The Hour of Slack
Song - Artist - Album
Blues to Elvin - John Coltrane - The Heavyweight Champion
There were days ... and there were days ... and there were days between ...
The days between now-a-days are considered the days between August 1 and August 9. If you didn't know, those are the August days between the date of Jerry Garcia's birthday and, as Bob Weir puts it, the day "Jerry checked-out." I decided that I'd spend this year's Days Between on left coast, with the intention of attending the 10th Annual Jerry Day, which as the name depicts, is a musical celebration of Jerry Garcia, held at the Jerry Garcia Amphitheater in San Francisco.
Arriving the day before Jerry Day game me the opportunity to attend a great little music festival in a town about an hour north of San Francisco, Petaluma. Though I say 'little,' it's little in the standard of California terms; you'd barely ever see a little festival like this in Connecticut anyway.
There were a couple of bands I was psyched to see; bands I'd heard a lot about and had only had the opportunity to hear on the internet. So, this was cool, I'd be able to see them live. Of course, Jackie Greene's band was headlining the festival, and although I'd seen Jackie and Nathan Dale before, I hadn't ever seen Jackie's band. (stay tuned for a review of that show).
I had gotten to the fairgrounds shortly before Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers had started. But, I’m not going to talk about them band first, provided that you don’t read the entire blog, I want to tell you about a band that I just fell in love with: Poor Man’s Whiskey. Technically, I believe the type of music they play is JamGrass…Their not really a Jam Band, and their not Bluegrass … but they do play a bit of both … thus, JamGrass.
Poor Man’s Whiskey are from northern California, and although they do venture up to Oregon, they pretty much stay on the left coast. This is a fun band! This is a group of talented musicians! This is the band to see! Poor Man’s Whiskey is Josh Brough on banjo, organ, and vocals; Jason Beard on mandolin; Aspen Stevenson on stand-up bass; George Smeltz on drums; and Chris Haugen on guitar.
Taken from their website, I couldn’t have said it better:
This “High-Octane Hootenanny” will certainly delight those interested in a foot-stompin good time. Poor Man’s Whiskey has evolved into a ragged, spontaneous beast pulling from equally deepwells of story-telling originals, expertly crafted covers and zany on-stage shenanigans.
The band released their first cd in 2002, and now has six in total, including a brand new one, Like A River, plus, Dark Side of the Moon Shine, which is the entire Pink Floyd album covered in bluegrass. How fun is that?
This is a band worth checking out! And you can at: www.poormanswhiskey.com
But … now back to the beginning, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers played. I'm glad they were performing here since I had wanted to check out this band, and wanted to do it in an outdoor setting before seeing them indoors, only because my take on their music was that outdoors would have been much more enjoyable to me. This band has been around since 2008. Nicki Bluhm is married to the very talented Tim Bluhm, guitarist and primary singer/songwriter of The Mother Hips, the duo The Skinny Singers, not to mention a member of The Rhythm Devils, featuring The Grateful Dead's Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann.
I can see why folks are attracted to this band. They are a fun band, have a lot of energy, but do a lot of covers ... I suppose it’s my age, but covers of songs, personally, I didn't care for the first time around, but ones they've made 'famous' with their Van Sessions. They do have two records out, one from 2008 and another from 2011.
Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers are: Nicki, of course, on vocals and tambourine; Dave Mulligan on acoustic guitar; Steve Adams on bass; Deren Ney on electric Guitar; Mike Curry on drums and her husband Tim Bluhm on guitar and vocals. Sometimes the band has the honor of having Steve Taylor sit in on keys.
This is a band that tours throughout the U.S., so look for them coming to a venue near you.