SD Bluegrass: The Annotated Mix-Tape

The following presentation is an overview of the upcoming Annotated Mix-Tape that I have been working on as part of my final project. I am proud to present: San Diego Bluegrass. Enjoy!

Track One: Proto-Grass and Encinitas

“Yes Sir”

-Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies (1936)

  • Who were The Encinitas Ranch Hands?
  • What did they play?
  • Where did they play?
  • Where were they from?


Track Two: Migratory Music

“Just When I Needed You”

-Maddox Brothers and Rose (Late 1940’s)

rose and family

(Recording courtesy of the Lou Curtiss Sound Library)

  •  The Maddox Brothers and Rose (Boaz) arrive in California
  • Slap Bass, and other “color”
  • Their role in San Diego (and everywhere else out West)
  • Their sound as an example


Track Three: Bluegrass Erupts

“Shady Grove”

-The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers (1963)

scottsville squirrel barkers

  • Chris Hillman (Los Angeles) and The Blue Guitar
  • The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers:
    • Kentucky, Minnesota, etc
  • “Blue Grass Favorites” and beyond
  • How does shared space make great music possible?


Track Four: The Role of Venues

“You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone”

-Jim Ringer & Sweet Mills String Band (1970)

tom waits at the heritage

(Recording courtesy of the Lou Curtiss Sound Library)

  • The Sign of the Sun (1960-late 1960’s)
  • The Blue Guitar (1961-today)
  • The Heritage (1963-1972)
  • Folk Arts Rare Records (1967-today)
  • The Old Time Cafe (1979-1988)
  • Java Joe’s (1991-today)
  • Adam’s Avenue (more on that later)


Track Five: Lou Curtiss and the Collegiate Scene

“Coal Black Choo Choo”

-Alice Gerrard and Mike Seeger (1970)

san diego folk festival

(Recording and image courtesy of the Lou Curtiss Sound Library)

  • “Folk Music” in San Diego
  • San Diego State: A new kind of musical migrant
  • Sam Hinton (Tulsa) and the San Diego Folk Song Society
  • Lou Curtiss (Seattle) and Folk Arts Rare Records


Track Six: Geographically Rooted Music

“North County Breakdown”

-Squatter’s Last Rights (1977)

  • “North County Breakdown” and the Homegrown Albums (1973-1983)
  • What’s in a name?
    • The Encinitas Ranch Hands
    • Pacificly Bluegrass
    • San Diego Grass and Electric
    • Box Canyon
    • Hwy 52
    • Lighthouse
    • Old Town Road
    • Palomar Pickers
    • Faultline
  • Back to The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers and The Golden State Boys
  • San Diego as the “Home Place”
  • Outside Bluegrass: Tom Waits, J.J. Cale, Eric Clapton, Joe Walsh


Track Seven: Local Organizations and Institutions

“Highway 52”

-Hwy 52 (1998)

highway 52

  • A funny story (not quite 20 miles)
  • The San Diego Troubadour (since 2001)
    • Four friends and a crazy idea
    • local writers, local music
    • 16 neighborhoods, 170+ locations
  • San Diego Bluegrass Society (Rick Kirby of Pacificly Bluegrass)
  • North County Bluegrass and Folk Society (Summergrass, Jams and more)


Track Eight: The Nickel Creek Story

“Reasons Why”

-Nickel Creek (2000)

  • Beginnings: That Pizza Place
    • What’s with Bluegrass and Pizza?
  • Idyllwild
  • Local Success
  • Big Success
  • Alison Krauss
    • Reasons Why
  • Chris Thile and co. Today
    • Fiction Family
  • Lifestyle Diversity in San Diego


Track Nine: Adam's Avenue and Lou Curtis Today

“Prisoner’s Song”

-The Scottsville Squirrel Barkers (2004)

  • Adam’s Avenue
    • Street Music and Festivals
  • Lou Curtiss Today
    • San Diego Troubadour
    • Folk Arts Rare Records
    • The Lou Curtiss Sound Library


Track Ten: From Gospel to the Galapagos

“On the Road to Julian”

-Lighthouse (2007)

  • Wayne Rice (San Diego)
    • Brush Arbor
    • Lighthouse
    • Bluegrass Special (since 1977)
  • The Galapagos Mountain Boys and “Scientific Gospel”
    • Dr. Stephen Baird (Oklahoma)
    • Hallelujah! Evolution!
    • Water on Mars
    • Darwin, Darn It!


Bonus Track: Bluegrass and Me

“Backyard Jam”

-San Diego Bluegrass Society (2012)

  • My Bluegrass Story:
  • Country Radio
  • The Star of India
  • Summer Camp
  • Eli Turner
  • Contra Dancing
  • Today’s Pizza


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