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

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


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