Sonoma County over the past two decades has emerged as a California craft beer Mecca, second only to San Diego County. For imbibers, there’s plenty of product to sample along that stretch of 101 from Petaluma to Healdsburg, produced both by large independent brewers (Russian River, Bear Republic) and smaller operations (I highly recommend St. Florian’s and Woodfour).
Of course, Lagunitas is the big dog up there (subtle reference), with a Petaluma facility featuring not just a tasting room and beer garden but a cozy amphitheater. This last will be the place to be the night of September 1 as Lagunitas presents the third annual Coahoma to Sonoma County Blues Festival, “an event totally dedicated to bringing some of the most vital blues from the birthplace of the blues (Coahoma County, Miss.) to Petaluma.”
The festival has two distinct phases. It gets under way with a free, noon-3 p.m. beer garden show by the Patrick Sweany Band. The Detroit-raised, Nashville-based guitarist has released four albums – two produced by long-time collaborator Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys – drenched in deep soul and Mississippi Hill Country blues. Sweany also plays September 3 at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco.
At 6 p.m., the action switches to the amphitheater (tickets are $12). Opening the show is Christone “Kingfish” Ingram who, at 15, is nothing less than a Delta blues prodigy adept on guitar, bass and drums. The Clarksdale, Miss., product will be supported by three of Sonoma County’s best in Gary Silva, Derek Irving and Randy Bermudes.
At 7:15, Lightnin’ Malcolm takes the stage with another 15-year-old, drummer Stud (Carl Gentle White), the grandson of Delta blues legend T. Model Ford. Malcolm just got back from touring Europe with Robert Plant and he also performs September 2 at the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco.
Malcolm has come to exemplify the modern-day deep blues guitar groove. It’s a sound which traces back to the origins of blues, when a single guitarist rocked the house all night long. When these ancient droning patterns consisting of bass, rhythm and lead syncopated together are plugged into modern sound systems and teamed up with driving drum beats, Malcolm’s guitar becomes larger than life, bringing state of the art primal Mississippi juke joint blues to the big stage. As a member of the North Mississippi All-Stars and an artist who is witnessing significant growth in a solo career, Malcolm’s reputation as a pure purveyor of the blues distinguishes him from many others in the genre. He is an artist who carries the torch proudly, bringing melody, intonation and the legacy he has learned from the masters to stages across the globe on a nightly basis.
Concert proceeds will benefit the Griot Youth Program in Clarksdale.
Griot Youth is a non-profit, after-school program that provides classes in the arts to at-risk teenagers. Monday through Thursday students come to GYP to hang out, get a snack and engage in thought-provoking conversation and projects centered on the arts. We focus on giving emotional and spiritual support to our students by allowing them to express themselves through visual art, music and dance. We also strongly believe in our mentoring program that partners local adult mentors with each of our students.
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