The Quitters – Saturday May 12, 2018 at 8:00pm
A guitar duo of right-side up finger picking (Stevie Coyle) and upside down flat picking (Glenn Houston). The Quitters deliver a performance spiced with humor and serendipity.
Glenn Houston (nee Pomianek) has been voted Best Guitarist by the Northern California Bluegrass Society, is a past judge of the National Flatpicking Guitar Championship Competition in Winfield, Kansas, and was the founding lead guitarist of the Waybacks, co-founder and long-time lead guitarist for Bammie (Bay Area Music Award) winners Hearts on Fire, and co-founder and long-time lead guitarist for the powerhouse Americana quintet Houston Jones.
Originally from New Jersey, Glenn’s guitarist influences range from Albert King and Michael Bloomfield to Doc Watson and James Burton. These influences show in his well-balanced mastery of both acoustic and electric guitar.
Over the years, Glenn has shared billing with such luminaries as Emmylou Harris, Merle Haggard, the Tubes, the David Grisman Quintet, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Bela Fleck, Tim O’Brien, Hank Williams Jr., Steve Earle, John Hartford, Earl Scruggs, Doc and Merle Watson, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings and Delbert McClinton. Glenn has been the lead guitarist for country great Johnny Paycheck, and has performed and recorded with Grammy winner Ramblin’ Jack Elliott. With his strong background in electric blues, Glenn has performed with blues legends Mark Naftalin (Paul Butterfield Blues band) and Nick Gravenites (Electric Flag) in tribute to Mark and Nick’s late band mate, blues great Michael Bloomfield.
Glenn’s classical music background includes choral vocal performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic (Zubin Mehta conducting, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, at Carnegie Hall and the United Nations General Assembly [the U.N.’s 25th anniversary celebration]), and the Boston Symphony (Erich Leinsdorf conducting, Brahms’ Requiem, at Carnegie Hall).
Stevie Coyle (late of the whiz-bang string band The Waybacks) is one lucky bum. His dad ran a radio station in southern California and brought home all the promo LPs that didn’t fit the Spanish-language format. The Ventures’ Guitar Freakout and Alvin & The Chipmunks Play The Beatles’ Hits both came home on a single fateful day.
It didn’t hurt, either, that string-meister David Lindley played in a bluegrass band that rehearsed right next door and gave Stevie his very first lessons, or that his dear Granny was a pianist in the heyday of vaudeville, or that his sainted mother was a whiz in mandolin orchestras of the 1930s. Not even several years of playing Folk Masses on Sundays could quash his musical spirit.
After securing degrees in Theatre and Theology at Santa Clara University he hit the road for 3 years with The Royal Lichtenstein Circus. Once back home, he signed on as actor / stage manager for San Jose Rep. He announced killer whale shows. His best friend was an elephant.
He and pal Roy Zimmerman have worked closely in several collaborations over the years, including folk tribute / parody band The Foremen and comedy duo The Reagan Bros. The boys were regulars at The Comedy Strore and The Improv. Stevie appeared on Cheers, in many television commercials and had a recurring role on The Young And The Restless.
Hey, wake up!! We’re almost done.
Safely back in the Bay Area, he continued his acting career, doing commercials, voiceovers and films, and played in the folk duo The Frontmen. He co-founded The Waybacks in 1999 and fronted that band through 2007. They released 4 albums in that time, played major festivals like Merlefest, Grey Fox, Floydfest and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, toured Australia and collaborated with Lloyd Maines, Michelle Shocked and Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead.
Stevie’s gone feral and solo now. He’s also released his first solo CD, Ten-In-One, produced by guitar guru Walter Strauss.
“Stevie Coyle and Glenn Houston make up the dynamic guitar duo, The Quitters. Having each quit some of the best bands in the business, both are late founding members of The Waybacks and each have performed at Strawberry in other configurations. Stevie Coyle has a long and illustrious career as an entertainer that began well before birth and Glenn Houston’s well decorated history in music is best known to berry heads for his founding role of powerhouse Americana quintet, Houston Jones. As individuals, both are renowned players in music circles. Now they have joined forces, to the delight of California audiences, to become a right-handed, right-side up fingerpicking and left-handed upside down flatpicking twosome. Mostly acoustic. Some electric. Much serendipity.” – Strawberry Music Festival
Johnny B Connolly and Casey Neill – Saturday June 30, 2018 at 8:00pm
Although still in his twenties, Johnny B. Connolly has already generated a reputation as an exciting and accomplished button accordionist. Johnny’s talents have paved the way across continents and provided him opportunities to perform or record with many internationally renowned artists including Kevin Burke, the Chieftains, Anam, Martin Hayes and Altan. His debut album Bridgetown (Green Linnet) was called “the most exciting solo debut from an Irish artist in years” by The Irish Herald — “a must-have CD for all true lovers of Irish box playing.”
Singer Casey Neill’s bona fides range from indie-rock to Celtic music: He’s collaborated in various ways with Solas, The Minus 5, Black Prairie and The Decemberists, among others.
In the late ’90s, Neill was featured on a Pete Seeger tribute album alongside Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and Bonnie Raitt. Neill’s full-time band, the Portland, Oregon-based Norway Rats, features some of the city’s most sought-after and respected musicians. But for his Mountain Stage debut, he plays two solo songs and another pair backed by the Mountain Stage Band. His latest album is titled All You Pretty Vandals.
“This is the most exciting solo debut album from an Irish artist in years…a must-have CD for all true lovers of Irish box playing.” – The Irish Herald
“Bridgetown features the sounds of Johnny B. Connolly’s accordion: lilting, somber, joyful, poignant. Though only 26, the Dublin-born Connolly has a masterly control over his instrument, conveying a range of emotions in 10 jigs, reels and songs.” – The Irish Echo
“Johnny B. Connolly is among the best young players. Bridgetown is a delightful splash of jigs, reels, a slow air and even a whimsical, Paris-flavored musette.” – Goldmine
Burning Heart Bluegrass – Saturday July 14, 2018 at 8:00pm
A 2017 CBA Showcase Band, Burning Heart Bluegrass has performed at major Bluegrass festivals in California, Arizona, and Nevada; as well as numerous Southern California venues.
Their second CD is due out this year and will feature cuts from performances at the Ford Amphitheatre in Hollywood CA and the CBA Fathers Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley CA.
There is nothing like the sound of guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and dog house base when they get into that special Bluegrass groove. Add to that high-powered vocals and soaring harmonies and you have Burning Heart Bluegrass.
Flamenco Pacifico – Saturday October 13, 2018 at 8:00pm
Based in the majestic state of Oregon, Flamenco Pacifico is a dynamic, professional performance group dedicated to bringing the art of flamenco music and dance to audiences in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Led by virtuoso flamenco guitarist and composer, Berto Boyd, the group’s guitar-driven performances feature original modern flamenco compositions rooted in the time-honored forms of traditional flamenco. With inspired dancing by Elena Villa and the passionate vocals and guitar artistry of guitarist/singer Grant Ruiz, Flamenco Pacifico takes audiences on an unforgettable journey into the fascinating world of flamenco.
Flamenco is a living culture, steeped in history, with many roots and branches. Flamenco Pacifico seeks to present flamenco as a cultural event and an art form that invites creative innovation. The group offers educational lectures and demos that involve the audience and place flamenco in its compelling historical and cultural context, lending deeper meaning to the performances they share with the public.
True to the spirit of flamenco, Flamenco Pacifico’s name reflects both geographical place and the idea that flamenco is expansive and inclusive enough to absorb the personal experiences and backgrounds of anyone who wants to participate in the art form. With collective musical influences as diverse as Brazilian, jazz, Western classical, and Middle Eastern, Flamenco Pacifico offers their unique version of modern flamenco with a world orientation.
What also sets this group apart artistically is that their music is based around melodic themes–both in Berto Boyd’s original compositions and in the group’s arrangements of traditional pieces. These thematic elements function as landmarks on the listener’s journey through a musical landscape that can be haunting and deeply moving, due in no small part to the spine-tingling duende, or trance-like spirit unleashed by the music. The festive strains of many of Boyd’s lighter, or chico, compositions also assure that even after the last chords of the guitar have faded, audiences will walk away from the performance with an infectious melody in their ears.
Flamenco Pacifico has performed in a variety of venues–from intimate house concerts to major festivals such as The Britt Festival (Jacksonville, OR), Party on the Plaza (Hult Center-Eugene, OR), The Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s popular Green Show (Ashland, OR), and the Oregon Country Fair. They are available for public and private events, festivals and educational lectures and demonstrations.