Officially “geeked out” on Bakersfield Sound

It has not even been two weeks since our last program on KWMR but a lot has happened! Just one week ago we were preparing for out Amtrak trip on the San Joaquin line from Emeryville to Bakersfield. Packing up a tasty picnic lunch from the local Cowgirl Creamery, confirming that the Dave Alvin and the Guilty Women tickets were in the bag, loading up the Ipod with the appropriate tunage for the trek. Double checking the list before we headed out. Cell phone, check! Concert tickets, check! KWMR t-shirt for Dr. BLT, check! KWMR stickers for new fans of West Marin community radio, check.

And just a mere six hours and some odd minutes later we were detraining in Bakersfield. It’s really a lovely trip and this particular route has a stellar on-time record. We checked in to our hotel (within walking distance) and then headed out on foot to Fishlips to grab a bite to eat and catch the Dave Alvin show. We were not disappointed. Fishlips is a great venue and the crowd was mellow and appreciative of the excellent musicianship of the whole band. Dave is a true showman and if you get a chance to catch them, I would highly recommend it.

Dr. BLT joined us for the show at Fishlips. It was really nice to meet him in person and I recognized him immediately as he approached our table. A stalwart lover of the Bakersfield Sound and keeper of the Bakersfield Underground blog we also learned he is just plain one of the nicest guys that you could ever meet.

Up on Saturday morning with great memories of the show the previous evening we headed off to Zingo’sDiner to hook up with some local musicians for breakfast. Zingo’s is on Buck Owen’s Blvd and is a great place to go if you are hungry. We were joined by Jeff Williams, singer songwriter from Bakersfield and soon after Michael Cornett from Meestro walked in with Brian Boozer and his wife Megan joined us. We all noshed on the ample portions at Zingo’s and talked music, Bakersfield Sound, KWMR and made connections. Michael Cornett, it turns out, knows my brother, Ian Jones from crossing paths at Santa Ynez days in Santa Barbara at the Jones household (no known relation – it’s a common name).

After breakfast we caravaned over to ASR studio’s for a tour. Brian Boozer, of band Souljar is one of the recording engineers and managers of this state of the art facility started by Josh Graham of the Smoking Armadillos. They hold open mike jam sessions at the studio for musicians and host a “party studio” where community members can rent the space at a reasonable rate and do some recording while having a party – how much fun is that?

We were invited to sign the wall at ASR (American Sound Recording Studios) and sketched out a poor rendition in Sharpie of the KWMR logo (photo attached).  Then it was off to Dark Star Records and Books to meet Dan Robertson in person and check out his shop. We picked up some great vinyl and a few local CD’s (including Big House) to ad to our collection. We look forward to playing these tunes on the show.

After bidding adeiu to Dan we headed over to the Kern County Museum to check out the Bakersfield Sound exhibit and also got to veiw a vintage motorcycle and bicycle expo that was going on. We picked up the brand new book, Hard Drivin’ Country: The Honky Tonks, Musicians, and Legends of the Bakersfield Sound by Jeff Nickel and Sarah Woodman. Robert Price, who has been so helpful in providing information on the Bakersfield Sound wrote the afterward and Buddy Owens wrote the introduction.

Then it was off to Trout’s to meet Rockwell and check out his joint. What a place. We walked in and it was dark, I mean really dark. It turns out they had turned off the power to half the building to do some work (it was mid-afternoon), but it worked for us! We chatted withRockwell for a while and appreciated him taking the time out of his busy work day to tell us a few great stories, one of which included a tale of how he was instrumental in moving Homer Joy and his entire family to California for a spell. Rockwell hosts so many events at Trout’s that we could not keep track. There are currently two stages, with another in the works and the capeability for television filming. We will definetly need to return for an evening of events, but we were pleased to visit this historic honkey tonk.

Back to the hotel for a quick dip in the pool before getting ready to head next door to the Buck Owens Crystal Palace to meet up with Dr. BLT and his wife Roxy. Mike’s wife Nadine and my husband Ken were with us, so it was a triple date! Dr. BLT had reserved the perfect table, dead center on the stage with direct access to the dance floor and we enjoyed a feasting dinner of chicken fried steak, burgers, Dwight Yoakam baby back ribs and drinks all around. Some of us danced and we fully enjoyed the show where Buddy Owens fronted the Buckaroos. It was as if out of thin air Dan Robertson from Dark Star appeared and whisked Mike and I off to the stage to meet Buddy Owens and members of the Buckaroos. What a treat. It was nice to meet Kim McAbee, who sings with the Buckaroos. She is vibrant and really completes the band.

After a full night of visiting, listening to some great music and dancing we headed back to the hotel to call it a night. The train ride back was enjoyable. We were so stuffed from our visit – Zingo’s followed by some ice cream at the histori Dewar’s creamery and then a Crystal Palace meal that we hardly had to eat again until we returned to West Marin. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m working off the biscuit’s and cravy that accompanied my omelette and hash browns from Zingo’s still.

So, if visiting Bakersfield in person isn’t enough, catching legends like Dave Alvin and his amazing band of female virtuosos and then seeing the Buckaroo’s, many of whom have been playing withthe band for over 30 years was not enough. And if spending time with up and coming musicians from this histori town didn’t suffice. Well, I checked my Facebook page and noticed on Tuesday of this week that Jill Olson of Red Meat had posted that she and member of Red Meat, our favorite Bay Area Bakersfield Sound band were going to be playing at the ElboRoom in San Francisco on Wednesday night with some other musicians doing a tribute for Buck Owens birthday, which was on August 12th.

Off we headed Wednesday evening to San Francisco for a very enjoyable evening of Buck Owens tunes played by some accomplished and devoted Bakersfield Sound musicians.

The lineup rocked! Members of Red Meat, 77 El Deora, The Royal Deuces and the B Stars were on hand as well as contributing vocalists Misisipi Mike Wolf, Doug Blumer, Tom Armstrong and Kit Lopez, all backed up by compilation of band members who formed, for one night only, the Frisco Buckaroos!

So, I would say that we are officially Geeked Out on the Bakersfield sound and it hasn’t even been two weeks since our last show. We look forward to more shows, more Bakersfield Sound and lots more fun! Thanks to everyone who contributed to making the past two weeks some of the most fun that we have had in a long time!

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “Officially “geeked out” on Bakersfield Sound

  1. It’s hard to believe you folks were able to pull all of that off in one weekend. I have to pinch myself to believe that I actually got to hang out with all of you twice. My wife and daughter also felt blessed in meeting you face-to-face and we had a great time.

    It will go down in history as a great moment in the transition from the vintage Bakersfield sound to the newer, evolved sound of the Bakersfield-sound-grounded artists. And, in the process, we created some fun, highly treasured memories! Thank you for making history and for making our weekend wonderful!

  2. Karen Jones

    Thank you for a jam packed description of all the things right with Bakersfield. I haven’t lived there in about 15 years but my heart lives there forever. I have enjoyed music every place I have ever lived or visited but I have never been anywhere that appreciated good music more than the city Bakersfield. The author also did a great job conveying the hospitality of us Dust Bowl descendants. Thanks.

  3. Great writeup! It’s great to hear you were able to hit up all the hot spots for the must-do’s in Bakersfield. Reminds me that I have been meaning to pay Dan a visit…it’s been way too long! I’m glad you were able to connect w/ Jeff Williams & Brian Boozer…both have some great up and coming projects in the works w/ their own musical tinkerings.

  4. Pingback: Soulajar Goes Country! | Bakersfield and Beyond

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