Music happenings in Sonoma County - 4/19 - 4/21
It’s a big music festival in the Valley of the Moon this weekend. Other acts this weekend include a reggae artist who refuses to give up and a bluesman that has re-invented himself over and over since his performance at Woodstock. Dance your troubles away with a big band and enjoy some Neil Diamond classics with a symphony backing up one of the hottest tribute acts in the area.
Friday and Saturday, April 19-20 — Sonoma Music Fesitval
This homegrown music festival has brought together the most unlikely of talent on the same stage, and why not? It’s a benefit for the venue it is being held in, the historic Sebastiani Theatre on the Sonoma Plaza, as well as local animal shelter Pets Lifeline.
The Friday, April 19, show opens with a local up-and-coming artist Sean Carscadden and his quartet laying down blues and more, followed by some Americana and bluegrass from the Pine Needles. The night caps with western swing hall of famer Tommy Thomsen and his All-Star Band.
Saturday, April 20, the night opens up with Frobeck, who is on the verge of breaking out of Sonoma County in a big way, and soon. Up next is Creation, playing classic reggae grooves. The night wraps up with San Francisco rock legends Big Brother and the Holding Company (shown at left), yes, the actual band from back in the day. Of course Janis isn’t with them, but they consistently have a worthy vocalist filling the role of Joplin.
Venue: Sebastiani Theatre, Sonoma, 707-996-9756.
Saturday, April 20 — Norris Man
Norris Man, at right, is a struggling reggae singer with deep Rastafarian beliefs. Born Christopher Campbell, he grew up in the Trenchtown and Arnett Gardens sections of Kingston, Jamaica.
When he was 10, he hung around recording studios and dances where he was often solicited to get the crowd going. A singer and DJ, Norris Man's influences run the gamut from Lionel Richie to Papa San. He speaks in a thick Jamaican accent, and is difficult to understand, but sings with amazing clarity.
Norris Man started recording in his teens, but the records never drew much attention. To his dismay, stardom was harder to achieve than expected and his persistence shows in his music.
Venue: HopMonk Tavern, Sebastopol, 707- 829-7300
Saturday, April 20 — Taj Mahal Trio
Composer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Taj Mahal is one of the most prominent and influential figures in late 20th century blues and roots music.
Though his career began more than four decades ago with American blues, he has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of the world: West Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, Europe, the Hawaiian islands and so much more. What ties it all together is his insatiable interest in musical discovery.
Over the years, his passion and curiosity have led him around the world, and the resulting global perspective is reflected in his music.
Venue: Mystic Theatre, Petaluma, 707-765-2121
Saturday, April 20 — Crossfire
Crossfire is a big dance band in the classic format, and plays rhythm and blues, classic soul, Motown, classic rock, ’70s disco and more. The band can lay down a range of grooves from smooth jazz for the cocktail-dinner set to the full blown house rockin’ show band with choreography and special effect lighting. Expect to be dancing long before the show ends.
Venue: Flamingo Hotel, Santa Rosa, 707-545-8530
Sunday, April 21 — Tara Erraught
The brilliant Irish mezzo-soprano became an overnight sensation when she unexpectedly replaced an ailing colleague at the Bavarian State Opera. Since then, Erraught has taken the opera world by storm, singing title roles at the Vienna State Opera, the Hamburg State Opera (La Cenerentola) and the Glyndebourne Festival (Der Rosenkavalier). This is an afternoon show.
Venue: The Donald and Maureen Green Music Center, Rohnert Park, 866-955-6040
Sunday, April 21 — Santa Rosa Symphony plays Neil Diamond
Relive memories and create new ones with the best of contemporary music powered by the excellence of the Santa Rosa Symphony, led by Michael Berkowitz and accompanied by San Francisco's Super Diamond.
Super Diamond, at left, has become one of the most popular Neil Diamond tribute acts in the region. Some say that Super Diamond has transcended the label of “tribute band” by passionately immersing themselves in Neil Diamond's huge repertoire and delivering a high-octane show of unforgettable classics such as “Cracklin’ Rosie,” “Forever in Blue Jeans” and many others.
Venue: Wells Fargo Center, Santa Rosa, 707-546-3600