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    Editor’s note: while the creator and regular author of this column, MOLD Man, wiles away the time in a dark, dank jail cell in Lithuania, retired and erstwhile Almost Daily News writer Larry Carlin (in the photo above) has stepped in to fill the void here a few days each week.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    The day after. Okay, everyone can now relax and breathe a huge sigh of relief, now that tax day has come and gone (unless, of course, you are one of these guys, who never have to worry about paying taxes because, well, in a very un-American yet still legal way, they don't pay any), and it is time to start thinking about what lies ahead. Some of you are looking forward to getting some money back from the feds, and if you are wondering what to do with your return, the 39th Annual CBA Father's Day Festival is just two months away, and there is no time like the present to treat yourself to a present and buy some tickets. The fest is the highlight of the summer season, and, as always, there is a great lineup this year. Go to the link above to see who will be playing and how to buy your tickets.

    Setting the stage. Word on the street is that the bands have also been finalized for Vern’s Stage at this year’s festival. Coordinator TJ Carskadon and crew spent countless hours setting up the entertainment, and here are the bands that will be playing: The Littlest Birds, The Brothers Barton, Debby McClatchy, Mt. Diablo String Band, The Cherry Pickers, Sidesaddle and Co., 27 Strings, American Nomad, Natural Drift, Rusty Stringfield, Steep Ravine, Dave Earl and Friends, Central Valley Boys, Pig's Foot String Band, and One Grass, Two Grass, Red Grass, Bluegrass.

    Cut to the Chase. This is the title of Kathy Kallick's new solo CD, and not only will she and her band be playing the main stage at Grass Valley, she will also, with Laurie Lewis, be doing a tribute to Vern & Ray at the fest. And, her new CD got great reviews here and here.

    Buddha Grass Boy. Another headliner at Grass Valley will be Peter Rowan & His Bluegrass Band. Peter learned from the master, as he played with Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys back in the '60s. Last year a wonderful documentary about Peter, made by Christine Funk, was released, and it is titled The Tao of Bluegrass: A Portrait of Peter Rowan, and on the link you can purchase your own copy of it from South 40 Films.

    It’s in the genes. Most folks have either seen amazing Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster perform live or maybe they have seen her on video. She is truly amazing. But what is even more incredible is that her four young children have been bitten by the music bug, too. Take a look at this video, and if you don’t come away with a smile or tear in your eye, there is little hope for you…

    Bill Evans Today. Bay Area banjo player/teacher/writer Bill Evans was featured in a story in Bluegrass Today yesterday. Check it out here.

    From bluegrass to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There aren’t too many players that claim such a career path, but Chris Hillman surely can. Check out his interview from the Bluegrass Situation site.

    Going, going, gone! As mentioned here last week, not just any dobro, but one that belonged to the late, great Mike Auldridge. It sold on Monday on eBay for $11,101. Check it out here.

    Todd to the rescue. With regular bass player Mark Schatz headed off to tour with the rejuvenated Nickel Creek for a while, the Claire Lynch Band has signed up Todd Phillips to fill in for Mark on their next tour.

    Pickin’ in Petaluma. The Stadler Gibbons Band will be playing at Zodiac’s in Petaluma from 8-10 on Wednesday the 16th. The venue features live music five nights a week. The band will be playing their mix of material drawn from the best of mid-century country music, haunting duets, great songs from exceptional writers still toiling today, and band originals, all with a big focus on lyrics and harmony vocals. Michael Stadler is a multi-instrumentalist, sought-after music teacher, and a singer the likes of which you will not forget. He plays guitar and mandolin primarily in this band, but will occasionally surprise with other choices. Mary Gibbons has played and toured with a number of bands over the years, among them The All Girl Boys and Laurie Lewis & Her Bluegrass Pals. In the SGB she provides rhythm guitar and shares lead and harmony vocal duties with Mike in this very song driven band. She never met a sad song she didn’t like. Jon Mitguard is in demand as a pedal steel player known for exquisite taste and tone. He also sparkles on the resophonic guitar. And Chuck Ervin keeps everything exactly where it needs to be with his deft touch on the acoustic bass.

    Jammin' in Marin. The twice-a-month bluegrass jam – founded by yours truly back in 1999 – has been running for almost 15 years now, and it will be taking place on Thursday the 17th at the Marin Lutheran Church, located at 649 Meadowsweet in Corte Madera, just off the Corte Madera exit of Highway 101. The time is 7:30-10 p.m. The next jam will be on May 1st. For more info and directions, go here.

    Just duet! Laurie Lewis and her partner/mandolinist Tom Rozum are playing some duo shows this week with Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman. They will be at Don Quixote’s in Felton on the 17th, at the Throckmorton Theatre in Mill Valley on the 18th, and at the Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center on the 19th. You can also read stories about Laurie in the Paradise Post (where Jacob’s last name is incorrectly spelled) and in the Synthesis Weekly.

    Man in the know from Music Row. Raconteur and music maven Randy Pitts of Nashville is this column’s frequent and knowledgeable CD reviewer. Here are two more of his offerings:

    Randog's Daily Pick 4/15/2014
    The Lewis Family with Carl Story The Lewis Family Sings The Gospel with Carl Story
    Starday LP SLP-364

    To be fully appreciated, The Lewis family in their heyday needed to be observed in person; that they were unique in the history of the music is an understatement. California fans with long memories may remember multi-instrumentalist Little Roy Lewis descending from the stage mid-song to claw at the huge tree next to the stage at Grass Valley like a rabid gerbil. By the time the Family, enormously popular in the southeast, made it to northern California, patriarch "Pops" Lewis was reduced pretty much to emceeing the show and changing broken strings, but the stage was awash with his progeny, which continued to expand for twenty some years afterwards, and they were all talented -- sons Wallace, Talmadge, and the hyperactive Little Roy, plus daughters Miggie, Polly, and Janis, who invariably suffered Little Roy's comic barbs with unflappable grace and equanimity. This album joins the family relatively early on in their career with the great Carl Story in a rousing program of old-time-shout gospel music that approximates what it might have been like to attend an old-time Southern gospel bluegrass event. I remember Tim O'Brien remarking once that he voted for Little Roy Lewis as Entertainer of The Year annually on the IBMA ballot, and I've seen few entertainers give more of themselves in the service of entertaining a crowd. Hugely entertaining, if largely inexplicable liner notes, by Starday majordomo Don Pierce. I'd like to get the name of the dobro player who weaves in and out of the music here, too. What he's doing has less to do with the musical program than Pierce's liner notes at times.

    Randog's Daily Pick 4/14/2014
    Muleskinner Live-Original Television Soundtrack
    Sierra CD-SXCD6000

    Planned as a televised concert for public television of the meeting of the Father of Bluegrass (that would be Bill Monroe) and the best of the young Turks in the music, but which became a Muleskinner (as they were dubbed after the fact) concert when Big Mon's bus broke down, this recording (and the video of the program, also available) remains a vibrant snapshot of the exciting developments in the bluegrass world, particularly on the left coast, in 1973. Clarence White, of course, singlehandedly changed the course of lead guitar in bluegrass, and Bill Keith did substantially the same for banjo. Richard Greene, classically trained on violin, but clearly under the sway of the legendary Scott Stoneman at this point, had already spent time with Monroe at this point -- as had Keith and Peter Rowan -- and would leave his imprint on subsequent bluegrass music and beyond in years to come. David Grisman was not yet the Grisman of the famed Quintet, but heavily influenced at this point by Frank Wakefield; he was even then eagerly pushing the boundaries of the mandolin. Peter Rowan had served his apprenticeship with Monroe, learned his lessons well and was fast becoming a distinctive lead singer and guitarist in his own right. The band also had a bass player about whom I know nothing, named Sam Schulman, who was perfectly competent that night. Amazing stuff. “New Camptown Races,” “Dark Hollow,” “Land Of The Navajo,” “Blackberry Blossom,” “Knockin' On Your Door,” “Opus 57 In G Minor,” “Red Rocking Chair,” “Going To The Races,” “Eighth Of January,” “I Am A Pilgrim,” “The Dead March,” “Sitting Alone In The Moonlight” (with guest vocalist Maria Muldaur), and “Orange Blossom Special.” There's roughly twice as much music here as there is in the video, which was edited for a 30-minute broadcast.

    Comments, questions, quips and tips? Send an email to For more info than you need to know about designated MOLD columnist Larry Carlin, go to his Carltone web site.
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    THE DAILY GRIST..."In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” - Margaret Atwood

    Hope Does Spring Eternal
    Today's column from Bruce Campbell
    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Ah, spring is here! We know this because the Sonoma County Bluegrass and Old Time Festival occurred. We know this because the baseball season has begun – and don’t think Bill Monroe himself wouldn’t be following that action. And we know this because the annual CBA Spring Campout is nearly upon us (April 22-27).

    There are a lot of smart people in the CBA, but I think the folks who conceived of the spring and fall campouts are among the smartest. The bluegrass event year is a majestic tapestry of things to do, from festivals, to concerts, to jam sessions and campouts are a very appealing part of the mix.

    This is fairly easy to understand. Concerts are fun – it’s always enjoyable to see great bluegrass music being performed right in front of you, and the concert set lengths allow you to get to know a band a bit better than the 50-minute festival sets allow. But they aren’t quite as social or participatory as jams or festivals.

    Festivals are terrific – I know I’m stating the obvious here. It’s like Disneyland for bluegrass fans, or a 3 ring circus – with many more rings. There’s a plethora

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