Black Crown Stringband – Emily Bonn and The Vivants – Toshio Hirano

  • July 11, 2019
  • By Admin: sfbluegrass
  • Comment: 0

Black Crown Stringband is the latest supergroup to emerge from the fertile San Francisco Bay-Area bluegrass and old-timey scene. Bringing together founding members of the Earl Brothers and the Mercury Dimes, the band first appeared at the 2008 Berkeley Old-Time Convention Stringband Contest where their hard-driving sound earned them first prize. Black Crown combine the best elements of old-time stringband music and Bill Monroe’s ‘high lonesome’ sound to create a unique fusion that is at once old-school and brand new. Whether playing a festival, concert or your private event, Black Crown Stringband delivers high energy music with soul and serious skills.

Emily Bonn and The Vivants  Bay Area based Emily Bonn & The Vivants perform original foot stompin’ tunes about riots, hollers, and hopping train cars. Largely inspired by the energy of old-time dance tunes, honky-tonk country and Western swing, The Vivants play their own brand of American roots music, shining up dusty melodies with modern arrangements. In former incarnations, Emily honed her songs performing in San Francisco BART stations, Belgian prisons, and at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Emily is joined by stellar players, Jody Richardson (fiddle, feet, vocals), James Touzel (upright bass), and Isaac Bonnell (accordion, guitar).

Toshio Hirano well remembers when he first heard the music of Jimmie Rodgers as a college student in Japan. “That was probably the most important day in my life,” he says. By day, a teaching assistant in San Mateo; at night, Hirano, 55, works the hipster bars of the Mission District singing old-fashioned American country music, especially the songs of the old Singing Brakeman himself, Jimmie Rodgers. “It’s a great homage that someone would cultivate such a realistic representation,” says Ralph Peer II, son of the man who discovered Rodgers, chairman and CEO of peermusic. “And it’s not tongue-in-cheek. It comes from true admiration and shows better understanding, I think, than most Americans about Jimmie Rodgers’ importance in our culture. — Joel Selvin, Chronicle Senior Pop Music Critic

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