This is a report on what I've
been up to, musically, since my January 2014 Bulletin.
The February 2014 concert at the Art House with Kajsa
Ohman, Johnny Harper, Markie Sanders, and Patrick McKenna
was well-attended and musically fulfilling. Since that
event I have spent some time contributing pedal steel
and dobro tracks on a few recordings, most notably Dave
and Chappell Holt. Occasionally I sit in for vacationing
steel and dobro players on concert and dance dates. In
particular, when Don Burnham's smaller band, The Bolos,
has a gig that Bobby Black can't get to, I often replace
him, playing dobro.
Kevin Russell leads two or three bands that appear mostly in Sonoma and Marin
Counties north of San Francisco. In August of 2014 I became the regular pedal
steel player in his Old School Country Band, playing the second
Tuesday of each month at the Twin Oaks Tavern in
With eight pieces, this is the largest band I've ever played in, and frankly
one of the best. Markie Sanders plays bass and Ray Bierl is the fiddler. There's
also a keyboardist, lead guitar, and rhythm guitar, and four different band
members contribute lead vocals. An excellent fried chicken dinner is served
and we play
for dancing from 7-10 pm. There's a full-service bar and no cover charge!
There is one non-musical project I want to mention. Almost ten years ago I
Aoki, a U.C. Berkeley emeritus professor of linguistics, and discovered
that he was writing memoirs of his fascinating life. I was so impressed with
these stories that I volunteered to help him combine them into a continuous,
publishable narrative. Born in Korea in 1930, at the age of 15 Haruo was in
Japan being trained to fight against an American invasion when the atom bombs
dropped and the Emperor surrendered. Haruo was eventually chosen to travel
to the United States in 1953 for post-graduate studies. In 1960 he drove himself
to northern Idaho to study the language of the Nez Perce Indians, and his memoirs
dwell on how he developed close friendships among the people. Eventually Haruo
became the predominant authority on the language, publishing a definitive grammar,
dictionary and collections of narratives. The 302-page STORIES FROM
MY LIFE, which includes 52 illustrations, is now available as a PDF
file that can be read as an electronic book. Alternatively it can be printed
a commercial copy center for under $15. There are no plans to seek commercial
distribution, but you can e-mail me if you'd like a copy of the PDF.
BULLETIN (January 18, 2014)
Starting the New Year Right
gigs + a YouTube blast from the past
The new year is starting at a brisk musical pace
for me, with two local gigs and two 1982 performances
going up on YouTube.com.
February 1, Three sets at the Art House, 8-10
Shattuck, Berkeley — (510) 548-1761
The evening will start with a set featuring Johnny
Harper playing and singing with Patrick McKenna on
bass. Next will come a set with me singing my own
compositions, accompanied by Johnny Harper and Markie
The last and longest set will feature KAJSA OHMAN,
accompanied by Johnny and Patrick with me on dobro
and pedal steel. Kajsa (KY-sa) is a unique and impressive
songwriter, singer, and guitarist. The set will be
drawn from an album of her own songs called No
Need to Hurry that was produced by Johnny. I promise that
you'll be intrigued and amused by Kajsa's gutsy,
insightful takes on her life in Santa Barbara and
back-country Montana. Her music can only be classified
as Americana, ranging from contemplative acoustic
pieces to potent electric rhythms.
Saturday, February 8, from 2–4 pm, at Down
10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito
— (510) 525-2129
I'll be playing two sets with Ray Bierl and Markie
Sanders. In recent years the three of us have played
together in Swinging Doors, an electric honky tonk
band. Now we're working as a quieter act (acoustic
guitar, dobro, and Fender bass)
1982 Cambridge Folk Festival (UK)
I'm very pleased to announce the appearance on YouTube.com
of two songs from the 1982 Cambridge
Folk Festival (UK), performed by Mitch Greenhill and
myself. One song is Mitch's “Time
is Draggin’ On” and the other is the country classic
Mind” and the sound is pretty dang good.
BULLETIN (October 8, 2013)
LAST CHANCE TO SEE SWINGING DOORS PLAY
On Saturday, October 19, Swinging Doors will return
to Studio 55 in San Rafael (www.studio55marin.com)
to play two sets. Showtime is 8:00 pm. This room
is a fine place to watch and listen to music, and
space for dancing, too.
The club's website has posted two live videos from
our previous gig there, and details about the location
are available. It's on East Francisco Blvd. near central
Sadly, after this date, Swinging Doors has decided
to disband for the foreseeable future. Proud as we
are of the group, we have not been able to secure an
economic niche in the San Francisco Bay Area. So we
urge our friends and fans to join us at Studio 55 and
help us go out in a blaze of glory. We expect this
gig to demonstrate how much we've accomplished together
in our three years of rehearsing and performing as
x 4 (February 20, 2013)
SWINGING DOORS gigs and photos
On Saturday, March 9, at Studio 55 in San Rafael
Swinging Doors will play a long set at 8:00,
the show with Buck Nickels and Loose Change. This
is a 150-seat room with great sound.
We recently played two sets for a fundraising
soiree on the “High Noon” theme.
We went over well with our own arrangement of
Tex Ritter sang
on the movie's soundtrack—“Do not
forsake me oh my darling.” And we debuted
our new steel-rich version of “A Good Woman's
players—I have a chord chart I can e-mail
New band photos by Mike Melnyk are now online at www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm.
There is a nice mixture of group and individual shots.
Just right-click to enlarge or download any of them.
Check out www.mikemelnyk.com to see why he's locally
The Guy when it comes to folk, bluegrass, and country
KAJSA OHMAN's new CD, “No Need to Hurry,”
In the summer of 2007 I helped to make this 13-song
album, working with Kajsa, Johnny Harper, and Gavin
McGeorge, plus piano and drums on many tracks.
Kajsa is a powerful singer and guitarist, and her
songs are unique and often slightly twisted. I
especially urge songwriters to check out this well-performed
music on Facebook, at www.CDBaby.com, or at kajsaohman.wordpress.com.
CHAPPELL AND DAVE HOLT are working on a
CD, “Stone and Fire”
really enjoyed laying down pedal steel and reso
guitar tracks for Dave and Chappell at Randy Rood’s
studios on February 15. Dave sang and played piano
in The Frontier with Mitch and me 40 years ago.
He and his wife are a happening duo and songwriting
Their work is clever and joyful, and you can check
them out at www.chappellanddaveholt.com.
“PORCHLIGHT SESSIONS” premiered
near Nashville last September
This new video documentary about today's “community
and culture of bluegrass” contains a lot of
good music and interesting commentary from musicians
fans of many stripes. I was interviewed on-camera
by producer-director Anna Schwaber, and about a
dozen of my sage remarks made the final cut. It's
generally available to the public, but you can
visit www.porchlightsessions.com for the latest
BULLETIN (June 4, 2012)
DOORS will be playing at Thee Parkside in San
1 from 4–7:00 pm. We're honored
to be chosen for their series of Twang
we plan to live up to the billing. The address
1600 17th Street at the foot of Potrero Hill
between I-80 and I-280. Easy parking!
be appearing at Ray's Lounge in Martinez on
the following Sunday afternoons: June
10, July 8, and August
19, from 1:00–5:00 pm. This
a friendly place with full bar service, just enough
get comfy together for four whole sets—and we
won't blast your ears off. The address is 709 Ferry
Street in downtown Martinez, and parking is no problem
Come on June 10 and welcome Lloyd Ferris to his first gig as our new drummer.
He's a strong singer,
For more information about Swinging Doors, with photos
and five songs you can hear online and download to
the drive of your choice, hop over to http://www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm.
BULLETIN (October 30, 2011)
As of today, if
you go to www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm and
click in the right space,
you can access five recordings by our honky-tonk
Last month Lou Judson recorded them live on the
Freight & Salvage
stage (no audience), and now everybody can hear
what we’ve accomplished with all our rehearsing.
Swinging Doors began with my yearning to sit and
play the pedal steel guitar again, something I now
get to do with a seriously grooving rhythm section
(Markie and John on bass and drums, Ray on flattop
guitar), a twangy Telecaster (Steve Baker), hot lead
singers (Ray or Markie), and people on a dance floor
shaking booties or rubbing bellies.
Here are the five songs you can
hear or download:
1 — Blues
(Hank Williams) Lead vocal by Ray Bierl
Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
(B. Sherrill & G. Sutton) Lead vocal by Markie
3 — Careless
(Mayne Smith) Lead vocal by Mayne Smith
4 — Home
of the Blues
(Johnny Cash) Lead vocal by Ray Bierl
Still On My Mind
(George Jones) Lead vocal by Steve Baker
What we're good for:
We enjoy working for
concert audiences, but for us the big fun is playing
for private celebrations
like weddings and holiday parties. I'd also like
to point out that tapping the great honky-tonk
tradition makes us ideal for special occasions like
divorces, remarriages, bartender school graduations,
21st birthdays, wakes, and anniversaries of going
on the wagon. Remember, with our music you get
to touch while you're dancing—which you can do
to cheek or you can turn around and face each other,
as we used to say.
So please come visit www.maynesmith.com/Swinging-Doors.htm,
pick up on some sounds, and see if you wouldn't like
us to play at your nightclub or family celebration
soon. The rest of the website has some interesting
stuff, too: photos, essays, discographies, and a bibliography.
(September 12, 2011)
where the Swinging Doors band finally swings into action
with a dance gig at the Occidental Center for the Arts
in western Sonoma County. We’ve been woodshedding
for many months, developing a rich repertoire of songs
largely from the honky-tonk tradition. Our song list
runs from Hank Williams through the likes of George
and Tammy, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard,
and Charlie Rich, to the Amazing Rhythm Aces (ca. 1950-1975) — with
extensions into songs from Tom Waits, Richard Brandenburg,
and moi. We've made a point of using a good variety
of rhythms for serious dancers, too.
I’ve been looking forward eagerly to playing pedal steel for dancers again,
riding on the tight rhythms of Markie Sanders (bass) and John Hanes (drums);
up vocals by Ray Bierl, Steve Baker, and Markie; and trading leads with Ray’s
fiddle and Steve’s Telecaster. We sing a lot of vocal trios, too. And if you
like real honky-tonk music, I think when you see and hear Swinging Doors, you’ll
have as much fun as we do.
8–10:00 pm, Saturday, September 24 at the Occidental Center for the Arts. Suggested
donation $10. Refreshments for on sale. Located west of Sebastopol in Occidental,
California — off the Bohemian Highway at Graton Road. For further information,
call 707-874-9392 or visit the website: occidentalcenterforthearts.org.
P.S. Keep your eyes on the SWINGING DOORS page at www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm.
Pretty soon we'll be uploading some demo songs as MP3 files you can listen
to and download!
BULLETIN (March 4, 2011)
after 10 months out of the public eye, I'll be playing
in a new electric band called Swinging Doors at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse on
Thursday, March 10. The show will also include two
other fun groups, Loretta Lynch and Los Train Wreck,
and dancing space will be provided. You can go to
www.freightandsalvage.org for directions and advance
The name Swinging
Doors is meant to tell you that we focus on country
honky-tonk favorites from the
third quarter of the 20th century. I've had great
fun rehearsing in my garage with my old friends Ray
Bierl (vocals and fiddle), Markie Sanders (bass and
vocals), Steve Baker (lead guitar and vocals), and
John Hanes (drums), mostly playing the pedal steel.
It's a strong bunch of musicians and we've chosen
a fine batch of songs to move you and inspire your
booty to shake. From now on we'll be available to
play for weddings and other community celebrations
as well as clubs and bars. I'm really looking forward
to playing for dancers again.
Here's our first promo picture, photographed and
PhotoShopped by my wife, Gail:
Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records recently issued
a book accompanied by four CDs covering a wide
of sounds he recorded between 1954 and 1971. The
collection is entitled HEAR ME HOWLING! Blues,
Ballads, & Beyond, and it contains not just the excellent country, Cajun,
and blues music Chris captured in the 1960s, but
also a number of local performers. My sister, Janet,
is represented. Also included are two cuts originally
released in 1963 that were written and sung by Toni
Brown, with Pete Berg on electric guitar and me playing
a steel-bodied National slide guitar. The book was
ably researched and written by Adam Machado. I have,
of course, suitably updated the discographical information
available at MayneSmith.com.
the same time I was able to add a listing for my
work on the sound track of an hour-long film called
The Highly Exalted, released in 1985 but still available
online at www.thehighlyexalted.com.
It's about some of the last Northern Nevada cowboys
to work a full-scale
roundup from a horse-drawn chuck wagon. Jamie Kibben
(on keyboards) directed the music and Alan Senauke
added his guitar and mandolin work to my dobro playing.
(April 23, 2010)
forthcoming Wednesday-night appearance at the Freight & Salvage
in Berkeley will have special significance for Mitch
Greenhill and me.
Fortieth Year. It
was a little over 40 years ago that Mitch and
I first teamed
up as sidemen for Mark Spoelstra. Enlarged, this
ensemble became the Frontier Constabulary, and
then the Frontier after Mark left. Finally, we
started gigging as a duo in 1976. On May 5 we'll
be playing original compositions and arrangements
from all phases in our collaboration, from 1969
Tribute to Mark Spoelstra. Mark
Spoelstra was a stellar singer, songwriter, and
12-string guitarist. He died of cancer in March
and I are working up one of our favorite Spoelstra
songs, a masterpiece of humorous self-parody called
“Don Juan's Turn to Bow.”
Dave Holt to Sit In. Dave “The
Kid” sang and played piano with the Frontier
in its final era, and he's agreed to do four songs
with us at the end of our first set. It's going to
Pedal Steel Guitar. You don't
often get to hear a pedal steel guitar in a duo
I'm doing some woodshedding for this demanding
situation, and I think it will be pretty special.
Back Where We've Never Been. Our
1986 cassette album of this name is just now for
sale in a new “green” CD package. It's
our only recorded work that was performed live
in a cozy studio, direct-to-digital with no overdubs
or edits of any kind. And it contains songs we
released in any other form. Visit the
page of this website to find out more and order
this CD re-issue.
First Time at the New Freight. This
will be our first time performing at the new,
vastly enlarged and improved Freight & Salvage,
now located at 2020 Addison just a block from
Berkeley BART station. If you haven't seen it,
you'll be knocked out! For details, visit www.freightandsalvage.org.
(February 24, 2010)
those in the L.A. area, Mitch Greenhill and I will
be appearing in a show that starts at 3pm on Sunday,
February 28 in West Hollywood. Sponsored by Public
Works Improvisational Theatre, the (strictly musical)
performance will occur at the Crescent Heights United
Methodist Church, 1296 North Fairfax (at Fountain).
Also on the bill will be Mitch and his friends Peter
Spelman and Bob Applebaum in the debut performance
as the all-acoustic, all-instrumental group, String
Madness. Bob and Peter will help us in our set, too.
A $10 donation will cover Mendocino Organic Wine
Tasting as well as two sets of music.
on May 5 at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
(8pm), Mitch & Mayne will play two sets billed
as a 40th anniversary celebration. (It's actually
been longer than 40 years, but who cares?) We're
going to include a number of our early repertoire
as well as some quite recent material. For details,
and to check out the educational offerings at
the Freight's new home at 2020 Addison go to www.thefreight.org.
The new facility, located a block from the downtown
Berkeley BART station in a growing arts district,
is very attractively designed with wonderful
sound, over 400 cushy seats, and ample toilet
facilities for women.
I've been busy working on enhancements to MayneSmith.com.
There's a revised edition of “A Shuffle in Charlie: Technical Communications
Among Improvising Musicians.” The essay that I posted last October
attracted lots of compliments, requests for permission to distribute
hyperlinks and hard copies, and responses to my request for additions
and corrections. The description of how musicians create arrangements
on the fly and make a jam sound like a rehearsed concert was informative
to non-performers and fun for experienced players. Valuable suggestions
from Peter Wernick, Mitch Greenhill, Julian Smedley, Markie Sanders,
and Herb Steiner and make the revision worth reading to those with professional
interests. There's also a seven-page Glossary with thumbnail explanations
of jargon words like “Diamond,” “Double shuffle,” “Head
arrangement,” “Nashville number system,” “Potatoes,” “Push,” and “Walking
waltz.” A NOTE ABOUT HYPERLINKS: The revised essay has the same
html filename as the previous one, so existing links from other websites
will still work.
Bierl wrote a third verse for “My Dancing
Days” several years ago, and now I don't
sing the song without it. I've now added it to
the text posted in SONG LYRICS AND NOTES.
in 1966 I wrote a song called “I'm Not
Your Man,” played it for a few years, and
then let it drop out of my active repertoire.
Since the website went up, three different guys
have written me to make sure they have the correct
words and melody. Thank you Rolly Brown, Jim
Cerano, and Charley Walter, for keeping the song
alive and letting me know about it. All the other
songs in SONG LYRICS AND NOTES have been recorded
and released, but now I've added “I'm Not
Your Man” to that section and included
an MP3 file that you can hear online and download
if you want. The recording is a demo from the
late 1960s when my finger picking was in good
shape and there was no wart on my vocal cords.
(October 22, 2009)
Musicians' secret signals now exposed!
Friends, in the PIECES OF OUR MINDS section I have just posted an essay
titled “A Shuffle in Charlie: Technical Communications Among Improvising
Musicians.” I hope you'll enjoy it.
You can read the essay online or download a PDF version that you can
print out regardless of your operating system. In printed format, the
article is about 9 pages long, followed by a 4-page glossary of jargon
used by musicians in the country, blues, folk, rock, and jazz worlds.
Most of the information in the essay will be familiar to experienced
musicians, but I've never seen it written down before. I will welcome
all questions, comments, and corrections. If I get a lot of feedback
I will produce an improved and expanded version.
Smith-Harper Express has been disbanded, I'm
not sure where I will focus my music-playing
energy next, but in the meantime I am directing
extra attention to songwriting and I'm excited
about the results.
My best wishes to you all, especially those who are struggling in these
BULLETIN (September 17, 2009)
I'm very sad to announce that Smith-Harper Express has been disbanded,
for reasons that are unsuitable for public discussion. To my deep regret,
we will not be able to appear at the North Richmond Shoreline Festival
on September 26, 2009.
(August 1, 2009)
lots of good stuff coming up soon!
The fourth annual Cur-ville Dog Days Festival will be
held in Kenwood, just outside Santa Rosa, on Saturday, August
22. This is a wonderful daytime event which Mayne and Johnny
Harper have played on three previous occasions. It’s really not
far for Bay Area fans to travel — an hour and a half unless you
hit a traffic jam. And it’s really worth the trip! For $15 in advance
you can hear eight different, high-quality roots/Americana
acts. These include Smith-Harper Express with a bunch
of newly developed songs … Solid Air, a fabulous
wife-and-husband duet with brilliant original songs (one of our favorite
groups) … the irresistible Michael McNevin, whose
beautiful voice and immaculate finger-picking guitar work will enthrall
you as he spins his vivid story songs of small-town life and colorful
characters ... infectious high-energy country music by Doug Blumer ...
lovely trio harmony singing by a new group, Three At Last ...
and more! The party takes place on a small ranch in the Valley of the
Moon, where you hear the music surrounded by gorgeous fields and hills,
and relax in the sun with a gaggle of friendly folks, dogs, and kids.
Food and beverages will be available. The show is a benefit for music
in the Kenwood schools. This event could sell out, so it's wise to reserve
tickets in advance. Get all the details, including the time each act
will perform, at www.cur-ville.com.
For another thing, on Friday, August 27 the Freight & Salvage
Coffeehousewill be opening in its new 400-seat downtown location
at 2020 Addison Street in Berkeley (barely a block away from Shattuck
Avenue and the Central Berkeley BART station). The entire building has
been rebuilt to our careful specifications, including its wonderful showroom,
spacious lobby (with food counter), and a roof garden --- and we own
it outright! This level of success was inconceivable in 1983 when I helped
to form the nonprofit corporation that has operated the club ever since.
Details at www.freightandsalvage.org.
Of related interest is a four-page article by Maureen Brennan in the
September/October 2009 issue of Dirty Linen magazine
entitled “The Once & Future Freight & Salvage.” She
quotes extensively from an e-mail interview with me, among many others,
and includes plenty of interesting “insider” stories.
Smith-Harper Express will be performing on the main stage at the North
Richmond Shoreline Festival on the afternoon of September 26. This community
event is designed to call attention to the beauty and value of the bay
shore near Point Pinole (a favorite hangout of Mayne's) and rally help
to protect the area from being ruined by developers. There will be two
different music stages and numerous other attractions and events. Go
to www.northrichmondshoreline.org/festival.htm for
updates and details.
Let me note in passing that I have added a few new (old) items to the
discography of my recorded performances in the Bio / Disco / Bibliography
section at MayneSmith.com. Working on the website has forced me to reclaim
my own past in several ways.
BULLETIN (May 18, 2009)
8:00 pm on Wednesday, May 27 at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse
in Berkeley, I'll join a special band led by Nell Robinson
that will perform songs about members of the U.S. armed
forces and their families. Proceeds from this Soldier
Stories concert will be donated to increase mental
health services for veterans. The recipient
project is a collaboration between Swords to Plowshares
and Disability Rights Associates, two respected non-profit
organizations. Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum will
play the second set. If you join us, you will be contributing
to an important cause and you will hear some songs,
ranging in age from 1690 to 2008, that give insight
into the sacrifices made by members of the military
on our behalf.
on Sunday, June 14 at the Station House Café in
Point Reyes Station, the Smith-Harper Trio (Mayne,
Johnny Harper, and Markie Sanders) will play two long sets beginning
at 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm (with a dinner break in between). The Station
House is a good, moderately-priced restaurant with a cozy bar area.
This is going to be a fun gig with plenty of time for us to play
some new arrangements.
BULLETIN (May 1, 2009)
On the evening
of April 30 I sent the following message out to all the e-mail addresses
on my mailing list. If you're not already on the list, you can join that
precious few by e-mailing me at email@example.com.
MAYNESMITH.COM IS UP AND RUNNING
The new and
vastly enhanced MayneSmith.com website is now up and running, thanks to Victor
Landweber! It now offers dozens of photos and scanned posters
in a SCRAPBOOK section, a special section on the REDWOOD
CANYON RAMBLERS with a playable version of "The House Carpenter," and
a section called PIECES OF OUR
MINDS that has essays from Neil Rosenberg, Scott Hambly, Mitch
Greenhill, and Peter Feldmann.
A LIVE RADIO PERFORMANCE BY SMITH-HARPER TRIO
Mayne Smith & Johnny
Harper, with Markie Sanders on bass, played live for nearly an hour
last night on Larry Kelp's radio show, Sing Out, on KPFA-FM, beginning
about 10 pm. Since we started off the show, you can easily go to the
station's online archives and listen to about 10 songs. Here's the
6 AT THE FREIGHT
those of you lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, the Smith-Harper trio
will be sharing the bill with Ray Bierl & Friends at the Freight & Salvage,
1111 Addison Street, Berkeley on May 6, beginning at 8 pm. Please join
BULLETIN (April 21, 2009)
those of you who’ll be in the SF Bay Area
on Wednesday, May 6, I’ll
be playing at the Freight & Salvage
Coffeehouse <www.thefreight.org/2009/0905-may/info_090506.html> with
the new performing unit we’re calling Mayne
Smith & Johnny Harper, with Markie
Sanders, a regular member of the new group, on
bass and high harmony vocals. We're sharing the
bill with another longtime musical pal. Ray
Bierl and Friends will play the first
set starting at 8:00 p.m.
was putting my recent CD together that turned Johnny and
me from longtime musical friends into partners — Johnny
acting not only as producer but also as the dominant instrumentalist
on most of the tracks. After the album was released we began
adding to our repertoire of my songs by developing arrangements
of some fine compositions by Johnny. We also perform versions
of a few classic songs from a variety of American traditions — gospel
to honky-tonk. Markie has joined us for some performances
that went over very well, and is an invaluable addition to
the group sound. I can honestly say that I’ve never
enjoyed rehearsing so much. I think this group, which can
easily expand to a quartet with drums for playing dances,
is going to have its own long life.
have more gigs booked and we’re hoping you’ll come see us
soon. The dates will be posted here at MayneSmith.com. If you're not
getting announcements by e-mail from Johnny or me, click on the e-mail
button displayed all over this site and send me your e-mail address.
I'll put you on my distribution list immediately.
BULLETIN (July 3, 2008)
new CD album, PLACES I'VE BEEN, is now available for download or mail
purchase on the CD
Baby website. You can listen to samples from any of the songs
also check out my album with Mitch Greenhill,
STORM COMING on CDBaby.com.
This album was recorded in 1979 at Bay Records
when it was still in Alameda, California. It
has lots of original songs and arrangements
by Mitch Greenhill and myself, and some neat
arrangements with horns and stuff. Guest appearances
by Doc and Merle Watson, Taj Mahal, Tony Marcus,
Larry Hanks, and the Primordial Oohs backup
singers. The image for the LP cover was an
oil portrait by Mitches old blues-playing friend,
Eric Von Schmidt (1930-2007); Mitch has the
original on his wall. We reproduced the LP
cover for the 1999 CD version.
(June 24, 2008)
To all the kind souls who have inquired about my health following my brief
retreat from the stage at the Freight last Friday night, I'm doing fine.
Although I won't see a surgeon until next week, I've been examined at Kaiser
and it appears that I have developed a small groin hernia condition that
is easy to repair by surgery and involves just a brief recovery period.
In the meantime, I'm to refrain from heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.
If I'm careful, I can still do the gig Mitch and I have with Rosalie Sorrels
at the Kate Wolf Festival next weekend. And I should also be able to attend
Sweet's Mill as planned—assuming we can get somebody else to do the
physical labor of loading/unloading the van and setting/striking camp.
The CD-release concert, otherwise, went just fine, and I have a great sense
of fulfillment and gratitude toward those who shared the experience with
me - especially Johnny Harper who sang two songs in my stead while I was
stretched out in the dressing room. Despite my temporary physical discomfort
I have seldom felt so surrounded by love and support.
My profound thanks to you all for contributing to a memorable, if somewhat
overly dramatic, event.
BULLETIN (June 20,
I'm pleased to announce that my new CD, PLACES
I'VE BEEN: A Songmaker's Retrospective, has been released!
The CD contains 20 songs, all of them made up by me (and others in some
cases); there are three recordings from back around 1970, but the rest
of the recordings are all new. Four of the songs are performed with the
REDWOOD CANYON RAMBLERS (me, Neil Rosenberg, Scott Hambly, Ed Neff, and
Tom Glass)—the S.F. Bay Area's first bluegrass band, which is now
about 50 years old! Mitch Greenhill will participate, of course. There
is also an excellent electric band that includes electric guitar (Johnny
Harper), fiddle (Tony Marcus), pedal steel & dobro (Mayne), keyboards
(John R. Burr), bass (Marty Holland), and drums (John Hall). Johnny Harper
produced the whole album and did a bang-up job.
Get the album now at Down Home
BULLETIN (June 7, 2008)
I'm pleased to announce that my new CD, PLACES I'VE BEEN: A Songmaker's
Retrospective, will be released on June 20, 2008. The occasion is being
celebrated by a concert at the Freight & Salvage Coffee House, 1111
Addison Street / Berkeley CA 94702. (It's one of their 40th Anniversary
The CD contains 20 songs, all
of them made up by me (and others in some cases); there
are three recordings from back around 1970, but the
rest of the recordings are all new. Four of the songs
are performed with the REDWOOD CANYON RAMBLERS (me,
Neil Rosenberg, Scott Hambly, Ed Neff, and Tom Glass)—the
S.F. Bay Area's first bluegrass band, which is now
about 50 years old! Mitch Greenhill will participate,
of course. There is also an excellent electric band
that includes electric guitar (Johnny Harper), fiddle
(Tony Marcus), pedal steel & dobro (Mayne), keyboards
(John R. Burr), bass (Marty Holland), and drums (John
Hall). Johnny Harper produced the whole album and did
a bang-up job.
If you can make the June 20 gig,
you're advised to buy advance tickets ($18.50) at FreightandSalvage.org
or 510-548-7603. The doors open at 7:30 and the show
goes at 8:00. All ages welcome!
If you can't make the June 20
gig, you'll be able to buy the album at Down Home Music