Early California Bluegrass

>Does anyone know when bluegrass first appeared in California,
>that is when the first California bluegrass band made an appearance?
>Many thanks in advance.

You actually have two questions there, since “first bluegrass” and “first
California BG Band” are two distinct possibilities.

Bill Monroe traveled to California in the mid 1950s, playing venues like
the Santa Anita Racetrack, Hollywood’s Palamino Club, and the Ventura Co.
Fairgrounds. This was before bluegrass made it big in the colleges (starting 1961-62), as Bill’s audiences out here in the 50s was mainly blue collar workers:the oil bizz, aerospace model and airframe builders, and home construction.

(BTW: this leads into an interesting question I’ve been thinking about:
How much did Bill’s acceptance by the urban college and folk crowds affect
his music? Certainly he recorded some “folk” material he never would have
in earlier times, but he also was the only “first generation” band leader
to reach out to urban, northern, and West coast musicians to contribute to
the sound of his music.) Sorry for the digression, but I spend a lot of
time thinking about questions like this.

Early TV in Los Angeles featured shows like “Cal’s Corral” with So. Calif.
Car Dealer Cal Worthington (remember “My Dog Spot”?), who did a lot to further the bluegrass music scene on the air. Early bands featured on Cal’s show (and car commercials) were Don Parmely’s “Golden State Boys”, and a group known as “The Country Boys”, later to evolve into “The Kentucky Colonels”.

In the Bay area, the first bg band I remember would be the Redwood Canyon
Ramblers, but there may have been others.

About Peter Feldmann

Peter Feldmann has long been a musical mainstay in Santa Barbara and Southern California. Besides actively performing bluegrass and old time music with a variety of groups, Peter is also known as a bluegrass historian, collector, music consultant, teacher, and producer, both of live concerts and radio/tv programs throughout the area. His music has been heard in clubs, concerts, saloons, universities, pre-schools, at weddings, wakes, parties, barn-raisings, calf-ropings, rodeos, auctions, fund raisers, wine tastings and chili cook offs. Peter founded Santa Barbara's Old Time Fiddler's Convention (1972), UCSB's Old Time Music Front (1964), and The Bluebird Cafe (1971). Through these and other outlets, he was the first to bring many prominent folk, blues, and bluegrass artists, including Bill Monroe, Mance Lipscomb, The Stanley Brothers, The New Lost City Ramblers, Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Rose Maddox, the Balfa Brothers, and many others to the Santa Barbara area. Peter also helped others access the music by teaching privately, and in group classes for Santa Barbara Continuing Education, UCSB Extension, and McCabes Guitars. He was the first on the West Coast to produce and market instruction Lps - three on How To Play Country Fiddle, and one each on Clawhammer Banjo, and Maybelle Carter Style Guitar. He still presents lectures on country music history at UCSB, Santa Barbara area libraries, and for various interest groups, festival workshops, etc. In 2006, he presented his monograph titled "The Big bang Of Bluegrass Music" (describing the origins of bluegrass 1938 - 1946) to the worlds first International Music Symposium at the University of Kentucky at Bowling Green. He has also been very active in radio, television, and film work, producing weekly shows on country and bluegrass music over a 21 year period on various commercial and public stations. Peter currently maintains three music-related websites, a music blog, and an entertainment service company, "BlueGrass West!", based in the Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California. Peter performs tunes and songs from the heart of America's musical treasure chest. His shows can include fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Well-known as a historian and teacher, Peter is first and foremost an entertainer, sharing his respect, energy and love for the music with his fellow musicians, friends, and audiences.
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