The stars seem to be aligning for John Craigie, a Portland-based songwriter whose stripped down and relatable songs are a refreshing dose of Americana in our saturated musical landscape. Craigie was recently picked by Jack Johnson to open for the West Coast leg of his Summer 2017 tour. This announcement comes after Johnson sat in during one of Craigie’s shows in Hawaii, and the two hit it off famously.
In the fall of 1991, the Jerry Garcia Band embarked on their extensive first Fall Tour since 1984. The previous year, the iconic guitarist and bandleader hadn’t taken his band off of the West Coast. The Warfield in San Francisco stood as their home turf. While 1990 and 1991 are both revered as phenomenal performance years for both the Grateful Dead and Garcia Band, they are shrouded in loss, with the untimely deaths of keyboardist/vocalist Brent Mydland and legendary promoter Bill Graham.
Billy Bragg stopped through Chicago as a one off concert en route home from his performance at Kansas City Folk Festival 2017. A perfect setting, Old Town School of Folk provided an intimate stage for this sold out show. Solo with only his guitars and a mic, Bragg delivers so much punch. Again proving lyrics and social commentary is not only powerful but essential, particularly in these times.
The Brothers Comatose are one of the most exciting bluegrass outfits to emerge in the past decade, and I await each of their stellar releases with bated breath. I first encountered the band at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass 2015, where I stumbled across the latter portion of their set, the sound of the dueling fiddle and banjo drawing me in from across the sun-soaked fields of Golden Gate Park.
A sold-out crowd of avid music fans packed The Roxy Theater on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, on the last day of January, for a very special concert. Starset, who may have created their own musical genre of Heavy Metal Space Rock gave a “demonstration” of their latest live show to adoring fans in the packed little theater.
There is a great deal of discussion of the rift between the progressive and traditional bluegrass scenes, yet a number of groups have taken great strides to tear down the barrier between the disciplines. Ned Luberecki is a perfect example of this dismantling, as he blurs the lines between traditional Americana bluegrass tunes and avante-garde interpretations of songs from outside the genre.
It was a 1967 jukebox performance like no other at The Fillmore in San Francisco on January 31, when a veritable who’s who of contemporary Bay Area jamsters came together for a “Surrealistic Superjam.” The event, presented by the Recording Academy San Francisco Chapter, was a salute to “the 50th Anniversary of the Summer Of Love and San Francisco's own Jefferson Airplane’s release of the iconic album ‘Surrealistic Pillow’ on this day in 1967.”