October 18, 2014
Blue Diamond Strings
Six Bay Area acoustic music veterans who have collaborated in various combinations now come together to play an amalgam of bluegrass, old time, and blues.
This sort of musical fusion is nothing new for these musicians. Eric, Jody, Paul, and Paul are members of Kleptograss, transforming the music of many cultures into something resembling bluegrass, and they also play together in The Black Mountain Jungle Boys. Eric and Suzy performed similar musical alchemy in the Bluegrass Intentions. Eric, Kate, and Suzy were members of the Blue Flame String Band, spicing their bluegrass and old time music with blues and Cajun stylings, and Kate and Suzy were part of the Any Old Time String Band, bringing swing and Cajun into an old time setting.
The germination for this band began exactly 50 years ago(!) when Eric and Jody joined forces with Jerry Garcia in The Asphalt Jungle Mountain Boys, and collaborations among band members have continued ever since. Jody and Kate have been singing together since 1974, presenting a sterling and soulful repertoire that encompasses all the genres mentioned above, along with recent compositions and ancient folk songs. Suzy and Eric have been a duo for nearly as long, and also are dedicated to the pursuit of weird and obscure old-time American music, adding a bit of Puerto Rican hillbilly music to the mix. Both Pauls have been in numerous bands that cover a variety of musical bases. Paul Shelasky spent more than a decade in the Good Ol' Persons and just as long in recent times with Blue & Lonesome; Paul Knight has played in Peter Rowan's band for more than 15 years, and hosts a wildly eclectic music series that has found him in the company of every imaginable style of musician. Paul Knight and Jody have been bandmates in Perfect Strangers and the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Jody and Eric played often as a duo in the ‘60s and ‘70s, and most members of this band backed Jody on his recent “Wonders & Signs” album.
The combination of these experienced, innovative, and powerful musicians and singers promises to be exciting, compelling, satisfying, and … surprising. RBA is thrilled to provide the stage for the debut of another chapter in the distinguished careers of the members of Blue Diamond Strings.
November 1, 2014
The Kathy Kallick Band
Kathy Kallick: guitar, vocals
Annie Staninec: fiddle, vocals
Cary Black: acoustic bass, vocals
Greg Booth: dobro, banjo, vocals
Tom Bekeny: mandolin, vocals
RBA is excited to welcome back the Kathy Kallick Band, who have been on a tear since their last appearance here: a hit album/song, cover story in Bluegrass Unlimited, accolades aplenty, and standout appearances at festivals from RockyGrass, Wintergrass, and Pickin' In the Pines to Strawberry, the CBA's Father's Day Festival, and IBMA showcases.
Time -- the CD and the song -- is the hit, and its mixture of original and classic material mirrors the distinctive combination of traditional and contemporary sensibilities that has come to define the Kathy Kallick Band. Time and the KKB’s previous release, Between the Hollow and the High-Rise, have spent more time in the national bluegrass charts -- and were the highest-ranked bluegrass releases on the folk-dj chart -- than any other releases in recent years.
"Kathy's working with the finest group she’s ever assembled. Time is unforgettable; the songs seep into your consciousness slowly but inexorably, and you find yourself cueing up the album again and again. Each time you do, you learn a little more, and you’re richer for the experience." - David McGee, Deep Roots
In the past year, Kathy also has issued a solo collection of original story songs, Cut To the Chase, and, with Laurie Lewis, a tribute to their mentors, Laurie & Kathy Sing the Songs Of Vern & Ray. That makes a total of 19 albums by Kathy, recordings which include nearly 150 of her compositions. During the past year, Tom released a mandolin jazz collection, Jazzolin, Cary made albums with the Rhythm Bugs and Rouge, and both Annie and Greg begin recording their own solo albums.
Kathy has won a Grammy and two IBMA Awards, received a Lifetime Membership from the California Bluegrass Association, appeared on three high-profile Rounder collections of bluegrass songs by women, toured throughout North America, Europe, and Japan, had five title tracks and albums each spend a year in the upper echelon of the national bluegrass charts, and is featured in Murphy Henry's recent publication, Pretty Good For A Girl: Women In Bluegrass, but the collaboration with her mighty current band is a career high point. The Kathy Kallick Band has nearly as much fun as the audience when performing. The material is compelling, the tone ranges from humorous to bittersweet to soulful, the instrumental playing is electric, the vocals luminous, the presentation inclusive. As was once said about another California band: They're not just the best at what they do; they're the only ones who do what they do.
“This is a top-notch band led by a woman with the warmest, richest voice in our music today.”
- Katy Daley, WAMU’s Bluegrass Country
December 6, 2014
Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Gulley
Dale Ann Bradley (guitar, vocals) and Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals) -- that's it. And it should be memorable.
We thrilled to their heavenly harmonies in a band context a couple years ago, and now we have the opportunity to experience this dynamic duet with no distractions.
Dale Ann is a five-time winner of the IBMA Award for Female Vocalist of the Year, has collaborated with all the top bluegrass musicians, and is one of the most engaging performers in the music. Steve co-founded and led both Mountain Heart and Grasstowne, was a notable member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and has had his compositions recorded by a number of top bands.
Perhaps most significantly, "Steve and I grew up together," says Dale Ann. "We each know what the other one's going to do." Theirs is a duo honed by common experience, a similar approach to the music, and years of singing together. This should be a very special performance.