Words by Ginelle Cloar :: Images by: Pat Johnson
Doobie Brothers, Taj Mahal, Little Feat Lisa Loeb :: 09.01 & 09.02 :: B.R. Cohn Winery :: Sonoma, CA
Leave it to a bunch of Doobie Brothers fans to cause a winery to run out of wine! Well not really; however, the winery did have to dive into a special back-up cellar to provide all the parched fans with more black water that is commonly referred to as red wine.
Bruce Richard Cohn is the owner of the winery, longtime manager of the Doobie Brothers, and my new-found employer. The B.R. Cohn Winery recently had their 19th annual music concert charity event. Every year, the winery provides entertainment for music and wine lovers alike, while also helping those in need. All proceeds from these generous shows are donated to the National Veterans Foundation and various local children's charities. This year, the winery decided to add an extra day of music to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The very least I could do was donate my time and a day of wages to deliver this message to you.
Doobie Brothers :: B.R. Cohn Winery
This non-profit concert takes place on 90 acres of pure bliss. The winery has a natural amphitheatre that provides an extraordinary panoramic view of the monstrous Sonoma Mountains and rolling hills filled with plump cabernet vines. A terraced grass hill seats about 3,000 attendees and is surrounded with eight acres of 140 year-old Picholine olive trees. This ambient piece of property is no less than heavenly.
Lisa Loeb was the first one to take the stage with her wholesome voice and guitar in hand. During "I Do," she warmed up the crowd by cracking jokes with social commentary. Without a doubt, Lisa created a peaceful yet fun tone for this Valley of the Moon weekend.
Lisa Loeb :: B.R. Cohn Winery
The Turtles, who took the stage after Loeb, were one of the first pop rock bands starting out in 1967. Mark Volman and Howard Kaylan (AKA Flo & Eddie) have worked in the music biz for over 40 years. They've done everything from working with Frank Zappa to composing music for The Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake. "Surf Rider" into "Wipe Out" was a clever blend.
The highest moment of the day was the traditional reggae anthem "Get Up, Stand Up" by Little Feat, but it was the "Dixie Chicken" that had Kenny Gradney (Little Feat's bassist) splattering the crowd with unruly finger-popping base thumps. In the middle of one of the most complex jams that I've heard Little Feat create, I heard notes of "Scarlet Begonias" just before a classically smooth "Skin It Back."
My co-workers took the stage next and auctioned off signed guitars and artwork and announced the winners of various raffle drawings. I believe the item receiving the highest bid was the guitar signed by Tom Petty, which went for around $6,000.
Kenny Gradney :: B.R. Cohn
As the Doobie Brothers began their set "Taking It to the Streets" had Pat Simmons doing Michael McDonald's vocals, and Skylar (bassist) was sitting down on an amp but holding his guitar as if he was jamming out on an upright bass. When I ran into Skylar later, I mentioned how I thought that was a rare pose, and he replied, "Yeah, I call that my easy upright." Aromas of an earthy green variety filled the crisp and dry air - the Doobies were in session. "Rockin' Down the Highway" and "Jesus is Just Alright" had fans dancing so hard, they were spilling their drinks and knocking into other people. Like a fine wine, the Doobies have only gotten better with age.