.Letters to the Editor: January 8, 2014

These Boots Are Made for Strummin’

Thanks for the article on Frankie Boots (“Buckle Up,” Dec. 25). You place Frankie Boots in a line that includes Kate Wolf and other Sonoma County folk-country-bluegrass figures, and rightly so. Indeed there are a number of good local, younger bands that could be placed there: Driftwood, the Bootleg Honeys and Old Jawbone, to name a few.

And, just to fill in a bit more of that history, it’s worth noting that Sonoma County was, indeed, a hotbed of that music for many years. I moved here in 1978 hoping to secure the guitar chair in Kate Wolf’s band (only to find Nina Gerber got there first), but what I discovered was a wealth of talent and band-playing opportunities.

Bluegrass, in particular, was popular during this time. Between the well-known bluegrass bands (Boothill, Eagle Ridge, HiJinks & the High Forehead Boys) and the old-time bands (too many to name), it seemed you could find really good acoustically driven music most nights of the week. In fact, I played bluegrass at a club, now long gone, on Fourth Street called Joe Frogger’s every week. It was a wildly popular club, overrun nightly with fans of that music.

music in the park san jose
music in the park san jose

Among local acoustic musicians from that era, some of the names of the best remain vital today: Chris Carney, Layne Bowen, Evan Morgan, Ted Dutcher. And then there’s Chip Dunbar. He was responsible for teaching many, many people the joy of the banjo, guitar, mandolin and singing. Though he passed a few years ago, Chip’s legacy lives on with groups like the Mighty Chiplings, so named to honor their first important teacher in this music.

And we shouldn’t forget important venues like the Inn of the Beginning in Cotati, concert home to many of the important figures in acoustic music. I remember seeing David Grisman (with a fresh-faced young singer who went on to some Nashville fame, Vince Gill), David Bromberg, Doc Watson (who politely requested that folks refrain from smoking so he could sing), Norman Blake and Bay Area bluegrass icon Laurie Lewis. I could go on and on.

So, yes, let’s hoist a glass and honor those great musicians here in Sonoma County who have always entertained us, educated us and endured with us the comings and goings of fashions and the closure of clubs that support this music.

A final tip of the hat to Sheila Groves down at the new Twin Oaks in Penngrove. Looks like country-bluegrass (i.e., Americana) may have a new home in Sonoma County.

Santa Rosa

Women and Prowling

Bravo to all of the contributors to this piece (“So Long, 2013!,” Jan. 1). You did a great job summarizing some of the most important issues that captured the spotlight and imaginations of the people of Sonoma County last year.

But I must clarify something. You report that Ms. Darling says that nobody is talking about the effect that Efren Carrillo’s conduct has had on women. This is not entirely true. While I (and others) perceived a dearth of outcry of shock and disgust from the women in this county for a time after this shameful incident occurred, that all changed at the second meeting held by the Citizens for Accountability, which was held at the Sebastopol Grange a week before Thanksgiving.

At that time, several women, one by one, got up out of their chairs, bravely faced the members of the large crowd and spoke of their own past unrelated experiences and how hearing about Carrillo’s reprehensible conduct in the early morning hours of July 13, 2013, violated their right to feel safe in their own home. Then, at the third meeting held by the Citizens for Accountability, several women once again rose up out of their chairs, took the mic and expressed similar feelings.

Also, it should be pointed out that I and others have been raising this issue since day one of this incident; in fact, I wrote a letter to this publication, which was published, identifying the real victim as the woman who, at 3:40 in the morning on July 13, was so terrified by Efren Carrillo’s actions that she found it necessary to call 911, not once but twice.

I will reiterate once again that I stand with this victim and hope that she will avail herself of each and every opportunity that may become available to her in her personal pursuit of justice. And it is my sincere hope that she is receiving the support that she needs to get her through this most trying time.


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