully blended vocals, spry picking, ear-catching syncopations, and refreshingly creative original songwriting. So if the altenative bluegrass sound has perked up your ears, add to the list of its most enjoyable practitioners the wonderful Oregon-based band Wayward Vessel." What do you all think about "alternative bluegrass"? I've heard alt-folk, alt-rock and alt-country ... I guess it was a matter of time before someone suggested we also have alt-bluegrass. Bluegrass Unlimited used to group those reviews into a category called "On The Edge." Pique on,

Means flea in Portuguese, fulfillment in Santacruzeez--The Ukulele Club of Santa Cruz...Click here

Tea, anyone? Looking for a refined jam to attend, a gathering where tea from real tea pots and cups is served, where finger food is more likely to be crumpets than baby back ribs, where Irish music wafts rather than vibrates through the establishment? Give a try to Columbia Kate’s Teahouse this Sunday. Click here

The original antidote to the outlaw--You may not have known it, but you happen to be living in the Roy Rogers Centennial. Now that you, partner, do something about it please. Click here

Reader complaint lodged via Mold-Mail-Bag--“Dear Moldman, I like a lot of what you write in your More or Less Daily, but I gotta tell you, man, some of your pieces are just too damned long. Try to cut the items down or else accept the fact that some of us just won’t read ‘em. Know what I mean? Signed No-Fan-of-Reading-Friggin’-Novels.” Dear No-Fan, yes, I think I know what you mean and yes, I’ll work on being a little less verbose…may take a while. So in the meantime, I suggest that you, and those who have the same concerns, just read every third word. Let me give you an example…Dear No-(), yes, I () I know () you mean () yes, I’ll () on being () little less () …may take () while. So () the meantime, () suggest that (), and those () have the () concerns, just () every third (). Let me () you an (). There, now that took one-third the time and I’m sure you got the gist of it, more or less.

November 11, 2012

Get your check book out--You don’t have to necessarily believe that Time’s list of the Best Inventions in 2012 really are the best to enjoy the textual/visual survey they’re put together. But be warned, you’ll want to buy some of this stuff. We here at the MOLD have taken out a second mortgage to purchase ourselves an indoor cloud machine. Click here
A couple mountain laurel branches--Barwick & Siegfried — Saturday, November 10 at 6:00pm at Union Square Building 530-205-9513 151 Mill Street, Grass Valley. " "Barwick and Siegfried combine years of experience into a highly-entertaining duet sound that ranges from the Monroe Brothers and other “brother duets” of the 1930s to such iconic modern partnerships as Buddy & Julie Miller and Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. Kathy (guitar, dobro, mandolin, lead and harmony vocals) and Pete (mandolin, lead and harmony vocals), blend bluegrass, old-time country, traditional Irish and folk into an engaging Americana fusion."

The moldy mail bag--Hello, just a note to let you know B&L will be playing in Berkeley 11/7- Wednesday - at Le Bateau Ivre. The show starts at 7PM.. Sue Shelasky Walters will be sitting in on bass. AND we have our regular Willowbrook Ale House gig every Thursday (Except Thanksgiving) from 7PM until 9:30PM. The whole band will be there this Thursday, we often have sit ins of traveling musicians...A couple of weeks ago we had David Grier for two sets, a young guitarist from Japan Hiroshi Arakawa, and Riley Hill (an upcoming player) So you never know who might be there and the food is GOOD! Thanks, Ed

Here’s something we bet you didn’t know--Melvin Goins is the only bluegrass musician to have ever been on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine. Why, you ask? Have you every heard of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers…yup, Melvin was one of the founders. And of course he played with Ralph Stanley and also with Bill Monroe. In 1999 Melvin formed his own band, Windy Mountain, and they’ve been going strong ever since. So here’s the really, really big news. He and his band are headlining at Grass Valley this year. Oh, and who can tell me the significance of the band’s name? Anybody? Anybody?

One of those mark your calendar deals--From Roger Siminoff down central coast way. “Dear music friends...I am excited to announce that we will be hosting another house concert, this one featuring Eddie and Martha Adcock on March 21, 2013. As many of you know, Eddie Adcock was the banjo player with the famed group The Country Gentlemen whose configuration from 1960-1964 featured Charlie Waller, Eddie Adcock, John Duffey, and Tom Gray. In my estimation, this was one of the finest bluegrass bands ever, and I attribute much of that to Eddie Adcock who I believe is one of the finest banjo players ever. So, when I say that I'm "excited" to have Eddie and Martha at out home for a concert, I am really excited. To top it off, Eddie has agreed to give a one-hour banjo workshop if I can assemble enough banjo pickers interested in learning from this master. It will be held at our home on the afternoon of Thursday, March 21, 2013 and the cost is $30.00 per person (which I think is a dynamite bargain). If you are interested in attending this banjo workshop, please respond by this Friday, November 2, 2012. I need to have an early headcount so Eddie can plan his schedule. More info will follow about the concert that evening - you do not have to respond now about your interest in the concert. Hope to see you then...Best Roger”

This deal won’t last, folks--Danny Booth Big Bass Bonanza Bargain No BullClick here

Don’t be shy, Martha, tell us how you really feel--Martha Hearon Adcock DEAR NFL – (Never mind how I feel about the Titans’ pitiful season or the state of modern country music) – While watching the Titans-Bears football game broadcast from the host city of Nashville today, I heard one of the announcers mention between plays that the Country Music Association’s annual awards had recently been held, whereupon another announcer sarcastically and gratuitously opined, “Yeah, one of about fifteen of those things they have.”
In comparison, I wonder how he would like it if WE so publicly dissed the Super Bowl and insinuated that football is worthless! His rude statement was untrue, unwarranted, and offensive; and I believe he owes an apology to the CMA, to Nashville, and to the country (-it’s a big umbrella many consider to cover bluegrass-) musicians and fans for his disrespecting and dismissing what we do and love and enjoy. He ought to learn from his gaffe.

Tom L Gray Response--Although that announcer was rude toward the CMA and all musical awards, I truly can not muster any respect for the CMA. The "Country Music Association" is not country at all. I agree with George Jones who said he prefers real country music to the stuff that the CMA represents. Remember "Murder on Music Row".

November 10, 2012

Excellent. Fabulous. Delightful. Every musician would benefit--That’s how some folks are describing Chris Henry’s new doc…”Formlessness Into Form is a documentary exploring creativity with a focus on flow and dreaming. Through over forty interviews with some of Nashville's most creative minds, a narrative emerges starting with where the energy comes from, how it feels to work with it, what can be good and bad for flow, how substances can influence, what creating with others can be like, the advantages and journey of finding one's own voice, how the ego plays into the process, on down to specific advice for folks just beginning to consciously unlock their own creativity, how the ego plays into the process, on down to specific advise for folks just beginning to unlock their own creativity.Click here, but only if you want to get in touch with your inner creative self.

Happy belated birthday, Jerry--Since the MOLD wasn’t yet born, (hadn’t formed in the petri dish, so to speak), we were unable to report this in a timely manner…San Rafael, Calif. and New York, N.Y. — Award-winning mandolinist and music producer David Grisman announced today the HD release of the 1991 Grammy-nominated Garcia/Grisman album, as well as Garcia/Grisman - Alternate.Click here
You say you want to live here? You say you like all the stuff we have, and get to be proud of, and get to look forward to, and get to do without being arrested and tossed into a concentration camp?Okay, that’s cool. You can stay. Just two things: 1) vote; and 2) stand behind whoever wins.

From the moldy MOLDMAN mail box--Greetings, Moldman. I hope that you are doing great and good luck is with you. I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself and the Earl Brothers (San Francisco)...depending on who you talk to, we're the most "Loved / Hated" group in bluegrass...You be the judge! I am excited to announce our 5th cd "OUTLAW HILLBILLY" is available at CD-Baby.

So, what does English sound like to non-English speakers? We MOLD people were amazed at how much nothing sounds like something very familiar, but not quite. Prisencolinensinainciusol, a huge hit for Italian pop star Adriano Celentano back in 1972Click here

Eating crow after your guy loses the election is passé. Fish or BBQ is so much more civilized --Jim Mintun writes…”Hey! night, Slide Road will be playing at Phil's Fish Market from 6:00 to 8:00. I know it's election night, but listen - THIS is important: It will be Matt Kendall's last gig with us for a long time, so you MUST come see us and wish him a swell time in Stockholm! He's moving there for a year or two and we're gonna miss him. Hailey Pexton will be playing mandolin with us. Hope to see you there! Slide Road is Matt Kendall, Louise Sully Mintun, and me, with this month's guest Hailey Pexton.” And on the other side of the hill it’s Bean Creek at Sam’s BBQ in Campbell. And either place you can wash your blues away with a couple of cold ones or celebrate, whichever the case may be.

Triviality is in the eye of the beholder--Bert the Magnificent's Bluegrass Trivia Question for the Month of November…What was the name of the luthier who made the copy of the Gibson F5 mandolin that Vern Williams played? Good luck on this one. If you know the answer or even think you do, send your response to me directly at bikingman@juno.com. Don't post your answer on the message board even though you may be dying to show everybody how smart you are by knowing the answer to this obscure Bluegrass trivia question. The only person I know who is smart enough to answer this question for sure is JD Rhynes. He sent me the question and is therefore ineligible. Sorry, JD. You've had a pretty good run recently on the trivia challenge. Thanks for the question. Click here

November 9, 2012

Say what you will about his politics, he rode around in one very cool boat--The fund-raising benefit concert series will come to an end next week on the USS Potomac, FDR’s yacht anchored over in Alameda. Since June, the Potomac has featured the likes of High Country, Blue and Lonesome, Savannah Blue, Bill Evans, and the Kathy Kathy Kallick Band. On the 12th the spotlight will shine on the Alisa Rose Trio. Come listen to some awfully good music and in the process keep that damned boat floating. Click here

Buy the Brooklyn Bridge or…--move to Oregon and get a job as a guitar instructor at Guitar Center for $150,000. Click here

More moldy mail--Hello Moldman. Enjoying the Mold bunches. Please see attached for immediate release. Helen Highwater will debut with a special appearance at The Fiddle House in East Nashville on Sunday December 2. Demo CD will be ready for release mid-December. Thanks, Maria, Maria E. Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking… FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Helen Highwater: The Band. Nashville, TN (November 1, 2012) – It was just another night in Nashville: four friends—revered acoustic musicians—got together in a living room. The music bounced, danced, gathered strength, and lifted them in a way that only happens with the right players. So, they formed a band and named it Helen Highwater—the tough, whimsical goddess of string band music. It’s David Grier on guitar, Missy Raines on bass, Mike Compton on mandolin, Shad Cobb on fiddle, and power vocals from all four, now available for booking. These are musicians who have performed for decades. Their music is rooted but not frozen, recognizable but not predictable, comfy but not smug. It’s also a steel-railed groove of steam-powered drive—Gid Tanner and Bill Monroe stoking the coal car and one band barreling ahead, eyes around the curve.

Muffin madness from Portsmouth to Pensacola--Rhonda Vincent, who’ll be headlining at Grass Valley in June, doesn’t just travel in the Martha White Bluegrass Express. No, no, folks, she bakes mighty fine muffins toolin’ down the highway. And pancakes, which she says ‘the boys love.’ Have a look.

Another good one coming up in central CA--We’re hearing more and more about bluegrass emanating from the mid-state region, to wit, a note from Phil Salazar, long a California fiddle phenom…It's Friday November the 16th; Jonathan McEuen / Phil Salazar / Nathan McEuen . Randy Tico and Special Guests / A Brand New Opry, Blu-Ray release / Friday November 16th / 7:30pm / Plaza Playhouse Theather / Carpinteria, Ca / 805.684.6380 / $25

You say you’re not feeling well? This could be the big one? GET THEE TO THE BAJA! The Baja Taqueria Jam is one of those bluegrass institutions that no self-respecting fanatic of the genre can possibly afford not to attend at least once before she/he dies. It’s on Piedmont Avenue in Oakland, the last we heard it was hosted by Tom Lucas and you’ll always find some good pickers there. And it just so happens this happening jam is happening TONIGHT. Click here to reads all about it.

Testograss, anyone? Reports Andy Hall, noted reso player with the String Dusters…”Welp it finally happened. Two peeps having sex in the front row of our show. The guy is singing along to our songs, so that's something. Let's see what's in store for set dos.”

November 8, 2012

You don’t miss your Carlin till your Larry runs dry--We here at MOLDMAN News (term used lightly) Services Inc. have gotten some pretty positive feed back since we took over the news section last month, and believe me, we appreciate it. But that said, trust us when we say that, despite the nice words, we suffer no illusions. It was Larry Carlin who for three years delivered the goods and in the process set the standard to which we strive. Here then, is Larry’s farewell post from three years ago. Friday, December 31, 2010b>Happy ending -- Happy New Year to everyone! There are strung-out streamers, confetti, and empty Champagne bottles strewn about the Almost Daily News office here in downtown San Francisco. Not just because we are celebrating the end of 2010, but also, as it turns out-–at least for the time being – because I am celebrating the end of my time here as the writer of this column. What began as an experiment on a tentative basis on November 10, 2007, has now run for three plus years, but due to circumstances beyond my control, this is my final column. In short, real life has gotten in the way, and I have less and less time to write anymore, mostly due to day job commitments. It is possible that I may just be going on a hiatus, sabbatical, or whatever you want to call it. But for now, after 466,154 words and 466 columns, this is the end. The hope here is that some of you got some pleasure out of reading the column from time to time during my tenure. Happy trails to you, until we meet again…

Well he’s certainly famous to me--A note from Joe Weed…” Spoiler Alert! Well, OK… self promotion alert: My composition “Hymn to the Big Sky,” originally recorded on my American Portrait album, can be heard in Ken Burns’ new film, “The Dust Bowl,” which premieres November 18 and 19, 2012 (8:00–10:00 p.m. ET) on PBS.”

Bluegrass Bluesman--When a book like Bluegrass Bluesman; Josh Graves, a Memoir, hits the stands there’s probably nobody better writing about our music today to tell you about it than Chris Stuart. That’s because he knows the music and he knows writing. Here’s just a bit of what he says…” Expertly edited by Fred Bartenstein with help from a lot of good folks, which I’ll come back to in a minute, it also includes never-before-published photos and 24 tributes from musicians and friends, many of which were compiled by Betty Wheeler in 2001 for an honorary presentation to Josh. But what makes this book so compelling is the voice of Burkett “Buck” “Uncle Josh” Graves himself.” Click here to read the rest…then buy the book.

David Letterman knows all about clawhammer banjo and has a bridge to sell you over New York City’s Hudson River--You may have caught this month before last, but we didn’t so we thought we’d pass it around now. Never too late for announcing a banjo award. Segment from The Late Show (2012 09 24), Steve Martin honors Mark Johnson with his third annual banjo award, featuring Emory Lester on the six string. Click here

Up in the Lode this week--Nell Robinson’s Soldier Stories: November 10, 800 PM, Sutter Creek Theater, 44 Main St, Sutter Creek, 916-425-0077, www.suttercreektheater.com, $20….and…Hill Country: November 11 & 12, 100 - 400 PM, Kids Inc Apple Orchard, 3205 N Canyon Rd (#5 on the Apple Hill map), Camino, 530-621-0184, www.kidsincapples.com, no cover.

California woman wants roadside memorial to honor fish--IRVINE, Calif.—Animal activists want a California roadside memorial sign to honor fish killed during a container truck crash. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals volunteer Dina Kourda told Irvine's street maintenance chief the sign would remind drivers that fish value their lives and feel pain. About 1,600 pounds of saltwater bass died on Oct. 11 when the truck hauling them to market got into a three-way crash. Kourda's letter acknowledges roadside memorials traditionally honor humans, but she hopes an exception will be made. Irvine spokesman Craig Reem says there won't be a fish memorial.

Turkeygrass you ask? You betcha, Right up to and through the day of the bird.

Nov. 20: Cabin Fever - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Nov. 20: David Thom Band - Sweetwater, Mill Valley
Nov. 21: Sidesaddle & Co. - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
Nov. 21: Whiskey Brothers - Albatross Pub, Berkeley
Nov. 22: Thanksgiving!
Nov. 23: The Dim Lights - Pacifica Moose Lodge
Nov. 24: Laurie Lewis - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
Nov. 24: Beargrass Creek - Mission Pizza, Fremont
Nov. 26: The Earl Brothers - Amnesia, SF

Einstein of mandolin maybe? Well, who knows, but it’s certainly in the realm of possibility. Chris Thile may not be the best who ever lived…and the theory of relativity could very well be Albert’s hash dream. Who’s to say? Chris We invite you to form an opinion. Click here

Name your new restaurant: combine the first food type listed in the last recipe you followed and the last animal you fed at the zoo--The Spice Monkey Restaurant on Webster Street in Oakland calls itself a ‘family-friendly, local oasis of fresh food, animated conversation and amazing entertainment.’ We’ll start with a sampling of the dinner menu--ARMADILLO EGG OVER LINGUINI, ARGENTINIAN CHIMICHURRI STEAK and LINCOLN LOG FISH & CHIPS. Hard to know what to say about the conversation…animated sounds okay to me. As for the amazing entertainment, if you stop in on Friday the ninth you’ll hear Redwing, a band that certainly knows its way around bluegrass, despite the fact that these five DO NOT have a banjo player…by design or for the want of we’re not sure. Good band, though.Click here for more about the Spice Monkey, its food and its events.

November 7, 2012

Okay, now that the dust has settled and the ice plants are starting to come back--Direct from the folks at BayBridged, a good review, with photos, of this year’s Hardly Strictly, sub-titled “Keepin’ Up with the Jones”Click here

The patience of Job--Did you know…no, of course you didn’t, so why bother asking? Let me just tell you. Once a tick egg hatches and the little bug, actually a member of the same family as spiders, grows his eight legs and his, or her, sex organs, he sets out on a quest to find the highest possible point he can find. Which is usually at the very tippy-top of a blade of grass. Once Mr. Tick, or Ms. Tick, whichever the case may be, reaches the top he secures a good grip with all eight legs and there he waits until a warm blooded mammal happens by. So here’s the good part of the story, the part we down here at the MOLD felt was so compelling we should run it by you…that tick can wait as long as two years for lunch to walk by. And you think YOU’VE been kept waiting too long at Burger King? (Oh, how's the story end? Well, said tick gorges on blood till it's about to burst, then drops off the host, finds another, appropriate tick, mates and dies. An existential bummer, but you don't hear the ticks complaining. Click here

Trying to stay one jump ahead, but it ain’t easy sometimes--This JUST in from relx…“Punch Brothers will release Ahoy! on November 13. Ahoy! is a collection of five songs from the Who’s Feeling Young Now? recording sessions, produced by Jacquire King. The EP includes three covers (“Another New World” by Josh Ritter, “Down Along the Dixie Line” by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and “Icarus Smicarus” by Mclusky), the band’s arrangement of the traditional tune “Moonshiner” and a new instrumental track “Squirrel of Possibility.”Click here

Chico never sounded or tasted so good--We’ve heard from
John Hettinger, CBA Sacramento Area Activities VP, that there’s a mightily fine show up in Butte County coming up…Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack plus The Railflowers: November 12, 730 PM, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, 1075 E 20th St, Chico, 530-893-3520, www.sierranevada.com, $20. Buffet dinner at 600 PM for $12.50

A field trip to guitar central--Gryphon's Brian Michael and Derek See paid a visit to Collings guitar in Austin and brought back some video. Gryphon’s in Palo Alto has been doing their thing for a long, long time. So long, in fact, that some of us whose lives revolve around stringed instruments may have forgotten how fortunate we are to have this resource right smack dab in the middle of our community, always there, always on the cutting edge, always willing to help. Thanks, Gryphon. Click to You-Tube Visit Highlights

What the…a fund-raiser for a yacht? --Well, it’s true. The USS Potomac was built in 1934 as the Coast Guard cutter Electra. The 165-foot vessel, displacing 416 tons with cruising speeds of 10 to 13 knots, was commissioned as a U.S. Navy vessel in 1936, renamed the USS Potomac, and served as Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Presidential Yacht until his death in 1945. Later, she was owned by the likes of Elvis Presley, was eventually used as a front for drug smuggling, impounded by the Feds, sunk off Treasure Island, raised for scrap iron, towed over to Alameda and eventually restored to all her glory. Which, of course, cost, and costs, money. Hence the fund-raider. November 7: Alisa Rose & Friends - USS Potomac, Jack London Square, Oakland. Click here.

A little drum roll please…We just can’t seem to get enough top ten lists this millennia. Whether they’re from David Letterman or the American Institute for Jelly Bean Awareness, the lists keep piling up. Not to be outdone, the bluegrassguitar.com has recently presented its Top Ten Tunes for flattpickers. And the winners are…Blackberry Blossom; Whiskey Before Breakfast; Red Haired Boy; Wildwood Flower; Salt Creek; Black Mountain Rag; Soldier's Joy; Foggy Mountain Breakdown; Billy in the Low Ground; and Bill Cheatham. The list was compiled via a balloting process on the site and, I think most would agree, there just aren’t any real surprises.

Call to the election booths--In a startling break with tradition, we’re going forward with our November jam session, despite the fact that it’s scheduled the day after a presidential election. We found the general hullaballoo around the quadrennial contest rather distracting, and cancelled the jam in 2004 and 2008. But this year, we figure that however the election turns out, folks need some way to celebrate their victories and/or commiserate over their losses, and we’re happy to provide just the right mood at…The Bluegrass Country Jam; Wednesday, November 7;
Hosted by Jeanie and Chuck at the Plough and Stars; 8:30 – 11. Click here

November 6, 2012

Ah, spring is in the air--Well, actually, spring is not in the air. Not even close to being in the air. But powerful reassurance that it will roll around again popped up on the CBA web site yesterday, and that’s the newly added page on which you can purchase your EARLY BIRD TICKETS to the 38th Annual Fathers Day Festival. Click here

Little wonder, he’d be selling cars right now if it weren’t for the great one.--Not surprisingly, Byron Berline publicly thanks Bill Monroe with his new CD, Byron Berline thanks Bill Monroe.Click here

And you thought learning to play the five-string was easy LAST century--From the BANJO NEWSLETTER; Learning to Play Banjo in the New Millennium by Ian Perry…It took Ian twelve years to get this all on paper but, hey, he did an excellent job. Ian’s point, of course, is that learning to play the banjo today just isn’t like it was in your daddy’s day, and he makes that point pretty compellingly. Digital technology has knocked the crap out of a fair amount of the torture factor in learning. This is worth a read if you can find ten minutes. Click here

The right way to do wrong--Originally published in 1906, the Right Way to Do Wrong was a masterclass in subversion conducted by the world’s greatest illusionist, Harry Houdini. It collected his findings, from interviews with criminals and police officers, on the most surefire ways to commit crime and get away with it. This is must reading for anyone interested in learning the intricacies of five-finger Scruggs style banjo…or for those who have been out of work more than eighteen months. Click here

You gotta love the Miwok Band of Indians, bless their hearts--The Black Oak Casino has announced that Frank Solivan Jr. and Dirty Kitchen will play at its Willow Creek Lounge in December…we’ll pass along the date when it’s firmed up. Allen O’Brien, Casino booking guy and a GOOD FRIEND of bluegrass, also shares that the Lonesome River Band will be there in February and Dale Ann Bradley in April. Take it from one who knows his dens of iniquity, the Black Oak is a class joint.

’Mostly simply’ seems oxymoronic, but then again, it doesn’t--I’m told that some guy who used to work here will be doing a show called Larry Carlin's Mostly Simply Bluegrass Night at Murphy's Irish Pub in Sonoma on November 9.

We need a sceptic. IS THERE A SCEPTIC IN THE HOUSE?
"My recent experiment affords undeniable proof of the Earth's unglobularity, because it rests not on transitory vision; but my proof remains printed on the negative of the photograph which Mr.Clifton took for me, and in my presence, on behalf of J.H.Dallmeyer, Ltd. A photograph can not 'imagine' nor lie!" This is the final paragraph of a brief description of Bernard H.Watsonu’s 1907 experiment to prove the world is flat. This and many, many other proofs of the unglobularness of planet earth can be found on the web site of the Flat Earth Society. With a worldwide membership of over three thousand people, the society’s primary mission is to debunk the centuries-old conspiracy perpetrated by SCIENTISTS. Oh, and no, this is not made up. Click here

Down and out in Marin County--Well, I’m happy to say I finally got to meet my predecessor, Larry Carlin. Frankly he looked a little worse for the wear, but I guess this daily news job takes its toll. Best to you, Larry. Click here

Mix it up with a little fresh dill, some mayo and one whole Jason and, mmm, you’re got to go--Leftover Salmon Welcomes Special Guests for Thanksgiving Click for recipe.

A very excellent reason to head for the hills--Friday, November 9 Chris Webster and Nina Gerber at the Black Bart Theater in Murphy’s 7:30pm for tickets go to.

Calm down, please, calm down. The government didn’t pay for this study--Mumford's Gentlemen of the Road Economic Impact Study Revealed. Click here

Fifteen bucks…you can’t beat that price for this band with a stick--Foghorn Stringband at the Palms Playhouse in Winters; November 9, 830 PM, $15.

In the far away, wondrous land of Middle California--50 Years In the Bluegrass, held at Santa Barbara's Lobvero Theatre, Friday, November 2nd at 8:00 PM, celebrates Peter Feldmann's long career as a performer, collector, and presenter of bluegrass, old-time, folk, and blues music in Southern California. The concert will recreate some of Santa Barbara's folk music history, featuring many of Peter's musical friends and associates, including violinist Jim Wimmer, bluesmen Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan with Alastair Greene, Rick Cunha, and David Jackson (Mother's Boys), Tom Lee, David West, and Blaine Sprouse (The Very Lonesome Boys), Francine Feldmann, and 3-time National Fiddle Champion Byron Berline, a Lifetime Achievement Award winner this year at IBMA. I mean, like, how could you NOT go? Click here

November 4 2012

The best line-up we’ve never announced--So, you could say this was a newsless news item. GREAT line-up at the CBA’s Sonoma Bluegrass Festival comminng up…March 10th. And I mean GREAT! Problem is, I’m told I can’t announce it yet. One more band to book. A big band. So mum’s the word, but please, mark this date. This’ll be a hot one.

He loves the yellows and oranges because that’s the color of carrots--Justin isn’t your typical nationally-known abstract painter…he’s only nine years old. Oh, and he’s a horseClick here. Oh, and there’s a warning: the jerks at cnn.com make you watch a short commercials before Justin comes on. Just do what I do and cover your eyes and ears.

Well, somebody had to do it, right?One of the MOLD’s unpaid interns, Izzy, stumbled upon a web called savingcountrymusic.com. Their mission? To promote and disseminate information about REAL country music, the underground country music movement, as well as the underground and DIY movements of roots, rockabilly, bluegrass, blues, and some folk music. It offers news, opinion, concert and album reviews, artist profiles, music history, and occasional off-color pop country bashing. Hmm, wonder if they can tell us what real bluegrass music is.
In any event, click here to see if you think they’re succeeding with their raison d’etre.

Wood, wire and glass--Find a way to carve six minutes and nineteen seconds out of your day and treat yourself to Slide Melody with Bottle Neck Dobro Mandolin, Played by Alan M. BondClick here

Only three kinds--There are three kinds of people in this world: people who like Old-Time Music, or love it; people who don’t like Old-Time Music, or hate it; and people who don’t know whether they like it or not because, frankly, they’re not sure what it is. Chances are if you visit the CBA site relatively often, you’re in either the first or second group. However, we, (my ever-increasing staff and I), are aware that some MOLD readers really don’t know what OTM is…or aren’t exactly sure if they know. To those folks I say, let me introduce you to the Old-Time Rambler, aka Jeff Crawford, aka Masha’s husband who knows more about the genre than you’d want to shake a stick at. Click here

Like, man, do you even CARE? --If you don’t care what’s being played on the radio bluegrass-wise, this would be a good spot to skip to the next item. If you do, click here. And if you REALLY care, bookmark this page. There, I’ve done my duty.

They’re baaaaaaack--Remember G2? Swedish band that crushed at Grass Valley not long ago. Well, the band, not one of them a full time musician, took a little brake after spending quite a bit of time in the U.S., but they’re back at it now, stronger than ever. Somebody ought to tell the movers and shakers we’d like to see them back at the FDF. Click here

The falling leaves drift by the window…The autumn leaves, all red and gold--But not all leaves are what they appear to be. Please, humor me and click here

North Coast match service…sort of--The Coffee Catz Saturday Afternoon Jam. Consistently good place to connect with other pickers, and has been for years and years. Click here

We hate cancer--The folks from Sidesaddle asked the Moldman to say a big thanks to everyone who came for and or otherwise supported the Ingrid Daviod Horgan Benefit. It was a screaming success and proved once again that we’re members of an awesome bluegrass family.

A dream coming true? As far back as anyone can remember, if you gave her half a chance Darby Brandli could bend your ear for half an hour about the importance of the California Bluegrass Association staging a music camp just for kids. It would be for beginners, she would tell you. It would be inexpensive, it would be done in conjunction with the Fathers Day Festival and it would build on the success of the Kids on Bluegrass Program and the Darrell Johnston Kids Lending Library. Well, it looks like our friend is closing in on her dream. Nothing solid to report yet but we may just see Madame President’s vision become a reality come next June. Stayed tuned friends…and stay obsessed, Darby.

Sometimes you can spot ‘em a mile away--And that’s certainly true of Jesse Personeni, Angela’s son and a young kid who’s pretty likely to become a monster picker before he’s old enough to vote. Tore it up at the CBA Fall Camp Out. What instrument, you ask? Name one.

A day late and a dollar short--I don’t know how we missed this one yesterday. October 30, 1906, Albert Shutt of Topeka, Kansas awarded U.S. Patent #834416 for a "new and useful tuner" for mandolin. Thank you, Mandolin Café!

November 3, 2012

If he had a hammer, he’d hammer, well, pretty much all of the time --Pretty good piece on Pete Seeger the other day over at NPR, not to be confused with yellow bird flaunting PBS. Writes, record producer David Bernz, “"Almost every time that Pete interacted with the mass media, on some level they spit him back. The Almanacs [Seeger's 1940s folk group], they got on the radio, and then immediately, people criticized their politics and they were off. The Weavers were on the radio; they got blacklisted. He gets a Columbia Records contract, but then he finds out they're keeping his records in the warehouse. The Smothers Brothers even want to edit him out.” Well, I’m not sure about that last part…seems a little out of character for Dicky and Tommy…but nonetheless the seven minute audio story on 93 year old Seeger is pretty good listening. Click here and see if you agree.

So, like, what’s a Peet’sPick anyway? As I enter into my second week of MOLDING I find I’m starting to make the acquaintance of some of the regulars around here. Just met Mark Peet, originator of the “Peet’sPick” feature and a regular contributor of news items each day. He’s a tall, lanky, bearded guy, solid banjo player, with a darkly mischievous sense of humor and a red-headed, fiddle playing lady friend named Julie. Oh, and Mark is a beekeeper and, unless I misunderstood him, a former shepherd. My next objective is to meet this J.D. Rhynes feller; I’ve been practicing deference, but it don’t come easy.

Lots of facets to this music of ours--Joe Weed is on the road…”I just attended a wonderful little private concert by fiddle Alan Jabbour, greatly enriched by his commentary and stories. Cece Conway, of NCU, put together a great session on African American banjo roots, and Alan's fiddle contributions were excellent. Joe Hickerson, who helped me so much with research at the Library of Congress, sat quietly drinking it all in. Dyann Arthur, Irene Watt, Maggie Holtzberg, and other folklorists were there too, listening to the informative and entertaining talk.” We’re lucky to have a guy like Joe, gifted musician, song writer, studio engineer, film producer and documentarian in our midst. Which reminds me, have you seen the video he and Skip Curry did about the Fathers Day Festival? It’s pretty spectacular. Click here

November 2, 2012

We got a classy operation going on here, folks--It has been brought to my attention by the web team leader, who is, by the way, self-appointed I believe, that a few folks have complained about the MOLD’s predisposition toward sensationalism. Well, let me say that I resent the allegation and I resent the alligator. Please note that I HAVE NOT reported on the following stories nor do I intend to even mention them…traffic stalled in snail spill, van stolen with 12 coffins, 12 bodies inside, Alanis Morissette music triggers domestic violence, woman sets malfunctioning vending machine on fire, and another woman is charged with driving under the influence of hand sanitizer. I rest my case. Click here

New break through in computer modeling leads to historical Presidential election forecast--Dr. David Maxwell, team leader of a diverse collection of computer scientists, political scientists, sociologists and mathematicians held a press conference earlier this week at Syracuse University School of Public Policy the findings of a study so remarkable in its confidence variability that it has rocked America’s research community. Said Maxwell, “Our revolutionary new type of computer model, “Evaluative Election Cycle Kaltostat, (EECK), predicts at a 99.9021% probability factor that: 1) either Barrack Obama or Mitt Romney will win the election and 2) that life as we know it will continue.Click here

November 1, 2012

There’s a cabin on the mountain far away in…Miami?--Well, actually the cabin for two is in a ship that will depart Miami and then head for the Caribbean where it will create its own little slice of bluegrass heaven for about a week. Sound good? Well, it gets better…the Steep Canyon Rangers are giving away a cabin for two aboard the Mountain Song at Sea Bluegrass festival at sea! Click here unless you get sea sick.

Well, they’ve got to come down once in a while just to get provisions--Yes, you heard right, the Sonoma Mountain Band is descending into the flat lands Friday night to play at Murphy’s. Click here

So, how many people do you know…--who are among the top five best people in the world at anything? Well, there may be one and you never even knew it. Google around and you’ll find that Tina Louise Bar is ranked as one of the best autoharp players on the planet. And she just taken yet another award. Read all about.

Stylin’ Tim Edes…If you attended the Plymouth Festival over the past several years you’ll know that this is the billing Tim received as one of the show’s MC’s, and too you’ll know that it was gratuitous. Sue dresses that boy up real nice. But alas, for you who believed our suffering was over, that we’d finally belong to an organization who’s highest ranking officer wasn’t the type of individual who would wear tank tops from mid-February till after the Christmas holiday, I may have some bad news. Stylin’ Tim has announced on the Message Board that now that he’s been elected to serve as chairman of the board he’ll be “going out to buy some tank tops.” A joke, you say? I’m not so sure. And let’s just hope this is the only habit he’ll pick up from the last guy. Read it yourself.

October 31, 2012

Ahhhhhhhhhll aboard. Train 45 is leavin’ the station.--So what’s the big deal? Sure, it would be major news for most eighty-five year olds to be making a music video. But the Colonel? No way. “When Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys performed at the Mid Pointe Music Festival in Cincinnati on September 29,” BluegrassToday tells us, “they also shot a video for a local outfit that is restoring the old Emery Theatre there in town. Click for a look and the rest of the story.

Second chances don’t come around that often--It was just about two years ago that Terry Gross did a 45 minute-plus interview with Peter Rowan and his band, Keith Little, Jody Stecher and Paul Knight. Now, folks, I ain’t just sayin’ this ‘cause these here are local boys, but that was one of Terry’s best music-related interviews…ever. So, here’s the deal. It was repeated this morning and is currently loaded on NPR’s web site. If you missed it first time around, here’s another chance. Click here

Short and to the point--Thursday night, First Street Cafe Upstairs, Benicia, Keith Little and Keith Little and Sharon Gilchrist., ‘nuff said.

A dust up scheduled for Chico--The Infamous Stringdusters — Monday, November 5 at 7:30pm at The Big Room at Sierra Nevada Restaurant and Brewery.

Caw…caw…caw--Crows tonight at Sam’s in Campbell.

Oh, Jesse had a wife who mourned for his life and three, three children brave--The other day we linked to a piece about the very first recording ever made, a feat accomplished by Thomas Edison in Meno Park, New Jersey. But our bigger point was that it’s easy to forget that there was a first time for just about everything…yes, even train robberies. Bluegrass songwriting treasure Chris Stuart put that ‘first-time-ever’ story to music, and it’s a good un. Click here

Sings like an angel, that girl does--Vincent Scores #1 Album - Billboard Bluegrass Charts…R’s management is “proud to announce the latest CD from Rhonda Vincent Sunday Mornin' Singin' LIVE! On Upper Management Music reached the top spot on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts this week! The all-gospel project, released on July 10, 2012, was recorded and filmed at Vincent's hometown church in Greentop, Missouri at The Greentop Methodist Church. "I was thrilled when it was released nationally, given the very personal nature of this project," Rhonda shares. "Our focus was to inspire the listener with specially chosen gospel songs that bring a positive message." "I can't believe it's a #1, this makes me so happy!"

Boning up on bluegrass over my morning coffee--Since I started writing this MOLD column I’ve been trying to stay one step ahead of my readers…no, bluegrass music is not exactly my thing, though I’m warming up to it. I’ve discovered a series of web pages right here on the CBA’s site called Pioneers and it covers everybody from Wade Miner and Jimmy Rodgers to Tony Rice and the Osborne Brothers. I’ve book marked them and am working my way through.Click here

Back room deals--You find them everywhere, even among erstwhile charitable benefactors. Case in point. Saturday afternoon at the Lighthouse camp out an Instrument Raffle ticket bidding war combusted spontaneously between two otherwise good pals, Jack Hyland and Rick Cornish. Seems both patrons of the arts were trying to win the fiddle, Jack for his niece Christine and Rick for his grand daughter, Lexy. We’re not sure exactly how many five-buck tickets were sold but, suffice it to say, the Association made a haul. Anyway, in an effort to put the skids on the battle, Jack promised Rick he’d fork over the last fiddle he’d purchased for Christine if he won the new one, which he did and which he will. No losers in this deal unless it would be the niece, who, we’re guessing, will be pretty happy with the new Cremona.**
Faces to names--Just noticed that the CBA web team has gotten its Board of Directors page updated. Handsome bunch of leaders you folks elected. Now let’s see if they got brains behind them pretty faces.Click here

Grab your sunglasses and drive on down.--Why sunglasses? You ever see the Central Valley Boys on stage? Kelly Broyles, the Association’s area vp down Fresno way, writes…”Hey All, Saturday November 10th come on down to Historic Hanford Ca. to the One & Only Hanford Fox Theatre and see the Old Tire Swingers and the Central Valley Boys! Hanford is a beautiful little town and the Fox is a piece of history in a wonderful setting in the Old Downtown! Click here for the whole skinny.

Four minutes and forty-two seconds--Since I’ve started writing the More or Less Daily News I’ve started to learn a little something about this here CBA web site. Met a nice lady down in Fresno, Candy Sponhaltz, who’s in charge of the On-Line Calendar and she clued me in on something I didn’t know, which is that several months ago the software behind placing an event on the calendar was re-written to make it way eaiser and faster. I just tried it…four minutes and forty-two seconds, and better yet, all of the details about the venue I typed in is now ‘remembered’ by the system and next time I won’t have to enter it again. What will these programmers think of next? Check it out.

October 30, 2012

Meaty selections on the menu Wednesday night--Pork ribs and Matt and Texas Brisket and George and Tri Tip and Their Pleasant Valley Boys and Oh-So-Good Grilled Sausage - Sam's BBQ, Campbell.

North Carolina, I’m commin’ home-- IBMA's “World of Bluegrass Week” includes the four-day IBMA Business Conference, the International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, and the three-day Bluegrass Fan Fest. Our annual industry summit/ bluegrass family reunion draws more than 16,000 attendees, providing opportunities for showcasing, professional development and networking at the largest concentrated week of powerful, live bluegrass music on the planet.
The following World of Bluegrass dates have been announced, with the option for a five- or seven-day event each year:

September 23 - 29, 2013
September 29 - October 5, 2014
September 28 - October 4, 2015.

World of Bluegrass 2013-2015 will be hosted at the Raleigh Convention Center, the Raleigh Amphitheater and Memorial Auditorium, with hotel blocks at the Raleigh Marriott City Center, the Sheraton Raleigh and six additional nearby hotels. “If we had designed a perfect venue for our events, it would look a lot like the facilities in Raleigh,” said IBMA Board chair Stan Zdonik.

The peninsula just got more musical--Not exactly brand new news, but news just the same. Multi-instrumentalist and a guy who’s dedicated most of his adult life to teaching music to youth, Larry Chung has added another gig to his busy schedule; he’s started teaching at Gryphon in Palo Alto. Click here.

So the Office guy says to the Jerk guy, like, is that pre-war--Banjoists Ed Helms and Steve Martin could do more for bluegrass music than, well, just about anything you can name. Please, God, let them want to. Click here

Hell yes, shoot ‘em, skin ‘em and eat ‘em, but…If it was good enough for Jimmy Martin it’s good enough for you, partner…but be careful. A fire that destroyed eight units at an apartment complex in Holland Township, Mich., is believed to have been sparked by a man using a propane torch to cook a squirrel for lunch, a local fire chief said. Click here

Frog welcomes with open arms, open mic--Alameda impresario Peter Barnato, whose McGrath’s will live in the hearts of all Bay Area bluegrassers for many years to come, is never too far away from the music we love. Tuesdays, for example, his Frog and Fiddle welcomes entertainers to an open mic. Read all about it. Click here

Okay, you knew Christmas stuff would show up sooner or later--Hosted by Steve Gulley and Dale Ann Bradley, Rural Rhythm Presents-Christmas The Mountain Way is a CD/DVD/TV special that’s make the holiday season a whole lot more bluegrassy. Click here

More mail--Last week we asked folks for their suggestions as the CBA develops its mercantile buy list for the coming bluegrass season. Scott Daily responded back, “What I’d like to see is a rerun of the crop circle t-shirts. They sold out fast and many of us never got a chance to buy one. I think there was some discussion about this on the message board some time ago. Thanks.” No, thank you Scott. Anybody interested in grabbing a crop circle shirt? Do you remember them? Click here for a quick look. If there’s any interest we could plead our case to Jack and the board.

Ya’ll listen up, now, a message from the President--At any given time we find ourselves juggling a dozen or so different priorities when it comes to meeting the mission of our Association. None, however, is more importantthan providing performance opportunities for our California ‘home-grown’ talent. Two such opportunities are currently in the spotlight: our GREAT 48 Showcase Showdown and our Fathers Day Festival California Showcase. A total of eight slots are open to California-based, non-touring bands, and the deadlines for submitting packets for both competitions is coming up October 1st. For information about the GREAT 48 Showcase write Kelvin Gregory at kgregory3@bak.rr. com; for the FDF Showcase, contact Larry Kuhn, folsomflash@yahoo.com. Two opportunities for the CBA to show off its California bluegrass and old-time talen and two chances for your band to let its light shine. Darby Brandli, President, California Bluegrass Association

And these idiots think they can build a bomb? A major Iranian news agency, the Fars News Agency, is evidently not familiar with America’s most popular parody news source. Without attribution, the news site affiliated with the Islamic Revolutions Guards Corps reprinted an Onion story, which read, “According to the results of a Gallup poll released Monday, the overwhelming majority of rural white Americans said they would rather vote for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than US President Barack Obama.” The Onion’s made-up poll was accompanied by made-up comments, reprinted in full by the Fars News Agency, including: ”[Ahmadinejad] takes national defense seriously, and he’d never let some gay protesters tell him how to run his country like Obama does.” (Moldman Note to Readers—The word ‘idiots’ in the lead-in sentence refers to the current Iranian regime and not to the tens of millions of Iranians who, by all accounts, are well educated and sick to death of their increasingly strange leadership.)

October 29, 2012

A new M&M for the connoisseur--Scoop from J.D.: "You heard it here first from the old Mountain Man! Tuesday morning, October 23, 8:15 AM. I just got off the phone with my good friend Ronnie Reno and he informed me that Merle Haggard and Mac Wiseman are doing a recording together today in Nashville. They're going to record a lot of the old standards such as Jimmy Brown the newsboy, wonder how the old folks are home, etc. etc. etc. But as Ronnie said, the content is purely up to these two revered veterans of the music business. As far as the band members are concerned, Ronnie said it will be mostly veteran session players. Whatever they decide to record with whoever is in the band, I know it will be a fantastic record."

Banjo brain news--From the desk of Martha Hearon Adcock:
“Eddie's third brain surgery seems to be a success!! He's at home, doing well, and seems to be playing much better, praise the good Lord! Thank you, everyone, for your continuing good will and prayers! (By the way, it was NOT outpatient surgery...)”

Moldman mail--Dear Moldman, I thought our members would like to hear how the Fathers Day Festival 2013 line-up is shaping up. Bands booked to date are: Rhonda Vincent, Blue Highway, Larry Stephenson, Michael Cleveland, Special Consensus, Tom, Brad and Alice, Melvyn Goins and Windy Mountain, Della Mae. One more old time act for Sat/ Sun to be booked, and of course our five California Showcase Bands and the many Vern’s Stage acts. Best, Mark Varner, Chair, Talent Advisory Group

Note from Uncle Santa--Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s not even Halloween, but Jack Hyland told me if I don’t pass this along I’ll stop getting my U.S. Mail. (Jack’s as mail man.) Our Mercantile Manager wants you to know that there’s plenty of time to order a fine denim CBA jacket for that special someone on your Christmas list. Classic fabric, classic cut and classic poppy design. Contact Jack at 209-303-0015…jck49hyland@yahoo.com.

Preppy be good--Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players: November 2, 800 PM, Sacramento Prep Music Academy, 3823 V St, Sacramento, 916-297-5678, www.sacprepmusic.com, $15 adv/$20 door.

Blaaarh A pox on me ankle!--We should have reported earlier that John Duncan, CBA-lifer, former board member and lifetime At-Large Ambassador, injured his ankle pretty badly and has been convalescing, hence the addition of Larry Kuhn’s address for CA Showcase packets

Larry Kuhn
177 Stoney Hill Drive
Folsom, CA zip 95630

Fear not; everything sent to either Larry or John will be considered. GET WELL JOHN, YOU OLD PIRATE YOU. Click here

Mel’s daughter’s kids’ song--You may not know it, but Pam Tillis, a major country music talent in her own right, is also a major supporter of kids on bluegrass…which is to say, kids playing bluegrass music. She’s just produced a little YouTube piece that speaks volumes about the young BG talent we have bubbling up all around us. Click here to have a look.
It’s not just bad PR--Llamas are disgusting animals. There, I said it and I’m glad I said it. These animals get their cover from a society obsessed with political correctness; they’re misunderstood, but in a good way, for them at least. I mean, give me a break…they’re camalids. As in camels? Ever been around a camel? Not convinced? Click here.

Best news item of the day--“Thanks to all who have been wishing me well! Final reconstruction surgery was Monday. After unwrapping all the bandages and showering, there's only a couple of exterior sewing areas and I can tell you that they look much more like the originals!! That was the last procedure in the plan we laid out l5 months ago. No signs of cancer on any of the tests they've been doing. I am so lucky and blessed. Now, if some of my friends would quit having these close calls driving, I could relax! Haven't tried to play yet, but will tomorrow! Got to get ready for Bakersfield you know! Gentle hugs to all of you! Love, Mikki”

What the….If anyone’s got even a clue as to how the organizers of an event late in October in the tiny town of Placerville can bring in a line up like this and not immediately file for Chapter Eleven I’d sure like to hear about it. Maybe the CBA should get these folks to negotiate FDF contracts. The Travelin' McCourys; Railroad Earth; Del McCoury Band; The Infamous Stringdusters; Delta Spirit; Tumbleweed Wanderers; Rose's Pawn Shop; Andrew McConathy & the Drunken Hearts; Good Gravy; Lonesome Locomotive California Honeydrops; Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers; Dead Winter Carpenters
Greensky Bluegrass. Click here to be amazed.

Yes, grasshopper, there will be another spring, warm days, sunshine, verdant valleys--And to prove it, tickets go on sale November 1st. Strawberry tickets and Fathers Day Tickets

October 28, 2012

Ah, Tom. Tom. YO, TOM! Could you give me just a taste more bottom? And bring the banjo down? Down. DOWN!--Yes, just like pretty much everything, there was a first time...even a recording session. Click here.

Trust no one who refers to himself in the third person--The Moldman got his first email, to wit, Kathy Kallick dates form her squeeze, Peter T…Fri., Oct. 26 (8:00 pm): Asbury Methodist Church, Livermore; Sat., Oct. 27 (7:30 pm): First Presbyterian Church of Mountain View OPENING: The Drifter Sisters; Sun., Oct. 28 (7:00 pm): French Garden Restaurant, Sebastopol WITH SPECIAL GUESTS; More on the gigs/CD/band: http://www.kathykallick.com

The happiest place in the saddest place on earth is…well…depressing--I don’t even wanna talk about it. Read for yourself.

On the prowl for young blood--CBA president Darby Brandli and First Gentlemen, Bruno, are driving up to Red Bluff for the Western Open Fiddle Competition this weekend. Lots of young fiddlers who would LOVE our Father's Day Festival. They're meeting up with Maria Nadauld, Bay Area promoter and fiddle contest pioneer, and George Fredson, the head guy at California State Old-Time Fiddlers Association, District 6. You can bet that Darby, who's also the Association's Youth Coordinator, will make certain that no attendee between the ages of 2 and 18 will escape Red Bluff without receiving THE MESSAGE.

Deadline nearing for across-the-pond band submissions--Our good and long-time friend Pieter Groenveld, Dutch record producer and impresario, reminds us not to forget to register our bands for the European World Of Bluegrass (EWOB) 2013! Deadline is the 1th of December! Sort of a multi-lingual IBMA. Click here.

New kid on the team--From the October Kathy Kallick newsletter—“Please welcome ... SHARON GILCHRIST. Sharon is now playing bass (and some mandolin) and singing with the KKB. While saddened by the departure of Dan Booth to Washington, DC, the band is delighted to be making music with Sharon, a recent transplant to Oakland from New Mexico. You might have seen her playing in recent years with the Peter Rowan-Tony Rice Quartet, Uncle Earl, Mike Marshall and/or Darol Anger, Laurie Lewis, Mary & Mars, and many others.

Almost perfect--"Big and Lonesome! Perfect Strangers could be just a collection of terrific songwriters, dynamic singers and dead-on players. What makes them a great bluegrass band is their extremely high Coefficient of Lonesomeness." says Lee Bjorndal. Find out for yourself at Studio 55 Marin Saturday, November 9, 2012 at 8:00 pm!Click here for the essential details.

Keith, Munde and Evans, oh my--As part of the First Annual California Banjo Extravaganza, the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley will be hosting an afternoon of banjo workshops with Bill Keith, Alan Munde and Bill Evans for all levels of players. Derned hard to beat that if you’re an aspiring banjologist of any stripe. --Click here.

Better late than never--We’re feeling a little sheepish that we forgot to wish Happy Birthday to Jerome Lester Horwitz. We won’t forget next year, you can count on that.Click here.


Quick note from Cactus Bob and Desert Flower
It's Saturday Oct 27, the weekend before Halloween, let's party! Faux Renwah will be playing in the afternoon at the Douglass Saloon in Columbia, 1-4 pm. Then it's on to a birthday party for the Three Stooges--Tom, Dave and Muddy, in the evening, same place...Jack Douglass Saloon (209) 533-4176 in Columbia State Historic Park. Come as you Ain't!

Baseball, anyone?--Nope, this isn’t a Giants win the pennant story. Actually, it’s a story about a softball, or at least a sphere about the size of a softball that looks suspiciously like an eye ball, which, it turns out, it is. But who or what has an eyeball that big? We’ve been kept in the dark for nearly a week but finally marine biologists have identified where the baby blue came from.Click here to hear the tale.

Movin’ on up--Everybody who does bluegrass understands that you can no more separate the music from the out of doors than you can separate, I dunno, pickled pigs feet from cold beer. That’s why when somebody shows up sporting a new ‘rig’, as we like to say, it’s MOLD-worthy. Two such happenings occurred at the Fall Camp Out last weekend at the Lighthouse Resort and Marina. Lou and Sunshine McClanahan pulled up in a very shiny twenty-one foot Airstream and you could hear gasps throughout the campgrounds. And a day later Deb Livermore arrived towing what can only be described as a small, very, very cute, very, very old camp trailer…tricked out to the nines. Lots and lots of tours taken.

Well, you wouldn’t expect to run into him at McDonald’s-- From Sydney Evans, who with her husband Rich is doing their dream tour of the Bluegrass South: “OMG!!! OMG! We just ran into RALPH STANLEY and his band! He is very frail looking, but so friendly. He shook hands with Rich and they had a brief chat! We had parked our Big Boy right next to his rig. Wowzer!”

October 27, 2012

Keith, Munde and Evans, oh my--As part of the First Annual California Banjo Extravaganza, the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley will be hosting an afternoon of banjo workshops with Bill Keith, Alan Munde and Bill Evans for all levels of players. Derned hard to beat that if you’re an aspiring banjologist of any stripe. --Click here.

Better late than never--We’re feeling a little sheepish that we forgot to wish Happy Birthday to Jerome Lester Horwitz. We won’t forget next year, you can count on that.Click here.


Quick note from Cactus Bob and Desert Flower
It's Saturday Oct 27, the weekend before Halloween, let's party! Faux Renwah will be playing in the afternoon at the Douglass Saloon in Columbia, 1-4 pm. Then it's on to a birthday party for the Three Stooges--Tom, Dave and Muddy, in the evening, same place...Jack Douglass Saloon (209) 533-4176 in Columbia State Historic Park. Come as you Ain't!

Baseball, anyone?--Nope, this isn’t a Giants win the pennant story. Actually, it’s a story about a softball, or at least a sphere about the size of a softball that looks suspiciously like an eye ball, which, it turns out, it is. But who or what has an eyeball that big? We’ve been kept in the dark for nearly a week but finally marine biologists have identified where the baby blue came from.Click here to hear the tale.

Movin’ on up--Everybody who does bluegrass understands that you can no more separate the music from the out of doors than you can separate, I dunno, pickled pigs feet from cold beer. That’s why when somebody shows up sporting a new ‘rig’, as we like to say, it’s MOLD-worthy. Two such happenings occurred at the Fall Camp Out last weekend at the Lighthouse Resort and Marina. Lou and Sunshine McClanahan pulled up in a very shiny twenty-one foot Airstream and you could hear gasps throughout the campgrounds. And a day later Deb Livermore arrived towing what can only be described as a small, very, very cute, very, very old camp trailer…tricked out to the nines. Lots and lots of tours taken.

Well, you wouldn’t expect to run into him at McDonald’s-- From Sydney Evans, who with her husband Rich is doing their dream tour of the Bluegrass South: “OMG!!! OMG! We just ran into RALPH STANLEY and his band! He is very frail looking, but so friendly. He shook hands with Rich and they had a brief chat! We had parked our Big Boy right next to his rig. Wowzer!”

You need to get plugged in to get plugged in--That is, plugged into the lottery if you want a full hookup at Grass Valley next June. Nope, it’s not too early to start thinking about it. After all, Early Bird tickets go on sale November 1Click here for full hook-up lottery info.

Brother bumps off brother--So what’s Max Schwartz got that his brother Nate doesn’t have? Simple: youth. As young as he is, Nate has ‘aged’ out” of his job as CBA Teen Ambassador and has been replaced, via board of directors appointment, by Max. We’ll get Max to say hello in a Welcome column before too very long.

The dynamic trio--At its first meeting of the CBA’s calendar year the newly elected board conducted its very first order of business with no small amount of gusto: it appointed Tim Edes as Chairman of the Board, (it’s hard to know who’s more excited, Tim or his wife Sue.) Geoff Sargent was appointed Assistant to the Chair, a thankless, grinding job whose only perk is to run board meetings while Tim is in the Men’s Room. And rounding out the team of three who plan, execute and record for posterity the monthly board meetings is Colleen Hogan. Colleen, replacing Charlene Sims who did a yeoman’s job for the past year, already partners with husband Mark to produce the CBA’s Sebastopol Bluegrass Festival. Taking on this new responsibility is way, way beyond the call of duty. THANKS, COLLEEN.

Join Jerry for ribs--Loganville will be appearing again this Wednesday night at Sam’s BBQ in Campbell. It’s hard to know which is a better reason for stopping in…the pork ribs or Jerry Logan and His Logaineers. Click here for details.

Trinkets for the tourists (and the aficionados)--Jack Hyland, CBA board member and coordinator of the Association’s mercantile operation is currently doing a 100% inventory of merchandise on hand. Once he’s finished he’ll prepare a proposed buy to replenish the store of CBA-related goods we sell during various events and present that to the board of directors. What would you like to see re-stocked? Ideas about any new items? Jack wants your input…if you’ve got any, please send a note to him care of… rickcornish7777@hotmail.com.

October 26, 2012

SECOND PLACE! Garrison, are you nuts?--Jack and Molly Tuttle did us proud over the weekend taking a second place in A Prairie Home Companion’s annual Duet Contest. They sang the Kentucky Waltz and the tears the rendition elicited were surpassed only by the salty outpouring that followed Garrison Keillor’s announcement of this year’s first place winner. We can only thank the good Lord that the show’s host didn’t insist on singing along. Click here.

Bands to battle--Bluegrass bands from throughout California that do not routinely tour nationally are being asked to submit their promotional materials (bios, photos, CDs, DVDs, links, etc.) to be considered as a showcase band. Three independent judges will evaluate and score the bands using a 1 to 10 point system on the following criteria: Musicianship, Vocals, Material Selection/ Arrangement, and Overall Impression. Click here to learn the entire skinny and get in touch with our contest guru, Kelvin Gregory. This is a chance for your band to earn a few bucks, have a bunch of fun in Bakersfield and win a slot on the Pioneer Stage at Grass Valley next June.

Music Camp changing of the guard--On Monday Geoff Sargent posted his Welcome column about our new Music Camp directors. The piece includes everything that’s current on camp and offers a good introduction to our new directors, Peter and Janet. Click here.

The “List”--Bay Area bluegrass DJ Peter Thompson has just gotten his updated listing of all things bluegrass for the coming month out and about, including here on the CBA web site. A very useful list for the died-in-the-wool bluegrasser to bookmark. Click here.

October 25, 2012
And the winners are--You couldn’t hardly purport to present bluegrass news without covering this year’s results of the annual CBA Board of Director’s election. So here are the winners in alphabetical order.

David Brace
Darby Brandli
Bruce Campbell
Tim Edes
Montie Elston
Steve Goldfield
Dave Gooding
Mark Hogan
Jack Hyland
Jim Ingram
Geoff Sargent

It’s hard to say enough about these folks who readily commit a quarter of their Saturdays each year to handling the business of the Association. We wish the new members, David Brace and Dave Gooding well and their spouses even weller.

SECOND PLACE! Garrison, are you nuts?--Jack and Molly Tuttle did us proud over the weekend taking a second place in A Prairie Home Companion’s annual Duet Contest. They sang the Kentucky Waltz and the tears the rendition elicited were surpassed only by the salty outpouring that followed Garrison Keillor’s announcement of this year’s first place winner. We can only thank the good Lord that the show’s host didn’t insist on singing along. Click here.

Bands to battle--Bluegrass bands from throughout California that do not routinely tour nationally are being asked to submit their promotional materials (bios, photos, CDs, DVDs, links, etc.) to be considered as a showcase band. Three independent judges will evaluate and score the bands using a 1 to 10 point system on the following criteria: Musicianship, Vocals, Material Selection/ Arrangement, and Overall Impression. Click here to learn the entire skinny and get in touch with our contest guru, Kelvin Gregory. This is a chance for your band to earn a few bucks, have a bunch of fun in Bakersfield and win a slot on the Pioneer Stage at Grass Valley next June.

Music Camp changing of the guard--On Monday Geoff Sargent posted his Welcome column about our new Music Camp directors. The piece includes everything that’s current on camp and offers a good introduction to our new directors, Peter and Janet. Click here.

The “List”--Bay Area bluegrass DJ Peter Thompson has just gotten his updated listing of all things bluegrass for the coming month out and about, including here on the CBA web site. A very useful list for the died-in-the-wool bluegrasser to bookmark. Click here.


And the winners are--You couldn’t hardly purport to present bluegrass news without covering this year’s results of the annual CBA Board of Director’s election. So here are the winners in alphabetical order.

David Brace
Darby Brandli
Bruce Campbell
Tim Edes
Montie Elston
Steve Goldfield
Dave Gooding
Mark Hogan
Jack Hyland
Jim Ingram
Geoff Sargent

It’s hard to say enough about these folks who readily commit a quarter of their Saturdays each year to handling the business of the Association. We wish the new members, David Brace and Dave Gooding well and their spouses even weller.


Lloyd Loar working his magic in the Gibson factory year unknown
 
Posted By:  Rick Cornish



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