Wrapping up the year and kicking off 2012

JMB, Johnny Van Vant and Ninj

We’re wrapping up another year of great Sonoma Valley music, with memories of the past year that included Lynyrd Skynyrd playing the Valley at the fabulous B. R. Cohn charity concert, John Fogerty headlining Sonoma Jazz Plus and many more amazing local acts in venues all over town.

The Sonoma Valley Jazz Society consistently brings big-name jazz acts to the Plaza Bistro and to the Tuesday night market, and for no cover. Many of these acts play Yoshis and other name clubs around the Bay Are, and we get them for free.

Granted, it’s been recorded that jazz started in Sonoma Valley way back in the 1930s, so why shouldn’t we still have great jazz acts? We’re lucky to live in a place where we have incredible food, wine, art and music within our fingertips almost all year long. Sonoma Jazz Plus is up in the air for 2012, but we’re hoping for something and someone to come along to fill the void for the show before Memorial Day weekend. Maybe it’s time someone local took over the event, and included local acts as well.

We had amazing music at the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival, the City Party, music acts and music themed events from the Sonoma International Film Festival and music themed exhibits from the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. We’re looking forward to all that and more in the coming year. Before we touch on New Years Eve, let’s see what’s happening tonight around the Valley.

Dick Conte

The Plaza Bistro welcomes the Dick Conte Trio tonight, Dec. 30, at 7 p.m. If you look up “Bay Area Jazz” in the dictionary, if there’s not a picture of Dick Conte, there should be. In addition to playing with many jazz legends over the last 30 years, Conte has also been a staple on Bay Area jazz radio. Tonight, Conte has with him Steve Webber on bass and Bill Moody on drums. There is no cover.

The Kathmandu Corner has Sean Carscadden tonight, Dec. 30, at 7:30 p.m.

Murphy’s Irish Pub presents JoyRide, featuring Sue Albano, Mark Dennis and “the Monster,” Bob Edmondson in the Snug at 8 p.m. tonight, Dec. 30.

HopMonk Tavern Sonoma welcomes Black Cat Bone to the inside stage tonight, Dec. 30, at 9 p.m.

OK, now on to New Years Eve, Saturday, Dec. 31.

The Olde Sonoma Public House has Josh and Nelson Kraft as a father-son duo playing classic rock and more, kicking off at 8 p.m.

El Verano Inn welcomes Captain Crunch, playing rock and roll classics, starting at 9:30 p.m. The no cover evening includes party favors, food and a champagne toast at midnight.

The Plaza Bistro has the local honky-tonk country act Train Wreck Junction for a 9 p.m. show. Vocalist Nick Kardum insists “we don’t play any of that new country…”

Sean Carscadden

Murphy’s Irish Pub has its traditional dual New Years Eve celebration, one for New Years in Ireland at 2 p.m. with Sean Carscadden and Marty O’Reilly laying down the music, and one for Sonoma, kicking off at 9 p.m. with Cynthia Carr and the Carrtunes. There is no cover and food and drink specials are planned.

HopMonk Tavern Sonoma will have Megan Slankard on the inside stage, kicking off at 9 p.m.

Centre du vin, located in the Ledson Hotel has a dinner show that features Jess Petty and Ken Chambers, kicking off at 9 p.m. There is no cover for the show, but a full prime rib dinner will be offered, along with other dining specials.

Meritage Martini and Oyster Bar will have Stan Pappas, backed by the Jon Shearer Trio, also for a dinner show, that kicks off at 9 p.m. There will be dinner specials and other items at the no cover show.

The Blue Moon Saloon will have Phil Herrschaft and Jason Huybers laying down blues grooves with the rest of the usual Sunday night blues jam folks, and they are billing it as a jam, so musicians are invited to show up and play. The fun starts at 9:30 p.m. and there is no cover.

The Carneros Bistro has the Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance event that features the musical act the Savoir Faire Band, performing hits from the ‘60s and ‘70s, kicking off at 7:30 p.m. The night will feature gourmet food, a chocolate fountain, and drink specials, all to benefit the Mentoring Alliances programs. As of press time, tickets were still available by calling 938-1990.

The Moose Lodge is opening its doors to non-members for the evening, and all that’s requested is that they bring an appetizer for the evening. Music will be provided by Down from Down Under, who will be spinning DJ sounds. The night kicks off at 8 p.m. To reserve a space or a table, and for more info, call 996-3877.

A couple local acts are on the road for New Years Eve, starting with the Jami Jamison Band in Concord at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, kicking off at 9 p.m.

The Dick Conte Trio will be at the Solage Resort in Calistoga, starting at 8:30 p.m.

Showcase the Band will be at the Petaluma Veterans Memorial Building, kicking off at 7 p.m.


Hot 45s – Shows within a 45 minute drive from the Island

Zydeco Flames– Saturday, Dec. 31.
Rancho Nicasio – Nicasio

Tommy Castro Band – Saturday, Dec. 31.
Mystic Theatre – Petaluma

Elvin Bishop – Saturday, Dec. 31.
Last Day Saloon – Santa Rosa

John Lee Hooker Jr. – Saturday, Dec. 31.
Biscuits & Blues – San Francisco

Poor Man’s Whiskey – Saturday, Dec. 31.
HopMonk Tavern – Sebastopol

Petty Theft – Saturday, Dec. 31.
George’s Nightclub – San Rafael

Tedeschi/Trucks band w/ the New Mastersounds – Saturday, Dec. 31.
The Warfield – San Francisco.

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 www.brcohn.com.

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.

Jonathan Poretz at Centre du Vin

Jonathan Poretz

If you’re asking “where is that?” then you’re not alone. Centre du Vin is the name of the new French-inspired restaurant in the Ledson Hotel. We’re told by the new manager that the location will begin to be more local focused, in terms of local musicians, food and wine alike. Even though he’s not from the Valley, Jonathan Poretz has been a Sonoma Valley favorite for quite some time and will be appearing Saturday, Sept. 3, for a 7 p.m. show. Poretz has been appearing as Frank Sinatra in the “Tribute to Frank, Sammy, Joey & Dean (The Rat Pack)” in San Francisco, Las Vegas, Boston and Memphis. Blending the swinging vocal style of Frank Sinatra, Mel Torme, Tony Bennett and Bobby Darin, Poretz puts his own unique stamp on every song he sings and every story he tells through the great American standard songbook.

John Salz - 1950 - 2011

More sad news on the local musician front, as we regret to announce the passing of great local guitarist John Salz on August, 24, 2011. In addition to his music skills, Salz was a pilot and worked as a nurse at Sonoma Valley Hospital. Ironically, they never did find out exactly what was wrong with him, or what caused his death, even though he was ill for several months. Salz made his way to Sonoma back in 1982 with the band Savannah, which also had as members Rick and Lisa Binkley, Bob Morrell, Curt Schillinger and Jim Akin. Salz played with and inspired many a musician in Sonoma Valley and beyond, and even had one of his songs, “No one can hurt you” recorded by country star Ricky Skaggs. There will be a celebration of his life at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building on Sunday, Oct. 9, starting at 11 a.m.

Marty Cohn - 1949 - 2011

Although not a musician, the man made many a contribution to music that you hear almost every day. Marty Cohn, brother of winemaker and philanthropist Bruce Cohn, passed away this year and as a memorial, his brother Bruce has dedicated the second stage at this years Charity Fall Music Festival to the memory of Marty. Marty was instrumental in the signing of the Doobie Brothers and many other acts in the ‘70s. Appearing on the second stage at this years festival on Saturday, Sept 24, will be Lara Johnston and Will Champlin, the Zen Road Pilots (formerly Billy Satellite) and Eddie Bush. Sunday, Sept. 25, performers are the Rich Little Band, Black Market Blues and Frobeck. That’s only the second stage. On the main stage on Saturday, Sept. 24, will be the Doobie Brothers with Sammy Hagar and Joe Satriani, Leon Russell, Jim Messina, Greg Kihn, Jeff Watson – The Lone Ranger and Carlos Reyes. The Sunday, Sept. 25, show has Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Doobie Brothers with Jim Messina, Little Feat, Leon Russell, Lara Johnston and Carlos Reyes. The Doobies have been touring with Skynyrd a good part of the summer and will be fun to see them both back on stage at the end of the tour. There are some tickets still available, but these shows will sell out. Tickets are available in the tasting room at B. R. Cohn winery or online at www.brcohn.com.

The Sunflower Caffe has its monthly artists reception tonight, Sept. 2, this month featuring Jennifer Cabaud and there will also be music from JoyRide. The music kicks off at 7 p.m.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards has the Americana sounds of Adam Traum and the Traumatics tonight, Sept. 2, in the tasting room at 6:30 p.m. There is no cover and food will be available from Community Cafe.

Plan Be will be at Little Switzerland on Saturday, Sept. 3, for an 8 p.m. show. The band is sure to get you dancing with their versions of popular blues, jazz and rock songs.

The Katmandu Corner has Dawn Angelosante and Tony Gibson tonight, Sept. 2, for a show that will be at the new time for all shows; 8 p.m. Deirdre Egan will be at the corner on Saturday, Sept. 3, also for an 8 p.m. show. There is no cover.


The Community Cafe is having a Labor Day party on Monday, Sept. 5, starting at 2 p.m., when they will kick off the new barbecue holiday menu. Joyride will be providing the music starting at 4 p.m.

Viansa Winery in Carneros will have music from SugarFoot on Saturday, Sept.3, from noon to 3 p.m. The band plays rock, funk and blues.

The Plaza Bistro welcomes back the Jeff Massanari Trio tonight, Sept. 2, for a 7 p.m. show. Saturday, Sept. 3, the bistro brings in local Andrew Emer on the stand up bass, playing a duo with guitarist Terence Brewer, also for a 7 p.m. show. There is no cover either night.

Murphy’s Irish Pub has its longest running act, the Sonoma Mountain Band tonight, Sept. 2, for an 8 p.m. show. Saturday, Sept. 3, the pub welcomes Andrew Freeman, also for an 8 p.m. show. Sunday, Sept. 4, has the long-standing, traditional Celtic pub jam, starting at 3:30 p.m. There is no cover for any of the shows at the pub.

The Blue Moon Saloon has Crazy Noisy Karaoke on Saturday, Sept. 3. You can get in on the antics as well, starting at 9 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4, has the weekly blues jam on Sunday, Sept. 4, kicking off at 10 p.m. Having popped in last Sunday, we can say the music is live on a late Sunday night. There is no cover either night.

Stephanie Ozer will be at the Osteria Divino in Sausalito on Saturday, Sept. 3, for a 7 p.m. show.

The Jon Popenoe Blues Band will be at Rickey’s Bar in Novato on Saturday, Sept. 3, for a 6:30 p.m. show. Sunday, Sept. 4, Popenoe will be with his duo at Beringer Winery in Napa for a show that kicks off at noon.