Mon, 10/30/2017 - 6:41 pm

Roots & Branches Conservancy is pleased to announce a 2017 grant of $75,000 to Mount Tamalpais State Park in the wake of Sound Summit, its annual music festival to help support the mountain. The grant represents a 25% increase over its 2016 gift of $60,000, resulting in a three-year total of $175,000 from the Bay Area non-profit.

Sound Summit, staged at the Mountain Theater overlooking San Francisco Bay on September 9th of this year, featured Grateful Dead founding members Phil Lesh and Bob Weir, Jim James of My Morning Jacket, New Orleans’ Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bay Area groups The Stone Foxes and Vetiver, and Marin County-based Printz Dance Project. The acts performed to a joyful sold-out crowd under sunny late-summer skies.

“Sound Summit continues to gain traction, both as a festive and resonant community event and a sustainable annual source of revenue to Mount Tam via a very brief footprint on the mountain.” says Sound Summit producer and Roots & Branches Conservancy president Michael Nash. “We look forward to sitting down soon with local State Parks officials to determine where this year’s grant funds are most meaningfully allocated on the mountain.”

Once determined, details of those allocations will be posted on Sound Summit’s website, as will information about Sound Summit 2018, scheduled for September of next year.

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 6:40 pm

Sound Summit returns to the slopes of Mount Tamalpais for another festive and eclectic day of music high above San Francisco Bay.

Jazz legend and musical icon Herbie Hancock will be topping a bill that includes stellar rock vocalist Grace Potter, rising country star Nikki Lane, energetic funk and soul ensemble Con Brio, and special guest Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead. DJ Andy Cabic of Vetiver, will be spinning tunes throughout the day. Charismatic Bay Area radio personalities Murph & Mac (aka Brian Murphy and Paul McCaffrey) return as the day’s dynamic Masters of Ceremonies.

Produced as an annual celebration of and fundraiser for Mount Tamalpais State Park by Roots & Branches Conservancy, the annual one-day festival has raised $175,000 for Mount Tam in just its first three years. Last year, San Francisco Magazine named Sound Summit as Best Festival of the North Bay in its annual Best of the Bay issue, citing its quality and intimacy.

Sound Summit is staged at the historic Mountain Theater, a 4000-seat natural stone amphitheater with stunning views of San Francisco Bay and the Pacific. The same venue was the site of the Fantasy Fair and Magic Mountain Festival in the summer of 1967, the Summer of Love, a week before Monterey Pop. Over 30 bands including Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, and The Byrds played over two days to a buoyant and colorful crowd and unknowingly birthed a tradition that’s still thriving a half-century later. In that respect, Sound Summit is treading on hallowed musical ground and keeping the vibe alive for a resonant cause.

“Sound Summit continues to fulfill what we’d envisioned – a spirited community gathering in a stellar location with a great soundtrack,” says executive producer Michael Nash. “It’s also throwback to a more grassroots, time-out-of-mind experience. There’s a certain synergy in the amphitheater between the artists and the audience, an intimate gathering amidst an expansive landscape.”

Previous acts have included Wilco, Phil Lesh & Bob Weir, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Jim James, Los Lobos, Dr. John & The Night Trippers, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bill Frisell, The Mother Hips, and many more.

Sound Summit 2018

Nash feels strongly that Sound Summit remain an eclectic music experience for its audience, where quality takes precedence over genre or preconceived notions of what kind of festival it is.

“We like to mix it up,” he adds. “Personally, I’m thrilled to have an iconic artist like Herbie Hancock headlining Sound Summit. His career has had an incredible arc and his artistry has influenced so many diverse musicians and continues to do so, both from his own generation and those that have followed. How cool is that?”

Tickets for the daylong festival go on sale Friday, July 27th at 10:00 am and are $110 for adults and $55 for youth 12 and under; children 2 and under are admitted free. To purchase tickets and for more information, visit SoundSummit.net.

Fans variously make the journey up to the mountain venue by foot, bike, car, and bus. Gates open at 10:00 am; music from 11:00 am – 7:00 pm.

Sound Summit’s stellar lineup features musical performances by the following artists:

Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock is a true icon of modern music. Throughout his explorations, he has transcended limitations and genres while maintaining his unmistakable voice. With an illustrious career spanning five decades and 14 Grammy™ Awards, including Album of the Year for River: The Joni Letters, he continues to amaze audiences across the globe.

There are few artists in the music industry who have had more influence on acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B than Herbie Hancock. As the immortal Miles Davis said in his autobiography, “Herbie was the step after Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, and I haven’t heard anybody yet who has come after him.”

Grace Potter

Described by Spin as “one of the greatest living voices in rock today,” and by SF Weekly as “the whole package,” Grace Potter continues to impress both critics and audiences with her musical achievements and captivating live shows. Heralded as one of today’s best live performers, Grace Potter has played every major music festival from Coachella and Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo and Rock in Rio. She’s had the honor of sharing the stage with artists such as Willie Nelson, Robert Plant, The Allman Brothers, Neil Young, Mavis Staples, and The Roots to name just a few. Most recently, she was given the honor of performing, along with Sheryl Crow, a tribute to the late Glenn Frey at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony. For an artist who has built a devoted fan base through her electrifying live show, Potter seems hell-bent on breaking out of the box when it comes to studio work.  She refuses to be defined by a single genre. Over the last three years, she has seamlessly transitioned from collaborating with the Flaming Lips for a Tim Burton film, to songwriting and producing for soundtracks and theme songs for film and TV, to multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated country duets with her friend Kenny Chesney, to most recently joining The Rolling Stones on stage for an inspired rendition of  “Gimme Shelter.”

Bob Weir

Bob Weir is one of the founding members of the legendary Grateful Dead, which received a GRAMMY Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007. The band has also appeared on Forbes’ list of top-grossing entertainers and in the early ‘90s were the highest-grossing concert attraction in the U.S. Since establishing the band in 1965, Weir has become one of rock’s finest and most distinctive rhythm guitarists. Earlier this year he received the inaugural Les Paul Spirit Award. Weir is currently a member of Dead & Company and has also performed with many other acts including The Other Ones, Kingfish, Bob Weir Band, Bobby and the Midnites, Scaring the Children, RatDog and Furthur, co-led by former Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh. His first solo album, Ace, was released in 1972. 

Nikki Lane

Nikki Lane’s stunning third album Highway Queen sees the young Nashville singer emerge as one of country and rock’s most gifted songwriters. Co-produced by Lane and fellow singer-songwriter, Jonathan Tyler, this emotional tour-de-force was recorded at Matt Pence’s Echo Lab studio in Denton, Texas as well as at Club Roar with Collin Dupuis in Nashville, Tennessee. Blending potent lyrics, unbridled blues guitars and vintage Sixties country-pop swagger, Lane’s new music will resonate as easily with Lana Del Rey and Jenny Lewis fans as those of Neil Young and Tom Petty. 

Con Brio

Named for an Italian musical direction meaning with spirit, Con Brio is a San Francisco Bay Area seven-piece that plays energetic soul, psych-rock and R&B that’s as fresh and freethinking as the place they call home. With charismatic singer Ziek McCarter bringing “the dance moves, splits and all, of James Brown” (KQED) and a tight, veteran band that “comes across like a party punk version of Sly and the Family Stone” (Consequence of Sound), Con Brio is known to convert anyone who sees their electric live show.

About Roots & Branches Conservancy

Roots & Branches Conservancy is a San Francisco Bay Area-based non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of natural resources, both physical and cultural. The broad arc of our efforts ranges from regional environmental and educational work to the preservation and evolution of artistic and cultural traditions – musical, narrative, and beyond. Wherever possible, we aim to create intersections between the environment and the arts to their mutual benefit.

Towards those ends, our programs entail three key facets – grantmaking, education, and experience. As such, our interests lie in producing resonant community experiences at our events, providing educational components in our programming, and making meaningful contributions to worthy beneficiaries.

We at Roots & Branches feel strongly about both preserving and celebrating treasured Bay Area cultural and environmental resources and evolving others we hope will become equally treasured. Implicit in our name is the concept of connection – past and future, foundation and growth, root and branch – that guides and inspires our goals, our programs, and our development.

Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:31 am

The Well Known Strangers are proud to announce their upcoming show at the Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley on Sunday, September 15 in celebration of the release of their new album TMI. The Well Known Strangers revel in the country soul genre and feature Amber Morris (special guest) on vocals; Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums and vocals; Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers, Poor Man’s Whiskey) on bass; Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys; David Noble (Poor Man's Whiskey) and Rob Anderson on guitars.

The evening will be a celebration of the past and future and, along with great music, guests will be treated to buffet of delicious Sweetwater fare. The new album TMI is inspired by the information age giving way to the too-much-information age. From life's journey to a simple sunset; from a random bar room encounter to the love of a lifetime; from a long day at work to the tribulations of a generation. It all combines and intertwines, lurching backwards and then inching forward, painting a picture of who we are individually and collectively.  Vinyl and CD copies of the new album will be available at the show.

Doors will open at 4:30 pm; buffet at 5:00 pm; music at 6:00 pm. Tickets are free and open to the public. Sweetwater Music Hall is located at 19 Corte Madera Avenue in Mill Valley.

WHAT:                   The Well Known Strangers record release party

                                  an evening of country soul and good times

WHERE:                 Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley

WHEN:                   Sunday, August 15; Doors 4:30 pm; Buffet 5:00 pm; Music 6:00 pm

FEATURING:

Amber Morris (Souljah Family Band, Mark Karan, Michael Carabello) on vocals

Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums and vocals 

Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers, Poor Man’s Whiskey) on bass

Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys

David Noble (Poor Man's Whiskey) on lead guitar, vocals

Rob Anderson on guitars

TICKETS:              Free, All-Ages 

INFO:                     Please visit SweetwaterMusicHall.com

ALBUM DETAILS

Olivia Hellman sang lead vocals on the album and now resides in Nashville where she is busy writing songs, recording music and playing live. The album was produced by Austin de Lone and The Well Known Strangers. It was recorded and mixed by Tyler Crowder at 25th Street Recording in Oakland; mastered by Ken Lee. Executive producer is Mick Hellman; management and booking by Colleen Gallagher and album art by Patrick Sean Gibson.

Thu, 10/10/2019 - 10:48 am

Enjoy a groovin’ Sonoma autumn afternoon when The Well Known Strangers bring their brand of country soul to close out the Twin Oaks Backyard BBQ Summer Concert Series on Sunday, October 20. Revelers can enjoy a late afternoon of live music, craft beer and top-notch barbecue straight off the grill – a perfect way to enjoy a warm fall afternoon. Doors open at 3 pm for the 4 pm, all-ages show. Tickets are $10 for concert only or $25 with barbecue and a beer and available online at Hopmonk.com/twin-oaks.

On the heels of the release of their new album TMI, The Well Known Strangers feature special guest Amber Morris (Tim Hockenberry, Eric Martin Band, Mark Karan Band) on vocals; Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums and vocals; Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers, Poor Man’s Whiskey) on bass; Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys; David Noble (Poor Man's Whiskey) and emerging talent (and repeat world champion cyclist) Rob Anderson on guitars. For additional information on the band, photos, videos and a list of upcoming gigs, please visit TheWellKnownStrangers.com.

WHAT:

The Well Known Strangers play Twin Oaks Backyard BBQ Summer Concert Series

WHERE:

Twin Oaks Roadhouse, 5745 Old Redwood Hwy., Penngrove, CA

WHEN:

Sunday, October 20; Doors 3 pm; Music 4 pm

FEATURING:

Amber Morris (Tim Hockenberry, Eric Martin Band, Mark Karan Band) on vocals

Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums and vocals 

Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers, Poor Man’s Whiskey) on bass

Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys

David Noble (Poor Man's Whiskey) on lead guitar, vocals

Rob Anderson (emerging talent and repeat world champion cyclist) on guitars

TICKETS:           $10 General Admission; $25 Show and BBQ 

                                $2 fee at door

INFO:                   Please visit hopmonk.com/twin-oaks

Sat, 01/11/2020 - 12:19 pm

The Well Known Strangers are excited to announce their debut gigs at historic Rancho Nicasio in West Marin on Sunday, January 12 and local hotspot Peri’s Bar in downtown Fairfax on Friday, January 31. Fresh off of the thrill of their new album TMI, The Well Known Strangers have been entertaining audiences throughout the Bay Area with their celebrated style of country soul. The band features Amber Morris (Tim Hockenberry, Eric Martin Band, Mark Karan Band) on vocals; David Noble (Poor Man's Whiskey, Pardon The Interruption) on lead guitar, vocals; Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers, Poor Man’s Whiskey) on bass; Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys; Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums and vocals Rob Anderson (emerging talent and repeat world champion cyclist) on guitars.

The new album TMI is inspired by the information age giving way to the too-much-information age. From life's journey to a simple sunset; from a random bar room encounter to the love of a lifetime; from a long day at work to the tribulations of a generation. It all combines and intertwines, lurching backwards and then inching forward, painting a picture of who we are individually and collectively.  Vinyl and CD copies of the new album will be available at the shows. The list of upcoming shows include:

The Well Known Strangers at Rancho Nicasio Restaurant & Bar 

WHEN:                Sunday, January 12, 4 – 6 pm

WHERE:              Rancho Nicasio, 1 Old Rancheria Rd, Nicasio, CA

TICKETS:           Free

The Well Known Strangers at Peri’s Bar

WHEN:              Friday, January 31, 9 pm – 2 am       

WHERE:            Peri’s Bar, 29 Broadway Blvd, Fairfax, CA

TICKETS:          $10 cover charge, 21+                                                                                               

For further information on The Well Known Strangers, their upcoming shows, or to listen to tracks from TMI, please visit https://www.thewellknownstrangers.com

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 5:17 pm

Expect plenty of picking-and-grinning when music-loving friends and family join forces for the Hellman Winter Stomp at Sweetwater Music Hall on Sunday, February 23. The evening of American roots music will feature musical members of the Hellman family along with a host of special guest musicians, a deliciously prepared buffet from the Sweetwater café and lots of merriment.

The Hellman Winter Stomp players consist of three generations of siblings, offspring and grandchildren of Warren Hellman (the late financier that founded the annual, free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival). The evening will be a blend of the Hellman bands, including The Well Known Strangers, Marco and the Polos, Nancy and the Lambchops, Purple Glaze, Coyote Rose and include their musical cohorts who have played with Elvis Costello, Elvin Bishop, Bonnie Raitt, The Waybacks, Poor Man’s Whiskey, and many more.

Doors will open at 4:30 pm with special buffet for the first 100 guests at 5 pm. The music starts at 6 pm. Tickets are $20 per person and include the buffet. Sweetwater Music Hall is located at 19 Corte Madera Avenue in Mill Valley.

WHAT:          Hellman Winter Stomp

                        An evening of excellent music, local fare and good times

WHERE:        Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley

WHEN:          Sunday, February 23; Doors 4:30 pm; Buffet 5:00 pm; Show 6:00 pm

WHO:            Band members will include:

·      Nancy Hellman Bechtle

·      Katie Gibbs

·      Ruthie Gibbs

·      Tricia Hellman Gibbs

·      Avery Hellman

·      Frances Hellman

·      Judith Hellman

·      Laurel Hellman

·      Mick (Marco) Hellman

·      Andy Allen-Fahlander

·      Rob Anderson

·      Stevie Coyle

·      Austin de Lone

·      Caroline de Lone

·      Amber Morris

·      David Noble

·      David Zirbel

·      Joshua Zucker

TICKETS & INFO: Tickets are $20. Tickets & info, SweetwaterMusicHall.com.

Thu, 03/05/2020 - 6:52 pm

Spring has sprung in Marin and The Well Known Strangers are celebrating with a spate of local shows, including three gigs in their favorite west Marin haunts in as many weeks - Iron Springs Brewery in downtown Fairfax on Wednesday, March 18, then on to Rancho Nicasio in West Marin on Friday, March 27 and finally, the Papermill Creek Saloon in Lagunitas on Saturday, April 11. They will also be branching out into new territory as they open for psychedelic roots-rock band, Full Moonalice, at Odd Fellows Hall in Auburn on Saturday, March 21 and a solo show at The Bistro in Hayward on Friday, April 10.

Fresh off a successful winter run and the buzz of their new album TMI, The Well Known Strangers have been entertaining audiences with their celebrated style of California Country Soul. Featuring powerhouse vocalist Amber Morris (Narada Michael Walden, Tim Hockenberry, Eric Martin Band, Mark Karan Band); David Noble (Poor Man's Whiskey, Pardon The Interruption) on lead guitar and vocals; Joshua Zucker (The Jones Gang, Rowan Brothers, Poor Man’s Whiskey) on bass and vocals; Austin de Lone (Nick Lowe, Elvis Costello, The Fabulous Thunderbirds) on keys; Mick Hellman (The Go To Hell Man Band) on drums and vocals; Rob Anderson (emerging talent and repeat world champion cyclist) on guitar.

The new album TMI is available on a variety of streaming services.  Vinyl and CD copies of the new album will be available at the shows.

The list of upcoming shows include:

Iron Springs Brewery

WHEN:                 Wednesday, March 18, 8 pm                           

WHERE:               Iron Springs Brewery, 765 Center Blvd, Fairfax, CA

TICKETS:            Free

Full Moonalice THC Review featuring Moonalice, T Sisters and the New Chambers Brothers with opening band The Well Known Strangers

WHEN:               Saturday, March 21, 7 pm                    

WHERE:               Odd Fellows Hall, 1226 Lincoln Way, Auburn, CA

TICKETS:            $18-$20, available online at Eventbrite

Rancho Nicasio Restaurant & Bar

WHEN:                 Friday, March 27, 8 pm

WHERE:               Rancho Nicasio, 1 Old Rancheria Rd, Nicasio, CA

TICKETS:            Free

The Bistro

WHEN:                 Friday, April 10, 9 pm 

WHERE:               The Bistro, 1001 B St, Hayward, CA

TICKETS:            Free

Papermill Creek Saloon

WHEN:                 Saturday, April 11, 9 pm 

WHERE:               Papermill Creek Saloon, 1 Castro St, Lagunitas-Forest Knolls, CA

TICKETS:            $5

For further information on The Well Known Strangers, their upcoming shows, or to listen to tracks from TMI, please visit https://www.thewellknownstrangers.com.

Mon, 03/09/2020 - 10:39 am

Ismay is celebrating the release of Songs of Sonoma Mountain, their first full-length album, at Sweetwater on Sunday, March 29. In an evening of indie folk music rooted in nature and reflective of the freedom of the outdoors, the Ismay album and podcast release party will open with special guests Kelly McFarling and Erisy Watt. Doors open at 6:00pm; the show begins at 7:00pm.

Songs of Sonoma Mountain marks the first full-length record from Ismay. Representing the work of singer/songwriter Avery Hellman and recorded in a 100-year-old sheep barn at a Sonoma ranch, the album immerses the listener closer to nature through the world of Sonoma Mountain. Co-produced by Robert Cheek (Band of Horses, Chelsea Wolfe) and Avery Hellman, Songs of Sonoma Mountain features live performances that draw out the character of the space; telling stories from the perspective of the mountain, its animals and Ismay themselves to examine gender identity, loss and a search for belonging. Glide Magazine calls the album, "An enchanting composition that reflects the storybook wistfulness of Aldous Harding and Weyes Blood. Ismay helps usher in an era of mystical folk that is both incisive and playful and somewhat mysterious."

The record interweaves field recordings with intricate songwriting and experimental production. To accompany this production, Ismay has also compiled a series of narrative documentary stories to be released as a podcast: Where the World Begins.

Named after a town of 19 in the Northern Great Plains, Ismay represents the work of singer/songwriter Avery Hellman. Ismay explores how the places we live change us and how the natural world provides deeper meaning. For Ismay, a life lived in rural California connects them to the landscape, providing a freedom to express gender identity and the space to create music. Mystical lyricism, ethereal vocals and dynamic fingerpicking on guitar are the defining features of the music. With works covering from wild horses to wildfire, Ismay’s sound is unmistakably connected to their native landscape.

Opening for Ismay are special guests Kelly McFarling and Erisy Watt. McFarling is an Atlanta-born, San Francisco-based songwriter who plays banjo and acoustic guitar. Her work is reflective of the wilderness and its navigation and transitions. When she’s not working solo, she plays Telecaster for The Home Team, her band with pedal steel guitarist Tim Marcus, drummer Nick Cobbett, bass player Oscar Westesson and other Bay Area artists.

Erisy Watt is a Nashville-raised folk artist based in Portland who is regularly lauded as the next in line to Joni Mitchell or Norah Jones. Watts’ brand of contemporary folk complements the theme of the evening. Inspired by her time living along the central coast of California and her travels in remote Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal, her music invites listeners to rejoice in the beauty and freedom of wilder places. She released her a debut album in July 2019, and has performed several US and international tours over the past years.

Doors open at 6:00pm; the show begins at 7:00pm. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online here. For more information, visit SweetwaterMusicHall.com.

WHAT: Ismay’s Songs of Sonoma Mountain Album & Podcast Release Party     

WHERE: Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Avenue, Mill Valley

WHEN: Sunday, March 29; Doors 6:00 pm; Music 7:00 pm              

FEATURING:

Ismay

Kelly McFarling

Erisy Watt

TICKETS: $15 Advance; $18 Day of Show

INFO: Please visit SweetwaterMusicHall.com