Mold Archive April through June
June 27, 2013

MILESTONE--New York Times; May 17, 2005 “Jimmy Martin, 77, a Bluegrass Stalwart, Is Dead…Jimmy Martin, whose high tenor voice, driving guitar and plucky personality made him an exemplar of bluegrass music for more than 50 years, died on Saturday in Nashville. He was 77 and lived in Hermitage, Tenn. The cause was bladder cancer and congestive heart failure, said his son Ray. An irascible character and a virtuoso guitarist, Mr. Martin lent a rhythmic intensity to Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys in a series of classic recordings in the early 1950's. Later, he played with Osborne Brothers and then formed a band of his own, building on the style he learned from Monroe, considered the father of bluegrass. He joined Monroe's band in 1949 as an unknown but quickly made an impression. His guitar playing was aggressive and fast, and his singing voice was higher than his predecessors in the Blue Grass Boys, including Mac Wiseman and Lester Flatt. Staying with Monroe's band off and on until 1954, he played on 46 songs with the group, including "Uncle Pen," "I'm On My Way to the Old Home" and "Walking in Jerusalem." Mr. Martin also recorded with Bob and Sonny Osborne, and in 1956 began his career as a leader, calling his group the Sunny Mountain Boys, a name that had been associated with the Osbornes. His songs from the late 50's, recorded for Decca, include "Hit Parade of Love," "Ocean of Diamonds" and "Rock Hearts."” Click here.

Losing the life-long dream--Since the beginning of my recorded history…which is to say since I acquired language and could remember thoughts and ideas in a retrievable fashion…I have dreamt I was a genius. Hell, there were times, especially in junior high school when I KNEW I was a genius. Alas, my dream is no more. After reading this story it’s pretty clear to me that I’m just plain old average crazy, not genius crazy…”These men and women of action did have occasional bouts with depression, but they primarily suffered (or benefited) from another form of mental illness: obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. The key features of this superachiever’s disease include a love of order, lists, rules, schedules, details, and cleanliness; people with OCPD are addicted to work, and they are control freaks who must do everything “their way.” OCPD is not to be confused with its cousin, obsessive-compulsive disorder. Those with OCD are paralyzed by thoughts that just won’t go away, while people with OCPD are inspired by them. Steve Jobs couldn’t stop designing products—when hospitalized in the ICU, he once ripped off his oxygen mask, insisting that his doctors improve its design on the double. Estée Lauder couldn’t stop touching other women’s faces. Perfect strangers would do, including those she might bump into on an elevator or a street corner. Without her beauty biz as an alibi, she might have been arrested for assault with deadly lipstick or face powder. These dynamos are hard-pressed to carve out time for anything else but their compulsions. Click here.

Sorry, but this has been sitting on the back burner for too long already--“The smallest dog living, in terms of height, is a long-haired, female Chihuahua called Boo Boo, who measured 10.16 cm (4 in) tall on 12 May 2007 and is owned by Lana Elswick of Raceland, Kentucky, United States. Click here.

Move over, Bill, hieroglyphics don’t lie--Professor Jaeger's History of Bluegrass; Copyright 1985 by Bruce Jaeger; Published in Inside Bluegrass in 1985, month unknown… INTRODUCTION--No matter how much he digs and studies and ponders and theorizes, there are some historical facts man will never know for certain, until the lucky day, perhaps, when someone invents a time machine. Who invented the wheel? Who first discovered the use of fire? Who developed the first language? And lastly, but by far not the least importantly, who created Bluegrass Music? One thing is known for certain, however. Bluegrass has always been a "minority" music. Not in the strictly racial sense, but in a more popular sense; all through recorded and prerecorded history, there has always been some kind of music more popular than bluegrass. And, to make the musical historian's job even more difficult, during host of Bluegrass's history there have been seemingly malevolent forces working against it, as suggested, for example, by the destruction of all hieroglyphical mentions of Bluegrass in 18th Dynasty Egypt by Thutmose III, the smashing of all existing Bluegrass instruments (during the Roman sack of Carthage, 3rd Punic War, 146B.C.), and the burning of all Bluegrass sheet music during the Spanish Inquisition.

Coming Next: Pericles and his "Golden Age Boys": Bluegrass in Ancient Greece; Nero and his Hot Fiddle: Bluegrass in the Roman Empire Click here.

Ought to be a good one--From… ”Bluegrass and Country Music icon RICKY SKAGGS has just about done it all over the course of his 50+ years in music. With hundreds of career accolades and countless life experiences under his belt, Skaggs certainly has a story to tell. Now, for the first time, Skaggs is ready to tell the story of his life with the release of his personal autobiography, "KENTUCKY TRAVELER" (It Books). Unlike other farm boys growing up in the small town of Cordell, Kentucky, Skaggs learned to play the mandolin at five years old. Sure, plenty of other mountain boys plucked guitars or fiddles, or learned the old songs their grandparents taught them. But few tried and fewer still mastered the mandolin. By the time he was six years old, Skaggs' talent was clear enough that his daddy knew he had to get that boy onstage. When Bluegrass master and mandolin virtuoso Bill Monroe rolled into a nearby small town, Ricky was there. As the crowd cheered, "Let little Ricky sing one!" so began a storied life in music. Click here.

June 26, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--February 14, 2004, the board of directors approves acts for the upcoming Fathers Day Festival, (Mountain Heart, Pine Mountain Railroad, Bluegrass Cardinals, Continental Divide, Gibson Brothers, Dirk Powell Band, J.D. Crowe & The New South, Laurie Lewis, Carolina Road, and Ron Spears & Within Tradition), Larry Kuhn reports that music camp registration is up significantly from the prior year, Elena Corey is appointed Education Coordinator, Carl Pagter is appointed Chairperson Emeritus and Tom Tworek is appointed Official Digital CBA Official Photographer. So we dare you...try to imagine three better appointments.

Town Mountain Reveal--As bluegrass band interviews go, this is a good one…”What does it mean to be a bluegrass band in 2013? As the genre grows quicker than Earl Scruggs could have ever imagined, many fans and bands ask themselves this question. Enormous acts like Mumford and Sons hint at bluegrass with their banjo-infused pop. Bluegrass jam-bands like Yonder Mountain String Band branch out and cater to wider audiences, but maintain their roots in the genre. Town Mountain, an Asheville, N.C., band, have a simpler definition for the kind of music they play. “We know what we are,” said Robert Greer, lead vocalist and guitarist. “We’re a bluegrass band.” But even being simply “bluegrass” isn’t as straightforward as it sounds. Some traditionalists wouldn’t consider Town Mountain bluegrass at all. Artists evolve and build on the music of those before them, especially in this “third generation” of bluegrass music, Greer said. That’s the case with his band at least. “The world of bluegrass has got to be more open minded to the expansion to new horizons,” Greer said. “Bluegrass, like jazz, is a young music…there are so many untapped areas.” Click here.

Anti-climactic--Do you ever feel like sometimes when you fall behind you just can’t seem to quite catch up? Days go by and you’re just one step behind? Well, I had this really cool…I thought it was cool anyways, interview done with Daredevil Nik Wallenda, who was scheduled to walk a high-wire across the Grand Canyon without a safety harness. The journalist, a woman by the name of Ann Brand, asks this mad man some, well, interesting questions…what will he wear, what happens if he has to pee? So, of course, I didn’t get around to posting the piece in time and now old Nik the Daredevil has gone and done it, walked across the Grand Canyon. Posting a pre-walk interview would be stupid, so I won’t do it. But you gotta see this guy nonetheless. Amazing. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--I got this note in my inbox yesterday…”Summer is here! I (a guy named Josh Jakus who I’ve never met) hope y'all had a good time at the Father's Day bluegrass festival up in Grass Valley last weekend. In case you missed there were 4 days of bands on stage and also jamming in the campground until late at night (or early in the morning for some). Too bad it had to end. Well if the festival put you in the mood for bluegrass picking, come on over to the Stork Club tonight! (that was last night, Monday night). Bonus: just found out that the bar sells popcorn for $1. Hope to see you there!

Stork Club Bluegrass Jam
Every Monday night from 8:30 till late
2330 Telegraph Avenue, Oakland

I thought it was interesting, you know, the way Josh tried tying the post-FDF glow to the Stork’s Monday night jam. Word on the street is that it’s a good one, which is a relief given that the Frog and the Fiddle down that way has given up the ghost.

So, like, ah, Geoff, tell me about this protein helix thing--I know this guy, Geoff Sargent, he’s a CBA person, a dobro player, and I got to know him a couple of years ago and every now and then I get to hang with him, which happened a couple of times during festival week this year. And here’s the thing…what attracts me most to Geoff is that he’s a scientist, like, you know, a real one…Ph.D., graduate school proff, bio-tech researcher, start up company whiz. Every time we two bump into one another and there’s time for a chat, I’ll somehow bring the conversation around to science, ask him a question and then just sit back and listen. More often than not he loses me in no more than a spoken paragraph or two, but I don’t even mind. Don’t know why, I just like the way science sounds. Well, now maybe I do know why…maybe. “Does studying science make you a better person? A new study suggests that scientists are more likely to have a strong moral compass than those outside the field. Want to be a better person? Spend more time thinking about science. That’s the implication of newly published research, which finds people who study science — or who are even momentarily exposed to the idea of scientific research — are more likely to condemn unethical behavior and more inclined to help others.” Click here.

June 25, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s October, 1951, and Bill and his boys are finishing up what, in 2013 terms, would be called a pretty meager bluegrass season with an appearance in a little Indiana town called Bean Blossom at the Brown County Jamboree. The band leader falls in love with Bean Blossom and a few months later returns and buys a piece of property making it “his home away from home.” Fifteen years later, after being hounded by well-known bluegrass promoter Carlton Haney, the man they call the Father of Bluegrass agrees to hold a small two day festival…calling it “a Blue Grass Celebration” on his Bean Blossom property. And the rest, as they say, is history. Click here.

Does this guy remind you of anyone over on the Korean Peninsula? ”Putin Doesn't Know Anything About a Stolen Super Bowl Ring. Still, He Has a Solution.” Grasp of reality-wise, I mean. Click here.

Flatfooting--Got this note from my favorite old-time dancer, Rebecca Stout from down in Culver City. Becky, you’ll recall, is the woman we met down at the 48 last year. Hoping she’ll make it back. “Howdy Flatfooters, fresh from my trip teaching in Mars Hill, North Carolina I have so much to tell. I officially began my apprenticeship with Mr. T. Paul Anderegg at the Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week and already feel that it has revolutionized the way I will approach teaching and flatfoot dancing from now on. I look forward to learning more from him over the summer, but until then...Turns out being an A.S.P.S Apprentice also involves acting as a spokes-model for the many fine products available for a reasonable price online. For example, remember the old "Dancing-with-a-bottle-of water-on-your-head" trick we discussed? Not to mention the styley new "Charlie Burton Xyloboard". I personally observed these boards being built right there on the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountain Parkway and can obviously vouch for them 100%.” So there you have it in black and white…well, creamy yellow and black—need a new board? Head on over to the Parkway.

The way of the Doo-Doo bird--If you’ve gotten the bulk of your exposure to great literature via paperback books, this might be of interest. It was to me….Soft Target--Have reports of the paperback’s death been greatly exaggerated?: In 2009, Penguin Group, one of the most successful publishers in the world, printed a charming history called The Book of Penguin, in the slim, orange paperback format that the company made famous in the mid-20th century. It begins: “This is a book about the most advanced form of entertainment ever. You can pause it at any time. Rewind and replay it if you miss a bit … It’ll fit in your pocket. It’s interactive … It’s pretty cheap. It’s completely free to share. And it lasts a lifetime. This is a book about books.” If that micro-manifesto sounds slightly defensive, it might be because that highly advanced form of entertainment is starting to look a tad outmoded. E-books are ever more popular, eminently practical, and pleasantly cheap; hardcovers may always have a degree of shelf-worthy cachet. But where paperbacks fit into the evolving publishing landscape is less clear. It seems possible that paperbacks may lose their spot in the marketplace altogether.” Just what a dying publishing industry needs. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, I am very much aware that the CBA website is family friendly and no place to even approach the risque, so, please, believe me when I tell you that my recommendation for a news item has been fully veted by my wife, Louise, and deemed FFM…Fit for Mold. Yours in dance, Don Domical, Don’s Exotic Dance School, West Sacramento” Thanks, Don, I couldn’t agree more with Louise, so here we go. “Nine Quarters and Dollar Bill Act--Belly Dancer Helena Vlahos performs her Nine Quarters and Dollar Bill Act that is truly an amazing display of abdominal muscle control. So much so that she’s actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for “Unique Abdominal Dexterity”. I can only imagine how many hours she practiced and exercised her muscles to be able to perfect this trick.” "target=0>Click here. "target=0>Click here.

Can't have too many cute little bistros, right? “Hi Everybody, this will be our last e mail from The Frog, the business has sold and a new venture is coming in, Thanks so much for your support over the years both at McGraths and The Frog and Fiddle. We have had wonderful music, made great friends and had a great time! Peter, Chuck and The Frog Crew."

June 22, 2013

CBA MILESTONE----Early on the morning of January 25th, 2003, Carl Pagter calls Suzanne Denison who calls Rick Cornish who posts the following on the CBA web site: “On January 24 it was announced that the Bluegrass Breakdown, official newspaper of the California Bluegrass Association, has won the prestigious Bluegrass Club Newsletter of the Year Award presented by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA). The award will be presented the last week in January at its annual awards event in Nashville. CBA members and non-members alike have known for years that the Breakdown, with its regular features, wide-ranging news coverage, events reporting and fine feature writing, was one of the best publications of its kind in the U.S.—still, it’s sure nice to know that the members of awards committee agree. Even more significant than the honor that comes to the CBA is the hard-earned recognition of Suzanne Denison, for many years Editor in Chief of the Breakdown. Month after month Suzanne races against the clock to get the next edition to the printer…interviewing, writing, proofing and designing. And it seems like month after month the newspaper just keeps getting better. We're proud of the national award, but were even more proud of our Suzanne Denison.”

You think you know someone--But do you really. Take Kathy Kallick. She’s been in our bluegrass lives for thirty years, but what do we know about her? I mean, really know? What’s her favorite food? What’s she like to drink with it…wine-wise? What’s this thing she’s had for Pat Enright for decades, and what the hell is a Paul’s Saloon? We know she plays a guitar, but does she own a guitar? And if so, what so? And, really, what about animals. Sure, she’s written some good…okay, great…animal songs, but does she even own a pet? And if so, which so? Well, finally we’re going to get some answers. Will you still be a Kallick fan after reading the interview? Only one way to find out. Click here.

And speaking of Kathy--What’s up with you and spaghetti? A couple months ago we told you how to finally make a decent risotto and a few of you…I’ll include myself here…had what can only be described as a culinary ephipanal realization ala James Joyce. Get ready, here comes another one…”For most of the 20th century, Americans didn’t know from pasta. Spaghetti was used as a catchall term for wheat noodles of all shapes, and tomato sauce was the default adornment—so much so that it came to be known by the alias “spaghetti sauce.” These were dark times. As Corby Kummer recounts in his masterful 1986 Atlantic history of pasta in America,
"Campbell's, Heinz, and other manufacturers brought out canned macaroni with tomato sauce, joining Franco-American, which in the 1890s had begun to sell canned spaghetti, stressing that it used a French recipe. Cooking pasta long enough to can it safely institutionalized what was already a long-established practice, one for which Italians still deride Americans—overcooking pasta and thus robbing it of its savor and interest.”
Click here.

Jesse-- Some of you will remember way back…what, maybe ten years, Lora Hicks produced a bluegrass festival at Casa De Fruta deep in the bowels of the Pacheco Pass. It was a winner in every respect except the financial bottom line. If you did attend Lora’s heroic venture into the business of bluegrass….shudder…you most certainly remember Dale Anne Bradley’s appearance there, and if you remember that, as I do so very fondly, you can’t help but recall the incredible Jesse Brock. That was my first time seeing in real life the magic that this buy does with eight strings. So I told you that to tell you this…Brother duets specialists, the Gibson Brothers, have announced Jesse Brock as the new mandolinist in the band. He fills the spot recently vacated by Joe Walsh, who had spent the past 4 1/2 years touring with the brothers. Over the past few years, Jesse has been a member of Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and Audie Blaylock and Redline. He was chosen as Mandolin Player of the Year at the 2009 International Bluegrass Music Awards. Brock will officially join the Gibson’s at the Red, White and Bluegrass Festival in Morganton, NC on July 3.” Thanks to for spreading the word.

Yet another reason to wonder if technology is advancing faster than personkind’s capacity to exploit it--“Watermelon Oreos Are Real And On Sale At Target For A Limited Time The folks at Oreo must be going flavor-happy, because they've been cranking out new varieties like crazy. The latest: Watermelon Oreos, which feature a bright green-and-pink filling sandwiched between two vanilla wafers. “We chose Watermelon because it is a fun, summer flavor that goes great with the Golden OREO cookie,” explained Oreo spokesperson Kimberly Fontes to Time. The snacks debuted on June 10 and are now on Target shelves nationwide for a limited time. According to Consumerist, they cost around $3 a box.” Click here.

June 20, 2013

MILESTONE--Charlotte, June 16, 1936, two boys from East Hickory, North Carolina, go into the studio to lay down their first ever record. Two songs on the collection are immediate hits; The Sunny Side of Life and Where the Soul Never Dies make the Bolick Brothers, (The Blue Sky Boys), instant royalty in the burgeoning country music recording industry. No, "The New Hillbilly Kings,” as the two were called by DJ’s after that first record, weren’t playing bluegrass music…actually, they couldn’t have since as a musical genre it didn’t exist yet, but their body of work would serve as part of the bedrock upon which bluegrass music would be built a decade later. Click here.

From the flat screen of C. Poling--“Free Range Fridays is proud to present our very special guests for this month’s show…Friday, June 21, Free Range Fridays at the Velo Rouge Cafe 798 Arguello Blvd./SF…Folks, it’s a real honor and a special treat to have Judy Forrest and Jim Nunally playing at our neighborhood coffeehouse. If you’ve enjoyed our previous shows, you know how great the intimate atmosphere is for acoustic music. If you haven’t been to a Free Range Fridays performance yet, then we most strenuously recommend you attend this show. Jim has performed and recorded with some of the biggest names in bluegrass music, but of all the combinations in which he’s appeared, his duets with Judy are our favorites. They play some sweet, sweet music that’s going to sound even sweeter in the cozy confines of the Velo Rouge.

And a quickie from Chairman Tim Edes--“Oh Boy....!!!! I just finalized a deal with the Quebe Sisters for next February 22, 2014. If you have never seen or heard them, I urge you to check them out on You Tube. It is gonna be great!!! Tim.

Extra cheese, extra anchovies--So here’s a question I seem to be asking myself more and more these days; is technology developing faster than our human capacity to absorb it? Don’t answer yet. Instead, order a pizza the new way and then ruminate for a while. Click here.

A bit of a sticky wicket--Coming Home: The Woody Guthrie Center has recently opened in Tulsa and it’s once again apparent that the folk music icon’s relationship with his home state of Oklahoma continues to be a little complicated. As NPR reported recently, “The singer-songwriter left Oklahoma and traveled the nation, composing some of the best-known songs of his time and ours. But to many in the state, his political views did not fit with a strong conservative streak during the Cold War period. His reputation there is now closer to a full restoration as Oklahoma opens his archives. The Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa owes its existence to the rediscovery of a grave. Several years ago, out of the blue, his daughter, Nora Guthrie, received a telephone call from a nurse who had worked at the State Hospital for the Insane in Norman, Okla., where Woody Guthrie's mother spent the three years of her life. The nurse told Nora where to find the plot.” For the rest of the story and a link to some of Woody’s music, click here.

Skin-tight housing--Leave it to Mother Jones to sneak in the word “porn” into what is an absolutely unpornographic story… “House Porn: Size Doesn't Matter Edition--Living quarters smaller than 1,000 square feet may seem cramped, but the small home movement has a following—and it's growing. Popularity of tiny homes has increased since the housing market crashed—which makes sense, since they cost as little as $30,000. The small spaces made an appearance on HGTV's competition show, "Design Star," last season and are the focus of an upcoming documentary, ‘Tiny’.” This is a good one, with some interesting links. Click over if you have a moment. Click here.

No need for post-Grass Valley BluesAnd finally…

19: The Howlin' Brothers - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
20: Nearly Beloved Trio - Atlas Cafe, SF
20: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
21: The Earl Brothers - Plough & Stars, SF
22: Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands - Bicycle Music Festival - SF
June 22: Canyon Johnson - Mission Pizza, Fremont
June 22: Michael Stadler-Mary Gibbons Band - Armando's, Martinez
June 22: High Country - Murphy’s Irish Pub, Sonoma
June 23: Windy Hill; Central Valley Boys - Freight & Salvage, Berkeley
June 24: The Earl Brothers - Amnesia, SF
June 25: Windy Hill - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
June 26: Loganville - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
June 26: "Bangers & Grass" (Bill Evans & Friends) - Kensington Circus Pub

June 19, 2013

Alright history books, prepare to be re-written--Man of man oh man what a festival week that was. I’m not going to say it was the best ever because, well, there’s no way I could prove it was. But I’ll tell you, it was a beauty. Three guys, Whit Washburn, Ray Edlund and Mark Varner, created…invented conjured, divined, I’m not exactly sure what name to give what these three did…the engine that drove the entire festival. These guys are what the CBA calls the “TAG”, short for talent advisory group, and the line-up they brought to the board of directors for consideration was an inspired piece of work. (It should be noted that for the past two years TAG has been guided in the old-time world by Steve Goldfield, a fellow who knows who’s at the top of their game coast to coast.) And then, of course, there’s Jim Ingram, Entertainment Coordinator, who knitted the acts into a schedule that made four days go by as fast as a morning coffee break. Last but not least, George Relles and his crew delivered the level of sound reinforcement purity that we’ve grown accustomed to when we walk through the iron works of Gate Four; it’s good that we can expect it, but let’s never take it for granted. Thanks to the entire festival team and its two leaders, chairman Tim Edes and Festival director David Brace. We’ve got something rare and wonderful here in Northern California, and that’s a group of folks who love this kind of music so well they’ve made working together toward a common goal seem…well, doable.

CBA MILESTONE--Saturday, June 13th, 1981, the larger than life, legendary Rose Maddox steps onto the Fathers Day Festival stage for the first time. It’s 9:00 p.m., the audience is immense and the crowd goes wild. Vern Williams stands by her side and they sing Philadelphia Lawyer. Click here.

May very well be the best one yet--Discovered this morning on Facebook--”Berkeley Oldtime Music Convention…Check out Dave Murray's brilliant poster design for our 10th anniversary! We pulled out all the stops and have a fantastic lineup including Franklin George, Bruce Molsky, Foghorn, Dirk Powell, Alice Gerrard, Eddie Bond and many other notables - plus a reunion of Big Hoedown (Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini and Beverly Smith) - they'll do a half-time set at the String Band Contest. Dates for this year's BOTMC are Sept. 18-22 ---- mark your calendars! Click here.

Opener for Molly Tuttle last Wednesday night--For years now the CBA has had a tradition of building into its main stage schedule at the FDF a set for its music camp instructors, so why not highlight the instructors assistants? Why not, indeed? Click here.

Not an entirely unimportant thing to know--How to Tell If Someone Is a Sociopath—

1. Observe the person in his day-to-day life to assess her interactions with others.

2. Watch for indications that the individual pursues anything they want at the expense of others.

3. Verify stories and information provided by the suspected sociopath.

4. Look for lack of expression of guilt or remorse for wrongful actions towards others.

5. Assess whether the individual has the mental capability to understand their actions.

6. Arrange for psychological testing to determine the stability of the individual.

Of course id’ing a sociopath isn’t quite as easy as this listing makes out. You may want a few more pointers before you go trying to have someone strapped into a straight jacket. Click here.

More Naiditch--I’ve pointed you to David’s stuff once before since starting the Mold several months ago and it’s time ot do it again. Take a deep breath…”My version of Tchavolo Swing (from the movie Latcho Drom). I added a 2nd harmonica track for the harmony. Gonzalo Bergara is playing lead guitar. Click here.

Next weekend you flat-landers; it’s a steal--Davis Music Fest 2013; DLMC and Music Only Makes Sense are proud to present the third annual Davis Music Fest Saturday, June 22nd and Sunday the 23rd. That’s right, two days! There will be live music from more than 60 artists including local stars, regional favorites, and nationally recognized artists playing a wide variety of genres – folk, funk, country, punk, pop,rock, jazz, latin, soul, metal and more… truly something for everyone. Get your tickets now and take advantage of the early bird price of just $20, available through May 21st. After that pre-sale tickets are $25, same-day admission $30. 1”5 stages, 60+ bands… it’s a steal!”

”Worming”--And finally, we introduce a new and continuing feature from the folks at Mold called Innovations in Intimacy. III will seek to share with our readers cutting edge advances in human kind’s quest to intensify the physical bond between two soul mates. First in the series… worming. Technically known as oculolinctus, which originated with high school-aged teems in Japan, is precisely what it sounds like. (Not worming, oculolinctusing.) It’s sweeping across the Pacific Basin and due here on the West Coast any day now. Don’t be caught flat-footed on this one. Click here.

June 1, 2013

MILESTONE--On Saturday, March 20th, 1999, Charles Sawtelle is on a flight to a far-away city to undergo treatment for his leukaemia when he loses his fight with cancer. The groundbreaking guitar player for Hot Rize, an act that dominated the bluegrass scene for nearly all of the 1980’s, is working on a solo album being produced by Laurie Lewis when he dies. “When I first heard Charles Sawtelle play the guitar” wrote Dan Miller of Flat Pick magazine just months before the artist’s death, “what immediately captured my attention was not the notes that he played, but the ones he didn't play--the ones he left alone. He chose to give his notes a little elbow room and he allowed the guitar to breathe, and that was refreshing.” Here’s Charles playing Sally Ann. Click here.

Buttons--Well, I had quite an experience last Sunday; a group of us drove up to Jamestown to the Cornish’s and spent several hours making buttons. (If you don’t know about the famous “button project” to raise money for some CBA web site enhancements at the Fathers Day Festival, click here.) I must admit I didn’t quite know what to expect driving up to Cornish’s place in the country. I don’t think I have to tell you that the fellow is a bit…well…eccentric, but, to be fair, he and wife Lynn seemed to be quite the normal couple. Actually, Cornish’s wife is quite lovely, so much so that, in truth, a few of us on the work crew found ourselves wondering how the old boy had snagged her. However he did it, one thing is for certain—Mrs. C rules the roost and, for that matter, does quite a nice job ruling the button project. Oh, and while I’m on the subject of my trip to “Whiskey Creek”, as the two call their property, I’d be derelict not to mention the four dogs which inhabit the place. They are as unruly, misbehaved, obviously un-trained and slobbering a quartet of mutts as any I’ve experienced in my long life. (And interestingly, they don’t seem to take Cornish seriously either.) Anyway, my real reason for reporting on the visit is to have an excuse to ask each of my faithful readers to be sure to visit the t-shirt booth at the FDF, pick out a button or two and make a generous contribution to the WEB SITE UPGRADE PROJECT. I know I’ve been a little harsh over the months about the job Cornish and his crew do keeping the web site up but, truth be told, has become a significant resource for our Northern California bluegrass community. You’re probably aware that the annual cost of maintaining the web site is covered by the sale of “sponsorship tiles”, but what you may not know is that that revenue just covers maintenance. For any improvements/additions/enhancements to be made which require the work of an actual programmer, additional money must be raised. Hence the “button project”. Please help if you can…Lord knows you’ll have enough banjo player buttons to choose from.

Dogs do it, so why can’t basses? No doubt you’ve read more than a couple of heart-warming tales about the family dog finding its way home after being absent for years and years. So here’s a little twist to the plot line. “After 35 years, stolen bass returning to Jefferson Starship ex-guitarist Pete Sears…In the 35 years since his custom-built bass guitar was stolen during a riot at a notorious rock festival in Germany, former Jefferson Starship member Pete Sears has held onto a fading hope that someday it would turn up and be returned to him. That day has come. The long-lost instrument, nicknamed "Dragon" because of its distinctive silver dragon inlay, recently surfaced in Germany. It's now on its way back to Sears at his home in San Rafael. "This is beyond belief," he said as he traveled to a concert Thursday with his current band, Moonalice. "It's amazing. It will be incredible to hold it again and play it.” Click here.

Ah, like man, did we, er, say something? “Beaver Kills Fisherman In Belarus; Wildlife Experts Blame Aggressive Behavior For Upsurge In Attacks” First of all, with all due respect to the experts, God love ‘em, it’s hard to think of anything else to blame than the aggressive behavior thing. I mean, ripping someone’s throat out who wants to have his picture taken with you requires quite a bit of belligerence. But secondly and more importantly, I think, is what other kind of behavior would we expect from sixty pound, three fee tall rodents with razor sharp teeth who are continuously driven out of their natural habitat at every? And no, I’m not siding with the beaver; he clearly did a terrible thing. turn? Click here.

FINAL NOTE--Going to take another long weekend. Gonna take me in my one-each-year Giants game. See you Monday. Not much time left to get your news items to me and become eligible to win a CBA denim jacket.

May 30, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--It’s a late June day in 1984 and CBA members throughout California are finding that the July edition of the Bluegrass Breakdown is sporting a new feature…a cooking column from J.D. Rhynes. Is this some sort of joke, many wonder. A macho pipe fitter mountain of a man with about as much in common with Betty Crocker as Gandhi had with Mussolini. But a hand full of readers take a chance and try one of the big man’s recipes and thus begins a reputation that will stick to the column like muffins to an ungreased pan for the next thirty years or so. When he retired from his columnist chores in 2012 J.D. had written hundreds upon hundreds of stick-to-your-ribs recipes. You can look at a few dozen by clicking here.

Would you care to waltz? Flatpicking guitar is, a flat pickers know, a wonderful resource. The folks at FP did something sort of interesting for their May/June edition, which, by the way, is their 100th—they’ve dedicated the entire magazine to THE WALTZ. You’ll find some very cool arrangements of a lot of tunes you know, and some you don’t know. Like…”Be Thou My Vision”, "Canyon Moonrise”,"Chez Seychelles”, "Angel Band", "Farewell To Whiskey", "Festival Waltz", "Forest Waltz”, "Goddess Waltz", "High Country Waltz", "Josephine’s Waltz”, "Kentucky Waltz", "Leonard Finseth’s Waltz", "Lover’s Waltz", "Memories Waltz", "Midnight On The Water", "Open Pit Mine", "Ookpik Waltz", "Roxanna Waltz", "Tennessee Waltz", "The Blackest Crow", and "Waltz for Charles Grant". So, how do you get this wonderful resource? You buy it. Click here.

How do you say Sponge Bob in Arabic?--Okay, here’s something you didn’t expect. Well, maybe you did, but I sure didn’t. “The Guardian…Stroll the streets of central Cairo today, and two faces stand out. The first is a symbol of resistance; Jika, a teenage protester shot dead late last year, whose likeness has been repeatedly stencilled across the walls of the city centre. The second is rather less revolutionary. It belongs to SpongeBob SquarePants. The fictional marine sponge, historically found on kids’ cartoon channel Nickelodeon, is now the ubiquitous face of Egyptian tat – printed on everything from hijabs to boxer shorts, complete with spelling mistakes. (In Egypt, where western Bs are often confused with Ps, SpongeBob sometimes becomes a variant of SpongePop.) Name something cheap and tacky, and chances are that someone in Egypt can sell you a Spongified version. His appearances have become so frequent that a blog – SpongeBob on the Nile – now documents his Egyptian adventures. Vice magazine was even forced to ponder: “Is SpongeBob SquarePants the New Che Guevara?” Click here.

Lions and Tigers and Banjos, Take Three--I know, I know, I’ve told you about this before, but I just can’t help myself. I find an the idea of an Africa Banjo Safari mind-blowing. “Calling all intrepid photographers. Do you play banjo also? How about a trip to the home of the banjo, Africa? And why not enjoy the sights and sounds of an African safari and, at the same time, improve your banjo playing? Host Kevin Dooley and banjo teacher Ross Nickerson have for the second year joined forces to offer a unique workshop which combines safari experiences with some banjo lessons. This November’s trip will be the second Banjo Safari that Kevin and South Africa native Tricia Dooley have organized and already half of the ten places for the trip have been sold.” Okay, so it’s not cheap…$4,290 per person (one person per room); $7,990 for Double Occupancy (two people per room)…but would you love to be able to say you’ve done it? Click here.

Couldn’t pass this one up--“The Three Guys Who Accidentally Butt-Dialed 911 Mid-Crime…The circumstances: This was a very big week for police-related butt-dialing, with two separate stories demonstrating why criminals should always, always carry their phones in one of those nerdy cases that you clip onto your belt. In the first story, which will likely be dramatized as the newest entry in the Harold and Kumar franchise, Nathan Teklemariam and Carson Rinehart were driving around Fresno when one of them must have shifted his weight, accidentally dialing 911. The alert dispatcher soon realized that the call was an accidental one, and, moreover, that the guys on the other end might be up to no good. For the next 35 minutes, the dispatcher stayed on the line, listening and gathering information as Teklemariam and Rinehart did the following: discovered a car they thought they could burglarize; discussed how to break into the car; allegedly broke into the car; “exclaimed in delight” over finding narcotics in the car; became confused as to how and why a police car was following them as they drove away; and reacted in disbelief when the arresting officer revealed that they had been on the line with 911 the entire time. “This fool really called 911? Damn,” one of the men said. Damn, indeed. Click here.

A special note to those fortunate enough to live in California’s beautiful Mother Lode--Noticed that Little Billy Schneiderman posted his Bill’s Mother Lode Bluegrass News last evening. Lots and lots and lots of bluegrass goin’ on in them thar hills. Click here.

May 29, 2013

MILESTONE--On July 9, 1923, a young luthier signed one of his unique creations, a mandolin with F-shaped holes on the top, like a violin. The thirty-seven year old builder and designer, whose name was Lloyd Loar, would build a handful more instruments before leaving Gibson a year later, but none would be as famous as the one he signed on that hot summer day in ’23. The “Fern”, a rare variation on an already radical design, would, of course, later find its way into the hands of Bill Monroe, a revolutionary innovator in his own right. Click here.

Gentlemen, start your reports that the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced their initial list of eligible recorded products which can be nominated for the 24th International Bluegrass Music Awards this year. To be eligible, the bluegrass music recording must have been released between April 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013. As a result of the initial announcement, artists, producers, labels and others are making their respective projects known to the bluegrass music community with emphasis on the voting members of the IBMA. For more click here.

MOLD MAN’S ONCE-EACH-WEEK TRIBUTE TO PEOPLE WHO’LL DO ANYTHING TO HOLD A WORLD RECORD-According to CNN, which iis itself perilously close to earning a Guinness Record…clearly not one it’s hoping for…”Around 1,000 Indian students dressed as Mahatma Gandhi for the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, the 'Father of the Nation', in Ahmedabad on October 2, 2012. Officials from the Guinness World Records confirmed a new world record for the number of people in Gandhi attire.” In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words so we recommend you click here for a peak at the hundreds and hundreds of pretend Gandhi's.

Gone but certainly not forgotten--We were happy to spot this piece from John Cherry at Still miss John so much. “Third John Hartford Memorial Festival Brings Life to an American Music Icon….are underway for the 3rd Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival being held in the hills of southern Indiana at the Official Bean Blossom & Bill Monroe Music Park in beautiful Brown County, May 30–June 1. This is the third of what the festival’s creator, John Hotze, and co-promoter, Dan Dillman, hope to see as an event to preserve the legacy and music of the late John Hartford, one of America’s most beloved songwriter/performers and musicians. John Hartford won Grammy awards in three different decades, recorded a catalog of more than 30 albums, and wrote one of the most popular songs of all time, “Gentle On My Mind.” He was a regular guest and contributor on the Glen Campbell Good Time Hour and the Smothers Brothers Show. He added music and narration to Ken Burns’ landmark Civil War series, and was an integral part of the hugely popular “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack and Down From The Mountain concert tour. But that hardly explains John Hartford. Click here.

Short Mold News today--And on a personal note, I’m feeling a bit like I’ve had the wind knocked out of me this morning and I think I need to go back to bed. Knowing that I have a very busy three weeks coming up, I spent a good portion of the three-day weekend gathering material and writing copy to be used in forthcoming columns. All in all probably a dozen days worth of material. Well, friends, when I popped open the aaadailynewsxxxcurrent.docx file where I’ve saved everything since beginning the Mold News last October, I found that I’d save over the entire file with a half-page note of instructions to the kid who’ll be watering my garden while I’m traveling. This is not the first time I’ve lost hours and hours and hours of work, nor will it be the last. Buck up, Mold Man, buck up.

May 28, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--(Post Script to last Friday’s Milestone item…”Your high moldiness; Dear Sir, I am probably not the first to point out this fact, but it is obvious to me that you cannot spell, NOR add or subtract either. In Friday's last column, your remarks about Bill White's tenure on the grass Valley stage from 1976 to 1987 is 11 years, not 21 years as you stated. Also as a historical point of interest, the picture that you showed of him playing his harp on stage was taken during the Sunday morning Gospel show with Rose Maddox. Playing on stage that morning with Rose and Bill White was Ed Neff fiddle, Butch Waller mandolin, Kathy Kallick guitar, Keith Little banjo and myself JD Rhynes on Bass. Keith had a hangover that hot summer morning, the size of Texas andhad drops of sweat dripping off of him the size of horse terds. Les Mason's wife had plied him the night before with a sweet cocktail that she called "Orange Blossom Specials". It was made with orange juice, sugar, cream, and 100 proof vodka. I tasted one and that was it. But Keith being the neophyte he was when it came to booze, refused to listen to my wise counsel to leave them sicky sweet things alone, drank about six of them. To this day, he swears that is the closest he ever came to dying from booze. Ha ha ha ha Ha! As ever, I remain your most ardent fan, your old uncle JDRhynes.”

Living in Nashville can have its rewards--Well, we missed reporting on this club date by one day but we thought we’d share it just the same since out here in the west you don’t often get to catch a Sunday night pick-up band quite like this one. From … ”Earls Of Leicester w/Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien, & More, Sun., May 26, 9 p.m., @ Station Inn 402 12th Ave. S., Music Row/ West End. If you don’t really get the essence of bluegrass, this project — faithfully reproducing the sound of Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys during the years when artistic and commercial success lined up nearly perfectly — will seem beyond pointless to you. If, on the other hand, you can appreciate the absolute joy of great players and singers like Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien, Shawn Camp, Charlie Cushman, Johnny Warren and Barry Bale as they tackle not just the songs but the banjo licks, guitar flourishes, quirky quartets, dobro swoops and vocal mannerisms that brought those songs to life and inspired these guys to dig into the most minute details of the sound, then this show is for you. And with a lineup like that, well, you’d better show up early.”

No doubt about it, Bob’s been around--From…For his 72nd birthday, a map of every street, town, and city Dylan has ever sung about. Bob Dylan’s music, it’s often said, happens in a world of its own—where the highway is for gamblers and you’re always 1,000 miles from home. It’s a surreal, ethereal realm, lawless but for chance, allusion, and rhyme. And yet it is our world, because there's another, parallel tendency in Dylan’s songs: the direct place-name reference. Once the amateur Dylanologist tries to think of some, they flood the brain. “I’ll look for you in old Honolulu/ San Francisco, Ashtabula.” “Born in Red Hook, Brooklyn/ In the year of who knows when.” “Oxford town, Oxford town/ Everybody’s got their head bowed down.” From the personal—“that little Minnesota town”—to the political—“Ever since the British burned the White House down/ There’s a bleeding wound in the heart of town”—Dylan uses place-names to maintain rhythm or rhyme, to reference other works of art, or to evoke certain thoughts and emotions. (We never do learn what it’s like “to be stuck inside of Mobile with the Memphis blues again,” though we feel like we do.) It’s only natural, after all, that a man who left tiny Hibbing, Minn. for New York City at age 19, quickly became world-famous, and has spent the last 25 years on a “never-ending” worldwide tour, might have a curious perspective on the concept of place.” And now, friends, click to the map… Click here.

Had to mention this one--Tuesday at Sierra Nevada in Chico, The Black Lillies. “After all but giving up music a few years ago, Cruz Contreras has never been busier: his band, the Black Lillies has played the Grand Ole Opry nearly 20 times over the past year and a half, and they performed 200 dates in 2012 alone. Somewhere in there, the Knoxville, Tenn., Americana group — Contreras and bandmates Trisha Gene Brady, Tom Pryor, Robert Richards and Jamie Cook — carved out 10 days to work with former Sparklehorse drummer Scott Minor on their third album, “Runaway Freeway Blues,” which Speakeasy premieres today in its entirety.” Well, you get the picture. Great act. Oh, and excellent beer.

Okay, so maybe you’ve never wondered about this, but, believe me, some of us have--“’You Are My Sunshine’: How a maudlin song became a children’s classic. At 2:15 p.m. on Monday, when tornado sirens rang out in Moore, Okla., teachers at the AgapeLand Learning Center rushed their 15 students into the bathrooms — the safest place in their brick building. To protect their charges, the adults draped them in a protective covering; to keep them from panicking, they sang songs through the storm. As reported by the New York Times, they led the children in a round of “You Are My Sunshine,” which might seem gently ironic — or perhaps even subtly defiant — given the dangerous weather all around them. ‘You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,” they sang. “You make me happy when skies are gray.’ That story has become one of the main talking points in the news coverage of the Oklahoma tornadoes. It shows a bit of everyday heroism in the face of great destruction, reminiscent of similar lifesaving actions at Sandy Hook six months ago. Still, what makes the story so powerful is not simply the teachers’ common-sense decision to move the students into the bathrooms. Instead, it’s the image of everybody singing “You Are My Sunshine” in the eye of the storm. It’s hard to imagine the fear and uncertainty they faced, or even how the youngest of their charges would have responded, but certainly the situation lent new gravity to that final line of the chorus: “Please don’t take my sunshine away.” Click here.

If anybody on the planet knows, you can bet it’s the Aussies>-“The Difference between Bluegrass, Old Time and Celtic bands, now finally explained! Old Time and Celtic songs are about whiskey, food and struggle. Bluegrass songs are about God, mother and the girl who did me wrong. If the girl isn’t dead by the third verse, it ain’t Bluegrass. If everyone dies, it’s Celtic. The Bluegrass fiddler paid $10,000 for his fiddle at the Violin Shop in Nashville. The Celtic fiddler inherited his from his mothers 2nd cousin in County Clare. The Old Time fiddler got theirs for $15 at a yard sale.” ~ The National Folk Festival of Australia. The Music: Old Time and Celtic songs are about whiskey, food and struggle. Bluegrass songs are about God, mother and the girl who did me wrong. If the girl isn’t dead by the third verse, it ain’t Bluegrass. If everyone dies, it’s Celtic. Old Time and Celtic bands have nonsense names like “Flogging Molly’, “Fruit Jar Drinkers’ and “Skillet Lickers” while Bluegrass bands have serious gender-specific name like “Bluegrass Boys,’ “Clinch Mountain Boys’ and ”Backwoods Babes.” The most common Old Time keys are major and minor with only 5 notes (modal). Bluegrass uses these, plus Mixolydian and Dorian modes, and a Celtic band adds Lydian and Phrygian modes. A Bluegrass band has between 1 and 3 singers who are all singing about an octave above their natural vocal range. Some Old Time and Celtic bands have no singers at all. If a Celtic band has a singer, it is usually either a bewhiskered ex-sailor, or a petite soprano. A Bluegrass band has a vocal arranger who arranges three-part harmonies. In an Old Time band, anyone who feels like it can sing or make comments during the performance.” Are you buying this so far? If so, click here.

May 27, 2013

Before jumping into today’s moldiness I’d like to share with you some rather remarkable news. Yours truly, the Mold Man, has been invited to participate in a fund-raising project that will benefit the CBA web site, generating revenue to be used for adding some welcome new features to the site, not to mention fixing some old and vexatious bugs in the system. And what, for me anyway, is remarkable about the invitation is that it came directly from the CBA’s web master, Rick Cornish. Now, some of you may have done a little reading between the lines over the past eight months and maybe picked up on some, shall we say, less than positive vibes between Cornish and me. Well, I’m happy to say that the tank-topped one and I are putting that all behind us to focus our energy and attention on an issue that’s bigger than the both of us.

In a nut shell, here’s the project...this year’s festival t-shirt features a banjo, held upside down in just such a way that the holder’s head is completely obscured by the banjo head. So the web team, plus my guys and gals from the Mold News Department, have volunteered to make up some buttons with the faces of various banjo players, which can be pinned onto the t-shirts, hence providing a face for the otherwise faceless picker on the design. The buttons will be available at the t-shirt booth to the right of the stage at GV for a donation. (I understand that the minimum donation amount is two bucks, but we’re hoping that some folks…like the people who come here to everybody to drink their coffee and catch up on the world of bluegrass…will dig a little deeper for the cause.) For my part I’ll get to help decide which mugs will be laminated onto the buttons. My first pick? Al Capone.

To hear more about the hair-brained scheme click here.

CBA MILESTONE--Bill White, dressed in his blue and white pinstriped railroad overalls and engineers hat, takes the stage at the first annual Fathers Day Festival in 1976 and begins a twenty-one year run as the FDF’s official harmonica player. His last year, 1987, Bill shares the stage with the likes of The Osborne Brothers, the Del McCoury Band and the Weary. Click here.

Feeling old today? Need a littler perspective? The YouTube clip posted by the web team today might just do the. It’s an interview with 'Fiddling Bob Douglas' done by Garrison Keillor on the occasion of Bob’s 100th birthday. Actually, it’s a nearly one-hour documentary about the life of Douglas shows graphically and in song the power of the fiddle to keep folks from getting old. Click here.

Compelling as it may be, you’re just not going to find this the subject of any painkiller TV ads any time in the near future.--Imagine a middle-aged many sitting on a stool, dressed in black with an all-black background, looking unsmilingly into the camera and saying in a low, controlled monotone, “Yeah, I used to be afraid of death. Really bummed me out. But then a friend mentioned this new Tylenol regime…one in the morning and one just before bed. Good bye existential night sweats!” From the University of British Columbia we learn that…”Pain Reliever Eases 'Existential Dread: New research shows Tylenol may have the unseen psychological side-effect of easing existential dread. The findings suggest anxiety about finding meaning in life and feeling physical pain may be rooted in the same part of the brain. "When people feel overwhelmed with uncertainty in life or distressed by a lack of purpose, what they're feeling may actually be painful distress," said study researcher Daniel Randles, a doctoral student in psychology the University of British Columbia. ‘We think that Tylenol is blocking existential unease in the same way it prevents pain, because a similar neurological process is responsible for both types of distress,’ Randles wrote in an email to LiveScience.” Let’s just be thankful that the Big T wasn’t available when Camus, Sartre, Dostoyevsky and the rest of the existential novelists were creating their great works. Click here.

And if that wasn’t sobering enough--“At 77, hippie icon Wavy Gravy looks back at a lifetime of doing good. AS HE APPROACHES his 77th birthday, counterculture icon Wavy Gravy has one fervent hope: To stick around long enough to emcee the 50th anniversary of Woodstock. That will be in 2019, when he'll be 84. "It's not that long," he insists. "It's only seven years." At the original Woodstock, the mega 1969 rock festival that's become a touchstone of the peace and love generation, he was still known as Hugh Romney, his given name, changing it to Wavy Gravy after B.B. King called him that at a music festival later that same year. At Woodstock, the Hog Farm commune he co-founded handled security, calling themselves the Please Force ("will you please stand back from the stage." Click here.

That's it for this week. Enjoy your weekend, please, and meet me back here Monday morning.

May 24, 2013

MILESTONE--Nine years after its debut, the Beverly Hillbillies is dropped by CBS and few viewers around the country seem to notice. (Despite the fact that the show was one of the 20 most watched shows for eight of those nine years.) Few viewers, that is, other than the legions of Flatt and Scruggs devotees who followed TV Guide listings religiously to ensure they wouldn’t miss an episode with the duo and their Foggy Mountain Boys. That the series about Jed Clampett and his clan moving into a huge Beverly Hills mansion after discovering oil, Texas Tea, back home in the hills had an enormous influence on helping to grow America’s bluegrass following has never been in doubt. Click here.

Silver lining--My mother, Margaret Mold, dear, dear woman that she was, reminded me throughout my childhood, and later, through my adult life right up until the time she broke her earthly chains that, now matter how dark they may be, clouds invariably have a silver lining. In the case of the story below, which, if you let it, could spoil your Thursday morning, that axiom has never been truer…”New York, May 23 (ANI): A new study suggests that human intelligence is on the decline, despite the technological advancement. In fact, it indicates that Westerners have lost 14 I.Q. points on average since the Victorian Era. Study co-author Dr. Jan te Nijenhuis, professor of work and organizational psychology at the University of Amsterdam, points to the fact that women of high intelligence tend to have fewer children than do women of lower intelligence. This negative association between I.Q. and fertility has been demonstrated time and again in research over the last century. But this isn't the first evidence of a possible decline in human intelligence. "The reduction in human intelligence (if there is any reduction) would have begun at the time that genetic selection became more relaxed," Dr. Gerald Crabtree, professor of pathology and developmental biology at Stanford University, told The Huffington Post in an email. "I projected this occurred as our ancestors began to live in more supportive high density societies (cities) and had access to a steady supply of food. Both of these might have resulted from the invention of agriculture, which occurred about 5,000 to 12,000 years ago," he said. The research is published in the journal Intelligence. (ANI)”

And the silver lining? The folks who really are getting dumber tend not to believe in research or science or, you know, eggheads who sit around and make up hypotheses and then try to prove them, are in absolutely no danger of losing even an ounce of self-confidence or self-esteem. At least that’s how Margaret would see it.

Royal weddings abound--“Strategic Marriage Will Consolidate Power Within Single Banjo Sovereignty…
NASHVILLE — After lengthy negotiations between their two camps, banjoists Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn have agreed to marry one another, advancing their long campaign to unify the progressive and old-time banjo empires under a single sovereign ruler. The carefully calculated union aims to create one insurmountable banjo juggernaut whose historic domain will span old-time, bluegrass, jazz, fusion, European classical, African and Chinese styles. While strategic considerations were clearly primary, sources close to Fleck and Ms. Washburn also indicate that the future bride and groom “barely detest each other at all,” which may have facilitated the negotiations somewhat. Click here.

How do you know when a guy’s qualified to work on one of your most prized possessions? Well, for eons the way folks have done it is check with former customers…you know, get references. So, how is Jack Kuykendall’s fiddle re-hairing prowess? We’re guessing pretty good; he just finished two Jack English bows for Pete Hicks and, believe me, a guy’s careful about who he even lets hold an English bow. You can call Jack at 209 612 4448.

From’s another new feature, where we ask bluegrass personalities to choose their top five Gospel songs. This week we hear from Peter Thompson, host of Bluegrass Signal on KALW. The five I’ve chosen are all from the wonderful world of bluegrass, although I can imagine a collection that also includes favorites from African-American Gospel.

Wings – Kathy Kallick Band: Walkin’ In My Shoes (Live Oak, 1999)

Some Glad Day – Mac Martin & the Dixie Travelers: Basic Blue Grass (Old Homestead, 1987)

I’ll Not Be a Stranger – Stanley Brothers: The Early Starday-King Years (King, 1961)

When I Wake Up To Sleep No More – Marshall Family: Requests (Rebel, 1976)

Won’t You Come and Sing For Me? – Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard: Pioneering Women Of Bluegrass (Smithsonian-Folkways, 1973)

Of course, admits Peter, Kathy is my favorite singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bandleader, and I treasure the 20 years we’ve lived together. To continue, Click here.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Special bit of history from George George Martin—Best to click here first, then read George’s note …”Hi, Mold Man, this is my first bluegrass band, which started about 1971 and lasted until about 1975. This photo dates from about 1974. From left: Tom Vallowe, Jerry Long, George Martin, Laurie Lewis, John Kasley (who died a few days ago from a heart attack while hiking in England) and Gus (then known as Dave) Garelick. Laurie only played with us for about 2 1/2 months, when Dave, who was a taxi driver in his day job, broke his collarbone in a traffic accident. When he came back into the band we had a few important gigs lined up, a big anniversary party for the Oakland Tribune's centenary, and a Bluegrass Under the Stars concert I promoted at Oakland's Woodminster Amphitheater, so Laurie stayed for a while to give us a twin fiddle sound. This was before the Good Old Persons, her first paid gigs as a matter of fact. We played every week at the old Warehouse Cafe in Port Costa that summer.

Jerry Long was High Country's manager and booker just after that band started, in 1968. I knew him from his being a motorcycle road racer and when I met him at a High Country gig I became a "friend of the band" and got invited to a lot of picking parties, where I got to study Bruce Nemerov (their banjo player at the time) up close and personal for hours, which was really helpful to me in learning how to play. Jerry later got a music degree from SF State, became a really fine keyboardist and had a terrific jump jazz group called Jerry Long and the Planet Burners. I have since lost track of him and his name is so common that Google is no help. Vallowe disappeared after the band broke up and I've not seen him since. Kasley later joined me in a band with Joyce Hennessey, Richard Brooks (Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Assn.) and others in a band called Fresh Picked, in the late 1970s.”

Kasley worked for Standard Oil and traveled the world. He lived in Louisiana for a while, and Singapore that I know of. He retired a few years ago and he and his wife, Kathy, built what I suspect is a mini-mansion in Williamsburg, Va. There he played in some sort of a mandolin ensemble and Kathy took up the Celtic Harp and does healing music at senior citizen facilities. I think he was also a docent at Colonial Williamsburg. John was only 66; it was quite a shock to hear of his passing. The photo was taken by Greg Peterson, at that time a photographer for the San Francisco Chronicle, and did a lot of fashion and advertising work on the side. He had a really nice studio with fancy lights and all. George”

MOLD MAN RANT--Not a rant, really, but a heartfelt opinion. I loved reading George’s contribution to our collection of CBA Milestones. Like J.D. Rhynes, George was around in the beginning and is able to fill in the missing pieces of the Association’s historical patchwork. If you have something to contribute, either by writing a complete piece like Mr. Martin or just sending me a note with a milestone you believe is worthy of inclusion, I’d love to hear from you… The CBA has a rich history that deserves to be documented.

Edgar--Edgar Loudermilk, bass player and one of the singers that make Third Time Out among the top bluegrass vocal acts EVERY, has produced a new solo CD and it’s absolutely stunning. Click here.

Still missing this band--Mountain Laurel’s been gone for quite a while now, but every once in a while we die heart fans get a chance to go back in time. The Mountain Laurel Duet, Pete Siegfried and Kathy Barwick, fire up the old time machine tomorrow….12:00pm - 2:00pm, at the “boardwalk”, downtown Nevada City.

How long is eighteen feet? Well, if you’re a snake and you live in the U.S., long enough to get into the record books. “A Miami man has captured, killed, and reported the largest Burmese python ever caught in Florida, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials. Jason Leon was driving in a rural section of southwest Miami-Dade on May 11 when he and his passengers spotted a large snake in the road. Leon pulled over to investigate the reptile, then only sticking out three feet from a bush. As he began to drag the animal out from the foliage, the Burmese python began to wrap itself around Leon's leg. His friends inside the car then jumped out and used a knife to kill the python, which turned out to be a18-foot, 8-inch female, as later identified by University of Florida experts.” This is one of those Mold News items when you really to want to click to the photo. Click here.

May 22, 2013

MILESTONE--So, it seems Andy and Barney have to head on over to the Darlings’ place to help with a dispute between the clan’s head, Briscoe, and his rock-throwing and vexatious neighbor, "Ernest T. Bass.” Golly asks Andy, couldn’t you boys a’ jus taken care of old Bass yerself? “Well, Briscoe replies, "we thought about killing him... Kinda hated to go that far." Mayberry’s sheriff and his assistant ultimately straighten things out, but not before the Darlings, (Doug and Rodney Dillard and the rest of the boys in the band), treat the two with a little rendition of Dooley. It’s March 18, 1963 and the LA-based group is seen and heard by more people during a single performance than any other bluegrass band in the history of the planet. All told, the Dillard’s will sing and pick fourteen songs in six AGS episodes over a three-year period. What songs were they, you ask? Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Songs Performed by Dillards on the Andy Griffith Show:

Salty Dog
Ebo Walker
There is a Time
Shady Grove
Boil Them Cabbage Down
Doug's Tune
Stay all Night (Stay a Little Longer)
Low and Lonely
Banjo in the Hollow
Ol' Joe Clark
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms"
Whoa Mule"
Dueling Banjos

Old pals or mere acquaintances? The philosophical debate between Mark O’Connor and the fine folks over at Suzuki regarding how to teach kiddies to learn to play the fiddle seem to have taken yet another nasty turn…from O'Connor’s blog--"Suzuki relates that he was introduced to Einstein by a Professor Michaelis, who had met Shin’ichi’s father in Nagoya and asked Einstein to act as his “guardian” when he himself accepted an invitation to teach at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.(12) This account does not square with known facts." ---Margaret Mehl, Dr. Phil. (Bonn), Dr. Phil. (Copenhagen) Suzuki spent a few hours with the physicist Dr. Albert Einstein to sell him a violin in 1926. Thirty years later when Suzuki had an opportunity to sell his teaching materials to the West, he turned those few hours with Einstein into a full-blown "relationship." He claimed Einstein as his "guardian" and mentor, spending significant amounts of time with him and in the process beefing up his credentials to sell his educational materials to the West. American publishers and marketers included Einstein's name along with Suzuki's in articles and in books beginning in the 1960s with impunity, Einstein having died just a few years earlier. Posing as someone with great intellectual and philosophical capacity, Suzuki marketed himself to American teachers, hoping to make up for the fact that his own violin playing was weak and he did not have a prodigy he could boast as his own student. We have since discovered that Suzuki never did attend college, so he could not have received a PhD. We further learned that he flunked his entrance exam into Berlin's music conservatory in the 1920s, according to their own school records. A sobering story is unfolding of fraudulent activities in order to get ahead.” Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get Mark po’d.

But if you do, send him a box of chocolates--“Natural compounds in dark chocolate found to increase calmness: Research published in the May issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found cocoa polyphenols have a positive impact on mood in healthy individuals. ‘To our knowledge, this is the first randomized, controlled trial to substantiate the effects of cocoa polyphenols on positive mood states in a non-clinical sample,’ Matthew P. Pase of Swinburne University in Australia and his colleagues wrote in their study.
Click here.

Well, if the mother of the bride is a queen, of course the wedding will be royal.--“A royal bluegrass wedding in Tennessee”, writes John Lawless. “So now both of Rhonda’s daughters are married to members of her band. One wonders… does this mean that Hunter and Brent have jobs for life, or merely they will be watched like a hawk at work and at home? Tensel Lea Sandker and Brent Matthew Burke exchanging vows (April 14, 2013) Rhonda Vincent, the reigning Queen of Bluegrass, celebrated the marriage of her youngest daughter Tensel this past Sunday to Brent Burke, who plays reso-guitar in Vincent’s band. For those formally-minded: Tensel Lea Sandker and Brent Matthew Burke were married April 14, 2013 in Gallatin, TN. The wedding and reception were held at The Grand Inheritance, an historic property currently owned by bluegrass/Gospel artists Mike and Brenda Scott…Music during the ceremony was provided by The Isaacs, with the assistance of Josh Williams.” Oh, you say you forgot to send a wedding present? No fear, bring it along to Grass Valley and you can send it home with mom, who’ll be knocking them out of the park on Thursday and Friday nights. Click here.

And if it’s local royalty your looking for-Congratulations to Jenny Lynn Williams, (granddaughter of King Vern the First and daughter of Crown Prince Del), and Matt Dudman. They’s tied the knot and we’re happy for them.

What's up, you ask?Peter T. has, as , fortunately for us all, he is accustomed to do, refreshed his Bay Area Bluegrass calendar. A few dates that stand out…

May 20: Windy Hill - Amnesia, SF
May 21: Cabin Fever - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
May 22: Loganville - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
May 23 JimBo Trout/Fishpeople - Lagunitas Brewery, Petaluma
May 23: Jinx Jones & Jessica Rose - Atlas Cafe, SF
May 23: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
May 24: Windy Hill - Club Fox, Redwood City
May 25: Beargrass Creek - Mission Pizza, Fremont
May 26 (noon): Dark Hollow - The Sand Dollar, Stinson Beach
May 27: The Earl Brothers - Amnesia, SF
May 28: Windy Hill - Sam's BBQ, San Jose
May 29: Matt & George & Pleasant Valley Boys - Sam's BBQ
May 29: Bangers/Grass (Bill Evans/Friends) - Kensington Pub
May 30: Blue & Lonesome - Willowbrook Ale House, Petaluma
May 31: David Thom Band - Murphy's Sonoma

Do you know…probably you don't…that Peter Thompson has spent the past forty years helping people like you and me get in touch with our inner bluegrass selves. Click here.


A special edition of Mold News

There was a time when I didn’t like the sound of women singing bluegrass music. Didn’t have anything to do with being a sexist; I’m not sexist and wasn’t back then, either. Wasn’t prejudicial in the sense of doing any pre-judging…like deciding before I even heard a woman singing a bluegrass song that I just didn’t like it…you know, sort of on principle. Nope, none of that stuff. I just didn’t like the sound of it because it didn’t sound right to me. Back forty years ago I’d fallen for traditional bluegrass in a big, big way. I devoured it…which is to say I listened to everything I could get my hands on, attended every performance I could afford, read everything there was to read about it, (which was precious little back then), and, in time, even started performing it, for money, though very, very little. So, in short order I knew what traditional bluegrass music was supposed to sound like and when a female voice sang it, well, there was just something not quite right. Now that I’m writing about it, I guess in a way it really WAS a matter of principle. A girl could walk like a bluegrasser and talk like a bluegrasser, but if she didn’t sound like one…if she didn’t sound like Bill, Ralph, Jimmy, Lester, Bobby…then I’d just as soon not listen.

But living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970’s was, I’m sure my contemporaries will agree, the perfect antidote for that tunnel vision, (I guess you could saytunnel listen), and my bias against women bluegrass performers was very short lived. Kathy Kallick, Laurie Lewis, Carol McComb, Dianna Donnelly, to name just a few…these were the people who opened my eyes, and more importantly, my ears…and when I think back on those early days after my conversion, many of the sweetest recollections I carry with me have to do with these and other women performing at the time.

So why this sudden confession? Why the special Mold edition. Simple, when I opened by email account this a.m. I found the following email from my pal Larry Carlin…” MM: I don't know if you have covered this or not yet. This should be quite a hot item, methinks:” Larry thinks right, we can be sure of that. The arrival of Murphy Henry’s Pretty Good for a Girl; Women in Bluegrass is, for anyone who’s followed the bluegrass genre over the past decade or so, momentous. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many requests for information, for confirmation, sometimes just for a semi-fresh lead to nail down one detail or another, Murphy has posted on the www. For me, learning at four a.m. that Murphy Henry’s years-long quest is finally over is just downright historic. Here’s what the University of Illinois Press had to say about Pretty Good for a Girl…

“Untold and unsung stories of women in bluegrass

The first book devoted entirely to women in bluegrass, Pretty Good for a Girl documents the lives of more than seventy women whose vibrant contributions to the development of bluegrass have been, for the most part, overlooked. Accessibly written and organized by decade, the book begins with Sally Ann Forrester, who played accordion and sang with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys from 1943 to 1946, and continues into the present with artists such as Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and the Dixie Chicks. Drawing from extensive interviews, well-known banjoist Murphy Hicks Henry gives voice to women performers and innovators throughout bluegrass's history, including such pioneers as Bessie Lee Mauldin, Wilma Lee Cooper, and Roni and Donna Stoneman; family bands including the Lewises, Whites, and McLains; and later pathbreaking performers such as the Buffalo Gals and other all-girl bands, Laurie Lewis, Lynn Morris, Missy Raines, and many others.” (Murphy Hicks Henry's trailer for her book can be seen by clicking here.)

They say that confession is good for the soul. I'm not sure whether it’s that, or the fact that I just ordered Murphy’s book on her web site, but I’m feeling pretty derned good this morning. Have a terrific weekend and meet me back hear first thing Monday morning.


A special edition of Mold News

There was a time when I didn’t like the sound of women singing bluegrass music. Didn’t have anything to do with being a sexist; I’m not sexist and wasn’t back then, either. Wasn’t prejudicial in the sense of doing any pre-judging…like deciding before I even heard a woman singing a bluegrass song that I just didn’t like it…you know, sort of on principle. Nope, none of that stuff. I just didn’t like the sound of it because it didn’t sound right to me. Back forty years ago I’d fallen for traditional bluegrass in a big, big way. I devoured it…which is to say I listened to everything I could get my hands on, attended every performance I could afford, read everything there was to read about it, (which was precious little back then), and, in time, even started performing it, for money, though very, very little. So, in short order I knew what traditional bluegrass music was supposed to sound like and when a female voice sang it, well, there was just something not quite right. Now that I’m writing about it, I guess in a way it really WAS a matter of principle. A girl could walk like a bluegrasser and talk like a bluegrasser, but if she didn’t sound like one…if she didn’t sound like Bill, Ralph, Jimmy, Lester, Bobby…then I’d just as soon not listen.

But living in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970’s was, I’m sure my contemporaries will agree, the perfect antidote for that tunnel vision, (I guess you could saytunnel listen), and my bias against women bluegrass performers was very short lived. Kathy Kallick, Laurie Lewis, Carol McComb, Dianna Donnelly, to name just a few…these were the people who opened my eyes, and more importantly, my ears…and when I think back on those early days after my conversion, many of the sweetest recollections I carry with me have to do with these and other women performing at the time.

So why this sudden confession? Why the special Mold edition. Simple, when I opened by email account this a.m. I found the following email from my pal Larry Carlin…” MM: I don't know if you have covered this or not yet. This should be quite a hot item, methinks:” Larry thinks right, we can be sure of that. The arrival of Murphy Henry’s Pretty Good for a Girl; Women in Bluegrass is, for anyone who’s followed the bluegrass genre over the past decade or so, momentous. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many requests for information, for confirmation, sometimes just for a semi-fresh lead to nail down one detail or another, Murphy has posted on the www. For me, learning at four a.m. that Murphy Henry’s years-long quest is finally over is just downright historic. Here’s what the University of Illinois Press had to say about Pretty Good for a Girl…

“Untold and unsung stories of women in bluegrass

The first book devoted entirely to women in bluegrass, Pretty Good for a Girl documents the lives of more than seventy women whose vibrant contributions to the development of bluegrass have been, for the most part, overlooked. Accessibly written and organized by decade, the book begins with Sally Ann Forrester, who played accordion and sang with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys from 1943 to 1946, and continues into the present with artists such as Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, and the Dixie Chicks. Drawing from extensive interviews, well-known banjoist Murphy Hicks Henry gives voice to women performers and innovators throughout bluegrass's history, including such pioneers as Bessie Lee Mauldin, Wilma Lee Cooper, and Roni and Donna Stoneman; family bands including the Lewises, Whites, and McLains; and later pathbreaking performers such as the Buffalo Gals and other all-girl bands, Laurie Lewis, Lynn Morris, Missy Raines, and many others.” (Murphy Hicks Henry's trailer for her book can be seen by clicking here.)

They say that confession is good for the soul. I'm not sure whether it’s that, or the fact that I just ordered Murphy’s book on her web site, but I’m feeling pretty derned good this morning. Have a terrific weekend and meet me back hear first thing Monday morning.

May 17, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--June, 1980, and something truly remarkable happens on the stage of the fifth Annual Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival—a nationally-known act, Buck White and the Downhome Folks are brought is introduced to a gone-crazy Saturday night audience. And for good measure, Buck brings along his son-in-law, Ricky Skaggs. So begins a trend that will bring the brightest stars in bluegrass to our little slice of heaven in Nevada County.

If you can stand a little squeamish--Mary Roach has become one of my favorite authors as of late, probably because every other sentence or so makes me want to squirm. Different but akin to why some people like to go to horror movies. Mary’s latest book, Gulp, takes us through a guided tour of the human digestive track, and if you don’t think that topic has got squirm power you’d better think again. I haven’t read Gulp yet but have caught the author talk about her new offering, most recently during an interview with the crazy folks at Here’s how the interviewer begins…“Mary Roach prides herself on exploring places that make us uncomfortable. Her first book, Stiff, chronicled what happens to corpses after we die. When I interviewed her in 2008 about her book on sex, Bonk, she shared footage of her and her husband having intercourse. (Trust me, it’s the most G-rated sex tape you’ll ever see.) Her latest book, Gulp, takes us to places we depend on for our very lives but that most of us would prefer not to see: our mouths, stomachs, and intestines. Listen to Roach’s April 6 talk at Politics & Prose, in which she ponders questions like “Why would we be repulsed by spitting into our own bowl of soup, when the same soup comes into contact with the same saliva in our mouths?” Click here.

All but mando freaks may want to skip to the next item--“Fretboard Studies for the Improvising Mandolinist…Pacific, Mo. — Mel Bay Publications, Inc. has announced the release of Fretboard Studies for the Improvising Mandolinist by Todd Collins, a collection of tools to help improve one's knowledge of the fretboard. Scales, arpeggios, patterns, intervallic exercises and progressions are included. Exercises help the player build muscle memory and musical ideas anywhere on the fretboard. A collection of tunes is also included. Connect the physical with the theoretical and become a better improviser.” Okay now, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Click here.

So tell us something we didn’t know intuitively-- Research to be published in the May issue of the Journal of Psychopharmacology has found cocoa polyphenols have a positive impact on mood in healthy individuals. “To our knowledge, this is the first randomized, controlled trial to substantiate the effects of cocoa polyphenols on positive mood states in a non-clinical sample,” Matthew P. Pase of Swinburne University in Australia and his colleagues wrote in their study. “Future research is needed to investigate whether cocoa polyphenols can ameliorate the symptoms associated with clinical anxiety or depression.”

Obscure little documentary--So, like, you’ve got to waste your time somewhere on the Internet, right? I mean, isn’t that the unwritten rule? The Bluegrass L is one of my time pits, mainly because every now and then I learn of a little jewel like this one….a fifty-two minue documentary from 1979 with the Knoxville Grass, Jimmy Martin, Ralph Stanley and Lester Flatt. Click here.

MOLDY’S JOB OPPORTUNITIES--Mars One Registration--Welcome to the registration page of the Mars One Astronaut Application Program, the first step to become one of the first humans on Mars in 2023! After you have successfully completed this registration, you will be able to apply for the selection program to become a Mars One astronaut. Click to find more information on the Mars One astronaut application and selection program. There, you can find detailed information regarding every step of the online astronaut application process: from the initial registration, to the notification of results after the selection of this first application round has taken place. Click here.

May 16, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s 1964 and if you live in Middletown, Ohio, it’s a pretty sure bet that your favorite rock and roll group is called Irvin MackIntosh and His Band. And chances are just as good that, if you happen to be a girl, the kid with the wavy black hair and the soulful voice is the number one reason you like the band, so it’s not surprising that you’re more than a little disappointed when you hear through the grapevine that the kid named Larry has gone off and joined a bluegrass band. Bad news for Irv Mackintosh fans, excellent news for the kid, because, as luck, not to mention immense talent, would have it, he’s just been hired by one of the most enduring bluegrass stars of all time…Colonel Ralph Stanley. The young Larry Sparks tours extensively with Ralph and Carter for two years and when Carter dies tragically in December of 1966, the boy from Middletown is offered a full time job as guitar player and lead singer. He takes the coveted position with the Clinch Mountain Boys and for the next forty years he records some of the most soulful bluegrass music ever captured on vinyl. In 2014 Larry Sparks will make his 50th Anniversary Tour throughout the United States. Let’s hope one of his stops is Grass Valley. Click here.

What will these characters think of next?”North Carolina May Ban Tesla Sales to Prevent Unfair Competition. Tesla sells its Model S online and has showrooms in several states, but North Carolina wants to prohibit the company from selling cars unless it goes through third-party dealerships. From the state that brought you the nation’s first ban on climate science comes another gem: a bill that would prohibit automakers from selling their cars in the state. Click here.

Program Note--It’s good to see a new, strong venue for our kind of music open. Mighty Fine Guitars in Lafayette will present a night of DUOS…Keystone Crossing, (Larry Carlin and Claudia Hampe), and Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally this Saturday night. This will be a pass-the-hat event with a suggested donation of $15-20 per person. Please RSVP to to reserve space.

You never know where you’ll run into this is not known for a predilection to old-time music but recently our pal Bruce Molsky showed up there…or at least his latest CD project did. “I owe Bruce Molsky 15 bucks. That's for the time a Mother Jones intern ripped me an illicit copy of Soon Be Time, his sixth solo CD, which I've pretty much listened to death. But I figure I actually owe Molsky, a master of old-time Appalachian music, way more than that, because it was his playing that inspired me to pick up a fiddle and attempt to play the damn thing to the point where it no longer sounded like a wounded cat. I believe I have succeeded in this. You'll have to ask my cat. Plus, I figure that if Molsky could ditch a stable career as a mechanical engineer and become a professional musician at age 40, there was hope for me yet. (Hey, a man can dream.) Click here.

Buckle your seat belt and get ready to watch the signing of the Magna Cara-- Now here’s some very big news…incredible news, really. You think it’s a little dicey that Iran is working to create it’s own nuc’s? Hah, that child’s play compared to Ali Razegh’s nifty new discovery…”The Tehran Telegraph caused a stir Wednesday with a story about a young Tehran-based scientist, Ali Razeghi, and an invention he calls "The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine." Reportedly something of a mad scientist, Razeghi claimed the device, which "easily fits into the size of a personal computer case," can predict with 98-percent accuracy the future five to eight years of an individual's life. The Telegraph cited an earlier story, in Farsi, by Iranian news agency Fars. However, The Washington Post reports that Fars quietly deleted the story, even as it began to go viral among Western media outlets. (Fars' link is now dead.) The Atlantic Wire points out that the story never even made it to the Science section on the site's English-language side.” What? You say you don't believe it? Oh, ye of little faith, infidel with eyes blinded by western imperialism, denier of the greatness of the Persian Empire…read on-- Click here.

And for you harpists in the audience--Thanks to for this one…“California Autoharp Gathering Brings Back the Kids. In the past, the gathering has supported as many as 40 students through grants and donations. Thanks to generous donations this year, the program will continue and 20 students will study autoharp, Americana, Singing and other folk instruments. The gathering promises to give them experiences they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives to help inspire their creativity. More donations are still being requested and you can count any contribution for a qualified tax deduction through the Fresno Historical Society. The 2013 Gathering will be3 held this week, May 16-19, at St. Nicholas Ranch in Dunlap, CA and welcomes all levels of musicianship. Even if you’ve never played an instrument before, you will find yourself right at home says the program’s State Director, Mike Mueller. Click here.

May 15, 2013

MILESTONE--For some strange reason known only to its members, and probably not even all of them, a Maryland family decides in 1973 that what humankind needs if it wants to survive and flourish is a national magazine devoted to…not God, not morality, not agriculture and family farming, not technology, not even ethics or diversity or tolerance and acceptance of other people with other views. No, in 1973 the Nitchie family decides that what’s need is a magazine whose only focus, only subject, is that of banjo. Mom and pop and the kids found the Banjo Newsletter and and vow to cover all popular styles of 5 string banjo playing; each issue is roughly divided in half between 3 finger and old time styles. There are also articles on classic and minstrel banjo from time to time. Now, forty years later, the Nitchie folks will begin to publish a web-based version of the magazine…they’ll continue with the print version, of course. Click here.

CHEWING--There are few opening sentences that are as sure to keep me reading as this one…There is a point at which efficiency crosses over into lunacy. I hope the same is true for you. “There is a point at which efficiency crosses over into lunacy, and the savings in money or resources cease to be worthwhile in light of the price paid in other ways. Horace Fletcher, the self-dubbed economic nutritionist, danced around that point his whole career. What amazes me is the degree to which he was taken seriously. Fletcher was the instigator of a fad for extremely thorough chewing. We are not talking about British Prime Minister William Gladstone’s 32 chews per bite. We are talking about this: “One-fifth of an ounce of the midway section of the young garden onion, sometimes called ‘challot,’ has required 722 mastications before disappearing through involuntary swallowing. Fletcher in the flesh did not, by most accounts, appear to be the crackpot that that sentence suggests. He is described as cheerful and charming, a bon vivant who liked to dress in cream-colored suits that set off his tan and matched his snowy hair. He believed in physical fitness, clean living, good manners, fine food. Fletcher’s well-lubed charm and connections served him well. Generals and presidents took up “Fletcherizing,” as did Henry James, Franz Kafka, the inevitable Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. In 1912, around the fad’s peak, Oklahoma Sen. Robert L. Owen penned a proclamation—a draft of which resides among the Fletcher papers at Harvard—urging the formation of a National Department of Health based on the principles of the Fletcher system. Sen. Owen declared excessive chewing a “national asset” worthy of compulsory teaching in schools. Not long after, Fletcher snagged a post on Herbert Hoover’s World War I Commission for Relief in Belgium.” Click here.

Ashokan Farewell--OLIVEBRIDGE, N.Y.—On a spring Sunday in the Catskill Mountains, Jay Ungar, a fiddler wearing a black vest and hiking boots, and his wife, Molly Mason, playing guitar, stood on a stage in a barnlike performance hall that did not exist a year ago. “Can you stand to hear this tune one more time?” he asked the audience. Those gathered knew the tune — and the answer. With a quilt behind them on a wall wainscoted with locally cut pine, Mr. Ungar closed his eyes and pulled his bow to sound the three ascending notes — an A, a C-sharp and a D — that have moved him since the day he wrote them. Click here to continue.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mr. Man, I have just spent an incredible three hours perusing the October through December, January through March and April through June Mold News Archives on the web site of the California Bluegrass Association and all I can say is, WOW. You don’t have to believe this and I won’t blame you if you don’t, but from the moment I met you last Friday I knew I was in the presence of greatness. I can’t explain exactly why. Lord knows it was, to say the least, an awkward situation, but perhaps in a sense that could be the source of my admiration. The grace and calm and forbearance you exhibited there at the airport, later at police headquarters throughout the entire booking process and, most especially, before the county magistrate Saturday morning is something I shall not soon forget. As the arresting officer of record and as a thirty-two year veteran of the Lynchburg Police Department I can only say that the unfortunate string of misunderstandings and miscommunications that led to your and Mrs. Man’s arrest and incarceration constituted a comedy of errors never before witnessed by this law man. I just want you to know that the affair at Lynchburg International last week was certainly not the first time that Pastor Hinn’s behavior has led to a dust-up in our otherwise peaceable and hospitable Southern city. Please convey my best wishes to Mrs. Man and know that now that I’ve discovered your writings on the Internet I will join the ranks of what must be a veritable army of faithful readers. Humbly yours, Assistant Chief, Howard B. Gropes, Lynchburg P.D.” Thanks for the kind words, Howard, and please, don’t beat yourself up over this. Believe me, this wasn’t the first dust-up Mrs. Mold’s behavior has caused either.

And while we’re delving in the annals of American crime and punishment…”CHICAGO—He never sang to the feds, but it turns out Al Capone had a song in his heart. All it took was a stint in Alcatraz to bring it out. Now, more than 70 years later, the tender love song that the ruthless crime boss penned while sitting in the pen is being recorded and released on CD. And an inscribed copy of the music and lyrics to "Madonna Mia" is up for sale at $65,000. ‘It's a beautiful song, a tearjerker,’ said Rich Larsen of, who helped line up musicians and singers to record it. The story of "Madonna Mia" begins in a cell in Alcatraz, where Scarface was sent after getting pinched for tax evasion. Capone, who loved opera and jazz and whose speakeasies hired musicians like Louis Armstrong, apparently had time to kill. Capone could read music and liked to play a banjo and a mandola, which is like a mandolin, only bigger. According to Larsen, who is working on a documentary about Capone's influence on music in the 1920s and '30s, the gangster begged the warden for permission to form a small band. The warden relented, the inmates sent away for instruments, and Capone made music behind bars. Enter Vincent Casey. As part of his training to become a Jesuit priest, Casey would visit Alcatraz to offer spiritual counsel to prisoners in the 1930s. Casey and Capone talked in the mobster's cell every Saturday for two years, becoming good friends, said Casey's son, Mike Casey, a retired airline employee in Temecula, California. ‘My father spoke very highly of him,’ Casey said. ‘It was incredible. This criminal murdered many people, but he told me when you got to know the man in the cellblock on Alcatraz, he was very humble and polite and courteous.’ One Christmas, Capone presented his friend with a piece of sheet music. The lyrics told of a man's undying love for his ‘Madonna Mia.’” Now, here’s where the ironic twist comes in; a few years later, Scarface completed his term in Alcatraz and was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution at Terminal Island in California, to serve a one-year contempt of court sentence. It was there in 1941 that Capone bludgeoned a fellow prisoner to death with his beloved, very heavy, banjo. Al was charged with manslaughter but his defense attorney convinced the jury that his client had acted in self-defense.

May 14, 2013

I can scarcely believe these words are tap, tap, tapping out of my fingers onto the keyboard and then snaking up the cable into my Mac where they travel at the speed of light to the rented space on the GoDaddy server in Buffalo and then, not even slowing to catch their breath, hurl back to your flat screen, but, my God how I miss not having made it to Fort Wayne this weekend. Nope, Maude and I didn’t make it to Indiana, didn’t get to dress up in our fancies and attend the Fort Wayne Polytechnic High School Reunion at the Peach Tree Gun and Racket Resort and, alas, didn’t get to reminisce with Maudie’s ex-beaus Doug, Malcolm and Craigy. My wife the penny-pinching, save-a-buck-wherever you can manager of our finances booked our flights with Liberty Airlines, a subsidiary of Jerry Fallwell’s world-famous Liberty Baptist University, whose hub is, naturally, located in Lynchburg, Virginia. What was to be a three-hour layover turned into a day and a half nightmare when Maudie was grabbed by a SWAT Team made up of Transportation Security Administration personnel, LBU Campus Police and Virginia State Troppers when she rush Benny Hinn’s entourage for an autograph. The diminutive and always smartly dressed Benny, who was in Lynchburg to make the keynote address at LBU’s 40th Commencement and who is, some say, fearful to the point of irrationality about Satan-inspired terrorist designs on his life, limb and ministry, let out a blood curdling scream when my darling, hoping to get an autograph, broke thru the outer ring of the evangelist’s security force. How blood curdling, you ask? Well, blood curdling enough for a Level Four T-Resp was sounded. To borrow a phrase from the New Testament, in the twinkling of an eye Maudie and I were on our stomachs examining close up the agrarian-themed corn-cotton-and-cow pattern of Lynchburg International’s carpeting. Suffice it to say that by the time the TSA, FBI, OCPD and LBUSS were finished with the missus and me attending a high school reunion at the Gun and Racket was the last thing on our minds. We took the next flight back home to California and do not plan on leaving here for a long, long time. For my part, I say to hell with Doug and Malcom and especially to Craigy.

CBA MILESTONE--It’s 1997 and our first year in the fairgrounds proper and to celebrate the occasion the Association buys it’s first ever real, honest-to-God stage, one that’s not build out of two-by-fours and orange and blue tarps duct taped together. The new stage, which the board saved up years to buy, had proper stage curtains behind the entertainers and a cover large enough to keep inclement weather at bay. The cover was high enough to dissipate the heat from the stage lights, so that the performance area was less an oven than a stage. In the years that follow, festivals around the U.S. will use the CBA stage as a model.

Flatfoot--It wasn’t long after this year’s Great 48 that I told you all about Rebecca Stout, recently transplanted L.A. old-time dance feenomm. We’d hoped to get Becky to the Fathers Day blow out this year but that was not meant to be. Becky and I do, however, still keep in touch. Here’s a little note I received over the weekend. “That's right, Sunday is Mother's Day and this mama can't think of a better way to spend it than dancing! This week Papa June will be joining us on bass and sister Mary will be there showing off her freshly pierced ears. Please join us for and after-brunch dance-a-thon from 1pm-2:30pm. We will be working on intermediate steps from 1 to 1:45, then beginner chugs and walking steps from 1:45 to 2:30. Maybe Korean BBQ afterward? Please go to for more details on classes and upcoming events. We have a lot of exciting stuff brewing behind the scenes right now, including a new store, apprenticeship and charitable fundraising opportunities, so check the website regularly this month to keep abreast what's happening in the non-stop, thrill-ride life and times of this flatfootin' L.A. mama. Everybody cut footloose, Rebecca "Becky Boo" Stout, Flatfoot and Fancy Free… Keep your flatfeet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." Boo’s copywriting should give you just a hint of what her dancing is like.

Friday Letter--My Friday Letter from the North Coast was faithfully waiting in my in box when we made it back from Lynchburg. Here’s my favorite from last week’s edition…

As I hurtled through space, one thought kept crossing my mind - every part of this rocket was supplied by the lowest bidder.–John Glenn

America is the only country where a significant proportion of the population believes that professional wrestling is real but the moon landing was faked.-- David Letterman

After the game, the King and the Pawn go into the same box.–Italian proverb

Men are like linoleum floors. Lay 'em right and you can walk all over them for thirty years.--Betsy Salkind

The only reason they say 'Women and children first' is to test the strength of the lifeboats.--Jean Kerr

I've been married to a communist and a fascist, and neither would take out the garbage.--Zsa Zsa Gabor

When a man opens a car door for his wife, it's either a new car or a new wife.--Prince Philip

The best cure for sea sickness, is to sit under a tree.--Spike Milligan

Having more money doesn't make you happier. I have 50 million dollars but I'm just as happy as when I had 48 million.--Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We are here on earth to do good unto others. What the others are here for, I have no idea.--W.H. Auden

I don't believe in astrology. I am a Sagittarius and we're very skeptical.--Arthur C Clarke

Hollywood must be the only place on earth where you can be fired by a man wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a baseball cap.--Steve Martin

Home cooking. Where many a man thinks his wife is.--Jimmy Durante

The first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone.--George Roberts

If God had intended us to fly he would have made it easier to get to the airport--Jonathan Winters

I have kleptomania, but when it gets bad, I take something for it.--Robert Benchley

I'm wondering if the airline loses your baggage, do you get a checked bag fee refund?—Me, Friday Email creator.

May 9, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--It’s 1957 and a young naval officer transplanted from Baltimore to the San Francisco Bay Area is introduced to bluegrass music when his friend, a fellow Navy man from Florida, spins a platter of his beloved Flatt & Scruggs. And just like that, the young man is forever changed. “I was immediately astounded by the instrumental fire and virtuosity of bluegrass,” he would say decades later, “but the mountain harmonies were unfamiliar and took a little while to get accustomed to. In short order, I was playing my buddy’s baritone ukulele and singing Ramshackle Shack, Some Old Day”, and Wait a Little Longer Please Jesus. A few years later, now out of the Navy and attending Boalt Hall School of Law in Berkeley, he starts playing banjo, first Scruggs style but later claw hammer. “There was no one I knew of to show me or teach me, and picks made my hand feel like it had a boxing glove on, so I went to frailing.” Although from the beginning he prefers mountain and traditional songs such as Rabbit in a Log, Hand me Down my Walkin’ Cane, More Pretty Girls than One, our young veteran never loses his love for bluegrass music and we can all be thankful for that. In 1975, the now practicing attorney and a hand full of other bluegrass nuts decide they’re going to form an official organization to make sure the music they love in common never, ever goes away. You can read the entire story of how MEMBER #1 got hooked on bluegrass by clicking here.

Walking with a spring in his step--Not a bad spring for Pete according to his Facebook post yesterday…”Well, folks, it is getting busy in our bluegrass world. This week, Parkfield Thursday and Friday with the Central Valley Boys, then Saturday in Sutter Creek. Lora Ellen is putting on our campout at Bolado Park on Memorial Day weekend, and a few days later I retire from 23 years at the Adult School (I will still sub) and get back to being a picker, luthier and instrument dealer. I will also be teaching fiddle, mandolin, guitar and ukulele. I am also going to get back to playing some electric C and W gigs with some old buddies in Prunedale.” Adult School’s loss is clearly our gain. Congrats Pete

It can be a sixteen wheel Mack Truck or a tiny eight legged spider, but when it’s time to go, it’s time to go--Spider Bite Does in Thrash Metal Pioneer Click here.

A word from dad--“Our new CD, Tangled Roots, is finally here! 14 tracks of Schwartz family bluegrass. Thank to Tom Size and Matt Dudman, who recorded this project for us. You can order a copy from us, and it's also available on CDBaby, or on iTunes, along with the other usual virtual haunts. Hope you like it!” Bob Schwartz, the Oak Grove Family Band

A couple of late show alerts--Slide Road, (Jim Mintun, Louise Sully Mintun, Avram Frankel and Hide Kawatsure) will play Phil’s Fish Market tonight, and tomorrow night Rita Hosking will be appearing along with the Carolina Chocolate Drops at McNears' Mystic Theatre in Petaluma CA…kinda makes you glad you’re a Northern CA’er, yes?

All it takes is being in the right place at the right time with the right idea--“Bulletproof Cup: Jeremiah Raber Develops Nutshellz Groin Protector In Basement; Army Interested…A Missouri man developed a bulletproof cup that recently caught the attention of the military, according to a report. Jeremiah Raber, of High Ridge, Mo., told area TV station KSDK (watch above) on Monday that he received an Army request to test his product. Raber, who originally intended the groin protection for mixed martial arts fighters, has invested several years in his basement and $100,000 to build the prototype into what he calls "the world's strongest cup." In a demonstration for the station, Raber fired several rounds from a 9 mm handgun and a .22 caliber pistol. Bullets bounced off the device, which Raber calls Nutshellz. The safety gear retails for $125 and is being sold mostly to "police, athletes and private military contractors," the station said. Click here.

Still on the fence? Well, jump off and head down--The weather at Parkfield- Thursday through Sunday: 79°, 86°, 91°, 91°. The bands: the Roland White Band, the Kathy Kallick Band, the Central Valley Boys (From Central Valley, Dark Hollow Bluegrass Band, Rocky Neck Bluegrass, Rock Ridge. the Roustabouts (from Bakersfield, the Get Down Boys, Snap Jackson & The Knock On Wood Players, Old time Fiddle and Banjo Show, and Leroy Mack Gospel Show. Click here.

So, you say nobody ever laughs at your jokes? Listen up, pilgrim--“On May 5, Milton Berle’s joke files—four cabinets holding thousands of 3x5 cards, indexed by subject—will be sold in Los Angeles. The comedian, who died in 2002, had a decades-long career in show biz, working in vaudeville, night clubs, films, radio, and finally and most famously on television. Berle’s live variety show “Texaco Star Theater” was the highest-rated program on TV in the late 1940s. The show was the first “appointment television”: Local businesses reported empty shops and restaurants during its airing, and cities experienced drops in water pressure in the five minutes after it was over, as everyone who had been putting off visiting the facilities until the show was done finally found relief. While this peak of success, which earned Berle the moniker “Mr. Television,” didn’t last, Berle remained a familiar figure on postwar TV, anchoring variety shows off and on through the late 1960s. The presale estimate for the trove was $10,000 to $15,000."

Read more:

May 8, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--It’s 1993 and the Dry Branch Fire Squad is…oh, hell, let’s just have Ron tell the story. “With 37 years of performances in the band’s history, and with nowhere to store information above my neck, I can’t remember exactly which year was our first at Grass Valley. I do remember that it was very shortly after DBFS played for the celebration of the 25th year of King Hassan’s reign in Morocco because I remember that back then the folks at CBA were very much like the wonderful cultural liaisons that that government provided for us; namely, very tolerant of us hillbillies and very, very accepting of our music. So it must have been the early 90s. (Editor’s Note—Confirmed to be 1993.) The CBA crowd back then was quite “hip” and seemed to get what we were doing and manifested an appreciation of it by buying all the recordings that we had and lining up in a very polite way all the way around the merch shelter with patience to do it. It was not our first trip to CA, but it was quite a different crowd than the ones we had played for previously in southern and northern CA. We started some life-long friendships with folks like J.D. Rhynes and other members of the group. I also remember that I did a “mandolin workshop” which was less formal than any other I’d ever been involved in; it took place under a tree just outside the concert area. As Doc Holiday might have said, “Very Californian.” I have nice memories of the other trips we made to GV as well, but, of course, the first one stands out nicely because of the goodness of the folks we met there and what a surprise that was, since we expected that our type of old-timey show would not go over too well in front of such hip, trend-setting people. I guess we eventually all changed, but I think that CBA, back in those early days, showed us that there was a place for “ancients” like us in CA. It manifests itself these days with our annual Sunday morning gospel set at Hardly, Strictly Bluegrass which has been a tradition in all but the first year of that event. I guess that may be the most “traditional” part of HSB.
All the best, Ron Thomason

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“MM,I don't know if you know Amber Cross ( or not. I first heard her sing at a CBA campout about six years ago. She is not quite bluegrass, but man, she has a great voice and is quite the writer. She has a new and first CD out titled You Can Come In and she got a great review in Country Music People magazine ( but the site does not run it contents without a subscription. In the meantime, attached is a jpeg of the review. She will have the review linked on her web site soon. She will be playing at Parkfield (as part of the Old Time Fiddle and Banjo Show)(she will be singing some of her own songs with this band) , and as herself at Live Oak, and the SF Free Folk Festival.

Wanna talk your major medical breakthrough? How about this--Absolutely amazing…”Oxygen Injections: Microparticles May Save Lives Of Patients Who Can't Breathe, Scientists Say Click here.

Mr. Hogel waves his magic wand--A lot of people have told me over the years that among their favorite parts of the annual Fathers Day Festival is its workshops. Evaluations of the sessions, whether they be focused on playing an instrument or shooting festival photos or introducing bluegrass into your primary grade classroom, are almost universally strong. But unless you’re able to glimpse behind the curtain, you probably don’t know the name of the man who, year after year, ensures that only the best presenters are schedule into the four days of workshops. Well, the man’s name is Stevie Hogle and, believe me, there’s no magic wand. Steve starts months before the event and winnows and winnows till he’s constructed a balanced and strong workshop schedule. And the schedule’s out now…Click here.

An intolerable waste of words, says the programmer--Got a warning from the programmer dude last week that the Moldy Archive has been chopped into manageable chunks because it’s getting so big…so now we’re breaking it into quarters. ( ) I admit this isn’t exactly earth shaking news, but the moldy crew got a kick out of the way the programmer communicated his…what, concern, disdain, amusement? It’s hard to tell with programmers. “TO: PERSON WHO CALLS HIMSELF MOLD MAN; FROM: KEVIN THE PROGRAMMER; SUBJECT: SPACE ISSUE RE: MOLD NEWS ARCHIVE; According to Amazon’s great Text Stats feature, the median length for all novels is about 64,000 words. The figure was found through looking at a number of books’ text stats, until "Brave New World‘s” 64,531 word count landed in the exact center of all books–50% of books have fewer words and 50% of books have more words. That means, of course, that whoever wrote the 142,000-plus words I found in the archive could have by now, if he/she had a lick of talent, written nearly two and a third novels. For someone with little or no talent, however, an intolerable waste of words.”

May 7, 2013

MILESTONE--Breaking up is hard to do, but few splits have had the profound and transformative impact on Americana music that the one in 1938 does. The Monroe Brothers spectacular ride ends that year and Bill kicks it up a notch by assembling a band instead of finding another duo partner. It is this new act, called Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys, that synthesize all of the components of what will make bluegrass music bluegrass music. These elements, the mando, five string, guitar, fiddle and bass configuration, the gospel, work songs, folk, country, and blues, the alternating showcasing of lead, harmony singing and instrumental “breaks” are joined by yet another genre hallmark, the sound of a brand new kind of five-string banjo playing initiated by virtuoso Earl Scruggs. The stage is set, and the procession of acts that will follow for decades to come lights up the souls of aficionados the world over. Click here.

Be nice, collect good karma, get rich--It’s really that simple. From Fox News…” Single mother's simple error earns her $14 million lottery prize …At the intersection of Fate and Lotto, Thuan Le made a very fortunate error. The California single mother of four is thanking her lucky stars after mistakenly slipping an extra dollar into the self-service Lotto machine at her local CVS store in Mission Viejo. That superfluous dollar wound up getting Le the SuperLotto Plus ticket holding the five winning numbers -- 5, 33, 25, 46, 32 -- plus the Mega number, 26, selected randomly in the April 24 drawing. In all, Le won a $14 million jackpot. Single mother's simple error earns her $14 million lottery prize. Click here.

Mental preparation--Don’t know if you’ve noticed, but every day in the upper right hand corner of the splash page’s mast head you can see the number of days before we all meet back at Grass Valley. Today’s number is 38. So, seeing as how we’re just a hop, skip and a jump away from the festival, I’ve started my preparations. Most are mundane…power washing the old rig, rudimentary packing, up-tick in wood-shedding, etc. But one step I’m taking this year for the first time is mental. I’ve started “visiting” a different spot at the Nevada County Fairground each day: Vern’s, Vern’s Stage, Quaker Hill, Our Main Stage, Nighttime, Main Stage, Daytime, Hookups Only Camping Area, Kids On Bluegrass Camp Area, Concessions Row, The Pioneer Stage, Lion's Lake and Gate Five, through which we enter the fairgrounds proper Fathers Day Festival. Each visit consists of a 360 degree view of what’s going on at that particular location. Good for the mind, soothing for the impatient soul. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Mold Man, thought you might like to know that the CBA's own Max Schwartz is the bassist in the top high school jazz combo in the country, according to Downbeat Magazine. Max is just a freshman at Berkeley High School, playing in a combo with five seniors on their way to various top-notch university music programs in the country. You can read all about it at this web page.. Bob Schwartz” Proud dad and excellent reason for it.

Confessions of a banjo player--They say that Facebook can be the undoing of you if you’re not careful. Then again, FB can serve as an excellent device for letting the world know that just because you’re famous for making one kind of music doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a lot of others. Ask Bill Evans, who posted the following at about one a.m. this morning…”One more shot from tonight's Rolling Stones concert in Oakland - their second show on this relatively short US tour. Keith Richards could be a great banjo player if he ever decides to get serious about this music thing.”

Okay, so tell us something we DIDN’T know--Alright, I will. Yes, we do know that there’s a mountain of research stretching back a hundred years showing a conclusive link between good mental health and contact with animals. Cats and dogs and horses are the usual subjects of such studies, but occasionally you’ll find a less likely animal therapist…say, like, maybe llamas. ”Animals have been used in medical settings for more than a hundred years, according to NPR’s Julie Rovner, but scientists have only recently discovered the link between exposure to animals and increased oxytocin levels—which can lead to feelings of happiness and trust. Household pets like dogs and cats are commonly trained as therapy animals, as are dolphins and horses. Llamas, however, are a novelty, as Osborne found out on her one-day assignment. Osborne followed the two animals, named Marisco and N.H. Flight of the Eagle on an excursion to Bellingham Health and Rehabilitation Center, a place for mostly elderly people recovering from illness. The two llamas, accompanied by their handler, stopped at each bed at the home to let the patients kiss or hug them. Osborne said the residents had received llama visits before but that the experience was infrequent enough to sending shockwaves of excitement throughout the home each time. N.H. Flight of the Eagle and Marisco were the only two therapy llamas on the farm where they live—training to become a therapy animal is rigorous. "They're gentle creatures, llamas. They have a reputation of being aggressive. People say llamas spit all the time, but that's an urban myth," Osborne said. Click here.

May 4, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--In 1968 High Country begins as a duo, but within months morphs into a full fledged bluegrass band. Three years later the quintet, Butch waller - mandolin, Ed Neff - fiddle, Bruce Nemerov - banjo, Chris Boutwell - guitar, and Lonnie Feiner - bass is recorded by Banana of the Youngbloods on Warner Brothers/Racoon. Soonafter High County tours with the Youngbloods and opens for the Greatful Dead at Winterland and the Hollywood Paladium. A California bluegrass landmark, one that will flourish for decades, is established. Click here.

Young man, what did you say your name was? So Bill Jirsa, Fresno CBA’er, is approached by a lovely but obviously cross elderly woman at a recent bluegrass event and handles him in a less than courteous manner. “Young man,” she begins, (and if you know Bill you’ll understand just how old this woman was), what did you say your name was? And aren’t you the gentleman who gave a talk down at that 48 Hour whatever-it’s-called thing in Bakersfield? Well, I just want you to know that my life, what little there’s left of it, has had much of the joy robbed of it because of you. I want you to know that my husband Chester has played his guitar and sang a lovely old gospel song or two while I do the dinner dishes EVERY SINGLE NIGHT since we were married sixty-eight years ago. For all those many years he was contented playing those old blessed songs but then, last January, when he heard about your Beginning Bluegrass Guitar Workshop, he rushed right home and got his guitar and brought it back to the hotel and had his head filled with a lot of nonsense that four months later is still plaguing our once happy home. So, tell me young man, are you proud of yourself? Do you take pleasure in knowing that an old lady’s life has been…well…has been ruined by the likes of Bill Monroe and Jimmy Martin and Melvin Goins. And who is this Goins man, anyway?” Mold Man is happy to report that Bill is proud of himself…very proud. ”Lots of folks who pick guitar come to our CBA events to listen because they don’t know the, you know, boom-chuck of bluegrass,” Bill recently told Stevie Hogle, FDF workshop coordinator. “I teach ‘em and the next thing you know we’ve got a new member…two, if they’re married.” So, there you go, Bill’s signed up to give another of his Beginning Bluegrass Guitar Workshops and will no doubt shatter the domestic harmony of another half dozen or so households. Good on you, young man.

Quick Youtube viewing recommendation--I honestly don’t know what it is, but there’s something voo-doo-trance like about the music these guys make. "GOOD THING GONE WRONG.” The Earl Brothers play it raw and bare-bones and it’s compelling in the same way that witnessing a car crash is compelling, only with way less actual blood involved. Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Top Ten Worries of the American Public…

1. Strengthening nation’s economy…86%
2. Improving job situation…79%
3. Reducing budget deficit…72%
4. Defending against terrorism…71%
5. Securing Social Security…70%
6. Improving education…70%
7. Securing Medicare…65%
8. Reducing health care costs…63%
9. Helping poor and needy…57%
10. Reducing crime…54%

What, you ask, we’re not worried about protecting environment any longer? Well, sure we are, but only 52% of us put that concern in our top 10 list of reasons for waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat. (Oh, the survey from which the last was derived came from the Pew Foundation and was reported by

Triple double--No, not an accomplishment in field hockey. Rather, it’s a pretty slick scheme John Green at the 5th String in Sacramento has cooked up this coming Sunday. Actually, John calls it a A Trio of Duos …”Dix Bruce & Jim Nunally, Dix Bruce & Julie Cline, Judy Forrest & Jim Nunally will be performing a wonderful mixture of songs with close harmony singing in the country, bluegrass, and folk styles.
Price $18; $15 Seniors & Students”

Attention Bruce M. fans--I know we’ve got a big bunch of Bruce Molsky devotees out there so when I ran into this quite well-written review of Bruce’s latest CD I decided it was worth a share…”Bruce Molsky's "If It Ain't Here When I Get Back", by Michael Mechanic--I owe Bruce Molsky 15 bucks. That's for the time a Mother Jones intern ripped me an illicit copy of Soon Be Time, his sixth solo CD, which I've pretty much listened to death. But I figure I actually owe Molsky, a master of old-time Appalachian music, way more than that, because it was his playing that inspired me to pick up a fiddle and attempt to play the damn thing to the point where it no longer sounded like a wounded cat. I believe I have succeeded in this. You'll have to ask my cat. Plus, I figure that if Molsky could ditch a stable career as a mechanical engineer and become a professional musician at age 40, there was hope for me yet. (Hey, a man can dream.) Molsky is easily one of the nation's most talented fiddlers, and he plays a mean claw-hammer banjo and blues guitar to boot.” Click to continue…Click here.

And now friends, let me close this week in moldy news with a very special, very heartfelt THANK YOU to the woman in the produce section of Safeway who bumped into my wife Maudie and, while picking through the season’s first offering of corn on the cobb not flown in from Micronesia happened to remark on how pleased Mrs. Mold must be now that Mr. Mold has pared down his column to five days per week, freeing up Saturdays and Sundays for “whatever it is you two love birds hatch up for your weekends.” Of course dear Maud was unaware of the schedule change, she preferring an afternoon’s worth of root canal work over reading a single edition of the Mold News and me preferring to fill what few free hours I have each week with activities of my, and not her, choosing. All that is now and forever changed because of a serendipitous encounter over the fresh corn bin. So, stranger, whoever and wherever you are, I wish you the same sort of weekend I expect to have for myself, less the mind-numbing single malt scotch I’ll sip alone out on the deck as the sun shines its last fleeting rays on the perfectly manicured backyard.

Until Monday, then.

May 3, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Ray Edlund current CBA president and festival director, gets a call just hours before the Friday night show at the Fathers Day Festival, learns his MC isn’t going to show and quickly makes a decision; he’ll hire the young bass, guitar, fiddle player, instigator of plots large and small, practical joker, ladies man and pipe fitter who seems always to be on the scene. Friday night, after the dinner break, a confident J.D. Rhynes steps out onto the stage and begins, “Hi folks, I’m J.D. and do we ever have a show for you tonight.”

Twofer--First, I was pretty jazzed when I noticed this morning on the RBA’s Message Board sponsorship tile that the Tuttles and A.J. show in Mountain View May 18th is actually a CD release party. The project, called Endless Ocean, has been much anticipated by TAJ devotees for a while. Let me recommend that you click to the CD’s art, both because it offers some nice graphics as well as disc information but also…and here’s where the two in twofer comes in, the service the band choose to host the CD artwork is very cool. You can bet I’ll be paying these folks to show my new CD to the world when it comes out. Click here.

Giddy-up old faithful friend. And would ya try to stay in tune for once, dammit--“Willie Nelson Celebrates 80th Birthday With Old Friend by His Side…Willie Nelson has taken his share of beatings through the decades: In his 80 years, he's been through three divorces, an allegedly unscrupulous accounting team, numerous brushes with the law, and a number of non-musical ventures yielding varying amounts of success. Through it all, there's been a constant companion that's shared the ups and downs, and visibly weathered a beating of its own--Nelson's beloved, battered guitar, which he calls "Trigger" (after Roy Rogers's famous horse) and has credited with giving him his signature sound. Click here.

From the News Headline Double-Take Department--Yes, it means precisely what it sounds like it means. “DB Cooper Parachute Packer ID'd As Homicide Victim” Click here.

Spotted roaming the halls of Facebook--Chip Curry’s been in and around the NorCal bluegrass community since, well, the beginning of time. He’s a wonderful banjo player, mando player and singer. And a few of us also know Chip as a gifted and inspiring documentarian. Here’s an FB post from this morning that’s worth a click. “Just finished producing this film, a year of planning, 10 hours of footage, 10 minutes run time. Some pretty strong willed kids... A Closer Look at the California School for the Blind, Fremont CA. CSB serves students who require an intense program of disability-specific skills of blindness--visually impaired, deafblind, and those with additional disabilities whose visual impairment is the primary reason for placement. This video offers an introduction to prospective students, parents and educators. Click here.

Also seen in said hallway--From Topher Gayle…”Someone just told me they didn't know I have created a CD of my original funny songs. Pity, that. If you are among the ignorant, you can find out more (and order one) here:” What to expect?

1. This public service announcement brought to you by the guy that buys the beer. Ex-wives Make the Best Wives
2. I Like to Be a Handyman ("Don't drink and drill")
3. Elevator
4. She’s So Hot!
5. Take a Look at Her Mom
6. One ACME Heart
7. Jammin’ with the Timer
8. Gold Tooth
9. First Choice
10. I Ain’t Looking at You

Click here.

Tonight’s the night--So one last remember…”AN EVENING WITH DAN & BOB will be held at Chico School of Rock (also known as Sid Lewis' Acoustic College) at 932 W. 8th Avenue, Chico CA from 7:30pm to 9:30pm, doors open at 7:15pm. Dan Levenson and Bob Carlin are both masters of the clawhammer banjo, and Dan also is a master old time fiddler. Bob has performed both solo and with the John Hartford String Band at countless festivals, clubs, schools, and museums, and has over 75 albums. Dan is one of the undisputed influences on today's old time music. Dan describes the concert like this: "Banjos, fiddles, guitars, songs and stories (yes TRUE ones too) combine to create this wonderful insight into Old Time Music." The cost is $15.

WARNING—READ ON A FULL STOMACH--Well, old Moldy almost did it again; nearly posted a column without a single downer. Well, that’s easy to fix…Looks Great, Less Filling--
Eating all your vegetables was a lot better for you in the '50s. Store-bought veggies weren't as pretty back then, but according to USDA data, they were packed with a lot more nutrients than their modern counterparts. The likely reason for the nutritional drop is that hybrid crops are often bred for size and color, not nutrients. Click here.

May 2, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Friday afternoon, June, 1976, a taco truck pulls into the Nevada County Fairgrounds. Taco Joe’s is among just a handful of vendors who agreed to come work this new thing called a bluegrass festival. For nearly the next twenty years Joe Padilla and his wife Helen, who are based out of Riverbank, serve up the best tacos and burritos on planet earth. Decades later people scattered all over the world will think of the Fathers Day Festival and start to salivate, all due to the Padilla’s.

MOLD MAN RANT--This’ll be a short one, I promise. A few days ago I caught a Message Board post by a guy up in the Mother Lode who asked an innocent enough question…”Although the jams in Murphys appear to be scheduled, the facility mentioned is no longer in business and their phone has been disconnected. Is there any hope there will be a new schedule for jams in the future?” It took a couple of days, but somebody from the web team did post a response and it was a good one. (You can click here. to see the entire exchange.) The jist of the note back from the webbies was this…sure we’ll delete defunct jams, but we’ve got to know about them first. The response made the point that, with an all volunteer army, calling contacts at all jams every now and then to check status just isn’t possible; there are dozens and dozens, and the woman who works on the calendar day in and day out, a blessed soul by the name of Candy Sponhaltz, barely keeps her head above water as it is. So here’s the message my bluegrass friends. When you see something on the web site that needs fixing, let the fine people at know and it’s a sure bet they’ll take care of it before the son goes down.

It’s why the birds and the bees and the rhinos and the hippos do it-- Ever wonder what drives people like Bruce Long and Darby Brandli and Frank Solivan and Sharon Elliot and so many others to work so hard to bring youngins into the bluegrass fold? Well, it’s pretty basic, really. The human need…no, make that the universal need of ALL living things…to procreate is second in importance only to the need to survive. And it’s not done just for its own sake; it’s done so that life will carry own after we’ve finished wearing out these earthly shells of ours. Altruism, it turns out, is right smack dab next to self-interest in the grand scheme of things. And it’s that same kind of energy and drive and compulsion that makes some of us want to see the institutions we love carry own after we’re dead and gone. So, all this waxing philosophic is to let you know that this Sunday, May 5, at the Santa Clara Fiddlers get together in San Jose, Luke Abbott will teach the KidFiddle Workshop. And THAT FACT, fellow humans, is proof positive that what we’re doing is actually working. Because, you see, it wasn’t too very long ago that young Luke was one of them instead of one of us. Now he’s a driven instead of a drivenee, so to speak.

And just as natural and wonderful as all of that is, here’s something that’s equally unnatural and unwonderful--“North Korean Amusement Park To Feature Big Ben and Eiffel Tower…North Korea is planning on building a replica of Big Ben and the Eiffel Tower in a miniature theme park scheduled to open in the capital later this year. Last year, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un vowed to bring to an end decades of austerity and hardship with the slogan: “No More Belt-Tightening,” despite reports of mass starvation across the country. To that end, the country has kick-started a construction boom that has transformed Changjon street, in downtown Pyongyang and introduced such luxuries as cappuccinos, facials and tanning booths to the upper classes of North Korea.” Let’s look on the bright side, fellow capitalist-imperialist-western-dogs, at least the beloved leader is taking a little break from his other obsession, that of blowing us all up.

And somewhere in the middle--12 Quirky Bath Mats You'd Actually Want To Own Click here.

Very, very sad news from Santa Cruz--“Music collaboration giant Bob Brozman dies at age 59, Santa Cruz Sentinel, SANTA CRUZ -- Guitarist and ethnomusicologist Bob Brozman, one of the most internationally prominent musicians to come out of Santa Cruz County, died Wednesday at his home in Ben Lomond. He was 59. The cause of death has been deemed suicide. Brozman had built a career as a guitarist and ethnomusicologist, moving from an early fascination with the delta blues of the American south to a consuming passion for the traditional music of Hawaii. He was also one of the world's leading authorities on the National steel guitar.” Very tough loss to the nation’s guitar family. Click here.

Okay, you can exhale--Peter has posted his monthly update of Thompson’s Bay Area Events. Click here.

May 1, 2013

MILESTONE--Though not immediately seen as a driver of bluegrass music, Sing Out! Magazine is founded in 1951 by Irwin Silber and becomes a valued resource to people around the country with an appetite for getting together with friends on a regular basis for picking and singing. It’s mission is simple but powerful--to preserve and support the cultural diversity and heritage of all traditional and contemporary folk musics, and to encourage making folk music a part of our everyday lives. Mark Ross takes over editorial duties in 1983 and by now the bluegrass community is aware of the treasure trove of traditional lyrics available in Sing Out!—every single issue contains at least 15 new songs. Click here.

Vern’s Line-Up--Caught this Facebook post, which tells me the Vern’s Stage lineup at the Fathers Day Festival is now officially out…”Gold Coast...we exist, we sing, we play, we laugh and we love bluegrass! Come see us on Vern's Stage at the CBA Father's Day Bluegrass festival...and visit us at — with Robert Cornelius, Helen Pizzacutter Foley and Tomas Enguidanos.” They sing and laugh, therefore they exist; makes a lot of sense to me, and I’m not even a French Philosopher.

A quick calendar marker item--Keystone Crossing and Nell Robinson & Jim Nunally will be doing a show at Mighty Fine Guitars in Lafayette May 18th. Two crooning couples…sounds like a pretty sweet show.?

Not many better--"He Stopped Loving Her Today" 1980, "The One I Loved Back Then (the Corvette Song)" 1985, "The Grand Tour" 1974, "Bartender's Blues" 1977, "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair" 1992, "White Lightning" 1959…just a few of the dozens and dozens of songs that made George Jones such a lasting and durable super power in the country music world. Our own SF Chron does a nice job of putting the singer’s life in perspective… Click here.

What on God’s green earth does stir-fry have to do with bluegrass music, I hear some of you grumbling--And that’s okay. Grumble is an essential tone in the complex chord we call living with one another. As for justifying why I feel comfortable covering a story called “You’re Doing It Wrong: Stir-Fry”, well, a person’s got to eat, hasn't she? Anyways, three things to remember…

Cook your protein and your vegetable separately

Choose one vegetable per stir-fry

Remember to add liquid only after everything is more or less finished cooking

Nearly every time I’ve ever done stir fry, and I’ve done it quite a bit being not only the chief but the ONLY cook at my house, it’s come out less than wonderful because I’ve broken one or more of these three golden rules. Tonight I shall follow all three and whip us up some jumbo prawns and asparagus with Hoisin sauce. Report tomorrow. Oh, to read the why’s and wherefores… Click here.

If you let it this stuff could drive you crazy--I don’t know about you, but I think these guys should decide one way or another and then just let us know. Until then, legion of physicists, just keep it to your damned selves…”Speed Of Light May Not Be Constant After All, Physicists Say” Click here.

President Darby reports--“CBA member Melody Walker (of Front Country) just won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in the gospel division. Melody will be performing on our Main Stage with Front Country and will also be teaching in the Bluegrass Camp for Kids.

For those of our readers who just awoke from a nine-day nap, we’ll repeat this important story--In a few weeks our very own San Francisco Bay Area will be the location of a musical event that, by all accounts, will be unprecedented. Béla Fleck, melodic banjoist icon, will perform an engagement at the SFJAZZ Center in a series of solo recitals from Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19. And how about this? One of the good folks over at the Center, clearly a person of good taste and intellectual discrimination, reads the Mold and thought who else to give a couple of tickets to than our moldy readership. The two comps are for Sunday, May 19, and all you’ve got to do to grab them for you and that special someone is to finish the following statement and post it on the thread Mandarin, our senior intern, has started on the Message Board…”Since beginning to read the Mold News Monday through Friday I find that for the first time in my life I…” Post your finish to the statement here on the MB and if Mold Man selects as the best submission you'll find a couple of comps waiting for you at WILL-CALL.” Let me say parenthetically, dear friends, that I’m troubled not one little spec by the few disparaging entries that have been posted. The old Mold Man has skin thicker than a rhino’s. Click here.

April 30, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s 1952 in Dayton Ohio and young singer-flat picker Red Allen discovers a young teenage mandolin virtuoso named Frank Wakefield and invites him to join the Blue Ridge Mountain Boys. Nothing much comes of that collaboration but eight years later the two bump into each other again and form the Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and The Kentuckians and this time things are a lot different. The D.C. area bluegrass scene is exploding with acts like Buzz Busby and His Bayou Bluegrass Boys, the Country Gentlemen, Don Reno and Red Smiley and the Tennessee Cutups, the Stoneman Family and Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, and Red and Rank fit right in. On July 4, 1961, the Kentuckians are among a few select acts invited to perform at Bill Clifton's first-ever one day Bluegrass Festival in Luray, Virginia. And later that year, Allen and Wakefield record six sides in Nashville that include banjo legend Don Reno, fiddle master Chubby Wise and bassist John Palmer on the Starday label. Songs include "Trouble 'Round My Door" and "Beautiful Blue Eyes." Click here.

bluegrass etc.--Just noticed that this band, a trio and truly one of the most entertaining acts in bluegrass, will be play a concert Wednesday night in Los Olivos, Santa Barbara County. Hey promoters, we’ve got to get these three up here. Please. Click here.

Story about a guy who turned a cheap pair of sunglasses into something…well…mind-blowing--Unless you’re feeling like a steamy pile of dog pooh, don’t read this now. Instead just copy the url and send it to yourself in an email with the subject line…”Save for steamy pile day.” That is, save it for a day when you really, really need a pick-me-up. Oh, you say you’re not the inventor type? Doesn’t matter. You’re not crazy about watching videos of a guys just standing in front of a camera talking? No fear. Trust me. This will do the trick.…Click here.

Name that tune--While we don’t know a whole lot about Neanderthals, most anthropologists agree on one thing—they didn’t have speech. When you’re talking about the development of the human brain, speech is sort of the magic key that opens everything else up. Why, because in order to speak you have to organize your thoughts, and once you know how to do that, you’re able to plan, and, watch out world, once you can plan nothing can stop you…you’ve just achieved humanness. And if you can’t…well, you know how it went for the Neanderthals; you don’t seem many of ‘em around these days.. But there’s this guy, Steven Mithen, who’s got a theory that maybe our cousins had something close to speech, something that didn’t unlock all of their intellectual potential but was the next best thing. Mithen believes, and would like you to at least consider the possibility, that Neanderthals sang. I haven’t finished reading the Singing Neandertal yet, and I certainly haven’t decided I’m buying this singing thing, but on the other hand, Mithen makes a pretty compelling case. Click here.

Boy, that Randy Shelton. What a guy--You gotta kinda of wonder what would have happened if Randy’s cabinet making business had soured at some point. Would he have given a shot at photography? You’ve got to hope he would have. Last week I reported on Pat Rumiano’s very, very bluegrassy fund raiser for CASA, California’s Court Appointed Special Advocate program, i\up in Willits. Well our pal Randy was there with his camera and if you click where it says “click here” you’re going to see and hear some very nice stuff. Click here.

Coming Attractions--I blush when folks tell me this, but some people actually bookmark the Mold News and don’t bother with anything else on the CBA’s web site. Well, I’m re-posting a little item that ran a few says ago for people who wouldn’t otherse see it. “Sometimes truth can be stranger than fiction. For example, the copy that you’re reading right here under the header “Coming Attractions” will be viewed by roughly 1,000 unique visitors to this web site during the next twenty-four hours. And the events that are publicized here each day, seen by two thousand eyeballs, appear free of money. And yet...and here’s the strange the two months since this feature was introduced, four people have asked that their events be promoted here. FOUR. Yes, friends, occasionally one does bump into what could be calld a free lunch.

April 27, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Twenty years? No, impossible. It can’t be twenty years since the first Fathers Day Festival. It was more like, I don’t know…five, maybe six. But it’s true, 1995, Twenty Year Anniversary, and you wanna talk about a line up? How about Nashville Bluegrass Band, Sand Mountain Boys, The Rice Brothers & Bill Emerson, The Bass Mountain Boys, Chubby Wise, Bill Clifton & Don Stover, The All Girl Boys, Blue Highway, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Highstrung, Liberty, The Laurel Canyon Ramblers, Petticoat Junction, The Piney Creek Weasels, Bob Flesher, and Stoney Lonesome. Click here.

And you think Blake Shelton has problems--Billy Currington, another country singing, heart breaking, big money making hunk of a cowboy-hat’d, blue-jean bulging super star would trade places with the Blakester any day. Why? Because he was just charged with making terroristic (yes, that’s a word) threats against an elderly man. But wait, before you go off and start judging, according to Billy the old man said some pretty nasty things to him. Click here.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--The Eight Quotes You Are Happiest About Not Making

The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would
pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" -- David Sarnoff's
associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn
better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible," -- A Yale University
management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable
overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not
Gary Cooper," -- Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role
in "Gone With The Wind."

"A cookie store is a bad idea. Besides, the market research reports
say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you
make," --
Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' Cookies

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out," --
Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"I don't know what use any one could find for a machine that would
make copies of documents. It certainly couldn't be a feasible business by
itself." -- the head of IBM, refusing to back the idea, forcing the inventor to found Xerox.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." -- Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse , 1872

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." --
Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp.,

Another contest, but this one has a prize that you don’t have to wear--In a few weeks our very own San Francisco Bay Area will be the location of a musical event that, by all accounts, will be unprecedented. Béla Fleck, melodic banjoist icon, will perform an engagement at the SFJAZZ Center in a series of solo recitals from Thursday, May 16 to Sunday, May 19. And how about this? One of the good folks over at the Center, clearly a person of good taste and intellectual discrimination, reads the Mold and thought who else to give a couple of tickets to than our moldy readership. The two comps are for Sunday, May 19, and all you’ve got to do to grab them for you and that special someone is to finish the following statement and post it on the thread Mandarin, our senior intern, has started on the Message Board…”Since beginning to read the Mold News Monday through Friday I find that for the first time in my life I…..” Come up with the best ending to that statement and, as the coo cats in the world of jazz say, you’ll have it made in the shade. Click here.

We warned you not to miss--Lucy Smith, the CBA’s official representative up in Butte County, waxes eloquent…”Fabulous concert last night at the Sierra Nevada Big Room with Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives! I was happy to see a lot of my bluegrass friends there as well! I'm also still high from the CBA Spring Campout in Turlock last weekend--4 days of really great jamming!! Life is good!” Click here.

GREAT 48 News--Word just in that the CBA has finished negotiating the Doubletree Hotel contract for 2014. After five years of consistent growth, equally consistent good service from the DT and a flat room rate of eighty-nine bucks, we’ve agreed to a three bucks per night bump. Not bad at all if you keep in mind that these poor folks have to put up with bluegrass crazies for an entire long weekend.

April 26, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s a Saturday night in 1950 and Tommy Magness and His Tennessee Buddies are performing at the El-Tenedore Skating Rink in southern Virginia. Two of Tommy’s buddies, Don and Red, discover they can harmonize mighty fine and a year later they make their first recording together as members of Magness’ band. But a year later the two are in the studio again, this time called Reno and Smiley and the Tennessee Cut-Ups. On that very first album one of the best-known bluegrass gospels of all time is cut. It’s called "I'm Using My Bible for a Roadmap" and the story goes that sales for that one record alone saves King Records from bankruptcy. Given King’s eventual bluegrass catalogue, if the story really is true it would be hard to argue that the music those two young fellas made at the skating rink that Saturday night wasn’t a bona fide milestone in the music Bill gave us. Click here.

The boys will be back in town May 4th--One of my all time favorite regional bands, Homefire from down in Monterey, is back at this year’s 28th annual Duck Pond Bluegrass Fair in Santa Cruz. Does Jim Hilden know his way around a banjo? Did Mario Andretti know his way around a race track? Anyways, the boys will be sharing the stage with Bean Creek, Harmony Grits and the wonderful Earl White Band, (who, by the way, will be part of this year’s Fathers Day Festival Old-Time Gathering. The FREE event will run Noon-5:00pm at the Duck Pond Stage, San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz (near the Santa Cruz Courthouse). Says the Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society, “the popular annual bluegrass fair raffle will feature tickets to upcoming festivals and other live bluegrass shows along with many other great prizes. No dogs or alcohol, please. Bring your blanket or lawn chair for seating on the grass. Food & drink will be available. Info: Mike McKinley (831) 331-1321.”

And from the sublime to the ridiculous--At senior intern Mandarin Montag’s insistence we’re including this item for all the folks in our readership who’ve been experiencing tinges of self-doubt as spring roles around. Montag offers no explanation as to why this story might be helpful but you reach a certain point with the whiny little twerp and you just finally say yes. “Introducing the Latest Lunatic Parenting Trend: Diaper-Free Baby Rearing--At times like these, I wish there were parenting trend story Mad Libs. Here’s a Mad Libs version of the latest at the New York Times: “But '(lunatic fringe practice),' as the (colloquial name for lunatic fringe practice) method of child-rearing is called, is finding an audience in the hipper (part of Brooklyn/Bay Area).” Sprinkle in a couple of “doulas” and you’ve got the latest parenting article burning up Facebook: a piece about “elimination communication” (EC), aka the diaper-free style of baby rearing. This is exactly what it sounds like—parents who don’t use diapers for their newborns and instead watch their babies for signs that they want to pee or poop, and then rush to the toilet and put their babies over it. If a toilet is not nearby, the kids can eliminate waste between parked cars, in bowls around the house, or in the park.” Okay, that’s more than enough. For those relishing the punch line, click now. Click here.

And speaking of whiny little twerps, most of this show’s cast are one--I have some excellent news for all of you out there who share my disdain for the animated travesty, “Futurama”. Yes, yes, I know, it’s been canceled before but I have a feeling this time it’s for reals…”Matt Groening’s animated comedy originally aired on Fox from 1999 to 2003, before it was canceled. Comedy Central then picked it up in 2008, but has not renewed the show. From the L.A. Times: Comedy Central announced on Monday that the long-running animated comedy will come to a close at the end of its seventh season on Sept. 4. The 13-episode final season premieres June 19 and will feature guest voices from Larry Bird, Sarah Silverman, George Takei, Adam West, Burt Ward and the man behind Homer Simpson, Dan Castellaneta.” Have you ever wondered whether maybe, just maybe, Groening’s amazing and marathon success with the Simpsons could have maybe, just maybe, put him in a pretty strong negotiating position when the axe occasionally pointed toward the amazingly weak space show? Don’t get me wrong, Matt G is and will always be one of my comedy heroes, right up there with Larry David and the Charles brothers, but Futurama? Really Mr. Groening?

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mr. Mold Man, why are you the way you are? Why are you always so sarcastic? Why do you criticize? Why do you make fun of people? Why do you put people down all the time? Why do you always look for the weakness in people and never the good? Mr. Man, God gave you a precious gift…the gift of writing. I know that you know how to use it to make people feel good. I’ve read the nice, sweet stories you’ve written and I know I speak for a lot of people when I say that those positive stories are uplifting and even heart warming. Why do you feel the need to be Mr. Hyde when Dr. Jeykll has the power to make so many people happy? Your friend and fan (most of the time) Marlene from Stockton” Response to Marlene—I’ll have to get back to you on that. Note to the general readership—We’ve held this mail bag item for a while waiting for just the right story to which to tie it…looks like the Futurama story wins.

April 25, 2013

MILESTONE--The summer of 1987 sees a dramatic development in the relatively short life of the music genre known as bluegrass…the International Bluegrass Music Association is founded and sets up shop in the City of Owensboro, Kentucky. One of its very first orders of business is to set as a goal the creation of a museum that can serve as the "world center for the presentation of the history, culture, and future of bluegrass music" and whose mission is “to develop and maintain an environment in which people of all ages can discover the richness of bluegrass music through an exciting and educational experience." Four years later the International Bluegrass Music Museum is incorporated as a nonprofit organization. Ralph Stanley and Ricky Skaggs step up to serve as honorary co-chairs of an initial fund raising campaign, and Peter Kuykendall of Bluegrass Unlimited Magazine pulls in support from throughout the industry. With the addition of the State of Kentucky to the team it was soon possible to begin work on the imposing two-story museum complex where today fans of Bill’s music come from far and wide to drink in the its rich history. Click here.

“I really sing songs that move me. That’s what it’s about for me.”--That’s how Richie Havens described his life’s work in a recent interview with the Denver Post. Richie died of a heart attack on Monday at the age of 72. He had a special way of hearing the songs of his time that moved folks and then singing them his own way, a way that more often than not gave listeners an opportunity to experience them all over again. For many of us who were taking our first unsteady flights out of the nest when Richie Havens burst onto the scene at Woodstock in 1969, the black man with the deep, pure voice and the explosive Guild guitar made becoming airborne a little easier. He will be missed. Here comes the sun, friend. Click here.

Don’t you pickers wish YOU could be that sleepy? From Brian over at…”Sleepy Man Banjo Boys Sign On As Deering Banjo Company Artists. The fast fingers of 11 year old banjo wiz kid Jonny Mizzone of the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys will soon be picking a Deering Calico banjo. No strangers to the performing stage, the band made their Grand Ole Opry debut with banjo legend J.D. Crow and their first album “America’s Music” was number 8 on Billboard’s Album Chart when it debuted.

Mi Cassa, Tu Cassa--CASA, California’s Court Appointed Special Advocate program, which helps hundreds of kids each year get headed in the right direction, benefited from a major bluegrass-centric fund raiser over the weekend. Pat Rumiano, the Willits event’s organizer described it this way…”The best show ever last night. Thanks to all who came and a big thank you The Get Down Boys, Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood Players, Sid Lewis, and Megan Lynch Chowning. The crowd was amazing and the musicians are some of the most talented anywhere. What great show, we hope those who came out enjoyed the event!” Helping kids who need help the most and introducing new folks to Bill’s music…a powerful combination.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Seven Words Whose Origins You’ve Probably Never wondered about.

1. Pea
Originally the word was "pease," and it was singular. ("The Scottish or tufted Pease... is a good white Pease fit to be eaten.") The sound on the end was reanalyzed as a plural 's' marker, and at the end of the 17th Century people started talking about one "pea." The older form lives on in the nursery rhyme "Pease-porridge hot, pease-porridge cold…"

2. Cherry
The same thing happened to "cherise" or "cheris," which came from Old French "cherise" and was reanalyzed as a plural. So the singular "cherry" was born.

3. Apron
"Apron" also came into English from Old French and was originally "napron" ("With hir napron feir..She wypid sofft hir eyen.") But "a napron" was misheard often enough as "an apron" that by the 1600s the "n" was dropped.

4. Umpire
Umpire lost its 'n' from the same sort of confusion. It came to English from the Middle French "nonper," meaning "without peer; peerless" ("Maked I not a louedaye bytwene god and mankynde, and chese a mayde to be nompere, to put the quarel at ende?") A nompere or an ompere? The n-less form won out.

5. Newt
The confusion about which word the 'n' belonged to could end up swinging the other way too. A newt was originally an "ewt" ("The carcases of snakes, ewts, and other serpents."), but "an ewt" could easily be misheard as "a newt," and in this case, the 'n' left the "an" and stuck to the the "newt."

6. Nickname
The 'n' also traveled over from the "an" to stick to "nickname," which was originally "ekename," meaning "added name."

7. Alligator
Alligator came to English from the Spanish explorers who first encountered "el lagarto" (lizard) in the New World. While the big lizards were for a time referred to as "lagartos," the "el" accompanied often enough that it became an inseparable part of the English word.All example quotes come from the Oxford English Dictionary.

Sacto area alert--Natural Drift: April 25, 600 -1000 PM, Northridge Country Club, 7600 Madison, Fair Oaks, 916-344-0199,, $125. Food & wine tasting & silent auction fundraiser for Stanford Youth Solutions.

April 24, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 23, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 17, 2013

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 16, 2013

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

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

Double Spend
Hash Rate
Bitcoin Mining
Peer to Peer
Private Key

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

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

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

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

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

April 13, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 12, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 10, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 9, 2013

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

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

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

Christopher Columbus was a blonde.

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

Lightning strikes the earth 100 times every second.

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

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

Leonardo da Vinci invented the scissors.

The original name for the butterfly was "flutterby"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ashley Monroe – “Like a Rose”

The Band Perry – “Better Dig Two”

Big & Rich – “Cheat on You”

Chris Young – “I Can Take It From There”

Darius Rucker – “Wagon Wheel”

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

Kip Moore – “Hey Pretty Girl”

Lee Brice – “I Drive Your Truck”

Miranda Lambert – “Mama’s Broken Heart”

Shane Yellowbird – “Pickup Truck”

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

April 8, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 6, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 5, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 4, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 3, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

April 2, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted By:  Rick Cornish

Copyright © 2002 California Bluegrass Association. All rights reserved.
Comments? Questions? Please email