Lake County Music Guide – 01.31.23

Dang, it’s cold! Each of the five or six times I’ve stepped outside today to stretch my legs, I was reminded of a quote from Tom Waits in his song, “Emotional Weather Report,” where he said, “…It’s cold out there – colder than a ticket taker’s smile at the Ivar Theater on a Saturday night”… Many of you who made a point of avoiding Los Angeles your whole lives probably missed the gag. The Ivar Theater was, for most of its existence, a burlesque joint in Hollywood. Put in perspective, that’s pretty dang cold! I guess this morning’s 28 degrees would be a close second…, who knows? Maybe this week’s music guide will bring all of you a little warmth. Here’s the schedule for the week of 1/30 through 2/6…

Lake County Music Guide – 01.24.23

I’m really stoked, Dudes, for two reasons! The Soper-Reese Theater in Lakeport and Konocti Harbor Resort have, for more than 25 years, been the premier concert settings in Lake County. Both have brought in some pretty impressive musical entertainment; Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Brooks and Dunne, Joe Louis Walker, Lyle Lovett, Barry Melton – just to name a few. Sadly, in 2009 the Konocti Harbor temporarily ended all operations, leaving the Soper Reese as the main concert hall in the county for the next ten years. When the COVID pandemic reared its ugly head in 2020, forcing mandatory business shutdowns, the theater also closed its doors. Until then, the SRT was home to The Lake County Symphony, a number of musical, educational and cultural events, classic movies, and a venue for important fundraising events.

Lake County Music Guide – 1.17.23

Sunday marks the first day of The Year of the Rabbit, a symbol promising us prosperity, longevity, mercy, elegance, beauty and peace. So, as the Tiger slinks off into a 12-year period of “hibernation,” we’ll all have a lot to look forward to – provided the rabbit doesn’t hippity-hop away too soon… Here’s the live music guide for the week of 1/17 through 1/23…

Lake County Music Guide – 1.10.23

The actor who rode rodeo style atop a nuclear bomb dropped from a B-52, yee hawin’ all the way in the Stanley Kubrick serio-comic masterpiece, “Dr Strangelove”, went by the stage name Slim Pickens. One only has to read this week’s live music guide to see why this scene even crossed my mind – slim pickin’s, indeed… But maybe we can consider that what this brings us is quality, not quantity. Well, maybe… Here’s the “Slim Pickens” inspired Live Music Guide plus sage advice for the week of 1/9 through 1/16…

Lake County Music Guide – 1.5.23

One of my favorite bands from the late ‘60s/ early ‘70s was The Flying Burrito Brothers, presumably the forerunners of the popular Country-Rock music genre of that time that included bands like The Eagles, Pure Prairie League, Poco, New Riders of the Purple Sage, plus a cast of others. Of course, the critics would state that the FBBs were a jumble of Country, Blues, Soul, R&B, pre-Cowpunk and Rock, but overall not easy to pigeonhole. Regardless, I liked their contributions to modern Rock Music. I bring them up because they had one song in particular that contained the lyrics, “Days are getting longer, nights are getting colder.” Either this line was prophetic or else it was simply that the writer woke up one day much like I did this morning and realized it was freezing. Which defies logic! Ever since the 21st of December the days each get longer by 2 minutes, which means sunset will be 28 minutes later today than it was on that day. Either I’m being unrealistically optimistic or realistically pessimistic, but I like to think that longer days means warmth, sunshine, tanning butter and beach bunnies. I guess I should stop complaining and just put another blanket on the bed… Here’s the live music schedule for the week of 1/3 to 1/9.

Lake County Music Guide – 12.20.22

The good news: it’s gonna be a pretty busy week in terms of holidays and observances, where Hannukkah started two days ago on Sunday, Winter Solstice happens on Wednesday, Christmas is on Sunday and the doubleheader of Kwanzaa and Boxing Day occurs on Monday. The bad news: because Christmas eve is on Saturday and Christmas Day is on Sunday, many places will be closed for these observances. But despite those days being sans live music, there’s at least one joint each day from Tuesday through Saturday to go out and get your live music fix. WOOHOO!!! Here’s the schedule, plus an updated NYE rundown for the week of 12/20 through 12/26.

Lake County Music Guide – 12.13.22

“Eenie weenie chili beanie, the spirits are about to speak!” Anybody out there remember where this famous quote came from? Here’s a hint… Boris Badenov referred to this dynamic duo as “Moose ‘n’ Squirrel.” Okay, times up! It’s a line from the Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, which aired from 1959 through 1964. Like most kids, I would watch cartoons, but this was pretty much the only one I really liked because it was silly in a Three Stooges sort of way – full of puns, sarcasm, self-referential dialog, and other socially unacceptable wordplays, especially so for impressionable children like I was. I would watch the show with friends, laughing hysterically – but they didn’t really get it. I could relate to the patience and empathy of Rocket J Squirrel, marveled at the perseverance of Bullwinkle J Moose, who never stopped trying despite his constant failures, and sneered at the comic depiction of Boris Badenov, Natasha Fatale, and Fearless Leader. This, to me, was cartooning at its comic best. Okay, maybe I’m entering into my second childhood, but I hope you don’t mind me including references to the show throughout this music schedule. Here’s the live music guide for the week of 12/13 through 12/19…

Lake County Music Guide – 5.12.22

This week’s activities should run the gamut between Shredding and a Car Show, with lots of live music events scrunched up in between. With Friday, Saturday and Sunday predicting good weather, the outdoor events are stacking up, while the indoor ones are gonna be just as busy. Enough prattle – here’s the live music schedule for the week of May 12th through May 16th…

Some Great News: The First Sunday Jam is Back!

Technically, the First Sunday Jam is an open mic, but don’t for a second think it’s the kind with poorly played guitar riffs sung by tone-deaf singers. Nope. This jam is made for musicians. John wanted a chance to play more with his friends, so he decided to schedule it on Sunday, the one day of the week that hardly ever has music scheduled. And every musician in the county knows about it. In one night, the ever-changing band will play classic rock, blues, jazz, a bit of reggae, fusion, and original tunes. It’s like visiting every musical event in Lake County at once.

Buy Mike and Danny a Beer: Busking for Brewskis at Kelsey Creek Brewing

Tuesday afternoon in Kelseyville, August. Mike Guarniero and Danny Prather perch on barstools next to the front window, half-full beer glasses on the floor next to them. Danny’s taken the lead on a Neil Young tune he’s finishing, and odds are they’ll switch it around on the next song. Between the two of them, they could play all day and never repeat a tune. Danny gives a hearty strum on his guitar as the song ends, then grins as he leans over and takes a sip of his beer. Caroline Chavez, co-owner of Kelsey Creek, sees his glass empty and quickly brings over two full ones. “Now everybody,” she says, walking the smooth walk of a skilled bartender, “You all need to pitch in. I’m the only one buying them beer right now.” Mike and Danny happily grab their full brewskis, sip off the foam, and start a new song.

Jammin’ at Konocti Vista Casino

The sun’s setting behind the casino, leaving imprints of red and orange on Hogback Ridge across the lake. Kids swim in the pool, laughing and splashing each other. People spread across the grass, swaying to the music while on the stage, the Higher Logic Project, Lake County’s local reggae band, has just finished their set. Now it’s time for reggae legend Pato Banton. “We’re going to chill the vibe for a bit here. Antoinette ‘Roots Dawtah’ Hall kicks in on the keyboards. Sing with me,” Pato begins. “Life, oh life. Life is a miracle.” He stops for a second and holds the mic out to the audience. “Now you know the lyrics. It’s your turn.”

There’s A New Band in Town: Breaker One-9

The sun’s still above Cobb, but it’s steadily easing behind it, stretching the light into the four-car garage, where, tucked in a corner and surrounded by sound-dampening cloth, Breaker One-9 finishes up a song. A few thumps and bass notes fiddle around, then quiet as the band takes a break from practicing their first set. In an empty bay of the garage, papers, a tablet, and Diet Coke spread across the pool table. Mike Mendenhall sits at its edge in a foldup chair, his knees pressed against the table.

Lake County’s Musical Ambassador: Meet Mike Guarniero

While you may not know musician Mike Guarniero personally, odds are you’ve seen him play. For years he has been involved in the Lake County music scene and played with over twenty different bands. You might have heard him play with his band, Dr. Groove, which regularly has performed in the county. Or you might have caught his Lake County Music Guide, which posts on Facebook and in The Bloom (when there is live music).
Sitting in the courtyard of Pogo’s Pizza in Kelseyville earlier this week with Mike felt as if we were seated with a long-time friend we haven’t seen in a while. You might feel the same if you are a music lover in Lake County; Mike’s friendly personality makes conversation easy.


It’s nine in the evening at Robinson Rancheria. The Kentucky Jugglers have finished warming up and kick into their first song, “Keep on Rockin’ me, Baby.” On the left of the stage, Danny Hogan, a black cowboy hat on his head and cowboy boots on his feet, plucks away at his bass. It’s been a while since he’s played; over a year ago, he was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. But now he’s back, and stands tall, thumping away to the beat. Tonight is special, and not just for Danny. Once the band found out about Danny’s illness, instead of replacing him, they decided to stop their gigs and wait until he got better. Tonight, they are playing together for the first time in over a year.

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