Artist playshops are a delight to fans and musicians alike. These one-of-a-kind, fun sets, whether it be a collaboration with other artists, a tribute session celebrating the work of an important musician or a theme based set have become part of the High Sierra experience. It’s an opportunity for fans to see musicians in a unique setting, and it’s also a chance for artists to stretch out and shine some light on an artistic side of themselves that doesn’t get to come out in public that often. All Playshops are in the High Sierra Music Hall unless otherwise indicated.
10:15 – 11:15am ~ BLUES JAM
High Sierra & Blue Bear School of Music presents
All players,all ages and all levels are encouraged to show up with your instrument (electric or acoustic) and jam along to some traditional blues classics! Sean Leahy will lead you through a set of Blues classics from Robert Johnson to BB King and beyond. Come learn about the inner workings of one of the most timeless American genres while having a blast playing along as well!
11:45am – 12:45pm ~ A Stanton Moore Drum Academy Master Class
Featuring Stanton Moore of Galactic, presented by stantonmooredrumacademy.com
Drummer Stanton Moore may best be known for the funky drums he plays with Galactic but he has always pursued his insatiable thirst for music by participating in additional musical endeavors such his own jazz trio or other projects like Dragon Smoke, the New Orleans brass band Midnite Disturbers or Garage A Trois to name a few. Stanton is also an educator as well and recently started the Stanton Moore Drum Academy which is designed to provide educational content for players of all skill levels as well as other instructors. He’s been doing solo drum “playshops” for years and they’re always engaging, informative and entertaining, so come on by and keep a little time with one of our favorite drummers!
1:15 – 2:15pm ~ Shady Grove: The Music of Doc Watson
Featuring Billy Strings and his band
When was the last time you heard someone referred to as a “Whiz Kid”? Well, if you’ve ever seen Billy Strings play guitar you know the term fits him perfectly. Billy, raised in Michigan and now residing in Nashville, is a twenty four year-old phenom who is one of the most blistering flatpickers in all the land. Join Billy and his crackerjack band as they celebrate the legend of Arthel “Doc” Watson, the man who arguably has had the most profound influence on the way the acoustic guitar is played as a lead instrument in folk, old-time, and bluegrass music today!
2:45 – 3:45pm ~ Soul Time! A Celebration of the Music of Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings
Featuring Con Brio with special guest Erica Falls (vocalist for Galactic)
Sharon Jones was a powerhouse of a soul singer with a captivating presence who could sing funk, blues and soul with the best in her field. She passed away last November at the age of 60. Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings rose to fame out of the “revivalist” movement that started about years ago recreating the funky soul stylings of the mid-sixties to mid-seventies. Who better to pay tribute to Sharon Jones than SF’s own Con Brio, a seven man outfit with diverse backgrounds but who share a love of the early the pioneering soul sound. Add Singer Erica Falls from Galactic into the mix and the roof just may come off the Music Hall during this session!
4:15 – 5:15pm ~ Heavy Metal Hoedown
Featuring Bo Carper (New Monsoon) & Lebo (ALO) w/ special guests Eric McFadden (Artist-at-Large) & Mimi Naja (Fruition)
No need to like Metal (or Hoedowns) to love this Playshop! Join Lebo and Bo Carper as they peel back the outer layers of “Metal” and focus on the “Heavy”; the deep musical character of this profoundly influential genre. Acoustic (not necessarily bluegrass or folk) interpretations of the earliest and heaviest cuts of all time from legends like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Soundgarden and many more, will make skeptics & headbangers alike feel that they’re hearing this music for the first time. The approach will be lighthearted at times, but by no means a parody. And will take the opportunity to pay respect to the late Chris Cornell, whose soaring voice took the heaviest songs to the highest of emotional heights.
5:45 – 6:45pm ~ The Anatomy Of A Band
Featuring Tank & The Bangas
Tank & The Bangas have experienced a quick rise to notoriety after winning NPR’s Tiny Desk concert earlier this year. After meeting six years ago at an open mic night in their native New Orleans, they have organically built a distinct and eclectic sound that combines elements of jazz- poetry, soul, hip-hop, funk and folk musics, combined with a visually quirky and commanding stage show. Join Tank & The Bangas for a special playshop as they delve into their artistic process and share how these seemingly disparate artists found fertile common ground by coming together as a band.
10:30 – 11:30am ~ Grateful Dead Jam
High Sierra and Blue Bear School of Music presents
All players, all ages and all levels are encouraged to show up with your instrument (electric or acoustic) and jam along to the Grateful Dead! Sean Leahy, Eric DiBerardino & friends will lead you through a set of Dead classics spanning the length of their entire career. Come sing,dance and play along to some of your favorite Dead songs on one of the most fun stages at High Sierra!
12:00 – 1:00pm ~ PUNK VS. FUNK (OF THE SEVENTIES KIND)
Featuring Eric McFadden with special guest Jerry Joseph, Bobby Perkins (bass, Carolyn Wonderland), Skerik, and Queen Delphine
Punk rock and Funk music both were revolutionary forms when they came to be. Both were reactions to societal conditions though the expressions were quite different. Both were music of the people and took a stance against status quo and stood for civil justice, equality and freedom of expression. Such artists as The Clash, the Sex Pistols, Sly Stone, George Clinton and Funkadelic changed the musical landscape, popular culture and the world forever. Join Eric McFadden and friends as they straddle the two genres and bring them together in what promises to be a raucous (and funky) good time!
1:30 – 2:45pm ~ The 40th Anniversary of Terrapin Station – presented by JamBase
Featuring Lebo and special guests; emcee, Jay Blakesberg
Terrapin Station was the Grateful Dead’s 1977 studio album, their ninth since the bands self titled debut in 1967. The album was their first for Arista Records and was produced by Keith Olsen (who produced Fleetwood Mac’s iconic album of the same name that featured hits (“Over My Head”, “Rhiannon” and “Landslide”). Terrapin Station included three songs that would become staples in the Dead’s repertoire, “Estimated Prophet”, Samson and Delilah” and the three sections of the Terrapin Pt 1 suite collectively known live as “Terrapin Station”. Join Lebo, (ALO) who has spent many a night playing at the famed Terrapin Crossroads and a cast of players as they recreate the entire Terrapin Station album in its entirety.
3:30 – 4:45pm ~ Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More: A Gregg Allman Retrospective
Featuring The Guitarmageddon Band with special guests Carolyn Wonderland
Words can’t describe or measure the impact and importance Gregg Allman has had on Southern rock music and the jam scene that grew from the roots he and his bandmates planted over forty years ago. He was one of the great blues-rock singers of all-time and his B-3 playing cut deep into the soul. Join The Guitaramgeddon band and special guests celebrate the music of Gregg Allman and the Allman Brothers as they revisit some of their finest timeless classics.
5:15 – 6:30pm ~ High Sierra Bluegrass Pick hosted by The Lil Smokies
Featuring The Lil Smokies with special guests The Brothers Comatose
The High Sierra ‘Pick’ continues to be one of most highly anticipated jams of the festival each year. It’s that time when the finest acoustic pickers on site get together and let it rip. This year’s pick will be hosted by The Lil Smokies, a five man band from Missoula, Montana and the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Momentum band Of The Year in 2016. This versatile quintet are strongly rooted in bluegrass but bring a wide range of music influences and inspirations to the stage which should make for a rousing PICK session. They’ll be joined by their friends, The Brothers Comatose and others.
10:30 – 11:30am ~ Funk Jam
High Sierra and Blue Bear School of Music present
All players, all ages and all levels are encouraged to show up with your instrument (electric or acoustic) and jam along to some funk classics! Sean Leahy, Eric Diberardino & friends once again lead you through a set spanning the history of funk/r&b/soul and dance music. Come wrap up the 2017 HSMF jam classes in a funky fashion.
– 1:00pm ~ Bloody Mary Ball: Hosted by Gene Evaro, Jr.
By Sunday morning we all need a little jump start to kickoff the last day of the fest and what could hit the spot more than combing the highly energized, funky soulful stylings of the Gene Evaro Jr Band with a Bloody Mary party. Come down to catch this eye-opening band from Joshua Tree, CA where they know a thing or two about combining the natural forces or art and soul. We have a feeling you’ll come out feeling rejuvenated and inspired!
1:30 – 2:30pm ~ Skerik’s Improv Lab
Featuring Skerik, with guests Karl Denson, members of Snarky Puppy, Bokante, Grupo Fantasma Polyrhythmics and more
Thankfully saxophonist Skerik has become a fixture at High Sierra every year. He has been involved in some of the festival’s most epic musical moments and is always ready to jump into just about any musical situation. His ability to play in any setting is a testament to his deep talent, his grasp and passion for various musical forms, seemingly endless. His ability to orchestrate and add some semblance of structure to what starts and builds through improvisational jamming is always a joy to experience. Join our fearless band leader Skerik along with a host of other players on this year’s adventure inside the soft, gooey middle of the jam.
3:15 – 4:30pm ~ Survival of the Freshest: A History and Evolution of the Deep Funk Revival
Featuring Polyrhythmics with special guest Karl Denson, Skerik and more
Join Polyrhythmics as they trace the history and evolution of the Deep Funk Revival from its early 90s hard driving and organic gritty grooves that came from both sides of the Atlantic through the stylistic offshoots of jazz-funk and Afro-beat in the latter part of the decade that spawned a new generation of contemporary artists in the 21st century. Come throw down some fresh, Polyrhythmic funk!
5:15 – 6:30pm ~ Guitarmageddon: Summer Of Love
Once again Guitarmageddon closes out the HSMF playshops! This year the theme is the Summer of Love. Featuring a wide range of songs released in 1967 that spoke to a generation in turmoil and somehow remain fresh and relevant 50 years later. Sean Leahy & Eric DiBerardino host a veritable who’s who of some of your favorite HSMF performers through a set that will bring you back to 1967. Geddon has been a HSMF crowd favorite for more than a decade and this year will not disappoint! And you never know who you will see onstage!