Mold Archive January through March
 


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.

Wednesday, 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.


Monday, 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.







March 4, 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. 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.


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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.



February 21, 2013

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.

Monday, February 18, 2013

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold, I’m writing to you as a friend, despite the fact that we’ve never met and I don’t even know your true identity. You probably won’t want to publish this in your column; I’m afraid it’s a bit of a personal criticism. I read your column each morning and, unless I’ve lost track, since you began doing the Mold last fall, you’ve missed only three days. In a sense, I think this is an admirable accomplishment, particularly since not once have I felt like you’ve ‘phoned in’ one of your daily offerings. But here’s the thing, Mold Man, my gut tells me that you’re using this seven-days-a-week obligation to dodge putting time into some other writing project, one that requires far more difficult work and far more challenging introspection while offering none of the instant gratification that comes from dashing off a daily patch work of nonsense, albeit usually quite fun to read nonsense. Having written a some in my career, I can see the appeal in selecting six or seven topics each day, jotting down a few words on one and then flitting to the next before any real thought immediately below the surface is required. It’s quite creative, sometimes informative and frequently humorous procrastination, but procrastination nonetheless. If I’m wrong about this, let’s pretend I never spoke up. But if I’m right, please give consideration to putting some of the time and effort you pour into the More or Less Daily News into whatever the project it is you seem to be trying to sidestep. After all, it is called the more or less daily news. All the best, Mrs. R from San Francisco” Dear Mrs. R, you got me dead to rights. Pretty good hunch. Okay, starting today we’re going with a Monday through Friday format and I’m going to start sticking to my self-imposed 700 word per day limit.

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.


 
Posted By:  Rick Cornish



Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email rickcornish7777@gmail.com.