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Unplugged View – The Bluegrass is Greener

Unplugged View
By Aaron Rowan

The Bluegrass Is Greener

October brings us much to celebrate in the northern California musical landscape. There’s the always phenomenal Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival at SF’s Golden Gate Park the first weekend of this month, and a stellar annual music conference in Mariposa county – the Yosemite Songwriting Retreat – the following weekend. I’m looking forward to soaking in a day or two of both of these weekend extravaganzas, and a whole lot of diverse music and arts offerings here at home.

The ongoing Modesto Unplugged/ModestoView concert series ‘Live In The Cellar,’ held at Greens On Tenth, features two events this month. First up, on Friday 10/9, is something of a spinoff series called ‘The Bluegrass Is Greener.’ We’ll be featuring veteran bluegrass artist Kathy Kallick and her band, fresh off the release of their brand new album. Kathy has been leading bands in the traditional brand of West Coast bluegrass since 1975, and continues to evolve as one of the genre’s extraordinary composers and vocalists. She has won a Grammy and two IBMA Awards for her part on ‘True Life Blues: The Songs Of Bill Monroe.’ Concert starts at 8 PM in the cellar at Greens (953 10th St.) and admission is $20. Our goal is to make bluegrass a greater part of the Modesto Unplugged programming, so look for future offerings of top-notch California bluegrass talent soon.

The following Friday, 10/16, we welcome the South Lake Tahoe duo of Anne Roos and Seán Cummings. Anne’s repertoire on the Celtic harp ranges from the expected – traditional Celtic, early Renaissance, folk, world and classical music – to the unexpected – Broadway standards, movie themes, country, classic rock and more. Seán Cummings, ‘The Tahoe Bagpiper,’ brings over 30 years performing experience and seven generations of clan tradition to play the music and tell the story of Scottish highland bagpipe. Doors open at 7 PM and music starts at 8. $15 general, $20 reserved front-row seating. Reservations can be made for both cellar concerts by calling us at 209-543-5306.

Friday 10/2, local outlaw country songwriters Roy Dean and Chris Ward join forces with Sissy Brown (on tour from Oklahoma) for a lively evening at the Cow Track Lounge, 850 N. Yosemite Ave. in Oakdale, starting at 9 PM.

Saturday 10/17, Townsend Opera presents Opera Remix: A Music & Verse Event, at the State Theater. It’s a unique live performance combining opera and slam poetry, featuring the Central Valley premiere of Philip Glass & Allen Ginsberg’s chamber opera ‘Hydrogen Jukebox,’ as well as performances of original work by Modesto-based poets. Doors are at 6:30; performance at 7:30. An open-mic afterparty will follow at 9:30. General admission ($10), reserved seating ( $25) and all-access passes ($75) are available through Townsend Opera at 209-523-6426.

Sunday 10/18, the Sunday Afternoons At CBS series continues at Congregation Beth Shalom (1705 Sherwood Ave.) at 3 PM. Rabbi Shalom and friends will be leading an afternoon of traditional and modern Jewish music, original songs, and music from his influences including Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Grateful Dead. An Oktoberfest-style brew tasting will accompany the show. $25 general, $20 seniors/students, $7 children. More info at

Saturday 10/31 – The Wrong Doers throw their annual Halloween dance party at the Prospect Theatre, 1214 K St., to benefit the Center For Human Services as well at the Prospect Theatre Project. You can dance the night away to their rocking country-punk sounds starting at 8 PM. Admission is $10.



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