Sunday evening, October 9, 2011, was a remarkably great event in San Diego. It was the 10th anniversary party/fundraiser for the San Diego Troubadour. The auspicious event was hosted at the beautiful new Sunset Temple behind Claire de Lune’s on University Avenue in North Park. The room was packed with musicians and music supporters of all types, and the stage rocked with performances by some of San Diego’s top musicians. But, what struck me most about this event is what a great job the little ol’ Troubadour has done at being the “glue” that holds San Diego’s acoustic and independent music scene together.
Here we were, all in the same room, drinking and snacking, chatting and mingling, playing and listening, everyone from the likes of Steve Poltz, to Wayne Rice, to Peter Sprague and everyone in between. Many of us are heavy into our own musical niches, and in the pre- Troubadour days we had little opportunity to interact with or read about our fellow creative artists, but one could feel the cross genre camaraderie in the room, and for that we owe the Troubadour a big thank you!
Plastered on the walls around the room were all the covers from all 10 years of the Troubadour ’s existence. If you are a bluegrasser, no doubt some of the indie rockers, singer songwriters, blues artists and the like may be names unfamiliar to you. But, you would recognize two covers featuring Summergrass, one cover featuring Dennis Caplinger of Bluegrass Etc. and the Tim Flannery Band, a cover on Nickel Creek, and one on Chris Stuart of Chris Stuart and Backcountry. You would likely also know the covers on Shawn Rohlf, and the cover on the 7th Day Buskers. So, yes, bluegrass has been and still is an important part of the Troubadour ’s coverage. And, you would know from the Troubadour that all of the musicians and bands covered are doing what we in the bluegrass community are doing: playing and pursuing the music we love because we love it, not because it is commercially popular, but because it speaks to our heart and is authentic. Now that’s some glue we all share!
Four people founded the Troubadour 10 years ago, taking a chance that San Diego would support a local, roots-based music newspaper. Sadly, two of those four died unexpectedly a few years after the launch. So, I take a moment to recognize, after ten years, that two incredible people, Liz Abbott and Kent Johnson, have kept this little paper alive and thriving through perseverance and hard work. Thank you to them, and to the photographers, writers, and performers who help make it all work, from everyone in the bluegrass community of San Diego.
SDBS ST. MARK’S BLUEGRASS CONCERT, SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13
The San Diego Bluegrass Society, in conjunction with St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, will be presenting their annual bluegrass concert Sunday, November 13, 4:30pm, at the church located at 3502 Clairemont Drive. The theme for this year’s event is honoring the father of Bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, on the 100th anniversary of his birth. Details are being finalized, but it looks like there will be four bands performing the music of Bill Monroe. Admission is free and the public is welcome. Donations will be solicited in this fundraiser for the church and for the SDBS. For more information visit the SDBS website at: www.sandiegobluegrass.org.
ROLAND WHITE COMING TO SAN DIEGO
Roland White of the famous White family is coming to San Diego for a concert at AMSD Concerts on Sunday, November 20. Roland will be joined by a powerful lineup that includes Herb Pedersen, Bill Bryson, and Blaine Sprouse.
Roland White has played with Bill Monroe as one of his Bluegrass Boys as well as with Flatt and Scruggs. Roland and brother Clarence White, perhaps the most respected and innovative flat pick guitar player of all time, formed the Kentucky Colonels in the 1960s, a band that had great success. Roland also played with the hugely popular Country Gazette in the 1970s before moving on to play mandolin in the Nashville Bluegrass Band for many years. Since that time Roland began performing with his own Roland White Band and doing duet performances with his wife Diane Buska. Roland is a true living legend of bluegrass music who is not to be missed.
Herb Pedersen is also a force to be reckoned with. Here is a listing of some of the artists he has played with: Earl Scruggs, The Dillards, Old and In the Way, David Grissman, Peter Rowan, Vassar Clements, Gram Parsons, Emmy Lou Harris, Tony Rice, Dan Fogelberg, Stephen Stills, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, John Prine, Jackson Browne, John Denver, Chris Hillman, and Leland Sklar. Nothing more need be said about this great writer, singer, and performer.
Bill Bryson, bass playing vocalist of the group, has a similar resume and is well known locally as a member of Bluegrass Etc. Blaine Sprouse was the fiddle player for the super group Alabama, playing on several of their chart-topping hits. So, if you have a chance, pick up a ticket for what looks to be a great show. The show is at 7:30pm, Sunday, November 20. Tickets are $20 in advance and available, along with more information, online at: http://amsdconcerts.com/November.html or call (619) 303-8176.
If you are interested in learning more about the bluegrass music scene in San Diego, visit the SDBS website at www.sandiegobluegrass.org. The SDBS is a non-profit organization sponsoring regular jams session and get togethers, an instructed slow jam, the Summergrass festival (with co-sponsoring partner North County Bluegrass and Folk Club), a school outreach program, a program bringing free music to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and the like, camp-outs, and other activities. Read about it all on the SDBS website, and then do yourself a favor: Step out and attend one of these events and get involved. You won’t regret it.