Entries for January 2021

  • Roy Acuff: The Smokey Mountain Boy at 100 Years and a Blues Thing or Two

    The first phonograph records that I was even consciously aware of when I was about four or five years old were by Roy Acuff and the Smokey Mountain Boys on those old lavender Okey 78s and, I think, one on Melotone that my Mom picked up at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. I remember tunes like […]

  • A Darker Side of Donovan

    There’s a telling scene in Don’t Look Back, D.A. Pennebaker’s grainy 1967 documentary of Bob Dylan’s stormy 1965 tour of England. Dylan is in a hotel, filled with tour members, local celebs, musicians, and varieties of hangers-on. The Maestro is rifling through a British paper and happens upon an article on Donovan, the Scottish singer-songwriter […]

  • Time Between: Chris Hillman’s Life in Music Leads to his Roots

    “I heard the most beautiful voices I had ever heard.” This is how country-rock California bluegrass pioneer Chris Hillman describes the first time he heard Jim McGuinn, Gene Clark, and David Crosby sing together as the Byrds. As a founding member of the band that helped shaped the music of the pivotal decade—the 1960s—Hillman’s autobiography, […]

  • Enrique Lopetegui: Snark, Slam, and Rocanrol

    In 2012, I discovered Spanish-language rock, or “rock en español,” as I drove all over San Diego County with my radio tuned to 98.9. I loved the songs I heard, but since I couldn’t stop driving to Google the lyrics, I remained ignorant about band names, release dates, and song titles. Eight years later, music […]

  • Ring Them Bells!

    Thank you, January 1, 2021! Lots of reasons to ring in the New Year with gusto. The chimes atop Geisel Library at UC San Diego is where I play live requests and mark meaningful dates. I won’t be able to climb up to the Library roof to play live this quarter due to COVID restrictions, […]

  • Mark C. Jackson Has a Story (or 3) to Tell

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    “A little water on a cold day to wash your hands with is a good thing.” —Zebadiah Creed On a beautiful Halloween Saturday, my good friend Mark C. Jackson came to my home for lunch and a conversation. There would be a lot to talk about. Award-winning novelist, singer-songwriter, musician, composer, podcaster, raconteur, and bandmate, […]

  • A Cool Amp for Hot Tracks

    Well…hmm. I don’t think I need to add my voice onto the heap-pile of mid-pandemic, end-of-the-year, holy crap, “can you believe what a year it’s been and it’s still going on?” pontifications, so I just won’t. Sure did spend a lot of time at home in the studio though. A lot of it trolling through […]

  • Happy Bluegrass New Year to All!

    2020 has been a tough year for everyone. In our bluegrass music world, festivals were canceled, jam sessions suspended, concerts foregone, and the economic fiber of the music world, including this newspaper, stretched terribly thin. There were some highlights though, reminding us of the positive camaraderie that can be built through music and of the […]

  • PLEXUS PLAY: Adulting

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    And now, for something completely different. Who, might you ask, is Plexus Play? Well, for the purpose of this album, Plexus Play is the brain-child of musician Matt DiBiase, and he’s basically doing that one-man band routine (although saxophonist Robert Dove makes an appearance). Local jazz fans will recognize DiBiase as a virtuoso vibraphonist who’s […]