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.
Blue Bear School of Music (insert logo at top) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) San Francisco legacy business which has been teaching people to play the music they love since 1971. The belief that music changes lives is at the core of everything the school represents. With music education programs offered at Fort Mason and at more than 20 public and private schools, community centers and homeless shelters, Blue Bear strives to close the gap by bringing music education to communities where programs have been reduced or completely removed.
10:15 – 11:15am: “Sing A Simple Song”
Presented by Blue Bear School of Music where we welcome players of any age and ability, so please come for the knowledge, and stay for the fun! This will focus on classic and contemporary simplistic songwriting from artists such as Wilco, The Rolling Stones, Nirvana, and Neil Young. Hosted by Mark Schuh (Blue Bear) with Eric DiBerardino (Tea Leaf Green).
12:00 – 1:15pm: Magic In The Other & Friends Present Music For The Revolution: Songs That Move The People and Shape The World
From Seeger to Dylan, Marley to Sly Stone, Nina Simone to Rage Against The Machine; many iconic artists have chosen to elevate their message and make powerful statements relating to politics and social movements. Join Magic In The Other as they dive through the decades and honor some of the most potent and dynamic message songs. Joining MITO will be an all-star lineup of special guests including Jennifer Hartswick and Natalie Cressman (Trey Anastasio Band), Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, Lech Wierzynski (The California Honeydrops), Nathan Moore, Steve Poltz and more. Prepare to be energized, inspired and elated!
1:45 – 3:00pm: GIVE THE DRUMMER SOME: A retrospective of ’70’s funk drummers.
Join drummers Dave Watts (Motet), Michelangelo Carubba (Turkuaz) and Jason Hann (SCI), along with special guests Delvon Lamarr Trio, Skerik and members
Artist Playshops of The Motet and Turkuaz as they deep dive into the canon of American funk and put their influences on display in this special playshop session that’s guaranteed to be in the pocket.
3:45 – 5:00pm: SURPRISE ME MR. DAVIS!
Surprise Me Mr. Davis is the on again off again rock’n roll band comprised of troubadour extraordinaire Nathan Moore and The Slip, the innovative trio comprised of Brad Barr on guitar, Andrew Barr on drums and Marc Friedman on bass. It was here at High Sierra where Surprise Me Mr. Davis was formed during a late night show featuring Nathan Moore and The Slip — with longtime friend Marco Benevento joining in on keyboards. SMMD have appeared many times on the stages of High Sierra and while the Brothers Barr have moved north to Montreal and established themselves as the Barr Brothers, the guys relish the opportunity of making music together whenever possible. We’re delighted the stars have aligned again to be able to present yet another High Sierra appearance of SURPRISE ME MR. DAVIS…
5:45 – 7:00pm DRINKING FROM THE WELL WITH THE CALIFORNIA HONEYDROPS
The Honeydrops musical goulash brings influences from many generations of American roots music into a sound that’s both deeply familiar yet remarkably fresh. Come join the guys as they each take turns sharing some of their individual influences that helped shape that collective sweet soul Honeydrops sound.
10:15 – 11:15pm: “Celebrating The Songs Of Bob Dylan”
Presented by Blue Bear School of Music where we welcome players of any age and ability, so please come for the knowledge, and stay for the fun! This playshop session will take an in depth look at the catalog of one of the most celebrated songwriters in American history. Hosted by Mark Schuh (Blue Bear) with Eric DiBerardino (Tea Leaf Green).
12:00 – 1:00pm: GUILTY PLEASURES: Songs You Hate To Love (featuring Mimi Naja of Fruition and the Cris Jacobs Band)
We all have “Guilty Pleasure songs we hate to love, songs that we can’t help but sing along to at the top of our lungs when they come on the radio…. In the time it took to read that sentence you’ve probably had at least three come to mind! Join Mimi Naja and the Cris Jacobs Band as they play the most earnest version of live cheeseball karaoke you may ever hear. How can something seemingly so bad be soooooo good! Come join in the outlandish fun of this playshop which promises to have you singing along and leave you with at least one memorable song stuck in your craw for the rest of the day.
1:45 – 3:00pm: LEBO’S HIGH SIERRA RAMBLE: 50 in the Rearview ~ Songs from 1968
In 1968 no one musical style dominated the music scene but there was a slew of soul, English blues-rock and American rock’n’roll. Join Lebo and special guests (members of Fruition, Scott Pemberton, Cris Jacobs, Steve Adams, Ezra Lipp and more) as they take us on a musical trip back to ’68 via the High Sierra musical time machine.
3:45 – 4:45pm: Skerik’s Improv Session – Featuring Skerik with special guests
Skerik can step into any musical setting and he’ll find a way to contribute and make the proceedings that much more enjoyable. That’s a testament to his versatility and command of his instrument, the saxophone. Skerik’s ability to lead and orchestrate a group of players who don’t have much history (if any) of playing together is always lots of fun to experience. Step into the Improv lab and join Skerik and a slew of great players in an improv jam that’s bound to surprise and entertain.
5:30 – 6:45pm: CLASSIC ALBUM HOUR: LITTLE FEAT’S WAITING FOR COLUMBUS
Come celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the release of this seminal live album! Recorded during seven performances in August of 1977, this influential double album has inspired generations of fans and musicians alike. Step back in time and relive the moment of being at one of those shows this legendary album was recorded at. Led by Simon Kurth and his band Mescalito, and joined by a talented cast of special guests (Holly Bowling – Ghost Light, Dan ‘Lebo’ Lebowitz – ALO, Ezra Lipp – Magic in the Other, Cris Jacobs and more), this ensemble will faithfully recreate all your favorite songs from this amazing live record. Oh High Sierra, come join the band if your willin’, and don’t let your feats fail you as you get down with your inner dixie chicken under that Spanish moon.
10:00 – 11:00am: “Sunday Blues”
Presented by Blue Bear School of Music where we welcome players of any age and ability, so please come for the knowledge, and stay for the fun! Here’s a chance to learn about and jam on various eras and styles of the blues, covering songs from Robert Johnson through John Lee Hooker, as well as classic blues artists such as Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Hosted by Mark Schuh (Blue Bear)
11:15 – 12:30pm: GOSPEL IN THE HALL
A new twist on a High Sierra tradition. Take a break from the Sierra sun and rejoice in the cool comfort of the High Sierra Music Hall. Bo Carper (New Monsoon) & Lebo (ALO) host an all-star lineup that will inspire, entertain and uplift you with songs that draw from the deepest well of American music and dip into Blues, R&B, Bluegrass and more. You don’t have to be righteous to love this set, but if you’re not careful you might leave feeling joyful!
12:45 – 1:45pm: IN THE MOMENT WITH STEVE POLTZ
If Zen is simply to be completely alive, then Steve Poltz is a Zen Master. Be it through study and discipline or by random tomfoolery, we really have no idea how he developed his uncanny ability to be in the moment like he has, we’re just grateful to be able to be in it with him. Join the inimitable Steve Poltz for an hour of storytelling and song, a joyride you won’t soon forget.
2:00 – 3:00pm: NEW ORLEANS PIANO SESSION (Ivan Neville, C.R. Gruver, New Orleans Suspects)
2018 marks what would have been the 100th birthday of Henry Roeland Byrd, A.K.A. Professor Longhair, one of the all-time greats from a long lineage of incredible New Orleans piano players. We’ll celebrate Fess and others who brought the distinctive New Orleans piano sound to the world with Ivan Neville and C.R. Gruver two New Orleans keyboard players who’ll pay homage to those that influenced them.
3:30 – 4:45pm: HIGH SIERRA BLUEGRASS PICK Hosted by GRATEFUL BLUEGRASS BOYS
The High Sierra bluegrass jam always features some of the finest pickers the festival has to offer. This year’s pick is no exception and will be hosted by the Grateful Bluegrass Boys whose members include Aaron Redner (Hot Buttered Rum) along with James Nash (Waybacks) and others. The open jam session will happen after a special presentation of the Grateful Dead’s album Workingman’s Dead, which will be performed in its entirety.
5:30 – 7:00pm GUITARMAGEDDON – Guitarmageddon honors Tom Petty
Guitarmageddon closes out the High Sierra Playshops on Sunday afternoon once again featuring a plethora of incredible guitarists and supporting players. This year the obvious choice was to honor the late Tom Petty, whose rocking spirit and unparalleled songwriting make for a perfectly fitting vehicle for one of the festivals funnest playshops. Led by Eric DiBarardino (Tea Leaf Green) Guitarmageddon is a virtual who’s who of great players (Lebo, Scott Pemberton and more) and is one playshop not to be missed.