Lynyrd Skynyrd plays Sonoma Valley

Lynyrd Skynyrd - 2009

30 or so years ago, when we were seeing Lynyrd Skynyrd for the first time, if anyone would have told us that someday the band would be playing 5 miles from our house and we’d actually be writing about it, we’d have had to have asked you what you’ve been smoking. Since the plane went down in 1977, taking the life of frontman and songwriter Ronnie Van Zant and others, the band has almost become as a place where the alumni of southern rock come for a home. Still fronted by Ronnies younger brother Johnny Van Zant, the band has one

Lynyrd Skynyrd - 1973

original member, Gary Rossington, still touring. But that doesn’t mean the band is without punch, Rickey Medlocke, formerly of Blackfoot,  is currently one of the guitar players, of which whose father the song “The Ballad of Curtis Lowe” was written about. Members of the Outlaws and Damn Yankees have also toured with the band. Bruce Cohn has outdone himself with this years 25th anniversary of the Fall Music Festival. The charity event starts on Friday, Sept. 23, with an auction fundraising dinner in the olive grove on the winery estate, with guest chef Guy Fieri. Saturday, Sept. 24, is when the music kicks off at 11 a.m., with Carlos Reyes, Jeff Watson, Greg Kihn, Leon Russell, Sammy Hagar with Joe Satriani and the Doobie Brothers rounding out the day. Sunday, Sept. 25, kicks off at 11 a.m. also, and welcomes Carlos Reyes, Lara Johnston, Leon Russell, Little Feat, the Doobie Brothers with Jim Messina and Lynyrd Skynyrd wrapping up the day. There is also a second stage dedicated to Bruces brother Marty Cohn, who died after a short battle with cancer earlier this year. On that stage will be local acts Frobeck, the Zen Pilots, Lara Johnston and Will Champlin, Eddie Bush, Black Market Blues and the Rich Little Band. This year, the charities that will benefit from the weekends events will be the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Redwood Empire Food Bank, Glide Memorial, Santa Rosa Memorial Trauma Center, the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation and local and national veterans organizations. As of this writing, tickets are still available, but both days are expected to sell out. For more info, point your browser to

The Whiskey Thieves

The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival is also this weekend, starting tonight, Sept. 23, in the historic barracks on the Plaza with Pride and Joy at 6 p.m. The weekend-long festival is the second-longest running festival in the state of California, second only to the Rose Parade, and celebrates the bounty and harvest, which seems to be a little late this year, The festival, with its all-volunteer board, in addition to donating all proceeds to chosen local non-profits, foots the bill for the Plaza so that over 20 additional local non- profits can raise funds and awareness for their causes. Local music in the Plaza behind City Hall is a big part of the weekend, with Saturday, Sept. 24, kicking off at 12:30 p.m. with Train Wreck Junction, followed by Dan Martin, the Whiskey Thieves, Out of the Blue, Tommy Thomsen and Dan Littlefield. Sunday, Sept. 25, has Sean Carscadden kicking off at noon, followed by Mad and Eddie Duran, the Hellhounds, the Dick Conte Trio, Paula Odabi and Pure Soul with Rue Manouche wrapping up the day. There is no admission for the event.

Murphy’s Irish Pub welcomes Misner and Smith tonight, Sept. 23, for a night of Americana, folk and blues, kicking off at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24, has the Timothy O’Neil Band, also at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 25, welcomes Billy Jo Valentine, for an early show kicking off at 6:30 p.m. There is no cover for any of the shows at the pub.

Centre du vin in the Ledson Hotel welcomes Jess Petty and Ken Chambers on Saturday, Sept. 24, for a 7 p.m. show.

Shiso Sushi in the Maxwell Village Shopping Center has Tony Gibson with Dawn Angelosante on Saturday, Sept. 24, for a 7 p.m. show.

The Plaza Bistro has jazz tonight, Sept. 23, with an appearance by the Pamela Rose Trio at 7 p.m. With Rose tonight will be Wayne De la Cruz on the Hammond B-3 organ and Jeff Massanari on guitar. Saturday, Sept. 24, the bistro welcomes saxophonist Mike Zilber and his duo. Zilber has performed with Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt, to name just a few. Showtime Saturday is 7 p.m. also, and there is no cover either night.

Brian Cline will be at Landmark Winery and Vineyards on Saturday, Sept. 24, for a 1 p.m. show.

Little Switzerland has a rocking show on Saturday, Sept. 24, kicking off at 9 p.m. Josh Kraft and his Metallica tribute act Motorbreath will play a set, followed by the Braineaters, a Misfits tribute act then Motogruv headlines the night.

The Kathmandu Corner has the Penny Hens tonight, Sept. 24, for an 8 p.m. show. Saturday, Sept. 24, the corner welcomes Dan Martin, also for an 8 p.m. show. Monday, Sept 26, the corner has Jason Walters, for a 6:30 p.m. show. There is no cover for any of the shows.

HopMonk Tavern Sonoma welcomes the Tonewoods on Saturday, Sept. 24, for a 9 p.m. show. The band plays a mix of acoustic Americana, British, and classic folk songs and ragtime.

The Olde Sonoma Public House has Karaoke with Kat on Sunday, Sept. 25, kicking off at 8 p.m.

Ten Foot Tone

Papas Taverna in Petaluma off Lakeville Highway will have Ten Foot Tone playing a special birthday celebration for Mary Serafini on Friday, Sept. 23, kicking off at 7 p.m. The public is welcome.

Jon Popenoe and Tom Wolfe will be at St. Clement Winery in St. Helena on Saturday, Sept. 24, for a 1 p.m. show.

Dawn Angelosante will be at Acacia Vineyards in Napa today, Sept. 23, for a 4:30 p.m. show.

The Hellhounds will be in Napa tonight, Sept. 23, at Cuvee for a 9:30 p.m. show. Saturday, Sept. 24, has the bluesmen at the Tradewinds in Cotati for a 9 p.m. show.

Classic rock rules at B. R. Cohn this weekend

If you ever wanted a snapshot of what rock music was like in the ‘70s and ‘80s, then you need look no further than the Fall Music Festival to be held at B. R. Cohn Winery this weekend, Saturday, Oct. 9, and Sunday Oct. 10. Saturdays show features pop icons Cheap Trick, along with the band that, to many, was the background music of the ‘70s, the Doobie Brothers. Add to the bill War, Grand Funk Railroad and, sneaking in from the ‘60s, is the Turtles. Then throw in some talent from the new generation of rock in the form of Lara Johnston and Patrick Simmons Jr., children of members of the Doobie Brothers, where it’s clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And that’s just Saturday. Sunday brings in an ‘80s revival with Eddie Money, Loverboy, Night Ranger, the Greg Kihn Band, the Turtles, who you just can’t keep off the stage at the festival, and the Eyewitness Blues Band. In addition, there is the new Norton Buffalo Memorial Stage, which will feature the Rowan Brothers and Frobeck, in-between sets on the main stage. Tickets for Saturday are basically sold out, but the Sunday show, at press time, is offering two-for-one tickets for special side area seating. The music festival is just part of the over-all fundraising weekend, which kicks off Friday, Oct. 8, with an auction dinner that features rock-star chef Bradley Ogden, and wraps up on Monday, Oct. 11, with the annual Celebrity Golf Classic to be held at the Sonoma Golf Club. Cohn’s weekend charity events have raised over $5 million over the course of the 24 years the festival has been in existence, helping many Sonoma Valley Non-Profits. This year the beneficiaries are American Legion Post # 489, Little Kids Rock, the Salvation Army, Sonoma Jazz Plus, the Sonoma Mentoring Alliance and more. Tickets for all events, if still available, can be found by pointing your browser to or

The Glen Ellen Street Fair is this weekend as well, Sunday, Oct. 10, in downtown Glen Ellen. They actually re-route traffic off Arnold drive to give the street fair its appropriate props. Grand Marshall Johnn Murphy from EZ Kewl will be waving to the crowd when he’s not playing. In addition to EZ Kewl, the Sol Cats, Tudo Bem and the Michael Hinton band will be providing the grooves for the free event. Hinton has lined up some big names for the show, like Banana from the Youngbloods, Nate Ginsberg from Herbie Hancock, Bill Vitt from the Jerry Garcia Band and Tony Saunders, son of Merl Saunders. Most were also members of Norton Buffalo’s bands over the years. It certainly seems like fall is the time of year to remember the Buffalo, Norton, that is. Hinton and his band take the stage at 3:30 p.m.

A new recording studio is opening in Sonoma Valley, with Juan Blair at the helm. Blair, who goes by the moniker of Uglyfingers, has worked with numerous platinum recording artists and is currently keyboard player with the band Club Nouveau. Blair has re-located his studio to Sonoma Valley from Oakland. Uglyfingers Recording House and Production Studio offers a full production studio, with Blair skilled from concept to mastering, all the way to any part of the recording process, including lyric and songwriting. The studio will be having an open house on Sunday, Oct. 10, at the facility at 19700 8th St. E., at 3 p.m. There will be raffle prizes and an open jam, where musicians are invited to “bring their axe.” For more information, call 510-703-7770.

A local musician, who’s been in town about a year now, Tim Eschliman, is finally gigging in his home town with a show at Little Switzerland on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 8 p.m. Rhythmtown-Jive will hit the stage with lots of New Orleans Rhythm and blues, swing, stroll, zydeco and roots rock. Eschliman, who has played with names like Commander Cody and Etta James, brings with him a number of seasoned music veterans. Dance instruction at 8 p.m. Show starts at 8:30 p.m.

John Burdick will be at Olive & Vine tonight, Oct. 8, with a blues revue that will kick off at 7:30 p.m. Burdick plays a mean slide guitar and will have with him Dave McKee on drums, yours truly, James Marshall Berry on bass, and Armin Winter on saxophone. Winter is an amazing player and singer, having fronted the Jerry Garcia Band after Garcias passing. There is no cover for the show.

The Plaza Bistro will have Jonathan Poretz in the back room tonight, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m. Poretz is somewhat of a crooner, coping the styles of Sinatra, Torme, Bennett and Darin. Poretz will have with him Lee Bloom on piano and Jeff Neighbor on bass. There is no cover for the 7 p.m. show.

Jess Petty and Ken Chambers will be at the Ledson Lounge on the Plaza tonight, Oct. 8, at 6 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards will have Tom Duarte tonight, Oct. 8, at 6:30 p.m.

The Lodge at Sonoma has John Groves in the piano lounge both Friday and Saturday, Oct. 8 – 9, for 7 p.m. shows. There is no cover either night.

Murphy’s Irish Pub will have Blue and Lonesome tonight, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. playing some of the finest in traditional bluegrass. Saturday, Oct. 9, has the female vocal act, Sweet Burgundy, also for an 8 p.m. show. Sunday, Oct. 10, has Sean Carscadden and local favorite Marty O’Reilly, back in the Valley from Santa Cruz for the weekend. That show kicks off at 6 p.m.

The Schellville Grill will have EZ Kewl for a dinner set tonight, Oct. 8, at 7 p.m.

The El Verano Inn brings in Izzy and the Kesstronics tonight, Oct. 8, for a 9 p.m. show.

Imagery Estate Winery will have the sounds of Jon Popenoe on Saturday, Oct. 9, at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 10, the Cork Pullers take over the patio, also for a 1 p.m. show. There is no cover either day.

Mondo American Beer Garden will have Tom Martin playing solo acoustic on Saturday, Oct. 9, for a 7 p.m. show.

The Moose Lodge has Motown Night tonight, Oct. 8, with dinner and dancing to DJ music from Superior Sounds. The night kicks off at 5 p.m. and there is a $15 dollar cover.

Bouverie Wildlife Preserve will be hosting their second science salon titled “Soundscapes: The Nature of Music and The Music of Nature,” on Saturday, Oct. 9, starting up at 2:30 p.m. After the show, there will be cocktails and jazz provided by Maiden Voyages. For more info, call 415-868-9244.

A’Roma Roasters in Santa Rosa has EZ Kewl for an 8 p.m. show on Saturday, Oct. 9.

The Big 3 Diner in Boyes Hot Springs will have Jon Popenoe for a solo dinner performance on Monday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. There is no cover.