Joe Craven & The Sometimers
Joe Craven brightens any stage he sets foot on, with his deep musicality and warm, impish demeanor. Garcia Songbook is a brilliant collection of fresh takes on songs he picked up from Jerry Garcia’s wildly diverse songbook. These aren’t just glib genre-blending exercises: each track offers an enlightening and engaging new approach. I’ve been hooked since my first listen, and every spin yields new treasures.
– David Gans, musician, author and radio host
dazzling with wildly eclectic musicality… the sonic possibilities are unlimited.
Multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven is an multi-instrumental, award-winning creativity educator, former museum curator, actor, music festival emcee, Director of RiverTunes and Vocáli Voice Camps, a Co-Director for the Wintergrass Youth Academy and a fashion insultant. Joe Craven’s love of performing music has put him in many musical genres and alongside many musicians, from Jerry Garcia, David Lindley, Howard Levy, to Jason Marsalis and banjoist Alison Brown. For 17 years, he was percussionist / violinist for mandolinist David Grisman.
Under his own label, Blender Logic Arts, he has recorded and performed his wide variety of roots music projects. Joe also enjoys a fine reputation for his unique emcee work at music festivals and other art events for 20 years.
As an educator, Joe’s unique outreach programs have inspired communities in Costa Rica, corporate heads in Contra Costa, a dozen different music camps, thousands of school kids from Stockton to Scotland and college students from Alaska to Alabama. From Morocco to Mendocino – and performing solo, or in one of his many projects – whether he’s in Carnegie Hall or busking on Cannery Row – Joe’s at home and loving every minute!
Jonathan Stoyanoff is a first call bassist who is a fan of, trained in, and very proficient at, a wide variety of vernacular music. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA on a performance scholarship and, since then, Jonathan has been involved in a variety of musical projects. He has kept musical company with Larry Coryell, B.B. King, Robert Cray, Huey Lewis, Dave Mason, Jackie Greene, Ozomatli, Spearhead, Maceo Parker and many more. Jonathan has also played at some of the nation’s most prestigious festivals including the Monterey Jazz Festival, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, High Sierra Music Festival and Delfest.
Bruce MacMillan is a wonderfully intuitive musician dedicated to the holy temple of American Roots Music. His passion for the history and variety of America’s musical heritage has resulted in a versatility across many musical genres. From Blues to Bluegrass, Country to Jazz and Rock & Roll, Bruce plays with wonderful energy and artistry. He has performed upon many stages and at many music festivals, including the Strawberry Music Festival, High Sierra, and California Worldfest. With his wife Sally, they have two fine music stores in Chico and Redding, CA, known as The Music Connection where Bruce displays his chops as an educator, repairman and salesman. Bruce’s impressive skills on vocals plus all manner of guitars, Dobro and lap steel, bring a broad palette of sound to Joe Craven & The Sometimers.
Barry Eldridge The deep pocket grooves of drummer Barry Eldridge can be heard across an array of musical styles. Based in Northern California, the freelance musician’s diverse skills cover wide territory: from high-intensity jazz-rock fusion to folk, bluegrass and indie rock; from one-drop reggae to New Orleans second line, from hip hop to world beat, and to backing some of the region’s top singer-songwriters, Barry’s ability to support the music and bring inspired playing to the stage has earned him a reputation as one of the most versatile and in-demand drummers in Sacramento. Having performed at more than 100 venues with over 40 artists and bands the last several years, Barry’s passion for high-end performance and his relentless work ethic will continue to yield musical harvests in The Sometimers.
Hattie Craven has built a reputation as one of the finest young, if not youngest, performers on the stages of the Strawberry Music Festival, Kate Wolf Music Festival, California World Fest, Hangtown Music Festival, The Redwood Ramble, Parkfield Bluegrass Festival, Wintergrass, Live Oak Music Festival, Delfest, Millpond Music Festival and others – and all to standing ovations. She has two recordings to her credit, “Eleven” (recorded at age 11) and “Bright” (recorded at age 15) both produced by her father Joe Craven. Hattie brings the important presence of a woman to the Sometimers sound with her stunning vocal work and captivating stage presence.
Joe Craven & The Sometimers kicked off with a big bang. Folks danced, sang, and cheered the music of these incredible musicians.
The Hattie & Joe Show
When she picked up her Ukulele and started singing, it was obvious we were seeing the beginning of a big talent.
EEnjoy a performance of rearranged pop songs for the folk tradition spanning the last 100 years with stunning 16 year old vocalist Hattie Craven supported by her father, award winning multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven. Their father/daughter team has created a celebration of music making by finding common ground between different generations with differing musical tastes and sensibilities. This show curated by a father and his daughter, awakening each other to new possibilities as they each bring their influences to a multi-generational table.
They have presented to school and library programs, house concerts, clubs, theaters and nationally known music festivals.
Hattie, in addition to being a seasoned actor in community theater, has built a reputation as one of the finest young, if not youngest, performers on the stages of the Strawberry Music Festival, California Worldfest, Kate Wolf Memorial Festival, Live Oak Music Festival and the Millpond Music Festival – all to standing ovations.
Joe is a creativity educator, former museum curator, camp director, poet/storyteller, fashion insultant, coast to coast music festival emcee (Millpond, Telluride Bluegrass & Delfest, to name a few) and recipient of the 2009 Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year. He’s made music with many folks –from Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, David Lindley & harmonica wizard Howard Levy, to 7 years with banjo fusionist Alison Brown and 17 years with the mandolinist David Grisman.
Hattie’s singing and sparkling presence to young hearted people of all ages on and off the stage, along with her father’s good humor and instrumental prowess on a variety of conventional and odd ball instruments make for a captivating and memorable show.
The Solo Joe Show
He’s one of those rare musicians, both as an interpreter of the music he plays and a scholar who’s studied its history, presenting songs embellished into new tunes that have a timelessness that stays.
Picture a stage that looks a bit like a yard sale; found objects from the natural environment as well as from dumpsters, yard sales & thrift stores. Throw in a few string & percussion instruments from around the world – and around the house. Connect this with a dash of technology – sometimes plugging in electric bedpans or 3 stringed thing-a-ma-jigs, a kickboard and, occasionally, looped landscapes of sound – all created in the moment by Joe. Toss wildly re-made covers and original material rhythmically with some corny jokes, a little theater thickener, a pinch of audience participation and – voila! Welcome to “The Joe Show.”
Jawbones, Canjoes, and Cakepans;
The Spokenfolk of Joe Craven
Joe Craven is not just an entertaining musician and fashion insultant with a penchant for the mischievous, he is a teacher and student all at once and he will draw you into his performance as though you’re part of the show itself. Joe is always looking for the next expression or breath or object to make music with. His gift of gab is unprecedented and his musical knowledge impressive. Joe’s openness and expression of gratitude for the gifts he shares make it all the more fun for him to share with his audience. ‘Everything Joe touches turns to music,’ says David Grisman, who Joe played with for almost 17 years. No one who saw Joe wring a percussion concerto from his garbage-bag raincoat during a downpour at the Strawberry Music Festival could disagree.
The man recognizes no boundaries. He just won’t accept that no one is supposed to be that good at everything.
Emcee Joe CravenJ
Joe provides unique Emcee hosting to a range of events, including music festivals, corporate events and variety shows. Widely known as a Master of Ceremonies at roots music festivals, Joe’s clients include Delfest (12 yrs.), Telluride Bluegrass (40th & 41st), Live Oak Music Festival (21 yrs.), Millpond Music Festival (17 yrs.), Hangtown Halloween Ball, Safety Harbor Songfest, The Huck Finn Jubilee, The Atlanta Celtic Christmas and Davis, California’s Home For The Holidays (15 yrs.) California Nut Festival (7 yrs.). Safety Harbor Songfest (3 yrs.) Guest emcee work includes the music festivals of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Kate Wolf, High Sierra, Grey Fox, Rockygrass, Old Settlers and Strawberry.
Joe is also a eulogist for funerals, retirements, anniversaries and other important occasions and he is deputized to officiate weddings.
Way more than someone who introduces acts upon a stage, Joe Craven brings storytelling, poetry, theater, the right amount of information cradled in appealing oration AND a fearless fashion sense to the role of Master of Ceremonies.
Emcee Extraordinaire and Most Poetic Emcee
Joe, Walter and Mamadou have assembled an EP that perfectly fuses the music of West Africa and the American folk scene.
Joe Craven – Award winning creativity educator, former museum curator, actor, festival emcee, Director of RiverTunes Music Camp and Co-Director of Wintergrass Youth Academy, multi-instrumentalist Joe Craven’s love of performing music has put him in many musical genres and alongside many musicians, from Jerry Garcia, David Lindley and Jason Marsalis, to fusion banjoist Alison Brown and groups such as Psychograss and The Horseflies. For 17 years, he was percussionist and violinist for mandolinist David Grisman. With presenting workshops and lectures in Costa Rica, to thousands of school kids in Scotland, from house concerts to major festivals and from Carnegie Hall to busking at Cannery Row – Joe’s at home and loving every minute.
Master kamale ngoni player, Mamadou Sidibe is from the Wassoulou Region of Mali, West Africa. Twenty-five years ago Mamadou played a groundbreaking role in transforming the music of this region from it’s origins in hunters’ sacred melodies- -played on six string donso ngoni (hunter’s harps)– to a music of philosophical observations, politics and daily life. Mamadou was one of the first to expand the instrument’s range with two extra strings, creating the popular kamale ngoni. He has recently enhanced the kamale ngoni even further, by creating 10 and 12 string kamale ngoni. Mamadou, with artists Coumba Sidibe, Oumou Sangare and Ramatu Diakite, spread the new sounds through recordings and performances in Europe, Africa and the United States. Not only is Mamadou an award winning musician and master of the kamale ngoni, he is accomplished on several other African instruments as well.
Fingerstyle guitar ace Walter Strauss draws on American roots, world music traditions, and jazz to create a sound uniquely his own. An accomplished composer and lyricist, he has also transposed the intricate music of the kora, a 21-string West African harp, to the guitar to create mind-bending renditions of traditional African melodies. Walter has toured with kora virtuoso and 2010 Grammy winner Mamadou Diabate, and with kamal ngoni (hunters harp) master Mamadou Sidibe, both of Mali. He has recently returned from Mali where he met and played with some of the great West African musicians, and he is currently working on a duo project with Sidiki Diabate, son of the legendary kora master Toumani Diabate.
The Joe Craven Trio
This CD has it all, and at a level of energy and polished execution that can’t help but draw you in…one of the best folk/jazz albums of the year…that we can’t get enough of. This is one of those genre breaking CDs we insist you add to your permanent collection.
Joe Craven, a remarkably intuitive musician, has swapped licks with many folks ranging from exotic string wizard David Lindley and violinist Vassar Clements to multi-instrumentalist, virtuoso Howard Levy and blues slide guitar master Roy Rogers to Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia and in groups from Psychograss to The Horseflies. For 17 years, Joe was percussionist and fiddler for mandolinist David Grisman and he was a featured guest with fusion banjo player Alison Brown and her Quartet for almost 7 years. “Virtuosic” says the Los Angeles Times and Jambands.com declares “The man recognizes no boundaries. He just won’t accept that no one is supposed to be that good at everything.”
John R. Burr is a rare pianist who combines jazz technique with a genuine love for folk music. He’s played and recorded with the likes of Maria Muldaur, Paul Chambers, Robben Ford, Paul Brady and fusion banjo player Alison Brown, The Philadelphia Weekly said, “Pianist extraordinaire John R. Burr has the most sparkling style since former Allman Brother-turned-Rolling Stone hired hand Chuck Leavell.” Discology wrote, “John R. Burr ranks with the best of the elegant jazzers.”
Kendrick Freeman’s continuing study of the drums has resulted in a versatility and skill that crosses many musical borders both as a player and teacher. Kendrick encountered African music in 1976 and has studied and performed with artists from Congo, Ghana and Haiti ever since. “From outside to in the pocket, Kendrick brings insight and understanding coupled with contemporary feel and precision.” – Pulsewave. A founding member of the project ToKenKi, Kendrick also worked for five years as Musical Director with San Francisco’s premiere Haitian dance company Group Petit La Croix, and maintains a connection to Haitian culture in New York and San Francisco.
I have reviewed albums before that qualified as diverse, but I don’t know if I have ever heard one like this. You are in for a pretty thrilling musical ride.