Linda L. Descoteaux writes…
The following candidates have filed statements for the 2015 Northern California Bluegrass Society Board Of Directors Election, set for Saturday, August 8, 10:00am-5:00pm at the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival and by mail: Bruce Bellochio, Eric Burman, Elicia Burton, Bruce Edmundson, Mike Fisher, Penny Godlis, Michael Hall, & Mike Russell. Candidate statements and ballots will be published in the July issue of Bluegrass By The Bay magazine.
Eddie DuCommun, a fiercely dedicated performer of straight and narrow bluegrass music who handled the music field on his own independent terms, has died after a long illness.
His last stage performance was at the May 2, 2015 Santa Cruz Bluegrass Fair. He is survived by his sister, bluegrass and country singer/guitarist Diana Donnelly. He was 62 years old.
DuCommun had a long, colorful bluegrass career that started during his Santa Cruz Mountains childhood. His parents, known as “Daddy Duke” and “Mama Duke,” were popular musicians who often performed with their children for friends and neighbors in their Aldercroft Heights home and in the local area.
An important early influence was a close friend of the family, “Uncle Tony” DeCaristo, who was a renowned western swing, country and bluegrass fiddler. Another important collaboration was his many years of work with guitarist Jerry Ashford.
His formal band affiliations included joining Ashford in the Home Grown String Band in the 1970s, Chemeketa in the 1980s and The Mountain Creatures in the 1990s. In his later years, he occassionally performed with friends as The Eddie DuCommun Band. He was best known for his informal performances in bluegrass festival camps, bluegrass parties, and for sitting in with his sister’s band Sidesaddle.
He set the standard for solid, old-style bluegrass music in the Santa Cruz area and was much admired by fellow musicians in the Northern California bluegrass community. He was a good friend of bluegrass star Ronnie McCoury, who came to California to comfort Eddie at some difficult moments in his life.
DuCommun resolutely avoided letting commerce interfere with bluegrass music fun. Though much sought after by area presenters, he was often reluctant to book formal performances. He was passionate about playing his music in any setting. Nothing would liven up a bluegrass camp or party as much as having Eddie reach for his guitar to join the jam. In his later years, after much urging from his friends, he recorded a solo album.
He was a 1971 graduate of Los Gatos High School, and worked in the construction and truck driving fields most of his life, suffering some serious injuries along the way. He lived most of his life in the Santa Cruz Mountains, but spent some time in the Gold Country, the Sierras, and the Central Valley of California.
Although he objected as a matter of principle to officially joining the club, he was a mainstay performer during the formative years of the Santa Cruz Bluegrass Society and continued his involvement long after the organization changed its name to the Northern California Bluegrass Society.
In his last years he played for admiring new audiences, earning him a following among younger bluegrass musicians. Many saw him as a direct link to the music of his hero and California traditional bluegrass icon Vern Williams and the early days of West Coast bluegrass music.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Darrell & Ruth and brother Lloyd “Duke” DuCommun. He is survived by sisters Suzy Del Carlo and Diana Donnelly, and by sons Jason and Jerry and by daughter Ruth Ann.
Eddie requested that no formal memorial be held, asking instead that his friends gather for a lively bluegrass pickin’ party. Details will be announced at a later date.
Six Week Reminder: The deadline for Discount Advance Ticket Sales for the 2015 Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival is July 22. NCBS Members receive a deep discount and others receive a discount.
The benefit festival for the Northern California Bluegrass Society will be held August 6-9 at the Bolado Park Event Center, Tres Pinos (7 miles south of Hollister).
The Northern California Bluegrass Society will present Dave Earl & Friends from San Francisco at the August 6-9, 2015 Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, set for the Bolado Park Event Center, 7 miles south of Hollister in the charming hamlet of Tres Pinos.
The event is a benefit for NCBS projects throughout the year.
Discount Advance Tickets are available through July 22.
Breaking News: New Lake Tahoe Festival, Hot Rize Returns To Regular Touring, Ed Helm’s Lonesome Trio To Tour, New BC Bluegrass Venue
New Lake Tahoe Bluegrass Festival Is July 11
The inaugural Lake Tahoe Bluegrass Festival will be held on Saturday, July 11 at the new Hard Rock Casino/Hotel Outdoor Arena in Stateline, NV. Bands include: Greensky Bluegrass, The Del McCoury Band, Jerry Douglas’ Earls of Leicester, David Grisman Sextet, Dead Winter Carpenters, and more.
Tickets Still Available For Hot Rize At Rio Theatre & City Winery
Tickets are still available for both the June 13 Hot Rize concert at the Rio Theatre in Santa Cruz and the June 14 show at the City Winery in Napa. The band has returned to regular touring this year for the first time since the death of guitarist Charles Sawtelle in 1998.
Actor Ed Helm’s band, The Lonesome Trio, will tour nationally this month for the first time with one California show at The Largo At The Coronet in Los Angeles.
New Boulder Creek Bluegrass Venue Following Fire
The Boulder Creek Pizza and Pub, 13200 Highway 9 in Boulder Creek, is the new bluegrass venue in the San Lorenzo Valley following the recent fire at the Boulder Creek Brewing Company. The first performance will be on Sunday, June 14 at 7:00pm with the band Heathen Hill.
The Alabama Bow Ties (San Francisco) are set to play at the August 6-9 Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival at Bolado Park Event Center in Tres Pinos. The 22nd annual festival is a benefit for the Northern California Bluegrass Society. Advance Tickets are on sale through July 22.
The band will perform on Monday Night Bluegrass on KKUP Radio, 91.5FM in the South Bay & Monterey Bay Areas, 6:00-9:00pm on June 8. The hot new traditional bluegrass band will talk live in the studio about the GOF and the other festivals on their summer schedule. Janet Thompson and Mike Thompson will also play live. And…Max Schwartz of the OMGG Reunion band will call in for a live interview. Mike Russell hosts the show and Michael Hall will do the interviews.
Volunteer now to help with the Northern California Bluegrass Society’s 22nd annual Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival, set for August 6-9, 2015 at the Bolado Park Event Center in Tres Pinos (7 miles south of Hollister). Have fun and get into the festival for free!
For more information, call or write GOF Festival Director (Eric Burman) bluemoonranch (at) msn (dot) com (831) 588-2272.