Category: Music/Video

Chris Berry solo set Saturday, Jan. 6

Sausage Grinder’s Chris Berry will play a solo set on Saturday, Jan. 6, at 8 p.m. at TRIP in Santa Monica, opening for The SWING RIOTS Quirktette. It’s $10 and 21 and over only.

It’s been a while since Chris has played a solo gig in the L.A. area, so come on by and hear some old time blues and banjo music, and then stick around for the SWING RIOTS, who play traditional jazz and swing from lots of different traditions with some Balkan and Eastern European flavor thrown in.

Special thanks to Pat McSwyney of the SWING RIOTS for organizing the gig and for being a great friend to Sausage Grinder (and an occasional guest Grinder too)!

Here’s a video of the gig, courtesy of the Swing Riots’ Nicholas Casillas:

Sausage Grinder is back!

Sausage GrinderHello everybody! It’s been a while but after a not-so-brief hiatus, Sausage Grinder is back with more of our usual foolishness. We’ve been practicing away in the Old-Time Tiki Lounge and have some new tunes and a new lineup.┬áDavid Bragger and I (I being Chris Berry) are extremely pleased to have the lovely and talented Susan Platz join us on fiddle, washboard, banjo and vocals. We’ve been playing with Susan for a couple of years now and are thrilled that she is joining us.

We’ve got some new shows lined up, although we can only tell you about two of them right now. First is the 8th Ever Old-Time Social, which runs from May 16-18. David and I will be teaching fiddle and banjo workshops in the afternoon of Saturday the 18th and then Sausage Grinder will be playing a square dance along with the Hollywood Bollweevils, Jessie Milnes, Emily Miller and Friends and callers Susan Michaels and Amy Hofer. It’s a great time and we hope to see you there.

Then on Sunday, May 19, we’ll be playing from 3:30-4:30 at the Dance Barn at the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Festival. This event needs no introduction — come out and jam, compete, what have you. Watch out for rattlesnakes and drink plenty of water.

If you’re wondering what happened to our Grinders Emeritus, Bobby and Margie moved far far away so Bobby can continue his genetic experiments, and Matt and Josh have moved on to play with Nick Bachman and Max Ward in King Baby — they’ll be playing Friday night at the Old-Time Social so be sure to go and check them out!

We’ll have some more gigs to announce very soon; until then here’s a little taste of Sausage Grinder 2.0. Enjoy!

It’s Goleta time again

Sausage Grinder will be playing a square dance at this year’s 40th Annual Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention in Goleta, CA on Sunday, October 9. The festival starts at 10, the dance is around noon, and David and Chris will once again teach fiddle and banjo workshops later in the afternoon. And we’ll be hanging out and playing all day so come say hello.

This is one of the premier old-time events in Southern California (well, Southern-ish) – don’t miss it. There’s a great line up this year including Laurie Lewis, Eric and Suzy Thompson, Peter Feldmann and more, plus of course the contest. You can read more at the convention website or like their Facebook page.

Here’s some footage of the Grinder from last year jamming with Steve James, plus a bonus track of Chris on the contest stage with our friend Jennifer Fitzpatrick playing a little Memphis Minnie. See you there!

Happy birthday Mel Durham

Mel Durham, 2003
Mel Durham, 2003

It occurred to me this evening that Mel Durham would have been 97 years old a few days ago if he were still around, so I thought I’d share one of his tunes with everybody.

If you don’t know who Mel is, he was a fiddler and bass player originally from Southern Illinois who lived in Southern California from after WWII until he died in 2008. He was a lot of fun to be around and play with and shared a lot of his music with a lot of people in the old-time community around here. You can read a lot more about him and see more pictures here.

This is a tune he called “Brush Creek,” and chances were good that if you were starting out in G, Mel would play this tune first. Somehow this tune got left off Mel’s “Skillet Fork” CD (which you can buy here) although I know it was recorded during those sessions. This version is from 2000 from a few recordings I made with Mel at his house in Lakewood on one of those little Tascam 4-track cassette recorders. Sound quality isn’t the best, and I think I just stuck the fiddle on one side of the mix and the guitar on the other when I transferred these onto my computer, but Mel’s in good form on this tune.


Brush Creek

Fiddle tunes from Jim Bowles

David taught these two fiddle tunes from Kentuckian Jim Bowles at the Los Angeles Old-Time Social last month. He plays the tunes up to speed and then gives ’em to you slow with the bowing and a bunch of cool playing tips.

Christmas Eve — ADAE tuning — key of D

Kate’s Got a Wooden Leg — GDAE tuning — key of G

Find out about lessons from David on our contact page.

Read more about Bowles here.