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October 1, 2021

No shows scheduled yet, but we’re looking into possibly having our first in-person live show in January, 2022.

Get on our Mailing List to stay informed!


Here’s our most recent mailing, sent on October 1, 2021:

 The Pasadena Folk Music Society is still trying to set up an in-person concert for January.  The emergence of the Delta variant of COVID since our last email makes us extra careful as we move forward.  We hope to have something concrete in the next month or two.  All we can tell you now is that we’ve been talking with a Celtic act who we’ve had before (a popular one!) and we need to wait and see if everything falls into place.  Both sides really want this to work out.  As you know, COVID trends are still a little uncertain…  If you are looking for live music NOW, our friend, Bob Stane, of the Coffee Gallery Backstage, in Altadena, has scheduled some shows, so you might want to check his schedule, maybe get on his email list.  All attendees must be masked and have proof of vaccination.

Another live show coming up, an outdoor one, is brought to you by the folks who put on the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival.  Next Saturday, October 9, Tailgate Jam at Paramount Ranch  will feature Dust Bowl Revival, AJ Lee and Blue Summit, and Abbey and the Myth out at Paramount Ranch in Agoura.  There will be jamming, workshops, food trucks and artisans,  Most of the buildings at the old Paramount Western town movie set burned down during the Woolsey Fire in 2018, and this is a fundraiser to help restore it.  The Santa Monica Mountains hillsides are growing back from the fire, and it remains a beautiful place to spend time.  Gates open at 2:00 PM and music starts around 5:00/ 5:30 PM.  Bring chairs or a blanket for festival seating.   The Tickets link will provide more information.  There wasn’t a festival this year, but you can see and hear the virtual contestant videos from 2020’s virtual festival here or you can focus on just the winners, here.  There are lots of very talented folks (adults and kids) you probably have never heard of out there.  See if the Cotton Pickin Kids, from way down in Hanceville, Alabama, who won best band with this version of Rocky Top don’t put a smile on your face. The Topanga folks have every intention of holding an in-person festival on May15, 2022, if at all possible, to celebrate their 60th birthday!

A couple of other live shows include the Latin Jazz and Music Festival in Highland Park on Saturday and Sunday, October 9 and 10 at 4702 N. Figueroa, near the Southwest Museum Metro “L Line” (formerly called the Gold Line) station.  The festival is in Sycamore Park and the music runs from noon to 8 PM Saturday and noon to 8:30 PM on Sunday.  A couple of the headline acts are Ozomatli and La Sonora DinamitaYou must bring proof of vaccination.   In Pasadena’s Memorial Park, there will be a Latino band (to be announced) in the Memorial Park Bandshell (85 E. Holly Street, Pasadena) at 5:00 PM on Saturday, October 16 as part of Pasadena’s Latino Heritage Celebration.   Both of these shows are free.

Two important festivals start TODAY, Friday, October 1 and can be heard online.  Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, the long running free festival, normally held in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, can be heard online through Sunday, 1PM to 9PM  from their website, on Facebook, or on Youtube.  It has already begun.  Go to their site to launch it.  The line-up features Emmylou Harris, Peter Rowan, Mavis Staples, Steve Earle and others,  Note, that if you connect between acts, it may look like not much is happening, but hang in there!  Watch the video, Let the Music Play on to get the spirit of this festival.

The Kerrville Folk Festival, from Texas, best-known for training and launching many a fine songwriter, runs today through October 11.  They have a short night tonight, starting at 5:30 PM. and they will have various hours through the week, so check the schedule. Here’s the link for tonight and you can get the other nights through the website..  The festival is broadcast live through the week., so drop in when you can.  Portions will likely be archived for future viewing, though we’re not sure of how they handle this.  You may not be familiar with a lot of the names of the performers, but listen to some of the folks you aren’t familiar with- you may be hearing a lot from them a year or two down the road.

Another Festival coming up is the October 2021 edition of the Greenwich Village Folk Festival on Sunday, Oct 3, 4PM to 7PM. Apparently, they do this every month!   And with some very big names, and some  very talented folks with names you might not be familiar with out here in California.  From the main website for the Greenwich Village Folk Festival, you can find the link which takes you to a page where you can listen to the previous monthly shows  There, you’ll find names like John McCutcheon, Jay Unger & Molly Mason, Bill Staines, Robin and Linda Williams, and more.  One of the guests this Sunday will be Tom Paxton!

Speaking of the Greenwich Village scene, there is a new folk music documentary becoming available for viewing,   Karen Dalton was a Cherokee/Irish singer, guitar and banjo player who came from Texas and found her way to the Greenwich scene in the 1960s, when Bob Dylan, Tim Hardin, and many others were having a major impact on the times.  She had a hard life that is often compared to Billie Holiday, and never achieved much fame, but she is now getting attention for her singing and musicianship. The movie is Karen Dalton: In My Own Time   The film will open at Laemmle’s Monica Film Center in Santa Monica on October 8 and be available for download on November 26.  You will find an interview with the directors here

Artnight Pasadena will be next Friday, October 8 from 6PM to 10 PM and it features 19 arts institutions in Pasadena.  It will be mostly virtual, but there are a few programs that will be in-person.  Because of the limited in-person events, there will not be the usual shuttle buses, but there will be 2 Access buses for Wheelchair accessibility.

There are national Women’s Marches for reproductive rights around the country tomorrow, Saturday, Oct 2, including an automobile Caravan for Choice in Pasadena, starting at the Rosebowl (9:30 AM) and a March for Reproductive Rights in downtown Los Angeles from Pershing Square to City Hall (10:00 AM.)  You can find more information about these and other similar events at

Radio station KPFK, 90.7 FM and continue to be the go-to place on the radio for folk music.   FolkScene (Sunday nights, 6:00  to 8:00 PM) has aired a great variety of guests in recent months, both newly recorded (Tim O’Brien, Laura Love, Richard Thompson to name a few) and from the archives (Nancy Griffith, Tom Rush, Peggy Seeger, lots more.)    You get lots of great music, usually recorded live, and you learn about the guest during the interview.  We urge you to listen weekly to hear the full show, featuring new recordings before the guest.  The full shows are archived at for 2 weeks- find it by date.  You can hear the guest portion, stored permanently at both Folkscene Apple Podcasts, and FolkScene Soundcloud.  This past Sunday featured a deep archive show from 1975 with the great harmonies, songs, and musicianship of the Rowan Brothers (Peter, Lorin, and Chris.)   Peter Rowan is probably the best known, with his time with Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys, Old and In the Way (along with Jerry Garcia) and many other notable associations along the way.  He continues to be an important voice and  influence in bluegrass and other styles today.  This Sunday night, promises to be great fun with Tracy Newman.

Roots Music and Beyond (Saturday mornings 6:00AM to 8:00 AM) features 4 revolving hosts, who each play their own unique taste in music, both new and old, with occasional guests.  Tomorrow, October 2 (first Saturday of the month) is Tom Nixon and his very broad mix of delightfully unusual, offbeat and often amusing songs and tunes, not to mention a wry sense of humor.  Next week, the show will be hosted by Mary Katherine Aldin, followed by Art Podell, and then Mark Humphrey.  Four personalities, four different tastes, and all quite enjoyable.   Check them out on the radio when you start your Saturday, or listen to the the archived shows, which are available for two weeks at .

The Library of Congress just premiered a new program this week with Cambalache, the group we presented at the Pasadena Central Library a couple of years ago as a part of their Homegrown series, which will be part of our national Library’s permanent collection,  Their forte is Son Jarocho music of Veracruz, Mexico.  If you don’t know what that is, this is a great chance to get introduced!  They are quite fantastic. Click here and you can watch the show on Youtube or Facebook.

World renowned banjo player, Béla Fleck, has explored many kinds of music on his instrument, but his new album, My Bluegrass Heart, returns him to bluegrass, and he recently did an interview with music on the NPR radio show, Fresh Air.  There’s some great music, too and you can hear it here, look for the September 13 show.

The great Scottish singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter, Dougie MacLean is still doing his COVID era  weekly Saturday shows (105 now!) in what he calls the Butterstone Studios.  You can listen to any or all of them here.  His most recent is from September 25, 2021 and there will likely be one this Saturday, too.  Be forewarned that the beginning of each show may start with an empty stage for the first few minutes- on this one, Dougie appears 5 minutes into the video, but you can skip ahead, of course. Such a treat to hear him!

We were greatly saddened by the August  13 death of Nanci Griffith, a tremendous singer, songwriter, and guitarist who started out in Texas and later moved to Nashville.  She burst onto our radar when she was first a guest on FolkScene in the late 1980’s.  Whether with a band or performing solo with guitar, her beautiful, clear, voice and story songs are treasured by many.  Just a couple of examples are There’s a Light Beyond these Hills (Mary Margaret). and Spin on a Red Brick Floor.  Though she stopped touring and recording over 10 years ago, she leaves a great deal of music for us to enjoy.  It is very easy to find her music on Youtube, with so many fine performances available. You can read her obituary in the New York Times here.

We lost Dennis Caplinger, extraordinary banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and guitar player, (and who knows what else)  the next day, August 14.  He was a longtime member of Bluegrass Etc. and they played our series back in 2000.  He also filled in for a member of another band at another of our shows.  He was a versatile session player for many, including Eric Clapton and JJ Cale, with whom he worked on a Grammy-winning album.  He did music for television, authored The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bluegrass Mandolin Favorites and a couple of other books, and worked on many other projects.  You can read the Bluegrass Today obituary here.

We just learned that Thom Moore, singer, songwriter and guitarist died in 2018.  Maybe there are one or two of you who were in Pasadena in the 1980’s and remember an Irish band, Train to Sligo, who played regularly in a pub called The Loch Ness Monster in Old Pasadena,,before so much was re-developed to what we have today.  Gerry O’Beirne was in the group too, and they were a good band.  Thom was a fine songwriter, as well as a formidable singer, and a good example is his song Cavan Girl.  He left the U.S. for Russia, then went to Ireland.  Here’s a memorial tribute that covers those Pasadena years.

CaltechLive has some interesting talks coming up.  Check their website for the programs taking us into the new year.  Most are online, but the Coleman Chamber Music Series has scheduled some shows in Beckman Auditorium in the new year!

A few last minute notes:  The Altadena Public Library will be holding a used book sale Saturday and Sunday, Oct 2-3.  And Canada has just issued a postage stamp featuring extraordinary singer songwriter and guitarist, Stan Rogers, who played our series  back in 1982.  You can see the stamp on his website.  White Squall  is just one of the many very memorable songs he composed and sang.   What a voice!