We're less than a month away from this year's installment of High Sierra, which takes place
in Quincy, CA from July 3 - 6 featuring a stacked lineup headlined by Widespread Panic,
STS9, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Beats Antique and Trampled By Turtles. One of our favorite parts of
the long-running festival are the Artist Playshops and
today organizers have announced this year's Playshops.
All Playshops will be held in the High Sierra Music Hall and among the highlights of the
list are "Del @ 75" featuring Del McCoury, "Drooling Banjos" hosted by The Carolina
Chocolate Drops, a "Jimi Hendrix Jam" led by Sean Leahy, Bombino and Fareed Haque's
"Global Blues Guitar Conversation," "Skerik's Laboratory" and "Guitarmageddon: Southern
Here's the full rundown:
11:00am – 11:45am ~ Little Bears Run! Jump! Dance! Sing!
Moms and dads, bring the kids over for a special morning family musical experience! Blue
Bear School of Music teacher Pamela Parker will show parents and kids the joys of rhythm,
harmony and movement. (Held in the Mineral Building.)
12:00pm – 1:00pm ~ America Jam
Blue Bear School of Music instructors Sean Leahy and Mark Schuh will lead you through some
classic songs about America. Come play and sing on some old classics and new gems on our
nation's birthday! Bring an instrument. Chord and lyric sheets provided. (Held in the
1:00pm – 2:00pm ~ Del @ 75
Del McCoury's Hall of Fame career is still going strong, and in this, his 75th year, he's
taking the extra time to celebrate at some of his favorite festivals. Join American roots
music legend Del McCoury and his sons Ronnie and Rob for an intimate workshop/Q&A where
they discuss Del's legacy, share some tunes as the McCoury Trio, and attempt to answer any
questions you throw at them.
2:45pm – 3:45pm ~ Drooling Banjos - Carolina Chocolate Drops
The Carolina Chocolate drops are talkin' about banjos! Join this wonderful ol' time string
band from North Carolina as they discuss and demonstrate the different styles that go
along with banjos and how that shapes the music, as well as a bit of the history behind
this most American of instruments. They'll have with them a minstrel banjo, two five
string banjos, and a four string (plectrum) banjo.
4:30pm – 6:00pm ~ High Sierra Pick Extravaganza - Hosted by Steep Ravine
The High Sierra Pick has become one of the annual staples of the festival and each year
features many of the finest pickers and bluegrassers appearing here. This year's pick will
be hosted by Steep Ravine, a group of hugely talented newcomers that can hang with the
finest of company. C'mon down to the pick and see for yourself!
11:00am – 11:45am ~ Little Bears Music (See Friday; held in the Mineral
12:00pm – 1:00pm ~ Jimi Hendrix Jam
Blue Bear teacher Sean Leahy will lead you through songs by the ORIGINAL original - Jimi
Hendrix! From the obvious to the obscure, come wrap your head, hands and heart around some
of the most beautiful music ever created. Bring an instrument. Chord and lyric sheets
provided. (Held in the Mineral Building.)
12:00pm – 1:00pm ~ Global Blues Guitar Conversation feat. Bombino and Fareed Haque
Bombino, who hails from Niger, West Africa and was raised as a member of the nomadic
desert dwelling Tuareg, will be joined by Fareed Haque, a guitar virtuoso of Pakistani and
Chilean descent and professor of Jazz and Classical Guitar Studies at Northern Illinois
University, for an improvisational global guitar conversation rooted in blues traditions.
This playshop marks the very first meeting of these two amazing guitarists.
1:45pm – 2:45pm ~ The Importance of Being Ernest
Ernest Ranglin is a legendary Jamaican guitarist who helped create the rhythmic guitar
style heard on early ska and rocksteady records that came to define the form. His
percussive solos incorporate jazz and rhythm 'n' blues inflections, and at age 82 he's
still a joy to behold onstage. In this soon-to-be historic session, Ernest and his band
will be joined by special guest Bill Frisell, one of the most versatile and stylistically
inventive guitarists alive.
3:15pm – 4:00pm ~ The World According To Steve Poltz 2.0
Singer-songwriter, guitar-playin' storyteller, high caliber entertainer Steve Poltz is a
force of nature. You can't stop him, you can only hope to contain him. Better yet, there's
really no point trying to contain him, because he's at his best when there are no limits
(self-imposed or otherwise). He wrote Jewel's hit "You Were Meant For Me," he's
sung the National Anthem at SF Giants games, and he's performed "Friend Of The
Devil" with his good friend and Giants third base coach Tim Flannery. Go see him.
You'll laugh, you'll cry and be glad you did.
4:45pm – 6:00pm ~ Skerik's Laboratory
Skerik, the ever-present and stylistically nimble saxophonist (who, when you stop and
think about it for a moment, has played on more stages with more people than anyone in the
history of High Sierra), will lead a session that will embrace the experimental side of
music, building organically and gradually leading to a band jam built on solid common
ground. There's always great anticipation as to who just might show up to Skerik's Lab,
but we do know for sure that guitarist Stanley Jordan will be stopping by to participate.
Safety glasses optional.
11:00am – 11:45am ~ Little Bears Music (See Friday; held in the Mineral
12:00pm – 1:00 pm ~ Tom Petty Jam
Tom Petty is a master of telling stories with simple chord progressions! In this session,
Blue Bear teacher Mark Schuh will help all sing and strum through some simple yet classic
Tom Petty tunes. Bring an instrument. Chord and lyric sheets provided. (Held in the
12:00pm – 1:00pm ~ Rhythm and Harmony
This playshop centers around the joy of vocalizing and harmonizing, and features some
outstanding up-and-coming singers. The T Sisters, a Bay Area sibling vocal harmony group
(reminiscent of a modern day Andrews Sisters), will be joined by the adventurous and
riveting vocal stylings of Heather Maloney and her current touring partners, the talented
indie folk quartet Darlingside, who have roots as an a cappella group from their days at
1:30pm – 2:30pm ~ The California Honeydrops: Countrified Blues and Jug Band Roots
The California Honeydrops have developed into one of the finest feel-good, blue-eyed soul
bands of the land, complete with horns and the capacity to raise the roof of any party.
Here The Honeydrops will strip it down with a more minimalist set and explore their
earlier street-corner/jug band roots as they bust out the soul tub string bass, washboard
3:00 - 3:45pm ~ Solo Bass Excursion with Charnett Moffett
Charnett is a pioneering virtuoso bassist who has played with folks such as McCoy Tyner,
Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders, among many, many others. Charnett is here as part of
Stanley Jordan's band and will share his unique and expansive approach to music and bass
playing with us in this special session. Prepare to be mesmerized.
4:45pm – 6:00pm ~ Guitarmageddon: Southern Rock
This year we turn it up to 11! Join the 11th Annual Guitarmageddon at HSMF as we celebrate
Southern Rock. Musical director Sean Leahy along with Josh Clark and a slew of other
monster shredders will put their spin on classics by Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers,
Marshall Tucker Band and much more.