David Kerns is a Napa-based freelance journalist and novelist. His "Live in the Valley" column is a continuing exploration of Napa's live music scene. It runs on Thursdays in the Arts and Entertainment section of the Napa Valley Register. An extensive archive of his work can be found at DavidKerns.com.

Cellist Rebecca Roudman leads a musical double life. While she is a serious symphonic cellist with experience in a number of Bay Area orchestras, her first love is Dirty Cello, her multi-genre quartet. They return to Blue Note Napa for two shows this Friday evening, Oct. 5.

LOS ANGELES — Over the past few years, The Dustbowl Revival has been making a name for itself with a vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds. Critics have proclaimed that this eclectic eight-piece “would have sounded utterly at home within the hallowed confines of Preservation Hall in New Or…

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Year after year, Porchfest has gotten significantly bigger. This year, event leadership scaled it down, or at least slowed its expansion. They’ve been successful to a large extent, shortening the hours, keeping the number of bands at last year’s level, while improving access to a number of s…

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Amid an army of performing musicians at the BottleRock Music Festival last weekend, three musically distinct artists exemplified rock’s tradition of merging musical excellence with an abundance of flashy extroversion. Two relative newcomers, Tarriona “Tank” Ball of Tank and the Bangas and Lu…

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Amid the bejillion dollar industries of pop, hip-hop, modern country and geriatric rock ‘n’ roll, there are still young folk music bands with fans. Call it folk rock, indie rock, whatever, The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons and The Decemberists and The Lumineers have large and loyal fol…

Brett Dennen is a Renaissance man – a singer-songwriter, a painter, a winemaker, an elementary education innovator and an endearingly nerdy dancer. Dennen and his band perform at the JaM Cellars Ballroom at the Napa Valley Opera House on Thursday, March 22.

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Keola Beamer and Henry Kapono are the best of both worlds of Hawaiian music – Beamer, the traditional slack-key master, singing in Hawaiian and typically hula-accompanied, and Kapono, the plugged-in occasional rocker. These popular artists will perform at Blue Note Napa, two shows on Friday …

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Just as 2014 was the year of the earthquake, 2017 will surely be remembered in Napa Valley as the year of the wildfires. Our music community came out in force in November and early December with a series of benefit performances on behalf of fire victims.

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Born and raised in Kotor, Montenegro, 14 year-old Larry Vuckovich migrated with his family to San Francisco in 1951. From the start, his talent and love of jazz piano have been complemented by timely and fortunate relationships with mentors and fellow performers who have elevated his growth …

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Pat Monahan, the lead singer and enduring original member of Train, has for several years dedicated proceeds from recordings, concerts and the band’s associated wine businesses to charity.

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Kansas City has long been a jazz mecca, the hometown of luminaries like Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Big Joe Turner. Veteran vocalist Kevin Mahogany grew up in that rich musical environment, and he brings his trio to the Napa Valley Jazz Society monthly showcase at Silo’s on Sunday after…

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This is a calendar, but equally an honor roll of Napa Valley venues, promoters and artists who are pitching in for the relief of victims of the recent fires, an acknowledgement of the outpouring of local energy and generosity on behalf of the victims.

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Scheduled performers include Lanterman, Laura Benitez, Jimmy Duhig, Brian Coutch, Sara Rodenburg, Zak Fennie, the Sorry Lot, Ordinary Sons, Krooked, Dirty Cello, Amber Snider, Suzanne Kramer, Donovan Plant and many others.

Napa has been regularly blessed with appearances by the best Hawaiian musicians performing today. Makana, a No Hoku (Hawaiian Grammy) winner and widely considered a slack key guitar master, returns to Napa for two performances at Blue Note on Thursday, October 12.

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For the second consecutive year, BottleRock Presents will produce a concert series for the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open at Silverado Resort and Spa. The music lineup features Gavin DeGraw on Thursday, Oct. 5, Weezer on Friday, Oct. 6 and Goo Goo Dolls on Saturday, Oct. 7. The concerts are include…

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The Napa Valley Performing Arts Foundation has been been making grants supporting music-related local performances for less than two years. Its complicated history, though, began well before that. “It’s a young thing,” board member Howard Walker said, “but with old roots.” Walker and board p…

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Livingston Taylor is many things – singer, songwriter, storyteller, author, pilot, professor and more. For a half century he has been creating and performing music and enriching the lives of his audience and his students. He will perform two shows a night, Aug. 25-27, at Blue Note Napa.

Nine-time Grammy nominee and Billboard chart-topping saxophonist Dave Koz is no stranger to the Napa Valley. A regular at the Mondavi summer festivals over the years, Koz returns this month to the Uptown Theatre in Napa. He will perform “Side-By-Side” with legendary bassman and vocalist Larr…

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Before taking center stage with his own trio three years ago, pianist Larry Fuller spent decades refining his craft as a sideman with some of the most prominent artists in jazz. He broke in with vocalist Ernestine Anderson, performed with drummer Jeff Hamilton for six years, was the last pia…

Porchfest is a crazy quilt of musicians, bands of every size, age, gender and genre. For some, it’s a routine gig, for others it’s a one-off. Ross Rubin, the founding member and lead singer of Jealous Zelig, said that the event in 2014 was his band’s birthplace. They will play their fourth c…

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To their fans' delight, The Wailin’ Jennys are touring again and have laid down the tracks for their fifth full-length album, their first since 2011’s “Bright Morning Stars.” The popular Juno Award-winning folk trio will be in concert this Sunday, June 4, at the Uptown Theatre in Napa.

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Chris Shiflett has been a Foo Fighter for 17 years, typically identified as the lead guitarist, but more comfortable with the notion that he is one of three co-equal axe men. Foo Fighters is Dave Grohl, lead vocals and guitar; Shiflett and Pat Smear on guitars and backing vocals; Nate Mendel…

BottleRock CEO Dave Graham, typically a practitioner of MBA-speak, was in his office last week waxing metaphorical about the 2013 inaugural festival under the previous founders. “I would liken it to a birth,” he said. “A birth is amazing, it’s beautiful. At the same time, it’s not pretty.

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California native Holly Near has been performing and speaking up for social change for 40 years. An outspoken advocate for peace and justice, she has recorded 24 albums as lead artist, and participated in dozens of collaborations with similarly-committed musicians, including several with Wea…

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Jazz pianist Keiko Matsui has been a popular international performer, composer and recording artist for over three decades. Her music has been been variously described as smooth jazz, jazz fusion and new age. She brings her electric band to Blue Note Napa for eight performances, Thursday, Ap…

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Only 22 musicians have been inducted more than once into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. David Crosby has received rock’s highest honor twice, as both a founding member of The Byrds and of Crosby, Stills & Nash. The veteran singer/songwriter will appear with a new band at the Uptown Th…

Since his 1985 breakout album, “Magic Touch,” Stanley Jordan has been regarded as one of the premier jazz guitarists in the world. Playing across multiple genres, the four-time Grammy nominee employs a unique approach to his instrument, a technique that creates layers of music played simulta…

Folk music was the main course at Blue Note Napa last Saturday night. The headliners were 17-time Grammy winner Bela Fleck, widely considered the finest banjo player in the world, and his singing, clogging, banjo-picking wife, Abigail Washburn. Armed with seven banjos, their scene-stealing t…

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Ottmar Liebert has been one of the recording industry’s most popular instrumental artists for more than 25 years. An acoustic guitarist combining jazz and Spanish influences, his “Nouveau Flamenco” music has had broad international success.

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The conventional opener to a Jake Shimabukuro story is that he is the best ukelele player in the world. For the sake of completeness, there is this one other fellow, a Canadian named James Hill. If you are a uke fan, do check him out. That said, Shimabukuro is a miraculous player and a joyfu…

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Tuck Andress and Patti Cathcart have been a couple in music and in life for almost 40 years. Their eclectic individual experiences, from classical to soul to funk to rock, were preamble to the jazz merger of his electric guitar and her alto voice. Tuck & Patti will play two shows on Sund…

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Five-time Grammy nominee Karrin Allyson is a jazz singer and pianist whose comfort zone encompasses a range of genres, from jazz standards to samba to blues to folk music and more. She plays Blue Note Napa, two shows a night, Thursday, Jan. 12 through Sunday, Jan. 15.

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It was another eventful and abundant musical year in Napa Valley—City Winery out, Blue Note in, BottleRock and Porchfest bursting, the Uptown Theatre and Festival Napa Valley and the chamber music programs rolling along, and much more.

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Brian Culbertson is a prolific jazz and R&B artist and record producer, with 15 albums released over the past 22 years and an abundance of awards, mostly in smooth jazz categories. He is best known locally for his Jazz Getaways, early summer Napa Valley music festivals that began in 2012…

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Clarence Greenwood, whose professional name is Citizen Cope, is a Memphis, Tennessee-born singer/songwriter and record producer with a multi-genre palette and a strong indie identity. He performs this Saturday night at the Uptown Theatre in Napa.

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What turns a budding 12-year-old classical pianist into a jazz man? San Francisco’s Ken French credits his family. His big sister exposed him to Eddie Harris and Les McCann’s historic “Swiss Movement” concert album, his uncle gave him Miles Davis’s “Kind of Blue” and his grandmother gave him…

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Freddy Cole’s distinguished career as a jazz pianist and vocalist spans a half century. As a member of one of America’s most prominent musical families, Juilliard graduate Cole has released 32 albums, is a Best Vocal Jazz Album Grammy nominee, a Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee and a memb…