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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Turning Ho-Ho-Hum to Ho-Ho-Ho: Music News, Holiday Destinations, and More! Dec 9 2016 edition

This period we call "The Holidays" is either stressfully hectic or achingly lonely. We can offer you lots of places to take visiting relatives or go make new friends, and maybe even to make a difference with your presence. We can suggest gifts of music for you to give others, or acquire to treat yourself. Whatever your relationship status, your distance in time and place from whatever you call (or once called) home... whether your Christmas dinner plans are to settle in at the local Chinese restaurant... Or to tolerate that drunk uncle who always ruins your holiday, but is part of the bargain to watch the kids excitedly unwrap packages... whatever your attitudes and values relative to religion, special days that derive from it, or the complete absence thereof...

Never underestimate your ability to make a difference.

The young boy who would become COUNT BASIE took piano lessons for 25 cents a lesson from a German woman named Holloway. We only know about her because of him.

A man named VINCENT LEINEN moved to L.A. from Iowa a bit over 35 years ago. He organized caroling for shut-ins in the San Fernando Valley that first year he was here. Last Sunday, a cavalcade of music stars (Grammy winners, Gold Record holders, rock stars, and many others with recognized stature) joined Hollywood film and TV actors, less-well-known musicians, and members of the community who joined their voices in song for Vincent's 35th annual caroling event. We only hear from Vincent twice a year -- when he recruits everyone to join-in the caroling event, and when he invites everyone to take part in his events surrounding the annual Playboy Jazz Festival. Oh, he COULD get people to turn-out for anything he wanted. But he sticks with those two events. Right now, he's off on his usual month-long December tour, leading caroling events for shut-ins in 21 other cities, until Christmas, back in Iowa. Now remember, he didn't know anyone when he arrived here.

Take a moment and tell yourself a story of someone you know who has made a difference. Someone sung or un-sung. Maybe as a volunteer bringing live music to a school with no music program. Maybe as a performer at the old folks home, or the VA home. Maybe collecting winter coats or getting them washed and dried for distribution at the homeless shelter. Or striving to save an endangered species by saving the last vestige of their habitat from destruction. Or fighting climate change. Or finding loving homes for abandoned animals. Or doing any of a thousand things that make the world just a little bit brighter. More promising. More loving. More caring. In some way. For someone. Maybe there's someone you know whose efforts you could support. Maybe it's you, and you don't get any recognition or help or credit, but you do it anyway because YOU know it makes a difference, even if no one else does.

Don't underestimate YOUR ability to make a difference. You probably are, already, even if you don't pause long enough to know it.



1) NEWS SHORTS... several items, all late-breaking...

2) 2016 Americana Radio Chart Top 100; Most Played Albums of the Year

3) Ice Skate on Board a Battleship? Only in L.A.!

4) GRAMMY MUSEUM: Last of 2016, First of 2017 Special Events Schedule

5) Where to Take Holiday Guests (or to enjoy on your own)

6) Farewell to Norm's: Meeting Place for DR. DEMENTO'S "PICO & SEPULVEDA"

7) "Learn How To Play Clawhammer Banjo" Really? From a Video?

8) "Down Home Family Christmas" Dec 22nd at the Coffee Gallery Backstage

9) Sibelius 8.5 Promises "Write Music Faster and More Fluidly"

10) Berklee College of Music Online: Winter Term, Jan 9; Discounts 'til Dec 12

11) RT's "THE RESIDENT" skewers "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE." You need to know her...

12) A Chockful Weekend: We Dare Ya to Stay Home; C'mon, We Dare Ya!

13) Events: Tasty Treats from the Music Calendar

Let's get started!


# 1 news feature...



Ken Buessler, senior scientist from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said Friday that Cesium 134 and 137 have both been detected on the coast of Oregon, and Fukishima is the source. Cesium 137 has been around since the first atomic bomb tests, so it turns-up lots of places. But Cesium 134 has a two-year half-life, and given the level of radioactivity found, its source is certainly the three reactors that melted-down in Japan following the earthquake and tsunami that struck the nuclear plant there. Buessler emphasizes that the concentrations are low, and continue to be monitored. But we'll be thinking of our many friends in the vibrant Portland music community.


** First, Happy 100th Birthday (Friday) to actor and author KIRK DOUGLAS! He's played countless roles and brought memorable performances to every single one of them. For us, he'll always be Spartacus who led the slave revolt against the tyranny of the plutocrats of Rome.

** Musician GREG LAKE of EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER died Thursday at age 69. Far, far, too young, as we saw so clearly by the 70+, and some 80+, ages of all those who performed so ably and generated such magic at "Desert Trip" in Coachella in October.

** Pioneering NASA Mercury 7 and Space Shuttle Astronaut, and longtime US Senator, JOHN GLENN died Thursday at age 95. He was the first American to orbit the Earth aboard his one-man "Friendship 7" spacecraft in 1962, when he faced the uncertainty of a sudden termination of his flight after just three orbits, and emergency re-entry when it seemed the heat shield of his spacecraft may have come loose. Later, after an esteemed career in the US Senate, he became the oldest person ever to go into space in 1998, as a crewmember of Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-95. There, he conducted a wealth of medical experiments. That mission lasted nine days, orbited the Earth 134 times, traveled a distance of 3.6 million miles, and brought a landing on wheels for a waiting crowd instead of beneath a parachute into the lonely blue ocean. The shuttle Discovery eased through re-entry at a mere 3 Gs, half of what he experienced aboard Friendship 7, 36 years earlier. For all those who've always been told, "You can't go home again," don't believe it. Godspeed, John Glenn.


# 2 news feature...


(Nashville, Tenn.) December 8, 2016 - The Americana Music Association has announced its year-end Top 10 and Top 100 Albums of the Year. These are based on the records reported to the Americana Airplay Chart during the period of December 1, 2015 through December 5, 2016.

This year's Top 100 most played albums are:

1) Avett Brothers, "True Sadness"

2. Tedeschi Trucks Band, "Let Me Get By"

3. Bonnie Raitt, "Dig In Deep"

4. Lumineers, "Cleopatra"

5. Hayes Carll, "Lovers And Leavers"

6. Parker Millsap, "The Very Last Day"

7. Mudcrutch, "2"

8. Sturgill Simpson, "A Sailor's Guide To Earth"

9. Colvin & Earle, "Colvin & Earle"

10. Jayhawks, "Paging Mr. Proust"

11. Margo Price, "Midwest Farmer's Daughter"

12. Record Company, "Give It Back To You"

13. Lucinda Williams, "The Ghosts Of Highway 20"

14. Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats, "Nathaniel Rateliff and The Nightsweats"

15. Dylan LeBlanc, "Cautionary Tale"

16. Cactus Blossoms, "You're Dreaming"

17. Darrell Scott, "Couchville Sessions"

18. Elizabeth Cook, "Exodus Of Venus"

19. Bonnie Bishop, "Ain't Who I Was"

20. Aubrie Sellers, "New City Blues"

21. Sarah Jarosz, "Undercurrent"

22. Loretta Lynn, "Full Circle"

23. Sara Watkins, "Young In All The Wrong Ways"

24. Shovels & Rope, "Little Seeds"

25. Carrie Rodriguez, "Lola"

26. Josh Ritter, "Sermon On The Rocks"

27. Wynonna & The Big Noise, "Wynonna & The Big Noise"

28. Infamous Stringdusters, "Ladies & Gentlemen"

29. John Prine, "For Better, Or Worse"

30. Hard Working Americans, "Rest In Chaos"

31. Paul Simon, "Stranger To Stranger"

32. James Hunter Six, "Hold On!"

33. Aoife O'Donovan, "Magic Hour"

34. Robert Ellis, "Robert Ellis"

35. Honeycutters, "On The Ropes"

36. Luther Dickinson, "Blues & Ballads"

37. Peter Wolf, "A Cure For Loneliness"

38. Sam Bush, "Storyman"

39. Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, "Call It What It Is"

40. Devil Makes Three, "Redemption & Ruin"

41. Joe Ely, "Panhandle Rambler"

42. Buddy Miller & Friends, "Cayamo Sessions At Sea"

43. Dwight Yoakam, "Swimmin' Pools, Movie Stars..."

44. Lori McKenna, "The Bird & The Rifle"

45. Jason Isbell, "Something More Than Free"

46. Yarn, "This Is The Year"

47. Wilco, "Schmilco"

48. Various - The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson, "God Don't Never Change"

49. Anderson East, "Delilah"

50. Randy Rogers Band, "Nothing Shines Like Neon"

51. Corb Lund, "Things That Can't Be Undone"

52. Turnpike Troubadours, "Turnpike Troubadours"

53. Willie Sugarcapps, "Paradise Right Here"

54. Luke Bell, "Luke Bell"

55. Jim Lauderdale, "Soul Searching"

56. John Doe, "Westerner"

57. Bottle Rockets, South Broadway Athletic Club"

58. Teddy Thompson & Kelly Jones, "Little Windows"

59. Miss Tess, "Baby, We All Know"

60. Los Lobos, "Gates Of Gold"

61. Bill Kirchen & Austin de Lone, "Transatlanticana"

62. Southern Culture On The Skids, "The Electric Pinecones"

63. Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin, "Lost Time"

64. Black Lillies, "Hard To Please"

65. Green River Ordinance, "Fifteen"

66. Jack Ingram, "Midnight Motel"

67. Patty Griffin, "Servant Of Love"

68. Amanda Shires, "My Piece Of Land"

69. Chris Isaak, "First Comes The Night"

70. Charles Bradley, "Changes"

71. Sierra Hull, "Weighted Mind"

72. Wood Brothers, "Paradise"

73. Reckless Kelly, "Sunset Motel"

74. Chris Stapleton, "Traveller"

75. Shovels & Rope, "Busted Jukebox Volume 1"

76. Hackensaw Boys, "Charismo"

77. Grant Lee Phillips, "The Narrows"

78. Todd Snider, "Eastside Bulldog"

79. Seth Walker, "Gotta Get Back"

80. Charlie Faye & The Fayettes, 'Charlie Faye & The Fayettes"

81. Drive-By Truckers, "American Band"

82. William Bell, "This Is Where I Live"

83. Derek Hoke, "Southern Moon"

84. Tim O'Brien, "Pompadour"

85. Sarah Borges, "Good And Dirty"

86. Frankie Lee, "American Dreamer"

87. Steve Martin & Edie Brickell, "So Familiar"

88. Earls Of Leicester, "Rattle & Roar"

89. Hiss Golden Messenger, "Heart Like A Levee"

90. Whiskey Myers, 'Mud'

91. Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, "Shine A Light"

92. Lydia Loveless, 'Real'

93. Sean McConnell, 'Sean McConnell'

94. Malcolm Holcombe, 'Another Black Hole"

95. Billy Gibbons, "Perfectamundo"

96. Tim Easton, "American Fork"

97. Mary Chapin Carpenter, "The Things We Are Made Of"

98. Rob Baird, 'Wrong Side Of The River'

99. Brent Cobb, Shine On Rainy Day"

100. Janiva Magness , "Love Wins Again"


Americana Music makes a great holiday gift. If you haven't heard these and other albums, go to Amazon, iTunes, or visit your local independent record store to start your holiday shopping now.

More at:


# 3 news feature...


It might sound as crazy as that old fish and bicycle line, except this one is real. This year, "North Pole Village" has relocated to the BATTLESHIP IOWA, which is docked as a museum in San Pedro. Now, the first thing we need to do is get you qualified with a bit of vocabulary. They are encouraging you to "Ice Skate on the Big Stick this Winter!"

You need to know that it's a nickname for the USS Iowa, going waaay back before the ship's time to Teddy Roosevelt, when he said his approach to the world was to "Walk softly, but carry a big stick." Teddy was Secretary of the Navy before being elected Vice President, and becoming President when William McKinley was assassinated. Anyway, Teddy's "Big Stick" always referred to his navy ships with their big guns.

The aft deck of the USS Iowa is a vast open space where airplanes were handled and launched in World War II. They were replaced by helicopters in Korea. And the deck is presided over by the three sixteen-inch guns of the Iowa's rear-facing turret. Final piece of the puzzle? The Los Angeles Kings Holiday Ice Rink is relocated to that vast aft deck.

The giant ice rink is open 7 Nights a week until January 8, 2017. Plus there are Night Tours, and Santa Claus is there on select dates. In short, the decks of the Iowa have been transformed into an Arctic paradise. You and your family can lace up your ice skates and spin around the Los Angeles Kings Holiday Ice Rink on the huge fantail - on the only ice rink known to ever have been erected on an actual battleship.

Plus, on select days, you get a rare opportunity to tour the historic ship at night, visit with Santa Claus to share your wish list, and become an official member of "Vicky’s Order of the Blue Noses."

This being the first time anybody has ever done anything like this, and it being on such a massive scale (the ship is HUGE), you can be among the first to skate on board Battleship IOWA (or any battleship, ever) on the Los Angeles Kings Holiday Ice Rink (or any ice rink, ever).

ICE SKATING is open Monday through Friday, 5-10:30 pm, and
Saturday and Sunday, 4-10:30 pm.

Ice Skating tickets are $15 (skate rentals included).

The additional special events, "North Pole Nights at the Big Stick," are open Fridays and Saturdays, 5 pm to 10 pm, Sundays 5 pm to 9 pm. Food options, like warm chicken noodle soup, and nachos, plus cookies, treats, hot cocoa and other beverages, are available to purchase onsite. Dates: for these additional events are December 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 30 & 31.

Fantail access is FREE to reach the massive ice rink (where you will pay $15 if you want to skate, including skate rentals).

Evening Tour Tickets to tour USS Iowa are a big deal, because this doesn't ordinarily happen. Those special tix are $12. (Activities and hours subject to change.)

Battleship IOWA / Pacific Battleship Center, is moored at 250 S Harbor Bl, San Pedro 90731;


# 4 news feature...


The GRAMMY Museum's own theatre, the Clive Davis stage, is a great place to see and hear live music. The museum has also partnered with numerous other venues, so check the listings to see where each event occurs. Also note that tickets are going fast for December events, while tickets for some January events are not available until the indicated dates. Those with American Express credit cards almost always have an opportunity ahead of us peasants to get tix early for their events.


✔ "LYTHGOE FAMILY PANTO'S 'A CINDERELLA CHRISTMAS'" runs December 8-January 8, 2017, at the Pasadena Playhouse, in Pasadena. "Panto at The Playhouse," now in its fifth year, has become a "must-do" holiday tradition for Southern California residents. A Cinderella Christmas is the latest Holiday Spectacular presented by The Pasadena Playhouse and Lythgoe Family Panto in the style of the traditional British Panto. This year's stunning production stars LAUREN TAYLOR (DISNEY's "Best Friends Whenever") as Cinderella and ALEX NEWELL (FOX's "Glee") as The Fairy Godperson. A Panto is interactive holiday fun for all ages, and the timeless tale of Cinderella will feature comedy, dancers from "So You Think You Can Dance" and contemporary music from TAYLOR SWIFT to the BEE GEES. "Panto at The Playhouse" productions have featured luminaries from the worlds of music, theatre and television, including Sabrina Carpenter, John O' Hurley, Ariana Grande, Ben Vereen, Olivia Holt and Lucy Lawless.

Receive 20% off tickets by using coupon code: ACCE
Tickets available now, online or by calling 626-356-7529.


✔ "AN EVENING WITH DAVID BROMBERG" is Monday, December 12, 2016; 8 pm, in the Clive Davis Theatre at the GRAMMY Museum. The GRAMMY Museum welcomes singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist DAVID BROMBERG, an "American music icon" according to DR. JOHN, to the Clive Davis Theater for an intimate conversation on his latest album "The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues," and his career, moderated by SCOTT GOLDMAN, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. The conversation is followed by a performance.
Tix now available.


✔ "THE DROP: US THE DUO" is Wednesday, December 14, 2016; 8 pm, in the Clive Davis Theatre at the GRAMMY Museum. The GRAMMY Museum welcomes husband-and-wife singer-songwriter duo MICHAEL & CARISSA ALVARADO of US THE DUO to the Clive Davis Theater for an intimate conversation on their rising success and latest fan-sourced project, "Public Record," moderated by SCOTT GOLDMAN, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. The conversation will be followed by a performance.
Tix now available.


✔ "REEL TO REEL: RATTLE THE HOCKS" is a film screening and live performance with THE GRAHAMS and special guests the NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS, on Thursday, December 15, 2016; 7:30 pm, in the Clive Davis Theatre at the GRAMMY Museum. The GRAMMY Museum presents a special screening of "Rattle the Hocks," a short film directed and co-produced by CODY DICKINSON (founding member of the NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS and son of the late legendary producer JIM DICKINSON) that captures THE GRAHAMS' relentless journey to explore the relationship between train travel and American roots music. The screening will be followed by a special Q&A and performance featuring THE GRAHAMS and LUTHER & CODY DICKINSON of the NORTH MISSISSIPPI ALLSTARS, hosted by SCOTT GOLDMAN, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares.
Tix now available.


✔ "LONELY BOY: TALES OF A SEX PISTOL WITH STEVE JONES" is Tuesday, January 10, 2017; 7:30 pm, in the Clive Davis Theatre at the GRAMMY Museum. The GRAMMY Museum welcomes SEX PISTOLS co-founder STEVE JONES to the Clive Davis Theater for a conversation on his forthcoming memoir "Lonely Boy: Tales of a Sex Pistol," moderated by SCOTT GOLDMAN, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares. The conversation will be followed by a book signing with Jones in the Museum's gift shop.
Tix now available.


✔ "AN EVENING WITH DOYLE BRAMHALL II" is Wednesday, January 11, 2017; 8 pm, in the Clive Davis Theatre at the GRAMMY Museum. The GRAMMY Museum welcomes DOYLE BRAMHALL II, lauded by ERIC CLAPTON as one of the most gifted guitarists he has ever encountered, to the Clive Davis Theater for an intimate conversation and acoustic performance surrounding his latest album "Rich Man," which documents an intensive spiritual and musical journey that took him to the other side of the world in search of new sounds and an inner peace following the death of his father in 2011. The conversation will be moderated by SCOTT GOLDMAN, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares.


✔ "PEOPLE'S CHOICE AWARDS VIP PACKAGES" for January 18, 2017; 5 pm, at the Microsoft Theater in L.A. The Grammy Museum says, "Give the gift of a TRUE VIP experience with the PEOPLE's CHOICE AWARDS VIP Packages." On Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017 at 5 pm, at Microsoft Theater, the 2017 People's Choice Awards return with awards in 64 categories. The 2017 People's Choice Awards promises to be one for the books - with ELLEN DeGENERES nominated in three categories, including Favorite Daytime TV Host, it could be one for the record books. If DeGeneres wins in even one of the categories in which she's nominated, she would become the most-decorated People's Choice Awards winner in history. Call Bryan Schiller at 213-763-7923 promptly to reserve tickets. You can also save 20% on General Admission Tickets to the event.


✔ "GREAT GUITARS: ERIC JOHNSON" is Thursday, January 19, 2017; 8 pm in the Clive Davis Theatre at the GRAMMY Museum. General on-sale begins December 15 at noon. The GRAMMY Museum welcomes Texas guitar legend ERIC JOHNSON to the Clive Davis Theater for an intimate conversation and performance surrounding his first completely unplugged solo album, "EJ." The evening will be hosted by SCOTT GOLDMAN, Vice President of the GRAMMY Foundation and MusiCares.


Unless otherwise noted, there is a 4 ticket limit per museum membership or household, per program. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable.

Complete information is at 213-765-6800 or online at

The GRAMMY Museum is located at 800 W Olympic Bl, Los Angeles 90015.


# 5 news feature...


"Curbed" is, ostensibly, the best website in L.A. for news about real estate. But, it's never seemed to be THAT -- not at all, as far as we're concerned. It's really about interesting places, a lot of them relatively obscure, some of 'em treasures, even. And it's a great place for news of who's scheming on what, and things to support or to get organized and go fight against. And much of it is usually in "Curbed" before the L.A. Times figures out what's going on. It's also filled with tips for discovering must-see buildings about town -- sometimes just before they're torn down (see the # 6 news feature for one of those).

Their December 9th edition has a fun feature titled, "The ultimate 'La La Land' filming location map," by Jenna Chandler. It's more than the title indicates. It's the basis for you being a tour guide hero for your relatives from snow country.

Jenna writes, "'La La Land,' one of the most anticipated and acclaimed movies of the year, captures the sweetest version of Los Angeles with its cotton candy sunsets, iconic architecture, neon signs, quiet streets, and towering palm trees."

She quotes Mayor Eric Garcetti as saying, "You can’t have a better tourism brochure than this movie." At least, that's what he told "The Wrap" at the musical's Los Angeles premiere Tuesday night. The mayor added, "It highlights 60 locations. It shows that L.A. is not just about the stars. It’s about the romance."

Jenna's "Curbed" story profiles 19 classic L.A. locations used by the movie, with help from Fandango.

It's at:

MAPS (at the link above)...

• The ultimate 'La La Land' filming location map

• 9 spots around Los Angeles to see Christmas lights


# 6 news feature...


If you remember that Dr. Demento radio favorite, "Pico & Sepulveda," this will hurt even more.

Yet another L.A. landmark is about to close and meet the wrecking ball. For years, we've made it a habit to take our guests there -- all of them who arrive at or depart from LAX. Norm's, the always busy, always open, with great service, best-one of the best chain of coffee shops in L.A., is getting run-out by a landlord who wants to make a killing, developing the land on which it sits. Norm's still retains its classic "Googie" architectural style. It still has great meals with soup and salad and dessert included. You'll still wait a few minutes for a table. And, no, it isn't really AT Pico & Sepulveda -- it's at 11001 West Pico Bl, a short block east of the intersection made famous by the song. Well, contextually famous. In some circles, anyway. Like Dr. Demento's. And ours.

But the place to eat has always been Norm's at "Pico & Sepulveda."

The song, "Pico and Sepulveda," is probably best known in the recorded version by FELIX FIGUEROA & HIS ORCHESTRA. But it dates from 1947, first performed by FREDDY MARTIN AND HIS ORCHESTRA, composed by EDDIE MAXWELL and JULE STYNE and first released on Ambassador Records.

There are several versions with fun video action on YouTube. We like:

• The Rooster version:

• Kristofer Raikes version:

• And you can enjoy the commentary about the song, the setting, and how a lumber yard is really what's on the corner, at:

• To read the story that first alerted us what's about to happen to that wonderful Norm's, with notes on its architecture, and a somewhat cautious take on its impending demise, go to:


# 7 news feature...


We are always glad to see the folks from Deering Banjo. They run that hand-craftsmanship factory that produces California-made instruments, down San Diego County way. But when an article turned up yesterday by DAVID BANDROWSKI, making the claim quoted in the title above, we were expecting to see some series of lessons they were presenting somewhere. Nope. They made a video. On top of that, it's free, online.

They ask simply, "Have you always wanted to learn to play clawhammer banjo? Do you know what clawhammer banjo is? Maybe you have played it before… but then again, a little reminder wouldn’t hurt, right?"

They go on to make the audacious claim, "This video will teach you both what it is and how to play this style of banjo."

Wow. Okay, grab your 5-string and brace yourself. Because the very next thing they say is, "And so without further adieu, join Deering’s own BARRY HUNN as he guides you through the first stages of that mesmerizing sound of banjo playing they call clawhammer!"

As the Great One, Jackie Gleason, used to say, "And awaaaaay we go!"

It's at:


# 8 news feature...


Sure, we could tell you about any of a couple dozen big shows in big venues with a Christmas or generic holiday theme. But we selected this one. It's a one-night-only mother-daughter singer-songwriters show at our favorite intimate venue, and one of the two -- that being the daughter half of the duo -- is a very impressive musician whose work and live performance made us fans a long time ago. We're talking about ADJOA, a touring recording artist who sometimes performs with just her first name, and other times with her full name, as ADJOA SKINNER.

Both Adjoa and her mom are multi-instrumentalists and award winning vocalists and songwriters. Her mother, SUSAN ROZLER, is teaming-up on this special night to perform "a fun and lively show of your favorite Holiday classics." They promise to include sweet duets, an audience singalong, and funny originals. Of course there's limited seating in this acclaimed intimate music venue.

The show is Thursday, December 22nd, at 8pm, at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N Lake Av, Altadena; reservations are strongly recommended. Call 10 am-10 pm, 7 days, at 626-798-6236. Tickets are $18.

For those with the appropriate social media, you can use #downhomefamilyxmas

Though you cannot make online reservations, there's plenty more about the show at the venue's site,

And there's all you want to know about the artists at:


# 9 news feature...


We have not tried this, but we explored it on the web, and we recommend you do the same if you're at all interested in a responsive, adaptable computer-based music composition program. especially if you're wanting to write parts for multiple players. The company behind this is calling it "The Fastest, Smartest, Easiest Way to Write Music."

Most of this feature is in quotes, being from Avid, the company that developed and markets Sibelius 8.5 and its previous versions.

Avid's basic pitch for this newest upgrade is, "When composing music, you have complete control over every note you write. Now get even greater and easier control over every detail in your score with Sibelius 8.5 — available now."

• Access, edit, and organize elements faster with the updated Inspector

• Change staff sizes as desired for more flexible and precise engraving control

• Take full control of your score layout with new features and functionality

A testimonial never hurts, and this is a good one:

"Sibelius is an instrument that is organic and brilliantly organized so a musician can think quickly and rely on it for ease of movement. Its design makes creativity a distinct possibility and always just a keystroke away.” -- GIL GOLDSTEIN, Grammy-Winning Music Arranger.

Their website is organized to offer short statements on numerous aspects. Under the head, "Express yourself with Sibelius," they say, "Create beautiful, captivating scores more quickly than ever before with the world's best selling notation software."

Okay, that's pretty basic blowing your own horn. Let's see how they do from there.

Editing scores more easily was a common request with the early versions. The Avid folks say, "Thanks to popular demand, you now have more flexible layout and composition possibilities to best present your score. Work faster with the updated Inspector interface, which now offers more flexible access. Change staff sizes by system, individual instruments, and groups of instruments to create a clear and perfect looking score. And gain fine control of the new staff sizes in Engraving Rules."

If somebody says, "Make music easier to learn," that simple statement gets immediate attention. Their point? "Music doesn't have to be so black and white. With the latest Sibelius, you can now color individual notes and/or chords, giving students a more enhanced and visual way of learning to read and write music notation."

It's a cute double entendre to say, "Get better rest." Of course, what they mean is, "Inserting rests into your score," which they claim "is now easier and more intuitive. Whenever you add one, Magnetic Layout automatically repositions the rest to align optimally with the phrasing of preceding notes—no manual fixes required. Create easy-to-read scores faster than ever. Plus, you can now move rests and notes horizontally in your score."

Under the heading, "Re-spell and repeat with ease," the developers tell us, "It's now possible to have the same pitched note display a different accidental in any part compared to the rest of the score. You can also create concise first, second, and third time bars that appear and play back exactly like you'd expect them to, eliminating manual correction. Plus, all time signature changes now appear after the barline but before repeat barlines by default."

Sharing your score is somewhere between desirable and an absolute necessity. They ask, "Want to share your composition with a colleague, client, or friend? You can now export your composition as an MP3 audio file for faster file transfer that won't hit email size limits."

"Write music with a pen on a Surface Pro" is a major attraction for some. They proclaim, "If you own a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet, you can now add and edit notes quickly with just a tap of the pen. This makes it easier than ever to fine tune your compositions on the go. Plus, you can play back your music using the tablet's onscreen keyboard and fretboard."

This looks good for adding notes and comments. As their promo says, "Sometimes you have a great idea, but you forget to write it down. Then the next thing you know, your idea is gone. The new Annotate feature allows you to add notes directly on the score — you can create reminders for yourself as you’re composing, or communicate edits and feedback to others."

Under their heading, "Use multi-touch gestures," they explain, "with Sibelius, you can create scores faster than ever before thanks to an advanced user interface. You can navigate and edit even the most complex scores quickly using multi-touch gestures on your laptop trackpad or Surface Pro 3."

We're always skeptics about what something really costs. In addition to purchasing Sibelius outright, you can now subscribe affordably with low-cost monthly or annual subscriptions. Pay only when you need it — all updates and upgrades are included for the duration of your subscription.

The marketing and product description link for Sibelius 8.5 is:

You can check out the Avid blog -- certainly recommended before you buy, but it's pretty techy wonky. It's at:

Again, we have not tried this. But you can explore a goodly amount of it online, and it appears impressive and something you can use without immersing yourself in some esoteric realm of uniqueness.


# 10 news feature...


The Guide is big on supporting music education, from consistently and strongly advocating the return, with full funding, of arts and music education to ALL of America's public schools, to encouraging patronage by all ages of your local music teacher's digs.

This being the online age, we are also glad to support Berklee Online. You can start 2017 on the right note with courses covering 'purt near all areas of music. Their online courses are enrolling now for the winter term, which starts January 9.

If you enroll and pay by Monday, December 12, you can save up to $200 on select courses.

They offer opportunities to improve your skills in:
• Music Production
• Guitar
• Music Business
• Songwriting
• Music Theory, Harmony, and Ear Training

Full info is at:


# 11 news feature...


If you're thinking SNL just ain't funny, you're hardly alone. With occasional (increasingly rare, but occasional) exceptions, we're in agreement, and we're always wondering what drugs they dispense to the studio audience to get all that wildly whooping applause for bits that start out prostrate, never manage to peel themselves off the linoleum, and are still down there chewing the shag and the dog hair when someone mercifully calls "time" on yet another failed bit of, uh, sketch, uh, "comedy."

On Friday, someone went on-air to call it what it is: dreadfully un-funny.

That someone is RT's "THE RESIDENT," aka satirical onscreen essayist LORI HARFENIST. She opens and closes each of her TV segments with a quick-cut foray of herself dancing through the aisles of a New York City record store, joyfully collecting vinyl 33 1/3 albums from the bins, and she flashes them into the camera to get the title of her spot.

Daily shorts airing several times between, or during breaks in the midst of, other shows? Practically unheard of with today's paradigm of maximum commercial content. So, what's her series of almost-daily TV short dissertations about? She can tell you in her own words:

"In this bizarre society humanity has made, I believe it is my role to question the establishment, whomever or whatever that morphs into as we progress. I take that role very seriously. Or…do I?"

Her website traces the development of her show from a weekly half-hour on New York City cable access in 2001, through a couple of moves, then through to the present. She'll tell you she's "a punk." We find her articulate, astute, incisive, both "inciteful" and incisive. And her usual closing line, "Tonight? Let's talk about THAT," has got to be one of the perfect recurring closing line to one of most refreshing short segments on television.

We'll pick up, partway through, her tale of how and why she got where she is, starting after her breaking free of employment in corporate America:

"In 2006, I moved it (the half-hour TV show) once more to YouTube. They immediately started featuring my videos. They invited me to their offices for input a lot. I was one of their first 75 revenue-sharing partners. That’s when the passion project, 'The Resident,' became the job.

"News outlets decided they needed some of that coooool, user-generated content, so they started contacting me through YouTube. NBC News, CNN, FOX, Discovery Channel, DIRECTV, The Post — I made content for them all. They were all very nice. Currently, I do daily studio commentary pieces for RT America, an international TV news network who is ok with me being a punk. If you’d like to be alerted to where you can find my daily videos, follow me on Twitter or on Facebook. (Links at her website, at:

"I also just finished my first book, which I am describing as 'George Orwell in Wonderland with robots who sing Led Zeppelin songs.' It is called, 'I, Human.' It is by far the most personal thing I have ever released into the public, and it is most definitely punk. If you would like to check it out, you can get it on Amazon!" (info at:

At press time, her skewering of SNL wasn't yet on-line, because it's still airing. It'll get there. Meantime, you can catch plenty of her short dissertations on a wide variety of topics at:

You'll need to scroll-down to the section for "The Resident." (The two other links you can find for her online shows as "The Resident" have content from a looong way back.)

Sometime soon, we'll also introduce you to LIONEL of "Lionel Media." He's the other voice on RT America who cuts through the crap and skewers those who try to shovel it. We already told you that Lori, aka "The Resident," is quite beautiful. For Lionel? Think a skinny, bearded LOUIS BLACK in glasses with a scruffy beard, a lawyer's vocabulary, and a higher pitch. Now, if we could ever get "The Resident" together with Lionel? Katy couldn't bar that door. Those two would blow it clean off the hinges and waste no time putting a pitchfork in the hand of every peasant. We need to talk to Thom Hartmann or Ed Schultz about that, since both have daily shows on RT America...


# 12 news feature...


No, we are definitely NOT going back to presenting comprehensive music calendars. But there are some wunnerful things this weekend, so we reckoned it was our bound duty to make sure you knew about 'em. Also remember to check the very next feature (# 13) for the remains of the last calendar we DID do. Some of those things are mighty fine picks, too, and haven't happened yet, either.


Saturday, December 10...

Sat, Dec 10:
Noon-2 pm "AL SHELTON ART EXHIBITION – COWBOY ARTIST TO THE STARS," presented by the City of Buena Park Fine Arts. It's a FREE reception and memorial celebration of the life of western artist Al Shelton (1920-2016). The venue is the City of Buena Park Council Chamber, 6650 Beach Bl, Buena Park, CA 90622. If possible, rsvp (so they'll have enough free refreshments for you); Greg M. Atkin, at 714-663-0071 or by email to
The Guide ran a full feature story in the Dec 2 edition; news feature # 7; read it at:


Sat, Dec 10, 2 pm:
WOMEN ON THE MOVE TRIO plays their CD release show for "HONEY WITH MY TEA," a wonderful new album that the Guide really, really, likes. Great melodies and fine harmonies, and it sounds great in a car goin' down the road. Catch this rare L.A. show (they tour a lot). It's dedicated to their mentor, friend, and teacher, HARRIET SCHOCK, who was with the vastly bigger group when it was too big to fit on most stages, before it paired down to trio size. It's a midday matinee at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N Lake Av, Altadena 92675; reservations, 626-798-6236.

"Three distinct voices merged into one angelic blend." -- Acoustic LA - Live.

"Women On The Move have a smooth vocal blend that fits their style of feisty folk perfectly. Switching instruments - guitar, mandolin and djembe, the women are all featured with lead vocal turns and original songs. Stellar work, WOTM!" -- Bill Berry, producer/host Songwriter’s Square.

You can listen to the new album's music and read about the trio members at:


Sat, Dec 10, 3 pm:
"GUITAR WORKSHOP" with RICHARD SMITH at Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Bl, Culver City 90230; 310-398-2583.


Sat, Dec 10, 7 pm:
JIM "KIMO" WEST & KEN EMERSON present "HOLIDAY SLACK KEY" at the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N Lake Av, Altadena 92675; reservations, 626-798-6236.


Sat, Dec 10, 7:30 pm:
LIZ LONGLEY & BRIAN DUNNE play Brick 15, 915 Camino del Mar, Del Mar 92014; 858-225-1315.


Sat, Dec 10, 8 pm:
RICHARD SMITH plays Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Bl, Culver City 90230; 310-398-2583.


Sat, Dec 10, 8 & 10 pm:
PATTERSON HOOD plays two shows tonight at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Bl, Santa Monica 90405; 310-828-4497.


Sat, Dec 10, 8 pm:
JEFF LINSKY, plus ABE LAGRIMAS JR. & JENNIFER LEITHAM play the Fret House, 309 N Citrus Av, Covina 91723; 626-339-7020.


Sat, Dec 10, 8 pm:
BRUCE FORMAN & COW BOP play Cody’s Viva Cantina, 900 Riverside Dr, Burbank 91506; 818-845-2425.


Sat, Dec 10, 8 pm:
THE MIGHTY ECHOES plus THE STEEL WHEELS play Genghis Cohen Cantina, 740 N Fairfax Av, Los Angeles 90046; 323-653-0640.


Sat, Dec 10, 9 pm:
THE HANDSOME FAMILY plays Pappy & Harriet’s Place, 53688 Pioneertown Rd, Pioneertown 92268; 760-365-5956.


Sunday, December 11...

Sun, Dec 11, 10:30 am:
RANDY KAPLAN plays the "Matinee Kids' Show" series at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Bl, Santa Monica 90405; 310-828-4497.


Sun, Dec 11, 1:30 pm:
“SINGING FOR PEACE” COMMUNITY CHORUS plus the GAY GEZUNT KLEZMER BAND play the Pasadena Jewish Temple & Center, 1434 N Altadena Dr, Pasadena 91107; 626-798-1161.


Sun, Dec 11, 2-4 pm:
FREE performance, as "LEGENDS OF THE CELTIC HARP" present their show, "A WINTER GIFT," featuring seasonal music with heartwarming tales and folk stories by PATRICK BALL, LISA LYNNE, & ARYEH FRANKFURTER, at the Thousand Oaks-Grant R. Brimhall Library,
1401 E Janss Rd, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362;; 805-449-2660

NOTE: This concert has been incorrectly listed in other sources as being an evening event. OUR information is correct: it is an afternoon concert.


Sun, Dec 11, 4 pm:
MATT CARTSONIS plus MARK "POCKET" GOLDBERG and DEBRA DOBKIN play the FREE monthly "Red Rock Concerts" series presented by RON SARFETY at Crown Books, 6100 Topanga Canyon Bl #1340, Woodland Hills 91367.


Sun, Dec 11, 7 pm:
DEAN FRIEDMAN plays the Coffee Gallery Backstage, 2029 N Lake Av, Altadena 92675; reservations, 626-798-6236.


Sun, Dec 11, 7:30 pm:
MATT NAKOA plays the Dark Thirty House Concerts series, 1132 Pinehurst Dr, Lakeside 92040; must call for reservation, 619-443-9622.


Sun, Dec 11, 7:30 pm:
"LITERARY BOB: A CELEBRATION OF DYLAN'S NOBEL PRIZE" with performances by ROSS ALTMAN with Carolyn HESTER, LISA FINNIE, MICHAEL SIMMONS, RENEE SAFIER & ANDY HILL, at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice. BOB DYLAN, Poet Laureate of Rock and Roll, won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. This evening celebrates his lyrics and music with an emphasis on his evocations of great writers going all the way back to Shakespeare and the Bible. Hosted by folk singer Ross Altman; PhD in Modern Literature. Regular $10 admission. Beyond Baroque, 681 N Venice Bl, Venice 90291; 310-822-3006;

NOTE: this concert has been incorrectly listed in various sources as a Saturday event. THIS info is correct. It happens SUNDAY.


Sun, Dec 11, 7:30 pm:
DANÚ plays "A CHRISTMAS GATHERING" at the Valley Performing Arts Center, 18111 Nordhoff St, Northridge 91330; 818-677-3000.


Sun, Dec 11, 7:30 pm:
THE STEEL WHEELS play Brick 15, 915 Camino del Mar, Del Mar 92014; 858-225-1315.


Sun, Dec 11, 8 pm:
"A TRIBUTE TO THE MUSIC OF LINDA RONSTADT" featuring GRACE POTTER, DAWES, JACKSON BROWNE, MARIA MULDAUR, J.D. SOUTHER, I'M WITH HER (featuring SARA WATKINS, AOIFE O'DONOVAN & SARAH JAROSZ), GABY MORENO, DAVID LINDLEY, all led by THE WATKINS FAMILY HOUR house band (with SARA & SEAN WATKINS) at the Theatre at the Ace Hotel in Los Angeles. Presented by the Bluegrass Situation, Goldenvoice, & Red Light Mgmt, as a benefit for the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research. Sirius/XM host Jim Ladd will also make a special appearance. Expect some very special surprise guests, and more acts to be announced closer to the event. All proceeds will benefit The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. Since 2000, the foundation has funded more than $450 million to speed a cure for Parkinson’s disease through an aggressive research agenda and the development of improved therapies for those living with Parkinson’s today. All ages. Doors at 7 pm. Tix range from $49.50-$250 (for the "Super VIP" tix). The Theatre at Ace Hotel, 929 S Broadway, Los Angeles 90015; 213-623-3233.


Sun, Dec 11, 8 pm:
"MCCABE'S UMPTEENTH ANNUAL HOLIDAY SHOW" at McCabe’s Guitar Shop, 3101 Pico Bl, Santa Monica 90405; 310-828-4497. Get there early if you want to get in!


# 13 news feature...


The Guide no longer adds to this, being that we're returning to concentrating on MUSIC NEWS. BUT there are still things queued-up — THINGS THAT HAVEN'T HAPPENED YET. The Guide, for many years, published its trademark amazing annotated music calendar, L.A.'s best, hands-down. But we stopped, back on Oct. 28th. There were still events listed, and we continue to list them until the last one happens. Here they are.

Festivals, Concerts, whatever else that's appealing — stuff we've already rounded-up for a look ahead

Continuing shows with multiple-performance dates are listed first. Following are the festivals, the concerts, and everything else, listed chronologically.

Fri, Sat, Sun, ongoing...
11 am-All day "LOS ANGELES FINE ART SHOW" is a new event running every Fri, Sat, & Sun, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, 1201 S Figueroa St, Los Angeles 90015; 213-741-1151;
It brings Art Galleries - Art Museums - Arts & Culture. The Los Angeles Fine Art Show, a new art fair dedicated to historic and contemporary traditional works, has just launched in conjunction with the LA Art Show.
Tix: $20 at the door, or advance at:

...through Dec 11:
World premiere engagement of "HANSEL & GRETEL BLUEGRASS." Show runs Oct 29-Dec 11 at 24th St Theatre in L.A. It's Bluegrass as a classic fairy tale, narrated by distinguished actor BRADLEY WHITFORD ("The West Wing"), and features music of THE GET DOWN BOYS. Tix now available. Tix & info, 213-745-6516 or

Tue, Dec 27:
3:30 & 7:30 pm TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA plays two Southern Cal shows during its annual national holiday tour, both at Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario. Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) is an American progressive rock band founded in 1996 by Paul O'Neill. The Washington Post has called them "an arena-rock juggernaut", describing their music as "Pink Floyd meets The Who and Andrew Lloyd Weber." 2014 marks the first time they will be touring their all new live rock opera “The Christmas Attic”. This new show features songs that have never been performed live as well as fan favorites including 'Wizards In Winter, 'Requiem' and 'Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24'". TSO has played more than 1,600 shows for more than 13 million fans, cementing itself as one of the world's biggest rock acts. Tix at:

Mar 7 & 8, 2017:

May 27, 2017:
2nd show added: "BRIAN WILSON PRESENTS PET SOUNDS: The Final Performances with special guests AL JARDINE and BLONDIE CHAPLIN," at the Hollywood Pantages."
Tix available now. You nay get some advantage by using the password: PETSOUNDS



Boilerplate? Where's the main pressure gauge? And the firebox?

What "boilerplate"? Who came up with that goofy term for the basic essential informational stuff...

Pssst — Hey, kid. Yeah, YOU: It won't be so "basic" when we add all the links for the global network of music news / music education sites that we're joining; THAT'LL be here very soon, as an ESSENTIAL COMPONENT of the Guide returning to being a MUSIC NEWS journal!

Direct to the Guide's current editions /


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Contents copyright © 2016,
Lawrence Wines & Tied to the Tracks.
All rights reserved.
♪ The ACOUSTIC AMERICANA MUSIC GUIDE endeavors to bring you NEWS — and views of interest to artists everywhere — more specifically to musicians and the creative community and music makers and fans of acoustic and Folk-Americana music. That includes both traditional and innovative forms. From the deepest roots to today’s acoustic renaissance, that’s our beat. We provide a wealth of resources, including a HUGE catalog of acoustic-friendly venues (now undergoing a major update), and inside info on FESTIVALS and select performances in Southern California in venues from the monumentally large to the intimately small and cozy. We cover workshops, conferences, and other events for artists and folks in the music industry, and all kinds o’ things in the world of acoustic and Americana and accessible classical music. From washtub bass to musical spoons to oboe to viola to banjo to squeezebox, from Djangostyle to new-fangled-old-time string band music, from sweet Cajun fiddle to bluegrass and pre-bluegrass Appalachian mountain music to all the swamp water roots of the blues and the bright lights of where the music is headed now.
The Acoustic Americana Music Guide. Thanks for sittin' a spell. The porch'll be here anytime you come back from the road.


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