Mold Archive July through December
Thursday, November 21, 2013

So it turns out that, although being simply miserable requires no great effort or elaborate game plan, becoming a highly miserable person and, as importantly, sustaining that miserableness so that it eventually becomes one’s sole identity takes a lot of work and coordination and perseverance. Let down in any one of the 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People as identified by Cloe Madanes in her recent piece for and you’re likely, at some point, to see a little blue sky through a break in the clouds. This morning I want to share with Mold News readers what I took in cognitively from reading Madanes last night in bed. I purposely use the term “took in cognitively” because the well-known author, teacher and family therapist didn’t really teach me anything I didn’t know about misery and the art of staying in it…I think we all KNOW this stuff at some level…but Cloe, (I hope it’s okay to call her that), gave the material the form and structure needed to systematically evaluate how we’re doing with an eye toward honing our capacity for true misery. I’ll warn you that I won’t be sharing everything the woman says about each of the 14 habits but a simple click at the end of the piece will get you to, which, by the way, might be a site you’ll want to bookmark.

All right then, let’s begin. Oh, and, please, feel free to do your own rating.

1. Be afraid, be very afraid, of economic loss. In hard economic times, many people are afraid of losing their jobs or savings. The art of messing up your life consists of indulging these fears, even when there’s little risk that you’ll actually suffer such losses. You’ll find that Madanes’ presentation is extremely nuanced, and we see that at the very outset. She doesn’t say you have to be afraid of economic loss…hell, we’re all afraid we’re going to lose our financial stability from time to time, (job, retirement, investments), it’s what makes us get up in the morning and trundle along to work. Rather she underscores the requisite degree of that fear. We must be VERY afraid. I am the child of parents who ate fried dough, (“When they were lucky”, my dad was fond of saying), during the Great Depression so this habit was picked up very, very early through osmosis. I’m going to give myself an 8 on this one.

2. Practice sustained boredom. Cultivate the feeling that everything is predictable, that life holds no excitement, no possibility for adventure, that an inherently fascinating person like yourself has been deposited into a completely tedious and pointless life through no fault of your own. I have to admit this is a tough one for me. The only way I’m able to experience boredom, sustained or otherwise, is via depression, the chemical kind, which doesn’t happen often. I get a big 0, goose egg, for number two.

3. Give yourself a negative identity. Allow a perceived emotional problem to absorb all other aspects of your self-identification. If you feel depressed, become a Depressed Person; if you suffer from social anxiety or a phobia, assume the identity of a Phobic Person or a Person with Anxiety Disorder. Make your condition the focus of your life. I sort of move in and out of this habit. For long periods I’ll do a great job attributing every experience, every interaction, every development good or bad in my life to what I call “messed up wiring” as I tap my left frontal lobe. My left-handedness is just the tiniest tip of the deficit disorder iceberg that is my lot in life. (I began attributing the neuropathic jumble of synapses in my skull to my mothers drinking and smoking during my gestation, but that was only after she died with cancer in the chest back in 1979.) But then, for whatever reason, I’ll go for long periods of time simply forgetting all about my spatial relations disorder, color blindness, dyslexia, etc., etc., etc. Number three gets at most a rating of 5.

4. Pick fights. This is an excellent way of ruining a relationship with a romantic partner. Once in a while, unpredictably, pick a fight or have a crying spell over something trivial and make unwarranted accusations. The interaction should last for at least 15 minutes and ideally occur in public. I’ve done a lot of soul-searching on this habit and I’m afraid the best I’ll be able to do is give myself two alternate scores, and here’s why. When I pick fights it’s always because I feel strongly about some or another issue…I think. Ah, and there’s the problem; you see, I don’t know for sure. At the time I’m convinced that I’ve gone into battle for principle and not just for the sake of experiencing a good, take-no-prisoners brawl. So I earn a 0 on “Pick Fights”. However, frequently I’ll look back on an altercation I initiated and wonder what the hell that was all about. Hence, my alternate score is an 8…9 if we get extra credit for duration--fifteen minutes I’m barely warmed up.

5. Attribute bad intentions. Whenever you can, attribute the worst possible intentions to your partner, friends, and coworkers. Take any innocent remark and turn it into an insult or attempt to humiliate you. For example, if someone asks, “How did you like such and such movie?” you should immediately think, He’s trying to humiliate me by proving that I didn’t understand the movie, or He’s preparing to tell me that I have poor taste in movies. I checked in with Maudie on habit #5 and here’s her take. No, I don’t often go out of my way to dream up a reason to believe a person with whom I’m interacting is coming from a negative, gamey place EXCEPT, says my bride of thirty years, EXCEPT when it comes to interactions with HER, and she goes on to give me an example from just the night before. “I asked you what we were having for dinner. You said you’d thaw a pork tenderloin and braise it in some mole’ sauce. I said ‘umm’, as in yummy, you heard ‘umm’ as in equivocation.” I’ll go ahead and eat this one with a score of 7 but, let me ask you…and be honest…have you ever day dreamed about what it would be like to have all of your conversations with your spouse video recorded, sort of instant replay fashion, so that whenever necessary questionable “umm’s” could be evaluated after the fact?

6. Whatever you do, do it only for personal gain. Sometimes you’ll be tempted to help someone, contribute to a charity, or participate in a community activity. Don’t do it, unless there’s something in it for you, like the opportunity to seem like a good person or to get to know somebody you can borrow money from some day. None of the 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People has been as easy to self-assess as #6. In fact, for me it’s hard to even call the personal gain motive a habit since the word sort of implies a behavior developed over time. Nope, not me. I was born with this one in full bloom; there in the delivery room I came into this life with blue eyes, a big nose and a ME agenda. Even when I do something nice for someone without any real intent to recoup my investment I’m able to rationalize it with the simple what-goes-around-comes-around argument. A solid 10 on habit #6.

7. Avoid gratitude. Research shows that people who express gratitude are happier than those who don’t, so never express gratitude. Counting your blessings is for idiots. What blessings? Life is suffering, and then you die. What’s there to be thankful for? Clearly this is a habit I need to work on. While I’m certainly NOT a count-your-blessings kind of guy, I thank people for things constantly. And for no ulterior motive; thank-you’s just tumble out of my mouth with nary a thought. Yesterday I took my dog, Rex, out for an egg, sausage and cheese McMuffin. It’s a three interaction affair, literally, with three different people. First, the person on the other end of the intercom who takes my order. “Yes, that’s right. You got it right. Thanks.” Second, the person at the first drive-up who gives me my change. An automatic “thank you”. And third, the worker who hands over the eats. “Umm, (the yummy umm), all right! Thank you very much.” (Rex only barks his thank you to person number three.) ZERO points on this one.

8. Always be alert and in a state of anxiety. Optimism about the future leads only to disappointment. Therefore, you have to do your best to believe that your marriage will flounder, your children won’t love you, your business will fail, and nothing good will ever work out for you. Exercise: Do some research on what natural or manmade disasters could occur in your area, such as earthquakes, floods, nuclear plant leaks, rabies outbreaks. Focus on these things for at least an hour a day. Well, I’m going to give Cloe’s exercise a shot but, frankly, I don’t have a good feeling about this one. It seems to me that to be a true practitioner of habit #8 requires giving up way more personal power, or perhaps more accurately, giving up the illusion of personal power, than I can muster. Yes, I do keep my eyes peeled for the stray asteroid or North Korean dirty bomb, but for the most part my life appears to be pretty much what I make of it, and since my ego is as boundless as the universe is infinite, I just naturally figure things will turn out okay. Can’t give myself a single point on this one.

9. Blame your parents. Blaming your parents for your defects, shortcomings, and failures is among the most important steps you can take. After all, your parents made you who you are today; you had nothing to do with it. If you happen to have any good qualities or successes, don’t give your parents credit. Those are flukes. I think we’ve covered this one sufficiently. No question a ten pointer.

10. Don’t enjoy life’s pleasures. Taking pleasure in things like food, wine, music, and beauty is for flighty, shallow people. Tell yourself that. If you inadvertently find yourself enjoying some flavor, song, or work of art, remind yourself immediately that these are transitory pleasures, which can’t compensate for the miserable state of the world. Sorry, but more equivocation here. In truth I know of no one who enjoys life’s pleasures more than I do. In fact, I’ve been known to drive people nuts by pointing them out and singing their praise. On the other hand, I have no illusions about the fine risotto I’ve just prepared and eaten, the driving new Junior Sisk song I’ve just heard or the glorious sunset I’ve experienced as anything but transitory and passing. They are temporary and ephemeral respites from an otherwise miserable existence. So while I fail on the enjoyment portion of the habit, I make up for it in my appreciation of the grim context in which all pleasures are experienced and then sloughed off during our inevitable march toward the grave. 5 on #10.

11. Ruminate. Spend a great deal of time focused on yourself. Worry constantly about the causes of your behavior, analyze your defects, and chew on your problems. This will help you foster a pessimistic view of your life. Don’t allow yourself to become distracted by any positive experience or influence. The point is to ensure that even minor upsets and difficulties appear huge and portentous. If rumination was marination I’d be tender as a Ruth’s Chris U.S.D.A petite filet. 10.

12. Glorify or vilify the past. Glorifying the past is telling yourself how good, happy, fortunate, and worthwhile life was when you were a child, a young person, or a newly married person—and regretting how it’s all been downhill ever since. When you were young, for example, you were glamorous and danced the samba with handsome men on the beach at twilight; and now you’re in a so-so marriage to an insurance adjuster in Topeka. Clearly #12 places the spotlight directly on the Achilles heel of my game plan for achieving a state of off-the-charts miserableness. I do look back on the past and tell myself that I was good and happy and fortunate and that my life was worthwhile but, and here’s a possible deal breaker, I also assume that things will just keep getting better because, really, they always have. I know, a terrible thing to have to admit, but for Maudie and me, things…life, the human experience, the whole enchilada, just keeps getting better and better. I give myself a rating of 0 on #12.

13. Find a romantic partner to reform. Make sure that you fall in love with someone with a major defect (cat hoarder, gambler, alcoholic, womanizer, sociopath), and set out to reform him or her, regardless of whether he or she wants to be reformed. Believe firmly that you can reform this person, and ignore all evidence to the contrary. Done and done. 10.

14. Be critical. Make sure to have an endless list of dislikes and voice them often, whether or not your opinion is solicited. For example, don’t hesitate to say, “That’s what you chose to wear this morning?” or “Why is your voice so shrill?” If someone is eating eggs, tell them you don’t like eggs. Your negativity can be applied to almost anything. It helps if the things you criticize are well liked by most people so that your dislike of them sets you apart. I don’t mean to brag, Mold Readers, but in the entire course of human history there have been only a handful of persons who have achieved anything approaching what I have achieved in this area. When one is at the center of one’s universe and has the broad sweep of perspective than can only come from residing in that precise center, it’s impossible NOT to see how much better one could do whatever by whomever. And does my criticism require solicitation? Did Poland have to ask to be invaded? 10 please.

Okay, so you’re wondering maybe, why did the Moldy One spend twenty-five hundred words exposing the dark recesses of his soul? What possible reason could he have for dragging his readers (admittedly a tiny handful that hung in past the first five hundred words) through the grim, sometimes shocking, dirty little secrets that litter his existence? Well, the answer is simple. For the life of me I couldn’t dream up a good Bluegrass Milestone to start off the column this morning. Click here.

Click here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

You just don’t know what you’ll wake up to in the morning, do you? Today it was headlines screaming…”Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds stabbed; son fatally shot. Deeds was stabbed multiple times early Tuesday in an assault at his house in Bath County, west of Charlottesville, State Police said. The senator’s 24-year-old son, Austin Deeds, was found fatally shot inside the home. The day before he apparently stabbed his father at the family’s home in rural Bath County, the son of Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds (D) underwent a psychiatric evaluation but was not admitted to a hospital, because no bed was available.” Turns out the kid was an avid and quite accomplished banjo picker, a real bluegrasser. So sad and so very, very wasteful. Seems like we’re in the grips of something and somehow we’ve got to shake free.

Thanks, (I guess), to Larry Carlin for pointing me in the direction of this news story. Click here.

MILESTONE--It’s 1962 and this new kind of music called bluegrass, (which isn’t really so new) is sweeping across American college campuses. Bill Monroe, who’s in the thick of the “folk revival”, makes an extraordinarily wise business decision and hires Ralph Rinzler. It’s Ralph who coins the term, "Father of Bluegrass", and then goes on to use it in a remarkably successful marketing campaign.

Waste not, want not--Say what you want about the Nazis, but one thing’s for certain—they never missed an opportunity to promote basic medical research, so long, of course, that ultimately it supported their basic social and philosophical tennets. Just when you think you’ve read all there is to know about the monstrosity that was German National Socialism, a story like this happens along. (This one is optional, friends…feel free to skip over it. “ Nazi Anatomists--How the corpses of Hitler's victims are still haunting modern science—and American abortion politics. In 1941, Charlotte Pommer graduated from medical school at the University of Berlin and went to work for Hermann Stieve, head of the school’s Institute of Anatomy. The daughter of a bookseller, Pommer had grown up in Germany’s capital city as Hitler rose to power. But she didn’t appreciate what the Nazis meant for her chosen field until Dec. 22, 1942. What she saw in Stieve’s laboratory that day changed the course of her life—and led her to a singular act of protest.

Stieve got his “material,” as he called the bodies he used for research, from nearby Plötzensee Prison, where the courts sent defendants for execution after sentencing them to die. In the years following the war, Stieve would claim that he dissected the corpses of only “dangerous criminals.” But on that day, Pommer saw in his laboratory the bodies of political dissidents. She recognized these people. She knew them. On one table lay Libertas Schulze-Boysen, granddaughter of a Prussian prince. She’d been raised in the family castle, gone to finishing school in Switzerland, and worked as the Berlin press officer for the Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She joined the Nazi Party in 1933. On a hunting party, she flirted with Hermann Göring, commander of the Luftwaffe, the German air force. But in 1937 Schulze-Boysen joined the resistance with her husband, Harro, a Luftwaffe lieutenant. They helped form a small rebel group the Nazis called the Red Orchestra. When Libertas started working for Hitler’s movie empire in 1941, she gathered photos of atrocities from the front for a secret archive. Harro was transferred to Göring’s command center and with other dissidents started passing to the Soviets detailed information about Hitler’s plan to invade Russia. The Gestapo decoded their radio messages in 1942 and arrested Harro at the end of August. They came for Libertas eight days later. Both she and her husband were sentenced to death for espionage and treason. Click here.

Sideline--How do you follow a story as utterly dark as that one? You just do it…you just go on. So here’s some pretty derned good bluegrass news. Maria Nadauld, (don't be afraid. Say "NAY-dahld"), at Above the Bay Booking, has taken on a new eastern client and whether you want to call ‘em a “super-group” or not, Adam Haynes, Darrell Webb, Featured, Jason Moore, Sideline, Skip Cherryholmes and Steve Dilling are producing some super bluegrass music. And thanks to Maria, you’ll be able to sample it first hand next month when Sideline comes west…

Wednesday December 4, 2013 – BASC
Thursday December 5 – San Diego Bluegrass Society
Friday December 6 – Boulevard Music – Culver City
Saturday December 7 – Cal State East Bay (Hayward
Sunday December 8 – TBD
Monday December 9 – Cottonwood Performing Arts Cnt
Tuesday December 10 – Mid-Valley Baptist Church – Durham –

For more information on the Sideline tour and/or tickets to the December 7 Save the ”H” concert at Cal State East Bay, call Maria at 510-828-6961 or email her at

Randog’s Daily Pick
Jack Cooke Sittin' On Top Of The World
Pinecastle CD
This is the first full album, far as I know, showcasing the talents of one of the great figures in bluegrass history. Full time bassist, harmony singer and all around sidekick in Ralph Stanley's band for 37 years when this album was cut, Jack was a legendary, (although mostly rumored because of a lack of recorded evidence) guitarist and lead singer, who served a stint in those roles with Bill Monroe. Jim Lauderdale produced this album to showcase all Jack's strengths, wrote the "hit"(That's How The Cookie Crumbles), and included Jack's brother Hubert and wife Jeanette of the awe inspiring Cooke Duet to join Jack on two numbers, as well as The Del McCoury Band , David Grisman, Mike Bub, Ralph Stanley, and other guests. Jack's vocal and instrumental skills are in the spotlight here, though, and Jack in full cry, even near the end of his career is something to hear. There are also two tracks from 45s Jack cut as leader in 1963, including one of his showcase numbers, Let Me Rest At The End Of My Journey.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--There weren't any ponies in the Pony Express, only horses. (Horseyexpress just doesn't have the same ring to it does it!)
Monday, November 18, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--September, 1986…the Bluegrass Breakdown breaks the unspoken but universally recognized rule about keeping politics out of bluegrass with a reprinted article from the Seattle Folklore Society…”The attempt by the Musician’s Union to force ALL performing musicians to join the union through federal legislation seems still to have some possibility of passage of the Senate unless the members of the Senate are made well aware of sentiment against this exceptionally bad piece of special-interest legislation.

The bill (SB 670) would force all regularly working musicians to join the Musician’s Union, require all clubs to pay union scale, and re-define musicians as direct employees of the clubs where they are working. If this is put into law, the effect will simply be to destroy utterly the folk, bluegrass, jazz, etc., music performance scene as it now exists. Most employers who are now hiring performers simply will not consider the extra paper-work burden this would impose, and will just not hire musicians. Most of the tax advantages now enjoyed by musicians who are now considered independent contractors will also disappear if this becomes law; for example, deductions for travel expenses to and from jobs are allowed now, but will not be if the performers are considered direct employees.

There may be advantages to this piece of ill-considered legislation, but so far it is limited to a few nightclub musicians in places like Las Vegas, Reno and Atlantic City. Whether the Musician’s Union in promoting this odd and coercive bit of bad law is hostile to or just simply uncaring about folk and traditional artists is unclear, but the effects are certainly clear enough. Write to your U.S. Senator, Pete Wilson or Alan Cranston, Washington, D.C. 20510 and urge them to vote against SB 670.” Two MEN representing California in the U.S. Senate. What a novel idea…

I don’t know. I just don’t know--Over the weekend I received the following email. I don’t know who sent it to me or why. I don’t know if it’s for real (could anybody actually write or speak like this), or a part of some bogus web-based attempted sting. And I certainly don’t know why I’m sharing it with our Mold readers. There’s just something about to narrative’s angst-saturated drone that caused me to read the entire thing…then read it again…and then decide to, against my better judgment, share it with you. I’ll certainly understand and won’t be offended if you just skip this one. But if you do read it and if you have any thoughts about it, I’d like to hear from you.

“I am one of the tenants that lives in the Sycamore Park Apts. I never got a chance to use the swimming pool, and how other tenants always use the pool and always hog the pool. I feel that the pool should be open in 24 hours, because I never got a chance to use the swimming pool. I feel that people should take turns using the pool. The Jacuzzi should be more warmer, because when I told the owner he will look at the other way and said “ talk to the manager about this”. When I told them they did not want to fix the problem. There is another issue about the laundry room, that I feel that the laundry room should be open 24 hours at the Sycamore Park Apts. Which will make it easier for other people to wash their clothes, it is hard for other people to wash their clothes. Because other people are washing clothes and don’t take the clothes out of the dryer. It upsets other people and myself. They should have more washers, and dryers in the laundry room to make it easier for people to wash and dry their clothes. I feel they should have a playground because kids are playing outside of the parking lot and the hallway. Makes it difficult for other people and myself to get to the car, the kids play in the parking lot after office hours. I feel that they should make a playground and recreation center for kids. Because I don’t like the fact the kids are paying in front of the apt area, and I feel they should play at their area. Parents are not doing nothing about this. There is people (tenants) hanging in my area and I feel they should hang out in their own area. I don’t like what is going on, it’s been going on for a while. When I walk to my car, I hate the fact people (tenants) are hanging in front of the hallway and the parking lot. It is difficult to drive out of the parking lot, because people (tenants) are in the way. It’s been going on for a while. I also hate what is going on in the apt, because it is sad that some people (tenants) lost their pet and made Ads about their lost pet. No one did not do nothing about this, In every morning other tenants are asleep and especially myself. When I am asleep there is always a child and other people making noises. I find that very annoying, irritating, and rude. Because there are other people have to sleep, and get to go to work or school in the morning. It’s been going on every day in the Apt, the weekends, weekdays, and after hours. I feel that the corporates, and managers should look inside of every Apartment to check if other people (tenants) have someone missing pets. I know there is a rule where you can’t park in the fire zone. There is people (tenants) park in someone’s parking spot without a permit and it takes a while to call the manager and it will take the manager a while to tow the vehicle. They should stop charging tenants and myself 100 dollars late fee to pay rent. When we moved in the apt had a lot of issues. The ceiling had moles, and it had roaches, and bugs. Therefore we had to buy our own bug spray to kill the bugs and roaches. Outside of the garbage, when I empty the trash I see roaches where it disgusted me. The kids make loud noise everyday in the apt, when I tell the manager and the owner about it, therefore they don’t want to do nothing to fix this problem. All the issues been going on for a while and someone should put a stop to this. PS: I been writing a letter complaint and no one has not do nothing about this to fix the problem.” Oh, let me save you the trouble…there are over eleven hundred Sycamore Park Apartments in the U.S, and at least a quarter of thos are in California.

From George Martin, the CBA’s new publicity coordinator--Old newsmen don’t die when they retire, they just find someone who’ll let ‘em work for free. Two wit, here’s some copy just churned out by George. (Man, if I could write like this guy I could quite this damned Mold News gig. The CBA’s annual Night at the Grange in Morgan Hill in February will feature an astonishing group from Texas, the Quebe Sisters Band.

Three young sisters, Grace, Hulda and Sophia Quebe (pronounced kway-bee) play beautiful triple fiddle harmonies, hot intricate polyphonies, and also sing like a reincarnation of the Andrews Sisters. They are accompanied by Joey McKenzie on arch-top guitar and Gavin Kelso on upright bass. McKenzie and Kelso provide a solid foundation of two-beat western swing chords and walking bass.

Opening the show on Saturday, Feb. 22, will be California’s most colorful bluegrass band, the Central Valley Boys.

Tickets are $27 for CBA members, $30 for non-members. They will be available starting December 1 at, or by contacting Tim Edes at (408) 595-4882 or by e-mail at The Morgan Hill Grange is located at 40 E. 4th Street, Morgan Hill. Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the music will start at 7.

The Quebe Sisters Band was formed in 2000 and plays vintage country and western, Texas swing and slightly countrified hot jazz. The sisters took fiddle lessons from Sherry McKenzie, a former national fiddle champion and wife of their guitar player, who is himself a former fiddle champion. Joey McKenzie works up the complex arrangements for the group.

The sisters have toured around the United States and appeared in England. They were honored with the Western Music Association’s Crescendo Award, and won Album of the Year from the Academy of Western Artists. They have appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, New York’s Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C.

Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs, once a member of the Johnson Mountain Boys and no mean fiddle player himself, is an enthusiastic supporter of the band. “One thing is for sure, you don’t see a group like the Quebe Sisters Band come along every day. Give them your undivided attention and if you are not already, you too will be come a fan.”

Lions and tigers and…banjos--You’ll recall, (or maybe you won’t), that several months ago I alerted you to a once in a life time opportunity—to go on a combination banjo workshop/African safari. To my knowledge, none of you went as a result of my urging, but judging from the report filed by expedition leader Ross Nickerson in today’s edition of, we all missed one hulluvan adventure. “Hello Folks,” Ross begins, “We’ve just returned from our second Banjo Safari and the trip was even better than the first. I wasn’t sure what it would be like returning for a second Safari. With the first time being special to me I almost didn’t want to mess with the memory. The good news is that animals are so unpredictable I saw completely new things this year along with lots of animals I missed the first time. I was really pleased it was a new fun experience. Some of the highlights were; Black Rhino which are rare and hard to find, Hippos, Cheetahs and of course Lions, Elephants, White Rhinos, the endangered Wild Dogs, Jackals, Hyenas, Wildebeests along with many other of the fascinating animals and birds in Africa. Giraffes in the wild are really special, seeing them is like being in Jurassic Park. They move gracefully and look prehistoric against the African landscape, especially at sunset. Watching a Giraffe take a drink of water is a real treat, seeing how they have to bend their legs.” Near the end of the piece Ross claims that he’s “helped arrange to have Steve Kaufman have a guitar workshop and Safari next year in November. Guitar players, check Steve’s schedule for more information.” Click here.

Randog’s Daily Pick
The Ernie Thacker & Junior Blankenship Band-- Tears Of Gold Atteiram CD-1730

Wonderful tradition flavored album by this duo of refugees from Ralph Stanley's band, released in 1994. Ernie was Dr. Stanley's lead vocalist between Charlie Sizemore and 2 (or ll). Ernie didn't copy Carter as slavishly as some lead vocalists before him in Ralph's band--or after him, for that matter, which had been the case at that point, more or less, for the 30 odd years since Carter passed away. For that reason, it is interesting to hear this album, cut, presumably shortly after both he and Junior Blankenship, Ralph's longtime lead guitarist went out on their own. Junior seldom sang with Ralph, but he does a nice job on a couple of numbers here, most notably Rock Salt and Nails. Fiddler James Price, who had a long tenure with Ralph mostly after this album was recorded plays a lot of beautiful stuff on the album, and Jimmy Gabhart(?) holds up his end on banjo...but it is Ernie Thacker's lead vocals on the bulk of the numbers here, from Carter's Lost and I'll Never Find The Way to Jimmy Martin's Chalk Up Another One and It Takes One To Know One (Jimmy via Harlan Howard) to his own composition Tears Of Gold that makes this a special one. Sadly, Ernie's career was seriously curtailed by a near fatal accident just when his career was getting up a full head of steam, so it was with some excitement that I purchased this from the bargain bin at Ernest Tubb's Record Shop...for $2.99. Evidently the Gusto-Starday folks have accessed a bunch of Atteiram stuff, and this was one of the albums they are distributing...if such a thing as distribution of bluegrass albums even exists. Grab it if you see it, you'll be glad you did.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know-Al Capone's business card said he was a used furniture dealer. (And it’s rumored old Al had a huge inventory of over-sized trunks.)

Friday, November 15, 2013

I find it scarcely possible that we can have blown another entire week…alright, that Ican have blown another week…here at the Mold News. Some of you will remember Janice, wife of Skip, hater of all things MOLDY, vociferous hate of the MOLD MAN’S LIST OF THE WEEK feature. I thought I’d take us out this week with a special little list dedicated to Janice. You could call it an historical survey of American slang for the DRUNK MAN. This one’s for you, Janice.

He is intoxicated.

He is inebriated.

He is tipsy.

He is full.

He is loaded.

He is jagged.

He is fuddled.

He is tight.

He is topheavy.

He is stewed.

drunk synonyms

He is half shot.

He is half gone.

He is overcome.

He is overtaken.

He is primed.

He is afflicted.

He is elevated.

He is exhilarated.

He is genial.

He is happy.

He is mellow.

He is corned.

He is beery.

He is winy.

He is groggy.

He is boozy.

He is soaked.

He is chock-a-block.

He is lushy.

He is muggy.

drunk synonyms

He is boryeyed.

He is cockeyed.

He is muddled.

He is jiggered.

He is foggy.

He is hazy.

He is dizzy.

He is dazed.

He is stunned.

He is moory.

He is dopy.

He is ossified.

He is petrified.

He is paralyzed.

He has a (glorious or elegant) jag on.

He has a load on.

He has a skate on.

He has a bun on.

He has a brannigan on.

He has a shine on.

He has an edge on.

He has a skin full.

He has got a cup too much.

He has looked on the wine when it was red.

He has a bee in his bonnet.

He has an applejack gait.

He has been taking a little of Paddy's eye water or of red eye.

He has been crooking his elbow.

He has more sail than ballast.

He has his main-brace well spliced.

He has the sun in his eye.

He can't see a hole in the ladder.

He can't lie down without holding on.

He is half-seas over.

He is three sheets in the wind.

He is on the beam end.

He is under the influence of the weather.

He is over the bay.

He is in his cups.

He is in his pots.

He is off his trolley.

He is off his nut.

He is on a drunk.

He is on a spree.

He is on a bender.

He is on a racket.

He is on a tear.

He is on the ran-tan.

He is on the ree-raw.

He is feeling his oats.

He is full of mountain dew.

He is full of dope.

He is full of forty-rod booze.

He is full of Jersey lightning.

He is full of tangle-foot.

He is full of bug-juice.

He is as full as a tick.

He is as full as a goat.

He is as full as a bedbug.

He is as drunk as a lord.

He is as drunk as a boiled owl.

He is as drunk as David's sow.

He is week (wobbly) on his pins.

He is all mops and brooms.

He is about to cast up his accounts.

He had a bird.

He had a peach.

He had a bundle.

He had a beaut.

He had a sosh on.

He had a still on.

He had been sapping up.

He fell from grace.

He fell off the water wart.

He has been licking up.

He was out of business.

He had broken out again.

He was down and out.

He was all to the bad.

He had been hitting the hard stuff.

He had too much tamarack.

He was up against it.

He was tanked up.

He had been fighting the booms.

He was fixed all right.

He was put under the table.

He couldn't navigate.

He was tacking.

He was up in the air.

He is disguised.

He is stewed.

He is bemused.

He is beargeared.

He is bowned.

He has been dallying with the black bottle.

He is podgy.

He is swiped.

He is obfuscated.

He is dagg'd.

He is weary.

He has been in the sun.

He has drunk more than he has bled.

He is one and thirty.

He made indentures with his legs.

He has got the gravel rash.

He drank till he gave up his half-penny.

He is "nulled."

He is "soshed."

He is "hot as winks."

He is "crapulent."

He is "maggoty."

He is full of pig iron and caraway seed.

He is off on a bat.

He is too full for utterance.

He is off his base.

He has got marbles in his mouth.

He is full of prunes.

He is loaded to the hilt.

He don't know his name from a hill of beans.

He has been hugging the bar.

He has been blowing himself like a drunken sailor.

He has been giving an imitation of a man trying to sober up.

He has been feeding his face with bar glasses.

His birthday drunk.

The California Bluegrass Association has gone into the button-
making business in a big way.
It’s raising
funds to re-
vamp it’s web
org) and has
amassed a
collection of
over 400 dif-
ferent pin-on
and magnetic
buttons. Click
here to learn
how you can
support the CBA AND make a bluegrass fashion statement.

He has been drinking through Shagrun's thimble.

He has been to a session with the Tanks.

He had too much fish bait.

He went beyond the limit.

He has been trying to beat John Barleycorn.

He has got more than the law allows.

He has been rushing the growler once too often.

He has been measuring sidewalks upside down.

He is holding up his head so as not to lose any.

He has a champagne appetite and beer income drunk.

He has a cold tea drunk.

He has a pink tea drunk.

Have a terrific weekend, enjoy some live music, stay out of trouble and let's meet up on Monday morning.

I have a favor to ask. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that 1) I'm not the greatest speller in the world and 2) they don't pay us enough for the Moldy News operation to hire a proof reader. (Actually, they don't pay us ANYTHING.) So, here's the deal--if when you spot a mistake you shoot me a quick email at I'll make the fix QUICKLY and reduce the number of web site visitors who's opinion of the Association is tainted by the poor spelling of one of it's volunteers. Please? Thursday, November 14, 2013

MILESTONE--October 15, 2013, New Haven Conn., the Trustees of Yale University announce that they’ve appointed a bluegrass fanatic as president of the third oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Well, they don’t exactly announce Dr. Peter Salovey’s ascent to the presidency in exactly those words, but nonetheless, “one of us” has just become one of the most influential educators in the nation. Doctorate programs in banjo, dobro and fiddle? Why not? Click here.

Pass the A-1 sauce, please--“A Lost Hiker Ate His Dog To Survive. Why Does This Infuriate Us So? Canadian outdoorsman Marco Lavoie spent three months stranded in the wilderness of the Nottaway River in Western Quebec. His plight began when a bear attacked and wrecked his boat, ravaging his supplies. Lavoie’s pet German shepherd apparently helped drive off the bear. Eventually Lavoie, starving and dehydrated, struck his dog on the head with a rock and ate him. Lavoie’s actions earned him a torrent of criticism when he was finally found, 90 pounds thinner and dogless, earlier this month. While survival experts supported his decision, Lavoie told authorities immediately after the rescue that he wanted another dog, and this wish provoked particular ire. On the Huffington Post, for example, one commenter wrote “I would rather eat my own limbs than my dogs.” Yeah, he wants another dog alright, but this one’ll be younger and a lot more tender.

And the winners are--Not a man to ramble on and on, Dave Gooding, this year’s coordinator of the GREAT 48 band contest called the Showcase Showdown, has made the following announcement…”The four bands have been selected for the Showcase Showdown band competition at he 2014 Great 48 Hour jam in Bakersfield are as follows: Canyon Johnson, the Grasskickers, California Pearly Blue and Cliff Compton and Mountaintop.” Congratulations to all the pickers in all the bands. This is a solid, paid gig and the winner gets a slot at Grass Valley.

You’re doing it wrong, you idiot--Over at slate they don’t just offer an occasional tip on how to make classics in American and continental cuisine…they’re an edgy bunch and insist on angling their food pieces from a “one-up” position. Still, there’s some wisdom in this little piece. (Maudie will be getting soup tonight, on that you can depend. “ You’re Doing It Wrong: French Onion Soup--According to Gallic lore, onion soup was invented when King Louis XV found himself stranded at a hunting lodge late one night with nothing in the pantry except onions, butter, and champagne. This story is obviously apocryphal. For one thing, onion soup has been made for as long as there have been fire, water, people, and onions; it didn’t need some peckish monarch to invent it. For another, proper onion soup takes hours to prepare—if you were urgently hungry late at night, it would be one of the least efficient things you could make. Also, isn’t squandering champagne tantamount to flag-burning in France? I suspect that this hunting lodge legend has more to do with Louis XV’s popular image as a debaucherous do-nothing king than with French onion soup per se. Click here.

Unless you've got a fail-safe lock on staying healthy--Bluegrass folks who are in the know know that the International Bluegrass Music Association isn’t a bluegrass organization like the CBA, BASC, SWBA and the rest. Nope, the IBMA is a professional association, meaning it was formed trade group to represent the interests of folks who make a living, as hard as that might be, in the bluegrass industry. For years the association has tried and tried and tried to make their efforts relevant to that segment of the music scene, and it seems each year they do a little better job of it than in the past. Take 2013, for example….support for artists in securing health care.

“International Bluegrass Sound Healthcare: What’s new with Affordable Care Act? As the final provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out, it’s time to prepare for the transition:

Lock in your rate:
Health insurance plans underwritten in 2013 can remain in effect throughout the 2014 plan year. These plans will be less expensive than those written in

Understand your options:
Learn the difference between “On the Exchange” and “Off the Exchange” regarding the guaranteed issue policies with effective dates January 1, 2014 and beyond.

Review your coverage:
Staying put may be your best option. Let the experts at Sound Healthcare assist you in making your decision The International Bluegrass Music Association alliance with Sound Healthcare provides you with direct access to advocacy and counsel regarding healthcare reform. Give us a call at 615-256- 8667 for a quick reform readiness checkup. RJ Stillwell will be participating in a webinar for IBMA members Tuesday, December 3, 2013 so be sure to “attend”! Registration for this webinar is free to all current IBMA members.

Those CBA people. Seems like they never get tired of trying to separate members from their money--Well, that’s not totally true; begging for money is, after all, no walk in the park. But what we don’t get tired of, or at least, fortunately, many of us don’t get tired of, is connecting Bill’s music with the people who’ll make sure it’s around after we’re gone. Of course most of us who stay on task do it for the love of the music but, fact is there are lots of good reasons to get kids playing music, any kind of music. Here, we’ll prove it… “Childhood Music Lessons Could Benefit Your Brain Later On--If you took piano lessons as a child but never continued with them in adulthood, they could still provide brain benefits later in life, according to a new study. Researchers from Northwestern University found that brain responses to speech are faster among older adults who took childhood music lessons -- even if they haven't touched an instrument in decades. And the positive effects seemed to be stronger the longer a person took music lessons as a child, the researchers noted. The study is published in the Journal of Neuroscience, and is based on testing of 44 adults ages 55 to 76. The study participants had the electrical activity of their auditory brainstem measured as they listened to the speech syllable "da."

The brain response to the sound was fastest among people who had had four to 14 years of musical training in childhood, with the response being a millisecond faster than those who had no musical training as children. "Being a millisecond faster may not seem like much, but the brain is very sensitive to timing and a millisecond compounded over millions of neurons can make a real difference in the lives of older adults," Michael Kilgard, Ph.D., who studies the brain's sound-processing abilities at University of Texas at Dallas and who wasn't involved in this study, said in a statement. "These findings confirm that the investments that we make in our brains early in life continue to pay dividends years later." Click here.Oh, good, I just heard somebody say, they didn’t try to put the pinch on me this morning. WRONG. The Association has already begun a campaign to increase the number of sponsorships to next summer’s Youth Academy, the four day kids bluegrass camp held festival week in Grass Valley. Please have a look and help if you can.
Click here.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Boy, I’ll tell you, it’s been a tough couple months for our Northern CA bluegrass and old-time communities. Again yesterday we learned of yet another loss…Greg Townsend, Sacramento area super picker, long-time fixture at the Fifth-String in Sacramento and a very early force in California’s bluegrass scene, pass on Monday. How early? Well, he was a member of Grant Street. It’s impossible to calculate how much joy and beauty music teachers like Greg Townsend bring into the world. The men and women and kids he touched in his little studio at the Fifth String would tell you, I’m certain, that the contribution was massive. Rest in peace, Greg; you’ll be missed more than you know.

CBA MILESTONE--May, 1982, Bluegrass Breakdown…”THE AUTOHARPOHOLIC Magazine is a quarly publication for all autoharp enthusiasts. In addition to feature articles, regular departments include interviews, reviews of records, books and films, helpful hints, “how to” questions and answers, letters, concert schedules, announcements, product information, a beginners column and, of course, music with tablature for both chromatic and diatonic autoharps. Subscriptions are $10 per year. 1982 is the 100th anniversary of the autoharp’s original patent. A special celebration will be held on May 8th at Lipman Intermediate School in Brisban. The evening will feature a film of the late Kilby Snow and an “open mic.” Cost is $2.50.” (The latest reference we can find to the magazine is 1990.)

The YouTubing of Bluegrass--If you didn’t catch Ted Lehmann’s Welcome column yesterday you maybe to go back and read it. His topic, how has and could YouTube effect bluegrass music, was an eye-opener. I was knocked out by some of the stats he shared…

“More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month

Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that's almost an hour for every person on Earth, and 50% more than last year

100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute

70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US.”

For the whole article, Click here.

The next time you have a flat on your bike we would recommend--Okay, so I’m a techno-nut who can’t get enough news on the avalanche of new stuff coming onto the market everyday. But you’ve got to admit, these guys and their “smart wheel” is absolutely mind-bending…”The phrase ‘This changes everything’ gets thrown around a lot, but in the sustainable commuting sphere, an invention out of New York by a group of bike enthusiasts just might actually change everything. The Smart Wheel by FlyKly Bikes is a motorized bike wheel that can fit on almost any bike, instantly turning a regular bike into an electric one, opening up the options of who can bike commute, where, how far and in what terrain. Bike commuting in urban areas has the potential to combat an enormous number of problems: traffic congestion, air pollution, gas consumption, and commuting affordability. But would-be bikers are often limited by various constraints, including weather, physical condition, cost and time….So FlyKly’s Niko Klansek decided to ‘turn an ordinary bike into a smart bike.’ ‘We want to make cities more livable, and make them more people -- not car -- friendly,’ says Klansek. Enter the Smart Wheel, a wheel that can replace almost any bike’s back tire. The wheel hub has a self-contained, battery-powered motor that can propel a bike at speeds as high as 20 miles per hour for as far as 30 miles on one charge. The wheel recharges itself when coasting downhill.” No, not a perpetual motion machine, but one of the closest things to it that I’ve seen. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mold Man. I was thunderstruck by the man’s audacity. Absolutely flabbergasted by his chutzpa. Here’s the note I sent to you last week…

”Dear Moldman, I know, I know, never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Nevertheless, it appears that the rumor of Marilyn Monroe having an extra toe is just an urban legend: Http:// I, of course, refer to J.D. Rhynes’ November 1, 2013 contention that “Marilyn Monroe had six toes.” Best regards, Anonymous”

Do you see anything there about suspending the guy? About bringing the hammer down on Rhynes? Of course not. I wrote simply to let you know a mistake had been made…figuring, of course, that you’d want to correct it. I was therefore shocked when I saw this thing about an “administrative leave” and, more silly, an “official inquiry.” I felt sorry for J.D., and I felt like a snitch because I “reported” him. But then, yesterday, what do I find? An unadulterated fairy tale Rhynes has concocted to try to get himself off the hook. Pierre Cixtooes, indeed. What an absolute crock. I think all of you people who do the so-called Mold News are touched in the head. You post material you don’t bother to fact check, and then when you get caught, you fabricate nonsensical stories to try to cover up. BRING BACK LARRY CARLIN! George Watson from Campbell.” Dear George, first of all let me congratulate you for stepping out of the shadows and dropping the anonymous thing. As for Rhynes and his explanation of the Marilyn matter, you’ll be as stunned as I was to learn that there really was a Pierre Cixtooes. I know, it’s incredible. I didn’t believe it even after our investigator made his final report. But there it was in black and white. Cixtooes was, in fact, a world-class designer and, did make shoes for royalty and was, by all accounts, one eccentric son-of-a-gun. I invite you to Google his name…you’ll be amazed. Now as for Mr. Rhynes, you’ll find his daily posts have returned as of today. And lastly, George, please continue to be on the look out for anything in the MN that doesn’t sound quite right. Only through the vigilance of faithful readers like yourself can we hope to maintain our high standards for accuracy and honesty.

Randog’s Daily Pick
Banjo Bonanza-Don Reno and Bobby Thompson with The Cripple Creek Quartet
Reader's Digest LP

'Tis a puzzlement, this one: Released in 1983,it resembles those rack jobber's specials from the late '50s and early '60s featuring bluegrass with no personnel listed--except that this was made for the Reader's Digest, presumably for subscription orders, certainly not to be sold in stores...and it pairs two of the greatest bluegrass banjo stylists in the music's history, admittedly playing a pretty predictable repertoire; and the playing is great throughout. Oh, and Kenny Malone plays drums, but tastefully; it doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the music, (no vocals) include: Foggy Mtn. Breakdown, Cripple Creek, The Ballad Of Jed Clampett, Guitar Boogie, Under The Double Eagle, and Rocky Top on side one, The Wabash Cannonball and a George Cohan medley on the other, plus this Land Is your Land, Old Joe Clark and Dueling Banjos on the other...any of you banjoistas out there have any commentary or knowledge you'd care to share with the wider world about this one? Oh, and by the way, both Don and Bobby were considered highly as guitarists as well as banjo players; my favorite cut on the album is probably Guitar Boogie, though there is no help from the non-existent liner notes here as to who is playing what when... Randy Pitts Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--The name for Oz in the "Wizard of Oz" was thought up by Frank Baum (the author of the book) who looked at his filing cabinet and saw O-Z. (That is pure bunk! The Wizard of Oz's given name was Oscar Zilly, hence the initials OZ. Oscar and I were college roommates.)
Monday, November 11, 2014

CBA MILESTONE--January, 1977, Feature Article, Bluegrass Breakdown…The Good Ol’ Boys--The Good Ol’ Boys
The past several years have seen many instances of venerable blues artists like Muddy Waters and B.B. King teaming up with young pop musicians whom they have inspired and influenced. Now at last this has happened with another traditional American musical style.

A couple of years ago, one of the “daddies of bluegrass” (Frank Wakefield) joined forces with a member of a popular country-rock band (David Nelson) to form THE GOOD OL’ BOYS. Although basically a part-time band, THE GOOD OL’ BOYS have managed to work pretty regularly for the past two years, during which time they have shared the bill with the likes of David Bromberg, Vassar Clements, Country Joe, Flying Burrito Bros., Jerry Garcia, David Grisman, Emmy Lou Harris, Roger Mc Guinn, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Tom Paxton, The Persuasions, Jean-Luc Ponty, Bonnie Raitt, Reno and Harrell, Rowan Bros., Earl Scruggs, Don Stover, and Tammy Wynette.

David Nelson had long admired the distinctive mandolin playing of Frank Wakefield when in November, 1973, he met Frank in Massachusetts. David (lead guitar and vocals) was on tour with the redoubtable NEW RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE. Frank was in the other band that night, THE HONKIES. David and Frank promptly hit it off and Frank jammed on stage that same evening with the Riders on their second show. In April, 1974, Frank was flown to the West Coast to play at the Golden State Bluegrass Festival in San Rafael, California. It was during this time that Frank and David crossed paths again, formed a band, and dubbed it THE GOD OL’ BOYS. After the festival, Frank stayed out West with David and THE GOOD OL’ BOYS made the rounds until that fall when Frank returned East.
Around November of that year, David went East to see Frank. They formed another tour of the GOOD OL’ BOYS with East coast musicians.
Click here.

I’m not sayin’ it really happened...just that
that’s what it felt like. I placed an order for
my Fathers Day Festival Early Bird Ticket and
the next moment I heard the unmistakable sound
of the afternoon wind blowing high up in the
Ponderosa pines. You know the sound. And in
the distance I could hear a bass thumping.
Something to do with Pavlov, I’m sure

Pierre Cixtooes--Given the larger-than-life character and persona of the man I suppose it’s not surprising that J.D. Rhynes would respond to his suspension from the Mold News team with fervor; I did not, however, expect anything like this…

”Your high moldiness; to say that I was shocked when I read about my suspension from the website last Friday, would be the understatement of the year. My suspension was due to my publishing a list of so-called facts, one of which stated that Marilyn Monroe had six toes. That turned out not to be "a fact". However, not being one to run from a fight regardless of the odds, I knew that only further persistent research was the only means to clear my good name from such a heinous so-called "fact" that has been foisted off on the American public about one of our most beloved icons.

So after much diligent research for the last 72 hours I have come up with this little-known fact that will explain the foundation of the so-called fact that Marilyn Monroe had six toes. What is a fact is this; in her wardrobe it was discovered that she had over 200 pairs of shoes designed by the very reclusive designer Pierre Cixtooes, of Paris France. Pierre was so reclusive, he only had six clients worldwide. He was very secretive about who he designed shoes for, but it is known among his list of clientele was the Queen of England, and Marilyn Monroe.

The shoes that Pierre designed and manufactured were known to be the most comfortable shoes in the world, and also the most lavish and Avante garde. As a result they were widely sought after by celebrities and movie stars worldwide, and were rumored to cost upwards of $10,000 a pair. Marilyn was not very conversant in the French language and she always pronounced Pierre's last name as "Sixtoes". At the Academy Awards one year and interviewer asked her about her very lavish and fancy shoes, to which she replied; Oh, I have six toes. A very innocent answer by a very innocent lady, which was misconstrued to be a fact lo these many years after her passing.

So Mr. Mold Man, there you have the results of my around-the-clock research into a so-called fact that has been foisted off on the American public for 51 years. I hope you will excuse my folly of publishing the so-called fact and reinstate my ability to post on our website. I remain your ardent fan, JD Rhynes.

Randog’s Daily Pick
Vern & Ray San Francisco-1968 with Herb Pedersen Arhoolie CD524

A real treasure, and a rare opportunity to hear these under-recorded titans in full cry...this was recorded at a folk festival in 1968, when Arkansas natives Vern Wililams and Ray Park--who met in California--were joined by Herb Pedersen, barely out of his teens at the time--to record some of the most rousing, honkytonkingest bluegrass imaginable. Their versions of The Bottle Let Me Down, On My Mind, and especially The Touch Of God's Hand are to die for, and there's lots more...They should have been famous, fate decreed otherwise...but they left us this and a few other recordings by which to remember them.

From the Department of As-If-We-Don’t-Have-Enough-to-Worry-About Department--My mother used to say “No news is good news, Moldy”, but, truth be told, I never really believed it. It’s like this, (sorry, mom, for the language), crap we’ve always been told about a falling tree making no noise in the forest if no one’s there to hear it. Sure, if there aren’t any ears around to close the circle you could argue that noise really didn’t happen, but the tree fell down nonetheless and chances are some rabbit or squirrel was left homeless as a result. Or, God forbid, squashed. So, I ask you, were we any safer from the threat of human extinction when we believed killer meteors were on a 100 year cycle rather than the now believes 30 year cycle? Hell no!...”Russian Meteor In Chelyabinsk May Mean Space Rocks Pose Bigger Risk Than We Thought; WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists studying the terrifying meteor that exploded without warning over a Russian city last winter say the threat of space rocks smashing into Earth is bigger than they thought. Meteors about the size of the one that streaked through the sky at 42,000 mph and burst over Chelyabinsk in February — and ones even larger and more dangerous — are probably four to five times more likely to hit the planet than scientists believed before the fireball, according to three studies published Wednesday in the journals Nature and Science. Until Chelyabinsk, NASA had looked only for space rocks about 100 feet wide and bigger, figuring there was little danger below that. This meteor was only 62 feet across but burst with the force of about 40 Hiroshima-type atom bombs, scientists say. It released a shock wave that shattered thousands of windows and injured more than 1,600 people, and its flash was bright enough to temporarily blind 70 people and cause dozens of skin-peeling sunburns just after dawn in icy Russia. Up until then, scientists had figured a meteor causing an airburst like the one in Russia was a once-in-150-years event, based on how many space rocks have been identified in orbit. But one of the studies now says it is likely to happen once every 30 years or so, based on how often these things are actually hitting. Click here.

Okay, that's all that's fit to print...or post...for the day. As always I'm interested in what you think...about today's edition of the More or Less Daily News, about bluegrass music, heck, about pretty much anything. Write me at

Friday, November 8, 2013
MILESTONE--November, 2013; Larry Sparks Fiftieth Anniversary, from Bluegrass Unlimited, written by Tom Netherland…”Columbus, Ohio. Beyond the glow and allure of the night lights of Columbus, Larry Sparks illuminated the stage of a bluegrass festival on a hot and humid July night. He was dressed in Carolina blue from shoulders to shoes. Bluegrass dripped from his heart like a leaky faucet. He captivated with each dripping drop. He turned the knob ever so slightly from song to song, from “I Want To Thank You” to that night’s finale, “Tennessee 1949.”

“He’s why I’m standing here,” said Jamie Johnson of the Grascals, who stood in rapt attention backstage and watched Sparks with nary a flinch until the last note was sung. “Larry Sparks. Soul. It would be a blessing to be here after fifty years and still sound like he does.” Netherland’s piece for BU runs a whopping sixty-seven hundred words and covers Larry’s career with the authority and grace it deserves. An article well worth reading for anyone interested in better understanding this genre of music that brings us together everyday. Click here.

Rhynes Suspension--It is with a heavy heart that I must report that the daily feature entitled J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know has been suspended until further notice. Last afternoon the Mold office received an anonymous tip that a fact run by Rhynes on November 1 was, in fact, not a fact. The handwritten note read…

”Dear Moldman, I know, I know, never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Nevertheless, it appears that the rumor of Marilyn Monroe having an extra toe is just an urban legend:

I, of course, refer to J.D. Rhynes’ November 1, 2013 contention that “Marilyn Monroe had six toes.”

Best regards, Anonymous”

Thus, until an independent, full, complete and unbiased administrative review of this matter has been accomplished, Mr. Rhynes’ daily JDSYDNTK will be on hold. As our loyal readers know, the Mold News has ZERO TOLERANCE for fictitious reporting. J.D., who is currently on administrative leave, will have every opportunity to tell his side of the story.

Good news for Johnny fans--A reported wrote just yesterday that, “So when I heard that another Cash book was on the way, this one a doorstop biography by longtime Los Angeles Times music journalist Robert Hilburn, I must admit that my first weary thought was: “Do we really need another Johnny Cash book?” Yes, we really do, as it turns out, because Johnny Cash: The Life is so very good. I won’t sign off on “definitive,” as the book’s back cover proclaims, for reasons I’ll explain in a bit. But Hilburn’s work is far and away the most insightful, entertaining, comprehensive, and well-told Cash biography to date.” Please consider this a Moldy recommendation…can’t wait to get my hands on it. Click here.

Camp Out--Folks relatively new to the CBA may not recognize the name Bob Thomas, but for all the rest of us the sound of it inspires a sort of calm and sense that all’s right with the world. Name a leadership position in the California Bluegrass Association and Bob’s filled it at one point or another, and each time he’s brought to the job an enormous amount of hard work, honesty and insight. He and wife Cindy have for the past four years or so traveled the U.S. from one end to the other and all the spots in between. They have, however, managed to structure their itinerary to bring them back to California for many of the Association’s events. They were in attendance at the fall campout, and afterward, Bob posted the following note on the Message Board. I share it here because of that honesty and insight I mentioned…”Camp Out; Bob Thomas; 11/1/2013; We certainly had a grand time at Lodi this year. The place was cleaner than nearly any we've seen. The building was a good size for our group. There are sufficient water and electric hookups for all who wanted them. Not much shade, but those who wanted it had it.

There were just three noise issues. The trains, the Hwy 99, and the Circus. Nothing too bad. I want to congratulate our new Statewide Activities VPs Vaughn and Glenda Lew for doing an outstanding job on their first event. From the time I arrived on Wednesday until we left on Monday, I think they were working constantly. I was amazed at one thing. Even though there were invitations both on this site and in the Bluegrass Breakdown well ahead of the fall camp out, no one had volunteered to help them at the welcome booth.

Being a volunteer organization has many benefits. The CBA enjoyed several days of fun and jamming, visiting, and plenty of entertainment for just the price of camping. But at the heart of a volunteer organization are the many good people who all help with the work to make it successful.

That leads me to the point of this. Glenda and Vaughn Lew worked for weeks to set up this camp out for us the CBA members. They worked with the fair grounds staff, arranged for the Saturday dinner and entertainment. All week they worked at the welcome booth, collecting fees, selling dinner tickets, and counting the receipts. They even bought provisions for the event. What they need are volunteers to help at the welcome booth so they can get some rest. We all want the Spring and Fall Camp Out to continue. We need wonderful folks like the Lews to plan and organize and attend to the many details of our events. But they can't be expected to do it all.

If you came to the camp out, and enjoyed your time there, I humbly suggest you consider giving them a hand in some fashion. Consider that they want to have fun too and not just work. Many hands make for light work, so please, lend a hand at the spring camp out.

Kindest regards,

Randog’s Daily Pick
The Fairfield Four Revival
Springfed Records CD SFR-109

I am overjoyed to have this...John Goddard of Village Music in Mill Valley called me in 1990, I guess, and asked me if I would be interested in presenting The Fairfield Four at The Freight and Salvage. I gulped and said yes, of course--they were a legendary a cappella group with an illustrious history...and it is the very group found on this CD that showed up. Recently reformed at the time, they went on to win a Grammy, appear in O Brother, Where Art Thou, and I eventually worked for their booking agency here in Nashville and got to know them. Age has claimed most of them one by one in the intervening years; this may be the only readily available recording with this exact line-up...Rev. Sam McCrary was in his early 80s at the time; I'm told that Freight trip was the last one of any length with the band, but he turned out the place that night! Isaac "Dickie" Freeman was the greatest bass singer I've ever heard...Rev. Willie Richardson stalked the stage and squalled like Wilson Pickett, Robert Hamlett, and Wilson "Lit" Waters and the great Rev. James Hill added to the excitement as well...Rev. McCrary, by the way, fathered The fabulous McCrary sisters, about which more later...

Okay fellow Mold-diggers, we blown another entire week rutting around the refuse of a world gone mad. I don't know about you, but I feel just a tad bit safer having someone along to witness the chaos. Until Monday then…


I was so moved by the email I received from Skip-from-Petaluma a few days ago that I determined that a special edition was in order. It’s like, when a guy, a pal, a fan, reaches out like that it’s time to go the extra mile. So, first Skip’s Mail Bag item and then my response.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mold Man, I’m writing to let you know that you’re under attack in my home and I’m hoping there’s something you can do or say that will help me put up a better defense of you. You see, my wife, Janice, thinks you’re a sleazy, cheesy, no-talent, boorishly verbose hack writer who’s so terrible at what he does that he’s unwilling to even divulge his true identity. In a word, Moldy, Janice hates your guts. I on the other hand feel strongly that you are a brilliant observer of human nature, with a gift for communicating your feelings and beliefs and, plus, that you’re writing is often hysterically funny. As is the case so often in our marriage, (can I even call it that anymore), is that Jan has zero respect for my opinion…on ANYTHING. And what’s worse, she’s generally right about most things: My wife has a college degree, I don’t; she’s a highly paid professional, I teach banjo and mountain dulcimer and make chump change working in half a dozen sub-par bands; and in a debate Jan is downright predatory; I become flustered and inarticulate, which she’s always blamed on the fact that I play an instrument with an odd number of strings. (To which I say BULL CRAP.) Anyway, your last MOLD MAN LIST OF THE WEEK got her ranting again. She says that only wanna-be columnists and everyone at the Huffington-Post stoops to compiling idiotic lists and that you don’t even qualify as a wanna-be because you don’t compile them, you just steal them off the Internet. Could you help, Moldy, just this once? Give me some ammunition to fight back with. Your pal, Skip from Petaluma”

Dear Janice and Skip, I would like to present to you for your consideration the Top Ten Reasons for Not Hating the Mold Man , in descending order of importance

#10. Mold Man has never killed another human being; he’s never caused bodily harm to another person; he has not even…and this is the God’s truth…ever in his life been in a physical altercation, fistfight or otherwise. All of that said, MM has hurt the feelings of legions in his long life as a writer and journalist, but the vast majority have had it coming.

#9. While it is true that Mold Man does include an occasional “list” in the daily column, and equally true that almost without exception they’re ripped off from some other column somewhere on the Internet, he runs only those that are humorous, interesting or in some way socially redeeming. As evidence that I’m innocent of Janice’s charge, let me share with you a listing of lists I found on a SINGLE SPLASH PAGE of Huffington-Post last evening:

11 Sneaky Ways Companies Get Rid Of Older Workers
18 Milestones That Led To Our Marijuana Tipping Point
10 Last Names That May Dethrone Smith
Best Carrot Recipes..
9 Facebook Lies You Should Never Share With Your Friends
10 Top Cities To Retire
25 Reasons To Feel GREAT About Midlife
5 Ways To Fall In Love All Over Again
Oprah's 'Ultimate' List Of Favorite Things
10 Changes Every Woman Goes Through In Her 20s
3 Ways To Turn Down A Date
10 Things That Don't Make You A B*tch
10 Things We'd Lose If Texas Actually Seceded
9 Facts That Prove Life On Earth Is Meaningless
11 Reasons You Should Be Having More Orgasms
The Top 10 Financial Mistakes Women Make
World's Most Remote Resorts
America's Coolest Breweries
3 Ways To Get Outside For Fall
7 Worst Rental-Car Rip-Offs (And How To Beat Them)
The Best Wine Destinations Around The World
The World's Most Scenic Airports
The World's Most Scenic Airports
10 Places You Must Have Sex Around The Globe
The Best Places To Go In 2014
25 Secrets Of The Extremely Fit
17 Grandparents Who Have This Whole Life Thing Figured Out
22 Dogs That Look Like They're Smarter Than You
9 Things We're Not Looking Forward To This Week

Let me reiterate—ALL of these stories were posted on Huff-Post at 8:15 p.m. last night. To put me in the same category as these people is just wrong. I use, at an absolute maximum, ONE list per week. Hence Jan, I request a little slack on your list complaint.

#8. I spend one to two hours per day, five days a week, perusing the Internet, newspapers, magazines, my Outlook In-Basket, etc., then writing and then posting the More Or Less Daily News. I am a professional writer, that’s how I’ve always made my living, but I write the Mold column for the CBA and charge NOTHING. As in volunteering my time. Now, Janice, how can you possibly hate someone who would do that?

#7. As Skip says, I do have a window into the hearts and souls of my fellow humans and I’m not afraid to report exactly what I see through that window. Some of it is good, some bad and that, in the context of the More or Less Daily, I am the sole arbitrator of which is which bothers me not in the least. I’ll admit that my powers of observation are becoming, shall we say, a little jaundiced, but that’s just what comes with aging…and I have no excuse for getting old.

#6. I believe that Mold Man is, from time to time, a funny guy. True, humor-wise he only bats in the high three hundreds…true, much of his humor is at the expense of others, (but then show me a good joke that’s not)…and true, his humor balances ever so precariously on the razor sharp line between funny and just plain stupid but, Janice, you try composing humor day after day after day and then tell me it isn’t the hardest kind of writing there is. I dare you.

#5. The Mold Man is clearly NOT a hack writer. Here’s the definition of one… Hack writer is a colloquial and usually pejorative term used to refer to a writer who is paid to write low-quality, rushed articles or books "to order", often with a short deadline. As addressed in reason #8 for not hating the Mold Man, I’m paid nothing. As for the short deadline part of the Wiki definition, whatever deadlines I have I’ve given to myself. The CBA makes zero demands…keep in mind, they didn’t even HAVE a daily news feature until I volunteered. If they got a single column out of me every other week their day would be made.

#4. With respect to the “boorishly verbose” characterization, my regular readers will tell you that you’re not the first to lodge such a complaint, and chances are you won’t be the last. Of all of the complaints you’ve voiced to Skip, I’m ready to cop to this one. But at least let me explain. When I was a junior in high school I was hired by my sister’s husband’s father to write copy for a professional journal he published. Even at that young age I could turn a mean sentence and where else was my sister’s father-in-law going to find someone to write for a nickel a word. So from high school through college and into graduate school my primary source of revenue came from writing for this guy, and eventually a few others, on a money-per-word pay formula. My point? One cannot do that sort of thing day in and day out for seven years and not do at least some irreparable damage to son’s self-editing neurons.

#3. I honestly think that Mold Man does a service to the bluegrass community by reporting on a variety of subjects. Sure, we always make certain that the music takes center stage, but so do we ensure that readers are exposed to a variety of other socially relevant and intellectually challenging news items. It’s a balance that not all bluegrass blogs attempt, and one that we’re especially proud of. For example, just over the few weeks the More or Less Daily has brought you stories on…

--Scientists Who Risked Their Lives For Research
--Slandered Spiders: That Probably Isn’t a Brown Recluse Bite
--A Mosquito Fossil With 46-Million-Year-Old Blood Inside
--Forgetful British Bridegroom Phones in Bomb Threat Hoax
--Scientists Come Up With 'Law of Urination
--Object Most Often Choked On
--Six Dumbest Words Made Up by Dumb People
--8 Strange 'Facts' About The North Korean Leader, Kim Jong Il.

I challenge you, Janice, to find even one of these stories covered at,,,, or

#2. My second of the Top Ten Reasons for Not Hating the Mold Man is that I am a dog lover. In fact, at the very core of my system of values lies this simple belief: All world hunger and all war on the planet would instantly dissolve if Earth had half as many people and twice as many dogs. I ask you, Janice, is it possible to truly hate someone who loves dogs and holds them in such high esteem? And conversely has such disdain for half of humanity?

#1. And finally, I believe that anyone who has been able to overcome as many obstacles to success as the Moldy One deserves to be cut a little slack. Let me remind you of a Mail Bag item I posted in mid-September from a young psych major at Stanislaus State University. She and her senior advisor and her programmer boyfriend wrote an algorithm to analyzed my writing over the past year and claim to have sufficient reason to believe that I suffer, to one extent or another, the following “psycho-emotional dysfunctionalities:

Conversion disorder
Dissociative disorder not otherwise specified
Social Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Dysthymic disorder
Somatization disorder
Explosive personality disorder
Dependent personality disorder
Dissocial personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder
Ego-dystonic sexual orientation
Transvestic fetishism
Lack of perfectionism
Hyperthyroidism or mitral valve prolapse

I ask you, Janice, can you honestly say there can be hatred in your heart for another human being whom, with all of this messed up cerebral wiring, can still get up in the morning, put on a pot of coffee and read the morning news?

So, that’s my pitch, you two, for better or for worse. And one final word of advice; if you’ve got to fight about something, pick a topic with a little more substance than a sleazy, cheesy, no-talent, boorishly verbose hack writer who’s so terrible at what he does that he’s unwilling to even divulge his true identity.
CBA MILESTONE--January, 1977, Bluegrass Breakdown, Bob Gaddis defines eighteen terms in his BANJO PICKER’S DICTIONARY. “Banjo player……Also known as picker (q.v.) One who plays or attempts to play or pretends to play or would like to play a banjo. Pot… What you keep in the accessory pocket of your banjo case, alongside your E-Z Winder. Also a popular term for the shallow cylindrical body of the banjo, minus the neck. Historially the term comes from the reference to a chamber pot, which is of similar appearance and utility.

Danny Paisley--By now you have no doubt heard that Danny Paisley has suffered two heart attacks. Here’s how reported the story…”We’ve learned that Danny Paisley suffered a pair of heart attacks over this past two weeks, and is now awaiting word from his physician about how to treat the blockages that were discovered in his arteries. Danny told us this morning that his last attack was a week ago, occuring late Sunday night (10/27) into Monday morning. He said that he felt like he was being crushed, and went the few miles to his local community hospital to be checked. They transferred him on to a larger facility in Delaware where a catheterization was performed. He is resting at home now, and will visit with his doctor this afternoon to find out whether they will perform surgery or perhaps install stents. Paisley’s father, Bob – also a celebrated Pennsylvania bluegrass singer – suffered a heart attack himself some years before he died from cancer in 2004, and Danny said that the symptoms he experienced were much as his dad had described. Danny said that this past summer he suffered particularly in the heat, more so that he recalled in prior years, and that long festival sets really got to him. On doctor’s advice, Danny has cancelled his show in Roxboro, NC for this weekend and says that future dates this month are up in the air at this time.
He promised to update us after his appointment this afternoon, and we will share what we find out.” Besides being perhaps the best make vocalist singing bluegrass music today, Dan Paisley is a good man. Keep him in your thoughts.

The actionable--This month the Old-Time Rambler asks, "Where do you buy YOUR music?" In his post on the Message Board announcing November’s column, the OTR explains that he’s published examples of reviews of old-time music product: the good, the bad, the actionable. But what’s interesting is the way he ends his post…“Click on "Old-Time Rambler" on the CBA Home Page, or bypass CBA surveillance software and use this: I spy with my little eye...” I’ve got to say, friends, that for quite a while now I’ve suspected that the web team, all right…Cornish…has been monitoring our comings and goings at The Old-Time Rambler, it would appear, has the same suspicions. If there are enough of us concerned about this possibility, (which I believe is a PROBABILITY), I feel strongly that we could be successful in pressuring the FCC to look into the matter. Write me if you agree.

Man with inordinately big feet mistaken for Sasquatch.-- Perry James had had almost cartoon-sized feet since he was a little boy. Although they got him a whole lot of ribbing from the other kids at school, his “snowshoes” had never actually threatened his health or safety until, that is, he went hunting for, ironically, Big Foot in rural Oklahoma with friend Omar Pineda. Pineda, age 21 told investigating officers that he “heard what he thought was 'barking' when he turned and shot his unidentified Sasquatch-hunting partner (Perry) in some woods north of Tulsa>” Omar was busted for reckless conduct with a firearm. Meanwhile, Perry “Big Foot” James is expected to survive.

Looking a gift horse in the mouth or just a little bit of civic introspection? Can’t even remember what I was looking for but a few days ago, bumbling about the Internet, I stumbled upon what I think is a pretty interesting newspaper article. We’ve read quite a bit about this year’s World of Bluegrass and it’s move to Raleigh. The IBMA leadership has been vocal, as have attendees, but what I found yesterday was a well-considered and revealing look at the week-long event by Raleigh itself…which is to say, the folks who live there. The local newspaper’s story was titled, Bluegrass' big event selected Raleigh as its new home, but why? So what’s the answer and, equally interesting, why is the question important? Here’s one reporters take…“When the International Bluegrass Music Association announced last week that it would be bringing its annual World of Bluegrass confab to the City of Oaks for at least three years starting in 2013, North Carolina's bluegrass cred became a talking point: the home-state claim to the late Earl Scruggs, the early-days Raleigh tenure of genre progenitor Bill Monroe, the runaway success of Wilkesboro's bluegrass-based Merlefest under the guidance of Doc Watson and so on.

What wasn't mentioned and seems to have been overlooked or forgotten, though, is that the roots of the IBMA itself trace partly to the red clay of the Piedmont. Among the couple dozen bluegrass enthusiasts who launched the organization in 1985 was Art Menius, a Triangle native and UNC graduate who was living in Chatham County at the time. When the fledgling IBMA hired an executive director in the fall of 1985, Menius nabbed the job.

Thus, the IBMA began its operations in the Triangle "in a functional way," says Menius, who returned to the area last month as executive director of The ArtsCenter in Carrboro after long tenures with the Folk Alliance organization and as a coordinator and marketing director for Merlefest. Although the IBMA's first mailing address was a P.O. Box in Nashville, and its initial main office was in Owensboro, Ky., "the work essentially got done out of here until 1990," Menius reveals. When the World of Bluegrass relocates to downtown Raleigh in late September 2013 following lengthy stays in Owensboro, Louisville and, most recently, Nashville, it will in some respects be a homecoming.

Of course, the Triangle has changed considerably in the intervening quarter-century. While bluegrass and similar acoustic roots remain an indelible influence on the
region's musical identity, younger generations have brought the likes of post-punk, indie rock, hip-hop and alt-country to the fore. Increasingly, the trend is toward a blurring of boundaries between genres. Can the premier event of bluegrass—often viewed as a relatively purist-driven and tradition-bound form—find itself at home amid a state capital's increasingly diversified culture?

The city and IBMA both decided it was at least worth a shot. If the three-year plan sounds a little bit like a trial run, IBMA board member Jon Weisberger assures that such periodic re-evaluations are standard procedure for the organization. Although they'll go through the location motions again in 2015, "unless there's some really unexpected surprise that pops up, Raleigh will be the leading contender," he says.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--Marilyn Monroe had six toes. (And she had two…)

Monday, November 4, 2013



CBA MILESTONE--October, 2013…The IBMA’s World of Bluegrass moves to Raleigh, and the CBA moves with it. How is this a California Bluegrass Association milestone, some will ask? Simple—our Association has been an integral part of the nation-wide event ever since it began back in Owensboro. Our hospitality and welcoming operation, late night showcases, luncheon sponsorships, involvement in the WOB’s Youth Program, participation in workshops and meetings; all have represented a true investment in the IBMA’s undertaking, and too, we think, a contribution to its success. What made this year a milestone for the CBA was the formidable challenge of moving from one city to another, one hotel to another…really, one IBMA management team to another. The truth is, we just didn’t know what to expect, and try as they might, the good folks at the IBMA were hard-pressed to tell us. A bazillion new relationships needed to be established, new logistics to cypher, schedules to learn, an entire major American city to get a feeling for. Larry Kuhn and his wife Caroline, (who, as many of you know, had her own personal health challenges with which to deal), pulled it all off somehow. The week was spectacular and the Kuhn’s absolutely magnificent. Larry and Caroline, you kept an important CBA tradition alive and we are in your debt.

You take help where you can get it--Every now and then a true mega-star announces he or she will record a collection of bluegrass songs and an instant later our national BG community is a-buzz. Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard and, most recently Alan Jackson, are just a few of the cultural icons who managed to direct the spotlight’s beam on our music. While most of us see such happenstance for what it is…a little much-needed exposure to the mainstream…a few manage to bring their own unique mix of purist-isolationist-cynic brew to the table. Not so Don Rigsby, who appeared with Jackson on the Letterman Show last week and who made the following post a day or two afterward…”It is an honor to work with a man like Alan Jackson who is a true country singer and legend. He totally respects and loves and listens to Bluegrass music. I have read some posts that question this but it is simply not the case. I have read where folks have said the material is just country songs with bluegrass instruments. I wonder what they would say if Del McCoury or Junior Sisk or Russell Moore sang these songs? I can tell you that I love all of the folks out there who sing Bluegrass and I attempt to sing it myself. But I also appreciate it when folks in the mainstream of the entertainment business like it and play it too. Dolly Parton and Steve Martin and yes, Alan Jackson and others are welcome to play and sing it too. I appreciate any effort they make and any attention they can bring to our music is welcome and appreciated by me. Let us not disparage and try to exclude anyone. Let us grow.”

And before I forget--Somebody on the CBA web team had the good sense last week to post a news item about John Green’s recent sojourn into the recording studio. John is of course owner and founder of the Fifth String in Sacramento, but to his picking pals he’s also known as an excellent flat picker and singer. What many of us didn’t know, however, is the he’s also a mighty fine songwriter. Click here and see if you don’t agree with me. Click here.

MOLD MAN LIST OF THE WEEK -- Meet The Man Who Ate Glass And Nine Other Scientists Who Risked Their Lives For Research. Oh my, we all liked this one a lot here at Moldy News Central.

1. Wan "This Should Work" Hoo tried to ride a rocket chair. You have to hand it to Wan Hoo. Legend has it that when the Chinese official (whose name is sometimes rendered Wan Hu or Wang Hu) decided to visit the moon, he didn't ask one of his minions to sit in the hot seat. He settled himself into a wicker chair fixed with 47 rockets. When 47 torch-bearing assistants lit the rockets, there was a tremendous sound and lots of smoke--but no more Wan Hoo. There is, however, a crater named for Wan Hoo on the far side of the moon.

2. Isaac "Doesn't Bother Me" Newton stuck a needle in his eye. Though best known for formulating the laws of gravitation and co-inventing calculus, Isaac Newton also did pioneering research in optics. He experimented with prisms, but that didn't reveal much about the eye's anatomy or how it perceives color.

3. Nicolae "What Are You Looking At" Minovici hanged himself. What better way to learn what it's like to be hanged than to hang yourself? That seems to have been the motivation for Nicolae Minovici, a scientist who worked in Bucharest, Romania during the early days of the 20th Century.

4. Franz "Seems Safe To Me" Reichelt tested his parachute by jumping from the Eiffel Tower. On Feb 4, 1912, an Austrian-born tailor named Franz Reichelt tested his "parachute suit" -- an aviator's suit designed to function as a parachute in the event of an emergency.

5. Evan "Let Me Handle This" O'Neill Kane took out his own appendix. What does it feel like to undergo surgery? And is general anesthesia really necessary, or is a local anesthetic enough for abdominal surgery? Dr. Kane, a surgeon working in Pennsylvania in the early 20th Century, wanted to find out. So when he needed to have his appendix removed, on Feb. 15, 1921, he opted to perform the surgery himself.

6. Werner "Maybe They'll Listen To Me Now" Forssmann stuck a catheter in his own heart. Cardiac catheterization is now a common medical procedure in which a long, thin tube is inserted into the heart via an incision made in the arm, neck, or groin. Of course, it wasn't always so common. In the early part of the last century, it was believed that inserting something into a beating heart would be fatal.

Werner Forssmann thought otherwise. So one day in 1929, the young German surgical resident anesthetized his arm and snaked a catheter up a vein to his heart. To make sure the catheter was where he thought it was, he checked it with an X-ray. He survived the daring experiment but lost his job and was scorned by colleagues. But his fearlessness was rewarded when he won a Nobel Prize in 1956.

7. Frederick "Fill Me Up" Hoelzel ate glass. And not just glass. During the 1920s and 1930s, University of Chicago researcher Frederick Hoelzel reportedly swallowed gravel, glass beads, ball bearings, twine, wire, and other non-food items in order to show how long it would take the items to pass through his intestines. In 1930 his research was published in the American Journal of Physiology under the title "The Rate of Passage of Inert Materials through the Digestive Tract."

8. Albert "Far Out" Hofman took the first acid trip. LSD was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hofman. There was little sustained interest in the molecule until five years later, when Hofman experienced strange sensations after resynthesizing LSD. As he later wrote, he experienced a "not unpleasant intoxicated-like condition, characterized by an extremely stimulated imagination. In a dreamlike state, with eyes closed, I perceived an uninterrupted stream of fantastic pictures, extraordinary shapes with intense, kaleidoscopic play of colours. After some two hours this condition faded away."

9. Paul "Who Cares If I Go Blind" Stapp rode a faster-than-a-bullet rocket sled. Now that we've had decades of experience with jet aviation and spaceflight, we have a good sense of the human body's response to powerful G-forces--and how to design the harnesses and ejection seats that keep pilots safe. But there was a great deal of uncertainty until Col. Paul Stapp, an Air Force medical researcher, agreed to subject his own body to incredible G-forces aboard a rocket sled in the California desert.

10. Barry "Bottoms Up" Marshall drank bacteria-laden broth. For many years doctors had only a hazy idea about the cause of peptic (stomach) ulcers. Many blamed the condition on psychological stress. But an obscure Australian physician named Barry Marshall was convinced that many ulcers were the result of an infection with a corkscrew-shaped bacterium known as Helicobacter pylori--and that the cure was a course of antibiotics. But there was no simple way for Dr. Marshall to test his theory, as H. pylori affects only primates, and ethical concerns prevented him from using humans. So he decided to be his own guinea pig, taking germs from an infected patient, stirring them in a solution, and drinking it.

Naturally there’s a lot more to these stories than we could justify cramming into a single day’s worth of Mold News. If you have the time, have a look…Click here.

Randog’s Daily Pick
The Stanley Brothers-Stanley Series
Copper CreekCCCD-5512-Volume 3,Number 4

One of my favorite recordings, and maybe my favorite Stanley Brothers recording period, which is saying a mouthful, I know, but I return to this album whenever I need a jolt of that Stanley Brothers magic, and it never fails me. Primarily from the live tapes of Pete Kuykendall, who also plays fiddle--the band was between regular fiddle players and when Pete offered to sit in, Carter assented." was a free musician and he wasn't going to turn that down," says Pete in the liner notes. He does a fine job, too, as Ralph is probably saying about someone somewhere this week. This recording is just that down home, and furthermore, just that immediate, the next best thing to being at New River Ranch in Rising Sun, Maryland on September 7, 1958. The entire band is "on"; Carter and Ralph's duets tight, Carter's solo numbers powerfully moving, and the great, underrated Bill Napier is on fire on mandolin, especially on his signature Daybreak In Dixie. Ralph plays some outstanding banjo as well. The repertoire is peppered with old standards and early live versions of recently recorded songs and tunes that would become bluegrass classics, including If That's The way You Feel, (two versions, afternoon and evening)Gonna Paint The Town, The Memory Of Your Smile, Uncle Pen(!),White Dove, and many more, 30 songs and tunes in all. There's even a powerful reindition of Man Of Constant Sorrow by Ralph, some 40 odd years before that song helped make him the toast of country music once more! I can't recommend this baby highly enough...

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--In every episode of Seinfeld there is a Superman somewhere. (Think about it, somebody gets paid to sit and watch for stuff like this all day.)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Feels like death has been dogging me all week. It seems like every morning I’ve crawled out of bed, put on the coffee and sat down at my Mac to find someone else missing. This morning it was Bear, the gigantic lab mix who graced the lives of Brooks Judd’s daughter, Rhiannon, and her family. Bear, says Brooks in his Welcome column today, “would often lay on his back, stretch out those huge paws, lift them straight up to the clouds and ask you with a look from those big brown eyes to rub his tummy for him.” I didn’t know Bear, but I’ve known and loved more than a few of his ilk and so I join you, Brooks, in saying good-bye to a good dog.

Yesterday it was Marcia Wallace whom I discovered had left the party. Actually, it was Maudie who told me over dinner. “You know, don’t you, that Mrs. Krabappel has passed away.” I knew instantly, of course, about whom my wife referred. Edna Krabappel, Bart’s fourth grade teacher on the Simpson’s, had been voiced by the talented Wallace since the cartoon family debuted on the Tracy Ullman Show in 1987. In the 70’s the character actress played the part of Carol Kester on The Bob Newhart Show. Marcia went from Bob’s receptionist to Bart’s hapless teacher with barely a hint of change in voice or character. She was a textbook case of the unattached, middle aged woman who can’t catch a break in life or in love but nonetheless carries on, fueled, it always seemed to me, by her chronic infatuation with all of the little ironies of life and the ascorbic observations she routinely made about them. Maudie’s told me the show will do a special tribute to Edna in an upcoming episode and you can bet we’ll be there to join in the good-bye.

On Wednesday I received the following Moldy Mail Bag item…”Dear Moldy, I just wanted to mention, in case you hadn't heard, that Faith Petric died on Oct. 24/25 at midnight, at age 98. I'm not sure if you knew Faith, but you probably know something of her by reputation. I thought you might want to give a mention in the MOLD. There are a lot of remembrances, photos, and videos circulating, and a story on Sing Out!. She lived an extraordinary life and is one way or another responsible for much of the Bay Area (and beyond) folk/acoustic music scene, and she changed many, many lives. The end of an era. Best wishes -- hope you are well. Mrs. R.” I wrote back and told Mrs. R that, no, I hadn’t heard the news of her passing, no, I’d never met Faith but that, yes, I was aware of who she was and would certainly make note in a column. Did she have any direction she could point me in, I asked, and of course she did. One was a link to Faith Petric singing at the 2012 S.F. Free Folk Festival, (click here,) and the other was a piece written by Bill Amatneek. That began “Faith Petric, a legendary figure in the Bay Area folk music scene, passed away peacefully in her bed at a San Francisco hospice on October 25 at age 98. All local folkies knew her from the Friday night S.F. Folk Club jams she hosted starting in 1966 at her home on Clayton Street. Born in an Idaho log cabin, Faith sang cowboy and country songs at first, and then, during the Spanish Civil war, protest songs. She wrote a regular column, “The Folk Process,” for Sing Out! magazine, performed for 20 years with the Chautauqua Circus, helped found the Portable Folk Festival in the early ’70s, and celebrated her birthday with a gig at Freight & Salvage every ten, and more recently, every five years. For her memorization of thousands of songs, she was called “the Fort Knox of Folk Music.” And so I join our first cousins, the members of the Bay Area folk community, in saying farewell to Faith. To survive, every musical movement needs a Faith; Lord knows we’ve had our share in bluegrass and old-time.

And of course Doug Holloway checked out early in the week after a hard-fought battle with cancer. Larry Carlin, a frequent contributor to the Mold News, (not surprisingly since he did his own version of it for years and years), makes certain that we stay current on what’s going on bluegrass community-wise and it was an email from him that delivered the bad news. “(Doug) was one of the finest bluegrass and Irish fiddlers in the San Francisco Bay Area. An all around good guy with a great sense of humor. He will be sorely missed.” As a barely-getting-by fiddler who’ll always be just that and nothing more, I’ve often thought that truly great players couldn’t legitimately ask for anything more out of life, and part of that belief grew out of watching and listening to and knowing Doug and the handful of people like him in our bluegrass family. Yesterday Larry wrote again and shared the following….” Remembering Doug Holloway. Last Saturday the Bay Area music community lost amazing bluegrass and Celtic fiddler Doug Holloway to cancer. Over the years Doug played with numerous band, including The David Thom Band, Carolina Special, and The San Bruno Mountain Boys. There will be a gathering of friends this Sunday, November 3rd, from 5-8 p.m., at the The Swedenborgian Church, 2107 Lyon Street at Washington Street, in the Pacific Heights area of San Francisco. Several of Doug's bands will perform. If you are planning to attend, please RSVP to Doug's wife, Ava Soifer, at” Maudie and I join Doug’s many, many friends and band mates and fans in wishing him a fond farewell.

So, it’s been a long week and I’ll be glad to see it end. Next week we’ll forge ahead.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

MILESTONE--1929…Trotsky is expelled from the USSR for the offense of “wrong thinking”; in Chicago on St. Valentine’s Day a few guys dressed up like cops gun down a big bunch of guys and no one in town seems surprised; in October the stock market takes a bath like no other bath in U.S. financial history, securities losing $26 billion in less than a week; and young Bill Monroe heads to Indiana with his brothers Birch and Charlie hoping to find work in an oil refinery. Not long after arriving, the brothers, along with friends Larry Moore and Bill Hardin, start up a band specializing in local dances and house parties—they call themselves the Monroe Brothers. When Birch and Hardin and Moore drift away Bill and Charlie Monroe keep the act going as a duo and by 1934 are playing live on radio stations from Iowa to North Carolina. When RCA Victor catches the brother act in ’36 they’re immediately signed to do a record, and one of the pieces recorded, What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul is an instant smash hit throughout the south and mid-West. In just two short years Bill and Charlie Monroe record 60 tracks for the record company’s Bluebird label and then, as quickly as it sprang onto the scene, the Monroe Brothers act was gone…splitsville…finished…kaput…bellied up…out for the count. Later, Trotsky’s assassinated in Mexico, Big Al Capone, the gangland boss who organized the St. Valentines party, heads off to Alcatraz, (where, by the way, he takes up the tenor banjo and begins writing operas), FDR, depending on which story you believe, either saves the country with his New Deal or puts the U.S of A. on its slow but unalterable path toward socialism, and half the brother team, young Bill, invents bluegrass music. Click here.

Right, and they finally figured out where Amelia and Wiley went down--I know, I know, we’ve heard this a dozen times before, but this time, I don’t know, it just feels right…” Jack The Ripper Solved. For just over 125 years, the mystery of the Jack the Ripper serial murders has been fodder for books, movies and periodic re-openings of the unsolved cases. But after years of investigation, a retired detective is confident he has finally found the culprit behind some, if not all, of the killings attributed to the infamous "Jack." Past attempts to identify the man who supposedly terrorized London in the late 19th century have implicated artist Vincent Van Gogh, Alice in Wonderland author Lewis Carroll and even relatives of Queen Victoria. But retired homicide detective Trevor Marriott says that after 11 years of investigation, he believes German merchant sailor Carl Feigenbaum committed an unknown number of the murders. Click here.

Randog's Daily Pick
Homer&Jethro-Playing It Straight
RCA LSP-2459 (LP)
Jethro Burns proves he's probably the best and most influential jazz mandolinist in history, ably abetted by his sidekick Homer Haynes and brother in law Chet Atkins. (When asked how he told his wife and sister in law apart--they were identical twins--Jethro said "Well I never tried." But he gets serious here, and has been a huge influence on mandolinists, bluegrass and otherwise, ever since...just ask David Grisman, Sam Bush or John Reischman, for instance...There's a Japanese produced CD which pairs this album with It Ain't Necessarily Square, which is almost as good... Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--My dear fellow, regarding your post a few days ago about “the boys and girls over at the CBA Buttons for a Better Web Site project” I’m not sure your aware of this, but said boys and girls have come up with a Christmas gift giving scheme that I find personally tantalizing. Here’s what I read…”These are four of a collection of 420 buttons the CBA is selling to raise money for a re-vamp of its web site. So, here's the deal. You can visit our buttons web page, pick out ten buttons you'd like to give your own special bluegrass fanatic sweetheart for Christmas and we'll send them for you with a handsome holiday card. All for thirty lousy bucks. Tax deductible. (Click here.). Problem is, Moldy, for the life of me I can’t remember where I read that. Can’t find it on the CBA web page. Was I dreaming it? Confused in Concord.” Dear confused, I haven’t seen the copy to which you’re referring, but I am aware of the “send buttons to your sweetie for Christmas” offer and I’ve already placed my order. I’m sure that any day now the web team will start promoting their pitch. For me, it was a no brainer. I’d rather have my colon scoped than shop for presents.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--The national safety Council reports that the object most often choked on is the toothpick. (You see the little red cellophane on the end of it? You are supposed to take that OUT of the hamburger before you eat it!)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013
CBA MILESTONE--June, 1989 Bluegrass Breakdown Paid Advertisement…”HAIR-DO SEMINARS PLANNED—Reports have it that former Squids Larry (Bad News) Hughes) and Robert Earl (Banjo) Davis are planning a number of seminars around the Bay Area and throughout California on the art of developing a good bluegrass Hair-Do. The events should take place sometimes this Fall, although no set date has been schedule. Further reporta will be given as specifics develop.” Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Hello, Moldy, long time no write. I’m passing along some information from the IBMA about its new Youth Council. Pretty exciting stuff, at least for folks who give a rat’s behind about keeping this music of our going. Adoringly yours, Helen H. from Pismo Beach” Thanks Helen, yes, I’m one of the rat’s behind givers and hence will post the whole piece you sent me… IBMA & Youth Council: We Want Ya!--World of Bluegrass 2013 was a great time for youth to get together, jam, make new friends, and stay out past bedtime. But it doesn't end there! The good times continue year-round with IBMA's Youth Council, which intends to speak collectively for the youth of IBMA, facilitate youth projects and industry mentoring opportunities, and work to share bluegrass music with more young people. Learn more about what the Youth Council offered and was involved in during WOB here. The Youth Council is cooking up ideas for 2014, and we can't do it without the energy and input of the ones we'll be planning it for. So if you fall under "Youth," let your voice be heard! Get Involved! If you are a kid or know a kid who should get in on this group, or if you wish you were a kid and want to keep up-to-date with what's going on in the Youth World, we want to hear from you! Please send the youth's contact information, as well as the parents (if youth are under 16) to IBMA Staff Liaison Taylor Coughlin (, or by calling the IBMA office at (615) 256-3222. We look forward to hearing from you.”

But then on the other hand--I am aware, of course, that not everyone who reads the Mold News is as passionate as Helen and I are about passing the music of Bill Monroe on to the next generation. In fact, the more I get to know our readership, the more aware I become of the diverse and often socially significant pursuits of our unique demographic. For example, a reader recently dropped me a note describing an upcoming international competition coming up at the Santa Clara Convention Center in December. Participants from all over the world, the fellow wrote, will be traveling to Silicon Valley to show their stuff in the Third Annual 3-D Coffee Froth Art Invitational. Click here.

Another competition in the Valley of Silicon--Thought I’d better get the word out about this one…here’s a note from Robert Brooks. “This Sunday, Nov. 3 is the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association Youth Fiddle Contest. Sunday we’ll have our regular jam AND the 12th consecutive Youth Fiddle Contest starting at 1:45 PM at the Hoover Middle School (1635 Park Ave. at Naglee, San Jose). Details are at which is the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association's website. Please spread the word! Youths 17 and under compete in three age divisions (8 and under; 11 and under; and 17 and under). Five cash awards will be given in each division! The contest starts at 1:45 PM. Our usual jam will be outside. CONTEST OPENINGS STILL AVAILABLE. You can still enter the fiddle contest if you are 17 and under. The contest is limited to 25 contestants. Download the rules and entry form from the website.

Spiders--There’s very little in this world that gets my intellectual juices flowing more than reading an article in the paper, a magazine, a web page or match book cover, that begins with the words “Recent Study Reveals that…” I know, I know there are those who frown on grown men and women who dedicate their lives researching the scientific and social phenomena that surrounds us, but I ain’t one of ‘em. Give me a well-designed survey, with an adequate “N”, a defensible methodology and a clean two page executive summary, preferably with the heavy use of bulleted items, and I’m happy as a clam. For example, take the work of Rick Vetter, a retired entomologist from the University of California–Riverside…” Slandered Spiders: That Probably Isn’t a Brown Recluse Bite (Brooke Borel, author) In June, a friend told me a story about a spider attack he had suffered in a well-maintained Connecticut guestroom. The spiders, he said, had ravaged him—they covered his legs in itchy red welts. On a subway ride a month later, another friend described her boyfriend’s cousin’s infected brown recluse bite. Then there were the Facebook posts—for most of the summer and into the fall, my feed was filled with spider bite complaints. Some had photographic evidence. Others described medical interventions, including rounds of antibiotics. Most exclaimed some form of “Ugh!” or “Yuck!” or expletives I won’t repeat here. The second biggest fear for young people in the United States is spiders, right after terrorist attacks and before dying.” Imagine that, teens in the U.S. fear spiders more than the BIG D. Anyways, here’s a link to the rest of the piece…read it at your leisure. Click here.

More Mail--Received this missile from Marcos Alvira late last night. (Note that in an attempt for “full disclosure” he admits to the world that he serves as the CBA’s Activities VP for Northern San Joaquin Valley.)

“Well, I've finally gotten around to writing a news newsletter about acoustic music for the northern San Joaquin Valley. I'll also include some news about the surrounding hill lands since they're our neighbors and they always do the same for us.

This one will be brief and since it's my trial run. If you are performing in the area, or are local band performing outside the area, or know of an interesting act coming our way, let me know and we'll include it here.

For full disclosure, I'm the California Bluegrass Association's Area Activities VP for the northern San Joaquin Valley. In one sense this is an extension of my duties in that role. In another sense, this is merely an extension of my Valley Bluegrass Facebook page that I do for fun.( If you choose NOT to be a part of this email group, please send me a friendly email asking to remove you.

So here we go:

October 30:
Poetry Night @ 8pm Coffee Bandits, 309 Main St. Merced 95340 (209) 383-1200 Come read and submit to our local poetry zine, TREE!

Traditional Irish Session @ 8-11pm P. Wexford's Pub, 3313 McHenry Ave. Modesto 95350 What better way to ramp up to Samhain than sharing pints with some Irish tunes and songs! Great beer and food!

November 1:

The Harmed Brothers @ The Partisan 8pm 432 West Main St. Merced, Ca $7 cover. Solid roots band at Merced's prime venue for rock, folk, indie “The lyrics are heartfelt and coupled with the strong vocals, makes an effective combination. Strong lyricism gives music substance, and in the genre of folk / bluegrass, substance is key. In other genres, such as hip hop or pop, lackluster lyricism can be made up for with a beat. In folk, the words are at the forefront, and The Harmed Brothers deliver enough to keep you coming back.” Eric Walters – My Folking Heart

Erin English and Chris Doud 9:00 PM - 12:00 PM The Hideout Saloon 5031 CA-140, Mariposa, CA 95338 Join us for an evening of music by California banjo songstress Erin Inglish and Chris Doud of the Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit.

Clovis Jam 7-10pm The last Saturday night jam of 2013 in Clovis is this Saturday! No jams in December and who knows what January will hold. If anyone knows of a venue that is open for jamming without charge please pass it along. It's a fun time and needs to continue!

November 2:
Roy Dean and Chris Doud will be playing a couple sets of live singer/songrwriter jams at The Bus Stop Cafe in Stockton on November 2nd. $5, @ 8pm 912 N. Yosemite Street, Stockton, California 95203

November 6:
Merced Jam- Bluegrass, old time, Americana@7-9pm Coffee Bandits, 309 Main St. Merced 95340 (209) 383-1200 Stringed acoustic and Celtic instruments only.

November 12
Modesto Jam Queen Bean Coffee House, 1126 14th Street, in Modesto, tomorrow night (October 22), from 7 to 9 PM. It might get a bit brisk, so bring your jacket because we're still playing in the back patio. And, don't forget, you'll get a complimentary beverage. So, when everybody gets there, Kevin or Silvia will take your order so you don't have to stand in line. A tip is always nice for the servers if you can do that.

And from Bill up in the hills he says:
Open Mic in Angel’s Camp at the Mercantile 1267 S. Main Street every 2nd and 4th Saturday from 6:30- 9:00 pm for info call (209) 890-7155 contact Michael Borba

Open Mic in Manteca 7-9:00 pm at the Café Aroma 1499 West Yosemite across from the Good will store. For info call (209) 824-9978

Open Mic at Sonora Joe’s 2nd and 4th Thursday 7-9:00 pm on Washington St.

Open Mic at the Hideout Saloon in Mariposa 8:00 pm

Sonora Contra Dance at the Aronos Club in Sonora 3rd Saturday of the month. 6:30 pm potluck followed by dancing at 7:30 Live String Band and callers $7 donation for info

The Irish Jam at the Jack Douglass Saloon in Columbia (209) 532-1885* Every 2nd Sunday from 2-6 pm This will be moving to Columbia Kate’s During the summer. Starts in May!!!!”

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--A bee uses 22 muscles to sting you. (Just thank God they don’t use 44!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Good Tuesday morning to you, one and all. If you didn’t catch Rob Ickes on Letterman last night here’s hoping that the performance he and Alan Jackson and Don Rigsby gave will hit YouTube sooner than later. Today’s Mold News will introduce two new contributors to the column. I’ve already warned you that, through special arrangement with the School of Broadcast Journalism, San Jose State University, one of its graduate students, Mandarin Montag, will make his debut this morning. (Actually, the “special arrangement” is more punitive than anything else. Either I give the kid Mold News face-time or he’s in breach of his intern agreement and I’m saddled with him for life.)

The second new guy is Randy Pitts, a long-time Nashville booking agent, (worked for Keith Case among others) who began his love affair with bluegrass out here in Northern California. Though Randy and his girl, Chris Lewis, have been absent from CA’s music scene for years and years, they’ve managed to stay connected through their many friends in the “biz” and through fairly routine trips back for the Fathers Day Festival. Early this month Randy suddenly popped up on Facebook and not long after made the following post…

“I figure this format is as good a place as any to share my enthusiasms, new, old, mildewed, musty and nearly forgotten, or brand spanking new, as the mood strikes--so here goes: “It's A Ruff Life" an original musical play by my friend Jesse Goldberg and his writing partner Gene Levine ("Once In A Very Blue Moon")--hey, it's Nashville--it's about dogs, I've seen the show live, and I highly recommend it either as a musical theatre experience or as a recording--I'm not even that crazy about dogs as a full time thing, but most of my friends and some relatives are, and for them, this show is essential. My pick hit from the album: "We Need To Smell Your Butt." I'll try to post a pick hit every day until the manic phase wears off...”

Hmm, Mold Man says to himself after reading that initial old California bluegrass hippy with still strong connections out west, a seasoned Nashville observer and minion in the recording and booking industry, a strong writer known for crisp prose and a sharp eye for irony and, best of all, someone who knows his way around Bill’s Music…now there’s a good fit with the Mold News. Well, Randy’s hardly interested in joining our crazy little team here, but he has offered to allow us to post his Randog Daily Picks, the first of which we’re sharing this morning.

MILESTONE--Sometimes it takes longer for an act to find its real name than its real sound. For example, it wasn’t till late in 1935 that the two East Hickory, North Carolina brothers Earl and Bill Bolick settled on the Blue Sky Boys, (western North Carolina being known as the “Land of the Blue Sky”.) Before that they performed as the Crazy Hickory Nuts, the Good Coffee Boys and the Crazy Blue Ridge Hillbillies. A year later the Bolick Brothers laid down their first album, Sunny Side of the Mountain, for RCA and its reception by the listening public was both instantaneous and explosive. In fact, so successful was that album, which featured Where the Soul of a Man Never Dies, that the boys were dubbed “the New Hillbilly Kings”. Blue Sky Boys, however, would be their acts official performing name until the two retired in 1951. Click here.

It’s all in your tone-- In all my days I’ve never heard of such a thing, even in Scientific American where this came from…”When Fire Strikes, Stop, Drop and... Sing? For over 150 years, scientists have known that fires can be extinguished with sound waves, but they still don't know how. ‘I throw more power into my voice, and now the flame is extinguished,’ wrote Irish scientist John Tyndall about his experiments with sound and fire in 1857. Countless public demonstrations and a handful of lab tests later, researchers are still struggling to determine exactly how sound snuffs flames. Sound travels in waves, which are simply variations of pressure in a medium—whether solid, liquid or gas. The energy from vibrating objects, such as speaker membranes, moves from particle to particle in the air in a repeating pattern of high- and low-pressure zones that we perceive as sound. According to the ideal gas law, temperature, pressure and volume are related; therefore, a decrease in pressure can lead to a corresponding decrease in temperature, which may explain how sound can extinguish a flame.”

Imagine singing the politicians to calm; singing the great fires of nature to stop; humming out the troubles of the world with melodious timbers that would typically soothe the souls of lands near and far, simply for entertainment’s sake. Did our bluegrass forefathers have some inkling of this? Is it possible that they sang to their harmonic strings with the agenda to stomp out the winds of fire? It’s an interesting point to be considered. And as an exercise in my own flight of fancy, I would like to explore in more inventive ways—IF that is at all possible. If a voice can snuff out a flame, if it can soothe a tired soul and help a baby rest, in theory it should be able to put the fire out in the cranky bears in this world; ahem…. It’s frequency and, again in theory, be able to shift from a physical to an emotional power.

I challenge each of you to pick your song, sing out, and see what fire storms you can put out. It may be philosophical coincidence; but it’s worth the try… Let me know what you find. Mine is Cotton Eyed Joe. To read the rest of the SA article, which isn’t very long, click here. Click here.

Randog's Daily Pick
The Big Dogs with Tony Trischka-Live At The Birchmere
Strictly Country 24--CD

One of the best live recordings of a bluegrass band ever--features the incredible harmony singing of Harley Allen, Debbie Nims, and Andrea Zonn, plus the playing of Tony Trischka and David Grier. This is all there is of this incredible, short lived's probably still available from Strictly Country,run by Rienk Janssen in Holland...recorded in 1989--everyone should have it…Randy Pitts, Nashville Click here.

Interesting Science Fact-- If you took all of the veins from your body and laid them end to end, you would.

Risqué cave art--Am I crazy or are we seeing most every day in the news some group of scientists somewhere on the planet pushing dates associated with human evolution further and further and further back? Few questions have nagged archeologists and anthropologists and evolutionary biologists more than the mystery of when human reached the “New World”. So, okay, here we go again…”30,000 year old Brazilian artifacts throw wrench in theory humans first arrived in Americas 12,000 years ago…It’s no secret humans have been having sex for millennia — but recently discovered cave art suggests they were doing it in the Americas much earlier than many archeologists believed. A new exhibit in Brazil showcases artifacts dating as far back as 30,000 years ago — throwing a wrench in the commonly held theory humans first crossed to the Americas from Asia a mere 12,000 years ago. The 100 items on display in Brasilia, including cave paintings and ceramic art, depict animals, ceremonies, hunting expeditions — and even scenes from the sex lives of this ancient group of early Americans. The artifacts come from the Serra da Capivara national park in Brazil’s northeastern Piaui state, on the border of the Amazon and Atlantic Forests, which attracted the hunter-gatherer civilization that left behind this hoard of local art.

Since the 1970s, Franco-Brazilian archaeologist Niede Guidon has headed a mission to carry out large-scale excavation of Piaui’s interior. “It’s difficult to think there exists a site anywhere with a higher concentration of cave art,” the 80-year-old Guidon told AFP. Many paths led to Americas. Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--A female elephant can be pregnant for almost 2 years. (Well, that beats the hell out of three years.)

Oh, one last thing…the boys and girls over at the CBA Buttons for a Better Web Site project have added another big batch of selections. They’re up to around four hundred now and seem to be getting edgier and edgier. Who’s putting what in whose coffee? Click here.

Monday, October 28, 2013
Another week and this fall thing is starting to get serious. Actually heard the word "Precipitation" used by a local talking head last evening. And Maudie tells me the clocks get re-set next weekend. Time, as they say, is marching on, and I for one am glad you and I are in the same formation. Here's to an excellent and maybe even wet week.

Another week and this fall thing is starting to get serious. Actually heard the word "Precipitation" used by a local talking head last evening. And Maudie tells me the clocks get re-set next weekend. Time, as they say, is marching on, and I for one am glad you and I are in the same formation. Here's to an excellent and maybe even wet week.

CBA MILESTONE--February, 1976, Bluegrass Breakdown…California Bluegrass Association’s Treasurer’s Report:

Balance on hand…………………….$1,273
Disbursements and Payments…….($477.30)
Deposited Receipts…………………….$1.00

Ed Pagter, Treasurer of Record

This is NOT NECESSARILY a movie recommendation--For the simple fact that none of us here has seen the movie and, if we had, we’re pretty sure we wouldn’t understand a word. All that said, a movie about bluegrass music ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD is newsworthy in the crowd we hang with, Belgian included. “Bluegrass is Central to Theme in New Belgian Movie…Belgian drama film directed by Felix Van Groeningen; nominated for the 2013 Lux Prize. Young newcomer Nell Cattryss plays their ill daughter Maybelle. The film has been selected as the Belgian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards to be held in March 2013. The U.S. release date has been set for November 1st to limited markets. While the music, which includes bluegrass standards like; “The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn,” “Wayfaring Stranger” “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and more is all sung in English many of the trailers we watched included English Subtitles for the dialog.”

Oh, what’s the movie about? “Elise and Didier fall in love at first sight. She has her own tattoo shop and he plays the banjo in a bluegrass band. They bond over their shared enthusiasm for American music and culture, and dive headfirst into a sweeping romance that plays out on and off stage — but when an unexpected tragedy hits their new family, everything they know and love is tested.”

Waste not, want not--I read the other day that we Americans throw away roughly $40,000,000,000 worth of food every day. That’s why when I read the little ditty below, an encouraging story about how one mega-company is doing their bit to not waste ANY PART of our feathered friend the chicken, (which, by the way, biological evolutionists believe was the first animal to be truly domesticated), we just knew we had to share the story with you. “40 Percent of Your Chicken Nugget Is Meat. The Rest Is... Click here.

As as the smoke begins to clear away--I inadvertently got a little tasted of California history in the making last month. A fellow who I know in Standard, a tiny town just a few miles due east of Sonora, was selling a camp trailer so I drove up to have a look. What was making history that day, of course, was Tuolumne County’s Rim Fire, amazingly the largest fire in California’s recorded history. Once I got up Highway 108 beyond Jamestown and Sonora, the area began to look like a battle zone. Fire trucks and giant fire crew movers of all sizes and shapes moved up the hill in grim caravans. In fact, pretty much everything I saw that day, most especially the people I saw and spoke with, could best be described with the same word, grim. Anyways, the good news is that last Thursday the Rim Fire was finally declared “extinguished”. Recovery, of course, is just beginning, and why are we not surprised that bluegrassers have stepped up to help. Reports Bill Schneiderman, the CBA’s VP up there in the Mother Lode…”Saturday, November 23 Sierra Mountain Band will be playing at the "Rim Fire Ranchers Relief". The Country Cowboy Church is putting on a benefit BBQ dinner, live auction, raffle and live music by the Sierra Mountain Band for the ranchers in the county who suffered loss of livestock, fences, cabins and grazing ground from the Rim Fire. At the Motherlode Fairgrounds at 6:30 pm.” SMB is, of course, Dave Rainwater, Keith Keenom, Brent Pierce and the mother of all bluegrass mothers, Elida Ickes. If you can get up there to the mountains, please do it

And while we’re talking about area vice presidents--Lucy Smith, the Butte-Tehema Activities Vice President, has also got a recommendation for you…”THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 7: STEVE SPURGIN will be playing a solo concert at Sid Lewis' Acoustic College/ School of Rock at 932 W. 8th Avenue in Chico, at 7:30pm. Steve Spurgin is known in bluegrass circles as the bass player for the group CALIFORNIA (with Dan Crary, Byron Berline, John Hickman, & John Moore). His other identity is as a premiere singer/songwriter/guitarist whose work (including the song "Walk in the Irish Rain") has been recorded by a myriad of other artists. Steve will be in our area for one night only, in a cozy intimate setting--just perfect for his well-crafted songs, intricate guitar work, and rich vocals. His latest projects on Blue Night Records are Past Perfect (2011) with support from Rob Ickes, the Kruger Brothers, and Adam Steffey; and Folk Remedies, with the incredible instrumental virtuosity of Jim Hurst & Missy Raines, and vocal backup by Janet Beazley & Chris Stuart. These will be available at the concert. Tickets $15.”

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold, I want you to know that every single day since you told us that your student intern returned to his post and would finally be given a shot at writing copy for the news column, I’ve been returning here to see what the kid has. I figure with a name like Mandarin Montag he’s got to have something worth saying. So, Mold Man, what’s up? How come not a single news item from the other MM? Frankly I’m beginning to think there might be some truth to what young Mandarin has been telling us…namely that you’re afraid his writing will show you up. Say it ain’t so, Moldy. Be an adult. Give the kid his shot. Yours, Francine from I Ain’t Sayin’” Dear Francine from IAS, tomorrow.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--Ancient Egyptians shaved off their eyebrows to mourn the death of their cats. (I can just see this happening in 2010 BC; hey Homer. Did your cat die? Ha ha ha ha! Man you look weird! Ha ha Ha ha ha!!!)

Friday, October 25, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Saturday night, October 19, 2013, Josh Micheals, Elections Coordinator of Record, stands before three hundred or so members of the California Bluegrass Association gathered at the Fall Camp Out and Membership Meeting in Lodi and reads the winners of this year’s board election. Halfway down the list he pauses, clears his throat and booms, “Angelica Grim Doerful”, and a round of applause sweeps through the room. Angelica has become the Association’s youngest board of directors member, ever.

Yet another salute to the ingenious North Korean leadership--This morning I was greeted on face book with a post that read simply, “Okay Someone explain this.” Below was a photo of a darling little Asian girl all dolled up in a red dress and white tights. I clicked the video clip’s start button and sat for two minutes and twenty-three seconds in what can only be described as a potent blend of utter fascination, sheer horror and paralyzing sadness. Granted, not the best way to kick off the day, but still, the clip is worth watching for any number of reasons. My personal take away…how can an entire world sit back and watch for over sixty years while generation after generation of children are savagely robbed of their identities? If this country of ours is really burdened with being the world’s policeman and protector of the downtrodden, shouldn’t we start with trying to clean up the worst of the worst? Click here.

Good listening--I’m sharing this because I’ve been assured that with a little effort it’s possible to retrieve these radio shows. “Former NPR Host Bob Edwards Talks Bluegrass with Rebecca Frazier…Bob Edwards who many remember from his long tenure on NPR’s Morning Edition will sit down with Bluegrass songwriter, performer and guitar virtuoso, Rebecca Frazier. Rebecca will also perform live on Edwards’ show which is now heard on Sirius-XM Public Radio (XM 121/Sirius 205) Critical Praise For When We Fall: "If When We Fall is not the best bluegrass album of 2013, then it's easily among the top five albums of the year. With her emotional, powerful vocals, Rebecca Frazier-known for her work in the award-winning bluegrass band, Hit & Run-stands in the ranks of Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent; her compelling lyrics transport us through the pain of loss, love's disappointments, and the hope of healing..... she demonstrates why she is simply one of the best flattop guitar pickers working today. Every song on this beautiful album reveals a facet of Rebecca Frazier's musical brilliance, and not one song on the album disappoints."

Koumpounophobia --I’m learning through dribs and drabs of Message Board comments, Facebook posts and emails that the 2013 Annual Camp Out and Membership Meeting to the California Bluegrass Association was quite a successful event. Held at the Lodi Wine and Grape Harvest Festival Fairgrounds in downtown Lodi, the several day get together was blessed with both sublime weather and record attendance. And, music to my ears, I’ve also learned that the BUTTONS FOR REVAMP project grinds on. This is the hair-brained scheme taken up by the Web Team and the Mold News staff to raise money for a redesign and re-construction of As unlikely as it sounds, more than a hundred bucks was taken in from button sales; this added to the sales from Kings River, Plymouth, Fathers Day and web site mail order purchases is gradually building into a nice chunk of change. Further I’m told that what started as an idea to sell a few buttons with banjo player faces on them for filling in the face on the 2013 FDF t-shirt has gradually grown into a collection of well over four hundred different bluegrass and old-time buttons (refrigerator magnets and pin-ons) that…are you ready for this…may well be THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF ITS KIND IN THE WORLD. Hyperbole? Judge for yourself at the online inventory. And one other bit of news; get ready for a special Christmas promotion. For a mere twenty five bucks you can have any ten buttons of your choice sent directly to anyone on your holiday shopping list. WITH GIFT CARD! Oh, what is koumpounophobia? A phobia pronounced KOOM•POON•uh•FOW•be•ya)…Noun: the fear of buttons (e.g., "Poor Coraline must have koumpounophobia..."

I want mine made with whole wheat with the crust trimmed off and slathered with apricot preserves--“Why A Peanut Butter Test For Alzheimer's Might Be Too Simple…by Maanvi Singh; October 11; University of Florida. Alzheimer's disease can be tough to diagnose, especially early on. Doctors can order brain scans and assay spinal fluids. But existing tests are imperfect and some can be invasive So you might understand the appeal of an alternative that researchers at the University of Florida in Gainesville tried. They had asked patients to sniff a dab of peanut butter during a routine test of cranial nerve function. Later, the team wondered if it could help them figure of it someone might be in the early stages of Alzheimer's. In the test, a patient sniffs a little peanut butter one nostril at a time. The clinicians then measure the distance at which patients can detect the smell.After administering the test about 100 times, a graduate student at the University of Florida's, says that she and her supervisor, neurologist , noticed that patients in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease weren't able to smell as well from their left nostril. Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--Glass gets stronger the longer it is underwater. This is the only known substance to do so. (So that's why aged Scotch and Irish whiskey taste so good?)

Alright, out of here for the weekend. Have a good one...enjoy the weather...stay safe and play and/or listen to some bluegrass, old time or both.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Good Thursday morning, Mold readers. Before we jump into today’s items I need to share information that may be new to many of you. Doug Holloway is a great fiddle player and all around good guy from San Francisco who was in The David Thom Band in the early years, and more recently had been a part of Carolina Special. Last spring he was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, and apparently he is not doing well at this time. Here is what SF banjo player and friend Eric Embry had to say on Facebook on Monday:

“I sat for a spell with Doug Holloway last night. We laughed a little and talked about music and old memories with a couple other dear friends of his. He's a tremendously tough man who earns more and more of my respect every day, if that's even possible. I've had the pleasure of playing music with Doug quite a bit in the last year and I treasure him as a fantastic fiddler, a true and honest person, and most importantly as a trusted friend.

Doug is strong and all the while he sets a beautiful example of how to navigate the things in life one cannot control. He does it with patience and grace and with much consideration for everyone else in his life, all at a time when it must be terrifically hard to conjure up such beauty.

I asked Doug if I could do anything for him and he said he'd like for me to post here on Facebook on his behalf. He wants everyone who is reaching out to him to know that it means the world to him and he is very thankful. Simply talking can be exhausting for Doug right now, and as badly as he'd like to answer calls and take visitors he just can't do it at this time. So he wants you all to know that he deeply appreciates all of the support and love you send to him.

During these times it might be that love is the only thing that matters. Please keep Doug and Ava in your thoughts, he will feel you there in his heart.”

MILESTONE--2004…DISCOVER BLUEGRASS: Exploring American Roots Music educational DVD is released and made available to educators worldwide, including lessons plans embedded on DVD, by the IBMA. In its press release, the Association says of the production, “Discover Bluegrass introduces young (and young at heart) viewers to an original, joyful and uniquely American genre of acoustic roots music. Six instructional units, each roughly 10 minutes in length, explore the history and evolution of bluegrass music, starting with its old-time music roots and continuing through contemporary styles. Demonstrations include a look at the unique vocal harmony structure used in bluegrass music, along with info on the instruments used and their roles within a band. Individual lesson plans for each unit are included, designed to address educational performance standards. Hosted by rising bluegrass stars Sierra Hull and Ryan Holladay, Discover Bluegrass presents the genre from a youthful perspective, complete with live interviews, performance footage, historic photos and songs from bluegrass music’s biggest stars—past, current and future!” About five years later the DVD is updated and CBA KOB’ers are asked to appear. Click here.

From the BIG TENT Department--From Mr. Cherry at"Trampled by Turtles 'Live at First Ave' Hits Street November 12th…With six albums to their credit and a word-of-mouth reputation that draws legions of diehard fans to their must-see-to-believe live shows, Minnesota roots music hybrid, Trampled by Turtles release their first live concert recording Live At First Avenue. The set was captured over 3 sold out nights celebrating their 10th anniversary at the legendary Minneapolis venue, First Avenue. This collection features songs from all six of Trampled’s albums, including hits "Wait So Long" and "Alone" as well as fan favorites “Codeine” and Trampled's version of the Pixies’ classic, “Where is My Mind?”. Both the CD and the LP package include a full concert DVD. Digital cable and satellite television network Palladia will air the concert multiple times starting the week before street date and continuing for one year. Acclaimed band Trampled by Turtles continue to receive praise for their live show and last studio album Stars and Satellites. The band has performed on “Conan,” “The Prairie Home Companion,” “The Late Show with David Letterman,” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.” Click here.

A couple of pallet cleansers before going on 1) A Mosquito Fossil With 46-Million-Year-Old Blood Inside. Click here.; 2) The World’s Most Expensive Bottle of Wine…A healthy 12 liters for $195,000. Click here.

CBA Chairperson’s hunting buddy records solo--Ever since Tim Edes brought Third Time Out to the West Coast for his annual Night at the Grange concert series held each February, he and the band’s bassist and singer, Edgar Loudermilk, have been pals, so it wasn’t surprising that the Chairman passed this bit of news along…”Mountain Fever Records presents the brand new release, My Big Chance Tomorrow, from longtime bluegrass singer and bass player, Edgar Loudermilk, today. Loudermilk’s strong, confident bass playing, and vocal prowess is the foundation for this solid record featuring the single, “Shady Green' that was released to radio in late spring. Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--Cats can't taste sweet things. (GOOD!)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1948 the Stanley Brothers record "Molly and Tenbrooks" in the Blue Grass Boys' style, and some musicologists argue that it was this recording session that marked the first the genre emerged as “a distinct musical form. “ "Oh,” Dr. Ralph is quoted as saying many years later, “Monroe was the first. But it wasn't called bluegrass back then. It was just called old time mountain hillbilly music. When they started doing the bluegrass festivals in 1965, everybody got together and wanted to know what to call the show, y'know. It was decided that since Bill was the oldest man, and was from the Bluegrass state of Kentucky and he had the Blue Grass Boys, it would be called 'bluegrass.'

MOLD MAN PICK FOR STORY OF THE WEEK--“LONDON -- LONDON (AP) — A forgetful British bridegroom who made a hoax bomb threat rather than admit he'd neglected to book the venue for his wedding has been sentenced to a year in jail. Neil McArdle called Liverpool's St. George's Hall from a phone booth on his scheduled wedding day in April, claiming a bomb was due to go off in 45 minutes. His fiancée, Amy Williams, was left standing in the street in her wedding gown while the building was evacuated. McArdle was arrested and admitted that he made the call because he had forgotten to fill out the paperwork for the wedding. On Tuesday a judge at Liverpool Crown Court in northwest England sentenced him to 12 months in jail. Defense lawyer Charles Lander said McArdle and Williams are still together.” Of course it’s only Wednesday; who knows what craziness could unfold in the next few days. Still, for my money the moment Neil entered that phone booth and dropped the coin into the slot he’d already made history. What kind of man would do that? What kind of woman could instill that level of fear in her fiancé? And what sort of marriage do you suppose Amy and Neil will have? I’m guessing this last question will be on the minds of both during the groom’s twelve-month incarceration.

Mold Man at a loss for words? It’s not uncommon to run across a Facebook post with a link to a YouTube clip that the poster insists “must be seen to be believed.” I’m proud to say I’ve grown less and less susceptible to such wild-eyed invocations, but there was something about Cliff Compton’s simple “The bass player...well, you have to watch. Two minutes and twenty-eight seconds” that compelled me to click. So, ah, thanks Cliff. What you DIDN’T say was that it’s impossible to watch the clip just once. It’s like trying to eat a single potato chip. Click here.

No, Mildred, he wasn’t really saying you couldn’t go home again. It was a literary device…novelists are allowed to do that-- If I never read another magazine or blog article with the old hack about Thomas Wolfe’s having been wrong when he titled his classic American novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, I’ll die a happy man. That said, I’ve got to hand it to’s David Morris for the vivid picture he painted of an evening’s entertainment recently enjoyed in the nation’s capitol. The Seldom Scene has always held a bit of mystery for those of us truly smitten by the bluegrass bug…you only have to have been in the audience a year ago June in Grass Valley to know the truth of that statement. Anyways, here’s the first bit of Morris’ piece, and it’s a good one…”The Seldom Scene Turns Back the Clock; Seldom Scene returns to the Red Fox: Ben Eldridge, Lou Reid, Emmylou Harris, John Starling and Fred Travers--Thomas Wolfe was wrong. You can go home again. The Seldom Scene proved it Sunday night, returning to the venue that provided the seminal band’s first home more than 40 years ago for a show that included current members and the surviving founders, along with tributes to those who are gone.

Sure, the Red Fox Inn is now an Italian restaurant in the Washington, D.C., suburbs, and the stage was set up at the opposite side of the room from where it once stood. But some things never change, including the Scene’s banjo man. Ben Eldridge, whose basement housed the jams that led to the formation of the band, has held that job for 42 years. The evening was put together as a fund-raiser for the D.C. Bluegrass Union and only 100 lucky people got in the door, promising an intimate evening that recreated the weekly shows the band used to put on there.

The stories were just as good as the music. Over there was the jukebox. Remember the night Linda Ronstadt climbed on top to listen to the band? What about the night she walked in with Lowell George and Scene frontman John Duffey yelled from the stage, “Charge them double?” Does anyone still have the gaudy polyester pants the band wore for an early album cover? (Thankfully, the answer to that one appears to be no.) Remember when Emmylou Harris used to drop in to sing?

Item #7 on the Top Ten List of Things Billionaires Can Do that We Mortals Cannot-- “Zuckerberg Buys Up Neighbors' Homes for $30M (Newser) – One perk of being a multibillionare: You can buy privacy—and buy your neighbors out of their homes. That's what Mark Zuckerberg has done, spending $30 million on four houses next to his own Palo Alto abode, the San Jose Mercury News reports. He doesn't have any crazy plans for the properties though—he won't, for example, be building a $60,000 greenhouse to match the one at his San Francisco mansion. Instead, the billionaire will lease the homes back to the families who already live there. The plan came about after he learned a developer was interested in buying up a nearby property and marketing it with a "be Zuckerberg's neighbor" pitch. (Click to see the swanky housing complex being developed for Facebook employees.)”

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--Your hearing is not as sharp on a full stomach. (Who has ears on their stomach?)
Tuesday, October 22, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--BLUEGRASS BREAKDOWN--Letters to the Editor" Jody Responds to Recent Review...Editor: I’m glad Rick Abrams liked our new album. (A Song That Will Linger, Rounder – Reviewed in November 1989 Issue) I agree that Kate really shines on it. I’m sorry he doesn’t like my singing. He’s entitled to his opinion. But not to suggesting that I sing the way I do (mournful and high, with an “edge” – in other words: bluegrass style) because I’m “ill-informed”.

In fact, I sing two syllables on “soon” not because “then they’ll think I’m a real hillbilly” but because I sing 2 different notes on the word. I invite Mr. Abrams to try bending a note on a consonant like “R”!

Breaking up a vowel for musical, emotional and expressive purposes is an old vocal tradition. It is found in pop, rock blues, bluegrass and ancient Gaelic music, to name a few.

Like the old-time stalwarts Rick mentions (who all bend notes – and who sang the way they did – beautiful to my ears – maybe grating to his – because they wanted to – not because they couldn’t do better – and Buell Kazee was concerned with “opera quality”), I am also “honestly and justifiably singing the best I know how.”

Sometimes old-time music is presented as light-weight hu-ha fluff. This approach does a disservice to what is really the well-spring of bluegrass music and the ancestral source of its power.

Since I think my singing on Alabama Waltz, at least, to be the best I’ve ever recorded, it is obvious that Rick Abrams and I have different values in vocal music. I suggest he re-examine the singing on those old Southern 78s. It’s often the best part of the music - full of subtlety, micro-tones, melismata, and raw emotion.

Jody Stecher
San Francisco, California

From Rainy via Valley Bluegrass--“JAM IN MODESTO…Here's what Rainy Escobar says: Hi Y'all, This is your reminder that we will be jamming at the Queen Bean Coffee House, 1126 14th Street, in Modesto, tomorrownight (October 22), from 7 to 9 PM. It might get a bit brisk, so bring your jacket because we're still playing in the back patio. And, don't forget, you'll get a complimentary beverage. So, when everybody gets there, Kevin or Silvia will take your order so you don't have to stand in line. A tip is always nice for the servers if you can do that. Oh, yeah, if you've got a song to bring to the jam that has more than 3 or 4 chords, try to bring something to show us what to do or be prepared to teach it. Not everybody needs such instruction but for those who do, it is always a big help so we can all play along. See ya then! Rainy

It’s GRAVITY, stupid--I remember so well a vice presidential candidate a few years back whose quote about the government wasting millions studying fruit flies made all the major news services. Why was this news, you’re wondering? Simple…it seems said vice presidential candidate was more or less the only human being on the face of the earth who was unaware that , because of the rapidity of it fertilization and gestation cycle, fruit flies have proven to be the single most useful organism known to researchers for studying genetics. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives have been saved by research done with fruit flies. So, when I spotted this article about, ah… elimination research …I just had to believe it was being done for more than just a good chuckle. Turns out, it was. “Scientists Come Up With 'Law of Urination--Ever imagined a peeing contest between animals of various shapes and sizes? Probably not, but scientists studying the matter say that mammals big and small empty their bladders at about the same speed, New Scientist reports. More specifically, experts at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta have clocked the pee-time of rats, dogs, elephants, goats, and cows, and come up with a "law of urination"—that each animal takes about 21 seconds to go to the bathroom. The big news: Elephants empty their bladders at the same speed as smaller mammals, because gravity pulls urine quickly through their large urethras. Smaller animals, on the other hand, have shorter urethras that get less gravitational pull, but smaller bladders to empty out. Still, the urinary law has its limits: Really small creatures like bats and rats can pee in less than a second. The study's lead author hopes the finding will help diagnose urinary problems in large animals and possibly inspire designs for water towers, which also rely on gravity.”

Probably not written for bluegrassers but, hey, you just never know--With festival season having pretty much run its course, this piece may be a little late. Then again, blink twice and 2014 will be upon us…” What To Do if The Police Stop You at a Music Festival: By the Festival Lawyer; I know what you are thinking. What the heck’s a Festival Lawyer? Is it a Public Defender who helps you out if you get arrested at a concert? No. (Although, to be honest, I wish I had thought of that as a job option after law school). I’m a criminal defense attorney with a background as a former prosecutor. But I also have a background as a drummer, a DJ, and avid festival goer. The idea behind “The Festival Lawyer” column is to combine these backgrounds to give you legal and practical advice that will make you a safer, more responsible Festival Goer.

Advice like how to protect your rights if the police approach you at a concert. Or how to recognize the symptoms of a drug or alcohol overdose. We will talk about things like California’s Medical Marijuana laws or what to do if stopped for a DUI on your way to a concert. But mainly, the column will be focused on how we can make the Festival Experience work better for everyone as a more responsible, positive community. As an aside, I’ve noticed that as soon as I start talking about knowing your rights, a certain percentage of people start complaining that I am somehow “teaching people how to commit crimes. ”This is dangerous nonsense. We don’t live in a police state (well, not yet anyway). As citizens it is not only our right but our duty to know and defend our Constitutional Rights and keep an eye on the police.” Okay, that’s it. If you’re not interested yet, just move on. If you are, click. Click here.

New band with lots of buzz headed our way--Mold Man has heard from Lucy Smith, via Maria Nadauld, that Sideline, a new act from Nashville with some heavy hitters, (as in Dilling, Webb, Haynes, Cherryholmes and Moore), will be coming out to Chico in a few months. Here’s what has to say…”Session 1 – Sideline--While bluegrass isn’t a summer-only music, it’s no secret that the warmer months are well suited to the festivals, camping, and late-night jams beside of campfires and picnic tables that bluegrass fans love so well. Many bluegrass artists slow down during the winter, perhaps playing a handful of shows or spending time recording. Looking to keep busy, IIIrd Tyme Out banjo man Steve Dilling got together on the side a few years ago with some friends to play a few Christmastime performances. Those performances, as well as a few IBMA showcases, led to the formation of Sideline, a band that some are calling the newest bluegrass “supergroup.”Sideline has recently released its first album, a twelve-track collection on Mountain Fever Records entitled Session I. Like several previous supergroups, Sideline has chosen to fall hard on the side of tradition with this effort, packing the album with driving, banjo-heavy numbers that are largely pulled from the past. The majority of the songs here are old bluegrass favorites, with a few well-done new tracks, leading to a strong, enjoyable modern traditional album. Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--The national safety Council reports that the object most often choked on is the toothpick. (You see the little red cellophane on the end of it? You are supposed to take that OUT of the hamburger before you eat it!)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hello, Mold News readers. I want to apologize for suddenly ducking out last week. You know by now that I’m generally pretty fastidious when it comes to keeping our readership current on my schedule. This time, however, even I didn’t have any warning about the schedule change. Here’s the note I left the young student intern…

”MANDARIN—I’m using FB to write you because the Litvocks are monitoring both my email accounts, (the backward idiots haven’t yet discovered Facebook). Left for Vinius in the middle of the night after learning that the Police Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has Maudie. Apparently these people want to talk more about the “situation” that hastened our return from vacation a few weeks ago and had the good sense to know I wouldn’t voluntarily return unless they had some leverage. Maudie is the leverage the bastards went with. Anyways, hold the fort down, Mandarin. Just make a brief announcement on Thursday…you know, make something up; I’ve got the flue, whatever…and I’ll stay in touch. Do not write a column on your own. Let me repeat, DO NOT WRITE A SUBSTITUTE COLUMN. MM”

No, Mandarin didn’t follow instructions…claims he didn’t even receive the note. Oh well, at least he didn’t high jack the column, (though he did make himself “Acting Mold News CEO and General Manager.”

As for the quick trip to Lithuania, let’s just say that when it comes to ensuring that high-value defendants, (you know, like yours truly, prominent American journalist and shaper of popular opinion) make their court dates, no expense is spared. And the purpose of the court date? You won’t believe this…I had to appear in court to be assigned my public defender, one Miekus Kazlauskiene, 2011 graduate of Vytautas Magnus University - School of Law. 5,774 miles so Miekus and I could stand in the hall and chat for five minutes while we waited for court to be called into session. Bottom line, my young barrister believes I’ll get off with a slap on the hand, an assurance that brought Maudie and me a little comfort until we realized that neither of us knows what the Lithuanian version of hand slapping is. And, too, it’s hard to forget that Joseph Stalin played no small role in establishing jurist prudence in the once satellite–in-good-standing state. We’ll keep you posted.

MILESTONE--October 14, 2013, from the New Yorker: An Astonishing Moment from a Bluegrass Legend; Posted by Alex Wilkinson…

“In bluegrass circles, it is being called “The Moment,” and some of the people who saw it wept. I heard about it from Gillian Welch. It involved the master guitar player Tony Rice, who was giving a speech late last month in Raleigh, North Carolina, on the occasion of being inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame. Rice, who is sixty-one, is a revered figure in bluegrass. Following the path of his own hero, Clarence White, he established the guitar as a lead instrument in bluegrass, the way Charlie Christian helped the guitar step from the rhythm section in jazz. An admirer of Coltrane and Jascha Heifetz, he played percussive, blues-inflected lines that found unexpected, and sometimes startling, trails through the chord changes. The way certain singers enunciate clearly, so that every word is heard, Rice played with a deep technical command, so that no note was ever lost. He released his first record in 1973, and the shadow of his articulate and forceful style falls across the playing of nearly all other bluegrass guitarists. If you play bluegrass guitar, you have to come to terms with Rice the way portrait photographers have to come to terms with Avedon.

Rice lives in North Carolina. He spends a lot of time listening to music, taking photographs, and restoring Bulova Accutron watches, which operate by means of a tuning fork. He has lost a brother and two stepsons over the past ten years or so, and seems to have removed himself by degrees from the world. Very few people are allowed to come to his house, and most of his friends correspond with him by texts, only some of which he answers. Meanwhile, his appearance has grown severe. He used to be boyish and lanky, and now he is gaunt, and his face is drawn. He looks like an old miner. He has grown his hair nearly to his waist, and he wears it drawn back, but on top the strands are spaced like beach grass on a dune. He appears to have withdrawn physically into some weathered and essential version of himself. All that is superfluous has been shed, like land around a great house that has been sold off until only the house remains. He wears suits when he performs, but the clothes hang like shrouds, and he looks less like a gent than a scarecrow. In addition, his hands are afflicted with arthritis and playing has become sufficiently painful that his timing, always precise and effortless, is no longer entirely dependable. He makes mistakes and drops notes.” Watch Tony’s acceptance speech… Click here.

MOLD MAN LIST OF THE WEEK -- Six dumbest words made up by dumb people. I don’t know about you all, but for me nothing chases those Monday morning blues away faster than getting together with a group of good friends and making fun of someone who’s not there. In this case, you and I are the group of good friends, and the someone we’re making fun of are all the morons who fracture the English language by making words up like…

#6. Irregardless (Though ranked only sixth in the annoyance scale laid out by, without question the Mold Man’s favorite phony word to hate.)

#5. Misunderestimate (Made instantly famous during one of the 2012 Presidential debates and hence likely to end up in Webster’s some day.)

#4. In Good Conscious (As opposed to in good conscience. At least this phrase could ultimately have some legitimate usefulness in the English language, provided, of course, that American culture will someday place value on consciousness and the journey for finding it.)

#3. Munt (Instead of saying "I might go" or "I'm not sure if I'll go" the idiot says "I munt go." {No, I’ve never heard this either, but there it was so I had to include it. If we were to throw it out, my replacement would be psychical year as opposed to the correct fiscal year.)

#2. Ruthfull (Meant to be the opposite of “ruthless” but clearly not.)

#1. Supposably (Falling very, very short of saying the correct, “supposedly”)

Much better commentary than mine about these travisties is yours for the reading at Click here.

Come on, don’t you feel better now that we’ve shared a good mock at someone other than our own expense?

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--Dolphins have bigger brains than humans. (I know some humans that I wish were Dolphins; that way it would be easier to communicate with them.)

Okay, that’s all for today. Still feeling a little jet lagged from the quick run to the Baltic over the week. Let’s meet back here tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--1990 Fathers Day Weekend Festival Update…Things are moving right along with plans for the 15th Annual CBA Father’s Day Weekend Bluegrass Festival. The lineup is set and it’s a good one.

The Lewis Family
Raymond Fairchild & the Crowe Brothers
Rose Maddox
Jim Eanes
Jimmy Martin
California Quickstep
Country Ham
Piney Creek Weasels
A Touch of Grass
Bluegrass Patriots
Front Range
Hard Times
Second Time Around
Done Gone Band Reunion
Hillbilly Cloggers

I am getting anxious for June. I know it is only January, but I can hardly wait for the music, the jamming, meeting old friends, making new friend and just having a good time. Get your tickets early, folks, this year is going to be Great! Until next month…think June. Suzanne Denison, Editor, Bluegrass Breakdown, January 1990.

Well, who else would you expect to be booked?--“NEW HAVEN, Conn. —The sound of trumpets and nearly 600 applauding guests greeted Peter Salovey and his wife, Marta Elisa Moret, as they arrived at the Yale University Commons on Saturday night for a sit-down celebratory dinner. The following afternoon Salovey, who is 55 years old and has spent his entire career at America’s third oldest university, was formally inaugurated as Yale’s 23rd president in a ceremony of music, oratory, and pageantry held at Woolsey Hall, which seats nearly 3,000 people, and was packed.” And without missing a beat, the reporter goes on to add, ‘The Deadly Gentlemen perform at Yale University presidential inaugural, October 2013. “ Yup, as we shared here earlier, Peter is an avid bluegrass guy, won over to the force by non-other than Member Number One, Carl Pagter. For the past several years Salovey has been in a band called the Bluegrass Professors, all Yale instructors.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Moldy, as I shared with you last week, Sideline (her newest client) is coming to California December 4 through December 10. I'll have the exact schedule in a week or two. In anticipation of that, I've attached a poster and bio and below is the schedule for their Sirius Radio Track by Track of their new album - "Sideline, Session 1". Could you give us a splash of some sort? Thanks, Maria Nadauld, Above the Bay Booking .

Sideline on Sirius/XM
Sideline Track-By-Track times
11am east- 8am west Wednesday 10/16
9pm east- 6pm west Thursday 10/17
8am east- 5am west Saturday 10/19
11am east- 8am west Sunday 10/20”

Maria, sure. MM

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“My dear fellow, writing in with a suggestion that you might want to consider upgrading your daily offering just a little by occasionally collating into it a little actual hard NEWS. I mean, really, if you’re going to call it a news column, throw us just a shred of real, reality-based content every now and then. To be honest, I’ve begun thinking you wouldn’t recognize actual news if it fell from the sky and clunked you on the head. Please understand, sir, that I make the suggestion in a most positive and respectful manner, thinking only of your and your staff’s best interests. At least give it some thought. Leon from Half Moon Bay.”

Leon, say no more, my friend. I’m in total agreement and will begin implementation of your recommendation this very moment…

“18 Strange 'Facts' About The North Korean Leader, Kim Jong Il. Deceased North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was a complex, often brutal dictator who prioritised military might and his own comfort ahead of feeding his own people. He was also a man who seemed to radiate weirdness. Perhaps it was his style of dress, or his keen ability to look at things without smiling. Perhaps it was his claim to have invented the hamburger. Whatever the cause, there is no shortage of funny, bizarre and odd facts about Kim Jong Il floating around on the Internet. Here are some of our favourites:

He Was Born Under A Double Rainbow
He Loved Waterslides
He Was Afraid Of Flying
He Kidnapped Short People
He Was The World's Greatest Sportsman
He Could Control The Weather
He Kidnapped Two Directors To Remake Godzilla
He Was Suspected Of Killing His Brother At Age Five
He Drank $700k Worth Of Cognac A Year
He Did Not Use Toilets - Because He Didn't Need To
He Considered Himself To Be An Internet Expert
He Forced Staff To Become Drug Addicts
He Ate Donkeys
He Had Many, Many Titles
He Was A Rice Obsessive
He Invented Hamburgers

I trust, Leon, that the foregoing fits your definition of “actual hard news”. I know it does mine. Oh, to get the background of the eighteen examples of craziness, visit

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear MM, something’s been sort of bothering me as of late and I’d like to get it off my chest. I read your column everyday and I enjoy the hell out of it. Generally speaking I find that your reporting, if we can call it that, is fair and balanced. However, I’ve noted one seeming exception. It appears to me that every time you refer to the Bluegrass L you’re offering up an example of why the folks who go there are dolts. I assure you, sir, we are not all dolts. Yes, some discussions can heat up and posts are made, usually in the heat of debate, that reflect badly on our little national listserv. But I would appreciate it if you could let your readers know that the “L” also has its good moments. I’m passing on an example. The new “1861 Project” has been the subject of discussion on the Bluegrass L for the past couple of days. What’s been written about the undertaking, and the links to pages concerning it, are good examples of how a listserv is supposed to work. If you agree, please share the following with the Moldy folks. Stay cool, Warren G. Hardgrove, Rawhide, CA.” Well, Warren, if what you say is true and I have been overly critical of the Bluegrass L listserv, it was certainly inadvertent. The “L” has long been a primary source of bluegrass information for me. It’s free, it’s got a solid user base and, as far as I’m concerned, it’s well moderated. So, here you go pal, the story you requested…

“The 1861 Project,” a three-part concept record about the Civil War, will release its final installment, which is about the Battle of Franklin, next year. The project was produced by Thomm Jutz, who also served as a co-writer on every track. The first album in the series, “Volume 1: From Farmers to Foot Soldiers,” is about how poor people dealt with the war. “Volume 2: From the Famine to the Front” is about the involvement of Irish immigrants in the war. That’s a notable point, because Jutz is a new U.S. citizen. He moved to Tennessee 10 years ago from Germany and became a citizen three years ago.

“I’ve always been interested in the Civil War,” he said. “I’ve always been interested in country music, Southern music, Southern culture. The Civil War plays such a big role in all of that. You can’t ignore that. The 1861 Project,” which is being released by the Cohesion Arts label, is a collection of all new material mostly written from the perspective of fictional characters, though some real events and figures from the Civil War are captured as well.

On “Battle of the Bands,” Jutz tells the story of how the Union and Confederate armies were camped so close together prior to the Battle of Stones River near Murfreesboro that each army’s band could be heard in the other camp. When one band started to play the Civil War era standard “Home Sweet Home,” soldiers on both sides sang along.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

MILESTONE--In 1955 twenty-eight year old Buck Graves, as he’s known to his friends and family down in Monroe County, Tennessee, is hired on to play bass with Lester, Earl and their Foggy Mountain Boys. While more than competent on the dog-house, Graves first love is the resonator guitar and within just days of joining the band in mid-tour, he begins informal lessons with the band’s banjo player on Scrugg’s unique three-finger syncopated style. Lessons soon turn to collaboration and before you can say auldridgedouglasickes a brand new dobro style is born based on the only slightly new banjo style created by Earl. Just one month after becoming a Foggy Mt. Boy, Buck, now dubbed “Uncle Josh” lays down the bass in favor of his R-guitar. The man credited with bringing the dobro into bluegrass music stays with Flatt and Scruggs until their break up in 1969; he then backs up Lester in his Nashville Grass and a few years later, Earl in his Early Scruggs Revue. Josh Graves is inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Honor in 1977. Click here.

Our boy surely does get around--If you follow the goings-on off Kim Jong-un, (and if you’re a regular Mold News reader, then you do), you may have found yourself wondering how our intrepid, chubby young leader seems to be everywhere all the time. Well, the answer is only a $1899.95 bundle of graphics software known as the Adobe Creative Suite. As explained by writers Chris Kirk and Holly Allen, “North Korea is notoriously bad at photoshopping photos of its supreme leader. An image recently released by North Korea’s state-run news agency showing Kim Jong-un and regime officials standing at a construction site is attracting ridicule for its horrendous doctoring. Clearly, the government doesn’t have the resources to fake photos like it fakes villages. Crowdsourcing to the rescue! Here, for example, North Korean officials are working with Congress to finally iron out a budget deal and get the U.S. government up and running again.” It’s at this point that you’ll want to click on over to the Kirk-Allen piece at I promise you, you won’t be disappointed. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAGHowdy Moldy Man, this Thursday is the last big outdoor event at the Vista Ranch and Cellars outside Merced east on 140 (a very popular winery and local music venue). There will be a car show starting at 5:00 and the Ginseng Hollow Allstars start picking at 6 (A fictitious band from a fictional place). So who are those boys and gals from the holler? I’ve brought together popular musicians from the area, some of whom play in the Valley’s top bluegrass band, for this last shindig. They include Jason Winfree, Ron Cotnam, Steve Ladonga, Ramona Allingham, and, Dave Cicoletti, Annie Alvira, and most humbly, myself. Different amalgams of this group have played together multiple times and now they come together for one last season blowout at the Vista! Bluegrass & Americana under the stars, twinkly lights strung across the ranch, great food and drink. Be there, or be square. If you can help spread the word oh Magnificent Moldy One, we Allstars would be in your debt. Marcos from Merced.” Dear Marcos, okay. Click here.

MORE MOLDY MAIL BAG”Hey MM, I’m writing to tell you about our 2nd Annual California Banjo Extravaganza coming up next month in Berkeley. We’ll be joined by Tony Trischka, Sammy Shelor and the All-Star Band, (John Reischman (mandolin), Chad Manning (fiddle), Jim Nunally (guitar) and Sharon Gilchrist (bass) and, of course, me.) We’ll be doing workshops and concerts around and about Northern CA from the 14th through the 17th. Your pal, Bill Evans.” The best way to get the scoop on dates, times and locations is to visit Bill’s website at Click here.

”Why not? moments” be good--We never get tired of reading stories like this one featured at Mandolin Café over the weekend. “Nineteen fifth-graders at Jefferson Elementary are learning how to play the mandolin because their vocal music teacher, Emily Roemmich, had a “Why not?” moment. That moment came when Mary Unger, whose duties include being the grant development facilitator for the Grand Island Public Schools, let teachers know they could apply for Fender grants to buy mandolins. Actually, Roemmich’s thought process went deeper than “Why not?” When she was a student in the Wayne Public Schools, she played saxophone and clarinet in the school band, as well as violin in the school orchestra. Her parents also paid for years of private piano lessons. Roemmich said she wanted to provide something of the same opportunity for fifth-graders at Jefferson. Click here.

Finally, a way to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to that special him/her/or it in your life--The Mando Café piece is a perfect segue into a little item I’ve been saving until the holidays were just around the corner. If you’re anything like Mrs. Mold and me it’s right about this time each year that you begin to anguish over the perennial what-to-get-my-lover for Christmas riddle. I say anguish, but it’s more like a dull tooth ache that comes on slowly right around the time the insipid Halloween TV ads start and builds until that final mad dash to the Mall…or in the case of we rural isolationists who left the mad rush of big city life for a little peace and quiet, Wal-Mart, which, just by itself, is an extraordinarily steep price to pay for the privilege of hearing birds chirp, (but that’s an entirely different sermonette.) Anyways, Maudie and I have discovered the perfect gifts for one another. I will send a kiddie to the CBA’s Youth Academy (summer kids camp) in her name and she’ll do the same for me. A pretty nifty way to say happy holidays, honey AND at the same time do a little something to help make certain the Music of Bill doesn’t go the way of disco, do-wop or Dead Kennedy’s knock-offs. I’m told this holiday giving program to benefit our second annual Academy will be officially rolled out some time in November. Oh, and no, you won’t need to send an entire kid to camp; a broad range of body part options will be made available.

Monday, October 14, 2013
Good Monday morning, friends. This morning officially, and quite literally, begins my second year on the job. So many words, (to be exact, 262,413 since October 14, 2012), with so precious little substance.

You’ll no doubt recall that upon returning from my two-week Lithuanian sabbatical I announced that Student Intern Mandarin Montag had returned to the MN team. Seems the dearth of actual column space he enjoyed during his internship in the last academic year was enough to void his graduation contract. He must “repeat the class” as it were, this time around having the opportunity to write and post his own copy. And so, without further adieu, I give you Student Intern Mandarin Montag.

Hello, folks. I’d like to begin my stint as STAFF WRITER with a little explanation. I have noticed that on occasion readers have asked via Moldy’s Mail Bag, just who is this Mandarin Montag and why has he been given such a name. NEVER have I noted a satisfactory response, which of course doesn’t surprise me. I don’t share this with just anyone; it’s a private matter…and yet, in light of my desire to do what is right; and that is to help the Mold team perk up the daily column; give it some zest, some zing, maybe just a scoosh of relevance to real life. And, if this results in freeing up more space to spread my writing wings, all the better. So here then is the secret I’ve held since birth…

What’s in a name, you ask? Well, let me share a little something with you. I could have been named Mandarin for several reasons. After all, I was conceived on that very special night, my Mother dined with her soon to be husband, ahem, my Father, at Kim’s, the local Mandarin Chinese Restaurant. Rumor has it; she did enjoy a few Singapore slings. But, to my dismay, my Mother claims I was named for my drooping flowers and red berries. (And no, Slings were not being served that day on the birthing ward.) Ok, I’ll buy that, but in all confidence, this is not how I have built my impending empire and what I choose to have my readers believe. And you will never hear me mention my red berries and drooping flower again. So here we go: the truth, my truth, and the only truth you will ever hear from me going forward or need to share with another: Mandarin has a definition that tells us I am an official whose powers are extensive and thought to be outside political control. It is because of this that I chose to carry out my internship with Mold Man. I am an empirical sort of fellow and my words will prove that in the coming months. And too, I am a man who knows the truth of what is in a name.

Names are given to us for reasons we cannot fathom; or need to. But I have to wonder…if our names do define us, who IS Mold Man? Who IS Bill Monroe? Who IS Ricky Skaggs. This will be a personal quest. I suppose, in some sort of twisted and wild-waved way, I will be forced to start with Moldy. He’s closest; he’s who I know, and he doesn’t know it yet, but I will become his right hand man by doing so. Raise a hand; wouldn’t you like some new life in this musty old column? Wouldn’t you like a little Mandarin Montag with your morning coffee? What’s the worst thing that could happen?

CBA MILESTONE--Sidesaddle Celebrates 10 Years Together With November Bash…Can you imagine it’s been ten years since Sidesaddle started playing together as a band? My how time flies when you’re having fun! I don’t know any group of gals that have more fun than Sidesaddle! Why not show them how much you love their music on November 4? There will be a Sidesaddle Ten Year Anniversary Party at the Redwood Estates Pavilion on Madrone Drive in Redwood Estates. The show will begin at 8 p.m. and will feature a box lunch social.” October, 1989, The Bluegrass Breakdown

The nardgod--I don’t know what’s happening bluegrass-wise down in the L.A. Basin, but whatever it is, it seems to be working. Ed Helms, (or andy Bernard if you prefer) and two partners, Amy Reitnouer and Tanya Erlach, have created a new bluegrass web site and it’s a good one. Here’s how’s “About Us” page reads…

“A few years ago, this is probably what the general population thought bluegrass looked like: (Imagine grainy 1920’s photo of two men, mustached, Rasputin stares, one with backless banjo, another with fiddle)

But recently, something has shifted. In the midst of a deep economic recession, people started returning to their roots: looking for products, places, tastes and sounds that were familiar and real and comforting. They wanted to know their neighbors again. To hold on to something that lasts. To belong to a real community. And soon a revolution began…This is the new face of bluegrass: (Imagine very modern, very bright, artistically cropped photo of four twenty-somethings, all mouths agape and with broad smiles; banjo, guitar, fiddle, doghouse) It’s young. It’s exciting. It’s passionate. It’s a community that respects its history, knows its roots, looks ahead for ways to innovate and modernize a genre that has been around for generations, and seeks new ways to merge an old tradition with new technologies.” While I’m not sure I’m buying into the “revolution” spin, I’m liking the new web site’s content and recommend you give a look. Click here.

My own “inescapable conclusion”: I gotta have one of these things--Last week Gregory Berns wrote an op-ed piece for the NY Times Sunday Review entitled Dogs Are People, Too. Though I unequivocally reject the piece’s premise…dogs are most assuredly NOT people, (I’ve known too many, lived under the same roof with too many, unsuccessfully attempted to reason with too many to attribute one single iota of humanness to our furry pals), I’ve got to tell you, Berns grabbed my imagination and shook it like a Great Dane would shake a Cabbage Patch doll, if there were still CPD’s around to be shaken. Here’s how the second paragraph of the opinion piece begins…”By looking directly at their brains and bypassing the constraints of behaviorism, M.R.I.’s can tell us about dogs’ internal states. M.R.I.’s are conducted in loud, confined spaces. People don’t like them, and you have to hold absolutely still during the procedure. Conventional veterinary practice says you have to anesthetize animals so they don’t move during a scan. But you can’t study brain function in an anesthetized animal. At least not anything interesting like perception or emotion. From the beginning, we treated the dogs as persons. We had a consent form, which was modeled after a child’s consent form but signed by the dog’s owner. We emphasized that participation was voluntary, and that the dog had the right to quit the study. We used only positive training methods. No sedation. No restraints. If the dogs didn’t want to be in the M.R.I. scanner, they could leave. Same as any human volunteer. “ Doggie magnetic resonance imaging machines; I’ve already told Maudie that if Santa cares a wit about me he’ll bring one of these gadgets down the chimney in a couple months. Think of it, watching what your dog is thinking about while he’s listening to you and your oft-repeated, “blah, blah, blah, blah.” I have sworn that if she can get old Saint Nick to bring the MRI I’ll never ask for another present so long as I live. Click here.

CBA MILESTONE--The CBA is happy to announce the slate of board of director candidates for 1989-90. Those who have entered the contest are: Bob Brown*, Karyn Cap, Jim Carr, Harold Crawford, M.D. Culpepper, Don Denison”, Lolan Ellis*, Allison Fisher, Hank Gibson, Mark Hogan*, Mike Kemp, Russell Loop, Carl Pagter*, David Putnam, Mary Runge*, Gerry Szstak, and Bob Thomas. *Indicates an Incumbent Board Member.

Heck, Marty just “enjoyed the stew out of it”--(It, being the World of Bluegrass that took place in Raleigh week before last, enjoyed the stew out of it being the next Southern U.S. idiom to be integrated into my personal communications tool box.) If you spend any time at all at the CBA web site you’ve no doubt gotten a pretty decent take on what our California contingent thought of the IBMA’s just-completed doings back in North Carolina. In a word, they LIKED it. What you may have missed, and what young student intern Mandarin Montag believes you, our readers, must be made cognizant of is the IBMA’s take on the whole Raleigh deal. (I’ve found it futile to argue with the other MM here at Mold News Central, so here’s an editorial hot off the press the association’s executive director, Nancy Cardwell…

“I just got off the phone with IBMA member/ band leader Marty Raybon this morning, who informed me that he and his brother, Tim “just enjoyed the stew out of World of Bluegrass last week.” The sentiment seems to be the general consensus among attendees and locals alike, thanks to a lot of hard work from the IBMA team and our partners in Raleigh, North Carolina. More than a dozen IBMA members stopped me in the hallways of the Raleigh Convention Center and in the lobby of the Marriott Saturday and Sunday before we left to tell me this was the “best World of Bluegrass” they had ever attended—and these were folks of all ages, from all parts of the world, some who have been coming to our annual business conference, Awards Show and festival for decades. Business got done and connections were made; exceptional music was presented, discovered and honored; there were a number of memorable moments during the week that none of us will ever forget; and we all just felt so incredibly welcomed and embraced by the Raleigh community.

Click here to finish Ms. Cardwell's essay.

”I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.”—Sir Isaac Newton--I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to share a news item on Sir Isaac Newton. You hear from time to time that the Brit monarchs have diluted the significance of knighthood by handing so many out, but no one, I repeat, NO ONE would argue that Newton’s elevation to “sir status” was in any way gratuitous. So much of what we understand about the physical world around us has as its foundation the conclusions so brilliantly arrived at by this intellectual giant. But…yes, you knew there was a butcoming, didn’t you…Izzy had a, well, peculiar side to him. In fact, David Freeman over at the HuffPost, who admittedly is financing his kids’ college educations by drudging this kind of crap up, will tell you that the guy was just plain nuts. Here’s a sampling of quirks that, according to Freeman, proves history’s first true physicist was bat-shit crazy.

Newton was a big-time sinner. (Among his transgressions, he confessed to having unclean thoughts and stealing

He stuck a needle in his eye socket… on purpose “I tooke a bodkine gh & put it betwixt my eye and [the] bone as neare to [the] backside of my eye as I could: and pressing my eye [with the] end of it (so as to make [the] curvature a, bcdef in my eye) there appeared severall white darke & coloured circles...

He had two nervous breakdowns. The one in 1678 was, historians believe, the result of his colleagues not buying his ideas about optics, (boy would they feel like dumbies later) and the second, in 1693 was thought to have been caused by poor sleep, unintended poisoning during experimentation and just plain of depression.

He waited tables at the University of Cambridge. “Ah, boy. BOY. Over here. Could you bring me some more syrup for these waffles?”

Okay, okay, I know, I’m getting a little carried away here. But really, try to find the time to check out the complete list of ten bizzarro quirks attributed to this guy. Click here.

Bicycle Chain follow-up to follow-up--From Bluegrass Today, October 9, Chris Jones…

Irony, schmirony
Well, if you’ve followed Bluegrass Today at all in the last week, you know there really is something more newsworthy and controversial than a government shutdown. It turns out to be the fact that a bluegrass artist decided to stop performing a song. As much as Junior Sisk may be regretting every aspect of the Bicycle Chain drama, he can console himself with the fact that Stevie Wonder didn’t generate nearly as much interest when he announced that he would no longer perform You Are the Sunshine of My Life. That, and the fact that Junior is the Male Vocalist of the Year. Yes, it seems that we have not only grown sensitive as a community and a society, we’ve also grown very sensitive about others’ sensitivity.

I rarely editorialize here (because, you know, everyone’s so doggone sensitive), but I do want to express my support for Junior, and for his right to discontinue doing any song in his repertoire he feels like, even if, as was the case with Stevie Wonder, he’s just plain sick of a song.

Click here to read the rest of Chris' column.

”(James) King sings in a modest, almost muffled manner, as though it would be impolite to obscure so much as one strum of a mandolin.” --This is how Ken Tucker of NPR’s Fresh Air describes James’ delivery in yesterday’s double CD review of King’s On Three Chords and the Truth and Alan Jackson’s The Bluegrass Album. I’ll be anxious to hear James’ new project to try to find what about it provoked Ken’s “modest and muffled” comment; he obviously hasn’t spent as much time with the man as some of us in the bluegrass world. But all that aside it was absolutely wonderful to discover that Terry Gross’ award winning Fresh Air radio program liked the two new CD’s well enough to feature them and, hence, let a seriously large body of souls unschooled in bluegrass hear first hand what our music is all about. No doubt you caught Marty Varner’s review of the King project on Monday; if you did you’ll find his assessment of On Three Chords…not at all dissimilar to Tucker’s. All in all a quite satisfying radio report on two new album’s destined to leave a mark on the growing body of what could be called new traditional bluegrass music. (Oh, and it was nice to see that the participation of Don Ribsby on BOTH projects was not missed by Ken. National Public Radio does an especially good job of making their stuff accessible after the fact. Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know-- An armadillo can be housebroken. (Maybe in your house! Any armadillos attempting to enter my house will be sleeping in the middle-of-the-road, waiting for a Texan to look at it!)

Well, we’ve squandered yet another week together marveling at this human comedy of ours. If there really are multiple, almost perfect replica universes, I’m certain that ours stands head and shoulders above all the others. Thanks for hanging with me this first full week of October. This weekend get ye to the Brown Barn and, next week, of course, to the CBA’s Fall Camp Out. See you all Monday, MM.

MILESTONE--It’s 1980 and twenty-nine year old Tony Rice has already made quite a name for himself as both a flatpicker extraordinaire and a vocal interpreter of traditional bluegrass. It’s time to make a solo album and he calls his pal and former band mate, banjoist J.D. Crowe, to ask him to collaborate. Crowe says something like, sure, why not, the two put their heads together and come up with a dream-team roster. They’re quickly joined by three more pros who are all at the top of their game: Doyle Lawson will play mandolin, Bobby Hicks will add fiddle and Todd Phillips will supply the low end with his doghouse bass. The five don’t know it yet, but they’ve stumbled, more or less accidentally, onto a new concept…the SUPER GROUP. The recording is titled simply, the Bluegrass Album, plans for its being a Rice solo project are dropped, and within weeks of its hitting the air waves and record stores the collaboration is on its way to becoming a slice of bluegrass history.

Now dubbed the Bluegrass Album Band, Rice, Crowe and company make another album, and then another, and in 1983 promoter Milton Harkey pieces together an eleven-day tour and the super group’s reputation is set in stone. Though not a bluegrass band in the sense of heavy tour dates and anything resembling exclusivity, the Bluegrass Album Band nonetheless quickly becomes a mighty force in the world of bluegrass; in 1990 Rice, Crowe, Lawson, Hicks and Phillips perform at the very first IBMA Awards Show and, quite fittingly, take home the Instrumental Group of the Year. In total seven records are produced by the accidental but nevertheless legendary unit between 1981 and 2002. Looking back, it’s hard to think of an act that’s done more to ensure the staying power of traditional bluegrass music. Don’t believe it? Next time you’re in a jam take note of the songs called out around the circle that you heard the first time on one of the seven bluegrass albums. Click here.

Jeez, Neil, lighten up a little, man--I found myself listening to an interview the other day on the radio with a well-known intellectual; I’m not going to mention his name since he’s a pretty controversial guy and this newa item isn’t about him anyways. When the interviewer prefaced a question by first rattling off the names of three or four of the big thinkers of our generation I was tickled to hear Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist who, more or less by default, has become one of the more or less unofficial spokespersons of the scientific community. I like Tyson a lot, find myself agreeing with quite a bit of what he says (the general stuff, I don’t claim to have an opinion about the scientific mumbo-jumbo), and I especially appreciate his sense of humor. That’s why when I spotted a piece at that compiled “favorite astrophysicist’s” tweets about the new box office hit, Gravity, I just knew I had to share it with my Moldy friends. Here are a couple, but if you appreciate this “power thinker” like I do, find the time over to to click and read the entire piece he wrote…

Mysteries of #Gravity: When Clooney releases Bullock's tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together.

Mysteries of #Gravity: Why anyone is impressed with a zero-G film 45 years after being impressed with "2001:A Space Odyssey"

Mysteries of #Gravity: Astronaut Clooney informs medical doctor Bullock what happens medically during oxygen deprivation.

(The foregoing was written last afternoon, just prior to Maudie announcing that we’d be heading off to the local movie house to see, what else, Gravity. I’m sure my favorite astrophysicist’s is spot on with each of his tweet-creets of the film but, I’ll tell you what, that was the damned quickest 139 minutes I’ve ever spent.

Oh, and if you liked Neil’s nitt-picking, you’ll love’s The 9 nerdiest criticisms of sci-fi TV and film Click here.

And while we’re on the subject of movies--From…”Backyard Green Films has announced the release of a new documentary entitled Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B, a film surrounding the events of a benefit concert held for Sizemore and his wife February 19, 2012, as a result of them both being diagnosed with cancer on the same date in the Fall, 2011. Click here.

And still more news about the talkies-- From…”Alan Jackson Releases his First "The Bluegrass Album" Video. Alan JacksonAs most bluegrass and Alan Jackson fans are aware, Jackson ventured into the Bluegrass Music arena with his latest project, The Bluegrass Album. This is the first Country to Bluegrass artist to hit the mark and hit it dead center. Jackson is also quite the bluegrass songwriter! His songs on the album are what makes this project so unique. Jackson literally nailed it with this release. One of the songs that reflects the essence of this project is "Blueridge Mountain Song." Jackson has released the first of two planned videos featuring this song. His daughter, Ali, stars in this first video.

CMT Edge summarizes this new release saying, "In the brand new music video for 'Blue Ridge Mountain Song,' Jackson sets up the story of a young and promising love affair. But this being a bluegrass tune, well … you can probably guess what happens to the fair maiden." Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--It takes approx 3,000 cows to supply the NFL with enough leather for a season's worth of footballs. (Heck that ain't nuthin’. It takes about another 20,000 cows
to supply the hamburgers fer the fans!)

CBA MILESTONE--COMING UP! 3rd Annual Gold Country…“Finger Pickin’ Good” Bluegrass Music Festival; Presented by Steamboat Productions Sept. 21, 22 & 23; Mountain Laurel, California Quickstep, Surf City Boys, Snakes in the Grass, Piney Creek Weasels, Do Do Wah, Sidesaddle, Ron and Jerry, Brushy Peak, High Strung Band, Homefire, Tenbrooks
Amador County Fairgrounds, Off Hwy 49, Plymouth, California (Bluegrass Breakdown, August 1990)

Ah, I’ll have a triple non-fat latte, sugar free vanilla, and a tabby, preferably male--“Newest Cat Cafe, Offers 'Purr Therapy'; PARIS, Sept 24 (Reuters) - Customers braving the rush at Paris's newest cafe to order their coffees and croissants, are now able to enjoy them in the company of a dozen resident cats. The "Cafe des Chats" in the heart of the capital's chic Marais district is home to a dozen felines who weave in between the tables or curl up on armchairs as diners tuck in. The establishment is aimed at Parisians unable to keep pets in cramped city-centre apartments and though the idea may seem eccentric, cafe manager Margaux Gandelon says the potential health benefits of "purr therapy" are real. "Purring produces vibrations which relieve arthritis and rheumatism, which lower your blood pressure and your heartbeat," Gandelon said.

P. Thompson RBA Update--In answer to a question on the CBA Message Board re: whether Joe Mullins and his band were coming to town, Peter gave the long and quite usefull answer…”I don't know about GV either, but I can tell you that my earlier announcement that Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers would be staying out west for a week after Bluegrass On the Beach was erroneous. Joe & Co. were, indeed, booked to play a Redwood Bluegrass concert on March 8th, but they bailed because they could not find enough decent gigs to justify another week away from home.

This was pretty disappointing, but there's a great RBA 2013-14 season scheduled -- and these shows are confirmed.

Oct. 26: The Canote Brothers PLUS Carol Elizabeth Jones & Laurel Bliss - old time nirvana

Nov. 16: Travers Chandler & Avery County - Galax-style trad grass

Jan. 25: Keith Little & the LittleBand with Blaine Sprouse - A Tribute To the Stanley Brothers

Feb. 15: Dry Branch Fire Squad - great band, great songs, great stories

March 15: Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands - "newgrass in the truest sense of the word" (Sam Bush)

May 3: Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band - "the energy, freshness, and synthesis of rock and roll brought to hillbilly music" (Jon Weisberger)

All concerts take place on Saturdays at the First Presbyterian Church Of Mountain View - Miramonte & Cuesta, Mt. View; 5 pm: jam session; 7:30 pm: showtime; Tickets: $20/advance, $25/door; Season ticket: $99 for all 6 concerts; *** Half-price for teens and all students; free for under-13 and music student; Info:” It’s not every metro area in the U.S. that has a non-profit organization staffed by unpaid volunteers whose sole purpose is to deliver bluegrass and old-time music fresh and tasty to a hungry population. Support Peter and the gang and they’ll keep supporting us.

HELL yes--Pretty much a throw-away question; everybody knows the answer to slate’s question, “Are We More Squeamish About Portraits of Naked Men Than Women?” But do you know why. I’ll confess I didn’t till I read this piece. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Hello Mold Man. Recently I received a note from an old friend and band mate, Jim Hilden, a terrific banjo player who lives down in Carmel. I’m passing it along to you on the chance you’ll want to share it with your readers. Hi Rick,…It looks like the Homefire Band has finally come to the end of the trail. After playing together for almost 30+ years we’ve decided to take a hiatus/retirement and give up our monthly gig a Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing (almost a 10 year run) and give it a rest. Pat Mahoney left the band to move to New Mexico for work at Los Alamos almost 3+ years ago and getting a replacement for him was challenging and really never worked successfully, so this past Labor Day weekend we had our annual band/friends retreat/potluck/picking party and mutually agreed it was time. The attached picture is of our powerstation that we purchased several years ago but never used more than a dozen or so times (it was way more complicated than we needed plus it weighs a ton and was hard to haul around). It’s almost like new and comes with a custom made padded hard shell case and manual and needs a home and it’s FREE. Since you are connected to the Bluegrass community I thought you might know of a venue, band, or organization that might benefit from it. Let me know if you have any ideas, I’ll even deliver it … within reason. Say hi to Lynn, Jim Oh, while I’ve got you on the line, our little web site redeux button fund-raising scheme has raised close to $1,200 so far. Did pretty well at both Plymouth and the Kings River Festival. We’re now up to about 320 DIFFERENT buttons (Click here.). We’ll have the collection at the Fall Campout and in January at the GREAT 48. And of course we’re selling them through the mail. Mail orders are not going as well as we’d hoped so anything you can do to coax your readers into making a contribution to the web site update and receiving in turn a handful of these exquisite buttons will be greatly appreciated. Oh, and one other thing…Our president, Darby Brandli, asked me to ask you to ‘USE YOUR DAMNED SPELL CHECKER!’ Maybe you could get this intern of your, this Mandarin fellow, to proof your columns. Begrudgingly yours, Rick Cornish.”

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--The US government will not allow portraits of living persons on postage stamps. (The only one I care about being on a postage stamp is my friend, Mr. Bill Monroe.)

Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Okay, I’ve returned from my Lithuanian retreat, (which, by the way, I wouldn’t recommend to my own worst enemy, if I had enemies, but of course I don’t because I’m basically a very fair, mellow and likable human being and which nearly ruined my marriage and came close to setting off an international incident the likes of which would have, during the cold war years, likely have ignited a series of nuclear strikes and counter-strikes that would return planet earth back to its rightful owners, the 10 quintillion, (that’s (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) insects that are alive at any given time but which due to the negotiated settlement that eventually led to my release from the filthy and squalid prison called simply the End of Earth and which is hidden in plain site in the heart of the garment district in Vilnius, capital of that God-forsaken country I, am not allowed to utter a peep, resolved to stick with my self-impossed 800 to 900 word limit on Mold News columns. Today’s in 985…not a bad start. (Oops, with the last two introductory sentences we’re up to 1,000.

MILESTONE--In 1991 Flight of the Cosmic Hippo makes its way to #1 on Billboard’s Top Contemporary Jazz Album list. The album title comes from an audience member who suggests "Flight of the Codeine Hippo" as a name for the title track. The Flecktones’ founder and leader, a French horn player turned banjoist, prudently changes "codeine" to "cosmic" to avoid the drug association. That was just one of the solid decisions early in his career that led Bela Fleck to eventually become one of the best known “progressive” banjo players in the business. Another was teaming up with Jack Tottle, Pat Enright and Mark Schatz to form a group called Tasty Licks. Though short-lived, TL recorded some landmark bluegrass. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, I have an idea for a new Mold News feature that I’d like to share with you. I know you’re a busy guy and don’t have time to evaluate the brainstorms of every Tom, Dick and Harry. I’m also very much aware of the fact that, like so many of our greatest minds, you tend to pass on ideas that aren’t yours. ( Pass on as in, “no, I think I’ll pass” as opposed to passing ideas along to your readers.) Well, if you like my idea, I’m more than happy to let you take the credit. Just don’t publish this note and no one will ever know it was a Moldy Mail Bag submission. Anyway, here goes—I’d like to see you add a periodic feature called the Department of Unintended Consequences (DUC), and here’s why. A few years ago I began the serious study of progress. Specifically, I began thinking about and reading about and discussing with friends the notion of human progress with an eye toward trying to discern what is and really is not progress. Defined as development, advancement, improvement, evolvement, etc., progress, I believe, is one of those terms that can get used without a whole lot of thought. Let me give you an example. Historians and economists credit the creation of the patent system in the late seventeenth century with triggering the industrial revolution since, until an inventor knew for certain she or he could enjoy financial gain from the hard work and long hours it takes to navigate through the trial and error process, there just wasn’t a whole lot of incentive to knock her or himself out. Once the Brits figured out a way to make that assurance, technology took off like the proverbial bat out of hell. But fast-forward 350 years. This morning I read that Google wants to patent how to split a restaurant check. What’s worse, if recent trends in case law hold, Zuck will eventually be able to do it. Progress? I don’t think so. Anyway, I’m throwing the DUC idea out to you; again, if you like it, you can have all the credit. Or give it to Mandarin and let him run with it. Whatever you decide, I remain your devoted follower, Randy from Mill Valley.” Dear Randy, as you can see I’ve decided to post your letter, and I’m doing it for two reasons. First, I want to prove to you through action and not just words that you’re dead wrong about me not being interested in other folks’ ideas. Dead wrong. And second, I’d like to find out if other Mold readers think your notion has legs. So, Moldites, what do you think? A new feature on progress gone bad? Let me know.

Keeping it in the family----Okay, here’s another stupid attempt at transitioning from one news item to the next. Randy wrote about inventors and their motivation and I’ve been meaning to share with you a little news of one of our bluegrass communities best-known inventors, Roger Siminoff, I ran into RS at Grass Valley and he shared some interesting news I figured MN readers might find, you known, interesting. Hence, I asked Roger to drop me an email that I could share with ya’ll and, what do you know, he did it. From Roger Siminoff…”I was always hoping that someday my banjo and mandolin parts business would be called "Siminoff and Sons" but the two boys had interests elsewhere. As it turns out, our two daughters, Kali and Amy, took a strong liking to bluegrass music and early in 2013 assumed a leading role, along with ownership of Siminoff Banjo and Mandolin Parts. They are now running the business, and Rosemary and I can chill a bit. Kali has been with us for about six years and is responsible for order processing, developing our online store, some in-shop production activities, and managing our Luthierie Camp program. Amy joined us a year ago and manages the marketing and business end of things. I'm enjoying my role as advisor and working on new product turns out to be a great balance of things I like to do and people I like to do it with. I'm really excited about their fresh approach and new ideas, and I'm having about as much fun as a dad and luthier can (at the same time)! Best, Roger” Click here.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--When clans of long ago wanted to get rid of their unwanted people without killing them, they would burn down their houses, hence the expression “getting fired". (I always wondered why uncle Homer's house burned six times.
Monday, October 7, 2013

It was just a few short years ago that Ingrid David and Rob Horgan found each other. Though short on wedding anniversaries their life together was filled to overflowing with a love so crazy powerful and full of joy that it lit up the lives of those around them. Ingrid died late last week. Her passing is made just a little more bearable by the knowledge that these two ships did not pass in the night and that the quality of love far outshines its duration. Rob, we love you and support you.

MILESTONE--July, 1996, Wolf Mt. Festival, Nevada County Fairgrounds, Grass Valley, CA, Vern Williams and Ray Park play together on stage for the last time.

Follow up from Friday’s column--Just after I posted the special edition of Mold News last Friday re: the uproar caused on the Bluegrass L by Junior Sisk’s Old Bicycle Chain song, Ted Lehmann, a Welcome Columnist here and well-known author in the national bluegrass scene made the following post…

I can only imagine the pain this discussion is giving Junior Sisk and his wife Susan. Perhaps it's time to leave it be, and allow him to have the decision that he made. After all, there is no censorship here. Censorship requires some governmental or organizational entity to prohibit others from saying, writing, or painting something that they deem to be illegal or immoral. In this case, some people weighed in with opinions regarding a song they considered to be either obnoxious or humorous and in line with the cultural world of bluegrass music or not acceptable. After weighing the costs and benefits of continuing to sing this song, Junior appears to have decided, as a man of conscience, to no longer sing it. Some radio stations have refused to program the song on their air, although I've heard nothing suggesting they are boycotting or otherwise punishing Junior for his singing or recording the song. If people decide not to purchase the CD because they find the song obnoxious, that has an effect on the family's income, and there are a lot of other good songs on that album, as a bluegrass DJ or our acquaintance has said. That should be the end of it. Meanwhile, Junior Sisk should be spared having to endure this discussion any longer. - Ted

Close to fifty more comments on the song appeared after Ted’s advice to folks. Thy must not have agreed.

MOLD MAN LIST OF THE WEEK --Nostalgic Events that Occurred this Week in History

October 5, 1947--President Harry Truman makes the first televised address from the White House

October 3, 1955--The Mickey Mouse Club premieres

October 1, 1962--The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson's first broadcast

October 5, 1962--Dr. No hits theaters

October 5, 1962--“Love Me Do,” The Beatles’ first single is released

October 1, 1992--Cartoon Network goes live

So what, you say? Well, here’s so what… Click here.

An important Message from veteran old-time fiddler David Rainwater to his fans

Boy Goo Goo

Recently it is understood that to “make it” in the music business you must have three elements to your act. 1. You must dance with sexually suggestive moves 2. You must sing using vocal exciters on your voice (that is, using special electronic enhancers) 3. You must sing morally questionable lyrics. All of this needing to take advantage of the shock factor to an ever hungry public, who craves to see and hear more and more outrageous acts on stage, and you, the entertainer being pushed by money hungry music business promoters, who are wanting you to show as much skin as legally possible. However I, being aware that my public would be shocked beyond belief, and knowing all of that would have an opposite effect, should I begin to remove my clothes, have decided to keep them on, use only my natural voice, and sing more old fashioned lyrics, therefore dooming my act to a life of self imposed poverty as a mere folk musician.

Therefore, I will happily remain true to my mission to “change the world one fiddle tune at a time”, in the normal traditional approach. But if you would like to hear my new CD, ‘Western Fiddle Favorites’, let me know and I will be delighted to send you a copy. (this is shameless advertising). My fans will be happy and relieved to know ……that I did decide to abandon the idea I once considered, which was to become “Boy Goo Goo” and adopt all the afore mentioned elements which are required to make it in today’s music business!

Yours Truly
Dave Rainwater

Everyone on the Mold News team, not to mention, I’m certain, the vast majority of Dave’s fans, applaud his decision not to disrobe.

Tony--I think it’s safe to say that this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass was spectacular enough to provide the M-News with enough fodder to keep rat-tat-tapping at our keyboards for months to come. Here’s an awfully nice piece from John Lawles dated September 26…”A Bluegrass Miracle! For those foolish enough to not be watching the IBMA Awards Show live, Tony Rice just demonstrated the results of attempts to reclaim one of bluegrass music’s most cherished instruments: his beautiful baritone voice.

It’s not fully recovered, but the difference between what we heard tonight and the raspy, almost gasping sound to which we have become accustomed, was downright jaw-dropping. In accepting his induction into the IBMA Hall of Fame, and following an emotional series of “thank you’s” to his musical contemporaries, Tony addressed the fact that his dear friend, Alison Krauss, was experiencing some problems with her voice. In what was perhaps the most dramatic moment in IBMA Awards show history, Tony then shared that he had spent the past few days trying the various techniques and exercises that had been recommended to him to improve his own. After a brief pause, the strains of that old familiar sound filled the Duke Energy Center, and the hush in the hall was palpable, if not actually visible.

His close friends have told us for several years that doctors had made it clear to Tony that they believed that his voice could be recovered through intensive therapy. On stage tonight, Rice showed us all that he will be back. You could sense Alison at home watching, tearing up a bit – or perhaps leaping out of her chair.

What a glorious moment for Tony Rice, bluegrass music, and those lucky enough to have been on hand to witness it.

The reports of his demise have been greatly exaggerated

And lest we be accused of becoming too Kumbaya, we’ll close today’s column with a sobering little piece from Passaic, NJ…--“Ten-Inch Pacu, Testicle-Eating Fish, Caught. Although it's native to the Amazon, a testicle-eating fish species called "Pacu" has been turning up in places including Denmark, France and Illinois. Now, a large Pacu has been found in northern New Jersey, just more than 10 miles outside New York City. Retired bus driver Tom Boylan hooked a 10-inch-long Pacu on Saturday at Third Ward Veteran's Memorial Park in Passaic, N.J., according to The Bergen Record, which posted a photo of the fish. Pacu have wide teeth shaped like molars and strong jaw muscles that allow them to crack open tree nuts and other tough aquatic foods. Somewhat terrifyingly, however, the fish have been known to mistake human testicles for tree nuts. Two men in New Guinea reportedly died from blood loss after a Pacu chomped on theirs.”

We could go on, of course, but we’ll let you decide whether you need more on this story. Click here.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Well, I was all ready to lead off with a little hype about this weekend’s bluegrass extravaganza and follow it with a analysis of why we (human beings around the world and throughout history) get a little more squeamish viewing art depicting nude men than we do art depicting nude women when I checked my email and found the Bluegrass L was awash with, of all things, opinions about, sermonettes covering, diatribes against, musings regarding, position statements on, railings over…the Old Bicycle Chain.

Okay, so stop me if you’ve already heard this. It seems that Junior Sisk, a serious practitioner of the honest-to-God traditional bluegrass stuff, who’s been around for a long time without a whole lot of attention but who in recent years has found the audience he’s always deserved, released a new CD project late last summer. The collection included several songs written by Sisk, including one entitled the Old Bicycle Chain. A quick, way up-tempo hard-driving three-chorder, the tune was about a woman whose carrying-on’s made her an excellent candidate for a, you guessed it, bicycle chain beating. Junior, his management and many of his fans and supporters were quick to point out that the piece was done tongue-in-cheek, but not everybody in the bluegrass community reacted to the song with the hoped for chuckle. Thus started not one but multiple days-long debates on the L, with folks picking sides of the issue faster than you can say “government shutdown”. The posts, dozens of them, varied from angry to light-hearted, serious to silly and cogent to colossally pigeon-brained. (I should mention that NOT A SINGLE participant in the melee contended that the singer-songwriter was a wife beater or even an ally of wife-beaters. Rather, some felt the subject, beating a woman with a chain, albeit a smallish one, just wasn’t in good taste, while others thought it was a real hoot and clearly covered under the First Amendment.) Finally, thankfully, mercifully, the old chain argument went the way of all dead horses.

Until, of course, last week when Junior Sisk most deservedly won the coveted IBMA Mail Vocalist of the Year Award. Exactly one week after the award was made, Junior posted the following on the Bluegrass L:







To say that Sisk’s announcement reignited the OBC controversy would be a little like saying that recent House/Senate budget discussions have caused a bit of a reexamination of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. So, anyway, Junior’s post happened last afternoon and I haven’t done much else since then but marvel at the fireworks and try to make some sense out of them. The rekindled Old Bicycle Chain argument has captured my imagination and again reminded me that pretty much everything important in our lives and our culture and our nation can be tracked right here in our little bluegrass world. Therefore, today’s Mold News is dedicated to the OBC affair as it’s unfolded on the Internets. What follows is not in any way a full transcript of what everyone’s had to say; rather, I present selected snippets that give a flavor of how folks coast to coast are reacting to Junior’s statement. It’s about bluegrass music, of course, but a whole lot more.

(Oh, and I should say that this is pretty long so you have permission to quit reading at any point.)

We start with a somewhat precient mention of the OBC in a CD review written weeks before it was released last August…

“Old Bicycle Chain,” though, is a song the album could have done without. It’s a hard-driving, good bluegrass tune. But the lyrics say that if the woman ever comes back, he’ll whip her with an old bicycle chain. Not the best image for bluegrass.

Now on to the rest…

“This song leaves me cold- basically, there is always time for her to change her ways, to take the blame and he'll whip her with an old bicycle chain. I don't get it. I realize it isn't Junior speaking, it is the song's character- I just don't know why we should care, why we should condone domestic violence by listening to it- it doesn't appear to be intended ironically, or even with any sense of shame- just, I'll whip you with an old bicycle chain.”

"To the Moon the Moon!"

“I finally heard "Old Bicycle Chain" by Jr Sisk and his band because a man called WMMT in Whitesburg Ky and wanted it dedicated to his wife. It didn't take more than a line or two to see that there is nothing serious intended by this song. The man in the song accuses his wife of things that are mostly no big deal at all, and throws in some extras. He says she leaves the car on empty, messes up the house, ate the last piece of pizza and may have broke his bowling ball and if she doesn't straighten up he'll whoop her with an old bicycle chain. It is obviously intended to be funny and I hope it does well for him. I take the line in question to be like a western where Clint Eastwood tells someone his likes that he will whip them with a knotted plow line. No one is in any danger. I suppose those that don't like analogies won't like a song that doesn't exactly mean what it says... I hope to hear it again soon.”

“I would have gone to a Sisk show with or without the Old Bicycle Chain song because I never for a moment thought that Jrs. decision to record it or to perform it reflected his personal views on women or domestic violence. I do think it showed a lack of good taste. There are very few of us who have never had a lapse in that category. I take his apology as gracious and genuine and he is more the gentleman for having made it.”

"I think it's a bit funny that the folks who have come out against this song are the same ones who rail against intolerance. I suppose intolerance is ok as long as it fits your parameters? Censoring of art, any art, is wrong. Only thru the free expression of ideas, arts, religion, and speech do we attain true freedom and understanding. Fine to have an opinion, not fine to impose your opinion on others. Everyone is an individual, with different tastes, beliefs, and ideas. And that's all good. But when you squelch others ideas, art expression, or ability to take part in something just because you don't agree with it, you've crossed the line. The only people with that power are parents :).”

“How cool is this? I just found where you can buy an Old Bicycle Chair ring tone"

“Boo hiss.....”

Junior, now I said it on FB, "That's A Far Cry From Lester And Earl" So, many gospel songs have violence and pain and suffering, and classic hits....I think you've made a BAD decision, but that's my way of thinking.”

“I'm so happy Junior Sisk has decided to suspend his performance of this song! It shows a lot of sensitivity to his audience, and respect for the DJs who've chosen not to play the track on the radio. Of course this song was meant to be humorous, and nobody would think Junior Sisk is advocating violence against women. But, the point is, domestic violence is just not a bit funny. It takes a big man to admit to a lapse in judgement and good taste. Junior Sisk is such a fabulous singer, he could sing the phone book and make it sound good! There are gazillions of great songs, old and new, available for singing.” I'm looking forward to hearing more from this fine artist.

“I totally support Jr. Junior Sisk in his decision to drop the song "Old Bicycle Chain" from his shows if that's what he wishes to do. But I am made to wonder how much more could be accomplished if the people who attacked him for it had spent their time doing something truly useful, like volunteering at a shelter for battered women or attending seminars on how to help curb violence against women in their communities?”

“I am so damned glad to read that so many folks are upset that Junior was forced to quite performing his chain song. Bullsh*t is what I think it is. It’s so friggin’ obvious that he’s only kidding around in the song. A while back I wrote a humorous, what I’d call satire, kind of song, about Jerry Sandusky and all his carrying on and you can’t believe the knocks I got for that. TAKE A JOKE, PEEPS!”

“I've noticed that virtually everyone who doesn't get that it was a bad idea to record and sing this song are men. Coincidence? I don't think so.”

“For the record, I happen to be female and I don't mind the song at all. I understood immediately it was a joke, and frankly, am puzzled about the controversy. Many people of differing views in the bluegrass community have become my friends, including Bob Cherry and Mike Conner. I know well that they are not in favor of violence against women, and I know Mr. Sisk is also not in favor. Personally, I think censorship of any kind is a bad thing. There are to many lessons in fine arts, and we need to allow them to be learned. Many people in the bluegrass community whom I love and/or respect hold political and religious views which differ from mine. They may also differ in their views on other subjects. Some may think I am off my rocker, but I think we need to listen to what we like, and let the rest go. Blaming the artist for the words in a song seems a little crazy anyway. The writers were Billy Smith, Marilyn Smith and Kenny Mullins. Why not question their motives? I am sorry we have come to the point were we force an artist to eat crow over one song on one album. As I said, listen to what you like and let the rest go. “You are telling the world to accept YOUR opinion. You tell me that it is in poor taste. I disagree. If you don't like it, fine. But nobody gave you the authority to run around telling me or other people what we are allowed to consider as acceptable. What is in poor taste is telling everybody to dislike something because you yourself don't care for it. I accept the song for what it is -- just asong. I don't see it as advocating violence or anything else for that matter. When "Echo Mountain" came out, a lot of people were touched by it. Some didn't like it at all. But Cedar Hill and James King, among others, continued to perform it. I'm proud of them for doing so. Who are you to tell me, or anybody else for that matter, what to consider as bad or good taste? Who made you the authority on thought, music and the arts? You just confirmed my previous note.”

“I really admire Jr. Sisk for being responsive to feedback about it.”

"The day we start telling artists what they can and cannot say, perform, write, produce, or sing, is a sad day indeed."

“Poor taste is poor taste. This song is in poor taste, just as Cordle's "America, Where Are You Gone" was. No one is telling anyone what they can or can't record or write. What some are doing is holding artists accountable for their actions. Not by saying they are bad people, but by politely expressing disagreement with the sentiments expressed.” And Jr., to his credit, took responsibility for his decision. Obviously, that was the right thing for him to do. Because he did it.”

“I think I'm getting it, Donald. Let me try to explain it to you. It's a joke, so it's ok. No one should be offended by joke about domestic abuse. That's something anti-correctness fans laugh about all the time. And if we allow people to be offended by a song where the punch line gets a laugh by threatening to beat up your wife with a bicycle chain, what's next? Maybe we won't be able to joke about bashing her puppy's head in with a stick, or raping her daughter, or sodomizing her infant son with a broom handle. They're all jokes and, as far performing artists go, offending part of your audience and driving them away is just part of the long-term strategy for success. Don't you get it now? “

“In the 20th century, the idea of political correctness was hijacked by those who seemed to feel they were anointed with a higher authority, those whom took it upon themselves to decide what was good and what was bad, what one can say and what one cannot say. I hate politics, and I pretty much hate people attempting to govern what I can say, write or do.”

“It is strictly tongue in cheek. Junior dedicated it to my husband and I last fall (at the suggestion of Chris Davis) and both were grinning ear to ear. Junior gave a long intro explaining he doesn't subscribe to anything the song said. We just listened and laughed, hope most people will be able to do the same.”

“I'm guessing Junior tired of having his shows, and his free time at shows, compromised by those who feel the need to make their world a better place. A 'better place' according to their own ideals and constant campaigns to censor as they see fit? But still... in this musical genre of bluegrass music (and even folks songs) there have always been some less than attractive storylines and explicitly violent lyrics. Some true incidents, some not. So, really, where does one draw the line...and according to whom?”

So, I can already hear Mold readers complaining that once again the Mold Man lays it all out but stops short of expressing his own opinion. Well, not this time. The guy in the last post asks “where does one draw the line?” My answer is at old bicycle chains and Jerry Sandusky.

Have a good weekend. Hope we run into each other at Golden Gate Park.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE WEEK—Large Events this Weekend and Next at Which You Can Hide in Plain Site…We're not recommending any of these, honestly don’t know anything at all about most of them except the Hardly Strictly, but they made this weeks Mold List because you never know when you’ll have a need to become a needle in a hay stack. Oh, and Mandarin, who’s back in all his glory, God help us, wanted me to tell you that if you go to the web site where he found all this crap, ( you’ll see a photo of he and his formerfriend Caesar taken at last year’s HSBGF. (I italicize “former” because Mandarin made a point of letting me know that he and Caesar don’t hang out anymore, which, knowing MM, was supposed to get me to ask why, which, of course, I didn’t. (I know, kids, you can’t live with ‘em, pass the beer nuts.)

Carpinteria, California Avocado Festival (10/4 - 10/6): As AVOFEST prepares for its 27th year, much has stayed the same since our first festival, but much has also changed.

San Francisco, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival - Golden Gate Park (10/4 - 10/6): Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Oct. 4th-6th 2013.

El Cajon, Oktoberfest in El Cajon (9/27 - 10/6): Come and enjoy authentic German food, such as bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, potato salad, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, red cabbage and a variety of German pastries.

Paradise, Johnny Appleseed Days 2013 - Paradise (10/5 - 10/6): First held in 1888, the fair now known as Johnny Appleseed Days is the oldest harvest in the state!

Santa Monica, BAM Fest (Beer, Art and Music Festival) (10/5): 40+ Craft Breweries, 3 Bands, Contemporary Art Galleries, Open Artist Studios, 4 Wineries, and Gourmet Food Trucks

Half Moon Bay, 40th Safeway World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off, The Super Bowl of Weigh-Offs (10/14): Superstar Gourd Growers and their astounding, mind-boggling, Volkswagen-sized orange orbs hope to squash the world record in Half Moon Bay, California!

Half Moon Bay, 43rd Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival, World Pumpkin Capital Celebrates the Great Gourd (10/19 - 10/20): The tunnel is open, the sky is clear, people are smiling, autumn in HERE! Yes, indeed, our highly-anticipated autumn season is truly here and on the picturesque coast around the World Pumpkin Capital

Buena Park, Bridal Showplace Bridal Shows - Southern CA #1 Bridal Events (10/6): Bridal Showplace offers every product and service needed to plan your perfect wedding or special event.

Northridge, Holiday Traditions~Northridge Craft Show (10/4 - 10/5): Our 20th year of beautiful and unique quality crafted items featuring holiday & home décor, yard art goodies and soooo much more!

San Diego, Sat, Oct 5, San Diego 40+ SINGLES PARTY! (10/5): Great parties for Single men and women aroung 40ish to 59ish

And speaking of getting lost in big crowds--Works fine at gigantic, outdoor type events, but if you’re a fish and you’ve cut yourself shaving, well…”How Quickly Does the Smell of Blood Travel Through Water? For a shark, smell is carried through the water by currents. Since currents vary, so does the time it takes for smell to travel a quarter mile through the water. Water is made of molecules all bouncing around all the time. In part, these molecules move randomly. The random motion causes nearby molecules to spread out over time. This sort of motion is called "diffusion". Roughly speaking, the distance d that molecules diffuse depends on the square root of the time, t = d^2/D, with D the "diffusion constant." So there you have it, or at least the tip of the iceberg of it. You'll need to read on and pay strict attention. Click here.

How to make friends and influence line-ups--The good Lord above only knows why, but the folks over at the IBMA asked me to share this with my readership, about which they obviously know nothing. “Leadership Bluegrass Application Deadline Approaches! IBMA’s Leadership Bluegrass selection committee has announced the application deadline for the 2014 class is November 15, 2013. “It's a wonderful way to meet folks from all corners of our industry. Alumni are honor bound to help each other, too, which comes in handy,”says award-winning songwriter and graduate of the 2003 Leadership class, Becky Buller. And from their web site…”Leadership Bluegrass is a three-day program (scheduled for March 20-22, 2014 at BMI in Nashville) that is designed to bring together a diverse cross-section of people with a wide range of perspectives on the bluegrass industry for a group discussion and educational experience. This is the place for people who have demonstrated, or are highly motivated to demonstrate, leadership in one or more areas of the bluegrass community. Applicants are carefully selected so that each class has a full and diverse representation of the functional areas of our industry – such artists, composers, publishers, record labels, publishers, broadcasters, luthiers, publicists, managers, agents, event producers, and more. Each class also has a geographically diverse group of participants that includes students from all regions of the United States as well as abroad.” Click here.

If you in a hurry this morning skip this one but be SURE to get back to it when you have time. Moldy’s favorite item of the week.--“Alleged online drug kingpin arrested at SF library…The alleged mastermind behind the online drug marketplace known as Silk Road - previously known only by the pseudonym "Dread Pirate Roberts" - was arrested in a San Francisco library on federal drug and computer hacking charges as well as for allegedly trying to hire a hit man, authorities said Wednesday. Ross Ulbricht, 29, was taken into custody at the Glen Park branch of the San Francisco Public Library about 3:15 p.m. Tuesday. He had a laptop in his possession at the time, said Kelly Langmesser, an FBI spokeswoman in New York. The FBI said Ulbricht ran Silk Road from San Francisco, where he had been living for the past year, including at an Internet cafe not far from his Hayes Valley home. They said that since at least 2011, he has generated tens of millions of dollars in commissions by facilitating the sale of heroin, cocaine and LSD on an underground website that he himself once referred to as an "anonymous" Click here.

Pop Quiz: What was the biggest selling bluegrass album of all time until the sound track from O Brother knocked it out of the top slot? --Thanks to John Cherry over at for this one. “Forty years ago on a monday night during the first week of October, a bluegrass band walked on to the stage of The Boarding House in San Francisco. The band included two of Bill Monroe's former Blue Grass Boys, guitarist Peter Rowan and fiddle virtuoso Vassar Clements, mandolinist David Grisman and Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead picking banjo along with his bass playing sidekick, John Kahn. That historic event has been released by Acoustic Oasis as Old & In The Way: Live at the Boarding House. The two disc set features two sets from October, 1, 1973 and two more sets from October 8, 1973. Click here.

Ombudsman Extraordinaire--Here’s a question I’ve hear more than once since joining the CBA thirty-eight years ago. What do those people need with a “Chairman” of the board of directors AND a “President”? Well, here’s the answer, which I learned several years back while foolishly considering a run for the board. The chairman, who currently happens to be Tim Edes, (some would say a vast improvement over the last one), is responsible for running meetings and keeping folks on task and being where the buck stops last. The president on the other hand, has as her primary responsibility serving as the memberships’ representative on the board of directors and assisting when a member or group of members needs help in resolving one issue or another. The president, you could say, looks out for the members and hence it was not at all surprising to find on the Message Board yesterday a post from President Brandli that she and husband Bruno just made their room reservation at the Doubletree down at Bakersfield and recommended that members do the same now instead of later. You may recall that last year’s 48 Hour Jam had grown to the point that folks were turned away from the DT and had to stay in other hotels in the area. Click here.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't.” Mark Twain said that, and for very good reason. Who should come storming into my office yesterday demanding his old job back? Mandarin Montag, of course. But it was the REASON he came back that’s stranger than any fiction could possibly be. You’ll recall that I reported some weeks back that young Montag had finished his studies, was about to be awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and would be leaving his senior intern post here at the More or Less Daily News. Well, the kid hit a snag, it was a BIG one and, as much as I detest admitting it, I was to blame…PARTIALLY that is.

It seems that the senior project he’d negotiated with his academic advisor went beyond simply requiring Mandarin to complete an internship in a professional newsroom, (please, no snickers); it specifically called for his writing and given credit for no less than three thousand words of copy ACTUALLY USED by said professional newsroom. Yes, I know what you’re thinking…all those cries for help…all that pleading he’d done for your assistance in convincing me to give the kid a shot. Well, friends, I couldn’t agree more. I really DO feel that we share the guilt. After all, I’ve proven over and over again that I listen to my readers, but not one of you ever suggested that I let the Montag boy write under his own by-line.

Well, that’s all water under the bridge now. Mandarin is back, nasty, pushy disposition and all, and you can expect you’ll see a little of his writing in the months to follow. He is to repeat his two-semester internship or I get no more slave labor from San Jose State’s School of Journalism. Twain also wrote something about life’s not being fair…again, spot on.

MILESTONE--Tuesday, October 1, 2013, staff at the International Bluegrass Music Association emails to all of its members a link to the organization’s official recap of the just completed World of Bluegrass. It begins, “It's hard to believe, but another World of Bluegrass is in the books! However, we at IBMA feel that this one was just a tad more memorable than ones in recent memory. Our new host city of Raleigh, North Carolina rolled out the red carpet, and then some. There were banners in the streets, bluegrass music heard over the public speakers downtown, and crowded streets with festival goers eager for live bluegrass music. From the Awards Show, to the new facilities, to the sold out shows at the Red Hat Amphitheater - it was a year to celebrate.” Bottom line, the Raleigh affair was a big hit. Click here.

New valley fest this weekend--Frank Solivan, Sr., has put himself together a nifty new event called the Eagal Lakes Bluegrass Concert, but don’t let the name fool you. Lots of bands will be performing and though the show’s only on Sunday, there’s plenty of camping and jamming beginning Saturday. Acts booked include Central Valley Boys, Red Dog Ash, Rock Ridge, the Band, the Mt. Diablo String Band, AJ Lee and the Sisters Grim.

More poop in the news--Scientists have discovered some 250,000 year old hyena dung and guess what’s in it. Some human hair, that’s what. Why the big deal? Well, it appears some pretty tasty genetic data can be teased from the h-doo hence filling in a missing piece of modern man’s fossil record. But, hey, let them tell you about it. Click here.

An awfully good new not-quite bluegrass CD project--Okay, so who knows the meaning of the word douce? Well, I didn’t, and when I spotted a review of David Naiditch’s new project, "Douce Ambiance: Gypsy Jazz Classics" I had to look it up. Frankly, the Merriam-Webster definition was not what I expected: chiefly Scottish; sober, sedate, (the douce faces of the mourners). While I couldn’t swear to it, I’m pretty sure that Gypsy’s aren’t roaming the Scottish hillsides in any great numbers and sober and sedate are two of the last words in the English language I’d use to describe David’s music. Brilliant, inspired, energizing, yes, sober and sedate, no. Writes the reviewer, Virtuoso renditions of Gypsy jazz classics feature the melodic chromatic harmonica jazz of David Naiditch, the fiery guitar lines of Gonzalo Bergara, and the unmatched 5-string banjo playing of Pat Cloud. For a look and a listen head over to the IBMA post.

Linda--Let me offer an unqualified recommendation to listen to a radio show first chance you get…even though I haven’t yet done so myself. How dare I? Simple, the NPR piece has got my all-time favorite interviewer, Terry Gross doing a sit down with one of my all-time favorite female singers, Linda Ronstadt. Linda, as we reported here last month, is battling Parkinson's disease and can no longer sing, but that didn’t stop her from telling Terry about her new book, which came out just yesterday. Titled "Simple Dreams: A Musical Memoir" Ms. Ronstadt’s story is already earning very respectable reviews and is definitely on my list. Click here.

California girls--Well, actually California women. Thought you’d like to hear Lucy Smith’s report from a couple of days ago…”Having been lucky enough to attend IBMA, and to see the Kathy Kallick band on stage in the convention center, I have to say.... the band's performance was simply fabulous!! So proud of this great CA band! Also, in the discussion panel of Murphy Henry's book "Pretty Good for a Girl", about --yes--women in bluegrass, THREE of the 6 panel members were Kathy Kallick,Annie Stanenenc, and Laurie Lewis. Yes, CA women made up half the panel (along with Kimber (fiddler from Della Mae), Gena Davis, and Murphy Henry. A lively discussion, and great representation by CA bluegrass women!

Remember, banjo player or no banjo player, Eddie’s innocent until proven guilty-- “Ohio man accused of killing wife with banjos…A 63-year-old man bludgeoned his wife to death yesterday morning with a pair of banjos, deputies said. “I’ve been an officer for 30 years, and that’s the first banjo killing I’ve seen,” said Miami County Chief Deputy Charles Price. Edward Benson has been charged with aggravated murder and was being held in the Miami County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bond. Mr. Price said. Mr. Benson beat his wife, Katie, with the musical instruments in their home about 5 a.m. “She was beaten with a banjo in the head. When it was destroyed, a second banjo was used,” Mr. Price said. The woman died en route to Stouder Memorial Hospital in Troy. She suffered massive head injuries, Mr. Price said. Authorities aren’t sure what led to the beating. Mr. Price said. Deputies hadn’t had any other domestic violence complaints at the home in recent years. Deputies were dispatched to the scene at 5:01 a.m. after Mr. Benson phoned 911, saying his wife was in need of paramedics. Mr. Benson also immediately called an attorney, who arrived at the scene and advised him not to answer investigators’ questions. Neighbors said they didn’t hear any disturbances from the home yesterday. They were awakened by deputies. Ralph Wolfe, whose house is in front of the Bensons’, said Mr. Benson had told him he played the banjo in a bluegrass band. The Bensons had seven adult children and many grandchildren. They lived alone. Mr. Benson had medical problems that prevented him from working, deputies and neighbors said.

I know, at least a dozen quips could have peppered the piece, but the fact is Katie Benson was a real person and now she’s dead.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Hello, friends and readers and fellow Americans. Without getting into the not-so-pleasant details, let me just say of my two week vacation in Lithuania’s Baltic coast resort region that it required four burly baggage handlers to pry me off the tarmac at SFO so powerful was my embrace and passionate my kiss of American soil. I am a changed man, a man who… no matter how insipidly ineffective his elected officials are, how congested the freeways are on which he drives, how inexplicably complex the schedule for picking up recyclables in front of his house, how many times in a single week Miley Cyrus can climb onto a stage and demonstrate to a disbelieving world that American pop culture can, in fact, sink even lower…still loves his native land with every aging fiber of his body. This land is your land, this land is my land, and, for God’s sake, let’s never, ever forget it.

Peek-a-Jam--Since starting the Mold News last year I don’t attend many picking parties for fear I’ll somehow give away my identity. Jonathan Bluemel’s Pick-O-Ween, however, is the exception since it’s one of those costume required affairs. Now, you ask, are YOU invited to the Bluemel’s for the October 26th blow out. If you frequent the CBA Message Board and/or have Jon as a Facebook friend, the answer is yes. A great get together thrown by two extraordinarily gracious hosts.

FB post from the heart--“Folks, I never post anything political on my page...but please, republican or democrat, please pass a budget so we can go to bluegrass festivals again! We NEED to spread the positive Navy message via Bluegrass!” Keith Arneson, U.S Navy Band

This explains a lot--Babies Smell Delicious, Just Like A Cheeseburger…A baby's scent triggers the reward circuits in women's brains, the same circuits that light up when an addict gets drugs or you eat a juicy cheeseburger, according to a study co-authored by University of Montreal researcher Johannes Frasnelli. He explains to host Rachel Martin why people want to nibble on their infants. Click here.

Chuck Poling ain’t no dumby--Last month we regrettably informed our readership that Chuck would retire from his job as Welcomer. Now we’ve learned that our esteemed friend is likewise stepping away from the Bluegrass Breakdown…”Dear Fellow Columnists, I've already discussed this with Mark, but I thought it would be courteous to let you all know as well that I'll be taking a year-long sabbatical from my Bluegrass Confidential column in 2014. I expect to contribute some articles over the course of the year, but circumstances have made it necessary for me to cut back on the regular commitments that I have.

Now I'm feeling a bit sheepish telling this to you all. Basically, I'm saying that I'm too busy to keep writing and I realize that we're all busy and if you thought the same way, nobody would be writing a monthly column. But as much as the time crunch, I'm feeling a little low on gas. I think this month's profile of Chad Manning is one of the best things I've written in a while, but more often than not this year it's been a real grind to meet my deadline and produce a quality column.” Chuck’s been at both jobs quite a while and Lord knows he’s got a good, long break coming to him. Oh, and if you know Chuck Poling at all, you’re well aware that he’ll continue to remain in the thick of all things bluegrass, as demonstrated by this weeke’s Chuck and Jeanie e-mailer…

“In October 2001 we began the Bluegrass Country Jam at the Plough and Stars. A couple weeks later the first (Hardly) Strictly Bluegrass festival was held in Golden Gate Park. Coincidence? That’s just what they want you to think. But don’t take our word for it. Do some sleuthing of your own and visit the crime scene….

Wednesday, October 2
The Bluegrass Country Jam
Hosted by Jeanie & Chuck
At the Plough and Stars
116 Clement Street
8:30 – 11
Free/21 and over

Join us as we celebrate 12 years as San Francisco’s friendliest bluegrass jam. When we started it, we had no idea how it would go over or how long it would last. But month after month, people just keep on coming. It’s the durndest thing.

But how did it start? What’s the connection between the Bluegrass Country Jam, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Stonehenge, and Elvis? Who is Little Maggie and why is she standing yonder? Where, exactly, is yonder?

These are the questions that they don’t want us to ask. But who are THEY? That’s another question they don’t want us to ask – in upper or lower case. But we don’t care, we’ll just keep asking. Someone’s got to.

While the best minds in over-the-counter intelligence unravel that conundrum, we’ll be ramping up for San Francisco’s weekend of Musical Mirth..

Friday, October 4th
Hardly Strictly Anything Goes #7
At the Velo Rouge Café
798 Arguello Blvd.
7 to 10 p.m.
Free/All ages welcome

With just about everybody you know, including…

Jeanie & Chuck
Bohemian Highway
Misisipi Mike Wolf
The T-Sisters
Pam Brandon & Maurice Tani
Quake City Jug Band
The Shut-Ins
And many, many more

It’s the biggest little party in San Francisco during the High Holy Days of Hardly Strictly weekend. We invite as many of our fabulous musical friends as we can possibly cram into three hours and about 400 square feet. I wish we had more time and space for every single great musician we know, but we’re pretty stoked with the crew we have.

The full lineup is on our Free Range Fridays Facebook page. Check it out. If you love us, like our page. And vice versa. This special Hardly Strictly Anything Goes show in no way preempts are regularly scheduled third Friday presentation. On October 16th, we’ll be right back at the Velo Rouge with our special guest, troubador extraordinaire Ray Bierl.

So come and make merry with us. It’s a great way to close out the first day of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and get ready for two more days of incredible music in the park. If you happen to stroll by the Rooster Stage at any time during the festival, you may notice…is that?...could it be?...yes, it’s Chuck emceeing for the second year in a row. And he’ll be taking roll call, so be there.”

Finally, a musical way to unravel the knots--From our Southern California colleague, David Naiditch, who many of you know as the crazy talented harmonica player who attends the Great 48 each year. David is a research scientist and engineer in addition to being arguably the finest Gypsy harp player in the country, so it shouldn’t be surprising that he’s found a melodic explanation of String Theory. It’s called A Capella Science--Bohemian Gravity! Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--”Hello, Moldy, can you help get the word out about a brand-spanking new bluegrass jam in the East Bay? It's the brain child of some regulars at the now-defunct jam at The 5th String in Berkeley. This jam should be just what the doctor ordered, seeing as we've recently lost BG jams at High Street Station, The Frog & Fiddle, and the aforementioned 5th String. Well, as they say, when three doors close, another opens! The particulars follow. Hope you've enjoyed your vacation -- now get back to work! Regards from Mrs. Rittenhouse

New Free Bluegrass Jam in El Cerrito!
Every Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Starts Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The jam will be held at El Cerrito Music Works, the music store located at 11225 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito, CA 94530.
Phone: (510) 232-1000.

Music Works is open until 7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays.
The jam itself will take place upstairs, above the store, at 11231 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. The shop is located just south of Potrero Ave., and is very close to mass transit. It’s only a couple blocks from the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station, and it’s right on the bus lines. We will have two large rooms if we need them, one of which could be for a faster, more advanced jam and one for a slower or intermediate jam if we wish. We have a lot of support and enthusiasm from the owner of the store, who also plays bluegrass banjo. Join us! Our first jam takes place on Wednesday, October 2, 2013.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--A bee uses 22 muscles to sting you. (I just thank God he didn’t use 44!)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Good morning friends. I had a pretty nice little column knocked out and ready to post before I hit the sack last night, but when I arose this a.m. and checked my email I found the following note from a fan, (well, maybe fan is the wrong choice of words…I’ll let you be the judge of that.) I’m still trying to wrap my head around what the author, Tiffany from Salida, has written, and I’ve decided that before I do I really should table any further reportage’. So, without further adieu…

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mold Man, I’m not quite sure how to begin this email to you so I’ll just dive right in. I am a psych major at Stanislaus State University in Turlock and have just started my senior year. I’m currently working with my academic advisor to nail down the subject of my senior project, which will be a large part of what will be considered in my application for graduate school here in the Department of Psychology at CSUSTAN. So, well, here’s the thing. I’ve described you and your daily column to Don Barkley, my advisor, and he agrees with me that the psychological issues that you’re obviously dealing with and attempting to work through with your daily journaling, which is to say, the Daily News, offers a virtual treasure trove of disorders and syndromes, any one of which could make a perfect subject for my senior project. Here’s what I’m thinking, and Dr. Barkley believes the idea has great potential if handled properly—I will take the entire body of your work (I checked the archive yesterday and did a word count…TWO HUNDRED AND TWENTY-THREE THOUSAND WORDS)…and from it tease out the various neurotic disorders you appear to be suffering from. My boy friend, who is a computer science major, has written an algorithm for me and, although we’re still tweaking it, already the software is producing some fascinating preliminary results. The analysis shows at least some evidence of just under twenty different psycho-emotional dysfunctionalities rated by the algorithm as anywhere from possibly to certainly extant in your consciousness:

Conversion disorder
Dissociative disorder not otherwise specified
Social Anxiety Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Dysthymic disorder
Somatization disorder
Explosive personality disorder
Dependent personality disorder
Dissocial personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder
Ego-dystonic sexual orientation
Transvestic fetishism
Lack of perfectionism
Hyperthyroidism or mitral valve prolapse

As I’ve explained, I have everything I need to do a thorough and clinically rigorous investigation using only the year’s worth of columns you’ve written, which, my advisor describes as “one of the most compelling and gut-wrenching cries for help” he’s ever seen which actually appears in the public domain. So, Moldy, I’m really not asking you for any help with my senior project. But Dr. Barkley has suggested that as a common courtesy I should let you know what’s afoot. What’s more he’s recommended, and I agree, that, should you be interested in doing so, you can be given the opportunity to read and comment on the study once it has been completed. Naturally I would reserve the right to decide what, if any, of your comments I would append to the final manuscript.

So, there you have it. I want to thank you in advance, Mold Man, for creating the wealth of source material contained in the Mold News, October, 20012 to September 2013. That you have shared, albeit not intentionally, your personal demons with a public not always known for its understanding and acceptance of severe personality disorders, offers, as Dr. Barkley pointed out in last night’s lecture in our Senior Honors course, Pathologies of Modern Alienation, at least a glimmer of hope for your eventually finding some semblance of peace of mind. In any event, thanks and have a nice day…Tiffany from Salida.”

Dear Tiffany, did Barkley mention how long he thought this “semblance of peace of mind” might take?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Before jumping into our first moldy item of the day, I’ve got a couple of announcements to make.

Announcement #1
I suppose the first item could be sub-titled No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, and it’s straight out of the headlines, two to be precise.

Headline #1--San Jose Mercury, June 23, 2013: Unpaid Interns Win Major Ruling in ‘Black Swan’ Case — Now What? Yesterday, a federal judge issued the first major ruling on the illegality of unpaid internships in recent years, challenging a rise in corporate reliance on uncompensated workers.” The story ran in the local rag this past June. I’d just returned to work from Grass Valley, bone tired after more than a week of the wonderful yet debilitating sleep deprivation that’s a part of the festival experience, when boy-wonder Mandarin Montag storms into my office and slaps the paper down on my desk. “Yes, indeed,” he says, with bulging eyes ala the Shining’s
Jack Nicholson, “that does seem to be the question of the day. NOW WHAT?” “Now what, what?” I ask. “Read this, Moldy, and then we’ll talk.” So I read and then we talked and with very little negotiating, Boy Wonder and Senior Student Intern, Mandarin Montag, left my office with salary, benefits and paid vacation. So, and here comes the ironic part of the story…the next month Manny once again barges into my office, unannounced and ready for bear, this time determined to badger a vacation out of me. I disappoint the boy, however, by granting a week off without hearing even one of the ten points of rationale he’d prepared and transcribed onto 3X5 index cards. (Pretty friggin' generous when you consider that I get paid diddly squat for this gig.)

Headline #2—New York Daily News, August 27, 2013: Winner of $206M Mega Millions jackpot is California man who bought ticket on visit to L.I…. A Silicon Valley journalism graduate student swept in Friday to collect a $208 million windfall after buying a single Mega Millions ticket last month at a Long Island supermarket. Mandarin Montag, born and raised on the West Coast, was nearly as stunned as the hard-luck New Yorkers who watched the Californian fill his carpetbags with cash. “The first 10 times you read it, you don’t believe it,” said the 24-year-old San Jose, California, resident. “This is a game-changer. I’ll tell you what, if ever there was a game-changer, this is absolutely, positively one of them.” And yes, you guessed it, the change in the game came in the form of an email to me. “Yo MM. I QUIT. Good luck replacing me. Insincerely yours, MM” So, there you go. I give the kid what he asks for, treat him like a damned son and in return I get the classic “insincerely yours” email. Anyways, here’s my announcement: The Mold News Team is accepting applications for the position of Senior Student Intern. Twenty hours per week. ABSOLUTELY NO COMPENSATION…NO EXCEPTIONS. Inquire at

Announcement #2
It seems almost impossible, but we are quickly approaching the first anniversary of the Mold News. It was October 25, 2012, that the staff down here at the More Or Less Daily News posted it’s first blog. Where’s the time gone? Well, I can’t answer that one, but I can tell you where I’m going. Maudie and I are off to Palanga, a little resort town in western Lithuania, for a few weeks of R&R. We’ll be sharing a villa with dear friends Greta and Mantas Andrius. (I’ve told you about these two before…they’re a song-dance-and-comedy husband and wife team and near royalty on Lithuanian TV. So there you have it, friends. My last column will be this Friday, the 13th, and I’ll return refreshed and re-invigorated on Tuesday, October 1st. Oh, and so here’s the irony and the connection between Announcement #1 and Announcement #2—After all his whining and complaining and pleading, I’d decided to finally let Mandarin Montag, Mold News Senior Intern, serve as guest columnist during my absence. Life…you just can’t make this stuff up.

MILESTONE--Spring, 1959, Eddie Adcock joins the Country Gentlemen. (Editor’s Note: We look for the stories behind the Bluegrass Milestones wherever we can find them. Every once in a while, one will just sort of pop up when we’re not even searching. Such was the case with the following Bluegrass-L exchange from September 9, 2013)

Terry Tipton
What You Call The CG's

There is another thing that gets crossed up regularly where I live and that is the practice some local DJ's have of announcing any CG record they play as being Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen. I'm not sure exactly when or if his name was ever put out front but my guess is post 70's. I used to have a show flyer picked up on vacation in '69 of John Duffey and the Country Gentlemen playing some place in Wyoming. I think he was out of the band by that time but I do believe that at some point in time, whether they did it or a record label or a promoter was responsible, they have had John's name in the front. Maybe it was intended, maybe someone just assumed but regardless, the DJ's are wrong if they call a 60's CG record with Duffey and Adcock in the band by the name of Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen. It seemed to be more common for them to simply be called The Country Gentlemen.

Cindy Baucom
Re: What You Call The CG's

As I recall, the band was called 'The Country Gentlemen' all the way up until Bill Yates left the band. It seemed like it was at that time that Charlie's name was put out front.

Archie Warnock
Re: What You Call The CG's

They were the Country Gentlemen for the bulk of their time as a band. In the BU article a few years ago on the then-current edition of the band (I haven't got it handy to give the actual issue date), the band members commented on moving Charlie's name out front. They felt it was a good idea since he was the sole original member and because they wanted him to get the individual recognition that he so rightly deserved. It was A Good Thing to do.

Martha Adcock
Re: What You Call The CG's

Re the name/s appended in front of 'The Country Gentlemen' early on, here's a winding answer to that: when John and Charlie asked Eddie to join the Gents, he had come from Monroe's band and felt rather burned out since he'd practically starved there (Elvis and rock'n'roll were galvanizing the USA). The guys came over to Eddie's house one night sometime in the early spring of 1959 and pleaded with him until the wee hours.

"They didn't have a track record, though. I'd worked with Bill, Mac, Smokey Graves, the Stonemans and more, done a lot of TV like Jimmy Dean and my own show in Richmond... And these guys were doing cover material, which I didn't want any part of. At the time I was working with several different people in the DC area, and I felt like if I went to work with somebody as a regular thing, I wanted it to be a really GOOD thing. So I told them I didn't want to be a part of anything unless we went our own direction.

"We sang some that night, though, and it was perfect. It was right on from the get-go. The blend was there on the first five notes. It couldn't have been any better. It was really great to sing with somebody and have it be that close immediately. It was just written in the stars, just meant to be. So that's really what persuaded me to think about doing something with them. I just couldn't see doing it unless the whole package was special, though. It had to be creative, and had to be fresh songs -- our own material and/or our own arrangements. And of course I stipulated that I had to be a full partner in the band. Because who were they? They hadn't been with anybody big, really, and were just sort of treading water. But when they left that night, I was the Country Gentlemen banjo player and baritone singer. And a full partner.

"John and Charlie --especially John-- always tried to keep their hands on the paperwork, though. That's why one or two of the early records say 'John Duffey and Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen', or even just 'John Duffey and the Country Gentlemen'. I figured it was too much trouble to fight about it afterwards, and I let it go. That's come back to bite me, though."

By the way, re that poster: the Gents never played Wyoming in the '50s-'60s era. Eddie says they never went further west than Indiana until John left in '69, and then they played Hugo OK. (John feared flying then and didn't like to drive far, and of course he had his bowling to tend to...)

This is why I'm writing The Book about Eddie's life and times. It's a fascinating journey, and if some misconceptions can get rectified therein, that'll be great. Am thinking of subtitling it either "Moby Dick's Big Brother" or "War and Peace and Bluegrass"...

So, the big question for me is, can a parent still do the old “not-under-my-roof-you-don’t routine? “Study: More millennials are living with their parents than ever before. According to a Pew poll, 36 percent of young adults are afflicted with Failure to Launch syndrome. (Source: Social Popular Science [And what, pray tell, is Social Popular Science? Click here.

"If you need a car or truck; And you wanna save a buck; Go see Cal; Go see Cal; Go see Cal!" --(Thanks to Brian over at for this one.) “California Car Dealer and Bluegrass Advocate Cal Worthington Dead–age 92. Cal Worthington Wild and Crazy is a term that most likely belonged to Southern California car dealer Cal Worthington long before Steve Martin adopted it. The original Wild and Crazy man, Cal Worthington passed away today at age 92. Best known for his wacked-out television commercials, Worthington and his dog Spot, which was anything but a dog, did every promotional stunt known to mankind in attempts to gain attention and thereby sell cars. And they succeeded for more than half a century. Worthington who’s TV personality created a pop-culture legend died on Sunday, September 8th at his ranch home in Orland, California. Early TV in Los Angeles, California featured shows like “Cal’s Corral” with Southern California car dealer Cal Worthington who did a lot to further the California bluegrass music scene on the air. Early bands featured on Cal’s show (and car commercials) were Don Parmely’s “Golden State Boys”, and a group known as “The Country Boys”, later to evolve into “The Kentucky Colonels”. There are those who now claim that his commercial theme song and jingle were a bluegrass tune but in reality, he adopted a well known children’s song called, “If You’re Happy and You Know It Clap Your Hands”. He was a frequent guest on “The Tonight Show,” where Johnny Carson performed ad parodies. He appeared as himself in the 1973 Jack Lemmon film “Save the Tiger” and was the model for the car salesman played by Ted Danson in the 1993 film “Made in America.” Social Popular Science

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--A snail takes 115 days to travel a mile. (You reckon they're from South Georgia?)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Good morning, fellow Moldites. Well, we’re inching our way into what is arguably the most jam-packed time of the bluegrass season. The American River Music Festival, the Hardly Strictly, the IBMA’s huge confab back in Raleigh, Plymouth, Kings River. Good Lord, do you suppose Bill had any idea what he was starting way back when?

This morning we’re introducing a little something new to the Mold News. Each day we’ll end the column with a brief little item from the world’s undisputed authority on EVERYTHING. I speak, of course, of the one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life, bull-horn of a man, Mr. J.D. Rhynes. Although he truly is an authority on every subject known to humankind, our old friend is most renowned for the type of subject matter that can only be categorized as useless. Keep reading and you’ll catch my drift.

So there you go…have a great, productive and music-filled week and keep tuning in.

MILESTONE--April, 1983…High Sierra Music Festival announces its lineup for the August 12-14 event to be held at Leland Meadows Resort up in the Sierras. This year they welcome the David Grisman Quartet, Taj Mahal, Riders in the Sky with Mark O’Connor, Tony Rice, Bluegrass Cardinals, Foggy Mountain Cloggers, Done Gone Band, Sidesaddle, Puppy Squeeze.

Fast forward 30 years--Chuck Poling reports…”Coming up so very soon, we present our 7th annual Hardly Strictly Anything Goes party at the Velo Rouge. Yes, it’s already that Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival time again, and as we have since 2007, we’ll be gathering with our madcap musical friends to celebrate all the great local Americana music that entertains the Bay Area the other 51 weeks out of the year.

Hardly Strictly Anything Goes
Friday, October 4
At the Velo Rouge Café
7 to 10 pm

Twenty of your favorite artists will perform, including Misisipi Mike Wolf, the T-Sisters, Pam Brandon and Maurice Tani, and many, many more. This is THE place to be on Hardly Strictly Friday when the music ends in Golden Gate Park. You never know who might show up – we’ve had some very special guests in the past and while we’re not making any promises, we’re not not making any promises. Anyway, if just half the marvelous entertainers we invited to this event participate, it’ll be a veritable smorgasbord of song. Join us as we celebrate our own salute to the music in our midst – Hardly Strictly Anything Goes.

The story that never seems to die--Last week on the Message Board we saw another round of ASCAP/BMI lamenting. Some of the posts were informative; some didn’t amount to much more than name calling, which is certainly okay if you’ve got nothing else to contribute. One person who does (have more than cursing at the darkness to contribute) is a woman up in Sonora name BZ Smith. BZ is one of those types that, in a perfect world, every community would have. She’s the perennial organizer, the person whose plate can always accommodate just one more job. BZ is particularly active in the Motherlode music scene, so it wasn’t surprising when she recently posted a little advice for performers active in the Sonora/Columbia/Jamestown area. If you’re tuned in to this continuing saga…have a dog in the fight…this could be useful reading. If not, it’s time to skip to the next item. “Hi, all...I'm going out a limb a bit here, but I think that everyone of us that is working as a performer should know about recent events in our little town that may have an impact on our local Music Scene. As you may have heard, agents from BMI and ASCAP have been trolling in Sonora. Our good friends at Sonora Joe's have been contacted by them more than once about paying fees for the rights to have any licensed songs performed in their coffee shop. These two agencies have threatened Joe with heavy fines unless he pays the very pricey licensing fees. This is in regards to anyone performing songs in his shop that are licensed through BMI or SESAC. But they have also stated that their authority and right to do this applies even if an artist is playing original songs. They contend that if you're singing originals, you might slip in some covers. And to the best of my knowledge, they have placed a "Cease & Desist" order on the coffee shop. Or at least they have threatened to do so.

With this in mind, I'm going to ask all of you to keep your eye and ears open. Let's try to help each other avoid any litigation or "threats" to our musical community. Instead please try to focus on using material that is in the public domain (published before 1923) or your own original songs. If you normally do cover tunes, you might want to re-think your set list. If you have permission to play those covers, then bring a photocopy of that permission with you, stating as much. Plus, be prepared for venues to ask you to provide them with a set list. According to Joe, these groups want documentation of what was played where and when.” As we’ve seen and read in the past, the two organizations have a very simple business plan and they’ve been following it quite successfully for decades—GO AFTER EVERYBODY ALL THE TIME AND TAKE NO PRISONERS. I had to chuckle last week when I read at least two comments that suggested the ASCAP/BMI strategy was fatally flawed because, ultimately, the MUSIC, writ large, would be hurt and no one would win. Well, guess what, folks, somebody’s winning and they’ve been winning enough over the past six or so decades to make relentlessly hounding small clubs, pizzerias, coffee houses, restaurants, community centers, libraries, etc., etc., etc., quite profitable. Want a happy ending? I’m afraid you’ll need to turn on Turner Classic Movies and look for a Frank Capra production.

Corn lovers, listen up--Good story…reads almost like a who-dunnit. “Reviving An Heirloom Corn” Click here.

And Jens lovers, you wake up too--ƒrom…”Jens Kruger receives 2013 Steve Martin Prize. Jen Kruger has been named as the 2013 recipient of the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. The prize, created and endowed by Martin, includes a $50,000 honorarium and, typically, opportunities to perform both on stage and on television with Steve. Prior recipients Noam Pikelny, Sammy Shelor and Mark Johnson have seen their visibility and professional opportunities escalate after being so named, which Steve says is precisely the incentive behind the award. Each year’s winner is selected by a committee of noted banjo players, including Martin, Pete Wernick, Béla Fleck, Alison Brown, J.D. Crowe and others. Kruger is a Swiss native, who relocated to North Carolina with his brother Uwe as an adult after forming their group, The Kruger Brothers. His banjo style is hard to categorize, with forays into classical as well as bluegrass music, but is perhaps best defined by his original compositions. These are thoughtful, wonderfully lyrical, and highly musical pieces written for the banjo, which he performs with a stunning level of dexterity and skill.

J.D.’s Stuff-You-Don’t-Need-to-Know--Because of a reflex action, a rattlesnake can bite up to an hour after it's dead. (That ain't no part of nuthin'! Ex-wives can bite for 10 years!)
Friday, September 6, 2013

MILESTONE--October 28, 2003, Harvard University, sophomore computer nerd launches Facemash, which, according to the school’s student newspaper "used photos compiled from the online facebooks of nine houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the 'hotter' person.” Naturally there is hacking involved…the student, who obviously has plenty of time on his hands, busts into the university’s computer network and swipes a mountain of private dormitory information, including student ID images. The administration is not amused, which, we have to assume, causes said nerd to devote even more time to his hobby. The third week in February 2004, “Thefacebook” is launched.

How, for the love of Bill Monroe, did the earliest date associated with the controversial social media site Facebook sneak into the Mold News’ MILESTONES collection of events important to bluegrass. Instead of telling you, we’ll show you. Here’s a FB post done a few minutes after 7:00 a.m. this morning…

Wayne Taylor via Kelly Emerson; Good way to start the morning, dang! Pat Bergeson Guitar Hot Club of Nashville with Stuart Duncan, Richard smith, Here is our burning fast version of Tiger Rag featuring Stuart Duncan on fiddle. Also with Richard smith guitar, Charlie Chadwick Bass, Tom Giampietro drums.

So, here’s how Mark Zuckerberg made one of the most important contributions to the promotion and preservation of bluegrass music ever without even knowing it. Nine years after Facebook launched, thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of “peeps” log onto their account everyday and get directed to video’s like the Hot Club’s Tiger Rag, receive an invitation to a picking party, learn about a new bluegrass festival, read how some guy in Baltimore defines the genre, are turned on to a new Monroe Crossing CD, find out a band in their area is looking for an upright bass player, are reminded that it’s John Duffy’s birthday, get linked to a fabulous deal on a pair of Neumann U87 mics on e-bay, find out they’ve been singing the wrong words to How Mountain Girls Can Love…and, well, you get the picture.

How to avoid buying your next capo--“The Greencards…G7th Capos are giving away SIX limited edition SWEETHEART OF THE SUN Capos, specially engraved, complete with Certificate of Authenticity and a copy of 'Sweetheart of the Sun' CD, signed by The Greencards. To enter simply sign up to the G7th Newsletter by clicking the link below! Good luck everyone!!! G7th The Capo Company See the ad in this month's Acoustic Magazine with Patty Griffin on the front cover!” Probably should have read, “How MAYBE to avoid buying your next capo. Click here.

MOLD MAN’S LIST OF THE WEEK--0 Highly Paid CEOs at Low-Rated Charities

1 Young America's Foundation--$525,961
2 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists--$455,587
3 Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights--$374,500
4 New Orleans Museum of Art--$364,016
5 Coalition to Salute America's Heroes--$362,500
6 YWCA USA $357,280--
7 American Studies Center--$305,000
8 Detroit Symphony Orchestra--$303,813
9 George Bush Presidential Library Foundation--294,308
10 National Foundation for Cancer Research--$289,760

One of those magical moments--Nancy Cardwell Erdos, IBMA head person, shared a photo taken by Richard Gelardin's of Bill Monroe in the mid-seventies. A great photo, but an even better caption. "You all just keep playing my music." --Monroe (overheard while he was moving from jam session to jam session one night in the mid '70s in Morrisville, MO) Click here.

Attention Chicoites--Rita Hosking and Cousin Jack are headed up there on October 11 to do a concert at Beatnik's Coffeehouse and Breakfast Joint. Announcement says the start time is 7…would that be 7 p.m. because common sense would dictate or would it be 7 a.m. because Beatnik’s is a breakfast joint?

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, as president of the California Bluegrass Association one of my most important duties is that of ombudsman for our nearly three thousand members. It was with that hat on that I read the following with just a touch of alarm…’Northern California County Votes To Secede From California--The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday in favor of seceding from California to form a new state called “Jefferson.” Siskiyou also plans to invite nearby counties in California and southern Oregon to join with them in casting off the bonds that have tied them to their fellow Californians and Oregonians for generations. Residents attending the supervisors meeting were virtually unanimous in supporting the predominantly Republican county’s secession. According to the Redding Record Searchlight, a local paper, one member of the board of supervisors raised a laundry list of complaints related to “regulation, restriction of rights, lack of representation, regionalism and restoration of limited government.” A staffer from Rep. Doug LaMalfa’s (R-CA) office attended the meeting and claimed that “she and other LaMalfa staff members supported the effort to secede, but she did not know LaMalfa’s thoughts on it.” Siskiyou’s effort to form a new, presumably Republican state is not an isolated incident. Six Colorado counties plan to vote on a plan to secede from that state and form the new state of “North Colorado,” largely as part of an effort to avoid environmental regulation and gun safety laws. Should either of these secessionist efforts succeed, the new states would each receive two senators, despite the fact that these senators would represent virtually no one. Siskiyou County has about 45,000 residents, while nearly 38 million people call the remainder of California their home. Yet, if Siskiyou formed its own state, those 45,000 people would receive exactly the same amount of representation in the Senate as the nearly 850 times as many people who live in the rest of California. Such an outcome is unlikely, however, as the Constitution provides that “no new States shall be formed or erected within the Jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the Junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the Consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned as well as of the Congress.’ Now, I know, of course, that you’re no attorney, Moldy, but I’ve come to respect your unique…some would say BIZARRE…perspective, so let me ask you. Should the Siskiyouites succeed in establishing the fifty-first state in the Union, should the three CBA members living in the newly formed “Jefferson” retain their Association membership? I’ll take my answer on the air…er, ah, web. Fondly yours, Darby Brandli, President, California Bluegrass Association.” Dear Darby, how do you know I’m not an attorney?

Alright, that's it, another week's worth of utter blather, a total of just under 5,000 words, .881% of them misspelled. I make no apologies; I am a journalist, not a speller. Okay, I'm not a journalist, but I'm not a speller either. Have a terrific weekend and please get out and either play or listen to some bluegrass and/or old time music.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

MILESTONE--2003, the IBMA staff and office relocates to Nashville. Also that year, the Association’s board makes the momentous decision to move the World of Bluegrass from Louisville to the country music capitol. Some bluegrass fans around the country are thrilled…others, not so much. (The first WOB in Nashville happens in 2005; the event will remain there until 2012…next stop, Raleigh, North Carolina.)

Yes, Martha, there’s hope after all for America’s institutions of higher education-- From…”The announcement of a new President at a major university is always big news, at least within the larger academic community, and among students, faculty and alumni. So when is such of interest to the readers of Bluegrass Today? When the new President of Yale is the bass player in a New Haven band, The Professors of Bluegrass. Peter Salovey has recently assumed his new position with the Ivy League icon, and the band has released their first CD, Pick Or Perish. You could say he’s having a big summer.” To read the entire story, just use the link at the top left of this page.

What I want to do this morning is tip readers off to the local Salovey connection. About five years ago the CBA web team got a call from Association founder Carl Pagter who asked if they’d be interested in having the Provost of Yale University write up his “hooked on bluegrass” story; turns out Carl and Peter were old Stanford buddies…and picking buddies. Dah was, of course, the web team’s answer, and a few weeks later the following was added to our huge collection of hooked tales.

Peter Salovey

Although I was a child in Northern New Jersey, a teenager in Buffalo, New York, and have now lived in New Haven, Connecticut for 30 years, California is where I was hooked on bluegrass.

As a kid in the 1960s, I listened to a lot of folk music because my parents - from Brooklyn and the Bronx - were really into the New York City wing of the folk revival and exposed us from a young age to the music of Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Hoyt Axton, and many others. But I don't remember listening to bluegrass either in New Jersey or in Buffalo. But in 1976 I arrived at Stanford University for College, and that's where it happened!

I think my freshman year at Stanford may have been exactly the moment when mainstream radio shifted from playing classic rock and roll to disco. Although my tastes in music are wide-ranging, does anyone really want to listen to disco on the radio? So, I was looking for some alternative and discovered radio station KFAT from Gilroy, California one afternoon. I just fell in love with the traditional, older country music they played along with bluegrass . . . and I believe it was Cousin Al's Bluegrass Show (on the weekends? I can't quite remember) that represented the first time I really started listening.

And I was hooked. Suddenly bluegrass was everywhere. Well, not really, but there was a great brother duet with guitar and mandolin playing in the stairwell of my dormitory. And an occasional bluegrass band passed through the Stanford Coffee House on a Friday evening. But what really solidified bluegrass for me was discovering Palo Alto's Gryphon Stringed Instruments (thankfully still around, unlike KFAT) and the pickers that hung around there. Suddenly I found myself renting a banjo and taking some lessons, buying a Stanley Brothers album, and looking for live performances, which I eventually found regularly at Paul's Saloon up in the City. I think the first band I may have ever seen live - at Paul's - was the Good Ole' Persons.

In 1981 I headed to Yale for graduate school in psychology, and I've lived in New Haven ever since. Started going to festivals in the summer such as Berkshire Mountain/Winterhawk/Grey-Fox. And began playing a little with other people, mostly Yale students and faculty, which led to the formation of our band, the Professors of Bluegrass in 1990. Although I gave up the banjo for the bass, we play out a few gigs a year, with an occasional appearance on the big stage, and you can find us on Youtube. I just look for the best pickers I can find on campus and around town and stand behind them playing root-and-fifth!

Everything comes full circle, I guess, because now I am Carl Pagter's colleague on the board of the International Bluegrass Music Museum (a wonderful organization, by the way - please join!) in Owensboro, Kentucky. And I just discovered that Lisa Anne Burns and I were classmates and fellow psychology majors at Stanford.

I look for bluegrass whenever I get back to California!

Yo-ing in Chico--Ron Spears is only slightly better known for his mandolin playing, singing and songwriting than he is for his ventriloquism, and as I’m sure our Moldy readers know, the connection between that art form and yo-yoing is, well, historic. Hence, it wasn’t at all surprising that Ron posted a link to news of this year’s national yo-yo competition to be held this weekend in Chico. Click here.

And in closing--Starting a bluegrass festival from scratch can be a little daunting, especially if you’re operating within the constraints of the rules and regulations that characterize local government. So it was especially gratifying to learn that the City of Lodi’s First Annual Bluegrass at the Lake festival held the weekend before last was a huge success. But don’t take Mold Man’s word for it. Click over to Starry Night Productions’ web site and see for yourself. A mountain of images of the event has been posted there and judging from the smiles on attendee faces, it seems a pretty sure bet that Lodi will be back at it next year. Click here.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013

MILESTONE--High Sierra Music of Berkeley announces new Music festival…July 4–7, 1991, Leland Meadows. Acts for this inaugural year nclude: Jesse Colin Young; Dan Hicks & the Acoustic Warriors; Alex de Grassi; Inkuyo; Michael Manring; Sidesaddle; Little Women; disappear fear; Five Year Plan; Michael McNevin; Chris Murphy; Horse Opry; Sourdough Slim; The Strangers; Clan Dyken; Jean Caffeine & the All Night Truck Stop; Doo Doo Wah; Larry Cooperman; and The Movie Stars.

High Sierra, still going strong, has had on its stage the biggest names in bluegrass.

And speaking of big shows--Ted Lehmann, second Tuesday Welcome columnist here at, does a lot for a lot of bluegrass organizations around the country. A retired university professor, author and widely read blogger, Ted and his wife spend the better part of each year traveling the bluegrass festival circuit. Yesterday he posted about as comprehensive a preview of the IBMA shindig coming up in a few weeks as you could imagine. Wanna know PRECISELY what’s planned for year one at Raleigh? Click here.

In defense of the brussels sprout--I suppose in some extraordinarily rare cases it would be possible for a brussels sprouts hater to continue hating these teeny weeny little miniature cabbages (they’re not really, but they look like it) after eating Maudie’s famous “shaved Brussels sprouts with toasted pine nuts, but I really doubt it. My dear wife served dish last night at dinner and I resolved to share it with my bluegrass friends.

1 3/4 pounds brussels sprouts, outer leaves removed

2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
12 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
6 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted, divided
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Working in small batches, place brussels sprouts in feed tube of processor fitted with thin slicing disk; slice. Melt butter with olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add shallots; sauté until almost translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; stir 1 minute. Add brussels sprouts; increase heat to medium-high and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in 3 tablespoons pine nuts and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to bowl. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon pine nuts and serve.

I can’t put my finger on it, but it’s something about the shaved nature of the sprouts that puts them in a whole different league.

From the Bluegrass Situation--What do Ed Helms, Mumford and Sons bassist Ben Lovett and legendary BBC personality "Whispering" Bob Harris have in common? They're all presenting premiere showcases during Americana Music Festival, Sept. 18-22 in Nashville, TN. The Bluegrass Situation -- the online hub for everything Americana, Bluegrass, Roots, and Folk -- and Ed Helms bring together a cavalcade of their closest friends, favorite artists and surprise guests for a post Honors & Awards, late night bash at midnight, Wednesday, Sept. 18 at ONE, One Cannery Row.

"Americana is right in the pocket of who we are as a community. We couldn't think of a better place to be than Nashville during Americana week," shares The Bluegrass Situation founder, Ed Helms. Communion Presents is an artist-led organization co-founded by Ben Lovett (Mumford & Sons) that combines elements of live promotion, publishing, recording and production to create a hub for songwriters and musicians to develop and flourish in an increasingly competitive industry environment.” Interesting how the IBMA moves out of town and Ed and his gang move right in to fill the space. Are we living in the Golden Age of acoustic music? It would be nice to think so.

Mamihlapinatapai--Go ahead, say it…aloud. Sound it out. Again, slowly…mam-ihl-ap-in-ata-tapia. Got it? Okay, good. Now go ahead and define the word. Take a wild guess. Early evolutionary link between mammals and the ameba? Nope, not even close. Mineral deposit found underneath Antarctica? No, you’re getting colder. Feeling of dread someone feels when asked to read a friend’s Charlie’s Angels re-union screen play. No, but at least you’ve moved into the feelings arena. Actually, this word, mamihlapinatapai, comes from the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego. Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it: ”…listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the ‘most succinct word’, and is considered one of the hardest words to translate. It refers to "a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other will offer something that they both desire but are unwilling to suggest or offer themselves." Okay, so for today’s Mold News Seven-Weeks-to-a-Better-You home assignment I want you to use this new word, mamihlapinatapai, in a sentence. For a little help with the pronunciation, Click here.I "target=0>Click here.

Chris Sharp--Today I thought it would be nice to go out with a little good news. Chris Sharp. Do you know who he is? Well, you may not recognize the name, but I can guarantee you that you’ve heard him bang on a guitar. Chris has had a long career as a musician, having played with the likes of Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, Earl Scruggs, John Hartford, and Gillian Welch. In 2001 he won a Grammy for Record of the Year (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou) and produced the Grammy nominated “Memories Of John” recording in 2010. The following year he came out West with the John Hartford String Band and played Grass Valley. Okay, so, if you know the guy you know he’s one of the finest guitarist in the business; but you may not know that he’s about to take a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science. And it’s almost a certainty that you’re unaware of the fact that Chris is now writing code for our CBA web site from his office back in Nashville. Wonderful to have you on our team, Chris.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

MILESTONE--In junior high school he discovers rockabilly and forms the Cupids. In high school he discovers the blues (Eric Von Schmidt) and folk (Joan Baez) and buys an acoustic guitar. In college he discovers bluegrass, (the Country Gentlemen and the Stanley Brothers) and learns the boom-chuck. And at age twenty-three he discovers, with a little help from friend Bill Keith, what it’s like to sing and play with the man who invented bluegrass music (Bill Monroe.) And finally, in June 2014, Peter Rowan will discover what it’s like to perform for one very large, very appreciative audience in Grass Valley, California. Yes, that’s right. Peter and his band, Paul Knight, bass and vocals, Keith Little, banjo and vocals, Michael Witcher, dobro and vocals) have been booked to play the California Bluegrass Association’s Fathers Day Festival. Click here.

With his money he could afford to do it for nothing--“Paul McCartney Says He'll Never Retire: 'I'd Do This For Nothing' Paul McCartney's career is still kicking through the singer's 70s, and that won't change anytime soon. The former Beatle told WXRT Chicago that he has no intention of bowing out of the music business. "For me, the main thing is I love making music so much," McCartney, 71, told the radio station. "If I retired, I'd still do exactly what I do. So I may as well not retire. Retire from what? I'd do this for nothing." Wonder if we could get him to do a free set or two at Grass Valley.

Ops, there goes another one--If you pay attention to this sort of thing you’ve probably noticed that we humans, as a species, are running out of characteristics and behaviors that clearly separate us from the other animals with whom we share the planet. Used to be that all you really needed to do to prove you were a member in good standing of the homo sapien club was to use a tool of some sort. Then scientists started discovering animals all over the planet that were quite comfortable with tools, from clubs for beating on heada to rocks for opening clam shells. Then it was the whole language thing, but that didn’t last either. Turns out Alex the African Gray Parrot and Coco the Gorilla were chatting away more cogently than some toddlers. So what’s the latest distinction between man and beast to fall by the way side? Try music. What’s so important about music in the grand scheme of things that humans AND dozens of other species find they can’t live without it? The science writer for the Economist thinks he knows. Click here.

Staying in touch--Why, I was asked over the long holiday weekend at a back yard bbq staged each Labor Day by neighbors in our cul de sac, did I agree to blow several hours each week delivering the Mold News to our online bluegrass clan? (Yes, this neighbor knows the true identity of the Mold Man, but he’s not talking.) Well, really, the answer is pretty simple I explained. For whatever reason, quite a while back I bought hook, line and sinker into this California Bluegrass Association mission thing…to preserve and promote bluegrass, old-time and gospel music. And it wasn’t long after that that some of us started visualizing how this new fangled Internet thing could help with that job. The idea, of course, is to get people talking and sharing and eventually playing music together, which is what the Message Board is all about. But in order to do that, you’ve got to get members of our little community to come to the web site in the first place, which means keeping content fresh and plentiful. My neighbor and I took a break from flipping the burgers and went inside so I could show him what I was talking about. I logged onto his computer, clicked over to and, there on the splash page, I pointed out to my pal a total of 14 different items on that single screen that had changed in the past twenty-four hours. He was impressed. Then I clicked to the Message Board and read aloud a post made on Saturday…

Where: Peninsula Campground Folsom Lake
End of Rattlesnake Bar Road
Pilot Hill Ca 95664

What: Strictly Old Time Music Camp out. A chance to get together and pick tunes before the weather changes at Peninsula Campground at Folsom lake. There are flush toilets, running water and coin showers but no other amenities so come prepared. The campground is closed to the public and the gate will be locked with a combo lock. The combo will be” 1373” Please be sure to lock up behind you to keep our event secure. We will be setting up in sites 81,82, 78, 79 and expanding from there if necessary. Plan on a potluck Saturday night $10 per person for camping the entire weekend to defray the cost of the use permit. The event is at a State Park all Park Rules and Regulations apply. Contact: If you have any questions contact Jenny Turner at”

That one invitation, made by an old-time picker to thousands of people, most of whom she doesn’t even know, with a simple click of the “Post” button, I told my friend, is all the reason I need to write this silly column five days a week.

CBA MILESTONE--February, 1990…Member Appeals for Tie Donations to Pete Wernick for Crash Loss. To the Editor and all of the members of the CBA: By now most of you folks know that Mr. Pete Wernick and his wife and son survived the plane crash this year in Sioux City, Iowa. As a result, the world class collection of cheap, machine- made imported ties that had taken years for Waldo Otto to amass now lie in an Iowa cornfield as a pile of ashes. He had loaned “the collection” to Pete on good faith but now it is gone, but not for long. Bluegrass fans are one big family the world over and now’s our chance to prove it. We can do our part by mailing Waldo a cheap, imported, machine-made tie in care of Mr. Pete Wernick, 2930 Oxford Road, Longmont, Colorado 80501. After all what would a “Hot Rize” and a “Trailblazers” show be like without “the collection”? Bluegrass Unlimited was kind enough to print a similar letter in their December 1989 issue and for those of you who subscribe to it you can read my letter and Waldo’s response to the letter and tie that I sent him. Thank you all so much. Your friend, J.D. Rhynes (Editor’s note: please remember to let Pete know that you saw J.D. Rhynes’ appeal in the Bluegrass Breakdown. And, I certainly hope that Pete appreciates what a “good friend” he has in J.D.)

The effervescent Mr. Poling--Some people, only a handful, really, have the natural yet uncanny ability to imbue the simplest communication, written or spoken, with enough energy to light up the street lights in a small city. Such is the case with Chuck Poling. Read this and tell me if you don’t feel like jogging around the block…”Yes, there’s bluegrass music everywhere. It’s a mass infestation that neither powders, sprays, or traps can stop. No matter where you go, what you’re doing, you just can’t seem to get away from it. So just give in and resign yourself to the fact that this September is going to be one of the bluegrassiest Septembers ever. Starting with

The Bluegrass Country Jam; Wednesday, September 4; Hosted by Jeanie and Chuck; At the Plough and Stars;

After what we’re sure was a fabulous Labor Day weekend, you must be exhausted. So get your rest on Tuesday and save your strength for jamming on Wednesday. The Bluegrass Country Jam is group activity. We need guitarists, mandolinist, fiddlers, and banjo players, along with happy drinkers, big tippers, good sports, and bon vivants. Surely, you fit at least one of these descriptions.

We’ll be celebrating the 12th anniversary of the Bluegrass Country Jam this October. Wow! Can you believe. Much has changed in those twelve years. We know Sean, the owner, because our kids went to elementary school together. Now, his son tends bar there and our daughter checks IDs at the door. Time flies when picking bluegrass.

The jam is just the start of big, bustling month of bluegrass music. Chuck will be emceeing two outstanding events

The Bluegrass Freak Show; Saturday, September 7; At The Chapel; 777 Valencia Street,SF; with SuperMule, the Araan Harris Farm Band and the T-Sisters

Bill Monroe Birthday Tribute; at the Freight and Salvage; Friday, September 13;


House Band:
Laurie Lewis
Tom Rozum
Chad Manning
Patrick Sauber
Sharon Gilchrist

Ed Neff
Butch Waller
Mary Gibbons
Yoseff Tucker
Keith Little

Bright spot on an otherwise bleak landscape--Watched much TV lately? Don’t, unless it’s one of those rare productions that manages to come to full term WITHOUT the financial backing of Fox, Warner Bros., etc., etc. James Reams, band leader and something of a producer himself, shares some awful dog-gone good news…”There is so much to admire and respect when it comes to the talents of Ken Burns. Just a couple of weeks ago the nation was enjoying his project on the Dust Bowl. Now comes word that a major project is underway where classic county music will be featured in his new documentary. I need to underscore this will feature the all-important roots of country music, and not deal with the new stars that blur the lines, and miss the feel of classic country. Filmmaker Ken Burns is hard at work on a documentary on country music according to his partner, Dayton R. Duncan, reports the Tennessean. According to Duncan, Little Jimmy Dickens and legendary musician/producer Harold Bradley have both been interviewed for the project. “We’ve done films about uniquely American ideas and things that help tell us who we are as Americans — baseball and national parks and jazz, and essential American icons like Mark Twain and Lewis & Clark,” he said. “Country music really combines both of those things. It’s uniquely American. It’s an American art form that helps you understand what America is.” According to Duncan, the country music documentary will likely take about five years to make. Don’t expect stars like Garth Brooks or Taylor Swift to be featured, though. “You’ve got to have an arm’s length of time for it to be history, and that’s usually about a generation,” he said. “It’s history we’re telling and not what’s happening today.”

And speaking of James--You may recall a mention here at that in the short span of one week Cornish and his web team lost two of their finest Welcome writers…Chuck Poling and Bill Evans. Well, I’ve been told I can go ahead and announce their replacements and I’m pleased as punch to do it. James Reams will take over Bill’s spot, which is excellent news since it means we’ll continue to enjoy the perspective of a full-time, touring bluegrass artist. And also coming on board is Yvonne Tatar who’s a bluegrass mover and shaker down in San Diego. You may recall that Yvonne, along with husband Mike, were recipients of this year’s Lifetime Membership Award. This is a lady who’s up to her elbows in bluegrass; she’s one of the originators of the very successful Summergrass Festival down south, she’s a long-time leader of the San Diego Bluegrass Society and she has for several years done an outstanding job representing the West Coast bluegrass community back at the IBMA. With the steady growth of the Great 48 Jam down in Bakersfield, the CBA has over the past six years made some solid headway in bridging the gap between our bluegrass organization and the other seven scattered around the state. Yvonne Tatar’s monthly column is certain to strengthen that initiative.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mold Man, I’m writing to let you know that since starting to read your column each day I have: lost my wife, been fired from my job, had my home foreclosed, stopped shaving, had my drivers license revoked and been ostracized by virtually every man, woman and child who have ever mattered to me. I don’t know how I can ever repay you for the life-changing gift you’ve given me. You see, before I began reading your column everything in my life, and I mean EVERYTHING, had to have a specific, concrete and justifiable purpose. I was a man driven by outcomes, a man unable, as they say, to stop and smell the roses. And then the Mold News happened and within just weeks of its launch last October I discovered the seductive temptress that is useless information. I resisted at first, but soon it became clear that, in truth, stopping to smell the roses is actually the ONLY good reason for rolling out of bed in the morning. And M, I owe it all to you. Like I said, I’ll never be able to repay you, but I would like to at least give you a little gift. It’s called and I guarantee you that anyone, even someone as brilliant as you, can get lost there. Just a tiny sliver of the topics for which detailed time lines have been compiled include:

History of Advertising
Marilyn Monroe
World History Timeline
Renaissance, and the Middle Ages.
Timeline of UN Peacekeeping Missions
Donald Trump
Massively Multiplayer Online Games
Organized Labor History
Famous Mathematicians
Biography of Paul Krugman
The History of Chemistry
History of Slavery in the U.S.
History of MI5
Friedrich Nietzsche
Biography of Princess Diana
Alyssa Milano
Cronología de Castrocalbón
Investment Bank: Lehman Brothers
Fashion Photography
Berlin Wall
History of Harvard
History Relating to the War in Iraq
Kiss Me Kate: Musical Theatre Up in 2+ Weeks
History of North Korea
The History of Metallica
Santa Claus
Sachin Tendulkar - Test Centuries Timeline
Michael Jackson, the King of Pop
Biography of Orson Welles
History of AIDS Epidemic
History of Chocolate
America and the Mid-East
History of Wal-Mart
Scottish Monarchs

So, once again Mold Man, thank you from the bottom of my heart. This wonderful journey into a universe of utterly useless facts has only just begun. Yours with ceaseless and unending gratitude, Sid from Richmond." Well, Sid, if you're happy then I guess I'm happy for you. I would remind you, however, that the secret to a truly fulfilling life is moderation in all things. Except bluegrass, of course.
Friday, August 30, 2013

MILESTONE--(Editor’s Note: Some things never change.) WHAT IS BLUEGRASS…By James I. Nammuck, Jr., Reprinted from Blueprint, the Washington, D.C. Bluegrass Newspaper, February, 1982. One glaring error in Webster’s Third New International Dictionary is that the only definition it provides for bluegrass is that it is a variety of plant life. The Random House Dictionary of the English Language defines bluegrass as “country music that is polymorphic in character and is played on unamplified stringed instruments, with emphasis especially on the solo banjo.” The same dictionary defines polymorphous as “having, assuming or passing through many or various forms, stages, or the like.” Maybe a better word would be contrapuntal, which means, “composed of two or more relatively independent melodies sounded together.” Some readers may wonder what difference it makes what the dictionaries say.
After all, what’s in a name? Answer: The total identity of the thing being named. Clear definitions make possible the survival of the thing being defined by creating inviolate territory.

Country music today is losing its identity precisely because there never has been a viable definition of what it is. It has no boundaries. It has no inviolate territory. Consequently its character is quickly eroding. As country artists try to compete with rock and pop, their music becomes progressively more bland and less vigorous.

The same trend is taking place in bluegrass. Defining bluegrass as music of the voice (using the tight harmony technique when there are two or more voices), banjo, fiddle, bass fiddle, mandolin, Dobro and guitar (acoustic) is too “restrictive,” say some musicians. Let’s have a little drums, a little amplification, a little steel, a little sax and so on, they say. Why Not? There is no reason why bands and groups should not use whatever instruments they like. The point is that if bluegrass is to last, then we had better be as meticulous as possible in how we define bluegrass. Only then can it maintain its identity and survive.

If a guitarist, for example, knows nothing of how to create “color” with his sound and he has no intention of learning, then there is nothing wrong with his playing an electric guitar. If bluegrass is to survive, however, there is something deadly wrong with the electric guitarist calling his music bluegrass.

Perhaps bluegrass variations which use the autoharp, jaw harp and other traditional instruments could simply define their music as bluegrass variations. There could be straight bluegrass, bluegrass variation no. 1, bluegrass variation no. 2 and so on. If one of these variations caught on it could devise its own name.

Creating new kinds of music is great, but once we have a music form we love, such as bluegrass, let’s give it an inviolate territory by clearly defining it. That way we can keep it forever. Maybe we can even come up with a definition that Mr. Webster could use.

Good news from Camp Mather--"It has been a traumatic ten days, but the camp is safe. No structures have burned. We have incurred minor damage to roads, irrigation, water pipelines, Birch Lake and most of all our forest -- but it is all fixable (perhaps the forest over much, much time). We are still fighting spot fires in and around the camp so we are not completely out of the woods, but the worst has moved on. A more detailed update to follow, but we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many, many people who not only fought the fire so successfully, but who advocated, behind the scenes, for resources to help protect our beloved camp. We owe an extra special debt of gratitude to Paul Spring, Mike Cunnane, and John Ascariz who have provided invaluable support at the camp — ranging from pumping water, providing food, providing historical and geographical information and helping keep the camp safe in whatever way they were asked." We're sorry, but we lost track of the guy's name who wrote this report on Facebook.

THE MOLD NEWS WORLD RUN DOWN--Riyadh: Saudi Arabia bans domestic abuse; till now it’s been okay (for men)…Pyongyang: North Korea's Kim reportedly has ex-girlfriend, 11 others, executed by firing squad; breaking up is DAMNED HARD to do…Campbell, CA, US of A: “Sadly, wifey says I cannot get a wing suit,” reports Bryan McClenahan; sometimes women can be so unreasonable… Beijing: Latest fad among China’s middle class is having random English words tattooed on their bodies; examples, value, coupons, roll-a-dex, giggle, marmoset, window putty…Moscow: Russian police seize painting of Putin in women's underwear; water color of Russian leader riding ostrich still in gallery…Tokyo: Alcatraz-E.R.-themed restaurant opens; drinks come in syringes and beakers, and the menu features items like penis sausage and dead chicken feet; there's even a Russian roulette appetizer…Dawson, Canada: Guy drinks human toe cocktail, swallows the toe; sues restaurant for not properly straining drink

Why? Because he CAN--“Man Imagines Moving His Finger, Causes Another Man’s Finger to Move…It’s tempting to call this telepathy, or mind control, or a Vulcan mind-meld. It isn’t any of those things. But it is still a head-spinning technological stunt, especially if you haven’t been closely following all of the incremental advances that have made it possible. On Aug. 12, a University of Washington computer science professor sat at a desk looking at a computer game and imagined moving his right hand to hit the “fire” button on a virtual cannon. In another office across campus, a second researcher sat with his hand poised above a keyboard, not looking at his own computer screen. At the moment that the first researcher imagined moving his hand, the second researcher’s finger moved involuntarily, hitting the space bar. One man’s mind moved another man’s body. Click here.

Nice little bit of reporting on pals up in Grass Valley--Reported up in Sacto…”Kathy Barwick and Pete Siegfried are currently working on their first duet record. Barwick and Siegfried, the hottest new acoustic duo in northern California, combine years of experience into a compelling, highly entertaining duet sound that ranges from the Monroe Brothers and other “brother duets” of the 1930s to such iconic modern partnerships as Buddy and Julie Miller and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Kathy and Pete, aka the Mountain Laurel Duet, blend bluegrass, old-time country, folk and even a bit of rock into an engaging Americana fusion. Kathy Barwick, a native of Sacramento and now a Grass Valley resident, has been widely hailed over the past 30 years as one of California’s most versatile acoustic musicians, known for her work in bluegrass, Americana and traditional Irish music. An award-winning multi-instrumentalist who’s adept on guitar, banjo, dobro, bass and mandolin, Barwick was a founding member of the All Girl Boys, a popular all-female bluegrass quintet, and has also worked with such bands as Nine-8ths Irish and the Mike Justis Band, as well as with Pete in the bluegrass band Mountain Laurel. Her first solo album, In My Life, was released in 2011 by FGM Music. Pete Siegfried, a Pennsylvania native who has lived in Grass Valley since the 1970s, founded the bluegrass band Mountain Laurel in 1989 and sang lead vocals and played mandolin in the popular quintet until it disbanded in 2011. Mountain Laurel performed widely throughout northern California and Nevada, playing most of the leading festivals in the region, earning Pete a reputation as a peerless singer with a soaring and expressive tenor voice. Mountain Laurel recorded three albums: Another Sunny Day in California, Trouble in the Mine and It’s About Time.

Scotty, this is Kirk in the bridge. WARP SPEED--It appears that not everything we read on the Intetnet is necessarily true…even when posted by NASA engineers. Case in point…”Warp Speed? Not So Fast. A NASA engineer claims he has a way to move faster than the speed of light. Shh! It’s a secret. Can we travel to the stars? The answer to that question is “yes,” provided we don't care how long the journey will take. According to Einstein's special theory of relativity, nothing with mass can accelerate to light speed, much less past it. Since the closest star is about 4 light-years away, it would take a great deal longer than four years for any spaceship based on known technology to reach it. At its present speed, Voyager 1 would require several thousand years to get to another star system—and it's one of the fastest spaceships we have. That's where research by NASA engineer Harold “Sonny” White comes in. White claims he has found a way to build a faster-than-light warp drive, based on a simple mathematical relation in Einstein's general theory of relativity. While the idea is inspired by Star Trek, the basic concept behind the design is grounded in physics. Click here.

More good press for one of our own--From…”Tom Bekeny, best known for his work in the Kathy Kallick, Laurie Lewis and other prominent West coast bluegrass bands has a new recording out with some impressive jazz chops on display in Jazzolin. The project is straight ahead jazz with acoustic and electric mandolin and support from Dan Feiszli on acoustic bass and John Arkin on drums. The trio covers Gershwin, Sonny Rollins, Art Pepper, Charlie Parker and more. Says Ted Eschliman,…’he captures the nuance of phrasing and articulation like a veteran saxophonist and the delicate but supportive comping of a battle hardened session jazz guitarist. The arrangements are harmonically complex but never a challenge to the ear.’ Click here.

Okay, another five days of non-essential information under your collective belt. Maudie tells me we’re going to the beach this weekend…but she hasn’t yet said which ocean.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

CBA MILESTONE-- January 1989, the Board of Directors has decided that the gates will open at 12:00 noon on Thursday, June 15th at the Fathers Day Festival. If you want to camp on Monday through Thursday noon you will should sign up for a work crew. The fairgrounds is open to the public during that time, however, CBA will take over on Thursday morning, and you could be asked to leave and come back in…not likely, but why not volunteer some time to help set up for the festival and get to know your fellow CBA members at the same time. (Nowadays, of course, the number of attendees that have their camps set up on the Saturday or Sunday before the festival begins far exceeds the total number of ALL attendees at the Nevada County event in 1989.

News on the banjo front--Steve Huber Resurrects the “Wade Mainer Granada”…The bluegrass banjo world was recently treated to some very positive news regarding Wade Mainer’s famous 1930s Gibson Granada five-string banjo. During the fall of 2012, Steve Huber restored the “Wade Mainer Granada” to the original 1930 factory specifications. This fine prewar original five-string flathead Granada banjo spent too many years of its life with replaced modern “upgraded” metal parts. Steve’s diligence to bring this treasured banjo back to its prewar specs creates a fascinating story for all lovers of the banjo and pre-bluegrass history. The following is the timeline and the interesting saga describing this important banjo’s rebirth. The mention of Wade Mainer’s name to any old-time/bluegrass music lover evokes reverence and love for this early music pioneer. As a member of Mainer’s Mountaineers, his career and his banjo playing was well-known to country music fans worldwide. Much has been written elsewhere about Wade Mainer the musician, but there is an equally important tale to relate about the Mainer Banjo and Steve Huber’s contribution for the excellent restoration of this iconic instrument. Click here.

It was only a matter of time--Message Board Post from Joe Ash…”Hello CBA! The Sisters Grim is a newly formed bluegrass band based out of Bakersfield, CA. Sisters Angelica (guitar/vocals) and Christine Grim (fiddle/vocals) have been playing and singing bluegrass and country music since they could talk. They are now joining forces with their musician spouses, TJ Doerfel (banjo/vocals) and Joe Ash (mando/vocals), to start the band they've always dreamed of. Larisa Pilatti (bass) completes the band. If your interested in listening, following, or booking the band come check us on Face Book under The Sisters Grim Band. Thank You” No, Joe, Thank YOU…and Angelica and Christine and TJ and Larisa.

Well, I don’t hear any dogs or cats complaining--Not being a stickler for smooth, slick narrative transitions, we’ll now move from a major new-family-act story to a one on a glut not many of us expected…” There's Not Enough Work For Veterinarians. There are way more veterinarians than there is work for them to do, according to a recent survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association. The AVMA estimates the supply exceeds the demand by the equivalent of 11,250 full-time vets. "There is a palpable tension," says Christopher Byers of the American College of Veterinary. "Right now, as a profession, we have so many veterinarians who are not being utilized to their full capacity. And now it is our job to figure out why that is and to come up with ways to rectify that." He says vets don't have high unemployment, but the underemployment is significant. More than half say their practices are not at full capacity owing to a variety of factors, including that the sour economy has led many to forgo pet ownership as well as preventive care. "There are a lot of veterinarians having big red flags go up in their head, questioning why we have more opportunities for when the demand isn't there," Byers says.” Sorry, but I’m having trouble getting the image of a big red flag go up in somebody’s head…sounds painful. Click here.

Well, there’s emerging and then there’s, ah, you know, emerging--From…”Time to Shake Things Up at IBMA, David Morris: Jim Lauderdale and Sam Bush announce the IBMA nominees for 2013 - photo by Alana AnnoAt one point during Wednesday night’s announcement of nominees for this year’s IBMA awards, Jim Lauderdale caught himself reading the choices for female vocalist of the year for the second time, and Sam Bush kidded about having a déjà vu moment. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only such moment. We’ve seen pretty much the whole awards show before. Last year. And the year before that. And… There’s a sameness to the various lists year after year, with some minor exceptions. But as long as voting is open to professional members of IBMA, there isn’t much that can be done about that. Each round of voting will always have the feel of a personality contest. But there are some changes that IBMA can and should make. For starters, new, specific guidelines for who is and isn’t an emerging artist are needed. As it is, the category is a joke. By my reckoning, there is one true emerging artist on this year’s list of five nominees – Flatt Lonesome. I think Della Mae, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, the Spinney Brothers and the Darrell Webb Band are terrific bands, wonderful ambassadors for bluegrass and worthy of all kinds of accolades. But they’ve already emerged. Click here.

Okay, there. I did it. First time since starting the Mold News last October that I wrote it start to finish WITHOUT COFFEE. No, I’m not making excuses, I’m simply sharing with good friends an experience I hope I never, ever, ever have to endure again. Fasting blood draw this morning…no food and NO COFFEE. Now watch me get a speeding tickets driving to the clinic. More lucidity and bounce tomorrow, I promise.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Good morning, you who have once again decided that your time is not so precise that you can’t afford to spend a few moments of it reading a rambling narrative devoid of any socially redeeming content. I want to start off with a small bit of an email I received a few weeks ago from a reader. I hadn’t planned on running it here in the Mold News, but glancing at today’s CBA Milestone and realizing that it runs probably twice as long as anything we’ve placed in the milestone slot, I thought better of it. The note reads in part…”Frankly, M, I have mixed feelings about reading your column everyday. On the one hand, being a person who lives alone and hates eating alone, I find I’ve got to be either watching or reading something while I eat breakfast. For the past few months that something has been the Mold News. It’s generally at least a little entertaining, once in a while I might pick up a bit of information that’s useful and, unlike the regular news, your column almost never makes my stomach churn. But on the other hand, some of your stuff…well…now don’t take offense…some of your stuff, it, ah, sort of drags. Especially the longer pieces. Now, I’m assuming you don’t get paid by the word, (actually, I assume, and sincerely hope, you’re not paid anything), so I really don’t understand why you find it necessary to laden us down with such copious copy. You know what they say about the soul of wit …” So initially I was going to let this one pass but, given the length of today’s Milestone, I figured it was finally time to address the copious copy conundrum. See, here’s the thing…I have absolutely no expectation whatever that people will read everything in a day’s column. I want to urge you to skip over what’s of no interest to you. If that means going right by an entire item, so be it. In all honesty, there’s very, very, very little danger that you’ll miss anything of any importance.

CBA MILESTONE--Bluegrass Breakdown, July, 1990 Response to May Article by David Putnam

Dear Suzanne, (Denison, BB Editor)

In response to Dave Putnam’s article “Is Bluegrass Dying in the Bay Area?” I don’t know but I am concerned about Bluegrass music on a wider front. Dave mentioned that he was of the “war baby” generation and so am I and many others who are interested in Bluegrass. This is no accident. During the 50’s and 60’s top forty stations played some bluegrass (even if only FMB and Rocky Top) so that a significant portion of the listening audience was exposed to it. Later on, HEE-HAW provided thousands of viewers with at least some understanding of what Bluegrass looked and sounded like, but today, instruments like the banjo and dobro for example, are very much confined to background use on commercials and what budding young musician wants to play a background instrument?

During the 80’s the failure of banjo companies, custom luthiers, noted festivals and magazines devoted to acoustic music was proof that peoples’ interests were being shifted. This does not mean that electric rock music is better, it just has more shock value and immediate emotional appeal in the current form of the media. The educational system has not done bluegrass music any favors either, as no formal classes are offered on bluegrass instruments except maybe the standard guitar. The attitudes of music academias can also be very frustrating because many of them do not consider people who play by ear to be suitable for school gigs or mixing with bands or orchestras and just try to find orchestrated music for the 5-string banjo.

Bluegrass music seemed to undergo an identity crisis in the latter 80’s and “traditional” became the buzz word for a sort of defensive posture to preserve the music form. I remember the occasions when someone would play some scaler licks on the banjo or sing a song in a key lower than Ralph Stanley could sing it and be criticized or even ostracized from the jam group. Insisting that Bluegrass sounds be the same kills creativity and interest and tends to sanction a kind of “play a scale and go to jail attitude”. Both listener and participant attendance will fall off under such strict conservative per-conditions.

Speaking from my 14 years of experience the best thing I’ve seen for generating interest in Bluegrass is to stress participation in events like jammers festivals and give everyone an equal opportunity to play or listen or cook chili beans in an air of acceptance and fellowship. You don’t necessarily need big name bands or large money making events to have success. The Southwest Bluegrass Association started with home jam sessions which expanded to jammer’s festivals and over 1,000 members in about three years. Out of this came more local bands, instrument and record buyers and more happy people.

If I had my choice I would opt for events which set aside more time for participation, local groups, and “for fun” contests. Non-strop music even by the best bands can get tiring and I know not just a few people who have put their guitar in the closet because jamming opportunities became rarer and more uncertain.

Take care and best wishes,
B. Bowen
Anderson, CA

Not the kind of news that gets the Mold Man jumping up and down--From…”Saturday, August 17, 2013; Old Crow Medicine Show To Join GRAND OLE OPRY! Popular modern-day string band Old Crow Medicine Show was invited to join the Grand Ole Opry last night by Opry member and friend Marty Stuart during the group’s concert at the Ohio Theatre in Cleveland. The group will formally be inducted at the Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville on Tues., Sept. 17.” It’s not that I have anything against these guys, it’s just that, with all the crap that’s called country music, I’d hate for Crow to be mistaken for actual old-time, bluegrass or mountain music. Last I checked, it clearly wasn’t.

Who’s Shirley Jackson and what’s “The Lottery”?--Chances are if you went to a decent high school, and almost certainly if you attended a four year institution you were required at some point to read Jackson’s shocking short story, “The Lottery.” I read it the first time in the eleventh grade, then latter in an English class at junior college, and eventually in an American Lit graduate seminar. Never tired of it. Anyways, the short story had a huge impact on how I would eventually view the dark under belly of American society. So here’s a piece I found deliciously intriguing…”How Shirley Jackson Wrote “The Lottery;” by William Brennan.

“Just as June 16 belongs to James Joyce, June 27 belongs to Shirley Jackson: It’s the day on which her classic story “The Lottery” is set. It could have been another day, but, as Jackson recalls in a posthumously published lecture on the story, the New Yorker editor who reviewed the first draft “asked for one change—that the date mentioned in the story be changed to coincide with the date of the issue of the magazine in which the story would appear, and I said of course.” As Ruth Franklin explained yesterday on the New Yorker’s Page-Turner blog, the story has emotionally taxed its readers for more than half a century. And yet if we take Jackson’s word for it, writing the story was a breeze, completed in the same set of movements as a walk with her daughter and a trip to the grocery store.

“I had the idea fairly clearly in my mind when I put my daughter in her playpen and the frozen vegetables in the refrigerator,” she recounts in the lecture, “and, writing the story, I found that it went quickly and easily, moving from beginning to end without pause. As a matter of fact, when I read it over later I decided that except for one or two minor corrections, it needed no changes, and the story I finally typed up and sent off to my agent the next day was almost word for word the original draft.”

“The Lottery” is notoriously steeped in confusion and myth, and Jackson’s account of writing and editing the story is, it turns out, another myth. On June 26, 1948, she claims in the lecture, she went to the post office and retrieved a copy of that week’s New Yorker, which had her story in it. “I had written the story three weeks before, on a bright June morning when the summer seemed to have come at last, with blue skies and warm sun.” Only, that’s not really true. As I recently found during a trip to Jackson’s papers at the Library of Congress, a draft of “The Lottery” she sent to The New Yorker was reviewed by different editors on March 16 and April 12 of that year. A letter from a fiction editor at the magazine, dated April 9, makes reference to a phone call he and Jackson had shared the day before and reiterates a number of suggested changes. “The most important thing is somehow to clarify your intention—that is, the underlying theme of the piece—just a bit more. I suspect that you can do it by amplifying one or two snatches of talk.” The editor, whom Deborah Treisman tells me was probably Gus Lobrano (his signature is difficult to make out), added, “And the weather probably should be normal—not a June 27th with int [sic] of cold still in the air.”

If you’ve made it this far you’ll want to finish the article. Click here.

Oh, when you’re smilin’, When you’re smilin’, The whole world smiles at you--There’s probably some truth to that old Al Jolson song, but, really, there’s GOT TO BE at least a few events in life…a bad break up, your mother’s funeral, another jerk elected to the White House…when a smile just doesn’t fill the bill…”Disturbing Photo Shows South Korean Plastic Surgery For Permanent Smile? Earlier this week a bizarre photo hit Reddit, purportedly showing the results of a new plastic surgery trend. The user claimed the girl in the picture had undergone a "new plastic surgery in Asia that curls the corners of your lips." While the authenticity of the photo hasn't been confirmed, the surgery appears to be a real thing. As pointed out by Business Insider, the AONE clinic in South Korea is responsible for the procedure, which gives the patient the appearance of a permanent smile. Dr. Kwon Taek Keun, the clinic's founder, spoke about the "mouth corner lift" surgery in 2012 at a yearly international convention for plastic surgeons. Here's how he described the results of the procedure on the conference's website: "Mouth corners lift up very naturally after surgery, and although mouth corners stay upturned on an impassive face, they lift up even more distinctively during a smile." Click here.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Good Wednesday morning, readers of the Mold. Such an odd way to start the day…I’m writing the daily MILESTONE and want to use the word “stratosphere”, which, of course, I’d have as much luck spelling as Maudie’s cat. But not to worry, I only have to get close and MS Word will do the rest. I type in s-t-r-a-t-o-f-e-r-e and look up at the screen for the automatic red, broken underline which indicates I’ve got it wrong and that MICROSOFT has got me covered. Only, ah, not this morning. This morning Word likes my spelling just fine. So I try typing in fouunded. Likes that too. I go to preferences to turn on the Spell function but…yup…it’s already on. I click it off and on, then try again. Still likes my wrong versions of words. So I go back to preferences and find nothing. Shut down and then re-launch Word, nothing. Restart my computer, nothing. Go to Help and find nothing. Go to Google and find no help. Half hour later I give up and continue writing today’s column, figuring that a piece with misspelled words will be better than no column at all. (I know, I know, clearly some folks would disagree with that assessment.) In any event, I keep writing and suddenly MS Word catches a typo. It’s started working again, fixed itself as only inaminmant objects know how to do. Great. Except later it stops. Then starts again. Then stops. Here, let me try it now… now is the timee for all good ment to come. Nope, still not working. So the point of all this—expect to see a lot more spelling errors than usual. I promise I’ll get this fixed by tomorrow or my name isn’t Mold Manm. (Of, if you’ve got any ideas on how to solve the Speck Check function, write me at

MILESTONE--When he writes "Misty" in 1954 jazz pianist Errol Garner is as far out of the bluegrass box is is humanly possible. His own recording of what will become an American Songbook standard does okay, but it’s Johnny Mathis who sends the song into the stratosphere in 1959. There after Misty is recorded by many of the greats…Ella Fitzgerald (1959), Sarah Vaughan (1959), Billy Eckstine (1960), Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, The Students, Earl Grant (1961), Della Reese (1962), (Lloyd Price (1963), Richard "Groove" Holmes (1965), Donny Hathaway (1970) as a gospel song and Johnny Hartman 1971. But it’s in 1975, fittingly the same year the California Bluegrass Association is founded, that country singer Ray Stevens takes Garner’s classic for a spin. His version, with its hard driving Scruggs-style banjo, upbeat tempo and country fiddle, skyrockets up the top-40 charts and even wins Stevens a Grammy. Of course in the grand scheme of things the bluegrass version of Misty is a tiny blip on the radar of America’s musical gestalt, but it’s the tiny blips…Bonnie and Clydes theme song, Deliverence, the Beverly Hill Billies and, of course, O Brother…that have steadily brought the genre into the collective consciousness. What do you suppose the next one will be? Click here.

Say it ain’t so, Mick--Now I don’t want to bring my fellow baby-boomers down, but sometimes a journalist…yes, dammit, I’m a journalist; it says so on my resume…has to ask the tough questions. Well, in this case it’s Andrew Romano who’s asking…or rather answering. “Is Mick Jagger Too Old to Rock?...On the 70th anniversary of the birth of Sir Michael Philip Jagger.

Dear Mick,

Happy 70th Birthday! Welcome to your eighth decade on earth.
Now please retire.


Before the Rolling Stones fan club strings me up for treason, let me be clear. I am a Stones fan, too. I love Keith. I adore Charlie. I think Mick is the finest frontman in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. And by “retire,” I don’t mean retire to London, or Poce-sur-Cisse, or Mustique—or wherever else Jagger’s private jet soars away to when he shimmies offstage—and stop making music altogether. What I mean is that Jagger should retire the Mick Jagger costume he has worn for the last 35 years or so—the hollow showbiz persona he has cultivated and merchandised since the late 1970s—and find a more sustainable version of himself to inhabit. Because pretty soon he’s going to be too old for this stuff.” If you can bear to read on, click here.. But I warn you, it only gets worse. Romano’s also got some advice for Dylan, McCartney and a host of other BB heroes.

Already? Yup, already. It’s already mid-August and summer is slipping away as quickly as all those fit-in-your-swimsuit diets did. But we’re not going to cry over spilled milk that can’t be unspilled. We’re out looking for silver linings, and one obvious one is that every year about this time we get to start planning for drives up to, down to or over to Mountain View. That’s right, the RBA’s got a six-concert serious coming up and it’s a good one…maybe the best ever. Glance at this and chase them end-of-summer blues away…

Oct. 26, 2013: The Canote Brothers; Carol Elizabeth Jones & Laurel Bliss

Nov. 16, 2013: Travers Chandler & Avery County

Jan. 25, 2014: Keith Little & the Little Band: A Tribute To the Stanley Brothers

Feb. 15, 2014: Dry Branch Fire Squad

March 15, 2014: Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers

Number six is left to be announced, but we’re sure liking what we see so far. Tickets and details:

Say what you want; you just can’t beat the classics--Once again it’s time to check in with the crazy antics of our little pal holed-up over on the upper end of the Korean Peninsula. “Book News: Kim Jong Un Reportedly Gave 'Mein Kampf' As Gifts…Kim Jong Un gave top officials in North Korea copies of Adolf Hitler's autobiography, Mein Kampf, as gifts on his birthday last January, according to a report in New Focus International, a newspaper written largely by North Korean defectors. It seems the book was intended to promote a of Hitler's economic reforms, and was not necessarily meant as an endorsement of Nazism. New Focus International, which was founded by a former North Korean poet laureate, cites "a DPRK official in China," that Kim admired the way Hitler reformed Germany's economy and military after the ravages of the first World War. If the reports are true, North Korea isn't the only place Mein Kampf has found an unlikely readership.” There’s plenty more so, if you have the time, pour another cup of coffee and Click here.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s a hot Sunday early afternoon…late-July-Nevada-County hot, and the crowd is restless. Sure, they’ve enjoyed, loved, really, Doyle and the Cardinals and the Osbornes and Kenny Baker and Josh Graves, but it’s Ricky Skaggs many have come to hear and see. Finally the crowd let’s out a roar as through the pine trees they see four gigantic 18-wheelers turn into the main gate. FOUR. Ricky and his country/bluegrass tour has arrived. One set country…which explains the behemouth diesel pushers…and one set bluegrass. It will be another two hours before the sound check is completed. Nerves will be frayed, some will leave before the show even begins and, unbelievably, as the afternoon wears on it will get even hotter. Thirty years later those who stuck around, and most did, won’t remember much about the show Ricky put on. They’ll be certain it was great, but what they’ll remember most will be the sweltering heat and the diesel fumes of the four big rigs as they pulled into the fairgrounds. Oh, and they’ll remember that that year, the year Skaggs was booked, was the last Mid-Summer Festival.

Greek Theater treat--“The Goat Rodeo Sessions with Yo-Yo Ma comes to Berkeley's Greek Theater…A couple of years ago, bassist extraordinaire Edgar Meyer and Nickel Creek mandolin star Chris Thile started plotting for a new project building on their passion for bluegrass. The first call went to Yo-Yo Ma. "They had all done some recordings with Mark O'Connor and wanted to do something different," says Nashville fiddle great Stuart Duncan. "Chris called me up and said, 'Would you be interested?' " 'Yeah, sure!' "But I had this little voice saying, 'What are we going to do?' Yo-Yo and I both play with bows, and we're not separated by our love of good music, but our worlds are so far apart. I don't read music. Yo-Yo rarely does anything without sheet music." Informed that they had nine months to develop a body of tunes, Duncan signed on, and The Goat Rodeo Sessions took shape. First documented on the Grammy Award-winning 2011 album for Sony Masterworks (with special guest vocalist Aoife O'Donovan of Crooked Still fame), the ensemble reunited outside the studio only once for a January 2012 concert at the House of Blues in Boston that was simulcast to theaters around the country and later released as a DVD. Call it chambergrass or bluegrass for string quartet…Click here.

Snakes--I’m sorry, friends, but this piece on snakes…specifically on snakebites, has been languishing in the wings for too long. It either runs today or it gets tossed. And there’s no way the Mold team is going to toss a perfectly good snakebite story…”Each year more than 175,000 people around the world die from poisonous snakebites, often because they live in remote, rural areas and didn't get to a hospital in time to get treatment. Toxins in the venom of snakes like cobras and slowly paralyze their victims, who ultimately die of suffocation. A San Francisco emergency room physician says he may have the beginnings of a workaround that could fend off paralysis and save many of those lives. Already, hospitals sometimes use an intravenous version of the drug neostigmine to buy time if they don't have the right . But it's a scary laypeople to have to use in the field. "In the IV form, neostigmine is a very tricky drug," says , the San Francisco physician. "An overdose will stop the heart." Lewin is medical adviser to international research expeditions for the California Academy of Sciences, so he has to worry about things like cobra bites. He kept noodling about how neostigmine might be used safely outside a hospital. On a camping trip in Mongolia, Lewin was talking the problem over with longtime pal and mentor , an anesthesiology professor at , San Francisco, when they suddenly realized that a neostigmine intranasal spray might work. It's been used to some paralytic symptoms of they realized, and might be a safer way to reverse the paralysis of snakebite, too. Click here.

--I see our fearless leader (he insists that’s what we call him) has finally rolled out the big BUTTON GIVE AWAY. We wondered how long it was going to take. Cornish insisted that we hold off until we had at least 200 buttons to choose from. Well, there’s not quite 200 yet, but we’re getting close. So here’s how the copy reads…

“For thirteen years the CBA’s web site has been an important tool for our bluegrass community to stay in touch. The site’s ready for a facelift and re-design and you can help.

GIRL WITH AN ATTITUDE (Click here to see the girl.)

This is one of over two hundred buttons that are being given away to those who donate to the CBA’s WEB SITE IMPROVEMENT FUND. For a $20 or more donation, you’ll be able to select any ten buttons from our vast collection. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll make you cry, they’ll make you scratch your head. But most of all they’ll make you proud you’re a fan of bluegrass music and a supporter of the California Bluegrass Association.

Click here to see the other buttons currently available. (Note that the collection continues to grow, so bookmark this page and check back.)

Send your donation to:

Rick Cornish
10740 Whiskey Creek Road
Sonora, CA 95370

You can indicate which 10 buttons you’d like as a thank-you present for your donation in a note with the check or you can email Rick at

Buttons can be ordered with pin/clasp or magnetic back. And remember, ALL DONATIONS MADE TO THE CBA ARE TAX DEDECTIBLE.”

Now, if you look up near the top of this page, you’ll see a tiny little image of the banjo-playing girl, and that’s the link to the “WEB SITE RE-VAMP PROJECT” page. Apparently the plan is to swap out a different button every morning. Will this crazy scheme raise any money to re-build the web site? Who knows, but it will be fun to watch what happens.

I’m out of here. Have a good Tuesday, listen to Marcos on the radio tonight and, oh, if you haven’t already, read Ted Kuster’s Weclome. (I’m thinking the guy really DOES use a therapist.)
Monday, August 19, 2013

MILESTONE--January 2011, Ola Belle Reed's Rising Sun Melodies wins The 10th Annual Independent Music Awards in the Reissue category. It’s said that the woman, who wrote such songs as High on a Mountain and I’ve Endured, never left the Appalachian Mountains. Click here.

From the Takes-Job-Seriously Department--“Beijing…With only seconds to spare, a resourceful Chinese cop figured out how to rescue a suicidal woman dangling precariously from a ledge. Authorities were called to the heart-pounding scene in Sanlitun in Beijing on Wednesday after a woman climbed to the top of a billboard and appeared to be prepared to jump, according to ZUMA Press, an independent photo agency that released the dramatic images. To help bring the woman to safety, the unidentified policeman handcuffed himself to her and used a rope to pull her up. Cops didn’t reveal any details as to what led the woman to nearly take her life. Oftentimes, the only tools cops have to rescue a suicidal person are their handcuffs. Click here.

Press Release--“"Country Royalty" Singer-Songwriter Jessie Keith Whitley Rocks his EP "Kentucky Thunder" on Stage at The Freight, Friday, August 30, 2013 at 8pm…Berkeley, CA, August 12, 2013 –Jesse Keith Whitley was born to sing country. As a third generation singer-songwriter, he has decades of country music in his DNA. The son of Lorrie Morgan and the late Keith Whitley and grandson of Grand Ole Opry legend George Morgan, Jesse has an incredible talent for singing and songwriting. On September 10th Keith along with his mother Lorrie Morgan will be accepting posthumously on behalf of his father the Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award from the Academy of Country Music in Nashville. The Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award honors those individuals (Keith Whitley) who are pioneers in the country music genre.

An odd comparison--At least Larry Carlin thought so when he passed this SF Gate news story to TeamMold, and we thought so too. Check out the third sentence and see if you agree…”The Oracle racing team may have finally done the impossible - not win the America's Cup in a competition designed to attract a new generation of enthusiasts, but turn people off to sailboat racing. This week the team was caught cheating. It's been well documented that Oracle, the team that can't sail straight, has turned the America's Cup into a poorly attended bluegrass festival. We've already talked about how the promise of the Cup, majestic boats racing each other over the green waters of the bay, devolved to a single sailboat, "competing" alone, and then holding a press conference to discuss the "victory." You’d think Larry Ellison, Oracle’s billionaire founder and owner, could afford to hire competent cheats, but you’d be wrong. Click here.

The CBA’s Facebook page--Lately I’ve made a point of visiting the Association’s FB page once each day. I wait till noon or so to make sure the content’s been refreshed for the day and, low and behold, it always has. Why do I go there? Simple…I’m almost never disappointed with the cover photo that’s been chosen for the day, (frequently some pretty artsy stuff), I usually find a link there, posted by one of the page’s several hundred friends , worth clicking to, (this morning, for example, there’s an item from about the Tuttles), but most importantly, weekdays Monday through Friday someone, (whomever is in charge of maintaining the page), posts a Mold News item from the day’s column. If you didn’t know better you’d almost be inclined to think that the “people in charge” are finally starting to get a handle on how to extract the greatest leverage possible from the new social media. Wonders, it appears, will never cease. may not be a bad url to bookmark.

MILESTONE--August 16, 2013 Bo McCarty’s post is officially recognized as the 10,000th Bluegrass L complaint leveled against the annual IBMA awards nomination process since the program began twenty-three years ago. The subject of the prize winning post? We’ll let you decide…”I'm not a member, but was considering rejoining but I realized the VOTING PROFESSIONALS really have no cluea as to what goes on in bluegrass these days...Why ain't Crowe, Lawson & Williams nominated for Emerging Artist? Seems only logical with the SO CALLED PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIP VOTING. Ain't NOBODY new in the business of bluegrass that's done more than David Adkins & Republik Steel the past year, NOBODY....Now, I have nothing but respect for all the seasoned VETERAN bands out there who's nominated but come on... DEFINE EMERGE? Over the past 5 years? 20 year? IBMA Professionals you have it ALL WRONG! As of June Dave Adkins & Republik Steel had picked up a ton of new dates and at that time on a busy schedule 100% return bookings for next year on festivals they had played. Ah, BLUEGRASS PROFESSIONALS, remember how Billboard was gonna be the best thing EVER... well, they debuted pretty high on THEIR FIRST CD EVER....Geez, get out and go to shows... READ what folks are saying...TO BE A PROFESSIONAL you have to BE A PROFESSIONAL. Yeah, I'm ticked of again...YOU GOT IT ALL WRONG.”

Used to be you could depend on European royalty to show a little class, but nowadays--“Romanian princess among Ore. cockfighting arrests…A Romanian princess is apparently among several people who have been arrested in Eastern Oregon in connection with an alleged cockfighting ring. Indictments unsealed Thursday in federal court in Portland charge 60-year-old Irina Walker and her husband, 67-year-old John Wesley Walker, with hosting cockfighting derbies and illegal gambling at their ranch outside the small Morrow County town of Irrigon. The Oregonian newspaper identifies Irina Walker, also known as Irina Kreuger, as a daughter of the last king of Romania. Personnel records show her husband was a Coos County sheriff's deputy until 2003. The Walkers and four other people are to be arraigned in federal court in Portland on Friday on charges of operating an illegal gambling business. Twelve others from Oregon and Washington face lesser charges.” Did the princess have a cock in the fight? Hopefully this will come out in the trial…

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldiness; I have noticed in your column lately, that you have been receiving a lot of undue flak for printing stuff not worthy of your intelligence. That is merely the opinion of a minority few of your readers. I would like to emphasize the word Few. With that in mind, I send you this e-mail of stuff that you didn't know you didn't know, to share with your readers, stuff that is REALLY important. Not only is it chock-full of important information, it will take up a sizable portion of your otherwise droll column, and spice up your readers’ day. That my friend is what I call a win-win situation. As always, I remain your most ardent fan, JD.” Well, thank you, my dear friend, but I want you to know that criticism rolls off me like water off a duck. If it didn’t, believe me, I’d be eternally water logged. But regardless of why you sent ‘em, I like ‘em, so here comes a big pile of stuff our readers probably didn’t know. (And please, please, please, dear readers don’t be sending me any emails questioning the veracity of Mr. Rhynes’ contribution to today’s Moldy News. Better that you send complaints directly to


Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.

Coca-Cola was originally green.

It is impossible to lick your elbow.

The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska

The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28%; now get this...percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%

The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $ 16,400

The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000

Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.

The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.

The San Francisco cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.

Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history: Spades - King David; Hearts – Charlemagne; Clubs -Alexander, the Great; and Diamonds - Julius Caesar

111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987, 654,321

If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died because of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes

Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.

Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?
A. Their birthplace

Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?
A. Obsession

Q.. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter 'A'?
A. One thousand

Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers have in common? A. All were invented by women.

Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey

Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day

In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes, the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase...'Goodnight , sleep tight'

It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his new son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.

In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England, when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.'…It's where we get the phrase 'mind your P's and Q's.

Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. 'Wet your whistle' is the phrase inspired by this practice.

At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!

YOU KNOW YOU ARE LIVING IN 2013 when...1. You accidentally enter your PIN on the microwave; 2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years; 3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of three; 4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you; 5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses; 6. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home to help you carry in the groceries; 7. Every commercial on television has a Web site at the bottom of the screen; 8. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't even have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it; 10. You get up in the morning and go on-line before getting your coffee; 11. You start tilting your head sideways to smile; 12 You're reading this and nodding and laughing; 13. Even worse, you know exactly to whom you are going to forward this message; 14. You are too busy to notice there was no #9 on this list; 15. You actually scrolled back up to check that there wasn't a #9 on this list.

Well, he was certainly right about taking up a sizeable portion of the day’s column. As to whether J.D.’s list spiced up anyone’s life, we’ll probably never know. So, I’m out of here until Monday. Have a terrific weekend, try to fit some bluegrass in and remember, most boat owners name their boats.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

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

So, really, do they really have bluegrass music way out in California? It was nice to wake up this morning, blink awake sitting at my computer with a cup of coffee and read a summary of the IBMA 2013 Award Nominations press conferece via Sirius XM's Bluegrass Junction …”CBA's Fathers Day Festival nominated for Bluegrass Event of the year; Front Country nominated for Momentum Band of the year; Tom Rozum, Catherine Manning & Dave Weiland (designers) for Chicken on a Rocketship, Chad Manning, Manning Music and Arts Label nominated for Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project; Bill Evans' CD In Good Company nominated for an award in the Best Graphics Category.

A rose by any other name--It would be particularly difficult to find something negative to say about our very first attempt at running a music camp just for kids, but if someone held a gun to my head and insisted, here’s what I’d come up with…Having a regular Summer Music Camp and a Summer Music Camp for Kids became just a trifle confusing publicity-wise. The CBA board solved that problem last Sunday at its board meeting by officially changing the latter event’s name to the CBA Youth Academy. Smart move. And just as smart, enlisting the services of ace web designer David Thom to create an Internet page that tells all about the Academy. Click here.

Had your breakfast yet? Remember Alvin Toffler? Sure you do. He’s the futurist who wrote Future Shock back in 1970, which focused on a certain psychological state of individuals and entire societies brought on by "too much change in too short a period of time". I can’t help but believe Al would have used the following story to drive home his point; not that he needed any more ammunition…the book became an international bestseller and sold over six million copies. Anyway, here’s the story behind the story of last week’s bombshell re: “special” hamburgers. “Test-Tube Meat's Secret Ingredient: Unborn Cow Blood--Score one for the techno-optimists. Dutch researchers, funded by Google gazillionaire Sergey Brin, have managed to move lab meat from the test tube to a taste test—a high-proflle one in London. Two intrepid critics, a food scientist and the author of a book on food's techy future, found it, well, almost meatlike. Here's the Washington Post: ‘Rützler [the food scientist] gave the chef an appreciative nod. "It's close to meat, but it's not as juicy," she said. "I was expecting the texture to be more soft. The surface was surprisingly crunchy." She added: "I would have said if it was disgusting." Schonwald [the author] said the product tasted like "an animal protein cake.’ Okay, that last phrase doesn't exactly pique the appetite, but you have to admit, it's not a bad showing for a product that came not from a cow grazing a lush meadow, but rather from tissue derived from bovine stem cells and grown in "nutrient solution." Salivating yet? If not, read on.

Oh boy oh boy oh boy oh boy--From Bob Cherry over at…”Scene 35, a Documentary on the Seldom Scene Being Produced. G.T. Keplinger, from Towson, MD, is a full-time assistant professor at Stevenson University where he teaches narrative and documentary production and editing. He is working on Scene 35, a documentary about the Seldom Scene, Washington DC's own nationally-known bluegrass band. The Seldom Scene began as a non-touring bluegrass band back in 1971 in Bethesda, Maryland. The basement jam sessions at the home of Ben Eldridge started the whole thing. Who would have thought that 40 years later, this band would have become one of the single largest contributers to the progression of bluegrass from the early days of Flatt and Scruggs and Bill Monroe to the more contemporary sounds that they founded. Appropriately named, Scene 35, chronicles the 35 year history of the group. The documentary will include film footage, recordings, many photographs and live performances as the story of this highly influential band comes to life. G.T. Keplinger, the historian behind the project, is also the filmmaker and has been a fan and friend of the band. He has collected works, documentation and archives of the band which he is compiling to put the story of the band into a documentary. Scene 35 is a project that G.T. says is a commercial cut of his M.F.A. thesis project. A final production date has not been announced. Bluegrass reached a second peak in popularity in the early 1970s, and the progressive bluegrass style played by The Seldom Scene was particularly popular. Original Seldom Scene mandolin player John Duffey's stratospheric tenor anchored the group, but the vocal blend of The Scene set a new standard that attracted new audiences to what had been a niche music. Click here.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Saturday, November 7, 1987…Boarding will be at 4:30 p.m. SHARP for the Second Annual UNCLE JED’S RIVERBOAT PICKIN’ PARTY…We’re talking some SERIOUS PICKING HERE…A six hour cruise on the Sacramento River; potluck, no-host bar. Only 100 tickets, so BUY EARLY. Contact Drew Evans. (Jed's riverboat affairs went on for several years and were among the highlights of every bluegrass season. Anybody interested in reviving a terrific Sacto tradition?)

Mozart is still there, but who remembers Salieri? Who, indeed? Ted Lehmann has written some awfully good Welcome columns over the years…he’s been honored by the IBMA for his insightful, very accessible essays on the bluegrass genre and, more generally, the bluegrass community. But I’m not sure he’s written anything that, for me at least, comes as close to explaining the unexplainable as his piece yesterday. Ted ends his column with the following paragraph…if you missed yesterday’s Welcome and have a moment, I recommend you click here. and do a little catch up.

The pop culture critic Chuck Klosterman writes that everyone hates the Eagles, except the millions of people who bought a hundred million of their records to popularize the vibe and feelings they found on the beaches of California. Larry Cordle's great song “Murder on Music Row” strikes a responsive chord with many who find the changes away from a music they loved to be abominable. But the murder will be remembered and treasured by others who attached themselves to the music that replaced the victim Cordle so lovingly describes. Murder on Music Row is always being committed as new, young, vital musicians seek to find a voice that exemplifies their sensibility, their understanding of the world they live in and to express it effectively. They seek to find a voice for themselves and their times, find an audience and make some money doing it. Then there come copiers, clones, and interpreters who are never as well-regarded or remembered as the originals until they become a cliché rather than a new voicing, only to be replaced again. That's what happens with art, and perhaps all matters of taste and commerce as they interact. Mozart is still there, but who remembers Salieri. People rioted at the Paris Opera in 1913 when Stravinsky premiered his Rites of Spring. Punk and Hip Hop have left many followers of rock to mourn its loss. Fans will continue to be outraged as “their” music falls into memory and nostalgia, but there's always more to come, most of which isn't great, but some of which will help to form the great stream of consciousness we call the art of music.

Follow-up from yesterday’s MILESTON--I was pleased this morning when I checked the Message Board and found a couple of posts about the Dave Evans in Prison article that Carl Pagter wrote back in 1981 and which we ran on Monday…

”Moldy Milestone (Dave Evans) - another post script; Peter Thompson; The documentary film on Dave Evans - "Last Of the Breed' - is nearing completion, and its production company has released two trailers: and If you'd like to know more about the film and the filmmakers, there's lots of info on their web site: If you'd like to financially support this (most worthwhile, imho) project, there are links via the web site to this donation site: Be proud of the ...”

“Maria Nadauld…Thanks for posting these links, Peter. This is the first I've heard of this. This project needs to be finished. I'm sending a check.”

Maria Nadauld…I donated. Megan (Lynch, Maria’s daughter) donated. The trailers are something very special. This project really needs to get completed. Look at the website. Listen to Dave's songs.

It’s nice to see that some thirty year old stories have a little staying power.

Thirty minutes to L.A. Then another two hours from the Hyperloop station to Knott’s Berry Farm on the 310.--“Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has just published a paper sketching the basic concept for a transportation system that could theoretically launch passengers from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes—four times faster than the high-speed rail system that California has been planning for decades. The full paper, including charts, maps, and technical specifications, is 57 pages and available in PDF here. For those who don't have a spare hour to comb through the schematics, Businessweek's Ashlee Vance summarizes the basic idea for the hyperloop thusly:

In Musk’s vision, the Hyperloop would transport people via aluminum pods enclosed inside of steel tubes. He describes the design as looking like a shotgun with the tubes running side by side for most of the journey and closing the loop at either end. These tubes would be mounted on columns 50 to 100 yards apart, and the pods inside would travel up to 800 miles per hour. Some of this Musk has hinted at before; he now adds that pods could ferry cars as well as people. “You just drive on, and the pod departs." Click here.

Showdown--Here’s a little something intended to spur you and your bluegrass band into action…”The California Bluegrass Association will be holding it's Third annual Showcase Showdown at the Great 48 Hour Jam inn Bakersfield this January. This is a contest, open to any non-touring Bluegrass Band from California. Four bands will be selected by an independent panel of judges. Those bands selected will then perform at The Great 48 Jam in Bakersfield. The winner of the Showcase Showdown will be awarded a slot on the Pioneer Stage at the 39th annual Father's Day Festival in Grass Valley in June 2014. The four bands selected to play at the Great 48 Showcase Showdown will receive a $500 stipend to help defray expenses. If your band is interested in participating, please contact Dave Gooding davegooding@sbcglobal.netfor information in applying. Entrance deadline is October 15, 2013.” Two months, folks…as in sixty days. Get those packets together

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

MILESTONE--Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, Hollister, August 9-11, 2013. Wikipedia tells us that…

”The Great Recession, also referred to as the Lesser Depression, the Long Recession, or the global recession of 2009 is a marked global economic decline that began in December 2007 and took a particularly sharp downward turn in September 2008.”

Whatever we want to call it, the downturn doesn’t wait long to take its toll on the world of bluegrass. By late 2009 festival promoters around the country begin seeing tell tale signs that fears about family finances and, more generally, about just hanging on to jobs, are keeping fans away from events. By 2010 those “signs” have turned into tangible, and significant, losses at the gate and as the next bluegrass season preparea to get under way news of cancelled festivals become commonplace. Coast to coast bluegrass fests, some with long traditions, are shutting down. The Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society’s festival at Balado Park sees a dip in attendance in 2011, and then, the next August, ticket sales fall even more. Nothing, it appears, not even the music of Bill and Ralph and Carter and Lester and Earl, is safe from the brutal beating bearing down on an entire nation. But by the end of 2012, non-profit and for-profit show producers around the U.S. are reporting signs of life…bluegrass fans are feeling better about their financial prospects, job growth, though still weak in many sectors, is now undeniable. And the folks pulling off Highway 25 and onto the dusty road leading into San Benito’s county fairgrounds see more diesel burners, fifth wheels, banged up travel trailers and tents of every size, type and hue than they’ve seen in years…maybe that they’ve ever seen at the Goofy. Attendance at the Good Old Fashioned Festival is solid and, in the minds of many, offers solid proof that bluegrass music has dodged the bullet we call the Great Recession.

MOLD MAN RANT…Let’s hear it for SYPHILIS! In his book entitled Guns, Germs and Steele, evolutionary biologists Jared Diamond pays a good deal of attention to the microbic villains which, through the ages, have so profoundly influenced the course of humankind’s bumpy road. Entire peoples simply vanished when confronted by diseases stowed away on ships of conquest against which their bodies had no natural defenses. One particular favorite of Diamond’s is treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum…syphilis. It’s not that the scientist approves of or condones the devastation that the sexually transmitted disease has visited upon hundreds of generations, but he does admire treponema’s ability to adapt and flourish. It was sometime during the Middle Ages, Diamond explains, that the trillion-upon-trillion sized bacterial colonies began to alter their MO. Infection to expiration periods began to lengthen from weeks to months to years to decades. (Scarface Al Capone’s biographer, for example, tells us that the syphilis that finally took him down had been contracted more than thirty years before serious symptoms began to appear.) From the germs’ point of view it just made good sense…why kill off your landlord quickly, only to find yourself out on the street when you can slow the deadly process down and have the same host for decades?

Okay, so what do the self-serving evolutionary “choices” made by treponema pallidum subspecies pallidum have to do with anything even remotely connected to a news column purportedly dedicated to bluegrass. Not much, I guess, but what got me thinking about it was the Milestone story this morning…how Good Old Fashion gate receipts suggest that the worst of the recession’s impact on our music is behind us. I ask you, if the syphilis gang of bacteria was smart enough to figure out that killing its host off quickly wasn’t in their best interest, wouldn’t you think that the banking industry has the smarts to catch on to the same notion? Biting off the hand…and then the arm…upper and lower torsos, etc., which feeds you just doesn’t seem like a viable long-term strategy. What’s the Mold Man missing here?

Thile on Bach and bluegrass-- MacArthur Foundation Genius Award winner Chris Thile is on the talk show circuit promoting his latest CD release, Bach: Sonatas and Partitas, Vol. 1, and if you missed him on NPR or PBS you missed an awfully good, and I think awfully important, conversation. I’ve always suspected and am now convinced that Chris is as good a thinker as he is a mandolin player. What he says about music and the evolution of a musical genre…in this case, bluegrass…is worth hearing. To track the recorded piece down just go to and look around. Or, you can read what has to say about the interview. Click here.

I’m being pulled in a lot of different directions this morning so I’ll cut the column short. Do want to bring to your attention the fact that there’s a big, fat bunch of very good live music around the region this week. Scroll up and check out the “Coming Attractions” feature or dig deeper by clicking on the online calendar button. Talk to you tomorrow. MM

Monday, August 12, 2013

MILESTONE--January, 1981, “Dave Evans: A Horror Story,” by Carl Pagter, (article in the Bluegrass Breakdown)…After hearing a number of recent anecdotes and rumors about Dave Evans, banjo player, recording artist, powerhouse emotive singer and leader of the band River Bend, I called his wife, Patti, in Waverly, Ohio and learned Dave was recently sentenced to an 18-year prison term!

Apparently, Dave’s 13 and 15 year old sons visited a 16-year-old friend. While at the older boy’s home, a 24-year-old neighbor named Beekman threatened the older Evans’ boy by sticking a gun under his chin. At some point the gun discharged about three inches from the boy’s head. Dave Evans confronted Beekman, who again displayed the gun and pulled the trigger on an empty chamber. In retaliation, Dave went home and returned later with a gun which he used to shoot up Beekman’s car and mobile home.

He was arrested and brought to court to face a jury trial, charged with reckless endangerment and displaying a firearm. Patti Evans advises that they have lived in Pike County, Ohio for only ten years, and that Beekman is from an old, well-connected local family. Beekman’s father is apparently the mayor of the community. Dave could not afford a lawyer to defend him, and when the judge tried to appoint one for him, Dave declined the offer because he did not believe he would be provided with competent and impartial counsel. He defended himself, with the absurd sentence as a result. Remember, we’re talking about property damage alone here, with no personal injuries of any kind, after substantial provocation, and with no prior criminal record on the part of the defendant.

Dave Evans has been in the Ohio State Prison for about two months now. Patti says an old banjo turned up and that he and a few other inmates are allowed to get together for an occasional jam session. Dave’s banjo was sold to one of his cousins, and the money is being used in his defense. The President of the Dayton, Ohio Criminal Bar Association has been retained, and expects to have Dave released within a few days. He believes that the entire trial was unfair and that there is a strong probability that no retrial will occur. Stand by for further developments.

Anyone interested in helping the Evans’ family in Dave’s defense and the ultimate repurchase of his banjo can send contributions to the Bluegrass Breakdown editor, (1985 Madrid Drive, Stockton, CA 95205), made out to the California Bluegrass Association.

Post Script: Maria Nadauld has assisted me from nearly the first edition of the Mold News. She’s helped in many, many different ways; one important one has been the transcription of items from vintage Bluegrass Breakdown issues, (we have access to a few hundred, but they are image files and must be converted into word files.) The preceding piece written by Carl Pagter is one such BB news story. When Maria passed along to me her transcription, she added the following note: “Hey Mold Man, if you re-read Bill’s, (that would be my husband William Nadauld), “Hooked on Bluegrass” story he says ‘I learned a lot about Bluegrass one night in a tucked away Nashville suburb when an old guy in a felt hat showed up with his guitar, sat down, opened his case, began singing, and didn’t give it up until morning. A few hours later I watched him perform on the main stage at IBMA.’ That was at Megan’s house and he’s talking about Dave Evans. What a night that was.” Megan is, of course, the Nashville-based fiddle pheenom, Megan Lynch, who also happens to be Maria’s daughter.

How’s this for some good news to start off your week--“Here's the official announcement: TJ and I are moving back to California next month! We will definitely miss our family and friends here in the keys but we are excited to start something new! We have started a band with my sister Christine Grim and her fiance Joe Ash called The Sisters Grim Band. Go ahead and like our page, we will be adding a bunch of stuff to it soon. We'll be driving out to California sometime around the first week of September. We can't wait to see everyone!!!-- Angelica Grim Doerfel”

Alright kids, time to dive under your desks--A Moldy News reader wrote me recently with a reminder that it was probably time we add to our ever-growing file of news items on the DPRK, (that would, of course, be the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The reader opined, and frankly I can’t help but agree, that an occasional look at Kim and the gang can help…a little…keeping our own country’s craziness in perspective. So here goes…” Crazy North Korean propaganda videos are almost a cottage industry: Recent noteworthy examples that have premiered on the state-sponsored YouTube channel include a screed featuring President Barack Obama engulfed in flames, citizens wading into waist-high water to hysterically cheer their leader and a precise (if slightly geographically incorrect) animation tracking the proposed trajectory of a North Korean nuclear attack. Faced with this bonanza of over-the-top propaganda videos, it’s hard to single out just one, but an offering from earlier this year caught our eye – a video noteworthy for its unprecedented juxtaposition of a nuclear holocaust with an all-too-familiar celebrity charity soundtrack. A North Korean man falls asleep and is lulled into dreamland with visions of flying spacecraft and the obliteration of Manhattan set to the dulcet strains of “We Are the World.” “In America, I can see black smoke,” a caption on screen reads, according to a translation by NK News. “It seems like the devil’s nest that habitually caused wars of invasion and persistence are finally burning under the flames it itself has ignited.” To finish the article and, more importantly, to have a look at the video clip, click here. and then scroll down to the second clip.

Junior and the boys--We caught sight of this nugget at and thought we’d share it with our readers…a particularly relevant piece given that Junior’s band is booked to play Grass Valley in June. “New Single Released Today from Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice…If the Bottle was a Bible”, the new single from the award-winning bluegrass group, Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice’s Rebel Records album, THE STORY OF THE DAY THAT I DIED, has been released today, Tuesday, August 6, 2013. The tune was written by Ronnie Bowman, Clint Daniels and Billy Ryan. ‘I was floored the first time Ronnie played ‘If the Bottle was a Bible’ for me and knew right away we had to record it,’ said Junior Sisk. ‘We are thrilled that “The Story of the Day that I Died has received such a positive response, and it is also an honor to be recognized by Bluegrass Unlimited.’ Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice is touring the U.S. and Canada throughout 2013 and 2014. The band is in the running for eight IBMA Award nominations including Entertainer, Song and Album of the Year. Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice’s previous album, Heart of Song, won the 2012 IBMA and 2013 SPBGMA Album of the Year award and the single, “A Far Cry from Lester & Earl”, received the 2012 IBMA & 2013 SPBGMA Song of the Year award. Junior Sisk was also named the 2013 SPBGMA Male Vocalist of the Year (Contemporary). Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAGI was especially touched after receiving this note from a faithful Mold reader. It’s heartwarming when a fan cares enough to offer suggestions…”Dear Mold Man, call me crazy, but it just seems like common sense that if a fella takes as much time as you do every day…well, nearly every day… to dream up all the cock-and-bull malarkey you do he’d want to at least make it readable. You know, as in INTERESTING! My wife Helen, who has even less patience with your “news” reportage than me, spotted the following ad on the Internet and immediately thought of you. Who knows if it would do you any good? One thing’s for certain, it couldn’t make your writing any worse than it is already. Bill from El Cerrito”

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I’m going to take a wild guess here and bet that part of the impetus for Bill from E.C.’s email was the less than factual piece I did here last week about Joe Val. I’d like to apologize for my mistakes. Joe was not a postman, he was a typewriter repair man, and the cancer that killed him did not attack his throat. Thanks to the folks on the CBA Message Board who caught these two errors. As for the FULL SAIL folks, I’ll be giving them a call this afternoon.
Friday, August 9, 2013

I will finish today’s M-News, have a little bite of breakfast with my dear Maudie and then roll on down to Hollister for the 20th Good Old Fashioned Festival. The practice of music promoters to include the annualnotation in all of the publicity leading up to their event has always seemed to me to be a convenient, if somewhat daunting, way to keep track of the passage of time, at least for those of us whose lives are synchronized to the ebb and flow of one bluegrass season after another. My oh my oh my, twenty years since that first drive to Bolado Park…so much has changed, so much remains the same. Come down if you can, but do not come without your axe.

CBA MILESTONE--It’s Saturday night September 3, 1983, and the last act of the night has been brought on stage at the Fifth Annual Labor Day Weekend Bluegrass Music Festival at Grass Valley. Joe Val gets the nod from the engineer at the stage soundboard and counts “one-two-three-four” and his New England Boys break out of the shut into a blistering version of Diamond Joe. It’s a magical night, a magical set and Joe, the short, mustached postman from Boston with a tenor voice that cuts deep to your very soul owns the Nevada County Fairgrounds. He and the band get three encores and the 1983 “end-off-summer” gathering will forever be remembered as the “year Joe came out West”. It will be only a few months later that word from the east thunders through the California bluegrass community; even without the Internet the news that Joe Val has been diagnosed with throat cancer travels lightening fast. On Saturday night two Septembers later, at the last Labor Day bluegrass festival that the California Bluegrass Association would produce, master of ceremonies J.D. Rhynes asks the crowd for a moment of silence, and in the stillness that follows some in the crowd can just make out that last verse…

And when I'm called up yonder
And it's my time to go,
Give my blankets to my buddies
Give the fleas to Diamond Joe.

Have Spacesuit, Will Travel--That was the name of the first book I ever actually read. I was fourteen, all of my friends had been reading books for years, but I was a late bloomer. Very, very late. My learning disability, which wouldn’t be formally diagnosed until I was in my mid-forties and happened to be editing a teacher education textbook for a psychologist friend of mine, was called SRD…spatial relations disorder. I could make out words on a page effortlessly, but the order in which they appeared in a sentence seemed to change as quickly as I blinked, so even after I finally learned to read in the third grade, I kept my distance from the written word, and would never, ever, ever CHOOSE to read a book just for the fun of it. But all that changed with Arthur C. Clarke. Though a very serious, thoughtful and complex writer of science fiction…think 2001, A Space Odyssey)…who many say was the best of all time, Clarke would, from time to time, spin yarns for young readers, and Have Spacesuit was one of them. The novel, which took me an entire summer to read, changed my life and gave Arthur C. an extraordinarily important place in my life’s narrative, so, as might be expected, whenever I see his name in print I take a moment to peruse.

For example…”Science fiction writers are accidental prophets; a 1995 interview captures the "2001" author's thoughts on space travel, artificial intelligence and Stanley Kubrick. By Tod Mesirow--I HAD THE PLEASURE of visiting Arthur C. Clarke in his home in Sri Lanka in 1995 in my role as one of the directors of the Paramount Television syndicated series Sightings. The interview was for the story “Sci-Fi Prophets.” He lived in the capitol city Colombo, in a large stately house that he told me used to belong to The Vicar. He was warm, welcoming, and possessed a certain childlike glee. In one of those moments not captured on videotape, while the crew were setting up lights, he said to me, “Listen to this, you must listen,” with a pure, Christmas Eve’s level of anticipatory delight. He pressed several keys on his computer, shutting it down, which caused the unmistakable voice of HAL to say, “My mind is going, I can feel it.” Looking at me with pure joy he said, “Now listen to this,” and turned on the computer. As it did, we heard HAL again — “I’m a HAL 9000 computer, fully operational and ready to serve.” The creator of HAL enchanted by the steps being made for fiction to become fact. Click here.

It's about damn time--From Brian O’Neil at…”George Shuffler To Be Inducted Into Hall of Fame! From the Bean Blossom Festival, we have word that George Shuffler will be inducted in the Bill Monroe Bluegrass Hall of Fame on Saturday, September 21, 2013. Shuffler is an innovative bluegrass guitar player and an early practitioner of the crosspicking style of playing. During his career Shuffler played with The Bailey Brothers, The Stanley Brothers and Ralph Stanley's Clinch Mountain Boys. He was a 2007 recipient of the North Carolina Heritage Award and in 2011 was elected to the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. "It was just out of necessity," was how George Shuffler described the birth of crosspicking. When Ralph and Carter played their slow songs there were long pauses at the end of every line, during which they would be catching their breath for the next line. During these pauses Shuffler had to take every break, and at the time the only two guitar styles were scratch/Mother Maybelle Carter's style, and Travis style. Travis style could keep the rhythm, but sounded repetitive during breaks, while scratch style could play lead but lost the rhythm. Shuffler created a style that allowed him to keep the rhythm and play a lead melody at the same time. This style was crosspicking, the guitar equivalent of a banjo roll.

Well, my 750 words have somehow slipped into the +1,000 zone so I will bid you all farewell. Try to make it down to Hollister and I’ll be back Monday Morning.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

MILESTONE--The year is 1975 and three friends in the rural Montgomery County, Maryland, decide to form a bluegrass band. Dudley Connell will play banjo, Ron Welch will pick guitar and Eddie D'Zmura will be on mandolin. They call themselves the “Johnson Boys” but it’s not long before the three learn the name’s already been taken by a folk act so Dudley’s dad, George Connell, suggest simply adding one word, and soon the band is booking gigs under the name, the Johnson Mountain Boys. By 1978 the act is five pieces, (Connell guitar, Franny Davidson banjo, Eddie D'Zmura mandolin, Eddie Stubbs fiddle and Larry Robbins bass) and the quartet is ready to try their hand at recording. The album, called simply the Johnson Mountain Boys, is an almost instant hit and the stage is set for what will become one of the most listened to traditional bluegrass bands of the 1980’s. Click here.

A revolutionary--Heard a good story on NPR while driving to the grocery store the other day. (Yes, I do the grocery shopping at the Mold residence, as well as the menu planning and all food preparation, but I draw the line at washing the dishes.) So then, the story was about a guy named Howard Levey and his reinventing the harmonica. When he was a teenager, we’re told, Levy “took a regular dime-store harmonica and figured out how to play a full chromatic scale. His harmonica virtuosity has since landed him gigs with artists ranging from to Tito Puente to Garrison Keillor and Levy was a founding member of the Flecktones.” (If you’re a Flecky, you got to be pretty derned good.) But here’s what I found most interesting…”In the 1970s, Levy revolutionized harmonica playing by inventing a breathing method known as over-bending, allowing players to reach a wider range of notes.” (Damn, just once I’d like to be credited for revolutionizing something.) Anways, the harmonica guy story was one of the better music interviews I’ve heard on NPR recently and I recommend it. Click here.

The mammoth cometh…maybe--Are there some stories that you hear about, are aware of, but just never seem to get around to soaking in? Once such for me has been the woolly mammoth cloning thing, which, until yesterday, just sort of floated in the outer periphery of my brain. Finally, I’m happy to report, I invested the necessary time and am now thoroughly conversant on the topic…well, as conversant as anyone with my limited attention span can be. So, let me share my wealth of knowledge about the hairy elephants of the last ice age.

”The quest is to clone a mammoth. The question is: should we do it? The idea would make headlines around the world and bring tears of joy to the planet's journalists. An adorable baby woolly mammoth, tottering on its newborn legs, is introduced to the media. Cloned from a few cells scraped from the permafrost of Siberia, the little creature provides the latest proof of the might of modern science and demonstrates the fact that extinction has at long last lost its sting. It is a fascinating prospect, one that was raised again last week when the most recently discovered carcass of a mammoth was revealed to the public in Yokohama, Japan.”

Now, this is typically where I’d stop with the quoted copy and just provide you with a “click here” so you could decide whether you were interested enough to continue on. But I’m not going to do that with the WOOLY MAMMOTH story; I want to spare you the anguish I’ve felt for at least the past two years, that of knowing without really knowing what’s up with the big, extinct pachyderm. And too, spare you the anguish of self-loathing that comes with intellectual indolence. So pour yourself another cup of coffee and settle in. This could take a minute but you’ll feel so much better having invested the time.

The female, thought to have been around 50 when she died, had lain frozen in the ground for tens of thousands of years. Yet she still had hair, muscle tissue, and possibly blood. Samples have now been sent to South Korea, where scientists say they are planning to use them to clone a mammoth, though the proposal is considered to be highly controversial.

"The hunt for mammoth corpses has been transformed in recent years," said Professor Adrian Lister, of the Natural History Museum, London, and one of the advisers for the museum's current "Extinction" exhibition. "We have found as many mammoths in the past five years as we did in the previous 50, partly because global warming is melting the Siberian permafrost and is revealing more and more bodies and partly because local people realise it is a lucrative business. Mammoth ivory is viewed as a legal and ethically acceptable alternative to elephant tusks.

"The only trouble is that every time a new well-preserved mammoth is found, people also repeat the claim that we will soon be able to clone them, and I very much doubt that we will."

Mammoths ranged from the British Isles to eastern Asia and northern America until they disappeared around 10,000 years ago, though one small population was recently found to have survived to around 4,000 years ago on the Russian island of Wrangel.

Hunting by cavemen or climate change, or a combination of the two, are generally blamed for their demise.

Now some scientists are talking openly of bringing them back to life. Yokohama mammoth samples have been sent to the private laboratory of the disgraced South Korean cloning expert Hwang Woo-suk, who is co-operating with Russian scientists with the specific aim of recreating mammoths. Similarly, Semyon Grigoriev, who led the team that excavated the mammoth, has speculated that fluid found near the creature may be blood that contains intact cells which could be used to bring about their resurrection. "This find gives us a really good chance of finding living cells, which can help us implement this project to clone a mammoth," said Grigoriev.

The idea gathers little support from scientists such as Lister, however. "I very much doubt if the idea of cloning a mammoth is feasible," he said, a point that was backed by the molecular biologist Professor Michael Hofreiter, of York University.

"There are two ways that you could try to clone a mammoth," said Hofreiter. "The first is straightforward. You could simply look through the bodies we dig up in the Arctic to see if we could find one that had a cell that still contained a nucleus with a complete, viable genome in it.

"Then, employing the cloning techniques that were used to create Dolly the Sheep, we could put that nucleus inside an elephant embryo and then implant it into a female elephant, who would later give birth to a mammoth.

"The problem is that these creatures died many thousand years ago, when their DNA would have started to degrade, so the chances of finding an entire viable mammoth genome are essentially zero," he said.

There is another approach, however. Scientists could use the scraps of DNA they do find in preserved bodies to build up a map of a mammoth's genome. "Then you would use the same techniques that are employed in creating transgenic mice to make stretches of DNA – using your map as a guide – that you would then put into the embryo of an Asian elephant embryo which is the closest living relative of a mammoth," said Hofreiter.

"Bit by bit, you would continue with this process with separate pieces of mammoth DNA until you had completely replaced the DNA in your elephant embryo with mammoth DNA. You would now have an embryo with a mammoth genome it. This would then be placed in a female elephant in whom the embryo would develop to birth."

There are many difficulties with this approach, however. "A key point to remember is that elephants and mammoths each have about 4 billion DNA bases in their genomes," said Hofreiter. "However, the maximum size of the DNA section you can add is about 1 million bases. So you would have to repeat the process sequentially 4,000 times – without mishap – to create your mammoth embryo. The chances of that happening are also essentially zero." On top of these problems there is the simple issue of differences in proteins that exist between the Asian elephant that would be used as a surrogate mother and the mammoth embryo you have created. "It is quite possible that these differences would be big enough to make the embryo incompatible with the elephant. It is a further factor to suggest that mammoth cloning is not going to happen for a very long time indeed."

For good measure, there are other concerns that make the idea of cloning animals such as the mammoth controversial, added Lister.

In particular, there is the question of the ethics involved. "Mammoths were very similar to elephants, we believe," he said. "In other words, they were highly social, intelligent creatures. What right have we got to recreate one or two and then keep them in solitary confinement at zoos or research facilities? I have problems with those who think this is not a real issue."

Several other concerns also trouble scientists. Species are now being wiped off the planet at a staggering rate. The WWF has suggested a figure of around 10,000 species a year, for example, though these figures are disputed by other scientists.

The crucial point is that resources are desperately needed to help slow down the rate at which animals and plants are being rendered extinct. As a result, the idea of investing large amounts of money on reviving special interest species while the natural world is dwindling as the climate changes and human populations soar is leaving many scientists uncomfortable.

"We shouldn't be piling our cash into projects that could resurrect an already extinct large mammal," said Lister. "We should be trying to help those who are now hovering at the edge of extinction today. That would be the best way to invest our money in conservation."

And that's it. If you've made it this far you are now as aware of the woolly mammoth situation as you'll ever need to be. Oh, I should tell you that the article comes from the Guardian and was written by Rob McKie. If you’d like to see a photo of the beast, click here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--Bluegrass Breakdown, February 1986…”Mid-Summer bringing in nine top Eastern groups; Acts are being signed up fast for the August 1-2-3 Mid-Summer Bluegrass Festival sponsored by the Sacramento Bluegrass Society at Grass Valley. Latest to sign is the Tony Rice Band. Rice joins other stars already signed including: J.D. Crowe and the New South, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Seldom Scene, Norman Blake and The Rising Fawn Ensemble, The Vern Williams Band, Bryan Bowers, All-Star Jam featuring Chris Hillman, Vassar Clements, and Jerry Douglas; Kate Wolf; and Emmy Lou Harris. Emmy Lou will be doing bluegrass from her classic “Roses in the Snow” album. AND-many, many more local favorite bluegrass bands. Music will start with a “sound check” show for Thursday evening arrivals and a full Friday show, beginning at 10 a.m. is planned. The show will end around 6 p.m. Sunday night, with campers allowed to stay over until Monday at 10 a.m.” (Now, why, we hear some people asking, why would Mold Man select a news item from the Breakdown about the Mid-Summer festival as a “CBA MILESTONE”? Simple, really. The ad is from 1986, ten years after the first Fathers Day Festival and just eleven years after the Association was founded. The CBA was just beginning to build its membership and any events held in its service area, (essentially Northern California), that had the potential for creating new bluegrass fans was a major development. And you can believe that a line-up that included Rice, Crowe, Harris, Hillman, Douglas and Clements had such a potential.)

News right off the Bluegrass-L this morning--Del McCoury Band-new CD Septembmer 17th; Rob McCoury new CD the same day; Del Sings Woodie project in the works; Donnie Uliise-new CD next month; Larry Cordle Sings Duets new CD out next month; Rhonda Vincent new cd, 6 bluegrass songs and 6 country and Willie nelson will do a little bluegrass on it. Allen Culver, Streator,Illinois

Did you check to make sure the iron was turned off before you left the house this morning.--Okay, it’s time for a little quiz…KEEP YOUR TRAP SHUT, J.D….what do Thomas Jefferson, Charles Lindbergh, Steve Jobs, H.J. Heinz; librarian Melvil Dewey, who devised the Dewey Decimal System, cosmetics tycoon Estée Lauder; sexologist Alfred Kinsey, and baseball great Ted Williams all have in common? Well, according to Joshua Kendall, who just published his new book, "America's Obsessives: The Compulsive Energy That Built a Nation,” they all shared OCPD (Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder). For example, writes Kendall, while in a hospital bed being treated for cancer, Steve Jobs "ripped off his oxygen mask, railing that he hated its design...he ordered (his doctors) to begin work on five different options for a new mask." Red Sox Hall of Famer Ted Williams was "an order and cleanliness nut." And Estée Lauder was obsessed with touching other women’s faces, so she transformed her compulsion into a multi-billion-dollar corporation. And in this last example lies the heart of the author’s convincingly presented premise…figure out a way to turn your crazy into something really, really good and suddenly being crazy isn’t quite so bad. (Alas, I’ve been working on just this thing for over sixty years with not much success.) Click here.

And speaking of crazy-- Paul Sato…yup, but you’ve gotta love him. We’re a little late using this Facebook post of his but we’re using it anyways because it’s just so damned true. Writes Paul…”On a banjo website someone asked this question: ‘Are there any tips or tricks on staying in tune during live performance?’ I liked Dan Drabek's reply the best: ‘I need to tweak (my) tuning occasionally depending on how much I bend the strings. After the third beer, it never seems to go out of tune.” And while we’re on Paul, this one, also utterly true, was posted by him a few days later…”My pal, Patrick Sauber (formerly known as the L’enfant Terrible of Bluegrass) will again be on the Tonight Show this evening playing the banjo. Patrick was just on the Tonight Show in June playing mandolin with John Fogerty. What a talent!”

Hitler’s hands across the waters--I’ve often wondered why stories about Adolph Hitler hold such fascination for me…they always have. I think I’ve concluded that it’s because so much of the world I was born into in 1948 looked the way it did because of this crazier than crazy nutcase. In any event, it looks like I’ve got another book on my reading list…'The Collaboration: Hollywood's Pact With Hitler'. It turns out, writes the reviewer of Ben Urwand’s new book, that“…the golden age of Hollywood wasn't so bright after all. A nefarious side of Hollywood's history has been unveiled in the new book…which explores the U.S. movie industry's apparent contentious dealings with Nazi Germany during the 1930s. The author, a Harvard post-doctoral fellow,,,combed through archival documents that reportedly uncover negotiations between the two entities. The Hollywood Reporter notes that "collaboration" is a word that appears repeatedly throughout the correspondence, which details agreements to mitigate any unfavorable depictions of Germany or the Nazi Party in American movies.” Click here.

Okay, that’s it for Wednesday morning. But before I go, let me direct your attention to the “coming attractions” section, (to the right and up a bit). It’s all about SummerGrass down in San Diego, and if you haven’t been, you need to. Our friends Mike and Yvonne Tatar have put their very souls into this fest for eleven years now and, partly due to their work, it’s become a premiere bluegrass event out here in the west. Oh, and they’ve hired Bluegrass Etc. again this year, which, in my Moldy opinion, is reason enough to head south.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s 1937 in the deep south, and pals Ulysses Everett McGill, Pete Hogwallop and Delmar O'Donnell make a successful break from the chain gang at Parchman Farm and head out on an adventure to recover $1.2 million that Everett swears to have stolen in a robbery and buried before his incarceration. The three escapees have just four days to locate the buried treasure before a hydroelectric project floods the valley in which it was hidden. And so on…Of course the real story behind this bluegrass milestone is the movie, Oh Brother, Where Art Thou which chronicles the three hapless jailbirds. Written, produced, edited and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men), the movie was one of the biggest films that came out in 2000 and the interest it generated in bluegrass and roots music was, well, phenomenal. Within six months of the epic’s release, bluegrass bloggers and writers had coined the term, the OBWAT Effect, which could be seen in festival attendance around the country, bluegrass and old-time CD sales and club memberships. Ironically, not one of the eighteen songs that comprised the O Brother sound track (You Are My Sunshine, Po' Lazarus, Big Rock Candy Mountain, Down to the River to Pray, Man of Constant Sorrow, Keep on the Sunny Side, Hard Time Killing Floor Blues Whites, Didn't Leave Nobody But the Baby, In the Highways, O Death, I Am Weary, Let Me Rest, the Jailhouse Now, Lonesome Valley, and Angel Band), was actually written as a bluegrass song…though most were certainly brought into the genre during the forties and fifties and sixties.

Racy? Well, not quite--When I spotted the news item called “Banjo Babes” this morning here at my immediate thought was, okay, this time Cornish has really stepped in it. The objectification of women…banjo playing women, no less. The guy’s finally crossed the line. But, alas, on further examination it became apparent that this new calendar, and the CD that comes with it, was conceived of and produced by the very same banjo babes, local talent Evie Ladin being one of the twelve. Actually I’m thinking of asking Maudie for one as a stocking stuffer come Christmas time. Click here.

Well, who’d a thought? You don’t have to be an evolution believer to see a little irony in this story. For most people, I think, the term survival of the fittest just naturally conjures up images of a grand and existential competition, (think Hunger Games), in which the most aggressive, most keenly self-serving of the participants wins the right to pass her/his blood line along to the next generation. Well, it turns out that there’s pretty solid evidence that this wasn’t necessarily the case. Cultural anthropologists at the University of Michigan recently published a paper that turns the “nice guy finishes last” paradigm on its head. Turns out, in most cases the UN-selfishness gene, that is, the one that accounts for cooperative problem solving and loyalty to the tribe is what tended to help people survive and pass along those kumbaya chromosomes. “Nice Guys Don’t Finish Last? Evolution May Favor the Unselfish” is a very short video news story that explains. Click here.

And here’s more good news--From…”Jesse McReynolds, Grand Ole Opry Legend and a member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, Master mandolin pioneer and bluegrass songwriter par excellence, is at home and wearing a heart monitor after being diagnosed recently with an irregular heartbeat. He still maintains a touring schedule, after celebrating his 84th birthday in July. His doctors have asked him to keep a low profile while they determine whether he needs to have a pacemaker installed. Jesse's wife Joy tells us that he is feeling well. "He is up and about, but trying not to overdo it until we get a handle on this. The hardest part for an active guy like him is taking it easy. But he's playing his mandolin and taking advantage of this time to practice and write new songs. We appreciate everyone's prayers!" Cards and words of encouragement can be sent to:

Jesse McReynolds
PO Box 1385
Gallatin, TN 37066

How come things can’t be simple like they used to be? Wait, did they used to be simple?-Writes Mildred Roberts Criswell on the Message Board yesterday, “So I guess we can't play at senior centers, and rest homes without "protection" If a person joins the musicians union are they covered? If I close my doors could I jam at home with a few friends? I don't know much about that stuff. Scares me. I am referring to the article on East Bay Express newspaper.” Mildred was referring to a news item the Web Team featured a couple days ago called ASCAP Targets Farmers' Markets and House Venues. Now, at first blush, this seems like a pretty open-and-shut case with the usual cast of characters…the money-grubbing Simon McGree suits back in New York vs. the pickers who want nothing more than to play the music they grew up with and to help pass it along to the next generation. However, nothing’s easy and straightforward anymore. One need only go to the Bluegrass L, were there’s a strong contingent of professional musicians and published songwriters, to hear the other side. The songwriter’s side. A thorny issue to be sure. I’m nearing my fortieth year as a fully immersed bluegrass junky and I can tell you this ASCAP-BMI scorched earth story simply won’t go away. No, the Mold Man is certainly no supporter of the heavy handed tactics that are reported in the East Bay Express story; the idea of putting the hurt on decent, generous folks who open up their home in order to provide performers with a venue, albeit small, or of charging people money to entertain shut-ins…and in the process to preach the gospel of bluegrass, is appalling. But that said, songwriters, and most especially the little guys, deserve to be compensated for their creative pursuits. It’s the American way! Click here.

Monday, August 5, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--December 17, 2007, regular visitors to log on to see what’s up and discover a new Welcome columnist is making his debut. They also discover that the new guy’s writing style is one they recognize right away…because, of course, they read his stuff all the time. Mark Varner, Editor and Chief of the Bluegrass Breakdown, has somehow been co-opted into churning out even more copy, and not once per month like most of the columnists; he’s taking over EVERY Monday. There’s an expression, a proverbial saying, that comes to mind when thinking of the years of Monday morning missives that invariably begin, “Dear friends”, and that is Better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Our friend has never shied away from sharing his take on the controversy of the day. In fact, you could argue that his favorite target is whichever elephant happens to be on the table at any given time. Mark Varner taking on the Welcomer role a CBA milestone? You betcha.

How not to win friends on the Orlando Police Department--Sometimes you’ve just got to just stand back and scratch your head…”Orlando police K-9 recovering after near drowning at hands of suspect, cops say. An Orlando police K-9 is recovering after authorities say a suspected burglar repeatedly held the dog underwater, nearly drowning him. Seabee and his handler were responding reports of a burglar Thursday at about 1:30 p.m. The German Shepherd found 18-year-old suspect Landon Bradley Barnes and followed him into a swampy area near Druid Lake after he was reportedly chased by a woman. Police say Barnes held Seabee underwater as the dog tried to force the teen out of the lake. Seabee spent the night recovering at an animal hospital. He was released Friday but police said he has a high fever and there is the potential for infections.” And what of young Mr. Barnes? Well, let’s just say that a burglary charge is the least of his problems.

All that jazz--Reports…”John Reischman and John Miller - Road Trip. John Reischman and John Miller have released their third duo project, a sublime collection of mostly original jazz and Latin compositions for mandolin and guitar entitled "Road Trip," with support from Cary Black on bass and Joel Litwin on drums and percussion.” If you’d like to have a little nibble of what surely is one very sumptuous meal, just click on over to the café. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Sir, let it be known that I for one find your preferred source for so much of the content found here each day to be utterly wanting and a betrayal of your thinly disguised ultra-liberal leanings. If it’s not a byline it’s one from Salon or, worse, Mother Jones. Believe it or not, it’s altogether possible to be both informed and entertained by news blogs without a hidden agenda. It’s my understanding that talking politics is verboten here at the CBA web site, and I’m certainly grateful for that. Perhaps a next step would be to shoot for a little balance in the news and opinion sources you mine each day. Samuel O’Byrnes from South San Francisco.” Dear SOB, thanks for your advice. Here’s a little something a I tripped over during one of my daily forays into the world of Fox News…

MOLD MAN’S LIST OF THE WEEK--F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Recently Discovered Must-Read List. As the story goes, the “Great Gatsby author, considered by many to be among the best half dozen or so 20th Century American writers, found himself holed-up in a North Carolina hotel trying, unfortunately in vain, to achieve a state of sobriety and became pals with his attending nurse, a certain Ms. Dorothy Richardson. Specifically, what was recently discovered was a scribbled reading list the writer compiled for his nurse.

• Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser
• The Life of Jesus, by Ernest Renan
• A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen
• Winesburg, Ohio, by Sherwood Anderson
• The Old Wives’ Tale, by Arnold Bennett
• The Maltese Falcon, by Dashiel Hammett
• The Red and the Black, by Stendahl
• The Short Stories of Guy De Maupassant,
• An Outline of Abnormal Psychology
• The Stories of Anton Chekhov,
• The Best American Humorous Short Stories,
• Victory, by Joseph Conrad
• The Revolt of the Angels, by Anatole France
• The Plays of Oscar Wilde
• Sanctuary, by William Faulkner
• Within a Budding Grove, by Marcel Proust
• The Guermantes Way, by Marcel Proust
• Swann’s Way, by Marcel Proust
• South Wind, by Norman Douglas
• The Garden Party, by Katherine Mansfield
• War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy

Twenty years? You’ve got to be kidding--No, we’re absolutely on the level here. Next weekend prepare to be entertained at the 20th Annual Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival August 8-11, 2013 at Bolado Park in Tres Pinos. My Lord where does the time go? Paul Knight will be in Hollister to do his soundboard magic, as will Blue Sun catering, whose healthy, sunny offerings are responsible for their own bit of magic. (Try Sun’s veggie Rueben and amazed.) For a little taste of what to expect music-wise, here’s Saturday evening’s schedule…

6:00 — Houston Jones
7:00 — Central Valley Boys
8:00 — Sidesaddle & Co
9:00 — Snap Jackson & The Knock on Wood Players

Oh, did we mention you’ll probably find a jam or two if your bottom gets sore sitting up at the stage?

”Oh, well excuse me. I didn’t realize that sort of thing was frowned upon here at city hall”--Unless you’ve just escaped your FARC captors in the Columbian rain forest you’ve no doubt read-seen-and-heard the pickle good old boy Bob Filner’s gotten himself into down in San Diego. He’s the seventy year old recently elected mayor who can’t seem to keep his hands, (and lips, apparently), off members of the opposite sex. But in fairness, Bob has marshaled an out-of-the-box defense; if the City of San Diego had required their mayor to undergo the sexual harassment course attended by each and every one of his underlings, his honor would have almost certainly known it was not okay for him to be groping women during breaks at city council meetings. In fact, dammit, Filner’s attorney is going one step further and is demanding that the municipality fork over the dough to cover the poor guy’s legal defense. How do you say chutzpa in San Diegan?

Friday, August 2, 2013

MILESTONE--June 16, 1979, Don Tucker and his wife Barb go into hock to try their hand at producing a little music fest in the High Desert of Southern California. The two decide to call the event the Huck Finn Jubilee. Thirty-six years later, after pouring his heart and soul into what became one of the finest and best-loved bluegrass gatherings on the West Coast, Don dies suddenly, the victim of a massive stroke. The family carries on the tradition for one year; then in late July, 2013, Barbara Tucker announces to her coast-to-coast bluegrass family that Huck Finn will be no more, and we find ourselves mourning the passing of our friend Don all over again. If you’re a California bluegrasser, one of us whose life orbits around the music of Bill and Ralph and Carter and Lester and Earl, you owe a debt to this gentle, visionary powerhouse of a man. He helped bring the best of the best out here to the West for close to four decades and, in the process, won hundreds of thousands of hearts and souls to the music we love so well. If ever there was a date that could be called a bluegrass milestone, June 16, 1979, was one. (I invite you to take a few minutes and read a little about Don...he was quite a man. Click here.

Follow-up story--Never one to ignore a good piece of advice, I am these days on the prowl for the second chapter of stories posted here at the Mold News. One such is the story we shared week before last…Alan Jackson, iconic contemporary country singing sensation, decides to try his hand at bluegrass. No pronouncement on the degree of success his new endeavor would achieve in that first article, but it looks as though the word is now definitely in, at least according to Bob Cherry over at “Alan Jackson Picks It Right on The Bluegrass Album--Country music's Alan Jackson ventured into the Bluegrass Music arena with his latest project, The Bluegrass Album. This is the first Country to Bluegrass artist to hit the mark and hit it dead center. Jackson is quite the bluegrass songwriter! His songs on the album are what makes this project so unique. Jackson literally nailed it with this release. This is bluegrass done right. From the opening track, "Long Hard Road," the music, lyrics and sound are what today's bluegrass should sound like and, it does. "Appalachian Mountain Girl" is another Jackson original that confirms he can play solid bluegrass music. Jackson's originals have the heart and soul of bluegrass deep to the core. "Blue Ridge Mountain Song" is another fine example of the storyline ballad style accompanied by solid instrumentation. By bringing a host of top bluegrass musicians into the mix, Jackson achieved a bluegrass sound. From Adam Steffey's mandolin to Rob Ickes Dobro and Sammy Shelor's banjo the combination rings true to a genre that often is intolerant of deviations. On The Bluegrass Album, the boundaries are definitely stretched but, in a way that even hard-core bluegrass fans will enjoy. Click here.

As though we had to be told--Living in America will drive you insane—literally…Data suggests the US is experiencing an epidemic of crippling mental illness. We may have only ourselves to blame. In “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?” (New York Review of Books, 2011), Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, pathologizing of normal behaviors, Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, and the adverse effects of psychiatric medications. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason. A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in “progress” has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment. For many of us, society has become increasingly alienating, isolating and insane, and earning a buck means more degrees, compliance, ass-kissing, shit-eating, and inauthenticity. So, we want to rebel. However, many of us feel hopeless about the possibility of either our own escape from societal oppression or that political activism can create societal change. So, many of us, especially young Americans, rebel by what is commonly called mental illness. Click here.

Folks to watch…er…to listen to--Over the years I’ve found that NPR does a particularly good job in its music reporting, and never so good as its predictions about what, or who, is just around the bend. That’s why this story from last week caught my attention. “5 New Faces Of Folk, At The 2013 Newport Folk Festival…Newport’s history is dotted with historic moments involving musical icons—Bob Dylan plugging in jumps immediately to mind. But, while organizers still take care to stack each festival with huge names and star, the margins are smartly and lovingly curated, too. The 2013 Newport Folk Festival is no different, with an impressive slate of boundary-pushers and genre-eschewers. Here are five of the newest and most promising faces, with a downloadable song from each. Catch them live during of the festival this weekend. Click here.

This weekend--Lots of reasons to be happy with your decision way back when to settle here in the northern half of California. A quick perusal of the CBA’s online calendar reveals that during the course of just a couple of days and nights you’ll be able to catch the likes of Sam Bush, the Deadly Gentlement, the wonderful Nina Gerber, Red Dog Ash, the Sierra Mountain Band, Sagebrush, Old Belle and a half dozen others. Have a look for yourself...Click here.

Okay, we’re out of here. Maudie tells me she’s got a “full weekend” planned for me, which can only mean I’ll be dragging when I limp back in on Monday morning. You have a good one…and remember, live bluegrass music will only stay live if you want it to.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

A little warning…if you don’t have a lot of time this morning reading-wise, let me recommend that you skip down to The most beautiful melody in the world. It’s a good one.

MILESTONE--April, 1990, Suzanne Dension uses the Bluegrass Breakdown to introduce the 1989 SPBGMA Music Awards…

Preservation Hall: Larry Sparks, John Duffey, and Charlie Moore
Bluegrass Promoter of the Year: Melvin Goins
Bluegrass Radio Station of the Year: WRVU-FM Nashville
Bluegrass DJ of the Year: Judy Masters (WPAY-FM)
Regional Newsletter of the Year: Kentucky Friends of Bluegrass
Editor of the Year: Dottie Sallee (OH/KY/IN Bluegrass Assn.)
Bluegrass Publication of the Year (Overall): (IBMA)
Features Writer of the Year: Pete Goble and Leroy Drumm
Bluegrass Album of the Year: I Heard the Angels Singing – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver on Sugar Hill Records
Bluegrass Bass Fiddle of the Year: Travis Lewis
Bluegrass Dobro of the Year: John Graves
Bluegrass Guitar of the Year (Rhythm): Wallace “John” Crowe
Bluegrass Guitar of the Year (Lead): Doc Watson
Bluegrass Mandolin of the Year: Elmer Bird
Bluegrass Banjo of the Year: Raymond Fairchild
Old-time Fiddle of the Year: Chubby Wise
Bluegrass Fiddle of the Year: Kenny Baker
Female Vocalist of the Year (Contemporary): Sheri Easter
Female Vocalist of the Year (Traditional): Emma Smith
Female Vocalist of the Year (Overall): Polly Lewis
Male Vocalist of the Year (Contemporary): Tony Rice
Male Vocalist of the Year (Traditional): Bobby Osborne
Male Vocalist of the Year (Overall): Larry Sparks
Old-time Stringband of the Year: Foster Family Stringband
Gospel Band of the Year (Contemp.): Doyle Lawson & QS
Gospel BG Band of the Year (Traditional): The Lewis Family
Gospel BG Band of Year (Overall): Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Entertaining Bluegrass Band: Bill Mounce and His Outlaws
Band of the Year (Contemporary): Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Bluegrass Band of the Year (Traditional): Jim and Jesse
Bluegrass Band of the Year (Vocally): Country Gentlemen
Band of the Year (Instrum.): Fairchild/
Band of the Year (Overall): Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver
Entertainer of the Year: Bill Mounce

(Editor’s note: for the first time ever, the CBA had a nomination in the awards for the Best Newsletter Editor, and I thank whoever nominated me. SD)

Finally, some good news for RT--“Randy Travis Discharged From Hospital, Moved To Physical Therapy Center…PLANO, Texas (AP) — Country music star Randy Travis is out of the hospital three weeks after he was admitted with congestive heart failure and later suffered a stroke. A statement Wednesday says Travis has been discharged from The Heart Hospital Baylor Plano near Dallas, where he'd been admitted July 7. The statement from publicist Kirt Webster goes on to say Travis has been moved to a physical therapy center for further treatment for a stroke he suffered July 10. The 54-year-old singer developed the heart failure due to a viral illness. The stroke prompted surgeons to operate to relieve pressure on his brain. Travis' fiancee Mary Davis gave thanks for the prayers and support the singer received from fans and friends for his recovery.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man,
This is a delightful and charming story about my and my brother Brooks' favorite of all time Father of Country Music - the great Jimmie Rodgers. We have no idea if the story is true. We are a bit skeptical. One thing we do know for sure, however, is that you've spelled our hero's name incorrectly and that will not be tolerated. We expect you to get it right. Give the man the respect he deserves: Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmie Rodgers.
Here is the story again for those who missed it yesterday. Does anyone know if it's true? You avid fan (on the condition you correct the spelling error) Maria Nadauld.” Okay, Maria, spelling error fixed. Now, with respect to your question re: the veracity of the story, a couple things. First, the mere fact that you have to ask is more than a little hurtful to this old moldy man. Certainly you don’t think I would be making stories up. Do you? Second, and I’ll preface this with a little something my first father-in-law used to tell…A LOT. “Boy,” he said, “don’t ever ask anybody a question unless you’re sure you want to hear the truth.” Okay, so, actually it turns out there are two versions of this story. My source, Wikipedia, tells it this way…

”In late July 1927, Rodgers' bandmates learned that Ralph Peer, a representative of the Victor Talking Machine Company, was coming to Bristol to hold an audition for local musicians. Rodgers and the group arrived in Bristol on August 3, 1927, and auditioned for Peer in an empty warehouse. Peer agreed to record them the next day. That night, as the band discussed how they would be billed on the record, an argument ensued, the band broke up, and Rodgers arrived at the recording session the next morning alone. However, in a videotaped interview, Claude Grant of the Tenneva Ramblers gave a totally different reason for the band's breakup. Rodgers had taken some guitars on consignment. He sold them but did not pay back the music stores which supplied the guitars. Grant said that the band broke up because they did not agree with that.

So as you can see, avid fan, the Moldman chose the more Rodgers-friendly to the two alternative narratives.

The most beautiful melody in the world--Occasionally I’ll accidentally stumble upon a newspaper or blog article that ends up turning my whole day upside down. “The Most Beautiful Melody in the World; You know it when you hear it” by Jan Swafford, Courtesy of Carl Van Vechten/Library of Congress, was such a piece. I read it in the morning, spent the remainder of the day turning it over and over in my little brain, and went back in the evening and read the article a second time. “OK, I'm not actually proposing to name the most beautiful melody in the world—I'm not that arrogant or that dumb (though I do have some thoughts on the matter, which I’ll share below). For now, I want to offer a small tour of some of the most beautiful and enduring melodies I happen to know, and talk about what makes them that way. Will we thereby find the eternal secret of great melody? Well, no. But it's one of those questions that can get you somewhere if you don't take it too seriously. Click here.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--“Annual Meeting a Success Despite Rain, Earthquake and High Winds”…Over 200 CBA members and friends braved inclement weather and after affects of the October earthquake to attend the October 22 Annual Meeting and Election in Stockton. It was a day of reunions, meeting new friends and both listening to and playing some good music. Rick Abrams and Dave Rainwater kicked off the entertainment on the wind-swept state. They were joined by Ron Morris on bass and Don Denison on guitar for their first set. The Piney Creek Weasels, with all members presented, played both a morning and afternoon set with their usual high-energy and great sound. Carl Pagter joined them in their after set for a double-banjo treat.” The Bluegrass Breakdown, December, 1989

Sonora Democrat, Wednesday, July 31, 2013-- Popular local musician Ron Delacy has passed away. The Columbia resident entertained a countless number of fans in the 1990's when he and Dave Cavanaugh formed the group Doodoo Wah. They were one of the most popular acts in the region, and also toured nationwide. Friends and fans alike were sad to hear that Delacy passed away Monday morning following a long battle with cancer. When contacted this morning, Cavanaugh said Delacy will be greatly missed, and that he had a great way of connecting with people through his music. "He had a self-deprecating wit, and was just a real person that kind of said what everybody was thinking," says Cavanaugh. "He had a way of putting it into common words." Doodoo Wah had performed only sparingly over recent years. They had produced a total of six CD's.” Click here.

Putin-Like Things--Russians know all about suffering. Some would argue that, as an entire nation, they’ve taken that basic of all human conditions and elevated it to an art form. Of course, cultural outlierism doesn’t just happen…first, a people must have the requisite predisposition. Dostoevsky said it best--"the most basic, most rudimentary spiritual need of the Russian people is the need for suffering, ever-present and unquenchable, everywhere and in everything". And equally important is a unique historical context, in the case of national angst being the hellaciously cold, gray and damp Russian winters, one of man kind’s most crushing systems of serfdom, (which was initiated all the way back in the 10th century), and a seemingly endless string of world-class dictators as able to distinguish themselves by their trademark silliness as they are by their unique brand of racial genocide. Put it all together in just the right proportions and you’ve got yourself close to one hundred and fifty million very miserable people. Oh, the latest trademarked silliness? “UPI…Putin Continues to Do Putin-Like Things, This Time With a Fish" Click here.

There can never be too many web-based sources of bluegrass news…at least that’s what we’re counting on--I’ve mentioned here more than once that the IBMA has been working for what seems years on the launch of a solid, content-driven Internet site. Not an association homepage…they’ve had an okay one of those for years; what they’ve wanted to do is create a spot on the www where bluegrassers can depend on finding fresh and useful information. Well, it looks to us at the Mold News like their BLUEGRASS NATION, (, is close to hitting the mark. This morning, for example, you can find articles about Della Mae, RockyGrass, Alan Jackson’s unique attempt to break into bluegrass, a very entertaining telephone interview with the recently-turned-42 Alison Krauss, courtesy of the Boston Globe’s still totally free Internet version, and a ton of other stuff. So, is this a recommendation to visit BLUEGRASS NATION? Yes, I believe it is. Click here.

No warm cookie--If you grew up in the East Bay or any of its suburbs to the east you will instantly recognized the name Santa Rita as being the jurisdiction’s county lock-up. And depending on what kind of childhood and adolescence you had, the two words uttered in one phrase could also send a chill up your spine. I’d be counting myself in both groups so it wasn’t surprising that I immediately spotted the following news story and had to read every bit of it. ”California Prison's 'Pay-To-Stay' Option Offers 'Quieter' Rooms--Perhaps money can’t buy you love. But in one Alameda County jail, it can buy you a comfier stay. The Fremont police department now offers a “pay-to-stay” option for inmates who wish to stay in its facilities to avoid the rowdier county jails of Oakland or Dublin. For $155 a day, inmates ordered to short jail stints can opt to stay in the “smaller, quieter” Fremont facility away from the county jail population, said Lt. Mark Devine, who oversees the program. Include the one-time fee of $45, and the cost is similar to that of a three-star hotel. But make no mistakes, said Devine, it is still a jail: “You do get cable TV, but you don’t get a warm cookie on your bed.” The option is a good alternative for those charged with misdemeanors and have a jail sentence of ten days or less, said Devine.” Click here.Tuesday, July 30, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s 1927 and they call themselves the Tenneva Ramblers. When the band learns that a representative from the Victor Talking Machine Company will be in town, (Asheville, North Carolina) in late July scouting ‘local talent” to record, they jump on the opportunity like a dog on a bone. The group’s audition, held in an abandoned warehouse, goes swimmingly and the band’s hired to return the next morning to record some tunes on Victor’s state-of-the-art equipment. Problem is, during a band meeting held immediately after the audition a disagreement erupts about how the band will be billed on the new record when it’s commercially released; the only thing the hot-headed young musicians can agree upon is the immediate dissolution of the Tenneva Ramblers. And so it happens that when the newest member of the now-defunct band shows up the next morning (obviously not having “received the memo”) he’s the only performer in the house (warehouse, that is) and so the Victor rep, a man named Ralph Peer, agrees to cut a few solo tunes. Between 2:00 and 4:20 p.m. two songs, "The Soldier's Sweetheart" and "Sleep, Baby, Sleep" are recorded and the thirty year old singer from Geiger, Alabama, is paid a hundred dollars…fifty bucks an hour and just enough to keep Jimmy Rodgers interested in pursuing a career in the biz. Though Rodgers, who will pass only six years later, had not an inkling of it, his music would profoundly effect a brand new genre music a decade and a half later.

Good sense--A poll done just day before yesterday shows that Anthony Weiner has dropped from first to fourth place in the NYC mayoral race. Says Maudie upon reading the newspaper article, “Finally, those New York City people are showing some good sense.”

Very bad news--Larry Carlin’s gotten word that Ron Delacy of the decades-running Sonora-based duo, Doodoo Wah, has died. A good guy and a truly funny and talented singer and songwriter. The Motherlode will not be the same.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--6 Things You Thought Wrong About Introverts

1. All introverts are shy -- and all shy people are introverts.

2. Introverts don't like to be around people.

3. Introverts don't make good leaders or public speakers.

4. Introverts have more negative personalities.

5. Introverts are more intellectual or creative than extroverts.

6. It's easy to tell whether someone is introverted or extroverted.

And, no, it’s not the Mold Man’s style to expect that you’ll take my word for all this; check out the source document at HuffPost. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover that you’ve been a closest introvert all these years and didn’t even know it.

Tip from Bill Evans--“I don't do this kind of thing very often,” writes the world-famous banjoist not typically associated with the world of Rock and Roll, “but if you're a Beatles fan and haven't seen Paul's June 2013 performance of "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" on the Colbert Report, check this out. Note the bass line that he plays (nailing the Sgt. Pepper recorded version note-for-note) while singing...not to mention how great the band is playing. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Dear Mold Man, I read yesterday in the Welcome column that the epic fund-raising scheme you told us so much about in the weeks leading up to the Fathers Day Festival, the Contribute-to-the-Web-Site-Reformation-Fund-and-Get-a-Button, raised a paltry five hundred bucks, not a king’s ransom when it comes to hiring .net programmers at a hundred and twenty bucks an hour. What went wrong? We’ve seen as many of Cornish’s schemes go wrong as go right, but I guess most of us…okay, I’ll speak for myself…figured that if you were involved the operation had at least some chance for success. I’ll take my answer off the air…Disillusioned from Orangevale.” Well, DFO, I guess success is in the eye of the beholder. True, not much dough, but a hell of a lot of buttons. You see, our strategy was not to SELL the buttons and frig-magnets, but rather to give them as GIFTS to festivalgoers who donated to the web site improvement project. Where Cornish and I differed was on the minimum donation amount needed to get the thank-you button. I said $5, he insisted on $2 and, well, there you have it. But WE’RE NOT GIVING UP! We have a new campaign that we’ll be launching right here on in the next few weeks. Twenty dollar donations will be accepted and donors will get to select 10 buttons/magnets of their choice. And believe me, there will be hundreds to choose from. Here’s a sample of just six. Click here.

And finally, for the legions out there who once again planted way more vegis than they and their families and friends and neighbors and work mates could possibly eat--Pretty much any time of the year, but especially during the summer months, I have a fool-proof atta-boy generator…it’s called gazpacho and my wife adores it. Found a new recipe and will try it the moment my tomatoes start ripening…”Texas Summer Gazpacho--Makes about four servings.

About 1.5 pounds assorted ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 cucumber, about a half pound, sliced lengthwise, seeds removed with the scrape of a spoon
1 clove garlic, crushed and peeled
1 small shallot, peeled and sliced
1 small red-hot chile pepper, sliced; or several slices of pickled chile pepper; or, simply, crushed red chile flakes
1 tablespoon vinegar—sherry or apple cider—and a little more if needed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Several sprigs of parsley, coarsely chopped
Several chives, coarsely chopped

For garnish:
Extra-virgin olive oil
More parsley and/or chives, finely minced

Put about half of the tomatoes into a blender and whir until smooth. (This will make room for the rest.) Now add everything else, holding back some of the chile, and leaving out the the garnishes. Whir until smooth. Taste, and consider whether adding more salt, chile, or vinegar is desirable. Adjust accordingly, and whir again. Place the blender in the fridge for at least an hour to chill, and put some small drinking glasses, one for each serving, into the freezer.

When you're ready to serve, remove the blender of gazpacho from the fridge and give it one last whir. To serve, fill each chilled glass about three-quarters way with gazpacho, and add a dash of olive oil. Stir with a spoon to incorporate, and top with chopped herbs. Encourage everyone to sip it like a beverage.

Store any leftovers in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, in the fridge. It will hold peak flavor for about 24 hours.”

Maude and I use one additional garnish…a nice dollop of low-fat yogurt. So good.

Monday, July 29, 2013.

MILESTONE--COMING UP! LABOR DAY WEEKEND STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL #10...Camp Mather, Yosemite, California--Robert Earl Keen, Way Out West, 8th Avenue String Band, Marley’s Ghost, John Hartford, Hot Rize with Red Knuckles and the Trail Blazers, New Grass Revival, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Hot Rize, David Bromberg, Bryan Bowers, Bob Brozman, Nanci Griffith, Master of Ceremonies – Dallas Dobro (So, you think maybe they used to do more bluegrass than nowadays? Still one of the best events of the year.)

Sayeth the man hisself--”’This is the most accurate tuner that I've ever used.’ Snap J D'Addario Introduces NS Micro Tuner…Farmingdale, N.Y. — D'Addario and Planet Waves is proud to announce the launch of the new NS Micro Tuner, the next iteration in its family of clip-on, headstock tuners. ‘Always striving to improve, we're thrilled about this new iteration of Planet Waves' clip-on tuner,’ says Planet Waves Product Manager, Rob Cunningham. "The minuscule design allows players to enjoy effortless and inconspicuous tuning! They'll want one for every instrument.’ Designed in conjunction with Ned Steinberger, and even smaller than its predecessor the NS Mini Headstock tuner, Planet Waves' NEW NS Micro Tuner's stealthy, lightweight design allows it to be clipped to the back of the headstock. This allows for the musician to have a full view of the screen while the tuner remains virtually undetectable by the audience.

(Let us please note that D’Addario is a long, long, long-time sponsor of the CBA’s Fathers Day Festival and let us also note that this Mold News item had EVERYTHING to do with Snap’s recommendation and nothing to do with the sponsorship. Really. Oh, it’s $32.) Click here.

Well, I don’t like the sound of this one bit--From Bill Evans, passed to me by Rick Cornish…”Hey Rick, I hope you're having a good weekend. I can follow up with a phone call but I wanted to write to tell you that I'm going to need to let go of my Welcome Message column for at least the next six months. I am completely overwhelmed with everything from writing the second edition of "Banjo For Dummies" to an upcoming move (my wife and I just became homeowners). Next month's column is due on our closing date and the September column is due during my showcase week at IBMA and the October column is due during the banjo camp that I co-host with Sonny Osborne....well, you get the picture. I would like to keep the door open of starting again maybe the first of the year, but I really need to be relieved of this responsibility for now. Thank you for giving me this opportunity however. I'm hoping you can quickly find someone else to step in. All the best, Bill” Response back to Bill…”Well now, this is one of those mother-in-law-drives-off-the-cliff-in-your-BMW stories; bad news for our web site visitors, but, for all the reasons you've given, good news for you. We're happy you’re so busy…Lord knows you deserve it. I figure I've had well over three dozen Welcome writers since we started this thing eight years ago, Bill. Clearly you’ve ranked in the top ten or so. I never felt, not once, like you were phoning it. Your pieces were always thoughtful and they filled the Welcomer-Message-from-the-Pro slot very nicely. OF COURSE you'll be welcomed back. When you're ready just say the word. And thank you very, very much for the work you put in on the monthly column. R”

Ode to Joy--From Imperfect Harmony: Finding Happiness While Singing With Others by Stacy Horn “Join a choir. Science shows it’ll make you feel better. It doesn't even matter if you can't sing well. Singing is a surefire way of feeling good. I used to think choir singing was only was for nerds and church people. Since I was neither, I never considered singing in a group—even though I loved singing by myself. Then, in my 20s, I found myself facing a big, black hole of depression. I remembered how much fun I had once singing Christmas carols with a boyfriend at his church. Desperation forced my hand. I joined a community choir. Except that at that first performance, we didn't sing Christmas carols—we sang a piece of music that was 230 pages long: Handel's Messiah. It was magnificent. I was left vibrating with a wondrous sense of musical rapport. Since that performance, I haven't found the sorrow that couldn't be at least somewhat alleviated, or the joy that couldn't be made even greater, by singing.

Singing is such a surefire way of feeling good that even singing about death is life-enhancing, which is fortunate, because if you sing in a choir, you're going to be singing about death. A lot. Typically, every spring, choirs all around the world will sing the Requiem Mass, a mass for the dead which has been set to music by many of our greatest composers. But despite all that death, singing requiems is emotionally heartening, and you get a real physical rush. That's because when I get up and sing the cheery words—“Dies illa, dies iræ, calamitátis et misériæ, dies magna et amára valde” (“That day, day of wrath, calamity, and misery, day of great and exceeding bitterness”)—my brain supplies in perfect combination some of the best opiates and stimulants it has evolved to dispense. Click here.

This is just plain sad--Bruce Campbell on Facebook…”I've been a Giants fan for many decades. This season seems over. I'll keep rooting of course, but nothing I see in the post 4 weeks or so indicates a big turnaround.Friday, July 26, 2013

Good morning. Another week in paradise inches its way toward the history books. Before beginning with our Bluegrass Milestone item for the day, I want to share something with you that you otherwise may miss. Some days, as I’m sure at least some of you have noticed, the web team people use the specie just below the masthead at the very top of this page to get word out about one thing or another. I have to confess that sometimes I miss the announcement altogether, let alone actually take the time to read it. This morning I did notice AND READ what the team posted and I think it’s pretty important so I’ll put the note back out here in the Mold.

A note to Facebookers...For a while now the Association has maintained a FB account called simply California Bluegrass Association. In the past six months traffic on the CBA Facebook page has steadily increased and as it has, visitorship at has also risen to levels we’ve not seen in several years. Perhaps not coincidentally, so too has CBA membership, which, as of this morning, is just shy of 2,700 souls, a number we haven’t seen in over five years. Smarter folks than your web team members understand the full range of the social media dynamics at play here. What we do know, however, is that our Facebook presence is responsible for more bluegrassers coming here, and that’s a good thing; more folks visiting this page means more people coming to our events means the better we’re able to keep ticket prices down. We ask that you visit our FB page and that when the opportunity arises you steer your Facebook friends in that direction.

A connection between the number of visitors to the Association’s web site and what the Association charges for attendance at its events? You bet there is.

CBA MILESTONE--So, the articles of incorporation have been written and accepted in Sacramento, the by-laws have been hammered out and now the California Bluegrass Association is ready to enroll members. But wait. Who’ll be the first? Who ever it is will be forever known as NUMBER ONE. So the three central figures in the Association’s formation, Carl Pagter, Jack Sadler and Jake Quesenberry, do the common sense thing…they draw straws. Carl’s is longest and, yes, thirty-eight years later we still call him #1.

Sacramento Area Vice President checking in--John Hettinger posted his Sacto Bluegrass Newsletter yesterday and will be snail mailing them soon. He’s got a lot to report, but four events stand out bear special mention here…

One, John and his lovely and ever-so-patient wife Loretta will once again hold their Annual House Jam / Potluck, Folsom, August 17.

Two, Nicholson’s MusiCafe Wednesday night jam, also in Folsom, has become a happening gathering and John would like you to know that the establishment’s owner, Rick Sims, has pulled out all the stops in making CBA’ers welcome. “Every Wednesday, 600 - 900 PM, at the MusiCafe, 632 E Bidwell, Folsom, 916-984-3020. Come out and enjoy some live bluegrass music. You can also perform your favorite songs before a live audience &/or jam outside the cafe. No cover; food & drinks available.”

Three, a KVMR Radio fundraiser is coming up on August 11 and will be held at the Camino Boeger Winery. Music will be provided by Keith Little and special guests, Old West Trio, Suzanne Todd & the Random Strangers plus Val Pease, & Merrygold. More info at Tickets will be on sale at the door, $10 for KVMR members, $15 for the general public.

And four, the very successful Hog Wild Saturday BBQ series continues in Placerville, Saturdays, Placerville. “Con?rmed bands are Banner Mountain Boys on August 3, Natural Drift on August 17, & Hill Country with special guests on August 31. Come out & enjoy some great bluegrass music that goes so well with their BBQ.”

Good by low level feelings of superiority--Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m nothing if not completely honest about my foibles, particularly those that spring from one or another of my nearly limitless range of neurotic ticks. For example, every time the young kid behind the counter throws out my choices of bread for my sub sandwich I automatically reply, “but whole-wheat, of course,” the strong implication being that, as a well informed and committed member of the health-conscious baby-boomer demographic, there could be no other acceptable option. Until last Friday, that is. It was just one week ago that I spotted the following headline…”Whole-grain Foods Aren’t Always Healthy--they've become synonymous with a balanced diet, but some processed forms can increase cardiovascular risks. In last month’s Scientific American the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) reaffirmed in a report that fiber-rich whole grains lower the risks of diabetes and heart disease. Media outlets such as Reuters duly reported the news, but many failed to point out a crucial detail: some whole grains may do nothing to reduce disease risks. In fact, many foods legally marketed as whole grains could actually harm health.” Sure, I still select the whole-wheat roles, but the feel-good rush that came with it is forever gone…another of life’s little pleasures snatched away by the research scientists. Watch, next month they’ll tell us to steer clear of the wonder food Kale. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mr. Man, since you began your column last fall I’ve written a few times with what I consider to be good tips on improving your cred in the bluegrass community. That you’ve chosen to not even acknowledge my reaching out to you, much less to take some of the damned good advice I’ve offered, I’m giving you a public ultimatum…either you take the following recommendation or I’m finished trying to help and will probably stop reading your Mold News altogether. So, here it goes. Why don’t you start periodically following up on some of the stories that your report. That’s what the local news guys do…you know, the big dogs. The practice shows professionalism and even a little hint that you actually care about informing your readers. Remember MM, either you take my advice this time or else. Doris from Farmington.” Dear Doris, If you think you can threaten me you’ve got another think coming. I will not be bullied, especially by someone who lives in Farmington, a dreary as little town as I've ever had the misfortune to drive through . MM.

This is NOT a follow-up to an earlier story--You may recall that a week or so ago we ran a story about the Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU that told viewers the purported names of the pilots on Asiana Flight 214 that went down at SFX. "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow" — were obviously fake; problem is nobody at the station noticed. Well, this morning we’re told that the proverbial heads rolled down in Oakland….”KTVU fires producers over Asiana pilot names report. Three longtime producers have lost their jobs, while a fourth reportedly left due to health concerns.” No going to look good on the old resume we’re afraid, but hopefully a valuable lesson was leanred…say the news to yourself before saying it to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people.

Nor is this a follow up--When we reported the upcoming gospel tour that will wend its way through the Rockies, Craig Wilson, our source and one of the performers, was a bit sketchy on details. Fortunately plans for the tour have firmed up enough for Craig to make a post on the Message board, to wit…”Heaven's Key-Colorado tour 2013--Howdy folks! I thought I'd share with y'all that I'll be on a Bluegrass gospel tour in Colorado over the next two weeks. It's been an annual event over the past four years or so among some old musical friends who've become scattered to the wind, and this year I am privileged to be a part of it. The band is Erik Thomas-mandolin, Dick Brown-banjo, Leroy McNees-reso, Charlie Edsall-guitar, Bob Denencourt-bass, and me(Craig Wilson)-guitar and trading some on mando with Erik. And we all sing too. This should be some powerful gospel music, so if you happen to be in the area, or have friends or relatives there, we would love to see at one of our shows.” Craig concludes with a schedule of appearances booked to date. For a look, jump over to

Friday, July 26, 2013

Good morning. Another week in paradise inches its way toward the history books. Before beginning with our Bluegrass Milestone item for the day, I want to share something with you that you otherwise may miss. Some days, as I’m sure at least some of you have noticed, the web team people use the specie just below the masthead at the very top of this page to get word out about one thing or another. I have to confess that sometimes I miss the announcement altogether, let alone actually take the time to read it. This morning I did notice AND READ what the team posted and I think it’s pretty important so I’ll put the note back out here in the Mold.

A note to Facebookers...For a while now the Association has maintained a FB account called simply California Bluegrass Association. In the past six months traffic on the CBA Facebook page has steadily increased and as it has, visitorship at has also risen to levels we’ve not seen in several years. Perhaps not coincidentally, so too has CBA membership, which, as of this morning, is just shy of 2,700 souls, a number we haven’t seen in over five years. Smarter folks than your web team members understand the full range of the social media dynamics at play here. What we do know, however, is that our Facebook presence is responsible for more bluegrassers coming here, and that’s a good thing; more folks visiting this page means more people coming to our events means the better we’re able to keep ticket prices down. We ask that you visit our FB page and that when the opportunity arises you steer your Facebook friends in that direction.

A connection between the number of visitors to the Association’s web site and what the Association charges for attendance at its events? You bet there is.

CBA MILESTONE--So, the articles of incorporation have been written and accepted in Sacramento, the by-laws have been hammered out and now the California Bluegrass Association is ready to enroll members. But wait. Who’ll be the first? Who ever it is will be forever known as NUMBER ONE. So the three central figures in the Association’s formation, Carl Pagter, Jack Sadler and Jake Quesenberry, do the common sense thing…they draw straws. Carl’s is longest and, yes, thirty-eight years later we still call him #1.

Sacramento Area Vice President checking in--John Hettinger posted his Sacto Bluegrass Newsletter yesterday and will be snail mailing them soon. He’s got a lot to report, but four events stand out bear special mention here…

One, John and his lovely and ever-so-patient wife Loretta will once again hold their Annual House Jam / Potluck, Folsom, August 17.

Two, Nicholson’s MusiCafe Wednesday night jam, also in Folsom, has become a happening gathering and John would like you to know that the establishment’s owner, Rick Sims, has pulled out all the stops in making CBA’ers welcome. “Every Wednesday, 600 - 900 PM, at the MusiCafe, 632 E Bidwell, Folsom, 916-984-3020. Come out and enjoy some live bluegrass music. You can also perform your favorite songs before a live audience &/or jam outside the cafe. No cover; food & drinks available.”

Three, a KVMR Radio fundraiser is coming up on August 11 and will be held at the Camino Boeger Winery. Music will be provided by Keith Little and special guests, Old West Trio, Suzanne Todd & the Random Strangers plus Val Pease, & Merrygold. More info at Tickets will be on sale at the door, $10 for KVMR members, $15 for the general public.

And four, the very successful Hog Wild Saturday BBQ series continues in Placerville, Saturdays, Placerville. “Con?rmed bands are Banner Mountain Boys on August 3, Natural Drift on August 17, & Hill Country with special guests on August 31. Come out & enjoy some great bluegrass music that goes so well with their BBQ.”

Good by low level feelings of superiority--Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m nothing if not completely honest about my foibles, particularly those that spring from one or another of my nearly limitless range of neurotic ticks. For example, every time the young kid behind the counter throws out my choices of bread for my sub sandwich I automatically reply, “but whole-wheat, of course,” the strong implication being that, as a well informed and committed member of the health-conscious baby-boomer demographic, there could be no other acceptable option. Until last Friday, that is. It was just one week ago that I spotted the following headline…”Whole-grain Foods Aren’t Always Healthy--they've become synonymous with a balanced diet, but some processed forms can increase cardiovascular risks. In last month’s Scientific American the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) reaffirmed in a report that fiber-rich whole grains lower the risks of diabetes and heart disease. Media outlets such as Reuters duly reported the news, but many failed to point out a crucial detail: some whole grains may do nothing to reduce disease risks. In fact, many foods legally marketed as whole grains could actually harm health.” Sure, I still select the whole-wheat roles, but the feel-good rush that came with it is forever gone…another of life’s little pleasures snatched away by the research scientists. Watch, next month they’ll tell us to steer clear of the wonder food Kale. Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Dear Mr. Man, since you began your column last fall I’ve written a few times with what I consider to be good tips on improving your cred in the bluegrass community. That you’ve chosen to not even acknowledge my reaching out to you, much less to take some of the damned good advice I’ve offered, I’m giving you a public ultimatum…either you take the following recommendation or I’m finished trying to help and will probably stop reading your Mold News altogether. So, here it goes. Why don’t you start periodically following up on some of the stories that your report. That’s what the local news guys do…you know, the big dogs. The practice shows professionalism and even a little hint that you actually care about informing your readers. Remember MM, either you take my advice this time or else. Doris from Farmington.” Dear Doris, If you think you can threaten me you’ve got another think coming. I will not be bullied, especially by someone who lives in Farmington, a dreary as little town as I've ever had the misfortune to drive through . MM.

This is NOT a follow-up to an earlier story--You may recall that a week or so ago we ran a story about the Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU that told viewers the purported names of the pilots on Asiana Flight 214 that went down at SFX. "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow" — were obviously fake; problem is nobody at the station noticed. Well, this morning we’re told that the proverbial heads rolled down in Oakland….”KTVU fires producers over Asiana pilot names report. Three longtime producers have lost their jobs, while a fourth reportedly left due to health concerns.” No going to look good on the old resume we’re afraid, but hopefully a valuable lesson was leanred…say the news to yourself before saying it to hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people.

Nor is this a follow up--When we reported the upcoming gospel tour that will wend its way through the Rockies, Craig Wilson, our source and one of the performers, was a bit sketchy on details. Fortunately plans for the tour have firmed up enough for Craig to make a post on the Message board, to wit…”Heaven's Key-Colorado tour 2013--Howdy folks! I thought I'd share with y'all that I'll be on a Bluegrass gospel tour in Colorado over the next two weeks. It's been an annual event over the past four years or so among some old musical friends who've become scattered to the wind, and this year I am privileged to be a part of it. The band is Erik Thomas-mandolin, Dick Brown-banjo, Leroy McNees-reso, Charlie Edsall-guitar, Bob Denencourt-bass, and me(Craig Wilson)-guitar and trading some on mando with Erik. And we all sing too. This should be some powerful gospel music, so if you happen to be in the area, or have friends or relatives there, we would love to see at one of our shows.” Craig concludes with a schedule of appearances booked to date. For a look, jump over to

Friday, July 26, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s early 1979 and when flat-picker Mike Scap leaves the brand new band the boys decide to grab themselves a bass player so Charlie can move over to guitar. Almost immediately the quartet realizes that the change in personnel has set loose a remarkable transformation…a good bluegrass act has become a great bluegrass act. Before the end of the year Tim and Pete and Nick and Charlie release their first album. They name it Hot Rize and its fourteen tracks, Blue Night, Empty Pocket Blues, Nellie, Ain't I Been Good To You, Powwow The Indian Boy, Prayer Bells Of Heaven This Here Bottle, Ninety Nine Years, Old Dan Tucker, Country Boy Rock 'n' Roll, Standing In The Need Of Prayer, Durham's Reel and Midnight On The Highway, set the stage for a new kind of bluegrass that will flourish for the next decade.

Blood-chilling observation on the Bluegrass-L yesterday-- “…attended a bluegrass gathering this last weekend. I remember the word in the instrument world saying that the next big thing would be the ukulele. They are on all sorts of records and played on TV these days but this weekend I saw them amongst the bluegrass 'jamming' going on.
They were taking breaks too! No drums or pedal steels though.” Barry Lane

MOLD MAN’S LIST OF THE WEEK—America’s Ten Worst Charities If there really is a hell I fully expect to find an especially hot and distasteful section roped off for the men and women associated with these organizations…(The dollar amount…in millions…is what the group brought in from fund-raising in a single year, the percent is the portion spent on actual aid.)

1. Kids Wish Network--$127.8; 2.5%
2. Cancer Fund of America--$98.0; 0.9%
3. Children's Wish Foundation International—$96.8; 10.8%
4. American Breast Cancer Foundation--$80.8; 5.3%
5. Firefighters Charitable Foundation--$63.8; 8.4%
6. Breast Cancer Relief Foundation--$63.9; 2.2%
7. International Union of Police Associations--$57.2; 0.5%
8. National Veterans Service Fund--$70.2; 7.8%
9. American Association of State Troopers --$45; 0.6%
10. Children's Cancer Fund of America--$37.5; 5.3%

How is it, your scratching your head, that these fine folks are able to get away with bilking donors out of all this money? Wouldn’t you guess that at least the International Union of Police Associations would have some ‘splaining to do? Well, wouldn’t you? No, of course you wouldn’t guess that because, you, as readers of the Mold News, are savvy enough to know that there are no federal statues that establish limits on “the cost of doing business.” So, the UOPA spent $41 mil to raise $57 mil. We’re guessing high PG and E rates. Click here.

RBA shows--Okay, let’s try to wash the bad taste left in your mouth after reading this week’s “List” with some good news. Redwood Bluegrass Associate have just come out with their line-up for the ’13-’14 concert season…

Oct. 26: Canote Brothers; Carol Elizabeth Jones & Laurel Bliss
Nov. 16:Travers Chandler & Avery County
Jan. 25: Keith Little & the Little Band: Tribute To the Stanley’s
Feb. 15: Dry Branch Fire Squad
March 15, 2014: Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers
May 3, : tba

Tickets and details:

Won’t be long now--So, it’s time to do our duty and pump a little iron for the IBMA. Actually, the following was passed along by Dwight Worden, who serves (and does a good job) on the Association’s board as the representative for the dozens of bluegrass organization around the country and world…

--Great Hotel Rates. Hotel rates at the anchor hotels at the Convention Center (Marriott and Sheraton) at $139 per night are much cheaper than Nashville. Other nearby hotels are offering an IBMA rate under $100 per night. For lodging info click here for hotel rates, camping, and booking info.

--Free Town Bus Service. There is a free bus service (the R Line) running every 10-15 minutes in downtown so you can choose where to stay and get to the action at no cost.

--Plenty of Affordable Parking; Free Town Wifi. There is plenty of affordable parking, and there is free town wifi.

--Beautiful Convention Center. The IBMA week will be centered at the beautiful Raleigh Convention Center, with its multi-levels, open vistas, glass walls, and direct access to the two anchor hotels (Marriott and Sheraton). See the photo above to get a feel for the Convention Center.

--Outdoor and Indoor Wide Open Bluegrass Festival (Renamed from Fan Fest). There is a 5,000 seat amphitheater (Red Hat) that will host Wide Open Bluegrass, including comfortable stadium seating, boxes, and lawn style seating on a grassy hill in the back, and a beautiful indoor ballrom. Click here to see the stunning lineup and other info. For tickets click here.

--Bluegrass Ramble: Bands in the Convention Center and in Town Clubs. Official showcases will be hosted in the Convention Center, and for the first time, showcase bands and after hours bands will perform in clubs in Raleigh's happening music district, including international bands at the Kings Barcade. Click here to see the "Bluegrass Ramble" lineups. For info on the town venues click here.

--Awards Show. The Awards Show will be held in the strikingly beautiful and historic Duke Energy Performing Arts Center where the seating is better and more comfortable than at the Ryman in Nashville. See the photo below of this beautiful facility. For tickets click here. For info about the Steep Canyon Rangers hosting this year's show click here.

--Five Day Event. The World of Bluegrass Week is being shortened to 5 days (Tuesday-Saturday), reducing the cost of a stay, without reducing the quality and content of the seminars and other programs.

--Free Street Fair. There will be a free street fair with multiple stages and live music, a BBQ contest, a youth talent stage, and more.

--RV Parking and Camping. There is RV parking and camping near to the action. Click here for more info.

--Trade Show. Trade show exhibitors, and exhibit hall visitors, will love the Raleigh Convention Center set up--look for lots of new and exciting things! For info or to secure a booth click here.

--Business Conference, Seminars and more will be held in the Convention Center. Click here for details and to register.

--IBMA Member Discounts are available. Click here to join or to renew your IBMA membership and take advantage of the benefits!

--Raleigh is Excited and Supportive. The Raleigh folks are VERY excited to have IBMA coming and are helping us to make this the best World of Bluegrass ever. With their help we look to light up the town with bluegrass!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--November 12, 2005, the CBA board meets at the home of Larry Kuhn in Folsom. For only the fifth year the group of nine review the recommendations of its Talent Advisory Committee and select the 2006 California Showcase Bands. It’s taken five years, but the kinks have been worked out and the selection process is fairly painless. The Showcase program has been a significant addition to the various traditions of the Fathers Day Festival; it has ensured that every year the best of local and regional bands will be represented on the main stage. Selections for the ’06 classic include…

Alhambra Valley Band
David Thom Band
Mountain Laurel
Stairwell Sisters
Teton Divide

From his very own keyboard.--If you know Peter Thompson, you’re well aware of the fact that he’d MUCH, MUCH rather talk about you the he would himself; he’s a humble guy who’d rather see THE MUSIC promoted than himself. Be that as it may, honchos at KLAW required some promotional copy be written by each of their DJ’s for the station’s upcoming fund raising effort, so Peter shared the story of his very special award last month….”At the 38th Annual Father’s Day Festival presented by the California Bluegrass Association in June at Grass Valley, I was awarded an honorary Lifetime Membership for contributions to the development of bluegrass in California. This was a completely unexpected surprise. Although I feel unworthy -- I've been here for only the last 20 years and I'm not a picker -- I am deeply honored and most appreciative to be joining a distinguished group of California bluegrassers.

Two of the reasons cited for this award were my "Bluegrass Signal" show on KALW, now approaching its 18th anniversary, and the calendar of events I compile that is the basis of both a monthly newsletter and a weekly feature during the last half-hour of the radio show. This recognition was satisfying, as I've been questioned over the years about the wisdom of including 7-10 minutes of concert and festival listings, jam sessions, and instructional opportunities -- not to mention extensive musical previews of many of these events -- as a regular part of such a short (90 min.) program. But alerting listeners to the activities (and music) around us has always seemed crucial to me.

One of the guiding principals of "Bluegrass Signal" has been a commitment to the musicians and music of this region. The evolution of Bay Area bluegrass is a fascinating one; we're far from the heartland (KY/VA/NC/TN), yet have always favored a traditional approach to the music, even as women and original compositions have been welcomed. Some of the music's best live within the range of KALW's mighty signal, and it's my hope to produce a compilation of Bay Area Bluegrass to be one of the thank-you gifts offered during our next Membership Drive.

The glories of a local music scene should come as no surprise to any serious music fan -- most great music, no matter what the genre, is (or was) regional music -- and the support of KALW for programming celebrating this is also unsurprising. It's yet another way of demonstrating the transformative power of Local Public Radio. I'm proud to be part of it.

- Peter Thompson
Producer/host, "Bluegrass Signal"”

MOLD MAN’S LIST OF THE WEEK—Unusual Backstage Demands. So that’s how Peter Thompson handles being a public figure. Other people in the lime light struggle a bit…

No.10 Two boxes of corn starch--Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor
No.9 Baby oil & 24 roses--LL Cool J
No.8 Machine guns & Grey Poupon--Mötley Crüe’s
No.7 A bald, toothless lady of the night--Marilyn Manson
No.6 A wig room—Cher
No.5 Brand new toilet seats—Madonna
No.4 A plaque reading World's Greatest Entertainer"--Al Jolson
No.3 Plastic on everything--Who knew Prince
No.2 A Bob Hope impersonator--Iggy Pop
No.1 No brown M&M'S--Van Halen

Why, you ask? What the hell are these contractual provisions about? Click here.

Probably one very tough lesson--Merle Haggard; Learning to Live with Myself…“I’m living proof that things go wrong in America and I’m also living proof that things can go right,” says Merle Haggard. In Merle Haggard: Learning to Live with Myself, American Masters’ candid documentary about the country music legend, who is often called “the poet of the common man,” tells it like it is. The film features interviews with comrades and fellow musicians including Robert Duvall, John Fogerty, Billy Gibbons, Kris Kristofferson, Keith Richards, Tanya Tucker, Don Was, and Dwight Yoakam, among others. The hardscrabble people with whom he was raised – his juvenile delinquency and incarcerations – still inform his creativity and perspective. Hailed as “country music’s Frank Sinatra” in a recent review of his latest release I AM WHAT I AM (Vanguard Records), American Masters celebrates this “Lonesome Fugitive” in Merle Haggard: Learning to Live with Myself premiered earlier this week.” Watch for it on your PBS station.

Just when you thought reality TV couldn’t get any worse, one group of enterprising exploiters found a way to involve an entirely new sense in the practice known as feeling-better-about-yourself-by-watching-folks-worse-off-than-you--“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, TLC’s divisive reality hit about the antics of an energetic, self-identified redneck family, begins its second season on Wednesday night. To celebrate the show’s return, TLC has wedged scratch-and-sniff cards into issues of People and Us Weekly, and will prompt viewers to use them during the show’s premiere, possibly scratching to sniff bad breath, fish, rotten milk, a baby diaper, a fart, or maybe something more pleasantly aromatic—cheese puffs? The scratch-and-sniff is a goof that sounds about as enjoyable as eating the snot-flavored jelly beans from Harry Potter, but it effectively establishes just how the producers want us to feel about 7-year-old Honey Boo Boo and her family: that they are totally fun and totally gross. I’m with them on the former, but it’s the producers who are gross.”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MILESTONE--Not long after 1974 has been wrung in, word is spreading like wildfire through the acoustic music community in the Northern part of the state that a new type of music festival, fashioned after those done back east, is coming to San Rafael. It will be called the Golden State Country Bluegrass Festival, it will happen in late April and not until Warren Hellman shows up on the scene forty years later will the San Francisco Bay Area see such a line-up…Greenbrier Boys, Mac Wiseman, Merle Travis, Maria Muldaur, Jim and Jesse and The Virginia Boys, Ralph Stanley and The Clinch Mountain Boys, Doc Watson and Merle Watson, Great American String Band and Vassar Clements, High Country, Homestead Act, Emmy Lou Harris, Merle Travis, Norman Blake and Tut Taylor and Doug Dillard, Ralph Stanley, Skunk Cabbage, Buck White and The Downhome Folks, *Surprise Guest, The Greenbriar Boys, Doc Watson, Bear Creek Boys, Donna Washburn and Doug Dillard, Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, John Hartford, and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Vassar Clements. (You’ve just got to see the poster for this baby… Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldiness; in reply to your resident intern's (Mandarin Montag) request for feedback regarding his writing an article on the weekends, here's my answer to that query. Yes, I would like to see him write something on the weekends. I'm sure the boy can do a credible job given the high quality of the mentor that he has as an example.[Can I pile it on, or what?.] Some fresh blood so to speak, always seems to lighten up the conversation, and God knows we can use some lightness from time to time to escape the usual dogma and dribble that we are subjected to on a regular basis. Mr. mold man, please do not take this personal, this is merely my opinion. I enjoy your daily writings immensely and look forward to them first thing every morning with my first cup of coffee. As ever your ardent fan, JD Rhynes” Thank you, Mr. Rhynes, for your considered opion. You have my absolute word that immediately following the first sighting of an airborne omnivorous domesticated hoofed mammal, Sus domesticus), young Mandarin.

Frequent Flyer Miles--I’m tellin’ you what, that banjo-playin Bill Evans surely does keep himself busy. Wanna know what it takes to make a living playing the banjo; just have a look at his recently updated schedule at

Tea, anyone? My wife Maudie thinks the time I put into the Mold News is pure foolishness, (‘You think people even read this nonsense,’ she’s fond of saying), so I was a bit taken aback when I received an email from her with a link to an online article reviewing the rules for making a proper cup of tea. “We might have bested the Brits in the Revolutionary War,” the piece begins, “but there is one thing they do vastly better than us: brew a proper cup of tea. The late British ex-pat Christopher Hitchens penned this essential guide back in January 2011 in an effort to combat America’s inability to make a cuppa as it was intended.” Yes, that Hitchens, the recently deceased atheist…but Maud assures me there’s not a single, solitary blasphemous word in the entire essay. So, there you are, my wife of what seems like thirty-nine eternities stacked end to end asked me to share this with my readers, “if they can actually read”. Sweet, isn’t she? Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“MM, I was planning to post a blurb on the message board about this gospel Bluegrass band that has been put together, consisting of mostly musicians with deep ties to the CBA doing an 11 concert tour in Colorado starting in early August, but I can’t seem to find out how to make links out of the above docs to include in the message. The band’s members are all old friends who at one time or another over the years have played in bands with one another. The point man, Erik Thomas, moved to the Boulder, Colorado area a few years back and the tour is a way to get all the guys together for a fun way of spreading the gospel message. For those who may be in the area or have friends or family there, this will be a good opportunity for them to see and hear some quality gospel Bluegrass music. Thanks, Craig Wilson.” Craig, you’re welcome. Say hello to Eric.

And still more mail--A note from Sondra Baker about…can you guess? “Hello All Bluegrass Pickers, Grinners, Beginners, Pros & Others, it's time to start thinking about one of your favorite Festivals; PLYMOUTH, CA.; "Bluegrassin' In The Foothills"; September 20, 21, 22, 2013. Jump over to and read about all our Amazing Bands to perform on our Stage. And remember, we do have a deadline on Early Bird Tickets; your order must be postmarked by Sept. 1st ! NO LATER ! We do not sell out, so you can always purchase at our Festival Gate upon your arrival. And Don't Forget, on Thursday night we will be showing a Movie at the Main Stage area. This year, one of our short movies will also include a Special Guest Appearance! NEW this year, FREE Indoor Instrument Swap Meet, Saturday Only. 10am ~ 5pm. Bring whatever you may want to get rid of, sell, swap, barter or trade. We will also have the Rick Sparks Jamming Class (Wernick Method), to sign up in advance at”

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Hey Mold Man. I'll try to get a snap or two of Kathy & Co. at Rockygrass this weekend. She's currently teaching at their pre-fester camp, but has a horrible cold/cough. Very disappointing/frustrating, but she always plows through. The band had a ball at Ron Thomason's festival, although had to play through headaches (altitude) and lousy (by CA standards) food. Kathy made Ron sing "Golden Ring" with her at the post-fest party, so she got to channel her Inner Suzanne (Thomas). Onward –PT (Peter Thompaso).” Peter, our best to the wonderful Ms. Kallick. Tell her form me…copious amounts of brandy, hot water, lemon and Splenda.

Music Camp bagged--I don’t get to read all of the Welcome columns that appear daily at but I made a point of reading Geoff Sargent’s on Sunday. You see, there was a little speculation among the old-timers about whether the CBA could keep the momentum going with the pre-FDF camp once Ingrid Noyes was out of the picture. For those who missed the Sunday Welcome, I’m re-posting it here because, for me at least, it puts an end to the speculation…

The Sounds of Music Camp 2013
Today’s column from Geoff Sargent
Sunday July 21, 2013

My word, we have another CBA Music Camp in the bag and another Father’s Day Festival all wrapped up. I’m not sure that any of us have had the time yet to sit back and breath a sigh of relief and feel like it is over. Our new music camp directors, Peter Langston and Janet Peterson, were phenomenal; but get this, less than a month after doing our CBA music camp they are in the middle of directing two, yes two, back-to-back, 2-week long music camps. Not at the same time of course, but their summer season involves at least 5 weeks of living, breathing, and running music camps in California and Washington, not to mention the huge amount of behind the scenes work it takes during the rest of the year to make it all possible. So I thought it might be a good idea if I stepped up to write a little something for the Breakdown and report to those of you who weren’t up at Grass Valley this year. And by the way, if you weren’t there, all I can say is tsk, tsk, tsk you don’t know what you missed.

For me it was an exceptional experience because I love being part of an event that brings so much joy to the folks attending, and this year I got the added buzz watching Peter and Janet put on a camp that was the same, yet different, from past camps. And I really enjoyed talking to folks at music camp and getting their unsolicited opinions on how it was going and I think all of them were positive. The conversations usually went something like “I was a little concerned about how the music camp might be this year” or “I wasn’t sure that camp was even happening this year” followed by “but I’m glad I came. The new directors are doing a great job and the camp has a different feeling to it, a little more relaxed, less hectic, less busy”. I was amused by the last comments because I think Peter and Janet scheduled more workshops and jams than ever before. To be sure, there were some changes. One of Peter and Janet’s guiding philosophies is to give the students more opportunity to spend time with the instructors and staff, so time and events were modified to promote that.

Now I should give you fair readers a little bit of context. I am the music camp liaison to the CBA Board of Directors and for the year running up to the week of camp and festival, I got to spend a lot of time working with Peter and Janet to transition into the Grass Valley setting. Much of that was giving them my perspective of the CBA music camp history, and how camps had been organized in the past, but also included a site visit up the fairgrounds to map out classrooms, arriving early to help set up, and staying late to tear down. We were very fortunate in enlisting help from past music camp volunteers. I can’t tell you how hard the camp volunteers work and especially how important the veteran volunteers were for making the camp a success. I don’t have the space to list them, but you have my heartfelt thanks. And I have to also thank the informal volunteers, those folks who just seem to like to work and help with the only apparent reward being the pleasure of contributing to making an excellent event. It is an amazing community of people that come up to Grass Valley.

Unfortunately I can’t give a full report because my camp experience was fragmented. I had to drive back to the bay area Sunday evening of camp to give a final exam and teach a class on Monday, and return Tuesday afternoon, which meant I had to miss one of the most important music camp events; the Monday evening dobro jam. The reports I got on the jam was that it was a smashing success, enjoyed by the teachers and students. Evidently Rob Ickes made the comment that it was one of the most well behaved jams he had been in. Normally I’m not a big believer in behaving well, but my interpretation of Rob’s comment is that the players were listening to each other and giving space for folks to play. Next year I am going to lobby hard for the dobro jam to be on Tuesday evening, even if it means I have to resort to bribery. With my luck, my teaching schedule will change and I’ll have to give a final exam on both days. All in all, when I walked around camp it was easy to see on the faces of the students whether they were having a good time, and at the student concert it was easy to see how much they love the music. I think the student concert is one of the best windows into how the camp went, reflected by the instructors, the volunteers, the students, parents, and directors.

The 2014 season is already looming large and I am excited to see what Peter and Janet are going to pull out of their hats for Music Camp 2014. This year was great. How are they going to top it, well I don’t know but I am sure they will.

If you would like make any comments, critiques, or suggestions on our 2013 music camp, please feel free to email me at and I will be happy to forward them to Peter and Janet. Until next year, stay tuned, stay in rhythm, and stay jamming.


Good Monday morning. Normally when I go to bed on Sunday night I’ve got a fairly good start on the first couple of days in the Mold News five-day cycle. I’ll know roughly what items will run and I’ll have at least some copy written. Such was the case this week, but when I sat down at my Mac this morning I found something in my inbox that so captured my imagination, (that’s probably not a good description of what the lemon email did…I’m still trying to figure that out), it demanded its own special edition, plans for the Monday column be damned.


Date: July 21, 2013
From: TWR
Subject: Frozen Lemons

I can't say that all of this is true, but it is surely interesting and I can see no harm in this procedure.

Amazing frozen lemons

All it a frozen lemon

Many professionals in restaurants and eateries are using or consuming the entire lemon and nothing is wasted. How can you use the whole lemon without waste?

Simple…place the washed lemon in the freezer section of your refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your foods.

Sprinkle it to your vegetable salad, ice cream, soup, cereals, noodles, spaghetti sauce, rice, sushi, fish dishes, whisky.... the list is endless.

All of the foods will unexpectedly have a wonderful taste, something that you may have never tasted before. Most likely, you only think of lemon juice and vitamin C. Not anymore.

Now that you've learned this lemon secret, you can use lemon even in instant cup noodles.

What's the major advantage of using the whole lemon other than preventing waste and adding new taste to your dishes?

Well, you see lemon peels contain as much as 5 to 10 times more vitamins than the lemon juice itself. And yes, that's what you've been wasting.

But from now on, by following this simple procedure of freezing the whole lemon, then grating it on top of your dishes, you can consume all of those nutrients and get even healthier.

It's also good that lemon peels are health rejuvenators in eradicating toxic elements in the body.

So place your washed lemon in your freezer, and then grate it on your meal every day. It is a key to make your foods tastier and you get to live healthier and longer! That's the lemon secret! Better late than never, right? The surprising benefits of lemon! Lemon (Citrus) is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It is 10,000 times stronger than chemotherapy.

Why do we not know about that? Because there are laboratories interested in making a synthetic version that will bring them huge profits.

You can now help a friend in need by letting him/her know that lemon juice is beneficial in preventing the disease. Its taste is pleasant and it does not produce the horrific effects of chemotherapy.

How many people will die while this closely guarded secret is kept, so as not to jeopardize the beneficial multimillionaires large corporations?

As you know, the lemon tree is known for its varieties of lemons and limes.

You can eat the fruit in different ways: you can eat the pulp, juice press, prepare drinks, sorbets, pastries, etc... It is credited with many virtues, but the most interesting is the effect it produces on cysts and tumors.

This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types. Some say it is very useful in all variants of cancer. It is considered also as an anti microbial spectrum against bacterial infections and fungi, effective against internal parasites and worms, it regulates blood pressure which is too high and an antidepressant, combats stress and nervous disorders.

The source of this information is fascinating: it comes from one of the largest drug manufacturers in the world, says that after more than 20 laboratory tests since 1970, the extracts revealed that It destroys the malignant cells in 12 cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung and pancreas...

The compounds of this tree showed 10,000 times better than the product Adriamycin, a drug normally used chemotherapeutic in the world, slowing the growth of cancer cells.

And what is even more astonishing: this type of therapy with lemon extract only destroys malignant cancer cells and it does not affect healthy cells.
So, give those lemons a good wash, freeze them and grate them. Your whole body will love you.

A few questions…Who or what is TWR? How long does a lemon stay frozen? Could this conspiracy of silence that’s costing the lives of so many innocent Americans be related in some way to the Council on Foreign Relations? Friday, July 19, 2013

CBA MILESTONE--1975…It is announced to the world that the California Bluegrass Association has been chartered and is officially recognized by the State’s Attorney General as a not-for-profit 501c3. And appropriately enough, one of the founders, Member # 3, Jake Quesenberry, writes an article in the new group’s monthly newsletter that answers the question, “What the Hell is Bluegrass?” before anyone even has a chance to ask. “The Bluegrass referred to here is not the bluegrass that grows on the lawns of many homes. The Bluegrass referred to here grows in the hearts of many persons throughout this great country of ours. Bluegrass is not a type of marijuana that you smoke when you are blue, although the Bluegrass referred to can be habit-forming. All you need is to hear the sweet strains of a Bluegrass fiddle and the driving sound of a 5-string banjo played to the rhythm of a flattop guitar – then add the haunting sound of the mandolin and the slap of the doghouse bass – all that together with the sound of my soul brother, the dobro – and by the end of the first song, you know you are hooked for life. And being hooked for life on Bluegrass music gives you the same feeling you would have if everyone in the whole world loved you.

Bluegrass music bridges the generation gap between today’s long-haired youth and the middle-aged Bluegrass musicians who have been singing and playing this kind of music ever since Uncle Dave Macon was the star of the Grand Ole Opry. Bluegrass music is the sound of today to the young newcomers, the sound of yesterday and today to the older generation, and the sound of tomorrow to millions of people, young and old.

Bluegrass is truly an American music born in the rural section of the South. It is the father of today’s country music and the stepchild of the old folk songs that came to this country with our forefathers. It is a distant cousin of rock ‘n’ roll – one of Elvis’ first recordings was an arrangement of Bill Monroe’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky” – and a first cousin to the gospel songs sung in many country churches throughout the South.

I sincerely believe there are many “closet listeners” in this country who think their social image would be hurt if they admitted to a love for Bluegrass. It should be the aim of the California Bluegrass Association to encourage these people to proclaim their feelings and to celebrate with everyone the joy of the only true American music that exists in our country today. I am proud to say I love Bluegrass and have since I was a child and know I will always have a great love in my heart for the true, beautiful sound of Bluegrass music.” See there? We had the answer right under our noses.

So who’s the wise guy/gal?--As far as I can tell, Elizabeth Friend, a CBA member and an awfully sweet woman, innocently enough posted a photo of herself playing a Deering old-time banjo on Facebook last night. Then, unbeknownst to Liz, somebody on the web team grabbed the snap, added an outrageous and obviously fabricated backstory and posted it as a news item this morning. Whoever it was, besides having some pretty strong views on O-T, could be one heck of a yellow journalist if she/he ever had a mind to. The style reminds me of how Joe McCarthy’s Senate media guy waxed eloquent about the “red peril.”


Everyday across this country of ours close to one hundred and twenty young men, women, boys and girls fall prey to the evil that is “old-time music”. Euphemistically called “O-T” by the Seeger-loving, wire-rim-eye-glassed, small-Midwestern-liberal-arts-college-graduate pushers of this wantonly rhythmic, endlessly-repeating, mostly-sing-songy-and-only-occasionally- dissonant sameness has sucked the blood out of our children, leaving empty and withering husks to gather the dust of skin-and-bones Tommy Jarrels and bloated Uncle Dave Macons. And circling over this morality play, depicting such sweet innocence lost forever, the corporate, lip-licking carrion, Deering Banjos, calculates its “Good-Tyme” sales for the quarter. To be sure, the lovely beginner captured here in Photo-shopped gossamer tones, is in raptured awe of the meandering Cripple Creek that ever so slowly comes into focus. Alas, if only dear Elizabeth could see the ruin that awaits her in the clearing just ahead.” Click here.

Time to add to my growing old benefits list--As anyone who’s well into his second half century can tell you, growing old has enough downsides to fill an NFL stadium. The challenge, of course, is to come up with a list on the positive side of the equation. I’ve been working on my list since turning sixty and after reading a Daily Beast article yesterday I’ve added a brand new item. Growing old means that one has only a limited number of years left to observe the depths to which corporate America will go to enrich its stockholders…”There’s a new It Girl in the toy industry who’s letting her freak flag fly: Mattell’s Monster High dolls—nicknamed “Goth Barbies”—are currently the second best-selling in the world, nipping at the high heels of the blonde original. Those who market the Monster High dolls, which come with webisodes, say they embody acceptance, diversity, and relatability. “The message about the brand is really to celebrate your own freaky flaws, especially as bullying has become such a hot topic,” said marketing exec Cathy Cline. The dolls were also created to fit in with cultural trends perpetuated by the likes of Lady Gaga, who loves all her “little monsters” for being different, as well as the rise of goth fashion with the success of the Twilight franchise. Naturally, the dolls’ characters are multifaceted. Draculaura, for example, is a vegan who can’t stand the thought of blood or meat. But let’s be honest: just like Barbie, Draculaura and her rail-thin Monster High friends could benefit from eating a burger.” But, I can hear a chorus of protests, Mold Man, what a self-centered attitude. Sure, you’ll be dead and gone, but what about your precious grandchildren? They’ll be subjected to this cynical evermore-crass marketing. To which I reply, that’s true, but even now I can see that my grand kids are already much, much better and much, much more clever people than I am. They’ll figure out a way to rid the world of Draculauras.

A little Jimmy coming your way--From Peter Thompson…”This week's "Bluegrass Signal" radio show will be titled It Takes One To Know One: Covers of Jimmy Martin Songs. The show is presented in anticipation of Sunday’s “Jimmy Martin Night” at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley. (details: You’ll hear versions of Jimmy songs by the concert’s organizer, David Thom, and some of the participants: James King, Butch Waller, and Larry Cohea. You’ll also hear treatments of JM songs by other NorCal folks, including David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Peter Rowan, Kathy Kallick, Laurie Lewis, Kate Brislin, Jim Nunally, and Windy Hill. And there should be time to include interpretations from a few ex-Sunny Mountain Boys (J.D. Crowe, Paul Williams, Audie Blaylock) as well as others from Tony Rice to Carol Elizabeth Jones & Laurel Bliss before it’s time to Drink Up & Go Home. So many great songs, so little time ...

Thanks for listening –
Peter T
Broadcast Saturdays, 6:30 - 8:00 pm on (91.7 FM in Bay Area)
Archived for one week at (select 'Bluegrass Signal')
Also broadcast on WAMU's Bluegrass Country (

Well, I see I’ve gone well over my allotted 750 words but, hey, who’s counting? (Probably Cornish, but Lord knows brevity’s not one of his strong suits.) Enjoy your weekend and meet me back here Monday morning and we’ll chew up and spit out a bit more of what passes for news these days.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

MILESTONE--June, 1997…”New bluegrass sub-genre reported in Bluegrass Unlimited…By Art Menius…With the release of two singles, “Rocky Top” on Decca and “Macerena” on Imprint, a musical form called GrooveGrass has entered the musical lexicon. Intriguingly, GrooveGrass has taken a music based in bluegrass into the country and hip urban dance halls and up the charts reporting on this music. GrooveGrass delivers funked up bluegrass, spliced and diced into a sound for today’s dance all night youth. Yet, the artists playing this new style include such revolutionaries as Mac Wiseman, Doc Watson, Wilma Lee Cooper, and the Del McCoury Band. It’s mastermind, Scott Rouse, moreover is a died-in-the-wool traditional bluegrass fan.

We simply had to go to Scott and find out what was going on here. “The concept is to get people, have never heard bluegrass into bluegrass through GrooveGrass.” Rouse explains. “Bluegrass people aren’t my target, it’s young kids, people who don’t know bluegrass exists. That’s who I’m targeting. That’s what GrooveGrass is going after, and I think it’s working because talking to folks, especially to Mac, their sales are going up. So it’s working, and the same thing with ‘Macarena.’ Bluegrass fans are already in the bag; they already like bluegrass. I don’t want to offend any bluegrass people, because I do care about bluegrass people, and I do care about bluegrass, but as far as GrooveGrass goes, I don’t care whether they like it or not because that’s not whom I’m after.” Click here.

What’s not to like? Regulars here know that every now and then we like to check in with Kim JU just to see what he’s up to. (Actually, it’s more than simply a national pastime in North Korea to follow the meanderings of the Beloved Leader. After all, when Kim is happy, North Koreans can be happy. Well, some anyway. “Kim Jong Un Inspects Mushroom Farm, Is All Smiles…On Tuesday, North Korean state news agency Rodong Sinmun posted photos of leader Kim Jong Un's visit to a mushroom farm. The Supreme Commander was evidently pleased. And who wouldn't be? Those are some nice-looking mushrooms. Hopefully, they aren't photoshopped. According to the release, Kim liked "that the farm is capable of reaping a high and secure harvest ... even in a small area by producing mushroom[s] all the year round." Kim also found the farm aesthetically pleasing. "The mushroom cultivation grounds look very nice and I am pleased to see them," he said, according to Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of (North) Korea. We haven't seen him this jazzed about anything since Dennis Rodman came to visit. Maybe Kim should do this more often. Given North Korea's history of food shortages, gardening of any sort could set a great example. You know, as opposed to clandestinely shipping ballistic missiles.” These really are some damned impressive mushrooms.

A good guitar story--“New York Time…A Generic Guitar Inspires a Distinctive Project…It started out as an inside joke and quickly became an international art project, linked to a charitable cause. Nick Didkovsky, a guitarist and composer, and Charles O’Meara, the guitarist in the eclectic rock trio Forever Einstein, were in the habit of scanning eBay for used instruments, and e-mailing each other links to the ones they considered interesting. Usually, their finds were expensive vintage guitars — say, a Gibson SG from 1961, the first year of its production — or exotic pieces that were also priced out of reach. But one day in 2010 Mr. O’Meara stumbled on a beat-up, no-name red, white and black electric guitar — a starter instrument for a kid in a 1960s garage band — priced at $100. “He sent me this e-mail called ‘The guitar of my dreams,’ ” Mr. Didkovsky said in a recent interview. “It was so generic. It had no brand on it. It was a mystery, with super retro vibes. One of the pickups was missing, and the other looked truly ancient — like a radio in a black-and-white movie, with electric bolts coming out of the speaker. It was like a generic token, the kind of electric guitars you drew in notebooks when you were 8 years old. And the price was just a magic number. One hundred has a culturally interesting meaning.” Mr. Didkovsky and Mr. O’Meara decided to go halves on it, and even before they heard back from the seller, they had a plan: for their $100 Guitar Project, as they called it, they would invite some of their composing and guitar-playing friends to take the guitar for a week and write and record a new, original work using the instrument. Each would then autograph the guitar and send it on (or personally hand it over) to the next musician on the list. The new works would be collected, with the vague idea of assembling a CD.

Poor Doc Ikeda--Last week, or maybe it was the week before, I heaped high praise on a book I’m reading called Cooking, in which a famous Berkeley author, Michael Pollan, undertakes to tell the story of how and why we humans got into the practice of cooking most things we eat. A great book…I’m about half way through. But what happens so often to me when I’m reading happened again this time…mid-way through the book a door to another, equally intriguing subject suddenly springs open and before I know it I’m exploring two rabbit holes simultaneously. (Forgive my mixed metaphors…I tend to launch them like spittle when I’m writing about something exciting.) In this case, it’s umami, which, according to Wikipedia, the folks that NEVER lie on purpose, “is one of the five basic tastes, (together with sweet, sour, bitter and salty).” But it wasn’t always so. “Scientists have debated whether umami was a basic taste since Kikunae Ikeda first proposed its existence in 1908. In 1985, the term umami was recognized as the scientific term to describe the taste of glutamates and nucleotides at the first Umami International Symposium in Hawaii.” Just stop and think about that for a minute. Something as basic as the list of basic tastes we experience, a list established millennia ago, unquestioned, as much a givens as earth, wind, air and water, suddenly lengthened by one. Needless to say meals around our house have, in the past several days.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--“Your high moldiness; another good French banjo pickers joke for your perusal; these two French banjo pickers were shopping when they both walked into a building. When the two recovered consciousness both swore the building came out of nowhere. Sometimes you have to think about this one. As ever your most ardent fan, JDRhynes.” Thanks, Mr. Rhynes. And now, I’m happy to say, we’ve run our course on French banjo player jokes. Hit our quota. Reached out goal. Moving on. Finis.

And finally--We have to end today’s mold on a very sad note. Posted early this morning on the Message Board by Rick Cornish…”I sat down at my computer this morning to learn that what had been a rumor is now confirmed. The 5th String in Berkeley is closing its doors after decades of supporting bluegrass music in the Bay Area and environs. It's really not possible to overstate the role the shop played in making the SF Metro Area among the strongest bluegrass communities in the nation. They'll be missed...ironically, by some who never even knew they existed; chances are likely that if you’re a bluegrassers reading this posted you've been touched by the 5th-B in one way or another.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

WHAT??? ELECTION TIME AGAIN? It seems hard to believe, but it’s true. We’re already at that magic time of the year when the CBA inner circle…you know the bluegrass version of the Freemasons-inspired Council on Foreign Relations… pretends to urge new folks to run for the CBA board when in fact the whole deal is a double-double-reverse-phycological strategy to discourage participation and hence hold on to the vast power inherent in all 501C3 not-for-profit boards. But, just for the sake of argument…mind you, I’m not buying into their crap…but, you know, for the sake of conversation, what if the current CBA leadership ACTUALLY DID want some new people to run for the board? …And actually DID want them to win a seat? In other words, what if, contrary to popular and long-held belief, this institution known as the Board of Directors of the California Bluegrass Association WAS NOT a horrific, pulsing pit of vipers, did not have world-wide bluegrass domination as its prime directive, spent way more time debating the merits of engaging in a multi-year vs. single-year contract with the company that cleans the toilets during festival week than it does strategizing the dismantling of all other organizations that stand in the path of reaching absolute dominion.

Ah yes, the familiar refrain--“Yeah, man, that CBA…you know, like, it’s all political.”, You hear it so much it MUST be true. But what if through some fluke…an overheard conversation, an errant handwritten set of notes taken by a board meeting a attendee, perhaps some divine sign from on high…you were to find out that the work of the board of directors isn’t all political? That, really, very little of it is. That the lion’s share of meetings is spent trying to iron out the problems that tend to crop up in a small, underfunded organization with way, way more work to do than volunteers to do it. Would that make a difference about whether or not you might consider serving on the CBA board? If it might, here’s the skinny on this year’s board election, which appeared on the web site today and will appear in the next Bluegrass Breakdown…


We’re officially moving into CBA board election season and, as always, we’re hoping to see new names on the ballot this year.

If you’re interested in serving on the Board of Directors of the California Bluegrass Association, a deed that, win or lose, will secure you a very special place in bluegrass heaven, here’s what you need to know. To run for the board you must:

1) be a member in good standing, (that is, make sure your dues are paid up)

2) submit a petition simply stating your intension to run and have it signed by 10 members of the Association, (again, make certain those who sign are current members.)

3) send the petition, along with a candidate statement, to our Membership Vice President, Bruce Campbell…524 Masonic St.; Martinez, Ca… 94553, no later than August 15, 2013.

One question that comes up each year is whether collecting names for the petition can be done via the Internet. The answer is YES AND NO. For the name to be valid, the member must provide you with his/her named printed or typed out AND a WRITTEN SIGNITURE below it. The petition signer can give you the signature in one of the following ways…

--hand it to you

--mail it to you via the U.S. Mail

--fax it to you (925-228-1658)

--scan it and email it as a PDF or other graphics file. (

Once you’ve collected your ten signatures, you can pass them along to Bruce using one of these same four methods. If you have questions about this or anything else pertaining to this year’s board election, please don’t hesitate to contact our CBA President, Darby Brandli. 510 735 6364 or

As of this writing, July 14th, we are aware of one currently seated board member who will not be running again this year. Thanks, Bruce Campbell, for a job very, very well done.

Serving as an elected board member of a non-profit organization is not for everyone; it requires time and commitment and a willingness to take on some tough issues from time to time. That said, stepping up into a leadership role can be a vastly rewarding and satisfying experience. We urge you to give running for the board some serious consideration.

July 15, 2013

b>CBA MILESTONE--Field Guide to Western Bands…regular feature of the Bluegrass Breakdown…Fall, 1979: Any Old Time, Arkansas Shieks, Bear Creek Boys, Bill White, Buffalo Butter Band, The Caffrey Family, Cleve Andrews and Robin Kim, Colby Mountain, Country Ham, Cousin Jack, Done Gone, 8th Ave. String Band, Easy Money, Easy Pickin’, Fire on the Mountain, Foggy Mountain Cloggers, Frank Wakefield, Fresh Picked, Gloryland, Good Ol’ Persons, Grandview Circle Band, High Country, Jay Quesenberry and the Pride of Kentucky, Jim Robinson, The Leatherman Boys, The High Window Boys, Lost Highway, Mindigo String Band, New Tonto Basin Boys, Oakum, Overlook Mountain Boys, Pacific…ly Bluegrass, Pickin’ and Grinnin’, Ray Park, Redwood Hill, River City Ramblers, Saw Player Charlie with Art Peterson, Sawtooth Mountain Boys, Shubb-Wilson Trio, Sierra Mountain Boys, South Loomis Quickstep, Spur of the Moment String Band, Thurston’s Bluegrass Band. Even then we were a blessed bluegrass community.

Like spotting John Duffey standing at a freeway entrance-- Hershey, PA: “Emily Kraus and her boyfriend were already running late to the Dave Matthews concert in Hershey, PA, when they spotted a familiar face on the side of the highway — Dave Matthews himself. The musician had been riding a bike when he got a flat tire; he was stranded without his cell phone. Luckily for Matthews, Kraus had a bike rack and was already going to his concert. Star struck, Kraus admitted that “we didn’t know how to make conversation with him,” to CNN. Matthews expressed appreciation by offering Kraus and her boyfriend dinner and two front row seats at the concert. He also thanked them at the show, saying of the incident, “I did not have a cell phone on the bicycle. So I thought, ‘S___. And then a nice lady named Emily rode up in a red car with a bicycle rack on it and gave me a ride on to the gig.”

And speaking of rock stars--Okay, they’re not rock stars, but the Banner Mountain Boys are a rock-solid, straight-ahead traditional bluegrass band and they’re playing their usual Saturday night gig this weekend at Grass Valley’s historic Holebrooke Hotel. Oh, if you do decide to catch their act and the opportunity arises, please let management know that you and the rest of the Northern California bluegrass community are still waiting to have J.D. Rhynes’ name added to the bronze plaque hanging near the establishment’s main entrance that lists famous persons who have slept there. Garfield, Grant, Roosevelt, Enrico Caruso…why not J.D.?

Here’s a story that’s got a few of us thinking--I bought my first Apple product in 1984…the very first Macintosh…and I’ve never owned a computer since that wasn’t a direct descendent of that prototype made in that Cupertino garage so many years ago. So naturally when smart-phones popped up out of nowhere there was only one kind that I would even consider. I’ve been extraordinarily happy with my I-Phone, though the following article has given me a little pause…”Apple investigating iPhone 5 user death by electrocution. A woman uses her mobile phone outside an Apple store in Shanghai, on May 7, 2012. Apple has said it will investigate claims that an iPhone electrocuted a Chinese woman who was making a call while charging the device. Apple said Monday it would investigate claims that a Chinese woman was killed by an electric shock she received when answering a call while the device was charging. The claim quickly drew attention after a woman in the western region of Xinjiang wrote about the death of her 23-year-old sister Ma Ailun on China's popular microblog service Sina Weibo. "We will fully investigate and cooperate with authorities in this matter," said Apple's Beijing-based spokeswoman Carolyn Wu, offering condolences to the family. The state news agency Xinhua said on Sunday that local police had confirmed Ma died of electrocution but "have yet to verify if her phone was involved". Ma's sister warned others not to us.” And this less than a week after a Federal judge determined that the Silicon Valley giant was guilty of e-book price-fixing. Remember the old Loud Reid song, When it Rains, it Always Rains on Me? Click here.

Well, he hired himself a good bunch of boys for back-up-- When Alan Jackson decided it was the right time in his long and prodigious career in Country Music to record himself a bluegrass album he figured he might just as well get a good bunch of old boys to play behind him. So he, (probably his personal manager) placed a few calls and, presto, the Alan Jackson Bluegrass Band: banjo player Sammy Shelor, mandolinist Adam Steffey, bassist Tim Dishman, fiddler Tim Crouch, guitarist Scott Coney, and Rob Ickes on reso-guitar. The CD, which will contain some bluegrass standards, as well as some bluegrass-ized Alan Jackson hits, is expected out in September.

“No one follows through like Maria”--That’s the quote prominently displayed at the top of the new web site launched recently for ABOVE THE BAY BOOKING. The “Maria” referenced in the testimonial is, of course, Maria Nadauld, who after retiring from the legal profession, started herself a little business so as not to get a case of the got-up-this-mornin’-with-nothin’-to-do blues. Well, the woman’s strategy certainly worked. Having carved out a niche, booking eastern bands out here in the west, Maria currently represents The Special Consensus, Helen Highwater (Grier, Compton, Raines, and Cobb). David Grier, Megan B. Lynch Chowning and the Hard Road Trio. The dear woman, who, we’re thinking, never actually had to worry about sitting at home watching the world go by after retirement, also does West-Coast representation for Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out, Sideline Bluegrass and Audie Blaylock and Redline. Click here.

A Career in Bluegrass Music, Chapter 727--Bill Evans is a phenomenal banjo player…really, one of the best living. And he’s a pretty derned astute businessman; you’d pretty much HAVE to be if your goals in life included making money playing the five-string AND owning your own home and putting your kid through college, which is precisely what our friend decided to do way back when. If you know Bill personally, you know that he has plenty of good stories about the travails of the working musician and he's not the least bit shy about sharing them. As a matter of fact, he posted one just the other day on Facebook…”Just received my BMI publishing and songwriter royalties! I received a grand total of 70 cents for 9,700 Pandora plays of "The Distance Between Two Points" in the 4th quarter of 2012. Wow, that's getting close to 1 cent per play! I'm so glad that the music isn't free anymore. With approximately 18,430,000 more Pandora plays, I think I'll break even on the track!”

So there you have it for the Tuesday edition of the Mold News. Have a lovely day, stay out of trouble and grin every chance you get.

Monday, July 15, 2013

MILESTONE--Dateline: September 25-28, 1990, First-ever IBMA Trade Show and Fan Fest Owensboro, Kentucky…Highlights will be the IBMA Bluegrass Awards, a Trade Show, Fan Fest, Seminars, Workshops, Talent Showcase, and tribute to Rounder Records. The Fan Fest roster of performers includes: Darrel Adkins and Silver Wind, Vasser Clements, Hazel Dickens, Dudley Connell & Friends, Dry Branch Fire Squad, the East Tennessee State University Bluegrass Band, Bill Harrell & the Virginians, the Hot-foot Quartet, Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Laurie Lewis & Grant Street, Livewire, Loose Ties, John McEuen, Alan Munde & Country Gazette, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, the New Coon Creek Girls, Poutnici (from Czechoslovakia), the Tony Rice Unit, Curley Sechler, Willis Spears & the Nashville Grass, Shaggy Mountain Boys (from Japan), Sidesaddle, the Larry Stephenson Band, Weary Hearts and the Whitstein Brothers. For information and tickets contact…

At least someone had the guts to admit it--I’m guessing that for the vast majority of regular readers, the irony of yesterday’s baseball article was not missed. Whether it was intended or not, the timing for the story was perfect. Just one day after little Timmy Lincecum throws his first no-hitter, we’re indulged with a treatise on America’s favorite pastime that finally tells it like it is. Nothing Happening Is the Best Part of Baseball is the name of the piece, Lowen Liu wrote it and, for my money, nothing truer has ever been said about the game. The whole concept that the “no-hitter” is a pitcher’s greatest possible victory is, when you think about it, emblematic of the entire game; the guy at the mound is MOST SUCCESSFUL when he prevents anything with the slightest bit of excitement associated with it from happening. If you, as most people, prefer the spectacle of ball-hitting and base-running over the endless head-shaking, spitting, more head-shaking, more spitting, finally head-nodding, wind-up and delivery then you’ll see the wisdom in Liu’s point of view. Baseball pitcher as anti-hero…what a concept. Anyways, if you have a moment, read the article…
Click here.

Woody--Yesterday, July 14th, was Woody Guthrie’s birthday. In fact, a very fine photo of him appears above. I suppose in anticipation of the special event, Ken Irwin, Rounder Records co-founder and one derned perceptive man, posted on the Bluegrass-L the following…”Might be interested in reading this article, "Names Emerge from Shadows of 1948 Crash”. Several bluegrass groups have sung this wonderful Woody Guthrie song and here's a great story that answers a long-standing question.” Click here.

A little E.B. first thing in the morning can be just what the doctor ordered--E.B. White, who wrote Stuart Little and many other well-received contents of America’s literary songbook, said: "I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day." Hmm, maybe that’s been my problem all these years.

And here’s how to NOT start your day--“KTVU Reports Racist Joke As Names Of Asiana 214…On Friday, Bay Area Fox affiliate KTVU told viewers the purported names of the pilots on Asiana Flight 214. The problem was that the names — "Sum Ting Wong," "Wi Tu Lo," "Ho Lee Fuk" and "Bang Ding Ow" — were obviously fake. The news anchor read the names off the teleprompter and didn't bat an eye, adding that the information had been confirmed by the National Transportation Safety Board. The channel quickly apologized in a statement, saying later in the broadcast, ‘Earlier in the newscast we gave some names of pilots involved in the Asiana Airlines crash. These names were not accurate despite an NTSB official in Washington confirming them late this morning. We apologize for the error. Coverage of the tragic plane crash at San Francisco International Airport — which killed two girls and injured dozens of others — on Sunday has proven tricky for some news outlets. Earlier this week, the Chicago Sun-Times apologized for its front-page headline "FRIGHT 214," which was criticized for sounding like a stereotype of an Asian accent.

Stuff the big dogs at the front office say you should know--I’ve shared with you more than once that when I signed on to this Mold News gig it was with the understanding that my work would not be edited and certainly not go through any “approval” process. In return, I accepted the proviso that we were playing a one-strike-and-you’re-out game. So far, no strikes. But there was another requirement I acceded to, and that’s that when I’m asked to report on Association stuff I do it promptly and with good cheer. So here are a few items…

Board Elections —Got one coming up, of course and, of course, the current board pleads with the membership to consider running for a seat. Contrary to popular belief, the majority of these people would LOVE to step out of the lime-light; they just can’t do it till they know there are strong replacement folks. So then, think about it, please. August 15 is the deadline to get your materials in. And what are those materials? A petition signed by ten CBA members and a candidate’s statement, both of which will be, I’m told, explained in great detail in the next few days here at Stand by.

Fall Camp Out Location—The date of our annual October camp out remains the same as earlier reported--14th through the 20th. However, the location has been changed. The event was planned to occur at the Lighthouse Resort in the Delta. Well, apparently negotiations with the LH people broke down and a new site, the Lodi Grape and Harvest Fairgrounds, has been selected. I’m told it’s a lovely site and, with respect to centrality for members, it’s even better than the Lighthouse. To get the entire low-down on the Fall Camp Out, click to read a piece authored by our special events Czar and Czarina, the Lews. Click here.

Buttons—You’ll remember that yours truly, several of our Mold Team, and a big bunch of web team members collaborated on the production of a huge bunch of buttons and refrigerator magnets which were sold as a web-site fund-raiser at Grass Valley. We think we made a neat little amount on the sale but are waiting for the financial dust to settle. In the meantime, I’m told we’ll be selling the buttons we returned home with right here on the CBA web site. Please, when the ad begins to appear give some thought to trading a donation for support of the web site for one or two or twenty of these classy, witty little accessorizations. (Yes, there is such a word.)

Okay, my duty’s done. Have a good third week of July. Stay out of trouble, drink plenty of water and find somebody with whom to play music.

July 14, 2013

MILESTONE--November 11, 1977; This just out…”All mandolin pickers and fans of mandolin music – classical to bluegrass to jazz – will delight in the excellent quarterly publication MANDOLIN WORLD NEWS. David Grisman, eclectic mandolinist, and his Quintet and associates are responsible for this little magazine – “It fits in your case” – that presents in-depth interviews with great mandolinists like Sam Bush, Dave Apollon, and Jethro Burns. In addition to technical information on choosing and caring for your mandolin and tablature, it shows you exactly how to play those tricky licks. Become a member of Mandolin World for $7 per year and receive your subscription, or for a single issue send $1.75 to: Mandolin World, Box 373, Mill Valley, CA 94941. Another item that will put you in mandolin heaven is the recent recording by the ultimate master, JETHRO BURNS (Flying Fish FF-042). Yes, it’s the same Jethro of the Homer and Jethro classic comedy team, but here Jethro plays it straight (at least most of the time) – and it is absolutely incomparable. But don’t listen to me – go out and buy it for yourself!: November/December 77 Bluegrass Breakdown

Okay, this story REALLY IS just breaking--Posted on the Message Board last evening…better late than never…”Corbin Pagter is hosting a house concert for the North Carolina old time band Chicken Train this Friday, 7/12/13, at his Berkeley hills home. Chicken Train features John Engle on fiddle, John Herrmann on banjo, and Meredith McIntosh on guitar. Admission is $15, show at 8:00, door at 7:30. For directions and to reserve a spot e-mail”

Kid writes letter; actually gets reaction--Dexter Walters, a 7-year-old from Britain, heard earlier this year that a Dutch NGO was looking for applicants to start the first human colony on Mars. Fascinated by space, but too young to reasonably expect the agency to select him, Dexter decided to send NASA a handwritten letter (plus astronaut illustration). "My name is Dexter I heard that you are one sending 2 people to Mars and I would like to come but I'm 7. So I can't. I would like to come in the future. What do I need to do to become an astronaut?" Although Dexter's family didn't expect much in way of a response from NASA, to their good-natured surprise a response came. Dexter's mother posted photos of the original letter and NASA's response, which also came with a picture of Mars, the Curiosity Rover, stickers, and a bookmark, to the popular online link aggregating community Reddit.” Good story…happy ending…continue. Click here.

Life is good. No, really, it is--From the “L” in “L and S”…Been reading off & on, here on the message board about instruments for sale, so decided why not have something to help. So here's your chance to look under your bed, in your closet's or in storage. Maybe you don't want to sell, but want to trade an instrument, No problem! This year at Plymouth we are going to provide a FREE air-conditioned room with tables, chairs so that you can sell, trade or barter instruments, parts, cases etc. Bring em all. This instrument swap meet will take place Sat Sept 21 only, from 10:00 am til 5:00 pm in the Pokerville hall. To obtain a place for you goods you will have to sign up at the festival information booth and sign a disclaimer. "No commercial goods will be allowed" as we have vendors for that. This is intended for you, the fans. So there you have it, something new at Plymouth. Watch for other happenings I have up my sleeve. Announcements will be made in the weeks to come. Be sure to save some money and get your early-bird tickets on-line or by mail. LIFE IS TRULY GOOD! L&S

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY-Eight Things You Surely Do Not Know About Nikola Teslat…Okay, what you probably do know is that this guy, a Serbian-American physicist, inventor and futurist, was MR. ELECTRICITY. So much so that sixty years after his in 1943, an electric car company used his name to hock their product. But what you may not have known…


No, we’re going to leave you hanging. Who were those famous friends? Just exactly WHAT did Tesla do to Twain? Funny in what way? Click here.

Man oh man do I love this act--Once again we CBA’ers have something else to thank John Green for…Tomorrow night he’ll be hosting Loafer's Glory at his Fifth String in Sacramento. 7pm! Doors open at 6:30. Cover is $17 at the door. Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, Tom Sauber and Patrick Sauber. You could easily argue that John knows talent when he sees it.

More bad news for Randy Travis--NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)…Country music stars and fans joined together to urge prayers for Randy Travis overnight as he recovered from brain surgery following a stroke at a Texas hospital. Travis remained in critical condition after surgery Wednesday night to relieve pressure on his brain, publicist Kirt Webster said. The 54-year-old Grammy Award-winning singer had been improving while being treated for heart failure caused by a viral infection when he had the stroke. Steady concern for Travis, a popular and pivotal figure in country music, turned to active support as stars like Hillary Scott of Lady Antebellum and Martina McBride and the Grand Ole Opry used Twitter to join Webster’s call for prayers. Hundreds of users reached out using the hashtag PrayforRandy. “We’re all pulling for you Randy,” Brad Paisley said via Twitter.

Violinist turned WHAT? Emily Wells, “Originally a violinist, has taken her artistry into undefined territory that blends blues, hip-hop and classical music. Watch her build a virtual backing band out of loops during this performance of "Mama's Gonna Give You Love". So I’ll close out the week of moldiness by pointing you in the direction of some music very clearly not of the bluegrass variety. I found what Emily does pretty interesting and, shudder, maybe even a little suggestive of what pop music may be header towards. You decide… Click here.

Have a terrific weekend. So much good music so many places; please give some thought to going out and supporting the music Bill gave us.
July 12, 2013

Good Thursday morning. When in the space of an hour I receive nearly half a dozen notes from friends and Moldy readers telling me I have to read something I figure, well, I have to read it. So I did and now I’m suggesting that you do to. The piece is by Chris Pandolfi, posted on a relatively new and very good web site called The Bluegrass Situation . The young String Dusters’ banjo player has in very short ordered won himself a well-deserved reputation for seeing the forest for the trees when it comes to the musical genre that brings us to this CBA web site everyday. So struck were we here at Mold Plaza by its message that we’ve decided to run Chris’ most recent essay in its entirety.

The Music Is In Our Hands Now by Chris Pandolfi
In its short, roughly 70 year life, bluegrass music has already veered off in a number of compelling directions, but always had its inventors around to represent that straight, 'traditional' path down the middle. Though some of the most prominent bluegrass pioneers ultimately took a more experimental route (Earl Scruggs Revue, anyone?), they are a link to the musical past, connecting us to that 'traditional' standard that many still believe to be unmatched. But right now that 's all changing. With Ralph Stanley announcing his farewell tour and with the recent passing of bluegrass titans Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, the presence of the bluegrass founders is fading, and a genre that's still relatively young is growing up and perhaps even starting to feel old. It's a transitional and significant time, as we see legends moving on, along with the fans that were most directly connected to their sound, the ones who fought for its preservation. We all miss the mystique of BIll Monroe, but that's life; that's what happens when things grow old. In some way it sets us free to appreciate these legends for what they are--innovators and artists--instead of holding on to some small part of their past, hoping for them to recreate it for us in person. Just like any other viable art form, bluegrass is growing, changing, evolving, and the legacy of innovation that once seemed a threat is now defining the music for a younger generation.

Most music historians agree that bluegrass was born when Earl Scruggs joined forces with Bill Monroe in 1945. Though the style was certainly incubating in previous years, this marked a significant leap forward for both the sound and popularity of the music. The standard of 'traditional' bluegrass was set. Fast forward 68 years and that standard is still pretty firmly intact to those within the community, despite the vibrant evolution that has been bustling right outside the gates.

Four first generation bluegrass figures are still performing: Ralph Stanley, Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman and Bobby Osborne. But they are not the ones defending some 'traditional' concept of the music. As has always been the case, professional bluegrass musicians young and old are overwhelmingly open-minded on the topic of musical evolution (it's that blockbuster fact that the purists always manage to leave out). There are numerous examples including Ralph Stanley's recent collaboration with Pretty Lights, Jesse McReynolds' album of Grateful Dead music, the heavy influence of country music on the Osborne Brothers sound, and Wiseman's upcoming album with Merle Haggard.

But through it all, these names represent a link to a more 'traditional' past, remembered by many for their part in creating the bluegrass sound. Bobby's current collaboration (The Masters of Bluegrass) with second generation all-stars JD Crowe, Del McCoury, Jerry McCoury and Bobby Hicks is a clear reminder that while the founders do venture outside bluegrass, they also bring us back, and fans covet the rare opportunity to experience the origins of the music. That's how young bluegrass is! To many, the legends literally keep the past alive.

The examples of bluegrass icons venturing outside the genre are countless, but the reasons are simple: real artists strive to create and evolve, and they need to find an audience that will sustain them. Bluegrass has always struggled with commercialism, an obvious factor in the growth and development of any genre. Fans connected to that beautiful, original version of the music have a shockingly narrow definition of what bluegrass is and don't want to see it change. The folk music boom of the 60's-70's was an obvious place for bluegrass musicians to find new fans, but it further fostered this hyper-opinionated version of fandom that sought purity and shunned commercialism.

The opinion factor is exacerbated by the fact that so many die-hard fans are also part-time players, giving them a powerful sense of increased ownership over the music. They strive to preserve the art form, but in a way are doing just the opposite. You can't fault them for loving the music, but bluegrass exists because it is amazing, not because its followers hoped to keep it a certain way. For at least a period in the early going, before a small genre's available audience reaches critical mass, artists cater to audience opinions and growth can be stunted.

But from my perspective, bluegrass is now emerging from this early phase. As the original innovators fade from prominence, so too do the fans who are most closely connected to them. Only a few short years ago I saw firsthand the influence of the traditional bluegrass audience, the dominant voice at the annual IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Conference and Awards Show. At that time (2006-7), the IBMA was the go-to resource for all kinds of talented and eclectic players from all over the country. We (The Infamous Stringdusters) met several band-members, signed a record deal and won awards at the conference in years to come. Following that we were beholden to the bluegrass crowd. We envisioned ourselves a modern derivative of bluegrass but couldn't figure out how to find new crowds without alienating old ones. Ultimately we took a leap of faith -- one that has paid off, because it turns out that lots of people outside our community love bluegrass and all its musical relatives! A similar thing is happening within IBMA, which as of this year is moving to Raleigh and embracing a much broader spectrum of music. It's true that the evolution of acoustic music is well underway, but it appears that only now are these new styles finding a meaningful way to be tied to one of their most significant ancestors--bluegrass.

Moving forward, young people discovering this musical world will have less and less context for this 'bluegrass dilemma,' as figures like Bela Fleck, Tony Rice, Sam Bush and Jerry Douglas represent a more modern, open-minded and popular version of the music. This is how young people now discover bluegrass. Zooming out even further than that we see the acoustic boom that includes bands like the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons, a world that will inspire more banjo sales than Earl ever dreamed of. But for those who find their way back, Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs (and many more) will get the credit for kicking off this amazing streak of innovation, not just for that one version of bluegrass that they conjured up nearly 70 years ago. Great musicians will always gravitate to the simple, soulful perfection of bluegrass, assimilating the parts that appeal to them, mastering them and incorporating them into an array of musical styles. Good music lasts and informs what comes later, genres bleed together and new worlds are discovered--that's how music works.

With respect to the lasting significance of these old influences (some actually fear traditional bluegrass will disappear), it's again important to consider just how young the genre is. Bluegrass music was conceived almost entirely in the era of recorded music. Our version of the 'oral tradition,' is actually a fascinating intersection of imitation and innovation. While we do learn much of the repertoire and style from jamming with and listening to other players, the genre is so young that we also have quality video/audio recordings of the founders honing their craft. These references are a great resource to access/preserve the past, mixed with all the amazing things that happen when people learn music together by ear. Anyone exploring the instrument will have easy access to hours of Earl on video, and serious banjo players will always learn Earl.

I was lucky to meet Earl Scruggs and hear him play live (with one my own bandmates!), and only a few years later he was gone. His work (and that of so many others) is done, and it was done very well--the rare perfection those legends achieved is what will keep the music alive above all else. In a few short years, a young person discovering bluegrass music won't have the opportunity to experience the music's founders first hand. But the influence of their sound remains, and the older it gets, the less burdened it is by the legacy of conformity and traditionalism that have followed it all these years. That's what happens when a musical tradition grows old, and perhaps nothing feels that old until its creators are gone.

(Special thanks to Jon Weisberger, who's generosity with his time, energy and ideas will be another part of what keeps bluegrass alive.)


CBA MILESTONE--Note from Suzanne Denison, Bluegrass Breakdown Editor, to CBA members, BB, September, 1990…”DAVE EVANS UPDATE: Bluegrass singer, song writer and leader of River Bend, Dave Evans, is at press time still incarcerated in the Ohio State Prison. He and his family are in need of assistance and as stated in Carl Pagter’s article (July 1990), the CBA has established a fund for your contributions. To date a total of $300 has been contributed to the Dave Evans defense fund. A CBA member, (who wishes to be anonymous) will match any and all contributions which exceed his own. Please send your tax deductible donations to the Dave Evans Defense Fund, c/o the Bluegrass Breakdown, 1985 Madrid Drive, Stockton, CA 95205." (Why was Dave in the slammer? Here's the story that was going around at the time. His son comes home from school one day and tells his pop that a kid has keyed his car in the student parking lot. Incensed, (Evans had just sprung for a new paint job), he jumps in his truck, goes to the kid's house and proceeds to assault the teenager's ride with a 12 guage shotgun. Not the keyer...the keyer's car. That, you ask, will get you in the Ohio State Penitentiary? It will if the kid's dad is Deputy District Attorney. Dave did, of course, eventually get out after paying his debt to society and has been to Grass Valley more than a few times since.)

Paul McCartney on the Upright--And it’s an upright with quite a distinguished hisotry. Oh, and note the limey’s playing it right handed. Click here.

A deep for of knowing--Well, I had about as much chance of understanding T.S. Eilliot’s The Waste Land as the schnauzer I owned at the time. Benny and I must have read it a dozen times before we gave up. If you like so many other forlorn underclassmen has to slog through this damned American classic, you might find Adam Frank’s little essay interested. You’ll know pretty quickly if you don’t… Physics And Poetry: Can You Handle The Truth?--It is, arguably, one of the most important poems of the 20th century. At least that is what they told her and that is what my dad told me when he first gave me a copy as a boy. But she had a class that helped her understand the poem. Alone in my study I didn't get it ... again (sorry Dad). Sitting there, book in hand, not understanding what I had just read I had to ask myself: is this any different than my experience with physics? Poems and poetry are, for me, a deep a form of knowing, just like science. Yes, obviously, they are different. But each, in its way, is a way to understand the world. Click here. Alright, Benny wasn’t an actual schnauzer, but he sure looked like one.

Great summer mashup of 2013--I take great pride in being able to honestly admit that when I listened to and watched this video I recognized not a single song. I did recognize some of the oddly dressed men and women, though I couldn’t tell you their names. A mashup, I learned last night from Wiki, is a sort of a multi-media collection of this’s and that’s attempting to capture the essence of a whatcha-call-it. In this case the essence being pursued is what young folks are listening to during the summer of ’13. A far cry from my summer of ’66. But I’ll tell you what…there was something about the music that I liked. I’d be hard pressed to say what it was, but it grabbed me enough to
listen to the whole thing. PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THIS STATEMENT AS AN ENDORSEMENT. Click here.

More pop culture--I’ve read a handful of reviews of the new Lone Ranger movie…it’s nearly impossible not to unless you’re locked away somewhere. Of all I’ve read, I liked Jason Shawhan’s the best. He calls it weird and thoughtful, two words you don’t often read in the same sentence.
Click here.

An endorsement from a guy who knows about these things.--Do you know Steve Joynes? He calls himself the “Fiddle Guy”, and for good reason. For pretty much his entire career Steve was a successful contractor. His specialty was kitchen and bathroom remodels, or so it seemed to me, and he was an artist. His work was spectacular, he was in high demand and, from what I could tell, he liked what he did. Now Steve buys and sells violins…LOTS OF THEM…and he applies the same stubborn insistence on perfection in his refurbishment jobs. If you don’t know the guy, you should take the opportunity to meet him the next time you’re at an event he’s working. For example, here’s Steve Joynes sharing with Facebook friends what’s on tap for this weekend…”Alrighty then, Kate Wolf down, Worldfest ahead next weekend. I've got the misters, hoses, and fans loaded so my booth should be an oasis in the Grass Valley heat. Featuring Bruce Hornsby, Bruce Cockburn, Pink Martini, Allison Brown, Delhi to Dublin, Alasdair Fraser, and Brittni Paiva, one of the best ukulele players around. This is a fairly big family festival, with lots of activities besides listening to music. And there's usually a great late night gypsy jazz campsite jam that I can't miss.”

And speaking of old guys with new jobs--Jack Kuykendall is a CBA member, a fiddler who lives in Manteca and nowadays a derned decent re-hair man. He just did four bows for me and I found his work to be excellent. Here’s where I’d give you his contact information, except the only way he and I have communicated is via Facebook. If you’re a player of violins sooner or later you’ll need your bow re-haired…when that happens, you might want to look Jack up.

Almost French banjo joke--Let me apologize ahead of time. My only excuse for posting the following is that, above all else, you do not want to cause Mr. J.D. Rhynes, the contributor of said “joke”, offense. “This accordion player, a Frenchman, and his friend, also French, go to the mall shopping, Boulevard Haussmann, the largest in Paris, and Frenchman #1 happens to have an accordion in the back seat of his Citron. ‘Better put that in the trunk,’ says Frenchie #2, ‘somebody’s liable to steal it otherwise.’ ‘Mon amie’ replies the accordionist, don’t be absurd. This is Paris. The City of Light. A Parisian would not stoop so low as to steal a man’s accordion.’ And he was right. When the two returned to the car they found three more accordions and a half dozen banjos in the back seat.” Kerplunk.

July 10, 2013

MILESTONE--April, 1980…BAD NEWS FOR BLUEGRASS FANS! This month the Arizona Fiddler reprinted a UPI story out of Telluride, CO. Seems that in a special election the good people of that lovely little mountain paradise have voted the new bluegrass festival there out of town. The news service explains that “the townspeople don’t care much for the bluegrass types and on top of that, they don’t think they spent enough money in town…….” Something tells me they’ll change their mind.

March/April 1980, Bluegrass BreakdownSeriously, this is bad news--“Randy Travis Hospitalized; Dallas, Tx. (July 8, 2013) – Country singer Randy Travis has been admitted to a Texas hospital and is listed in critical condition. The Grammy winner is suffering from complications of recently acquired viral cardiomyopathy. Travis was admitted into the medical facility yesterday. Randy Travis is best known for "Three Wooden Crosses," "Forever and Ever, Amen," "Diggin' Up Bones," and "Deeper Than the Holler”. We wish him well.

Dead man with keen sense of the ironic seeks brown pall bearers--“Scott E. Entsminger was an accomplished musician, loved playing the guitar and was a member of the Old Fogies Band.” He was also, per his obituary in the Columbus Dispatch, a “lifelong Cleveland Browns fan and season ticket holder. The deceased wasn’t just your average Browns fan: He apparently wrote a song each year about the Browns, which he sent to the team along with advice about how to run the organization. And he was such a big Browns fan that the family encouraged everyone attending his funeral wear clothes supporting the team. But here’s the real kicker — he wanted his pallbearers to be Browns as well. Why? Well …“He respectfully requests six Cleveland Browns pall bearers so the Browns can let him down one last time.“

One of them good news/bad news deals--Good news first: T. J. & Angelica Grim Doerfel have been booked to play the Scott Valley Bluegrass Festival this year. Better yet, they’ll be joined by Christine Grim and Joe Ash. Something tells me this is going to be one heck of a good show. Oh, the bad news? This’ll be the last year for the Scott Valley event. I haven’t read or hear an explanation, but there must be one. In any event, the fest is coming up…July 20-21.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Your high moldiness; As per your request, here are three good banjo jokes for your perusal, and one of them just happens to involve a French banjo picker? (Note: We’ll share one and save the rest for latter…you’ve got to savor a thing like this…MM) If there is such a thing, I'm sure there must be at least one in this world. By the way, one of the banjo jokes involves accordions, so I figured what the heck, we may as well get the accordion players while we are at it. As ever your most ardent fan, JD Rhynes.

So this French banjo player tells his best friend how his wife likes to talk during sex. I've never heard of such a thing replies his friend. Yes, the banjo player says, last night she called from London.

This is not…repeat NOT…a CBA endorsement of this fund raising activity--We share it only because there still are a few of us who’d like to see this old planet of our continue to circle around the sun for at least a couple more millennia. “How to—Literally—Help Save the World from Asteroid Impacts…The B612 Foundation is a group of scientists, engineers, and astronauts who want to literally save the world… from asteroid impacts. They know the first step in doing so is to build a telescope that can spot space rocks, map their orbits, and compile a list of potential Earth-whackers. Their Sentinel mission will do just that: It will circle the Sun near the orbit of Venus, surveying the sky to look for potentially threatening rocks (it will actually do some of its best prospecting right after launch, while it’s still near Earth). The mission is ambitious, and funded through private donations. That’s where you come in. B612 is using various methods to raise the funds, including auctioning some pretty cool items: medallions, pins, and patches, some of which have flown in space! My favorite is a small flag that orbited the Earth for ten days in 1969 on the Apollo 9 mission with astronaut (and B612 scientist) Rusty Schweickart. I’m a big supporter of B612 (along with a proposed complementary NASA mission called NEOCAM). I think this is so important that when B612 asked me to make a short video for them about it, I happily and immediately agreed: Click here..” Is it only me or do other folks think it’s a little strange that we’d rely on something akin to a bake sale to address a problem of this magnitude?

And finally--I wasn’t sure about what kind of board member Dave Gooding would be. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy…have known him for years. Actually, that’s why I had my misgivings: in the years I’ve known him Dave’s come off to me as sort of a renegade…someone not overly fond of the “establishment.” And believe me, the elected board of a 501C3 non-profit is CLASSIC establishment. Well, my old pal keeps proving me wrong. He’s stepping up and taking on some tough jobs. Here’s the latest. Dave Gooding has agreed to head up the GREAT 48 Showcase Showdown, which, of course, is the band competition that’s part of the huge celebration each year down in Bakersfield. Organizing a band contest, especially one that welcomes entrants from all of California, (which, the last time I checked, had more people living in it than any other state in the union.) Anyways, there’s a whole lot of work associated with this event, not to mention just a tad amount of stress, and the big guy’s taking the reins. Oh, and thanks to Kelvin Gregory who’ll help out and show Dave the ropes. The Mold Man has said it before and I’m sure he’ll say it again…it’s just flat out amazing how many top-notch, talented men and women are willing to take their turn in a leadership role. Volunteerism is a major reason the California Bluegrass Association is the organization it is.

July 9, 2013

b>CBA MILESTONE--What we’ve got this morning, folks, is sort of a milestone of CBA Milestones. Here’s a Message Board post made yesterday by J.D. Rhynes…”Dear CBA members; I just thought I would let you all know that today on July 7, 2013, Steve deHaas, Jack Sadler, Carl Pagter and myself JDRhynes, videotaped the story of where the California Bluegrass Association began at Mr. Jack Sadler's place in Los Gatos California. Mr. Joe Weed did the videotaping for the Association. It was at a picking party at Jack's house in late 1974 that the idea of the Association was formed. At that late-night discussion on Jack's place was Carl Pagter, Jake Quessenberry, Jack Sadler, Vern Williams, Ray Park, Steve deHaas, and myself JDRhynes.

Out of that original seven there are only four of us left, and I get the thinking about that last may. So, I contacted Rick Cornish with the idea of doing this video while there are four of us still here to tell the began, and I told him I would like to do it at Jack Sadler's place setting on the doorsteps like we were that night. So, fast forward 39 years and today we did it. It was a very wonderful reunion of old friends today, sitting around reminiscing of that magic night long ago when we didn't know that we couldn't do it, so we went ahead and did it. The majority of the videotape was done inside of Jack's big music room, but the last scene of conversation was done on the steps of his house, "Where It All Began". We plan on making the video available to our members, possibly on our website here, and I for one cannot wait to see the final edition of it. Thank you very much for all the support that you've shown the CBA in the years past. Yer friend, JD Rhynes, Director Emeritus”

Not long after staring the Mold News it occurred to us that using the column to get down in black and white some of the important events that have led to this thing we call the California Bluegrass Association would be worthwhile. Mr. Rhynes’ Where it All Began is, from where I sit, a most excellent next step in documenting the CBA story. Thank you, J.D., and thank you Steve and Jack and Carl. And to you, Joe, whose entire life seems like one long series of labors of love, our most sincere thanks.

Gotta love those Canyonites--One of my favorite new acts will be at the Plough and Stars on the 19th. Here’s what the joint has to say about them…Canyon Johnson is a dynamic bluegrass band based in the Bay Area, drawing from the rich traditions and timeless themes of the music's founders while making it fresh and relevant to the present with intricate arrangements, soulful harmonies, and tasteful picking. The band has a passion for communicating through music and sharing their love of that "high and lonesome sound" that seems to grow better as it ages, remaining as relevant today as it ever was. From the hard driving tunes of Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers and Red Allen to the poignant songs of Hazel Dickens and the enchanting melodies of traditional fiddle tunes, Canyon Johnson will get your feet tapping and put a smile on your face.
Click here.

The other guys--Regulars here at, or for that matter at a dozen different bluegrass-related web site, will know the name Ted Lehmann. Ted’s been one of our Welcome columnists for several years and is arguably the most prolific and among the most lucid writers currently telling thre story of our music. But Ted Lehmann, a retired college professor, doesn’t just write about Bill’s music. His interests are varied, and so are the subjects of his frequently published prose. Here’s a piece he’s just recently penned on a new book on our nation’s birth. You’ll have to admit, it’s a bit of a different perspective than we American’s are used to…”The Men Who Lost America: BritishLeadership, The American Revolution, and the Fate of the Empire (The Lewis Walpole Series in Eighteenth-C) by Andrew Jackson O'Shaughnessy (Yale University Press, 2013, 480 Pages, $37.50) approaches the history of the American Revolution from a perspective few Americans ever get a chance to see, understand, or appreciate. The reader is introduced to a number of military and political personalities usually seen as representing a tyrannical government far removed from nation growing out of thirteen separate colonies owing allegiance to the British crown, governed lightly by mother land dependent upon it as a market as well as a source of raw materials who primarily sought to garner enough taxes from it to recoup the costs of maintaining a presence there and protecting its frontiers from marauding Indians, the French, and the Spanish. It asks and answers the questions “Were we a good as we think were?” and “Were they as bad as we've been led to believe?” Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--(Last week we told you about one Bill Schneiderman who took on, we firmly believed, the GIG FROM HELL: Doing a solo act on a well-known Mother Lode feature, the 45 minute Railtown train ride…two days, all day, 107 and 104 degrees, respectively, with no air-conditioning. Will he ever return was the rhetorical opener of our crazy Billie story. Well, here’s his reply.) ”He did return! I survived two days on the train braving 110 degrees the first day and 100 degrees the second day. Drank 5 bottles of water and a bottle of Powerade and repeated same the second day. It was great fun singing to the passengers and especially the kids. I did sing the MTA song and got many people singing along. This was a great experience and thanks to Dave Rainwater for the opportunity. I found out that there are more kids that have the book about The Old Lady That Swallowed a Fly, perhaps she’ll die, but I didn’t. Stay hydrated…. Bill”

MORE MOLDY MAIL BAG--And it was also last week that we posted a not-horrible-well-accepted job about the French existentialist Albert Camus and finished up with this special invitation…”Jokes about the French Existential Movement in post modern Europe, along with show-no-mercy banjo jokes, will receive special attention.” Not precisely what we had in mind but oh so delicious…”Dear Sir, if you’ll allow me--Rene Decartes walks into a deli and orders a pastrami sandwich. The guy at the counter asks if he wants mayo on it, to which Decartes responds: “mayonnaise on a pastrami sandwich? I think not!” Then poof! he disappears. Yours in good humor, Rusty Shackleford.”

That’s all, folks, have a terrific week and stay out of trouble.

July 6, 2013

CBA MILESTONE-Dateline, October, 1989…”Rick Abrams “Too Good” to Compete at Galax this year. Contrary to what you read last month in the Bluegrass Breakdown, Rick Abrams did not compete at Galax this year. He went to the contest, but they told him he was a “professional” and that eight ribbons were enough! Rick, leader and driving force behind the Piney Creek Weasels of Sacramento, California, was given the red carpet treatment and lots of Virginia hospitality. But they let someone else win this year. He did say, however, that the local radio stations gave him two hour-long interviews, and he sold out of his records and tapes. Congratulations Rick, I think you made the big time!”

Music to their ears--Twenty-two ears, to be precise. That’s how many ears the eleven members of the CBA’s board of directors have if you were to count them all up. Anyway, a few days after we all returned to one hell of a time at the Nevada County Fairground the following message was posted on the MB…”Just wanted to thank the powers that be for #1, inviting us to participate in the Festival and #2 for having so much good Old Time Music at the event. It seemed like folks really enjoyed all of the different styles of OTM presented at the festival and it sure looked to me as if they wanted more in the years to come. Great job all around. You folks made us feel very welcome and comfortable. Thanks a bunch!!! Chris Carney, Lonesome Holler String Band.” Does that name ring a bell? For some of us who’ve been around for a while, Chris and his wife, Kathi, who live up in the North Coast area, were pretty much permanent fixtures at Association events. They were volunteers, missed few events and were shy about letting the leadership know what was on their mind. Then, gradually over time, the Carney’s drifted away. They still make the Sebastopol fest each and, both as attendees and volunteers, but we just don’t see them much otherwise. Well, judging from Chris’ Message Board post, there’s at least a possibility that could change. And that’s good news. Tell your old-time music friends…O-T is back in spades at the Fathers Day Festival.

Let them eat…SUNSCREEN--In a move strikingly reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s ironic “Let them eat cake” pronouncement leading up to the literal loss of her head, our boy on the Korean Peninsula has reached into his bottomless bag of insults to his people and held a press conference on plans to boost the country’s tourism industry. “According to the South Korean newspaper Joongang Ilbo, North Korea's Supreme Leader has launched a major initiative to build a vacation resort in an industrial port town. The plan, which appears to have been put forth in a document entitled, "General blueprint for the Wonsan District," calls for the development of a beach resort on Songdowon Beach in Wonsan, a waterfront city that currently houses factories, dockyards, and a naval base, in addition to a financial district and a sports and entertainment area.” No one in the West, or the East for that matter, has precise numbers on how many men, women and, especially children, are dying each year from starvation in North Korea, but one thing’s for certain—spending less money on ski lifts, (the new resort will be a winter sports center), and more on getting rice to hungry people would at least be a start at addressing the problem. Click here.

Wonder how much that sucker is worth--“Nashville: Earl Scruggs’ Banjo to Become Part of “Precious Jewels” Display . Legendary musician Earl Scruggs’ Gibson RB-Granada Mastertone banjo will become part of the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum’s “Precious Jewels” display, museum officials announced today. This banjo, which was Scruggs’ primary instrument and has never before been exhibited, will go on display July 12.

Existentialism is just another word for ________(fill in the blank.--“Jean-Paul Sartre is sitting at a French cafe, revising his draft of Being and Nothingness. He says to the waitress, "I'd like a cup of coffee, please, with no cream." The waitress replies, "I'm sorry, Monsieur, but we're out of cream. How about with no milk?” I remember this joke bringing the house down in my Wednesday morning Comparative Lit class…a mere forty years ago. Oh, I’ve been meaning to say this…I’ve had more than a few e-complaints from people saying the Mold News could use more laughs. If you’ve got a favorite joke and want to help the cause, please send it along. Jokes about the French Existential Movement in post modern Europe, along with so-no-mercy banjo jokes, will receive special attention.

Internet Marketing 101--And finally, I’ve been asked by the web master, (notice, I’ve dropped the “self-proclaimed” prefix), to ask our faithful Mold readers, or at least those who do Facebook), to visit the California Bluegrass Association FB page and click on “like”. This is, I’m told, part of a larger strategy to bring more visitors to, which will…again, folks, I’m taking this on faith, cause more traffic on the CBA’s web page, which will in turn cause more people to be exposed to information about the Association’s activities, which will in turn drive up attendance at events, which will in turn make said events more profitable, which will in turn help to keep ticket prices low, which, unless I’m mistaken, would be a very good thing. So there, I’ve said it. Oh, and I just learned they post a little of the Moldy News there on FB every day, so if you do pay a visit there, be sure and like the Mold News. I’ve been promised that if I can garner at least seven likes they’ll let me have a key to the executive washroom.


MILESTONE--1970, Cambridge, three young college students sit sipping coffee and talking about their common passion, indigenous American music. Hey, one of them says, let’s start a record company and try to save some of this wonderful stuff. And that’s just what Ken Irwin, Bill Nowlin and Marian Leighton-Levy did. One of their earliest projects, and one that helped to secure Rounder Records’ place in the annals of American roots music, was the Alan Lomax Collection, a series of releases of the work of the pioneering ethnomusiclogist and folklorist. Click here.

Did he ever return? No he never returned, And his fate is still unlearn'd, He may ride forever ‘tween Jamestown and Rock Spur, poor Billy, he never returned--Do you remember Petticoat Junction? Kind of a goofy knock off of the Beverly Hillbillies? Even if you only vaguely remember the show, set in the fictional “Hooterville”, (is that where the restaurant name came from), you’ll still no doubt recall the old water tower, draped with several petticoats, shown during the opening credits. Well, that water tower is at Rock Spur, six miles from the train station at Jamestown, and if you take the 45-minute round trip train ride, departing every-hour-on-the-hour, you’ll get a glimpse of it. Which is all you really need…just a glimpse. But if you’re Bill Schneiderman, one-man guitar/mando traveling show, (also the CBA’s area rep up in the Gold Country), you’ll see way, way more of the tower and the six miles separating it from the sleepy little town. Known for always being up for a chance to entertain and make a buck doing it...but never for thinking about a gig before saying yes, Bill signed on to perform on R-Town’s train ride today, all day. And tomorrow, all day. 107 and 104 degrees, respectively. Suppose Billy will do the MTA song?

And there’s Lucy--Also a one-person git/mando act, also a CBA Area Vice President. Heard from Lucy Smith last evening…”Hello my bluegrass friends! This is not an official newsletter, not until Aug. 1. HOWEVER, I just want to make sure you know that the BOXCARS are coming to the Sierra Nevada Big Room on Sunday, July 28. THIS IS THEIR ONLY CALIFORNIA APPEARANCE! Tickets are available on-line, by phone, or at the gift shop at the Brewery. Doors open at 6pm, a wonderful dinner is available for $12.50, show starts at 7:30. Hope to see YOU there!!” A truly monstrous crew, that boxcar band…Adam Steffey on mandolin and Ron Stewart on banjo and fiddle lead the way alongside John R. Bowman on banjo, Keith Garrett on guitar, and Harold Nixon on bass.

From the No-Good-Deed-Goes-Unpunished Department--From the Mold News’ Sugar Creek, MO bureau chief…”A Missouri woman says that she is prepared to go to jail after authorities in Sugar Creek threatened her over a recycling project that turns tires into flower planters.

Toni “Bones” Shelton told KFVS that she had been repainting old tires to turn them into planters, but the city is frowning on her project. “I was just really interested in recycling and I’m really big on self-sufficiency,” she explained. Sugar Creek, however, claimed the number of tires she was storing could attract mosquitos and lower property values. “We’d asked her to put them somewhere else because there were quite a number of them,” Sugar Creek Chief Herb Soule insisted.”We try to keep people from accumulating tires because they retain water and they attract mosquitos. They detract from property values in the neighborhood too.”

When the girls were actually girls and admitted as much--Long, long ago, when I’d just turned thirty and had been bitten badly three years previous by the bluegrass bug, there wasn’t much I’d rather do on a Saturday night than go out and see the new all-woman band, Sidesaddle, play at the Wagon Wheel on Winchester Blvd. in Campbell. So, as I understand it from an FB post from Kim Elking, the band was once again playing in Campbell, on Winchester…”What a night at Sam's. So many wonderful friends dropped by to celebrate our 34 years and counting anniversary. Lots of friends joined us on stage, including Sonia Shell. It was a special night for us. Thanks to all!!!”

A nice little story within a story--It’s another piece about a hot new CD due out soon, but it’s got an interesting little twist to it…”Ron Block, long regarded as one of the leading lights of contemporary acoustic music, will release Walking Song, his third solo set for Rounder Records, on July 30, 2013. While Block is best known as a two-decade veteran of Alison Krauss & Union Station, he is also a highly regarded songwriter, singer and producer. In recent years, he has also come to prominence for his writings about Christian theology and spirituality.

For Walking Song, Block enlisted the help of a newfound co-writer, award-winning poet Rebecca Reynolds, whom he first encountered through his non-music writings. Block explains, “I would write posts on the theological topics that I tend to write about, and Rebecca would be one of the commenters. Whenever she’d write something, I’d think, ‘Man, she’s smart. Smart without trying to be smart, with a very poetic way of putting things.’ I don’t know how it actually ended up happening, but she said, ‘Hey, would you ever want to try to write a song together?’”

Interestingly, Reynolds wasn’t aware of Block’s prominence in the bluegrass world. She recalls, “We were a little ways into making songs,” she continues, “when I was Googling him, and I saw a Ron Block guitar. Then I saw a Ron Block banjo. I wrote him and said, ‘This is YOU, isn’t it? You have instruments named after you?’ I had that rare and beautiful joy of finding out that a dear friend and co-creator was Bluegrass Superman in disguise.” Click here.

Horses but not dogs?-Have you ever wondered why it’s against the law for people to eat dogs in our country? Well, I have, and the explanation I’ve come up with is just a common sense one—we don’t eat dogs because of the role dogs play in the lives of human beings. Dogs contribute something to society, and as a thank-you we do not cook and eat them. Now, wouldn’t you figure the same would hold true for horses? I mean, just think of what the equine has done for human kind. But no, if you figured that you’d be wrong…”Department of Agriculture approves horse slaughterhouse amid lawsuit threat--WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A New Mexico meat plant received federal approval on Friday to slaughter horses for meat, a move that drew immediate opposition from animal rights group and will likely be opposed by the White House. The U.S. Agriculture Department said it was required by law to issue a “grant of inspection” to Valley Meat Co, Roswell, New Mexico, because it had met all federal requirements. Now, the USDA is obliged to assign meat inspectors to the plant.” Good news for the New Mexico meat packer, not so good for man’s second best friend. Click here.

July 4, 2013

CBA MILESTONE-- October, 1977…The GOOD OL’ PERSONS GOOD OL’PERSONS are going through extensive personnel changes. KATHY KALLICK, who plays bass, guitar, mandolin, and sings, is the only remaining original member. (The persons began as an all-female band.) Original guitarist, DOROTHY BAXTER, moved to Alaska some months ago; BARBARA MENDELSON, who charmed the world with the hammered dulcimer, is still in the Bay Area, feeling fine and very much involved with her new job. Occasionally she’ll surprise audiences by playing a tune on dulcimer or spoons. Recently LAURIE LEWIS, who plays fiddle, bass guitar, and sings, decided she needed time to stretch, to freelance and to explore other possibilities; understand she’s traveling back East these days. SALLY VAN METER, who plays dobro and banjo, is traveling in the East and Southwest. Current Persons, besides Kathy, include: PAUL SHELASKY, fiddle; MARKIE SHIBB, mandolin, RAY BIERL, guitar; and GENE TORTORA, dobro.

And the East Bay, 2013-- The Sixth Annual Downtown Berkeley MusicFest Kicks Off A Free Celebration Concert Featuring Andre Thierry & Zydeco Magic plus Talk of da Town, Thursday, August 1st at the Downtown Berkeley BART Plaza from 5:00-7:00 p.m. For the full schedule…and it is LOOOOOOOOOONG and fully packed…go to

Scientists make significant breakthrough in making creating real-life Superman--Yes indeed, they’ve gone and invented…” contact lenses that bestow telescopic vision. Researchers in Switzerland and San Diego said this week that they have developed contact lenses that can bestow telescopic vision upon the wearer. The contacts work in conjunction with a set of special glasses that wouldn’t seem that unusual by themselves. Inside the lens, a tiny ring reflects light back and forth with hundreds of aluminum mirrors. Those mirrors are positioned precisely so that all the points of light come together in an image projected onto the eye that depicts the world magnified by 2.8 times, according to the BBC. The catch is that the image is only seen if the wearer puts on a special polarized filter, embedded in a pair of glasses similar to the 3-D shades popular in Hollywood’s big summer blockbusters. The lenses are similarly fitted with their own polarized filter that makes everything appear normal without the companion filter, which switches the effect on so to speak.” Cape to follow. Click here.

From the desk of Chuck Poling--How hysterically historical that our jam night falls on July 3, 2103, the 150th anniversary of the final and deciding day of the battle of Gettysburg. Let’s make our own history at

The Bluegrass Country Jam
Hosted by Jeanie and Chuck
Wednesday, July 3
at the Plough and Stars Pub
116 Clement Street/SF
8:30 to 11
Free/21 and over

Who can forget the immortal Picker’s charge, as the Alabama Banjo Brigade swept up Little Rocky Top only to be repulsed by the 20th Mandolin Regiment of Maine? The fighting was hot down in the Devil’s Den and a right mess in the Pig in the Pen. In the end, General Lee hit the highway with the blues. And we ain’t just whistling Dixie, either. But don’t worry. We’ll leave our shooting irons behind and we’ll be slinging guitars, banjos, fiddles, and the like. Got a keep an eye out for the musical saw though.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--"Dear Mr. Mold, HOW-DEEEE!!! That is my Minnie Pearl imitation to let y'all know the Sierra Mountain Band is back at the Hurst Ranch in Jamestown this year!! Yes! We will be playing every Friday night in July and August!! Come by and enjoy barbecued Table Mountain Beef, chicken, salad, corn bread, garlic mashed potatoes, ice tea, lemonade and a homemade dessert!! Soft drinks, beer and wine are available. Grounds open at 5:45 PM. Free train rides through the property for kids as well as adults. The Country Barbeque will be served at 7:00 PM and the Sierra Mountain Band plays at 8:00 PM. Happy trails, Elida Ickes.'

Astrological alignment-- Every now and then it happens...I’ll be zipping through the world-wide-web looking for nothing in particular, or I’ll be driving and listening to NPR, when suddenly I learn about a new book that, implausibly, had to be written with the Mold Man in mind. Such a new best-seller is Cooked, by Michael Pollan. See, it’s like this, my favorite time of almost any day is when my Maudie comes into my study and asks, (says, really), ‘Don’t you suppose it’s time to start cooking dinner?” In truth, she rarely has to remind me. I love to cook, have done it my entire married life. It’s a lovely blend of deep relaxation and excitement. Relaxation because, for the most part, my brain flicks off; excitement, because there’s rarely a meal that I don’t try something new. Sometimes an entirely new recipe, more often one of my standard dinners livened up in some new and interesting way. So, Pollan’s Cooking is, of course, about cooking. But it’s not a cookbook. Rather, it’s a truly fascinating look at how humankind has been doing this very human thing for…are you ready…over two million years. And that’s the astrological alignment part, because I probably read more history and anthropology books than those written on any other topic.

Pollen divides the book into four sections, fire, water, air and earth...the four different methods we and our ancestors have employed to transform dead plants and animals into fuel for our bodies. Sure, uncooked dead stuff can keep us going, but if you’re like me, you’ll be surprised to learn just how much more efficient the stuff can be if it’s grilled (fire), boiled or braised, (water), baked (air) or fermented (earth). I’m about half way through part one, Fire, and am loving it. A Mold Man recommendation to be sure.

July 3, 2013

MILESTONE--It’s August, 1979 and Bob Staib is back in Lexington Kentucky vacationging when he has the rare opportunity to interview not one but two rising stars in bluegrass. Bob’s stationed at Mather Air Force Base, is a devoted CBA member and, naturally, gives the interviews to the Breakdown editor for inclusion in the Association’s newsletter. And no, you didn’t read wrong…Bob does TWO interviews, at separate places and on separate days, one with JD and the other with Ricky, and in each he asks the same questions. It’s interesting to note how similar the two sets of responses are…

Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Bob Staib, at Mather AFB in Sacramento, for this fine interview. Incidentally, Bob asked his subjects identical questions at different times and places. Therefore, the response of each is clearly unbiased by the presence of the other. It’s interesting how their replies complement each other.

Bob: What is your opinion of the LIVE: HOLIDAY IN JAPAN album?
J.D.: Frankly, I hate the album. I wish I had never let ‘em record it. The recording didn’t come off the way it was supposed to. If I ever go back over there (Japan), I’ll never do another live album.

Ricky: It should never have come out. There was a lot of things on there that I was told and promised would never be there. Like the Monroe imitations.

Bob: What were you trying to do with those Bill Monroe imitations?
Ricky: I love Monroe and respect him. I like his old tunes and I can kid with him. I act like him sometimes, just for the fun of it.

J.D.: You have to explain everything to people anymore. Some people think you’re making fun of him, but you’re not. We did it because we love the people (Monroe). If it wasn’t for them (Monroe), we wouldn’t be doing bluegrass. It’s our way of appreciation. We might have gotten carried away and done a little too much. Anyhow, that stuff wasn’t even supposed to have been recorded.

Bob: What is your opinion of the 1975 NEW SOUTH album?
Ricky: That album was the finest bluegrass album that’s been cut in the last ten years. Everybody in the band feels that way. I feel that way, and I’m not even with Crowe anymore.

J.D.: I had the best musicians you can get to play bluegrass. We had it together. If that album don’t sell, no bluegrass will.

Bob: What were you doing with the “finger gesture” on the NEW SOUTH album?
J.D.: We were taking pictures that day, and it was cold. We were goofing off—it was a fun thing. I didn’t want to use the picture. So, I put it to a vote with the band. I lost. So, we put it on the album. I meant no harm.
Bob: Where is bluegrass music going?

J.D.: What is going to happen, to me, is that bluegrass will die if everybody just keeps playing it the same old way—playing only old standards. We all need to put some new things with it. Ricky Skaggs’ group, BOONE CREEK, is going in that direction. He even needs to go further.

Ricky: It’s hard to say where it’s going. Bluegrass is on the rise. More good musicians are taking it up everyday. There is something about bluegrass music that will make it nationwide someday. Bluegrass is big in Japan—Canada, too. My group (BOONE CREEK) is being well-received in Canada. We plan to spend November playing up there. We are planning a two-week tour of Japan in April. Also, we’ll be spending two weeks in California before our Japan tour. So, if anybody who reads this would like to book us, I’ll give you my address:

BOONE CREEK c/o Ricky Skaggs 6510 Longview Drive, Lexington, Kentucky 40503
November/December bb 1977

The beloved leaders just keeps getting more and more beloved--“North Korean Citizens Get a Fake iPad, Sort Of….You guys, North Korea has a tablet! It comes with access to more than 800 games and apps, an ultra tough exterior, a built-in camera, and a Wi-Fi connection so the citizens of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea* can finally learn about the world beyond the DMZ. This is truly a huge step forward for the secretive and dictatorial regime of Kim Jong-un, known better for its brainwashing and intermittent threats of nuclear holocaust. OK, I’m obviously kidding. Those are specs for the LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra, the tablet we trust with our children ages 4 through 9. But North Korea does really have a tablet, insomuch as they’ve developed an Android-ish propaganda gadget. According to North Korea Tech, it’s called the Samjiyon, and it most certainly does not have Wi-Fi, or any sort of Internet connection. (Stop asking about the Internet! No Internet for you!) However, the Samjiyon does come pre-loaded with some totalitarian goodies designed to teach children how to form a neat line, draw the extremely complex North Korean flag, and generally be good citizens (read: minions). Click here.

Don’t you ever, ever take for granted the fact that we’re living smack in the center of a bluegrass and old-time music cosmic vector--Good review from bluegrasstoday…“Jody Stecher, that musical wunderkind (in spite of his now-white hair), has finally released an album of all-original songs and tunes. He said he got brave enough to do this when folks started asking him not “Did you write that song?” but “Where did you learn that song?” I use the word meaning “wonder child” not only because Jody is such a formidable player on so many instruments (guitar, mandolin, mandola, and banjo), but also because, like a kid, he still loves to play, and that joy comes through on Wonders & Signs. Not that all of these compositions are happy. The disc opens strong with “Five Rode Up To Phoenix,” a tribute to the late Forrest Rose, Jody’s bandmate in Perfect Strangers who died at a jam session after a gig. A “true song” in the finest bluegrass tradition, the chorus laments: Five rode up to Phoenix, but four rode down next day. Then there is “Fly Away Home,” undoubtedly the most heartbreaking, yet ultimately joyous song on the CD. No one who has endured the pain of a parent with dementia can remain unmoved after hearing: All of your children holding you tight/Shepherding you from roaming the night…I don’t want you to die/I just want you to fly. Figuring out Jody’s words can be challenging. Some are strange (“Kabul Grinder”??) and at times he makes them march (“The Southwest Train.”) Fortunately, his website resolves all difficulties and provides origins and explanations—well worth a click of the mouse if only to get a clue about the “generally misinterpreted” “Osama’s Pajamas.” A cast of fine musicians supports Jody on this project: long-time partner Kate Brislin, Keith Little, Paul Knight, Chad Manning, Eric and Suzy Thompson, and Bill Evans. Some selections are full-band numbers, others feature just Jody with guitar or banjo. Wonders & Signs is not a collection of songs you are going to absorb in a few absent-minded listenings. This is an album that keeps on giving. Dive in, listen closely, and ponder the question Jody asks in “Waterloo”: How many futures exist side by side? That should keep you busy! (Jody Stecher, 133 Lake St., San Francisco, CA 94118, MHH”


CBA MILESTONE--From the Bluegrass Breakdown, September/October 1978 edition…”New CBA Directors. Last July 30th, there were three new people elected to the Board of Directors of the CBA. They are Butch Waller, Laurie Lewis, and Steve Pottier. Here is a brief description of these new directors. Butch Waller is something of a minority in California, being a native of the state, born and raised in the Bay Area. He has been a major figure in the California bluegrass scene and the Bay Area scene in particular for the past 15 years. His band, HIGH COUNTRY, became the first California band to be invited to perform at Bill Monroe’s festival at Bean Blossom, Indiana. Laurie Lewis, also a native Californian, has been actively playing old-time and bluegrass music for five years in the Bay Area. She is an alumnus of THE PHANTOMS OF THE OPRY, with whom she played both bass and fiddle. More recently, she was heard playing fiddle and singing with THE GOOD OL’ PERSONS. She currently plays with OLD FRIENDS and THE VERN WILLIAMS BAND. When not playing fiddles, she repairs them. Steve Pottier, two years shy of being a native of the state, began playing bluegrass 10 years ago in southern California. He is noted for his fiery guitar playing. Five years ago, he moved north to the Bay Area and for half that time has been playing guitar and bass with DONE GONE, a fine band which features many original compositions in an otherwise traditional repertoire. Butch, Laurie, and Steve would like to thank you for your support and welcome any comments and/or suggestions you may have concerning the California Bluegrass Association.

Respecting the melody from beginning to end-Best "Boil 'em Cabbage Down" ever! - Mark O'Connor/Wynton Marsalis Click here.

MOLDY MAIL BAG--Your high moldiness; a musical version of war and peace? Now that right there is funny, I don't care who you are, that is funny! Here is a random fact I thought you might enjoy. A pencil can write a line 35 miles long. Or, 45,000 words. Or, compose 138 songs. I found it fascinating, that encapsulated within an ordinary number two, yellow pencil, are all of those words and knowledge and music waiting to be unleashed. Just think, it only took about 12 of these ordinary pencils to write "War and Peace", give or take a few rewrites of certain paragraphs. I don't know about you sir, but I will never be able to look at a yellow pencil the same way as before. Kind of makes you wonder how all of those words get crammed inside of a little pencil doesn't it? As ever, your most ardent fan, JD RHYNES.” No, I can’t say that it does, Mr. Rhynes, but I’m glad somebody’s keeping track of this sort of thing.

Curses, I say curses on the California State bureaucracy--And here’s why. I found this on last evening… “New bluegrass/folk/Americana duo Gary Ferguson and Kathy Barwick are Ireland bound in July, taking their hybrid sound overseas for the first time. Gary is known for his skills as a singer and songwriter, and Kathy for her mastery of flatpicking guitar. They are working together on a new album.” Do you have any idea…ANY IDEA AT ALL…how much music this Barwick woman would have made all these years if the agency she worked for had cut her lose after her first review? Instead she waited around for retirement. Now, hold on, I’m not saying all those years with Mt. Laurel and on and on and on didn’t count for anything. It’s just that full-timing would have added to the bluegrass treasury we can claim here in California. Have a safe trip, you two.

MOLDY’S LIST FOR THE DAY--Albert Einstein's Conditions Put Forward to His Wife…Now I don’t want this to bum you out. Read it for what it’s worth or don’t read it at all. By 1914, Al and Mileva’s marriage was more or less down the tubes. Einstein, considered by folks who’d know to be the smartest person of the 20th Century, decided something had to be done so he came up with a list of conditions under which he could stay in the relationship. Arguably this was either a very intelligent course of action or a very flawed one. Either was you look at it, the problem was resolved just a few months after the missus signed on to the list. That was in 1919 and I’m happy to report that both found true love with second spouses. Anyways, here’s the list of marital requirements written by the greatest mind since Newton.

You will make sure that my clothes and laundry are kept in good order;
You will make sure that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room;
You will make sure that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only.
You will renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons. Specifically, You will forego:
My sitting at home with you;
My going out or travelling with you.
You will obey the following points in your relations with me:
You will not expect any intimacy from me, nor will you reproach me in any way;
You will stop talking to me if I request it;
You will leave my bedroom or study immediately without protest if I request it.
You will undertake not to belittle me in front of our children, either through words or behavior.

I’ll tell you this much, I wouldn’t have gotten past the second bullet point before Maudie used one on me.
Posted By:  Rick Cornish

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