The Steep Canyon Rangers win bluegrass Grammy! This was a good year for bluegrass music at the annual Grammy awards. The Steep Canyon Rangers took home the Grammy for best Bluegrass Album of the Year for their Nobody Knows You project, with the Punch Brothers in runner-up position. The Steeps, as they are affectionately called, are fronted by Hollywood icon Steve Martin, an accomplished Scruggs-style banjo player who has been nominated, but has yet to win, the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year Award. He does however, have a fist full of Oscars and other awards to his credit from his careers as a comedian, actor, producer, and author.
Speaking of Grammys, did you know that bluegrass’s Alison Krauss (Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas) has won more Grammys than any other female in history (27 and counting) with Aretha Franklin a distant second place with 17? Further, did you know that San Diego native Alison Brown played with Alison Krauss and Union Station for several years in the band’s early days, including at a concert at the Old Stage Coach Inn in Poway?
The Punch Brothers also have a strong San Diego connection in that band leader Chris Thile (Nickel Creek) grew up in Vista and was a regular at local jams and bluegrass events; fiddle player extraordinaire Gabe Witcher grew up in L.A and spent a lot of time in San Diego with his prior bands the Witcher Brothers and the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, with several appearances at Summergrass, the Julian Festival, and other local events and jam sessions.
While we’re crowing a bit about local connections and Grammys, the Goat Rodeo also won a Grammy this year for Best Folk Album. This unique musical group is comprised of Chris Thile on mandolin, Yoyo Ma on cello, Edgar Meyer on bass, and Stuart Duncan on fiddle. Chris, we just mentioned, is a San Diego boy, but so is Stuart Duncan who was prominent in his youth at events in San Diego. Stuart Duncan and Alison Brown also played together in San Diego as teenagers, including at the Old Time Cafe in Leucadia. Not bad in terms of locals making the bluegrass big time and carting home Grammys for little ol’ San Diego, the farthest corner south and west in the U.S.!
Eddie And Martha Adcock coming to San Diego. On Saturday, March 23, the San Diego Bluegrass Society will present Eddie and Martha Adcock in concert at the First Baptist Church of Pacific Beach, 4747 Soledad Mountain Road, at 7pm. The concert is free, with donations being solicited.
Eddie Adcock is a true living legend on several fronts. He was part of the seminal 1960s-’70s bluegrass supergroup the Country Gentlemen, and has played with all the big acts and stars over the years, including Flatt and Scruggs and Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys. Beyond that, Eddie is famous for having brain surgery a few years back while awake and playing his banjo. Yes, Eddie insisted that his brain surgery to remove a tumor be done while he played the banjo, stating he had to know he would be able to play the banjo post surgery! Eddie’s awake brain surgery was a success and made him the talk of the town on the morning and evening talk shows. You can expect a remarkable and entertaining show from Eddie and his wife Martha who is a very accomplished musician in her own right.
TEMECULA BLUEGRASS FESTIVAL
The Temecula Bluegrass Festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17 in Old Town Temecula. The lineup includes Bluegrass Etc., Silverado, the Bluegrass Brethren, and Scott Gates and Salty Suites, among others.
Mark O’Connor’s bluegrass and Bach. Looking for something a bit different? Multi-Grammy winning fiddler, classical composer, fiddle champion, and all around stellar musician Mark O’Connor will be appearing at the Balboa Theater with the San Diego Classics Philharmonic on March 24th at 2 pm in a program of bluegrass and Bach. For info and tickets call (619) 570-1100.
Julian Family Fiddle Camp adds instruction in upright bass. The Julian Family Fiddle Camp is coming up April 10-14 at beautiful Camp Cedar Glen near Julian. The camp offers top quality instruction on fiddle, mandolin, old time banjo, guitar, and now upright bass has been added. There are also top-notch evening concerts open to the public and a dinner dance. For more info visit: www.julianfamilyfiddle.com
BLUEGRASS CAMP OUT
The annual spring bluegrass camp out will be held the weekend of April 19-21 at the beautiful KOA campground in Chula Vista. All are invited to attend. There are hook ups for RVs, tent camping, and rental cabins as well as lots of jamming, a band scramble, a pot luck dinner, and more fun than a sock full of monkeys! For info and to register visit the SDBS website at:www.sandiegobluegrass.org and click on events.
We are lucky there is so much great bluegrass to enjoy here in San Diego, with many great bands and top musicians calling San Diego “home.” The Troubadour hopes you will get out and take part in some of these activities whether as a jammer or a listener. You’ll meet nice people and have a great time, I promise!