Monday, December 2, 2013

Music News You Can Use - December 2013

Hello and Happy December.  I am still very much in a November frame of mind actually, visiting with my daughter in Washington DC, prowling the museums and parks.  What a town!!

Here are some musical discoveries for youAnd another.   There is a whole series of these sessions - search for TS5 on Youtube.   Amazing facility and amazing line up of talent !!   (Thanks to Paul Herzoff for getting me started on these.)
My house concert in Penngrove, earlier in November, was a great success; and we raised some money for a very good cause.   I am editing the video now.  I will be posting some highlights later this month, and hopefully get you interested in hosting a house concert to raise money for a cause you are involved in.  House concerts are the best!!

I made a lot of music in November and made some new music friends, in Maui no less!!  (Yes, I've been doing some traveling.)  It was such a treat to stay as a guest of John and Cecelia Bowman at Cecelia's family home in Wailuku.  Their hospitality and that of Cecelia's family was so warm and welcoming.  It was sure hard to leave.

Got some nice gigs coming up in December.   I'll be playing at the Firefly Bistro in South Pasadena on the 11th. The Firefly is a great place and Brad Colerick's Wine and Song Wednesday nights are excellent and well attended.  I am honored!!  I am also honored to be playing at Steve Key's Songwriters At Play shows on the 12th and 13th.  I'll wrap up my gigging at Ruth McGowan's on the 20th. Calendar details below, more info at  If you are out and about at any of these places, it is always great to see you.

Okay, guess I'd better get to the Christmas list and do my part for the economy . . . Hope you have a lovely holiday season, with lots of love and friendship surrounding you.

all the best,

Roy Zat

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Music News You Can Use - November 2013

Hope you had a Happy Halloween and got more tricks than treats.  I have two neighbors who convert their front yards into graveyards and monster havens -- quite a destination for the goblins.  I gave out over 400 pieces of candy before I ran out.  Scary thought (and a lot of fun).

And OMG did I hear a lot of great music in October!!  I attended the FAR-West Music conference in Irvine, and played a number of showcases there and on the way down and back. 

Here are some links for you to check out.  

Phil Lee and here is his website, with more videos.   He is an entertainer!!

Red Moon Road a great Canadian band, with lots of videos on Youtube.  Here's one more.

JC and Laney  - Powerful vocals and songs!  I had a blast playing in their showcase room at the conference -- joining on some of their songs and having them with me on a few of mine. 

Dulcie Taylor  great songs and delivery.  Here is another.

Dan and Laurel   they play so beautifully together, and her violin playing is to die for!!  Many more videos on Youtube.

This is just a teeny tiny bit of the fabulous music I heard, and I feel guilty only listing a few folks here.   Check out the FAR-West website for more of the great musicians and bands that performed there.  And guess what, you Bay Area  folks??!!  The conference will be in Oakland the next two years, and you can come, even if you are not a performer.  There is so much excellent music to see and hear there.

Speaking of excellent music (what a segue), I am playing with poet Marv Hiemstra this Sunday in Cotati. Marv is a unique talent and writes clever and fun poems.  It is a real pleasure accompanying his readings with my fiddle.  The following Sunday I am playing a house concert near Petaluma.  House concerts are the best way to enjoy live music!!  Details are on my website: 

And oh yeah – my van quest has ended.  I got a Dodge Caravan and have already built a bed in the back.  Coming to a driveway near you...

Tis the month of being thankful, and I am very.  Hope you have a lot of blessings to count too.

All the best,
Roy Zat

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Music News You Can Use - October 2013

A little slow getting my October newsletter out; I've been super busy getting ready for the annual FAR-West (Folk Alliance Region-West) Music conference down in Irvine.   I am playing showcases on the way down and back with Songwriters At Play, playing several showcases at the conference, hosting my own showcase room;  and I am stage manager for the big acts on Friday and Saturday nights.  Whew!!  I am going to be one happy and tired puppy when it is all over.

I'll be driving down in my flashy new convertible.  Well, not really new.   I broke the back window out of it last month by lowering the top with a guitar case sticking up in the back seat.  The guitar is fine, and the wallet is recovering.  The new top looked so good that I had to get the car painted too.  Like I said, I been busy getting ready for Southern California :-).

Got some good music to tell you about.  I was at the American River Music Festival up in the California gold country for the first time in September.   It is a small festival in a beautiful setting.   Trevor Green was a nice discovery - a one man band with guitar, foot board, harmonica and didgeridoos!!  Great songs and sound.   Ray Wiley Hubbard was also a nice find.   Many other good bands too -- join me there next year!!

Did quite a bit of performing myself in September, too.  First time at the Ruth McGowan Brewpub way up in Cloverdale and that was a bunch of fun.  (I'll be back there in October and December.)  Had a four show weekend starting last Friday at the Monkey House Theater with the Don't Look Back String Band, a street party on Saturday, the Cole Valley Fair on Sunday morning, and the Piedmont Harvest Fair that afternoon.   All were fun and the Monkey House in particular is a real gem of a place -- put it on your list of places to check out.  

Got several club gigs coming up and a house concert.  Please check out my calendar for dates and details.  Your interest in my music making is very much appreciated.

Hope you are enjoying a beautiful Fall.   I always like hearing from you when you get the chance.    All the best,

Roy Zat

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

September Music News You Can Use

September Music News You Can Use

 Hi -- Hope you had a nice August with a good picnic or two.   In the SF Bay Area, the fog season is ending and summer weather is just beginning.   I had a busy month and played a bunch, and I have a story to tell you.

Note: highlighted text here links to web pages, videos, etc.   For example, here is a lovely history of the gypsies and the path of the their music from Rajastan, through the Middle East, the Balkans, and into France and Spain.    This comes to me courtesy of Steve Strauss, an electric ukulele player and bassist.   If you live anywhere near Berkeley, come by Nabalom Bakery on Saturday morning and hear him play with his jazz combo.  Really great stuff like this one (wait for the slow video intro, it is worth it).   There are quite a few more there on YT too.

Before I get too far into this letter, I want to tell you about a show I am playing with Don't Look Back on September  27th at the MonkeyHouseTheater in Berkeley, an intimate listening room with great sound, located at 1638 University Avenue.  It has been awhile since I've done a concert in the Berkeley area and ages since Don't Look Back has -- so please mark Friday, September 27th on your calendars.   It is going to be a special night.   We'd love to see you and always appreciate your support.  (I have other fun gigs coming up too -- check out the calendar on my website.)

Now, here is the story.  I have been going down to LA quite a lot over the last six months.  This last trip, I was in the first boarding group on Southwest.  Southwest has open seating, and I was happy to see a window seat in row three, right up front.  Couldn't believe my luck as I stowed my bag and waited for the guy sitting in the aisle seat to get up and let me get in.    He was so engrossed in his cell phone I had to tap him on the shoulder, but he didn't miss a beat in his conversation as he popped up and let me scoot by him.

He had a familiar sounding, raspy voice, but didn't look like anyone I knew; and he kept yakking until he had to turn off his phone for take off.  Then he dove into a book while I dove into my nap, since my favorite way to fly is asleep.   I am good at that, and I was out until we made our final turn into LAX.  As I woke up, I heard him talking with a woman across the aisle.  They didn't know each other, but seemed to have some interests in common.

That sure was a familiar voice, and then I got it:  he sounded like Jerry Brown, our governor.   I snuck a closer look at him.  I had never seen Jerry Brown in person. This guy kind of looked like pictures I had seen, but not a lot and besides he was wearing a running suit with a shiny Cal jacket, and he had his stuff in a canvas shopping bag.  No power suit, no leather brief case, no security, no entourage. Still it was an intriguing thought,  Jerry Brown our governor, flying Southwest to LA just like a regular guy.   Nah, no way.

So we land and get to the gate.  "Jerry" finishes his conversation and stands and waits for the folks in the aisles ahead of us, shuffling their bags and starting for the door.  It is our turn, and I am behind him as he walks off.   Just outside the plane, the door down from the ramp to the tarmack is open.  I hear "Jerry Brown" being called from below, and Governor Jerry Brown goes through the door, down to his ride.   I continue up the ramp to the airport lobby with the rest of the passengers, thinking how cool is that!!   Jerry Brown, governor of California, riding with us regular frugal folks.   And me just about sleeping through the whole thing.

Hope your life has a few fun surprises in it every now and then too.

Roy Zat

Thursday, August 1, 2013

August Music News for John Roy Zat

Hello, Hello -- Hope you all had a fun 4th and a great July. I did, and I have some wonderful music discoveries to share with you. (Note: highlighted text below links to web pages, videos, etc.)

I was at a retreat in the redwoods last week, and heard some of the best. Raul Reynoso is a superior guitarist so below the radar that it is hard to find him on the web. Here and here are a couple of videos from long ago that give you a sense of his skills which are even better now. (He's the guy on the right.) Here is a more recent video of Raul with bassist David P. Jackson (read his resume !!). Not a great recording, but pay attention to the words because the song is hilarious. That's Paul Shelasky on fiddle, Raul next to him on lead guitar, and Mike Fleming on rhythm guitar. And one more with David and some long-time pals having fun. That cool bass David plays is an Ernie Ball Earthwood, and it sounds amazing.

Many of you know that I wrote words to Midnight On The Water years ago and had the pleasure of playing fiddle on Kate Wolf's recording of it. I recently had the honor of singing it with this guy. His version is in E, a full step up from where I usually sing it. Yikes !!! Neat tuning he uses on the fiddle: EEBE -- very bagpipe-ish.

At the end of the month, I had the pleasure of playing fiddle to the poetry of Marvin Hiemstra. Marv's poetry is witty and off beat, and I had so much fun being his music soundtrack. Unfortunately, no video to share of this event, but here is video of Marv with another poet, Steve Kopel.

August is a busy month for me. In addition to playing my favorite farmers' market, I am playing two private events, a fund raiser in Healdsburg and two Sundays at the Milk Bar in San Francisco. Oh boy !! All details are on my website, and if you are in the neighborhood, I hope you can come by.

One last thing. I love playing house concerts and I would like to do more of them. IMHO it is the very best way to hear live music. If you have a cause you would like to support, let's talk about putting on a house concert together in your or a friend's home. It will be fun, and all proceeds will go to your cause (as long as it is not the NRA :-)

That's a bit of news I hope you can use. Always love to hear yours.

Roy Zat

Friday, July 5, 2013

Music News You Can Use - July 2013

I am a little slow getting out my July newsletter 'cause I am just back from the Kate Wolf music festival. (Note: highlighted text here links to web pages, videos, etc.) The festival setting is beautiful, and with four stages, you hear so much music!!  Yes it is hot, but you can sit in the river or wear a wet shirt during the heat of the day.  And kudos to the sound folks, the staff and volunteers who make this festival such a gem.
The artist line-up was a nice balance of veterans and up-and-comers, and a lot of variety of styles.   Taj Mahal closed Saturday night and John Prine closed Sunday.  Both made you feel that you were sitting in their living room sharing songs -- and what a legacy of songs they draw from!!   Artists I had not heard before that caught my ear include Sam Chase  (This is a studio video.  He had a seven piece band with him at the festival - fiddle, cello, sax, banjo, bass, drums, back up singer, plus Sam on acoustic guitar - and he sure got the crowd going. A wild man !!),  Rani Arbo & Daisy Mayhem  (great players with a lot of fun songs.  Here is their website; check out the homemade drum kit in the photos),  Achilles Wheel (this was shot at the KW festival last year at one of the smaller stages, great boogie band with two drummers),  Alice Di Micele (she has a fabulous voice and had a great fiddler with her at the festival, Crystal Reeves).   There were many other great bands too, quite a number of which I did not get a chance to hear because I was jamming or recovering :-)
At the beginning of June, I played a Steve Key Songwriters At Play showcase in Paso Robles.  Steve's showcases are a treat because you get to hear such a cross section of music.   There was a young band, Sawmill Joe, that arrived late having driven in from Denver and they were a stand out.  Old time music with Tom Waits style: raw passion and great delivery.  Here is a video.  I also played three kids music shows with Michael Hanna at library events in June.   Such a pleasure sharing music with kids and parents.   Here is one you might remember.
I was at a private party last month and got a chance to play with my fiddle teacher, Chad Manning (who I told you about last month) and some of his associates.  Oh my!!  Heard some truly world class playing up close, a bit like this.   I am a lucky man.
Coming up in July, I have a couple of  farmers market shows I am looking forward to, and I am playing the Napa Porchfest at the end of the month.   That is a fun event, where you stroll old town Napa listening to great bands playing on the porches of Victorian houses.
Hope you are well into enjoying a good summer.   Love to hear from you always.
Roy Zat

Friday, May 31, 2013

Music News You Can Use - June 2013

June: the last few weeks of Spring, and Summer almost here.   In San Francisco, we'll be keeping our sweaters on for the cold fog season.
It is also music festival camping season.  I was at the Strawberry Music Festival over Memorial Day - so nice to connect with friends and hear great music.   And make some too!!   Saw some favorites:  John Reischman and also Laurie Lewis with Chad Manning. (He's a fine fiddler and excellent teacher.  Here is a video.  I was at this concert and it was a treat.  Chad's playing is so smooth and rhythmic, no wonder he plays with the best.)   And here is a nice video of John Reischman and the Jay Birds, showing John's fine mandolin playing.  The rest of the band is not too shabby and their vocals are lovely.  Lots of Laurie and Jaybird videos on Youtube for you to cruise. 
Richard Thompson was the headliner at Strawberry this year, and he rocked the place with his electric trio.  He is truly an amazing talent, but I have to say I preferred his solo acoustic set at the Kate Wolf Festival last year.   Saw some new bands at Strawberry too, of course.  Here is a video of the Black Lilies with lots more on Youtube.   Strawberry happens twice a year, and I'll be back at there on Labor Day.
Festivals!!  The Kate Wolf Festival is coming at the end of June, and I am so looking forward to that.   Last year, KD Lang was the headliner and she delivered absolutely the best performance I have ever seen by anyone ever.  OMG !!   Watch this.  This year's KW line up is pretty tantalizing, and there is plenty of room in my campsite - join me!!
And, more festivals!!   Here is a good place to check out summer music festivals going on close to you:  Do you already have some favorites?   Oh, please share.
I haven't made it to the stage of any big festivals yet (my five year goal), but I had a pretty full month of playing in May, and June is going to be more of the same.  (Life is good !!)  I sure enjoy being a part of Steve Key's Songwriters At Play showcases, and I'll be starting off my June playing a short set at his showcase at Vines on the Marycrest in Paso Robles on June 1st.  I am back at the Kensington Farmers Market June 9th, and fun, fun, fun, I have three children's music shows with Michael Hanna the following week.   Then, the week before the KW festival, I am playing a new venue, the Ruth McGowan's Brew Pub in Cloverdale, Friday June 21st.  Cloverdale is where I had my first regular Friday & Saturday dance band gig, so many years ago.   Reminds me of Joni Mitchell's song 'The Circle Game.'
So that's a bit of music news I hope you can use.   Let me know what you are up to and listening to.   Always nice to hear from you.    

Roy Zat

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Music News You Can Use - May 2013

May already?   Wow, April sure flew by!! 
Some big losses in April.  We lost George Jones; one of the great voices in popular music.   A favorite album of mine is his "Like A Rock."  Great songs on it - here.   And here is a nice video from his "Hits I Missed" album.
Lost my mom also this month.  She was one week shy of 95.   A major voice in my life but not one that I wanted to listen to sometimes.   She bought me my first guitar, and I worried her with how much I liked to play it.   She gave my sister and I a lot, and life will be very different with her gone.  This song speaks to that.   Some of the icons singing on this video are gone now too.  But the music and memories carry us on. 
Do you know about the No Depression website?  (Love that name.)  They review Americana music; the kind that I make: folky, rootsy, country, singer songwriter stuff.   They have a lot of good music to discover.  No, I haven't hit their radar screen yet.  Here is a video of one of my favorite singer songwriters, Kieran Kane.  Love the rhythmic groove that Kieran puts under his songs.
The internet radio site, Indie Showcase,  is another good place to discover music.  They are worth a visit at   Listen in to MomHensCorner show at 6pm on Wednesday evenings, nice mix of music from down home to folkipolitan to what else, Americana!   I have hit their radar screen, and I did a two hour radio show recently with them, playing some of the artists who have inspired and influenced me, in addition to a few of my songs.  What a treat!  If you missed it and want a listen, it is here.
This last month, I played a couple of Steve Key's Songwriters At Play showcases, where I always hear excellent music -- starting with Steve, of course, who I have already told you about.  A couple of folks to mention to you: Ragged Company, Tim Pacheco and Cindy Myers' new collaboration, was a pleasure to hear their beautiful harmonies.  Tim is a fine guitarist too, listen here.   I like Devin White also.  He plays with a cajon player - love that rhythm!!   Don't have a link for you -- you'll have to catch him live.
I did a lot of playing in April, and have some fun gigs coming up in May:  on the 1st with Allan Frank at the Guitar Merchant in Canoga Park (that's LA).   I am also very pleased to be playing with Larry K. Potts at the Aqus Cafe in Petaluma on May 11.   I'll be back at Ghiradelli Square too.   You can check my calendar on my website for details.
About my van dreams: when I run the numbers, for the price of the extra gasoline I can pay for a motel room.  A lot more comfortable.  Hmmm -- maybe I'll get a Prius and stay in nicer motels.  In the meantime, I get pretty good gas mileage in my Celica and it's got no top :-)
Thanks for listening and reading.   Sure do appreciate your interest in the music.  
Hope you are doing great, and all the best to you.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April Music News from John Roy Zat

Happy April!!  Hope you had a good March and still have some chocolate Easter eggs left. 

I heard some very nice news last week.   I was invited onto the board of the Folk Alliance Western Region.   Folk Alliance is an international  support organization for independent musicians and singer songwriters.   I have gone to the Western Region annual conference the last two years and learned so much, and I am very pleased to be able to be more closely involved.

I put up a cajun fiddle tune on Youtube last month, "Big Mamou", (here) and a couple of other videos with my buddies in the Don't Look Back Stringband (here).  Video is a great way for unknown artists (who me?!!) to spread the word about their work, particularly by doing cover songs.  Twenty views and counting on Big Mamou.  This is what I am aiming for: 81 million views and then a record deal.  Here is another which has had 141 million views and was so successful that it spawned a number of parodies. All it takes is great chops, clever ideas, hard work and good looks.  No problem here :-)

Mi Bay Area amigos -- do you know about the Two Day Town music festival on the last weekend of April?  This is a fun, small, local music festival at the Del Val campgrounds in Livermore.   If you live in the Bay Area come on over for the campin',  pickin' and chillin'.   Oh boy, summer is almost here!!
I was down in LA visiting my mom again in March, and I played the Songwriters At Play Showcase, at the SLO Down Pub in Arroyo Grande, on my way back to the Bay Area.   I have mentioned Songwriters At Play in previous newsletters.   It is run by Steve Key and in addition to the fine showcases he runs, he is such an excellent writer and player.  If you didn't check out his material before, here is his link again.  

Good news!!   Chester 's has reopened with an upgraded decor and menu.   The new owners are French (French cuisine et oui, c'est tres bon!!) and it is now called La Fable.   They have started having live music again and on Saturday, April 13th, I will be playing with Dorcas Moulton and my friends, Sonic Boomerang.   If you can come out that evening, we would very much appreciate you helping us show the new owners that live music is a good draw for their restaurant.   Music is from 7:30 to 9:30pm .

And, I'll be playing a lot more music in April -- see dates and locations on the calendar below or my website:

I mentioned that I am van shopping last month and I am still at it.   Thanks for your opinions and suggestions.   I'm leaning towards a Chevy Astro.   I used to have a '53 Chevy station wagon and did lots of car camping in it.   Good memories!!

That's a bit of my news, and I would love to hear some of yours.   Wishing you a happy April and lots of fooling around.

Roy Zat

Sunday, March 3, 2013

I sure heard & saw some good music in February

February is a short month, but somehow a lot of great music was squeezed in.   (Note: Highlighted text below contains links to info, videos, etc.)

The San Francisco Bluegrass & Old Time Festival was a treat as usual.  Opening night was Casey Driessen, with Jimbo Trout; and it was fun!!    I tooted Casey's horn last month, and he did not disappoint.  Jimbo was excellent with two hotshot fiddlers, Leif Karlstrom and Annie Staninec (how do they get so good?!), a fine steel man, David Phillips, and Steve Neil solidly on the standup bass.  The Crooked Jades closed the festival eleven days later, and there were so many good shows in between.   Check out the website, and put next year's festival on your calendars now: Feb 6th through Feb 15th.

The Teresa Tudury concert at Stevie Coyle's Mighty Fine Guitars shop was excellent.  Here is a fun video to give you a sense of Teresa, but she is so much more in person.   She has a background in musical theater, including many years with Beach Blanket Babylon; and she can be a riot one moment and so poignant the next.

One more concert: I was lucky to get a seat at Maurice Tani's house concert last weekend before it sold out.   It was an all acoustic evening, and he was downsized from his full band,  and what a fine songwriter and performer he is!  A beautiful home in the Oakland hills with a view of the city lights and the bridges, great food and fine music -- thank you to Cindy and Eric at SYLA Presents for such an enjoyable evening.   If you haven't heard music at a house concert, you need to.   Here is another linkto help you find some.

Pretty quiet month for JRZ and Friends, just the Kensington Farmers Market gig (one of our favorites!)    I'll be back there with Patty Hammond and Dorcas Moulton on March 10th  -- looking forward to that.    I'll also be down in San Luis Obispo at the SLO Down Pub on March 28th at one of Steve Key's excellent Songwriters At Play showcases.

Speaking of songwriters, I went to a songwriting master class with Pat Pattison last Thursday.    Not only is Pat deeply knowledgeable about the craft, he is an excellent teacher.   If you songwriters out there don't yet know about him, check him out here.   I have signed up for his more in depth songwriting class through Coursera -- a good resource for quality online classes on lots of topics.   With a Bob Baker marketing class, and performance work with Vicki Ambinder,  I am staying out of trouble.

Did I say trouble?   I am thinking about getting a van so that I can be a real musician, and I spell trouble "Westfalia."   It pains me to let go of my fun convertible, but I need something that is better for highway trips, hauling gear and big enough for an occasional sleep over.   A challenge figuring in utility, reliability, gas mileage, repair cost, and purchase price.   I am thinking Ford or Chevy, or ?   Any opinions?

Always good to hear from you.   Let me know what you are up to and listening to.

All the best,  

Roy Zat

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Heard Any Good Music Lately ?

I sure have !  January was packed with it and what a start to 2013 !!

If you live in the East Bay, check out Sauce Piquante and/or Les Amis Zydeco the next time they play.   (Just try to sit still listening to them.)   Blair Kilpatrick and Steve Tabak are the core of the Sauce, and they play regularly at the Kensington Circus Pub.   BTW, their New Year's Day open house was a blast -- with the food and music, I thought I was in Big Mamou, that or died and gone to heaven.   Dwight Shackelford leads Les Amis Z and his birthday party this last month was quite an assemblage of players and dancers -- including Dorcas Moulton and me.

Speaking of dancing, there are zydeco dances at Ashkenaz every Tuesday night and at the Eagles Hall in Alameda every Friday.   Here is the SF cajun/zydeco website where you can find out what is going on.   If you want to learn zydeco dancing, take one of Lisa Lee's classes.   (Dorcas and I have been enjoying them for over a year.)  There is so much great cajun/zydeco music in the SF Bay Area, we really must be part of Louisiana

One more for you:  Andre Thierry is playing in Berkeley at Cloud 9 this Saturday, February 2nd.   Andre is one of the best zydeco accordionists around and the place will be jumping!! 

Ordinarily, I would miss a show on the first Saturday of the month because since November of 2011, I have played that night at Chester's Bayview Cafe.    We've known that a change of ownership was in the works for several months, and it is now finalized.  A lot of good music has been made at Chester's and I will miss hanging, listening and playing there.  Thank you, Fred Aryan, for being such a good host to so many local musicians.

And I have still more good music to tell you about.   Aireene Espiritu is a songwriter worth checking out.  I had the pleasure of hearing her at a house concert in Berkeley last Saturday, with Clyde Leland.  Here is one of her songs performed a couple of years ago.  Dorcas and I sat in with her on that one and on a couple of others at the concert.  Clyde is a good writer too, check out his OccuPie video.

Many of you know I am spending more time down in LA helping care for my mom  (95 this April).  I was down at the beginning of the month and my friend Peggy Glenn invited me to drop in on her songwriter "hang".   Seriously accomplished writers there and an honor to participate.  Also, went out to the Firefly in South Pasadena for the Wine & Song series run by Brad Colerick.   Dulcie Taylor was the featured performer and it was a treat to hear her again.   I met Dulcie at the Folk Alliance conference in Irvine last October, and she has quite a resume.   Here is one of her well crafted songs.  Good food, good music and a very nice evening at the Firefly, and I am going back tonight to hear Fur Dixon and Brantley Kearns -- and see if I can get a guest set there one of these days.  

I want to broaden my performing horizons as part of my trips south, and I am very pleased to have hooked up with Steve Key recently.  Steve is a talented writer and performer "in the business" for quite awhile.  Kathy Mattea picked up one of his songs and he has a lot of good ones worth listening to.   He lives near San Luis Obispo now and runs the Songwriters At Play series, with music three nights a week at venues in the Central Coast area.   I had a guest set with him last Sunday, at the Sculpterra Winery in Paso Robles.   It was cool and a bit windy in the sculpture garden, but what a line up of talent !   Steve opened the afternoon, accompanied by guitarist Dorian Michaels.   I followed Steve, and then had the pleasure of more listening.  The featured artist was a duo out from Nashville, Burns & Kristy.   They are both pro writers and it showed.   Terry has a gorgeous voice, and Ron sings well also and sure can play that guitar.  Check out some of the videos and music on their website.

A whole lot of great music in January indeed.   But, I do have one regret.  I missed Claire Lynch at the Freight & Salvage.   She is one of my all time favorite artists, and I had a rehearsal.   Darn !!   I hope you come back soon, Claire.

Coming up in February is the 14th annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old Time Festival.   I am not performing (I'm neither bluegrass nor old time :-), but I'll be MCing several shows, including the Casey Dreissen show on opening night,  February 7th.    Casey is a fiddler of the highest and most unique order.   I couldn't get the videos to work on his website, but listen to "Country Blues" on his 3D CD here.  Wow !!    There are too many other good shows at the SFBOT Festival to mention, so check out the schedule.

My only gig in February will be playing with Dorcas Moulton and Patty Hammond at one of my most favorite venues, the Kensington Farmers Market, on Sunday the 10th.    There is seating and good food, and it is such a pleasure to play for families and slip in a few kids songs.   Remember "The Wheels On The Bus" ?

Having only one performing date in February gives me more time for getting out to see other folks.   Certainly I'll be catching some cajun/zydeco, and I am planning on going to check out Stevie Coyle's new shop, Mighty Fine Guitars in Lafayette and the Teresa Tudury concert there on February 16th.    I am also hoping to catch Patty Hammond playing with one of her bands,  Kickin The Mule, or The Praline Trio, to mention just two.

That is a bit of who I have been listening to.  Your turn.  Who do you like to listen to and where you go to hear good music ?  (I need to know what my competition is doing :-)

Have a great and very musical February  -- 

Roy Zat