October: big month coming up!! The 11th annual FAR-West conference is only two weeks away now. All you singer-songwriters out there hopefully already know about it and are going. For the rest of you, there will be concerts on October 16, 17 and 18 that are open to the public as well as a storyteller expo on the 19th. The performers competed for a chance to play and are some of the very best. Click here for more info.
Before I say any more about October, I have to tell you about September. I went to the Strawberry Music Festival in Grass Valley, and had a great time camping and jamming with friends, and of course I saw a load of great music. Some of my favorites were John Jorgensen (John is an amazing picker, on mandolin here - lots of other great JJ videos on YT), Dave Alvin, Marcia Ball, and Patty Griffin. Many other great acts too. Strawberry used to be held near Yosemite, but got burned out last year, and this is the first time it was at the fairgrounds in Grass Valley. My first time there also, and we had a campsite with a backhoe and a bleacher stand. Can't beat that!!
Saw a wonderful movie, This Ain't No Mouse Music, about Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records. What a huge contribution Chris has made in bringing roots music to the attention of the general public. The artists he discovered, like Mance Lipscomb, Lightening Hopkins, Clifton Chenier, Flaco Jimenez and on and on, have had such an influence. A great movie and you don't have to be an ethno-musicologist to enjoy it.
Also in September, I had the pleasure of hearing Carlos Reyes play. He is a phenomenal fiddler -- jazz, bluegrass, pop, classical, he does it all. Carlos also played the Paraguan harp and the bass that evening. Wonderful!! This was at a show put on by Chappell and Dave Holt, and it was an evening of fine music from all of them.
I like to think I made some fine music myself in September. Had a very nice evening at Ruth McGowan's with my long time pal Floyd Latimer. Cloverdale is a bit of a hike but Ruth's is such a fun place to play, and I'll be back there October 11th, this time with Gary Grubb. I backed up poet Marv Hiemstra at his reading in Petaluma - that was fun! And I played a couple of fun parties, and my favorite farmers market (Kensington!) with Born Lucky. It was a very full month indeed.
Tomorrow, I am headed down to Paso Robles to play my first October gig, at the Barrel Room. Tim Jackson will be joining me and that will be a treat. Tim played with us last April at Studio 55, and is one of the finest pickers I know. Here is a video of him playing with Steve Key on Steve's song, He Could Play Guitar. I have a number of other gigs coming up, and you can find them on my website calendar.
Now how about you? Always great to hear what you've been up to. Any good books, music, or movies to share?
all the best, John Roy Zat Croizat Whatever