By September 30, 2016 Read More →

Unplugged View – Rock, Block and One Smoking Carroll

Unplugged View
By Aaron Rowan

Rock, Block, And One Smoking Carroll

I saw an incredible documentary not long ago called ‘The Music Of Strangers.’ It chronicles the formation and evolution of the Silk Road Ensemble, a collective of virtuoso musicians from across the planet who banded together to promote cross-cultural creative collaboration. The project was founded by world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma almost 20 years ago, and has more than twenty regular members and over three times that many collaborators. The film follows the lives and struggles of five ensemble members, both on tour with the band and back in their home countries. It also highlights some wonderful but less widely known instruments played by certain members, such as the gaita (Galician bagpipes), pipa (Chinese lute), and kamancheh (Iranian fiddle.) It’s a musing on culture, philosophy and politics, and how they all interweave with music. One of the best cinematic experiences I’ve had all year.

Imagine my surprise when I recognized one of the ensemble members’ names. Hardly a week before seeing the film, I had arranged for the providing of sound tech for a concert happening this month, which happens to feature none other than Silk Road cellist Mike Block. Yo-Yo Ma has called this multi-style cellist, composer, and educator “the ideal musician of the twenty-first century.” He’ll be performing in a duo with Hanneke Cassel, a Scottish fiddle champion and one of the many Silk Road collaborators. Hanneke fuses influences from the Isle of Skye and Cape Breton Island with musical innovations from the hip Boston bluegrass/Americana scene to create a uniquely American approach to Scottish music. The concert is a fundraiser for Patterson city councilman Dominic Farinha, and darned if I’m not going to move in with my good friend who lives there so I can give him my vote. It’s being held at the Hammon Senior Center in Patterson, on Wednesday 10/19 at 7 PM. Tickets are $35, and include wine and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets only available in advance – visit For more info, call 209-892-8147 or email<>.

Saturday 10/8, Music At The GMC hosts an evening with cowboy poet Kerry Grombacher and folk singer/songwriter Leah Shoshanah. Kerry writes contemporary western songs set in the landscape that he’s worked and traveled in, from his home in New Orleans, to the desert Southwest, to the Northwest forests. His lyricism takes us on journeys to places we’ve never visited before. Leah’s original music is influenced by rock, folk, samba and jazz, taking on a life of its own and inspiring audiences to sit spellbound as well as laugh, cry, sing and dance. 7:30 PM at the Gottschalk Music Center recital hall, 1502 E St. $15 general/free for kids 12 and younger. Seating is very limited, so call 209-543-5306 to secure a spot.

Sunday 10/16, the Modesto Community Concert Association presents Gregg Young & The 2nd Street Band, one of the L.A. music scene’s most in-demand groups, fusing rock, disco & jazz. Gregg has performed alongside Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Steve Miller, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Linda Ronstadt and many others. The Second Street Band is a pool of approximately 40 world-class musicians and vocalists. 3 PM at the Gallo Center. More info at

October 30, Sunday Afternoons At CBS welcomes guitar phenomenon Clive Carroll, whose versatility and unparalleled technical virtuosity have rendered him one of today’s most admired and respected guitarists. Clive plays everything from 16th & 17th century lute music to jazz standards, blues, Irish reels and his own groundbreaking compositions. Concert starts at 3 PM at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave. $25 general, $20 students/seniors, $10 for children. More info at



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