September 2012

Volumn 6, No. 5

This Month at BASC

The Official eNewsletter of the Bluegrass Association of Southern California

The Bluegrass
Association of Southern California
PO Box 10885
Canoga Park CA
91309

(818) 221-4680

On line at socalbluegrass.org

Board of Directors
Harley Tarlitz
Jeffrey Fleck
Bob Cesarone
Ben Weinberg
Nanette Weinberg
Paul Kovich
Michael Stein
Dave Volk


Jams in Town

The Soup Jam

2420 Gundry Ave.
Signal Hill CA 90755
Tuesdays 7:00 PM

The New Westside Jam

Industry & Jazz Cafe
6039 Washington Bl.
Culver City, CA
1st Monday, 7:30 PM

The Altadena Jam

Coffee Gallery
2029 N. Lake Altadena, CA
2nd Sunday, 12:30 PM

Orange County Archery

18792 Brookhurst St. Fountain Valley CA 1st/3rd Thursday, 6 PM

Zoey’s Cafe

185 E. Santa Clara St. Ventura CA 93001 2nd/4th Tuesdays, 6-10 PM

The Friday Night Jam

The Coffee Connection
3838 Centinela Ave. Los Angeles 90066
2nd Friday


Member Bands

Click on the band name to check their website for upcoming gigs.

Wimberley Bluegrass Band:
BASC Bluegrass Night at Viva

Tuesday, September 18th 8:00 PM
Viva Cantina Mexican Restaurant
900 Riverside Drive, Burbank CA

The Wimberley Bluegrass Band is a group of teenage siblings from California who love old-fashioned Bluegrass and gospel music. The band consists of Michael, age 14, on fiddle, Danielle, age 18, on mandolin, James (a Deering endorsed artist), age 17, on banjo, and his twin brother Mark (a Black Diamond Strings endorsed artist) on guitar. Michael takes lead vocals with his brothers and sister singing harmony.

They have performed at many Bluegrass festivals in Southern California and at such noted venues as Winter NAMM 2011 and 2012, The Echo in Los Angeles, CA, the Main Stage at the Orange Couty Fair, CA, the Jimmy Driftwood Barn in Mountain View, AR, and Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO - just to name a few.

They take their lead from the likes of Bill Monroe, Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Dailey & Vincent, and Flatt & Scruggs.  

* * *

Bluegrass Night is held at Viva Cantina. Conveniently located at 900 Riverside Drive in Burbank. Free parking across the street at the bowling alley. You can order off the menu which includes some of the best Mexican food in town. Beer and Margharitas are $3.00 each.

For additional information, visit the BASC Website


So Long, Doc, Earl, and Doug

by Dan Crary

“Give sorrow words” the poet advised; not an easy thing to do when we have seen the passing of some of the greats of our music. And it always comes as a shock; you “know not the hour” as the Bible says. 2012 has been the year of the passing of some of our music’s greatest monumental figures, especially for me, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, and Doug Dillard, as well as other greats of our music, including Everett Lilly. Sic transit gloria mundi, “thus passes away the glory of the world.” And so we grieve for these giant figures in our lives and music, we feel their absence, make speeches, write memorials, and as the characters in the play said, gathered around the deathbed of Richard II, “For God’s sake let us sit down upon the ground and tell sad tales of the death of kings.”

The tales of Doc and Earl and Doug will be many to tell, in fact they already have been: happily these great players did actually receive some of their flowers while they were living, as the old Stanley Brothers song has it. Earl Scruggs seemed to come out of nowhere in the 1940’s playing a style of banjo that was, by the time the world heard it, so complete, so powerful, all banjo playing since has been judged by its standard. The old tapes of the Bluegrass Boys on the 1940’s Grand Ol’ Opry  record how audiences went beserk for Earl’s banjo, demanding so many encores, it almost stopped the Opry rest of the show.

When Doc Watson burst on the national scene in those early 60’s Newport Folk Festivals, he blew the New England folkies away with the power of his gravel-pure voice, and the greatest guitar flatpicking that had ever been heard. And when Doc and son Merle toured the world starting in the late sixties, they began the biggest migration of a single musical instrument in history. The steel-string guitar went from deep obscurity in the mid-20th Century to become the most ubiquitous instrument on earth.

Out of all the sincere and well-intentioned attempts of politics, diplomacy, philosophy, religion, and education to get people to be peaceable together, ironically today, the last thing on earth that all seven billion of us agree on is that we like the steel string guitar. If you could get into Tehran, Bejing, or Mogadishu there would be a peaceable jam session, and someone there would know the “Wildwood Flower.” Having thus swept the world, Guitar music may, just maybe, someday save humanity; If it does, Doc and Merle started the trend.

Doug Dillard was another tremendous personality and player, very influential, and with The Dillards band, came roaring out of the California music scene in the late 60’s and early seventies. The Dillards showed the world that Bluegrass music, acoustic instruments, and entertaining stories and repartee could make it on a major label and stand on its own surrounded by electrified country and rock music.

So it’s shocking to think of our world without them; for me Earl was the blazing banjo sound that hooked me as a little kid in 1951; in my world, Doc was the fifth face on the Mt. Rushmore of music; and Doug was sassy, smart old time music walking unapologetically up and down Santa Monica Blvd. Now, without them, the world feels very strange, and we wonder what more to say about their absence. Books will be written, memorials created, and most of all, we will tell stories of Doc and Earl and Doug for a long time. 

So what more is there to say? Just one thing more: to remind ourselves how their music and their example ought to influence us. In history the great funeral orations were aimed not at the departed, but at the living. Pericles after the Peloponnesian War and Lincoln at Gettysburg, for example, reminded the living to carry on the vision of those being memorialized. And that’s what we can do as we celebrate and feel the loss of Doc and Earl and Doug. We can go back to the source, listen again to the recordings, hear in Doc’s singing and playing what Utah Phillips called “the power of an authorless folksong.” Listen to the beautiful inside stuff of Earl’s banjo, the irony, the tone, the drive. And revisit those sessions from over three decades ago when Doug and the Dillards took Bluegrass to town and made it dance in the city streets.

And there is another important tradition that these heroes of our music all taught us:  the tradition of, it’s OK to do something different. Realize that the passing greats of 2012 are immortal and revered by us both because they were true to their roots and traditions, and also because the music they actually performed changed everything that went before. Doc, Earl, Doug: all innovators who warped and altered the music drastically while somehow never letting you forget where they (and it) came from. That’s a difficult line to walk: their legacy of rooted-but-different is a challenging course for us to navigate, and it can get divisive. If you don’t think so, just sit in on some of our beer-and-opinions arguments that range everywhere from “bluegrasser-than-thou” to “it’s my guitar and I’ll play what I want to.” It’s a dialogue as old as western civilization: will it be permanence or change? The answer to that one, my friends, had better be: “Yes!”   

The examples of Doc and Earl and Doug are a perfect guide into our future. They’re a compass to keep the music on course in some sense, but also to point to the next Earl, Doc, or Doug, the next inspired young player waiting in the wings to knock your socks off.

Think about it: somewhere out there, today, walking around, are the players who will be the heroes of 2062. So our job is twofold: we need to be the old curmudgeons nagging the young players to remember the tradition, and then we need the wisdom to get out of their way as they change things, become Doc II, or the kid-who-will-become-Earl, or a Doug-for-the-next-generation. Because as Lee Hayes of the Weavers famously said: “The future isn’t what it was cracked up to be; and what’s more, it never was.”                        

Copyright 2012, Thunderation, Inc.


 


 

The Bluegrass Association of Southern California presents...

The Bluegrass Jam in the Park
The Fourth Sunday of Every Month
1:00 to 5:00 PM

Everyone Welcome

Join the Jam or just listen

in
Encino Park
at the California Traditional Music Society's
Center for Folk Music
16953 Ventura Blvd. Encino CA 91316

Click for a map to the park.

The BASC Bluegrass Jam in the Park meets rain or
shine on the fourth Sunday of every month.
Pickers of all skills and experience are welcome.
Got a question? Call Jeff at 310-390-4391.

Presented in Association with the
California Traditional Music Society


WE ARE BASC.

The Bluegrass Association of Southern California.

Here’s what we do.

The BASC Bluegrass Jam in the Park: On the fourth Sunday of every month, pickers from far and wide gather at the CTMS Center for Folk Music in Encino Park for one of Southern California’s premier bluegrass events, the BASC Bluegrass Jam in the Park. This jam is for pickers of all skills and experience.
Bluegrass Night at Viva Cantina: On the third Tuesday of every month, we provide a showcase for Southern California’s best bluegrass bands (and an occasional traveling band) at this great Burbank restaurant. Admission is free and Viva Cantina serves up some of the best American and Mexican food around, and at reasonable prices.
Bluegrass at the Ford: Since 1997, we have brought top national bluegrass bands to Los Angeles for this annual summer concert. Past artists have included J.D. Crowe, Laurie Lewis, and IIIrd Tyme Out. This past September, we presented the most exciting band in Bluegrass today, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, along with the great local band, Loafer’s Glory.
BASC eNewsletter: We keep track of Southern California bluegrass jams, gigs, and festivals with our unique eNewsletter. The eNewsletter goes out each month to all our members and friends, via email, Facebook, and regular mail for members without computer access.
BASC Web Page: Our web page at www.socalbluegrass.org is a valuable source of information about bluegrass going-ons in Southern California. It also has an interactive calendar where you can list your own Bluegrass events. Check it out.
BASC Volunteers:. We help people get involved in the bluegrass scene and meet a lot of nice folks, as well. Bring your talents, energy, and dreams, and help us make it happen.
BASC Member Bands: We list all our member bands with links to their websites each month in our eNewsletter. Member bands also get a chance to show their stuff to an enthusiastic audience at BASC Bluegrass Night.

Click Here to Join Us.