Larry Carlin
Larry Carlin


Bluegrass Kickoff

Sweetwater is first stop on local festival scene

By Matt Kramer
Pacific Sun
January 20, 2006

On Wednesday, Larry Carlin's continuing live music series, Bluegrass Gold, will feature John Reischman & The Jaybirds at the Sweetwater Saloon. This fine string ensemble dishes out some of the highest quality bluegrass and old-time music on the continent. Reischman and his Jaybirds seem to alight in the Bay Area regularly, usually right around the time the San Francisco Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival and the Third Annual North Bay Bluegrass Festival are gearing up. The Sweetwater show serves as the kickoff event for the latter festival, which is a loose conglomeration of bluegrass and old-time shows at various venues in and around Marin and Sonoma Counties. The former festival-which is also a varied venue affair- begins the following week, and runs from February 2-12. You can learn much more about both of these fantastic festivals at their sites.

Early last year, John Reischman & the Jaybirds issued their third studio recording, The Road West (Corvus, 2005), which is a fine and sometimes fiery follow-up to their Juno-nominated sophomore effort, Field Guide (Copper Creek, 2002). I enjoyed their last Sweetwater show (with the Kathy Kallick Band) so much that I was thrilled to see John Reischman & the Jaybirds included on the line-up for the Labor Day edition of the Strawberry Music Festival. After a well-connected acquaintance went far out of his way to hook me up with a fellow who had tickets but could not attend the festival, I was all set for an encore performance from the Vancouver-based Reischman and his band of songbirds. While traveling east to the festival, The Road West was playing on the car stereo when my partner, who was searching through the glove compartment asked me, "Where did you put the tickets?"

Tickets? The tickets? You guessed it. We had packed all our camping gear, but I had forgotten something integral to entering the festival. The tickets were back home, in the top drawer of my dresser, about 15 miles away. Thankfully, we were no farther down the road than that, but the extended U-turn ate time off the clock. We arrived at the festival just in time to miss the entire performance of John Reischman & the Jaybirds! At the Sweetwater, I can simply purchase admittance at the front door; I just hope my almost 40-year-old brain can handle that.

Opening for the Jaybirds will be Mill Valley's own Cliff & Julia Landis, whom I look forward to hearing for the first time. I've been primed to expect bluegrass and brother-duet harmonies from this husband-and-wife duo that has performed for a few years at folk festivals and local house concerts.

And Sonoma-based singer-songwriter Jamie Clark returns to the Larkspur Café Theatre Friday night. Clark, whose CD of pop-infused Americana, The County Q Sessions, came out last year, has scored air time on Sonoma County's KRSH and on KPIG as well. In addition, the guitarist has wowed the crowd at Marin Brewing Company and he made a big impression in his previous appearance at the Larkspur Café Theatre, which is a very intimate place to see and hear live music.

And a ticket alert wraps things up this week: tickets are available now to see legendary folk singer Joan Baez on Saturday, February 11 at 142 Throckmorton Theatre. For the second half of the show, she will be joined by a folk quartet called Rhythm Village.




Larry's CD Reviews Bluegrass Gold
Favorite Links
CA Bluegrass Association
Three decades of bluegrass in CA
Int'l. Bluegrass Music Assn.
Northern CA
Bluegrass Society

Formerly the Santa Cruz
Bluegrass Society
Murphy's Irish Pub
One of our favorite venues
Premier folk & acoustic venue
Hicks With Sticks
Bay Area Twang
North Bay Bluegrass Festival
Annual Fest
The Waybacks
Acoustic mayhem
Dark Hollow
List of local bluegrass bands

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