Farmers Market music is back

The Farmers Market is back in the Plaza tonight, April 6, and will have music under the palm tree from Lane Tietgen starting at 6 p.m.

Mondo American Beer Garden will have the Ralph Cetola Experience on Wednesday, April 7, for an evening of whatever Cetiola feels like playing at 7 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub will have Open-mic Plus on Thursday, April 8, at 7 p.m

Steiners Tavern will host Kit Kat Karaoke with Cat Smith on Thursday, April 8. .

The Plaza Bistro will have the Joshi Marshall Project in the backroom on Friday, April 9, at 7 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub will have the Hellhounds on Friday, April 9, at 8 p.m. for a night of delta and Chicago blues.

Benefit for the El Verano Inn at Little Switzerland

Yep, you read that right; a neighboring bar is hosting a benefit for the historic El Verano Inn that is currently undergoing county mandated structural upgrades. The building is one of the most historic in the Valley and why it isn’t an official historical landmark is beyond us, maybe the Index-Tribune historian Gerald Hill can follow up, but that’s for another day. Saturday, April 3, Ten Foot Tone and many other local musicians will take the stage at Little Switzerland, a venue that has been around almost as long as the El Verano Inn, with a variety of other local musicians to help raise funds to defray the costs of the massive overhaul of the building. In 1887 when the building was originally built, foundations were optional. Today, you don’t get away without them, and the seasoned building was sinking. We used to say on the terrestrial radio show that the only place you could still rock hard in the Valley was the El Verano Inn. Lately, Steiners Tavern has picked up the slack, but EVI owners Richard and Leslie Danon have done a great job over the years of providing a place for bands that aren’t necessarily mainstream an opportunity showcase their wares. We also think the building is important to the history of Sonoma Valley, and admire the efforts of the Danons to keep that look into the past alive. The show gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at Little Switzerland in El Verano and there is a suggested donation of $20.

Steiners Tavern will be hosting the Whiskey Thieves tonight, April 2, for a night of original rock and roll. Showtime is 10 p.m. The boys have just returned from the South by Southwest Music Conference and should have some tales to tell. Some might even be true. Saturday, April 3, the Tavern brings in DJ Dave for a night of dance music. That show also kicks off at 10 p.m.

The Plaza Bistro has local favorites, and jazz legends, Mad and Eddie Duran tonight, April 2, for a night of jazz. Eddie is a jazz legend, having played with the likes of Charlie Parker, Nat King Cole and Benny Goodman. Herb Caen once described Mad like this; “Mad Duran is just what jazz needs – soul, swing and a breath of femininity.” Tonight night, the band will include Smith Dobson on drums and Adam Gay on Bass. Showtime is 7 p.m. and there is no cover.

Cornerstone Gardens in Carneros has a house concert style show Saturday, April 3, with indie rock musicians Petracovich and Joe Rathbone starting at 7 p.m. For tickets and more info, contact Drew Pearce at (415) 706-3800.

The Sonoma Springs Brewery has the sounds of the Steve Dudgeon quartet on Saturday, April 3, at 7 p.m.

The hardest working band in the Valley, EZ Kewl, will be lurking in the wine world this weekend, with an appearance at Larson Family Winery on Sunday, April 4 at noon. If you miss them there, you can catch them Monday, April 5, at the new wine bar at the Big 3 Diner at 7 p.m.

Hard Travelin’ is busy this weekend with two shows on Saturday, April 3. The first is at Imagery Estate Winery with a 1 p.m. start time then the boys head to Mondo American Beer Garden for a night of acoustic music classics starting at 7 p.m. It’s rumored that the “Journeyman,” Corey Jennings will be joining the band for one or both shows.

Imagery Estate Winery will have music Easter Sunday, April 4, with the sounds of the NiteLites for an afternoon show that starts at 1 p.m.

Adam Traum will be at the El Dorado Kitchen tonight, April 2, for a show that will feature folk, country and Americana tunes. Traum will have with him a trio that includes Pat Campbell and Michael Yonchenko. Showtime is 6:30 p.m. and there is no cover.

Landmark Winery and Vineyards will have the acoustic sounds of Jason Bodlovich on Saturday, April 3, as part of their continuing Complimentary Concert series. Showtime is 1 p.m. and there is no cover.

Murphy’s Irish Pub has music from local favorites the Sonoma Mountain Band, tonight, April 2, for an 8 p.m. start time. Saturday, April 3, brings Andrew Freeman to the pub for a night of music that also starts at 8 p.m. Sunday, April 4, has a classic Celtic pub jam session beginning at 6 p.m.

The David Thom band will be sharing their traditional bluegrass music with folks at the Lagunitas Brewery in Petaluma on Saturday, April 3, at 3 p.m. We have it on good authority that folks from Sonoma Valley are welcome too.

The Hellhounds will be at A’Roma Roasters in Santa Rosa tonight, April 2, for a night of blues. The show kicks off at 8:30 p.m.

Sonoma Valley Music Scene – 4/1/10

Well, believe it or not, today is the sixth anniversary of our first show to air on KSVY 91.3 FM in Sonoma back in 2004. We’ve come a long way and aren’t looking back.. Todays show is another good one.. we have a live interview from Wildflower Weed  and a tune as well.. Kick back, have some Sonoma Valley wine and check out the tunes..


Band        –     Album         –           Song

Dirt Road – Haunted – Mt. Zion Road

Natasha James – Sampler – If you think this is Love

10 Foot Tone – Elevate – Flickerbean

The Ducks – Demo – Rainy day feeling

Rebel Rocket – End of the Ride – Addicted

Toast Machine – Rock Wattage – The Funky Song

Wildflower Weed – Live at Mondo – Annabelle

Solid Air – Local Color – Troublemaker

Stephanie Ozer – O Comezo – Rio

Michael L. Castle – Walkin’ Blues – Bluesmen

Tips or beer.. do we play for free?

Recently my colleague and fellow musician, Daedalus Howell, posted an article to his blog and in his printed space in the Sonoma Index Tribune about how so many local consultants that have put in years crafting their expertise are constantly asked to give up their talents for free. The debate rages on in the local musician community here in Sonoma Valley as well, and reared it’s ugly head recently with yet another venue offering “tips and beer” in exchange for a musical performance. I have been a performing musician for over 35 years in what I would call a semi-professional manner. I have made money playing music, not enough to make me rich, but enough to feed my AGS problem (Acquired Gear Syndrome.. the habit of acquiring gear that you probably will use once).  I have been on both sides of the story. I’ve played ‘just for tip’ gigs that ended up netting me more money than I would have ever asked for, I have also played well paying gigs that before the first set even ended, I would have given all the money back to leave right then.

I have also done the freebie gig that led to actual paying gigs, that I would have not gotten had I not played the freebie. I have also done many more that never got me anything but exposure, from which many local musicians are dying.

There are so many problems with playing live music these days that I don’t even know where to begin, so I’ll honestly try to stick to the topic. And in in the full spirit of disclosure, this is my blog and totally my take. I encourage you to comment.

Back when I first started playing clubs in the early ’80s, bands got an average of $300 a night for a bar gig. Beers were a buck. Now beers are $4.50 and the average pay a bar band gets?.. you guessed it.. $300. Simple math would tell you that inflation alone makes that performance worth $1200 today.

If I am playing your venue ‘just for tips’ and your joint is so busy that without the band, you would have had Curly, Moe and Larry at the bar, even though the agreement was tips only, throw the band a bone after the show. Your cocktail waitresses are leaving with way more in tips than anyone in the band will make, and thanks to the band and the people they brought in, the waitress won’t be asking you for a raise that week… or quitting.

If the place is hopping and you are paying the band nothing while you sell way more plates of food, drinks, whatever than you would have without the band, then it is your duty to have one of your waitstaff work the room with the tip bucket.. twice a night. The band can’t do it.. they’re busy entertaining your customers that are buying things from you.. trust me.. patrons are not gonna not have that one more beer just because they tipped the band 5 bucks, but they’re also not gonna walk to the front of the stage and put the 5 bucks in the bucket either. It’s a two way street.

If you are a (bar, restaurant, coffee shop) and you clear away a 10×10 foot area for a band to set up in the corner of the room and provide them an outlet that may be in close proximity to where they’re playing and might be on the same circuit as the microwave, you are not a nightclub, and you can’t charge a cover unless all of it goes to the band. Period. You are also not the late  Bill Graham. You are a restaurateur or innkeeper. The band will draw people in, do for them what you’re in business to do when they arrive. Don’t charge them for the privilege of coming into your establishment and giving you money for things.

Most of the people the band will bring in will be their friends or family, as the venue has probably not advertised at all and EXPECT the band to not only play for next to nothing, but bring in people as well. These poor folks have been coming to see the musicians in all their configurations of bands for longer than you will ever know.. be nice to them.

You wouldn’t ask your chef friends to ” stop on by the store on your way over and pick up some food.. maybe you can cook something up” or your mechanic friends ” Hey, bring your tools, I’ve got a problem with my car.” If they offer.. Great!! But you wouldn’t expect it. Most musicians have day jobs, this is their passion, most would probably rather play than not play. It’s time to stop taking advantage of their passion. They are not solely vehicles to help you sell your wares. It’s nice to be respected and acknowledged for what is probably years of playing and practice that made them what you’re enjoying today.

Mad and Eddie back in town

Murphy’s Irish Pub will have J. L. Stiles on Thursday, April 1, at 7 p.m.

The Plaza Bistro will have Mad and Edie Duran with Smith Dobson on drums and Adam Gay on Bass in the backroom on Friday, April 2, at 7 p.m.

Steiners Tavern will have hometown boys the Whiskey Thieves on Friday, April 2, at 10 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub will have the Sonoma Mountain band on Friday, April 2, at 8 p.m. for a night of folk and bluegrass.