We had great bluegrass in San Diego in January to start off the new year. The Blythe Festival presented top talent, including The Gibson Brothers (IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year for 2012), local standouts Chris Stuart and Backcountry, and hot kid band Next Generation. This festival was quickly followed by the San Diego Bluegrass Society’s presentation of Audie Blaylock and Redline at the First Baptist Church of Pacific Beach, with an opening act by San Diego’s highly rated bluegrass band Lighthouse. A mere three days later, two-time female vocalist of the year Claire Lynch and her great band were presented at the Del Mar Powerhouse. Whew! That’s a powerhouse couple of weeks.
February will provide some recovery time to digest January’s great traveling talent, and to focus on and enjoy the local bluegrass opportunities available every Tuesday and Thursday of the month. Visit the SDBS website at: www.sandiegobluegrass.org for details, or visit Wayne Rice’s Bluegrass Special website for a complete calendar of events at: www.waynerice.com/kson/bgevents.
LOCAL FIDDLE CAMP EXPANDS AND MAKES ITS MARK.
Fiddle camps are an important part of the bluegrass and broader music culture. They exist all over the country and in many foreign countries. A decade or so ago Mark O’Connor put one on in San Diego each summer at point Loma Nazarene College, but he pulled out after a few years leaving San Diego with no fiddle camp. Three years ago local fiddle player and SDBS Board member Avery Ellisman stepped up and started a camp, the Julian Family Fiddle Camp, held each April at Camp Cedar Glen in Julian.
The first year, 2011, was a strong initial outing with great teachers, committed students, and an excellent program. Last year, in spite of snowfall, was even better as the camp added top quality instruction on guitar to its fiddle and mandolin classes. This year looks to be even better still as the Julian Family fiddle Camp settles in and starts to really make its mark.
Old time and Texas style fiddling pro Katie Glassman of Colorado, who has an impressive history of contest wins, will head the fiddle teaching program with the assistance of Jane Frey (associate Director of the San Diego Youth Symphony) and hot young fiddle phenom Avery Merit. Evan Marshall, considered by many to be the best technical mandolin player alive, will head up the mandolin instruction program for the third year with assistance from, new to the camp this year, Nina Weisman, a veteran mandolin teacher and performer.
National flat-pick guitar champion Tyler Grant returns for his second year as a teacher with assistance from muti-talented Yaniv Saltzberg. New this year, nationally acclaimed old time banjo instructor Adam Hurt joins the camp faculty. Rounding out the faculty are Rebecca Stout teaching flatfoot and buck dancing, and Martha Wald on contra dance and mountain dulcimer.
The camp is open to all ages and abilities, and tuition (base tuition is $525, but there are discounts, family rates, and scholarships) includes room and board at Camp Cedar Glen in the scenic mountains near Julian. If four days of great classes by top teachers, concerts, camaraderie, and music, music, music in the mountains sounds appealing, visit the website and learn more: ww.familyfiddlecamp.com.
Sara Petite CD Release. Sara Petite had a successful CD release party at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, with good attendance and some great music. Her new CD is entitled Circus Comes to Town, which won second place at the prestigious Merle Fest Festival in North Carolina in the Americana category. You can check out Sara and her new project at her website at: www.sarapetite.com.