Big music weekend in Sonoma Valley

If you’re a fan of live music, local or big names, this is your weekend. The amount of musical options this weekend is off the chart, so let’s lay it out here. For the big names, that starts tonight, May 20, with the former front-man of Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Fogerty headlining the kick off night of Sonoma Jazz Plus at the Field of Dreams. Opening the night on the big stage will be the Tedeschi-Trucks band, featuring Susan Tedeschi with Derek Trucks and on the outside stage, will be the popular Marin County act, Vinyl. The award-winning Sonoma Valley High School Jazz Choir will also be performing on a side stage as guests enter the festival pavillion, when gates open at 5 p.m. Saturday, May 21, brings Sheryl Crow to the big stage, with Hiromi the Trio Project, as the opening act. The Pimps of Joytime will be performing on the outside stage, and arriving guests will be serenaded once again by the Sonoma Valley High School Jazz Choir. Doors that night are also 5 p.m. Sunday, May 22, has an early start time, with doors opening at 3 p.m. for the Gipsy Kings. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band will be opening and closing the show with sets at 3 and 6 p.m. Tickets are still available for all shows, by pointing your browser to

Murphy’s Irish Pub is also in on the festivities, as part of the “Wine & Song” series, with over 17 hours of live local acts over the course of the weekend, and also as a fundraiser for the Sonoma Community Center. Saturday, May 21, kicks off at 1 p.m. with the Phil Herrschaft Band, followed by Arann Harris and the Farm Band at 3 p.m. The evening gets started at 5:30 p.m. with the Willie Adams Soul Revue and the night wraps up with the Sean Carscadden Trio at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, May 22, the music kicks off again at 1 p.m. with Tudo Bem, followed by the Jami Jamison Band. The Whiskey Thieves kick the evening off at 5 p.m. and the Brothers Comatose wrap it up at 7 p.m. There is no cover for any of the shows at the pub, but donations for the Sonoma Community Center will be accepted.

The “Wine & Song” series portion of Jazz Plus will be held in venues around Sonoma Plaza on Saturday, May 21 – Sunday, May 22. The bands will vary each day, playing two sets, starting at 1 p.m. and kicking off Saturday, May 21, with the Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Group at the Plaza Bistro. Roessler Cellars will host the Rick Vandiver Quintet. Hopmonk Tavern Sonoma has the Evans Francis Group. Sonoma Meritage Martini and Oyster Bar will host Times 4. The Delta Wires will be at the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. Roche Winery will present Santos Perdidos. The Swiss Hotel will have Horace-Scope. The Jazz + In-Schools Student Band and Burning Broadway will be at Union Bank at 500 Broadway. And that’s just Saturday. Sunday, May 22, has an earlier start time for the venues, at 11 a.m. to accommodate the early stage call of the Gipsy Kings on the big stage. Rue Manouche will be at Roessler Cellars. Sonoma Meritage Martini and Oyster Bar has the Fog City Stompers. Mo’ Fone will be at Roche Winery. The Swiss Hotel will have Du Gris. Tickets to the Wine & Song series are separate from the tickets to the big shows, and to purchase and for more info, point your browser to

The Plaza Bistro, in conjunction with the Sonoma Valley Jazz Society has expanded their weekly event to two nights, starting tonight, May 20, with vocalist Frank Jackson, along with Larry Vuckovich and Al Obidinski. Saturday, May 21, welcomes Bryan Girard on alto and tenor saxophone, Tim Campbell on keyboard and Greg German on drums and percussion. Shows both nights start at 7 p.m. and there is no cover.

Murphy’s Irish Pub has music tonight, May 20, from Penny Royal, whose music leans in the direction of circus-noir gone gypsy. Showtime is 8 p.m.

Steiners Tavern has the Whiskey Thieves tonight, May 20, at 10 p.m. where they will be having a CD release party. Saturday, May 21, has the sounds of DJ Dave, for a 10 p.m. start. There is no cover for the show.

Olde Sonoma Public House in Boyes Hot Springs welcomes the Maldonado Brothers tonight, May 20. The brothers will debut several new originals. The band is evolving into a bit of a jam band that focuses on allowing their songs to breathe and develop as each member contributes their own stylistic renderings to the songs, including an increasing repertoire of original music spanning several genres. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and there is no cover.

Katmandu Corner, in the back of the Taste of the Himalayas, has the sounds of Dawn Angelosante and Joe Pennell tonight, May 20, for a 7:30 p.m. show. If you miss the duo tonight, you can catch them at Hopmonk Tavern Sonoma on Saturday, May 21, for a 5 p.m. show.

The Barking Dog in Boyes Hot Springs welcomes back the Joe Chaplain Band for an early evening show that will kick off at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 21.

Landmark Winery and Vineyards welcomes Laurent Fourgo to the patio on Saturday, May 21, for a 1 p.m. show.

Many local acts are out on the road this weekend, starting with Adam Traum who will be at the Wipeout Grill in Greenbrae tonight, May 20, for a 6 p.m. show.

Ten Foot Tone will be appearing at the Tradewinds in Cotati tonight, May 20, for a 9:30 p.m. show.

The Tonewoods will be at Aqus Cafe in Petaluma tonight, May 20, for a 7 p.m. show.

The Hellhounds will be at Uva Trattoria in Napa tonight, May 20, for an 8 p.m. show. Saturday, May 21, has the Hellhounds in Calistoga at the Hydro Bar, for a 9:30 p.m. show.

The Jon Popenoe Blues Band will be at Uva Trattoria in Napa Saturday, May 21, for an 8 p.m. show.

Breakfast and music to help SVHS music program

So, who doesn’t like the music columnist? Many, apparently, after last Fridays rant here in the column. Seems many were quick to point out that there is a venue in town that has been providing live music on a regular basis for years. How we missed that fact is beyond us, but Murphy’s Irish Pub, with over 200 live shows each year, certainly qualifies as a proper music venue. In fact, with lights, a permanent sound system and a regular schedule for music, it’s the closest thing to a nightclub we have here in Sonoma Valley. The pub also hosts several local music events throughout the year to help non-profits in the Valley, including the Sonoma Community Center, F.I.S.H and more. In addition, the venue hosts plays that feature productions by Kate Kennedy, Rose Murphy and the Avalon Players.

We reached out to Bill Pollock, one of the owners and pub manager Hunt Bailie, and the duo showed us some of the major improvements going on in the snug (the back room) to make it an even better venue for live music. First, all the poles in the room are being removed, to make for a wide open line of sight to the new stage, which is also being built, along with expanding the entrance and squaring it up with the patio and including a large door that will open into the patio on summer evenings for the outdoor patrons to enjoy. Add to that new permanent stage lighting and improvements to the 30 thousand dollar sound system recently installed and there you have it.

New booking manager and local musician Sean Carscadden will also be focusing on having more local acts when the pub re-opens, which is anticipated to be the first week of March. But in the meantime, the live music continues across the alley in the temporary pub location behind Taste of the Himalayas tonight, Feb. 11, with Kelley and Jeckel for an 8 p.m. show. Saturday, Feb. 12, has local picker and grinner Adam Traum for a night of folk, country and bluegrass, also at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Feb. 13, has the man himself, Sean Carscadden for an early show at 6 p.m. There is no cover for any of the shows.

The second annual pancake breakfast fundraiser for the Sonoma Valley High School Music Department, billed as “The Music Lovers Pancake Breakfast,” will help raise funds to send the members of the three choirs and two bands from the school to the Heritage Festival competition, to be held in Anaheim, CA. this spring. Last year, Sonoma Valley High School groups brought home four silver medals from the prestigious festival. The event is Sunday, Feb. 13, at the Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Building from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. In addition to the breakfast, attendees will be able to enjoy music from Jon Popenoe, EZ Kewl and the schools own Jazzberries. Tickets will be available at the door.

Sebastiani Winery and Vineyards will be having a Valentines dance party tonight, Feb. 11, which will feature BackTrax, with Sue Albano and Friends opening the show. Emcees for the night will be local crooner Jeff Gilbert and Diana Dawn, a Marilyn Monroe tribute artist. The dinner, at 6 p.m., is sold out, but dance only tickets can be purchased at the door at 7:30 p.m.

In case you somehow missed it, Sonoma Jazz Plus has announced the headliners for this years shows, and they are blockbusters. Sheryl Crow, who routinely sells out stadiums, will headline the Saturday, May 21, show. Look for that night to sell out fast. Friday, May 20, brings the kid from El Cerrito up to wine country, when John Fogerty, whose band Creedence Clearwater Revival essentially provided the soundtrack to life in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, takes the big stage. Sunday, May 22, has the Gipsy Kings. Support acts will be announced at a future date. Tickets this year are online only and Sonoma residents will have first dibs on tickets starting on Monday, Feb. 14, by going to the website at and using the code of “sweet” on checkout. Tickets to the general public will go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 15.

The Moose Lodge will have a Valentines celebration on Saturday, Feb. 12, with Showcase the Band and a prime rib dinner. The evening gets underway at 6 p.m. Tickets will be available at the door, with a discount available for Moose Lodge members.

The Plaza Bistro has the Khalil Shaheed Trio in the back room tonight, Feb. 11, at 7 p.m. Shaheed has toured and performed with Jimi Hendrix, Woody Shaw and Taj Mahal, and has been featured as a jazz soloist with the Oakland East Bay Symphony Orchestra. As a recording artist, he has appeared on nearly 20 albums. There is no cover for the show.

Sonoma Springs Brewery has the sounds of Dawn Angelosante tonight, Feb. 11, starting at 7 p.m.

As part of the Olive Festival celebration, the new El Dorado Corner Cafe (where the kitchenette used to be) will have music from Michel Michelis on the French barrel organ tonight, Feb. 11, starting at 6 p.m. The venue now has wine and beer on tap, and a tidy updated appetizer menu.

The San Francisco Starlight Orchestra will make its monthly appearance at Little Switzerland on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 2 p.m. The orchestra is booked for the second Saturday of every month until November, 2011, and encourages folks to come dressed to dance the fox trot, Charleston, tango, rumba, waltz, lindy, one-step, two-step, carioca, and more.

Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves has an evening of romantic Spanish music on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m. that will feature Eric Symons and Patrick Imbimbo. Now in its twentieth year at the winery, Symons will begin the evening on the lute, performing music from some of the Spanish masters, then Imbimbo will be introduced for his debut live performance. Imbimbo is 60 years old, a student of Symons, and has just recorded an album. For tickets and more info, call 933-1999.

Steiners Tavern has the dance sounds of DJ Dave on Saturday, Feb. 12, kicking off at 10 p.m.

Local bluegrass picker David Thom will be sitting in with some of the big names in bluegrass on Saturday, Feb. 12, in a tribute to Flatt & Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley at 8 p.m. There will also be an encore performance on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at the same venue. For tickets and more info, point your browser to

A lot of locals are on the road this weekend, so we’ll run them down quick, as we’re running out of column inches.

EZ Kewl will be at A’Roma Roasters Saturday, Feb. 12, for an 8 p.m. show.

Out of the Blue, with Curtis Duff on drums, will be at the French Garden Restaurant in Sebastopol tonight, Feb. 11, and Saturday, Feb. 12. The shows kick off at 7 p.m.

Uva Trattoria in Napa has an all Sonoma Valley weekend with Jon Popenoe taking the stage tonight, Feb. 11, and the Hellhounds playing the trattoria on Saturday, Feb. 12, both shows at 8 p.m.

Tudo Bem will be at the Rio Nido Roadhouse on Saturday, Feb. 12, at 8 p.m.

The Sonoma Sinatra, Stan Pappas will be playing Rickey’s Restaurant in Novato tonight, Feb. 11, for a 7 p.m. show.

We also want to apologize to the Rich Little Band for running an old photo of the band in last weeks column.

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

Jules Broussard Valentines Dance– Saturday, Feb. 12
19 Broadway – Fairfax

Shana Morrison – Saturday, Feb. 12.
Rancho Nicasio – Nicasio

Pat Jordan Band – Saturday, Feb. 12.
Last Day Saloon – Santa Rosa

Hannah Jern-Miller – Wednesday, Feb. 16.
Last Day Saloon – Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa Symphony Set Five – Saturday, Feb. 12 – Monday, Feb. 14.
Wells Fargo Center – Santa Rosa

Kenny G – Saturday, Feb. 12.
Uptown Theater – Napa