The Friday, July 21, Column

Grant Benziger – the Granite Chief

Spotlight – Granite Chief

When you go down a black diamond ski run called Granite Chief between your dad’s legs when you’re four years old, you might acquire a nickname, maybe even named after the run, and when you’re a Benziger from Sonoma Valley, you might just end up being a winemaker, but only the first one is true.

Grant Benziger, known his whole life as the “Granite Chief,” didn’t hear the call of the grapes, but he did hear the call of the wild and the call of music, both of which he has managed to pair nicely with his new EP release simply called “Granite Chief.” The Glen Ellen native grew up next door to Jack London State Park and spent his youth traversing the trails and property, as well as reading London’s books, and with a place that powerful and spiritual immersed in your thoughts, it’s bound to have an affect on you and how you see life. The story for the lead track on the EP, “Haunt You (Charmain)” came to him as he was showing his girlfriend around the park and telling her the story of Jack London. “It was like the park spoke to me and the words to the song just came out” said Benziger..

Benziger attributes his love for music to his older brother Buck, who would take him to shows, to the underground scene for Bay Area rap, hip-hop and Sonoma Valley punk rock. His first punk show was seeing the Bodies at the Phoenix Theatre in Petaluma when he was just eight years old, and then off to explore other genres with his brother. “Here I am this eight year old kid and my older brother is bringing me to shows. Probably not the thing to do to if you’re trying to act cool, but I sure appreciated him letting me tag along” remembered Benziger. Soon after that he saw how all the genres all tied together with one another. “You don’t have to choose just one, you can like them all and that’s OK” and it was then that he knew music was what he wanted to do, forever.

His family was very supportive of his dream, and after a stint at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, he started playing in bands in Southern California, where he still lives today. His main act is the Curly Wolf, and the band plays what you would call “honky-punk and psychobilly” along the lines of Hank Williams III, but there was more that Benziger wanted to say, and the new solo project allowed him to branch out from that style into a style, well, that sounds uniquely like him. “Writing some of these songs and laying them down has been kind of scary, I’ve really put some of my soul out there” as Benziger describes how the songs came about. The music was all recorded at his house, with Benziger laying down most of the tracks and doing most of the writing as well, with his writing partner Jason Mater. He uses a mix of acoustic and electronic instruments, which include his banjo, that you have to try hard to even sort out what kind of instrument is being used, layered over beats with a slow, almost funk-like groove with lots of back and forth vocals. The project is strictly a studio one for now, but Benziger is making plans with others to bring the sounds to the live stage. “I know we can do it” says Benziger, “we just have to find the time to get to it.”

But Benziger has never been one afraid to take risks, as even the photo shoot for the EP burned his derriere and arms with the flames used for effects. “No, that picture isn’t Photoshopped, those flames are real, I can tell you that for a fact!”

The EP is out now, and can be purchased at iTunes, Spotify and Amazon. There is also rumor of an appearance by the Curly Wolf in the Valley in September of this year. For more about Benziger, point your browser to instagram.com/curlygrits

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Jaydub and Dino – Photo: Paul Penna

Set List – The Rundown

Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Tonight, July 21: the Smart Fellers. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 22: Full Circle. 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 23: Voices in my Head. 4 p.m.

B. R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen, 800-330-4064
Sunday, July 23: Falcon Christopher. 2 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, July 21: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

Hood Mansion Lawn, 389 Casa Manana Rd. Santa Rosa, 833-6288
Tonight, July 21: Funky Fridays with Soul Fuse. 7 p.m.

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, July 21: Gary Blackburn. 5 p.m. Clay Bell. 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 22: Aaron Redner. 1 p.m. Charley Paul 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 23: Anthony Presti. 1 p.m.

Larson Park, 329 DeChene Avenue, Sonoma, 539-8092
Sunday, July 23: Springs Farmers Market with Benjamin Glasgow. 4 p.m.

Madrone Estate Winery, 777 Madrone Rd. Glen Ellen, 939-4500
Sunday, July 23: Danilo. 1 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660
Tonight, July 21: the Cork Pullers. 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 22: Dominic Bianco and Soulshake. 8 p.m.

Muscardini Cellars, 9380 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, 933-9305
Saturday, July 22: “Simmer Down Saturday” with the Cork Pullers. 6 p.m.

Nicholson Ranch Winery, 4200 Napa Rd, Sonoma, 938-8822.
Saturday, July 22: the Mayra Project. 1 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Tonight, July 21: Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m. Reggae Night with Byron Borges. 8 p.m.

The Reel Fish Shop and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, July 21: the Blues Defenders. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 22: the Poyntlyss Sistars. 8:30 p.m.

Schug Carneros Winery, 602 Bonneau Road, Carneros, 939-9363
Saturday, July 22: Jaydub and Dino. 1 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Tonight, July 21: the Poyntlyss Sistars. 6 p.m.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, July 21: O and the Riots. 6:30 p.m. Dorian Mode. 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 22: the Marks Brothers. 5 p.m. Marina Crouse. 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 23: Brandon Eardley  5 p.m. Acoustic Blues Jam. 8:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley Woman’s Club, 574 First St. E., 938-8313
Saturday, July 22: Hawaiian Jam Session.  2 p.m.

Viansa Winery, 25200 Arnold Drive, Carneros, 995-4740
Saturday, July 22: Rhyme and Reason. 12 p.m.
Sunday, July 23: Jay Messer. 12 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. jmberry@sonomamusic.com

The Tuesday, July 18, Column

The Cork Pullers

Weekday Rundown

Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Wednesday, July 19: Coyote Raw. 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 21: Sonoma Sound Syndicate. 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 21: the Smart Fellers. 7:30 p.m.

B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille, 400 First St. E. Sonoma, 938-7110
Thursday, July 20: Brandon and the Bees Knees. 9 p.m.

El Verano Inn, 705 Laurel Ave. El Verano, 935-0611
Tonight, July 18: Karaoke, 9 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Friday, July 21: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

Hood Mansion Lawn, 389 Casa Manana Rd. Santa Rosa, 833-6288
Friday, July 21: Funky Fridays with the Soul Fuse. 7 p.m.

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Wednesday, July 19: Open – Mic night. 8 p.m.
Friday, July 21: Gary Blackburn. 5 p.m. Clay Bell. 8 p.m.

The Lodge at Sonoma, 1325 Broadway, Sonoma, 935-6600
Thursday, July 20: The Cork Pullers. 4:30 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660.
Friday, July 21: the Cork Pullers. 8 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Friday, July 21 Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m. Reggae Night with Byron Borges. 8 p.m.

The Reel Fish House and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Friday, July 21: the Blues Defenders. 7:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Theatre, 476 First St. E. Sonoma, 996-9756
Friday, July 21: Sean Carscaddem going away party with Miss Lonely Hearts and the Sean Carscadden Large Band. 7:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Friday, July 21:  Poyntlyss Sistars. 6 p.m.

Sonoma Plaza, 1 Broadway, Sonoma
Today, July 18: Tuesday night market with Acoustic Soul. 6 p.m.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, July 18: American Roots Night with Lou A. Rodriguez, Tim Eschliman and Bruce Gordon. 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 19: Acrosonics. 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 20: Plan Be. 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 21: O and the Riots. 6:30 p.m. Dorian Mode. 8 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. jmberry@sonomamusic.com

The Friday, July 14, Column

Sean Carscadden

Spotlight – Sean Carscadden Final Sonoma Show

Sonoma Valley’s loss will be soon be Portland’s gain as local music mainstay Sean Carscadden will pull up roots from the town he was born and raised in and strike up to the Emerald City to pursue his music career, but not before one last show on Friday, July 21, at the historic Sebastiani Theatre. Carscadden will be pulling out all the stops for this one, not only is it his highly anticipated CD release party, but he will be showcasing two of his acts with two sets, first with Miss Lonely Hearts followed by his own band with a number of players added to the bill, making it a truly large band.

Joining Carscadden on stage that evening will be Wyatt Hesemeyer, Mischa Gasch, and Patty O’Connor with the band Miss Lonely Hearts laying down “Outlaw Country” tunes. After a short intermission, Carscadden kicks it up a notch with the most extended version of his own band to date, with Cliff Hugo on bass, Mikey Lee Cannon on drums, Doug Leibinger and Jason Thor on trombone, Dave Scott on trumpet, Ken Cook on piano, Dawn Angelosante and Tony Gibson on vocals and Josh Yenne on steel guitar who will lay down through a set of the “American Delta” inspired tunes.

Hundreds of players in Sonoma Valley have gotten their start in music from Carscadden, which was never part of the plan, nor was music for that matter. “A kid asked me if I gave private lessons and I started to say no and instead said yes, yes I do” and from then it was on. Carscadden grew up with no real interest in music and didn’t even own any records (remember those?), but starting a band sounded like fun, so at the age of 12, Carscadden was tagged as the guitar player. His father had an acoustic guitar lying around and Carscadden picked it up and the band was born. After a couple lessons with a friend’s mom, he was hooked.

Over the years Carscadden has been mentored by and has mentored many familiar names in the local music scene, like Louis and Paul Christopulos, Jason Bodlovich, Phil Herrschaft, Marty O’Reilly, Ryan Tatarian, Isaac Carter and members of his current act, Cliff Hugo and Mikey Lee Cannon to name just a few. He als started his own record label, with partner Andy Saks and recorder and produced albums for Sarah Summers, Miss Lonely Hearts and his duo with Marty O’Reilly.

Honestly, we always thought Carscadden would be plucked from the scene and land in Dire Straits or some other touring act, and it could still happen, he is that good. Carscadden is one of those players that appeals to listeners of all ages and makes other musicians just shake their heads in awe of his style and abilities.

The show on Friday, July 21, with doors at 7:30 p.m. is sure to sell out, and advance tickets can be purchased at the theatre box office or online at brownpapertickets.com/event/2982555.

Good luck Sean, and if there’s any truth to the legend of Chief Solano, you’ll be back, but if not, be sure to remember us when you make it with the “Big Boys.”

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Train Wreck Jucction

Set List – The Rundown

Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Tonight, July 14: Hooper and Sloss. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 15: Katie Garibaldi. 7:30 p.m.

B. R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen, 800-330-4064
Sunday, July 16: the Cork Pullers. 2 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, July 14: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

Hood Mansion Lawn, 389 Casa Manana Rd. Santa Rosa, 833-6288
Tonight, July 14: Funky Fridays with Gator Nation. 7 p.m.

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, July 14: Shelby, Texas. 5 p.m. Wendy DeWitt. 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 15: Jimbo Scott. 1 p.m. Ali Kumar. 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 16: Craig Corona. 1 p.m.

Larson Park, 329 DeChene Avenue, Sonoma, 539-8092
Sunday, July 16: Springs Farmers Market with Stewart Degner. 4 p.m.

Madrone Estate Winery, 777 Madrone Rd. Glen Ellen, 939-4500
Sunday, July 16: Jay Messer. 1 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660
Saturday, July 15: Ten Foot Tone. 8 p.m.

Muscardini Cellars, 9380 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, 933-9305
Saturday, July 15: “Simmer Down Saturday” with the Bee Rays. 6 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Tonight, July 14: Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m. Reggae Night with Byron Borges. 8 p.m.

The Reel Fish Shop and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, July 14: Miracle Mule. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 15: Train Wreck Junction. 8:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Tonight, July 14: Rubber Soul. 6 p.m.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, July 14: Bruce Gordon. 6:30 p.m. New Copasetics. 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 15: Full Circle. 5 p.m. Iko Ya Ya. 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 16: the Fabulous 45’s  5 p.m. Acoustic Blues Jam. 8:30 p.m.

The Starling Bar, 19380 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma, 996-3055
Sunday, July 16: Sonoma Sound Syndicate. 7:30 p.m.

Viansa Winery, 25200 Arnold Drive, Carneros, 995-4740
Saturday, July 15: Ken Teel. 12 p.m.
Sunday, July 16: Justin Brown. 12 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. jmberry@sonomamusic.com

The Tuesday, July 11, Column

Rubber Soul

Weekday Rundown

Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Wednesday, July 12: Shameless. 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 13: Adam and Josh “Country – Bluegrass” night. 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 14: Hooper and Sloss. 7:30 p.m.

B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille, 400 First St. E. Sonoma, 938-7110
Thursday, July 13: Brandon and the Bees Knees. 9 p.m.

El Verano Inn, 705 Laurel Ave. El Verano, 935-0611
Tonight, July 11: Karaoke, 9 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Friday, July 14: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

Hood Mansion Lawn, 389 Casa Manana Rd. Santa Rosa, 833-6288
Friday, July 14: Funky Fridays with the Gator Nation. 7 p.m.

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Wednesday, July 12: Open – Mic night. 8 p.m.
Friday, July 14: Shelby, Texas. 5 p.m. Wendy DeWitt. 8 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Friday, July 14 Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m. Reggae Night with Byron Borges. 8 p.m.

The Reel Fish House and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Friday, July 14: Miracle Mule. 7:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Friday, July 14:  Rubber Soul. 6 p.m.

Sonoma Plaza, 1 Broadway, Sonoma
Today, July 11: Cabanijazz Project. 6 p.m.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, July 11: American Roots Night with Lou A. Rodriguez, Tim Eschliman and Bruce Gordon. 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, July 12: Acrosonics. 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, July 13: King Daddy Murr and the Prince of Thieves. 7:30 p.m.
Friday, July 14: Bruce Gordon. 6:30 p.m. New Copasetics. 8 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. jmberry@sonomamusic.com

The Friday, July 7, Column

Glenn Carter

Set List – The Rundown

Annex Wine Bar, 865 W. Napa St. Sonoma, 938-7779
Tonight, July 7: Roots Troupe. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 8: David Bingham. 7:30 p.m.

B. R. Cohn Winery, 15000 Sonoma Hwy. Glen Ellen, 800-330-4064
Sunday, July 9: Don Trotta and Dann Walters. 2 p.m.

Friday Farmers Market, Depot Park, 270 First St W. Sonoma
Today, July 7: Stewart Degner. 9:30 a.m.

Hood Mansion Lawn, 389 Casa Manana Rd. Santa Rosa, 833-6288
Tonight, July 7: Funky Fridays with the BluesBurners. 7 p.m.

HopMonk Tavern, 691 Broadway Sonoma, 935-9100
Tonight, July 7: Gutter Swan. 5 p.m. Solid Air. 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 8: Michael Bloch. 1 p.m. Frankie Bourne. 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 9: Jill Cohn. 1 p.m.

Kivelstadt Cellars, 13750 Arnold Dr, Glen Ellen, 938.7001
Tonight, July 7: Glenn Carter. 6:30 p.m.

Larson Park, 329 DeChene Avenue, Sonoma, 539-8092
Sunday, July 9: Springs Farmers Market with Anne Adams and Mike Billo. 4 p.m.

Madrone Estate Winery, 777 Madrone Rd. Glen Ellen, 939-4500
Sunday, July 9: Solid Air. 1 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub, 464 First St. E. Sonoma, 935-0660
Tonight, July 7: Jaydub and Dino. 8 p.m.

Muscardini Cellars, 9380 Sonoma Hwy, Kenwood, 933-9305
Saturday, July 8: “Simmer Down Saturday” with T Luke and the Tight Suits. 6 p.m.

Olde Sonoma Public House, 18615 Sonoma Hwy. Boyes Hot Springs, 938-7587
Tonight, July 7: Ryan Tatarian and Matt Silva. 6:30 p.m. Reggae Night with Byron Borges. 8 p.m.

The Reel Fish Shop and Grill, 401 Grove St. El Verano, 343-0044
Tonight, July 7: Kevin Russell and his So-Called Friends. 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 8: Rubber Soul. 8:30 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards, 389 Fourth St. E. Sonoma, 933-3230
Tonight, July 7: Stax City. 6 p.m.

Sonoma Speakeasy and American Music Hall, 452 First St. E. ste. G. Sonoma, 996-1364
Tonight, July 7: Bruce Gordon. 6:30 p.m. Scarlett Letters. 8 p.m.
Saturday, July 8: the Marks Brothers. 5 p.m. the Poyntlyss Sistars. 8 p.m.
Sunday, July 9: Brandon Eardley  4:30 p.m. Acoustic Blues Jam. 8:30 p.m.

The Starling Bar, 19380 Sonoma Hwy. Sonoma, 996-3055
Saturday, July 8: 3 on a Match. 9 p.m.
Sunday, July 9: Aiden Eljumaily. 9 p.m.

Viansa Winery, 25200 Arnold Drive, Carneros, 995-4740
Saturday, July 8: Solid Air. 12 p.m.
Sunday, July 9: Craig Corona. 12 p.m.

If your gig isn’t in my column, you didn’t tell me about it. jmberry@sonomamusic.com