Enjoy a special evening with an all-star aggregation of Bay Area pickers whose roots run deep in the California folk, old-time and bluegrass traditions.
Eric Thompson took up the guitar as a teenager in Palo Alto in the early 1960's, at a time when very few folk guitarists were playing more than basic rhythm guitar. Among his earliest bands were the Black Mountain Boys (with Jerry Garcia and David Nelson) and Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions. He quickly became nationally known as an exceptional lead flatpicker, winning the World Championship Cup at Union Grove, North Carolina with the New York Ramblers (which also included David Grisman and Winnie Winston).
This band allows Eric freedom to explore the music he loves along with some of the Bay Area's top musicians. Kleptograss borrows freely from Appalachian mountain traditions, Puerto Rican jibaro, Western swing, Greek rembetikas, Irish reels, American blues, the music of Django Reinhardt and other disparate influences.
Kleptograss features noted banjo master and two-time Grammy Award nominee Jody Stecher, a mainstay in folk music since the mid-'60s. His continuing musical explorations have covered bluegrass, traditional old-time and Indian classical music, and he is regarded as one of America's leading traditional folk artists.
Champion fiddler (and occasional stand-up comedian) Paul Shelasky brings to the band a vast repertoire of American fiddle tunes. He has been featured on more than 40 recordings and, for a dozen years, was a member of the Good Ol' Persons. Paul Knight is a veteran bass player who has played and recorded with Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Sandy Rothman and others. You also may recognize Paul for his work as a sound engineer at many bluegrass/acoustic music events in the region.
Rounding out the band for this show will be special guest David Nelson, who started his musical career playing folk and bluegrass in the Palo Alto area, most notably as a member of The Wildwood Boys with Jerry Garcia. David went on to be a founding member of the New Riders of the Purple Sage and tours regularly with his own band, David Nelson & Friends, as well as with NRPS. From time to time he also performs with Papermill Creek Rounders, a bluegrass/early country band he formed with his long-time friend Lowell "Banana" Levenger.
Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear Eric's all-star band on May 17th in Petaluma.