Live Music Slowly Makes Its Way Back in the North Bay

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Local singer-songwriter Dustin Saylor plays at Hotel Healdsburg every Friday in April. (Photo courtesy Dustin Saylor)

Thirteen months into the Covid-19 pandemic, vaccines are rolling in, restrictions are lifting on social gatherings and one of the North Bay’s most popular past times, live music, is returning to stages throughout the North Bay.

The town of Healdsburg welcomes local bands and artists to perform this weekend with shows scheduled at spots including Hotel Healdsburg and Coyote Sonoma.

Hotel Healdsburg’s April line-up of live music in the Garden Courtyard features country-folk singer-songwriter Dustin Saylor (pictured) on Fridays, 6–8pm, and live performances by the area’s best Jazz musicians—still booked by Jessica Felix, who has been booking the jazz there for over 20 years in partnership with Healdsburg Jazz—on Saturdays, 5–8pm. 

This Saturday, April 3, Northern California’s Gypsy Trio jazz band plays the music of Django Reinhardt and other Gypsy Jazz musicians. The following Saturday lineups include Stephanie Ozer Trio on April 10; Carlos Henrique Pereira Trio on April 17; and David Udolf Trio on April 24. Hotel Healdsburg is located at 25 Matheson St. at the corner of Healdsburg Avenue. (hotelhealdsburg.com)

Located in Healdsburg’s Mill District, Coyote Sonoma restaurant, taproom and wine bar is adding live music to its offerings this month. On Saturday, April 3, the venue hosts guitarist and vocalist James Patrick Reagan­—most recognizable as the leader of surf-rock outfit the Deadlies. Next week, “T-Luke” Lucas Domingue plays on April 9 and the Derek Irving Rockabilly Duo plays on April 10. Following that, Jason Bodlovich plays on April 16 and the Spike Sikes Duo plays on April 17. All shows start at 6pm. (coyotesonoma.com)

With locations in Sonoma and Marin County, the HopMonk Taverns family is also bringing music back to its beer gardens. HopMonk in Sebastopol hosts singer-songwriters including Sebastian St. James and Donovan Patrick on April 3, and Byron Onisko and Jen Tucker on April 4 (12:30pm and 5:30pm each day). HopMonk in Sonoma features live music from JP Soden and Clay Bell on April 3 (12:30pm and 6pm) and James M. Harman on April 4 (12:30pm). HopMonk in Novato welcomes Dan Durkin and Greg Lamboy on April 3 (12:30pm and 6pm) and Kurt Huget on April 4 (12:30pm). Twin Oaks Roadhouse features music from Joshua Spears on April 3 at 5:30pm and Donovan Patrik on April 4 at 4pm. (hopmonk.com)

Looking ahead, famed jazz venue Blue Note Napa takes a road trip up the Napa Valley to the iconic Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena to present a series of outdoor concert performances this summer.

The Charles Krug Winery will host two shows per night every Friday, Saturday and Sunday beginning in mid-May. The outdoor venue will feature live music from a wide range of local and national acts, and the space can accommodate 260 guests per show at socially distanced, bistro-style tables.

“We are thrilled to be able to find a way to once again present world class music in the Napa Valley while maintaining a COVID responsible environment,” stated Ken Tesler, managing director of Blue Note Napa. “We couldn’t ask for a better partner or a more beautiful open-air venue than the Charles Krug Winery.”

Nationally-recognized artists coming to the Charles Krug Winery include Los Lobos, Pink Martini, Kenny G, Tycho, Brian McKnight, Taj Mahal, KT Tunstall and Chris Botti. Several shows are already sold-out, so grab tickets in advance. (bluenotenapa.com)

Unfortunately, live music’s return is, so far, a relatively small operation; and several large music festivals and events are still delaying or canceling summer 2021 plans. 

One of those events is Country Summer, Northern California’s biggest country music festival, which has been postponed from its planned dates of June 18–20, 2021, until June 17–19, 2022.

According to festival producers, the decision to postpone until 2022 was due to continued uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 and live event guidance from local and state officials. There’s doubt whether mass gatherings attracting thousands of fans from across the nation, such as Country Summer, will be allowed this year.

In 2019, Country Summer attracted more than 30,000 fans to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa. (countrysummer.com)