Dear Rancho fans, music lovers and BBQ aficionados,
Let’s get ready to RAMBLE!
Rancho Nicasio is alive and well and we hope all of you are too. We are entering our 15th season and we are as enthusiastic and grateful as year one. Our longtime staff is intact and ready to serve. Another mild winter helped support the troops. Everyone is looking forward to working outdoors in our beautiful valley.
MARK HUMMEL has been organizing HARMONICA BLOWOUTS since 1991. This year’s edition will be “A TRIBUTE TO LITTLE WALTER” who along with SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON was perhaps the most influential harmonica player of all time. On Sunday, June 30th we get to have our first BLOWOUT. Joining Mark will be CORKY SIEGEL of Chicago blues fame, LITTLE CHARLIE who led his band THE NIGHT CATS around the world for many years, and the very unique (a big favorite of ours) JAMES HARMAN. A great line-up.
July 4th is on a Thursday this year. THE ZYDECO FLAMES are still the best party band I know so they will host the festivities.
On Sunday, July 7th, we will have PETER ROWAN’S annual Blue Grass Birthday Bash. This is a wonderful afternoon of fine musicianship and as a bonus The ROWAN BROTHERS, Lorin and Chris, are on board as well. A rare family reunion for these guys.
A long awaited Rancho debut will take place on Sunday, July 14th. CHUCK PROPHET is one of the Bay Area’s own musical treasures but somehow he has not been to our joint. He is as original as any of my favorite artists, including Tom Petty, Leonard Cohen and Paul Thorn. I’m hoping this is the first of many. Our other homegrown originals TINY TELEVISION will be special guests. Their enigmatic leader, JEREMY D'ANTONIO, has become a big Rancho favorite after hosting some Sunday gigs in our Bar over the winter. They also have a new CD and they celebrated its release just a couple of weeks ago in the Rancho Room.
PETTY THEFT, arguably Marin’s most popular live band over the last several years, will be with us on Sunday, July 21st. Dan Durkin sings the great Tom Petty songbook as if he wrote it and the band kicks butt.
Our now legendary Mississippi friend PAUL THORN will gift us on Sunday, July 28th. We have had sold out weekends for Paul the last few years but scheduling didn’t allow more than this day so get in early.
We were able to put together our annual ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL Weekend with an indoor Saturday night and Sunday BBQ, August 3rd & 4th. RAY BENSON is still in charge of the greatest Western Swing Band in the World. Again, advanced ticket purchases are advised. By the way, if you western swing fans don’t want to wait until August to get your fix, THE LONE STAR RETROBATES will be in our Rancho Room on Saturday night, April 27th. They are real good.
On Sunday, August 11th we are putting together a BLUES YOU CAN USE BBQ with RON THOMPSON, DANNY CLICK AND THE HURRICANES and MIGHTY MIKE SCHERMER. These are three great guitaristas. In my book, RON may be one of the most versatile and entertaining blues based acts I’ve ever seen. DANNY has been drawing crowds everywhere he plays with his Americana group the Hell Yeahs. But when he moved here from Austin, Texas a while back, it was his blues chops they were talking about on his arrival. MIGHTY MIKE led the very popular SOUL DRIVERS out of Santa Cruz in the 90’s and they eventually became Angela’s band. When Angela stopped touring, Mike played with ELVIN BISHOP for a few years. He now lives in Austin and has been MARCIA BALL’s lead guitarist for the past 3 years. These guys all have very distinct and very musical approaches to that broad genre called “the blues” and will please any music fan. Besides, Blues is what BBQ was really invented for!
Last year, our BBQ season ended with an amazing performance by ZULU SPEAR, a group of South and West African musicians that are as entertaining musically and spiritually as any we have been able to present. They just reformed last season after a 20 year hiatus and are currently working on a new project. This is a “don’t miss” kind of show. Sunday, August 18th.
Labor Day Week End will be special for all North Bay folks. On Sunday, September 1st THE SONS OF CHAMPLIN will return once again. My old friend Bill let me know that Tim Cain, one of the founding SONS will be reunited with the band. Tim’s been part of our musical Christmas family for years and having one of Marin County’s all-time great bands in our backyard is always a thrill. FROBECK, a Sonoma based group that was heavily influenced by the SONS and have a new groundbreaking CD, which may be Angela’s and my favorite new music this year, will open this show. You can catch this great band in our Rancho Room on Saturday night, June 22nd for a preview of their latest project.
On Monday, Setember2nd, JERRY HANNAN will bring his MAD HANNANS and friends for a very special afternoon. More about this show closer in.
BUTCH WHACKS and THE GLASS PACKS return with their great review of 60’s and 70’s radio music on Sunday, September 8th. They have been performing together since 1971, not easily done if you don’t bring it! This is truly fun for the whole family.
And then there’s PABLO CRUISE. Talk about great Marin bands. I’m a bit prejudiced but we will be celebrating their 40th anniversary on Sunday, September 15th. I was so young when we first met.
Our local heroes TOMMY CASTRO and the PAINKILLERS will close things out on September 22nd. These guys are part of the aforementioned great Marin County bands that all of us have been so fortunate to have had in our lives. So, there you have it, except for a couple of Sundays I’m still working on. I’ll let you know pronto.
One more thing. The youngsters at Rancho Nicasio have decided that it’s time to get in the 21st Century and have on-line ticketing as an option. So if you traditionalists want to call us direct to buy a ticket, that’s all right. But those of you who are used to buying on- line and prefer that, I’m told it will be user friendly on our website. Cash at the door always works, unless we run out of room of course. On-line ticketing will be available only for our BBQs and special events. Reservations and tickets for our Dinner Shows will still be taken by phone.
I hope I didn’t take too much of your time. We hope to see many of your now familiar faces soon.
Adios for now,