Located on the internet at PleasantValleyMusic.com, with a showroom in Solano County, California, just a half hour from Sacramento and the Bay Area, Pleasant Valley Music offers musical instrument and accessory sales, lessons, and recording studio services.
Well, it’s been quite a while since we’ve posted (except on Facebook!), but here’s some good news!
This month we finished recording and mixing two, yes 2, noteworthy recordings here at Pleasant Valley Music Studios. Here’s the catch: both bands play country, both band names have two, 2-syllabus words beginning the B, then D. Coincidence? Actually, yes.
Country music favorite Rick Harris and Silverado have a new release on the Pleasant Valley Music (formerly Squirty Records) label!
Following up on his all gospel release, this time Rick gives us an incredible selection of real classic country hits from the 50′s, 60′s and beyond. These songs, from the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams and several others, are hand picked straight from Rick’s live setlist. The album is aptly titled “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys” and is now available right here in our store, as well as on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, etc.
Matt & George and krewe are very excited about their upcoming performances at the California Bluegrass Association’s Father’s Day Festival (it’s THE big one for bluegrassers here out west).
Father's Day Festival
The Boys have something really special planned! The plan is to do their “normal” show Friday morning on the main stage, definitely featuring some of their favorite Bill Monroe songs (it IS a celebration of the centennial of his birth, after all!). Jenny Lynn will sing a couple, and there will even a banjo/bass duet!
THEN, in keeping with their “like you’ve never seen before … at least since 1948″ theme, on Saturday on the Pioneer Stage (12:55pm), the band is gonna pull out all the stops and do a full on old fashioned opry show! Good buddy Dave Gooding will be announcing throughout the set, and Cousin Rainwater will even dress (and play) the clown-bass player role from days gone by! HA HA! (Rumor has it they even got “clown-approval” – yep, Bill did it! – from the Doctor of Bluegrass, none other than the leading authority on the History of Bluegrass, Dr. Neil Rosenberg himself!). Every song performed on the Bluegrass Pioneers stage will be one Monroe performed or recorded when Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs were in his band in the late 1940′s.
It's Opry Time!
Truth be told, this Pioneer Stage show will basically be a reinactment of The Pleasant Valley Boys’ new recording, which they are releasing AT the festival! The Boys say they are unusually excited about this one, having gone totally “old school” (big surprise ) having recorded it playing and singing all at the same time, in the same room, into a single old ribbon microphone (1939 RCA 44bx). The recording features an appreciative crowd , as well as special guest announcer T. Tyce Tennessee (Matt’s dad!). Other than the “Theme” the Boys wrote, the song selection is all (mostly very rare) Monroe/Flatt/Scruggs era.
So, we all hope you can make it out to the show and pick up the recording!
Singer/songwriter, and multi-award winning musician Steve Spurgin dropped by the other day to lay down demos for his forthcoming Americana-style recording on Blue-Night Records. In a few short (ok LONG) hours, Steve laid down (live) no less than 21, COUNT ‘EM TWENTY ONE, songs!
Steve is a super talented songwriter and vocalist and it was truly a pleasure watching and hearing him work. Here’s a shot from the session, and look for this exciting new recording out next year.
Last night we had a last minute visit from the great Bottom Dwellers here at Squirty Records. The SAMMIE award winning band wanted to start recording some of their latest material before guitarist/vocalist Adam Hancock leaves the country. It worked out perfectly because the schedule was open on the night they had free and the recording really went great. Sounds awesome so far! Look out for their upcoming release later on.
Matt & George and Their Pleasant Valley Boys took a little road trip this last week. We all piled into Jim’s newly renovated van and drove from our hometown of Dixon to Branson and back (about 4,000 miles!), mostly to compete in a single microphone championship (we lost … more on that, below). Along the way we picked up a couple of gigs which were really fun and helped pay for gas and lodging. Below is the blow-by-blow …
We loaded up Jim’s van in Auburn, CA on Wednesday evening and took off, heading for Colorado. The van was packed to the gills with 5 people, a string bass, some luggage, cds, food, etc. and one dog.
Other than a couple of gas stops,
Gassing Up in Battle Mtn., NV
we blew on through the night and landed in LaPorte (near Ft. Collins), Colorado Thursday in the early afternoon. We met the Bar SS folks, who were SUPER nice, and jammed/rehearsed a bit on their patio before finding the motel they hooked us up with.
Thursday night we played the Bar SS. We knew about this place from the days when our friend Bradford (from the Open Road band, and now the Warrior River Boys) owned it. So we figured it would be pretty bluegrass-friendly. Boy is that an understatement. Those Colorado folks have been trained well – they really seemed to dig the music. Felt GREAT. New owners Angie and J.B. have maintained all the good from the old “Swing Station” and made some nice upgrades to the joint. Bartender Morgan has personally made it his job to keep Brad’s insistence on supporting “real music”. THIS is our kinda place. Thanks Bar SS!
PVB billing at the Bar SS
PVB On Stage At the BarSS
After the gig we all agreed it was GREAT to get a good night’s sleep in the motel after that long haul.
George Sleeping at the Motel
Friday morning we packed the van back up and headed for Missouri. Next stop – The Canoe Club in Lake Lottowana, MO. Our friends in the bluegrass bands Spring Creek and Hillbenders have played this venue several times and recommended we make a stop there as we pass through the area. We did and surely didn’t regret it. Andy, the owner, set us up and the crowd couldn’t have been more adoring.
Canoe Club Sign
After the Canoe Club gig we decided to push on thru all the way to Branson so that we could wake up in the same town we were to play that day. So Saturday we got to sleep in (hallelujah!) before the shuttle picked us up heading for our big ‘gig’ at Silver Dollar City. This was really the main impetus for the trip; the single mic championship. A few months ago we came across their webpage, which we figured was right up our alley since we’ve always only used one mic for our performances and recordings. If anyone can get a good band sound playing into one microphone, we figured, it would be us. So, why not make a vacation out of going to the competition and have some fun? Unfortunately, it didn’t turn out just like we figured, but we had lots of fun anyway. Not only did our nerves prevent us from playing up to our potential, but the judges were really mostly looking for things other than skill at working the mic. Winners included novelty acts such as kids/family bands incorporating as much over-the-top “entertainment” (think – drop your instruments and dance while ham-boning) as you can imagine. And almost all of the music was of the modern/slick/progressive nature that the PVB’ers just don’t play. Sad to say real traditional bluegrass might be losing some ground on the national scene.
After Saturday’s performance we went for a bite in Branson, and crashed out early. Unfortunately, George got the stomach flu (which Matt picked up Monday night), and had to play the second round of the competition sick.
But despite all of this, we tried hard and had a good time performing and meeting the other bands. We were happier with our performance on Sunday, which our friends Angelica and T.J. were kind enough to capture on video for us.
Organizer D.A. Calloway and M.C. Terry Herd
We took off in a rush after Sunday’s performance, since we needed to get to Salt Lake City, UT in a hurry for our last gig on the tour. We drove through the night and next morning, leaving a very humid Branson for spring snow though Wyoming and a welcomed chill in Salt Lake.
We had time to relax a the hotel in Salt Lake City before getting a bite to eat at the place we were playing that night, Hoppers Grill. Nice place, we we had visits from some of Jim’s family and Jenny Lynn’s work colleagues.
The Hoppers gig didn’t go too late, so the Boys had some time to hang out at the hotel before Matt took sick that night. Next morning the van was packed up one last time for the, now seemingly short, 10 hour drive home to California. While Matt was trying to recover, sleeping in the back, the rest of the PVB’ers drove the relatively event-less trip back home, where we arrived Tuesday evening around 6.
All in all a great/fun experience. All the venues were very nice to us, we made some money and let a broader range of folks know about our traditional bluegrass music, and the band even got along despite being squashed together for a week straight! There was even a little bit of talk about doing a (hopefully profitable!) trip in the future … stay tuned!