Sonoma Music - Mike Hyland

Cool dates on a hot summer calendar

In the words of Martha Reeves, “Summer’s here and the time is right for dancing in the street.”  Well, summer is definitely here and there is a lot of music all around our little town (and around it) in which to dance, boogie, get down, cut a rug or whatever your thing may happen to be.

Down at Rancho Nicasio this weekend, you can get a good dose of the blues from Tommy Castro and the Pain Killers on Friday, June 15.  The next night, The Hot Club of San Francisco, featuring Isabelle Fontaine entertains, followed on Sunday, Father’s Day, with the Blues Broads, four incredibly gifted singers who performed for the first time ever on the Rancho Nicasio stage.  Tracy Nelson was founder of the legendary San Francisco band Mother Earth, Dorothy Morrison was co-writer of “Oh Happy Day” and member of the Edwin Hawkins Singers, Angela Strehli organizer of the group and a driving force of the success of Rancho Nicasio, and Annie Sampson, a former longtime cast member of “Hair” and the group Stoneground, come together with a vocal explosion like no other.  Backed by a crackerjack band, this is a show that will definitely have you dancing in the street.

If you want to go a little further south (okay, maybe a lot further south) head to the Mountain Winery in Saratoga where they host an impressive lineup of talent all summer.   They opened their music series with Creedence Clearwater Revisited and Three Dog Night last week, and this weekend (Sunday, July 17) they are bringing in Kenny Loggins and the Blue Sky Riders.  From what I gather, Kenny will do his regular show opened by the Blue Sky Riders –  which consists of Kenny with two Nashville singer-songwriters, Georgia Middleman and Gary Burr.  Middleman and Burr are married, and Burr is one of the most successful songwriters based in the Music City.

Gary Burr is one of the most entertaining songwriters I have ever seen.  To his credit, he owns 32 Top 40 hits, 24 Top 10 hits and 14 No. 1 hits.  He has been named Songwriter of the Year by Billboard Magazine, ASCAP and the Nashville Songwriters Association International.  A few of the artists who have recorded his songs include Conway Twitty, George Jones, Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, Faith Hill, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban, Ringo Starr, Diamond Rio, Ricky Skaggs, Neil Diamond, Reba McEntire and a whole bunch more.  If you make it down to Saratoga, you will be totally entertained.

Also coming to Mountain Winery next week are the Indigo Girls on June 19 and Glen Campbell’s “Goodbye Tour” on June 20.  Future shows this summer include Lyle Lovett, Foreigner, Ziggy Marley, Ringo Starr and his All Starr Band, Ray Davies (of the Kinks), Johnny Winter, John Fogerty, Diana Krall, Buddy Guy and more.

Rodney Strong winery kicks off their summer concert series on Saturday, June 16 with Tower of Power headlining and Craig Chaquico opening.  Next up is Al Green on July 15.

The Kate Wolf Music Festival at Black Oak Ranch in Laytonville takes place June 29 and 30 and July 1 and features a great lineup including k.d. lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Lucinda Williams, the great Richard Thompson, the Texas Tornados, Justin Townes Earle, Loudon Wainwright III, Blame Sally and more.  Get more information at

The Uptown Theatre in Napa has the Indigo Girls with their full band playing on Thursday, June 21.  Other upcoming shows include Lyle Lovett on July 6, Ray Davies on July 17, Willie Nelson on July 18 and in August, Rosanne Cash on the 25th of the month.

Alice Radio is hosting a free concert on Sunday, July 24 in Golden Gate Park featuring Adam Lambert, Graffiti6, Scars on 45 and Rebecca Ferguson.  The show takes place in Hellman Hollow (formerly the Speedway Meadow).

Lisa Marie Presley plays Slim’s in the City on Sunday, June 24.  Billed as “An evening with Lisa Marie Presley,” it should be an interesting show.  Also in the City, Justin Townes Earle plays the Great American Music Hall on Friday, June 29.

And a little closer to home, this weekend finds singer-songwriter Tony Gibson performing at Murphy’s Irish Pub on Friday, June 15 starting at 8 p.m.  On the same night, the Plaza Bistro hosts the Dick Conte Trio beginning at 7 p.m. and still sticking with the Friday night gigs, Dan Martin plays Steiner’s starting at 10 p.m.  The Hellhounds play the Sebastiani Winery gig, also on Friday, beginning at 6 p.m.

And finally, the Meadowcroft Wines’ monthly Songwriters In Sonoma series takes a summer road trip into town for three shows at the Community Café (875 West Napa Street) beginning with the June 21 show.  There has been a lineup change since this show was first announced.  Katy Boyd, who I wrote about several months ago, will not be able to play the show since she broke her back a few weeks ago.  Sounds painful.  In true show business fashion, the show will go on with singer-songwriters Adam Gottstein, Richard Sumberg and Uni and her Ukelele.  Tickets are $10 and reservations for the show may be made by calling the Meadowcroft Wines tasting room at 707/934-4090.

The July 19 show at Community Café features Tony Gibson, Garrett Pierce and hometown singer-songwriter Sarah Summers.  The final show of the series at Community Café features Chris James, Steve Kritzer and Ash Tuesday (I love that name).  Songwriters in Sonoma returns to the Meadowcroft tasting room with the September 20th show which promises to be a blockbuster!

Now get out there and dance or boogie or groove or cut a rug, just go out and see some fine, live music.

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