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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Carries On In Warren Hellman's Absence With A Stellar Lineup

Posted by Billyjam, October 4, 2012 10:10pm | Post a Comment

Despite the sad fact that Warren Hellman (lower right), the financier/music fanatic who created and fully funded the big San Francisco annual, free, weekend long Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, passed away last December at the age of 77 due to complications from leukemia, the wonderful festival in Golden Gate Park that he is responsible for lives on in his absence. And this year's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, happening this weekend Friday to Sunday, Oct 5th to 7th, is one that Hellman would definitely have approved of.

This year's Hardly Strictly (the festival's twelfth year) boasts another rich and diverse lineup that includes such artists as Elvis Costello solo, Chuck Prophet & The Mission Express (Friday), The Chieftains, Jimmie Dale Gilmore & Butch Hancock, Les Claypool's Duo De Twang, The Cowboy Junkies (all on Saturday), Patti Smith and her band, The Knitters, and Doug Sahm's Phantom Playboys featuring Dave Alvin, Boz Scaggs, Steve Earle, Jimmie Vaughan, and Delbert McClinton (all on Sunday's lineup). That list of acts is amazing in and of itself. But the fact that those artists only amount to small fraction of the total number of acts scheduled over the three day fest at the six different stages between Hellman Hollow and Lindley Meadows makes it even more mind-boggling.

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R.I.P. Warren Hellman, Founder of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, December 21, 2011 03:50pm | Post a Comment
Warren Hellman, a financier who was best known in San Francisco for creating (and funding) the epicWarren Hellman Hardly Strictly Bluegrass and free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass concert, passed away Sunday, December 18th at the age of 77 due to complications from leukemia.

His memorial service was held today (Wednesday, December 21st) at Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco. Reports say that more than 1,500 turned out to honor this great patron of the arts.

Footage from the memorial service can be viewed on the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass website.

According to the festival's website, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass will continue and the 2012 dates have been announced: October 5 -7!

AMOEBA MUSIC WEEKLY HIP-HOP ROUND UP: 10:02:08

Posted by Billyjam, October 2, 2008 06:08pm | Post a Comment

                     MURS
   
                                  Amoeba Music San Francisco Hip-Hop Top Five: 10:02:08

1) Murs Murs for President (Warner)

2) Madlib WLIB (bbe)

3) T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle/Atlantic)

4) People Under The Stairs Fun DMC (Gold Dust Media)

5) J.Stalin Gas Nation (Town Thizzness)

Thanks to Luis at the San Francisco Amoeba Music for this week's Hip-Hop Top Five selling albums chart -- all of which are all really strong & recommended new releases, and all brand-new, having dropped this past Tuesday, September 30th. Featured in the number one (with a bullet) top slot is the highly anticipated new major label release from much-loved Living Legends emcee Murs. Murs For President on Warner Brothers has been selling like crazy at the Haight Street as well as at the other two Amoeba Music stores including, of course, Hollywood Amoeba where Murs did a free in-store performance on Tuesday, the same day the new album dropped. Check out photos from his live performance on our website right here!

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Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 2008

Posted by Miss Ess, September 16, 2008 06:51pm | Post a Comment
One of the greatest things about living in the Bay Area, for me anyway, is the free Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival that happens the first weekend of every October in Golden Gate Park, thanks to rich guy and roots music fan Warren Hellman, who pays for the whole thing. Here's a good article from a couple of years back that was in the Chronicle about just what Mr. Hellman is doing.


At the festival over the years I've seen Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, and so many more, including Dolly Parton, which was literally one of the highlights of my life! Even if it's freezing outside, thousands of people gather in the park to hear the music.


This year's festival takes place Oct 3/4/5 and is lining up to be as strong as always, with seasoned performers such as Hazel Dickens, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Asleep at the Wheel, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Guy Clark, and Richard Thompson and newcomers like Bonnie Prince Billy, Iron & Wine, Pegi Young and...MC Hammer!? (Well, they do call it "Hardly Strictly!") You can check out the schedule right here. It really is not to be missed. Did I mention that it's all FR

Gillian Welch - Modern Americana At Its Finest

Posted by Miss Ess, October 6, 2007 05:03pm | Post a Comment
Since I have to work this weekend, I am not sure whether or not I am going to make it to the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival here in Golden Gate Park, which is sad. 

There are always a myriad of performers that I am excited about, but the one act I like to see consistently every year at the festival is Gillian Welch.  Gillian Welch consists of (duh) Gillian Welch (vocals, banjo, guitar) and David Rawlings (vocals and guitar). Rawlings is a phenomenal guitar player, with quick runs and showman's style. Still, he fairly rarely speaks onstage. Maybe that's why the "group" is called Gillian Welch and his name is not included except in liner notes, despite that he has cowritten almost every song on their records. Once I saw them play at The Fillmore and David took lead vocals at one point as they played a fantastic, slow and sad version of "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun." I loved how unexpected it was, not just that David was singing, but his song of choice. Check out a similar performance of the song in Nashville:


Did I mention that Gillian Welch's music is fairly pure, old school country? The songs are meant to sound as though they were written ages ago in the old time-y South, when they were actually written within the last 10 years or so by a California girl and a New England guy who have now planted themselves in Nashville. Their style is super Americana-y and my favorite aspect of their songs are the tight harmonies they include in almost every track.  When I hear Gillian and David's songs I am also reminded of how important melodies and hooks are to songwriting, and how much most music these days is lacking either of those elements.

Gillian has had an interesting life. She was adopted at birth and doesn't know her birth parents. She wrote a fantastic song about it called "No One Knows My Name." Check it out here (The footage starts out bad but gets better):


Gillian and David haven't put out a record since 2003's Soul Journey and I find myself wondering what the heck's going on?! It's been ages. All four of their albums are track to track pretty much equally great though, and isn't that refreshing? They have consistently quality song writing. It's hard to pick but if I had to, I'd say my favorite of their records is 2001's Time (The Revelator).

A friend of mine calls Gillian and David's music "the whitest music ever created" but I completely disagree, although I can see how that is an easy conclusion for some to perhaps flippantly come to. I think there is plenty of passion and purpose to what Gillian and David do, and that they are two of the best songwriters working today. 

If it's still Oct 6/7 and you live in the Bay Area and you are reading this, why aren't you out at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival? It's all free! Although by now we have all missed Gillian and David's performance.....I'm sure they wil
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