This month we’re giving a shout out to Calaveras musicians. Our county has long been a popular spot for concerts – maybe you’ve even caught one of the shows at the more well known venues. But aside from the great acts that pass through this area, Calaveras has a richly talented local music scene, and never before has it been this diverse and eclectic. It’s a positive sign of the times when experienced musicians choose to call Calaveras County home rather than opt for the big city. Luckily for us, these local talents can all be found playing throughout the county this spring and summer. Check out their profiles and show dates below, and make plans to catch them in the act. Each heading will link to their sites where you can hear samples of their music.
Cantamos – Built on the extensive musical backgrounds of its band members – who have been playing in Calaveras County for decades – and the powerful vocals of singer Michela MacFarlane, Cantamos specializes in Latin flavored favorites. You can see them coming right up on April 2 at the 14th annual Love the Forest Concert in Murphys, which also doubles as a fundraiser for Butte Fire recovery efforts. Other upcoming dates include:
May 28, Brice Station Winery
August 20, Cedar Center in Arnold
Grover Anderson – Perhaps it was growing up among the lore of the Gold Country, and being exposed to theater and the arts from a young age that has made Grover Anderson a storyteller with a songwriting style that hints at wisdom well beyond his years. His sets always include a robust mixture of original songs and those from his influences, ranging from country and classic rock to Motown. You can find him Thursday evenings at Stevenot Winery – click here for his spring and summer schedule.
Jill Warren – Jill’s background as a performer, touring musician and songwriter has taught her a thing or two about stage presence. When she’s up front, she commands the attention! Jill and her band, The Giants are a popular group at parties both big and small, and will have you up on your feet with their stylized rock and roll hits. Click here for the show dates, next up on the calendar is April 30 at Sequoia Woods Country Club.
Brian Jirka – A multi-instrumentalist whose genre bending sounds sometimes defy description, Calaveras County native Brian Jirka has been playing music nearly his entire life. He toured extensively with the band Last Caravan, and also opened for legendary groups like Foreigner, Robby Krieger of the Doors, among others. Brian plays both solo and with his outfit The Cabby Band, blending his stylish creations of pop, rock and funk into a unique experience for the whole family. Upcoming shows:
April 24; 3:00pm at Utica Park Earth Day Celebration, Angels Camp
May 20; 9:00pm at Lucky Penny
May 22; Ranch House Bar at Frogtown during Calaveras County Fair
June 10; 5:00pm at Stevenot Winery
July 2; Ironstone Vineyards Independence Day Celebration.
Nicholas Lefler – Another accomplished multi-instrumentalist, you may have seen Nicholas serenely strumming his Spanish and Classical guitar numbers around the Murphys food and wine scene. But take a closer look and you might notice how he records and layers multiple live tracks, combining old world craftsmanship with modern technology to create unique compositions. Lefler has performed over 5,000 shows at prestigious venues around the country and was founder of the band Alma Melodiosa. He’s also a member of the local favorite The Hot Dark. Find his busy show schedule here.
Magnolia Rhythm Trio – Three talented women from musical families came together to create the timeless and impeccable harmonies of the Magnolia Rhythm Trio. Bringing a rich diversity of music from Gospel hymns, Americana and bluegrass to traditional folk, this trio has often been equated to “angels singing” by their responsive and captivated listeners. They have just a handful of dates on the calendar currently, so make sure you get a chance to see these soulful three:
April 15; 6:00 – 8:30pm at Outer Aisle (Prix Fixe dinner. $38 per person includes 3 course meal and music.)
June 18; 2:00 – 5:00pm at Milliaire Winery
July 13; 6:30 – 8:00pm Shutter Creek Park, Mokelumne Hill (Calaveras Arts Council Concerts in the Park)
Sept. 22; 5:30 – 6:30pm 150th Anniversary of Congregational Church in Murphys Park
Rusty Rockers – Billing themselves as the band that will take you back in time with their blend of country and rock and roll tunes, the Rockers can be found playing all over the region at fundraisers, weddings and parties, or just about any other event that promotes music. They are passionate about sharing their gifts and they’ve built a happy following of fans who look forward to songs spanning the 50s and 60s, from Elvis and Chuck Berry to Merle Haggard and Buck Owens.
The Bob Eisenman Jazz Trio – With a wide range of jazz styles including Jazz Standards, Straight Ahead Jazz, Blues, Ballads, and Latin Jazz, the trio performs tunes from beautiful ballads to grooving up-tempo swingers including songs from the great American song book, jazz classics and lesser known jazz greats. “The wonderful thing about jazz”, says multi-saxophonist and leader Bob Eisenman, “is that its expressive, inventive and emotive music. As a trio plus vocalist, we’re making a body of great jazz music intimate and accessible. We hope that our music touches our audience at an emotional level as well as being enjoyable to listen to. ” Upcoming dates include:
June 29; Calaveras Arts Council’s Music in the Parks
Aug 12; Angels Camp Farmer’s Market