>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.