The Hum: A bluegrass fix not far from home

It seems like every time I turn around I see Jenny Scheinnman. She was at Humbrews dropping tasty fiddle licks on some Absynth Quintet tunes at their CD release party. Then there she was collaborating on music at a wild house show with free jazz cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum (on tour as he bicycled down the coast).

TheHumScheinnman was once an integral part of New York’s downtown jazz scene, but lately her own music is in a modern folk vein, with what she says are “clear lines to American folk tradition.” The original fiddle tunes she’s been playing sound like something you might have heard on an Appalachian back porch or coming from the old country — they’re, well, timeless. And the songs on her new record really ring true, like one of my faves, the title track on The Littlest Prisoner. Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Arcata Playhouse, Jenny plays songs from her new album, then teams with Americana songwriter Robbie Fulks plus Robbie Gjersoe on resonator guitar, all playing heartfelt roots music. Should we mention that Jenny will be playing with Robbie and Robbie Sunday at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park?

It was 25 years ago when Leftover Salmon, Boulder’s infamous “polyethnic Cajun slamgrass” band, came up with what was, then, a new idea: Take a jamming bluegrass band and add a drummer. It worked, this merger of new/old time pickin’ and rock ’n’ roll. With a hiatus or two, guitarist Vince Herman and mandolinist/fiddler Drew Emmitt have been at it since. Salmon is about to drop a new album, High Country, and is playing a series of two-night runs starting at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, Thursday and Friday, Oct. 2 and 3.

Also on Thursday, Buffalo Field Campaign rolls into town for an evening of film, music and discussion on the plight of that iconic American bison, particularly the ones around Yellowstone. Local singer/guitarist Goodshield Aguilar has been key in the campaign; he’ll be there with his music partner Mignon Geli on wooden flute. Radical ecologist/deep thinker Derrick Jensen will share his thoughts. The event starts at 7 p.m. in HSU’s Native American Forum, Room 162 in the BSS Building.

HSU’s Associated Students hosts another in its (free) Arts in the Quad series at noon Friday with more whirling vinyl via the duo now known as #MattNAdam. (BTW, if you’re wondering about the weather in these outdoors Quad shows, the recent El Ten Eleven show was moved indoors to the South Lounge.) The Missing Link DJs have another gig on campus next week, Monday, Oct. 6, in the Kate Buchanan Room. They’re an opening act for the visiting Renegades of Rhythm Tour with illustrious headliners DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist, “celebrating the legacy of hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaata,” aka “The Godfather.” The Bronx-born pioneer of the record party, Bambaata, is giving his massive “40,000 strong vinyl collection” to Cornell University, and Shadow and Cut are on the road playing those records, reverently, and “not just soul and rap, but also soca, calypso, dub, salsa and more.” Also on the Rhythm Tour, another hip-hop duo Edan and Paten Locke.

Them Travelin' Birds, a “rambling acoustic folk duo from Oakland,” with a guitar and a banjo, stops in their travels for a Friday night in Six Rivers Brewery. Their stated goal is to “encourage people get out of their boxes, believe in themselves and live the lives they want to live with reckless abandon.” Sounds like a plan.

Safety Orange is in the WAVE (in Blue Lake Casino) Friday and Saturday with some SoCal beach/rock/reggae, definitely with roots in the Long Beach Sublime sound, although this band is from further down the coast in San Diego.

Mad River Brewery is celebrating its 25th anniversary Saturday, Oct. 4, with a big ol’ party and special “beer release” with “brew master signed bottles.” The party is all day (11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.) with music starting at 3 p.m. with pan band Steel Standing, then Miss Massive Snowflake at 5:30, concluding around 8-ish, with Humboldt reggae pioneers Graffiti, reunited for the occasion.

Time for more something-grass on Sunday at Arcata Theater Lounge with The Dry Branch Fire Squad, a veteran straight-ahead bluegrass band led by Ron Thomason who was once part of Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys. Yes, they’re on the coast for Hardly Strictly. Also on the bill The Blackberry Bushes Stringband down from Seattle for a “Hardly Strictly Afterparty” in the Bay Area followed by Sunday’s ATL show. The Bushes are younger and less strict than the Fire Squad.

Meanwhile at the Van Duzer Sunday, it’s funny business from Nick Offerman, a comic/TV star aka Ron Swanson on Parks and Recreation. Offerman describes himself as “a foul-mouthed, less-educated Garrison Keillor,” which means CenterArts warns the program contains mature content “recommended for 18 years and up only.” (Not even PG-13?)

Tuesday, Oct. 7, at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, EPIC presents The Wild & Scenic Film Festival, a collection of environmental and adventure films that “illustrate the Earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment,” according to the EPIC folks, part of their work to “protect and restore the redwood forest ecosystem.”

Those expecting jazz may be surprised when CenterArts presents Branford Marsalis: Well-Tempered at the Van Duzer next Wednesday, Oct. 8. Branford is touring with his saxophone and the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia playing from the classical repertoire, Baroque works by Bach, Handel and Vivaldi among others.

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