By March 2, 2016 Read More →

Unplugged View – V For Virtuoso

Unplugged View
By Aaron Rowan

V For Virtuoso, Part One

It’s beginning to look a lot like MUMfest! Our annual acoustic festival is still a month away, but this being the 5th anniversary event, we’re taking the entire month of April to showcase the wide range of sounds we enjoy curating. We have even partnered with a few of our favorite regional presenters to make their April happenings part of our fest. This year is so big that it’s going to take two columns to preview all the Modesto Unplugged Music Festival has to offer.

Our opening night party on Saturday 4/2 will take place in newly opened venue The Portal, a converted warehouse space at 1324 Coldwell Ave. across from MJC. The popular foothill family band Faux Renwah are headlining the evening, performing old-time and Gold Rush-era songs. The fun starts at 7 PM, with $15 admission.

Sunday afternoon 4/3, one of the brightest young bluegrass stars in California, AJ Lee, will headline a showcase at Center Stage Conservatory, on the lower level of the City Center building, 948 11th St. AJ recently won her 6th title as Best Female Vocalist at the Northern California Bluegrass Awards. Jason Winfree of local bluegrass group Red Dog Ash will open the concert in a duo act with his daughter Ida. Doors at 2:30, concert at 3:00, $15 at the door.

Wednesday 4/6, we have the honor of hosting the CD release event for local troubadour Neil Buettner, one of Modesto’s hardest-working performers. He’s just about finished with his second album of pop/rock originals, and will be joined by fellow songwriters Boscoe’s Brood (Turlock, CA) and Ginger Bones (visiting from Minneapolis, MN.) Barking Dog Grill, 940 11th St., starting at 7 PM. $5 cover.

Friday 4/8, our regularly scheduled Music At The GMC concert series features Celtic/traditional trio Halfpence & Haypenny. With influences from Medieval Europe to the back cabins of Appalachia, this trio takes you on an auditory tour that weaves bardic storytelling with the folk traditions. Also appearing are central valley Celtic staple Cooking With Turf, mainly presenting Irish and Scottish tunes, but also boasting a repertoire of Canadian, New England, Appalachian, British, Breton and Galician traditional music as well. Gottschalk Music Center recital room, 1502 E. St. Doors at 7, concert at 7:30, $15 general, free for kids twelve and under.

Saturday 4/9, MUMF partner Jason Winfree presents the season finale of his bluegrass series at the West Side Theatre (1331 Main St., Newman), featuring his band Red Dog Ash along with fellow award-winning California bluegrass act Windy Hill. General admission is $12, reserved seating $15. Doors at 6:30, music at 7:30.

Sunday 4/10, Sunday Afternoons at CBS (presented by Modesto Unplugged member Tina Driskill) hosts its season finale with Jaffa Road. Grand prize winners of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and twice nominated for a Juno Award, they are one of Canada’s most exciting and innovative world music groups. Listeners experience original and ancient poetry in Hebrew, English and Spanish intertwined with electrifying improvisations, belly-dance rhythms, and pulsing dub grooves. 3 PM at Congregation Beth Shalom, 1705 Sherwood Ave. $25 general, $20 seniors/students, $7 children.

Tuesday 4/12, our partners at Townsend Opera hold the latest in their recital series. Cast members of their upcoming production ‘Dead Man Walking’ will perform opera numbers at Café Deva, 1202 J St., at 7:30 PM. Tickets are available by calling 209-523-6426.

Wednesday 4/13, we’ll introduce something totally new to our programming – a musical meditation session with Kamini Natarajan, one of the leading young classical Indian music singers. Originally from India but now living in southern California, Kamini will share her mix of ragas, kirtans and original compositions. 6 PM at the Peer Recovery Art Project Gallery, 1222 J St. starting at 6 PM. Donations will be accepted for this event.

Next month, we’ll talk about the second half of the lineup, with some awesome orchestral, classical, vocal, gypsy jazz, and country-rock music in the mix. You can learn more about these and our other showcases at



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