UPDATE (September, 2015)

This is a report on what I've been up to, musically, since my January 2014 Bulletin. The February 2014 concert at the Art House with Kajsa Ohman, Johnny Harper, Markie Sanders, and Patrick McKenna was well-attended and musically fulfilling. Since that event I have spent some time contributing pedal steel and dobro tracks on a few recordings, most notably Dave and Chappell Holt. Occasionally I sit in for vacationing steel and dobro players on concert and dance dates. In particular, when Don Burnham's smaller band, The Bolos, has a gig that Bobby Black can't get to, I often replace him, playing dobro.

Kevin Russell leads two or three bands that appear mostly in Sonoma and Marin Counties north of San Francisco. In August of 2014 I became the regular pedal steel player in his Old School Country Band, playing the second Tuesday of each month at the Twin Oaks Tavern in Penngrove <www.twinoakstavernpenngrove.com>. With eight pieces, this is the largest band I've ever played in, and frankly one of the best. Markie Sanders plays bass and Ray Bierl is the fiddler. There's also a keyboardist, lead guitar, and rhythm guitar, and four different band members contribute lead vocals. An excellent fried chicken dinner is served and we play for dancing from 7-10 pm. There's a full-service bar and no cover charge!

There is one non-musical project I want to mention. Almost ten years ago I met Haruo Aoki, a U.C. Berkeley emeritus professor of linguistics, and discovered that he was writing memoirs of his fascinating life. I was so impressed with these stories that I volunteered to help him combine them into a continuous, publishable narrative. Born in Korea in 1930, at the age of 15 Haruo was in Japan being trained to fight against an American invasion when the atom bombs were dropped and the Emperor surrendered. Haruo was eventually chosen to travel to the United States in 1953 for post-graduate studies. In 1960 he drove himself to northern Idaho to study the language of the Nez Perce Indians, and his memoirs dwell on how he developed close friendships among the people. Eventually Haruo became the predominant authority on the language, publishing a definitive grammar, dictionary and collections of narratives. The 302-page STORIES FROM MY LIFE, which includes 52 illustrations, is now available as a PDF file that can be read as an electronic book. Alternatively it can be printed out at a commercial copy center for under $15. There are no plans to seek commercial distribution, but you can e-mail me if you'd like a copy of the PDF.


BULLETIN (January 18, 2014)

Starting the New Year Right
—Two gigs + a YouTube blast from the past

The new year is starting at a brisk musical pace for me, with two local gigs and two 1982 performances going up on YouTube.com.

Saturday, February 1, Three sets at the Art House, 8-10 pm.
   2905 Shattuck, Berkeley — (510) 548-1761


The evening will start with a set featuring Johnny Harper playing and singing with Patrick McKenna on bass. Next will come a set with me singing my own compositions, accompanied by Johnny Harper and Markie Sanders.

The last and longest set will feature KAJSA OHMAN, accompanied by Johnny and Patrick with me on dobro and pedal steel. Kajsa (KY-sa) is a unique and impressive songwriter, singer, and guitarist. The set will be drawn from an album of her own songs called No Need to Hurry that was produced by Johnny. I promise that you'll be intrigued and amused by Kajsa's gutsy, insightful takes on her life in Santa Barbara and back-country Montana. Her music can only be classified as Americana, ranging from contemplative acoustic pieces to potent electric rhythms.

On Saturday, February 8, from 2–4 pm, at Down Home Music
   10341 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito — (510) 525-2129

I'll be playing two sets with Ray Bierl and Markie Sanders. In recent years the three of us have played together in Swinging Doors, an electric honky tonk band. Now we're working as a quieter act (acoustic guitar, dobro, and Fender bass)

1982 Cambridge Folk Festival (UK)
Finally, I'm very pleased to announce the appearance on YouTube.com of two songs from the 1982 Cambridge Folk Festival (UK), performed by Mitch Greenhill and myself. One song is Mitch's “Time is Draggin’ On” and the other is the country classic “Satisfied Mind” and the sound is pretty dang good.



BULLETIN (October 8, 2013)

On Saturday, October 19, Swinging Doors will return to Studio 55 in San Rafael (www.studio55marin.com) to play two sets. Showtime is 8:00 pm. This room is a fine place to watch and listen to music, and there's space for dancing, too.

The club's website has posted two live videos from our previous gig there, and details about the location are available. It's on East Francisco Blvd. near central San Rafael.

Sadly, after this date, Swinging Doors has decided to disband for the foreseeable future. Proud as we are of the group, we have not been able to secure an economic niche in the San Francisco Bay Area. So we urge our friends and fans to join us at Studio 55 and help us go out in a blaze of glory. We expect this gig to demonstrate how much we've accomplished together in our three years of rehearsing and performing as a band.



BULLETIN x 4 (February 20, 2013)

SWINGING DOORS gigs and photos

On Saturday, March 9, at Studio 55 in San Rafael (www.studio55marin.com), Swinging Doors will play a long set at 8:00, splitting the show with Buck Nickels and Loose Change. This is a 150-seat room with great sound.

We recently played two sets for a fundraising soiree on the “High Noon” theme. We went over well with our own arrangement of the song Tex Ritter sang on the movie's soundtrack—“Do not forsake me oh my darling.” And we debuted our new steel-rich version of “A Good Woman's Love.” (Steel players—I have a chord chart I can e-mail you.)

New band photos by Mike Melnyk are now online at www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm. There is a nice mixture of group and individual shots. Just right-click to enlarge or download any of them. Check out www.mikemelnyk.com to see why he's locally The Guy when it comes to folk, bluegrass, and country music photography.

KAJSA OHMAN's new CD, “No Need to Hurry,” recently released
In the summer of 2007 I helped to make this 13-song album, working with Kajsa, Johnny Harper, and Gavin McGeorge, plus piano and drums on many tracks. Kajsa is a powerful singer and guitarist, and her songs are unique and often slightly twisted. I especially urge songwriters to check out this well-performed music on Facebook, at www.CDBaby.com, or at kajsaohman.wordpress.com.

CHAPPELL AND DAVE HOLT are working on a CD, “Stone and Fire”
I really enjoyed laying down pedal steel and reso guitar tracks for Dave and Chappell at Randy Rood’s El Cerrito studios on February 15. Dave sang and played piano in The Frontier with Mitch and me 40 years ago. He and his wife are a happening duo and songwriting team. Their work is clever and joyful, and you can check them out at www.chappellanddaveholt.com.

“PORCHLIGHT SESSIONS” premiered near Nashville last September
This new video documentary about today's “community and culture of bluegrass” contains a lot of good music and interesting commentary from musicians and fans of many stripes. I was interviewed on-camera by producer-director Anna Schwaber, and about a dozen of my sage remarks made the final cut. It's not yet generally available to the public, but you can visit www.porchlightsessions.com for the latest info.



BULLETIN (June 4, 2012)

SWINGING DOORS will be playing at Thee Parkside in San Francisco, July 1 from 4–7:00 pm. We're honored to be chosen for their series of Twang Sundays, and we plan to live up to the billing. The address is 1600 17th Street at the foot of Potrero Hill between I-80 and I-280. Easy parking!

We'll also be appearing at Ray's Lounge in Martinez on the following Sunday afternoons: June 10, July 8, and August 19, from 1:00–5:00 pm. This a friendly place with full bar service, just enough room to get comfy together for four whole sets—and we won't blast your ears off. The address is 709 Ferry Street in downtown Martinez, and parking is no problem here, either.

Come on June 10 and welcome Lloyd Ferris to his first gig as our new drummer. He's a strong singer, too!

For more information about Swinging Doors, with photos and five songs you can hear online and download to the drive of your choice, hop over to http://www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm.


BULLETIN (October 30, 2011)

Friends and fans:
As of today, if you go to www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm and click in the right space, you can access five recordings by our honky-tonk band, Swinging Doors. Last month Lou Judson recorded them live on the Freight & Salvage stage (no audience), and now everybody can hear what we’ve accomplished with all our rehearsing.

Swinging Doors began with my yearning to sit and play the pedal steel guitar again, something I now get to do with a seriously grooving rhythm section (Markie and John on bass and drums, Ray on flattop guitar), a twangy Telecaster (Steve Baker), hot lead singers (Ray or Markie), and people on a dance floor shaking booties or rubbing bellies.

Here are the five songs you can hear or download:
1 — Blues Come Around
(Hank Williams) Lead vocal by Ray Bierl
2— Your Good Girl's Gonna Go Bad
(B. Sherrill & G. Sutton) Lead vocal by Markie Sanders
3 — Careless Love Again
(Mayne Smith) Lead vocal by Mayne Smith
4 — Home of the Blues
(Johnny Cash) Lead vocal by Ray Bierl
5— You’re Still On My Mind
(George Jones) Lead vocal by Steve Baker

What we're good for:
We enjoy working for concert audiences, but for us the big fun is playing for private celebrations like weddings and holiday parties. I'd also like to point out that tapping the great honky-tonk tradition makes us ideal for special occasions like amicable divorces, remarriages, bartender school graduations, 21st birthdays, wakes, and anniversaries of going on the wagon. Remember, with our music you get to touch while you're dancing—which you can do cheek to cheek or you can turn around and face each other, as we used to say.

So please come visit www.maynesmith.com/Swinging-Doors.htm, pick up on some sounds, and see if you wouldn't like us to play at your nightclub or family celebration soon. The rest of the website has some interesting stuff, too: photos, essays, discographies, and a bibliography.



BULLETIN (September 12, 2011)

Here’s where the Swinging Doors band finally swings into action with a dance gig at the Occidental Center for the Arts in western Sonoma County. We’ve been woodshedding for many months, developing a rich repertoire of songs largely from the honky-tonk tradition. Our song list runs from Hank Williams through the likes of George and Tammy, Johnny Cash, Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Charlie Rich, to the Amazing Rhythm Aces (ca. 1950-1975) — with extensions into songs from Tom Waits, Richard Brandenburg, and moi. We've made a point of using a good variety of rhythms for serious dancers, too.

I’ve been looking forward eagerly to playing pedal steel for dancers again, riding on the tight rhythms of Markie Sanders (bass) and John Hanes (drums); backing up vocals by Ray Bierl, Steve Baker, and Markie; and trading leads with Ray’s fiddle and Steve’s Telecaster. We sing a lot of vocal trios, too. And if you like real honky-tonk music, I think when you see and hear Swinging Doors, you’ll have as much fun as we do.

DETAILS: 8–10:00 pm, Saturday, September 24 at the Occidental Center for the Arts. Suggested donation $10. Refreshments for on sale. Located west of Sebastopol in Occidental, California — off the Bohemian Highway at Graton Road. For further information, call 707-874-9392 or visit the website: occidentalcenterforthearts.org.

P.S. Keep your eyes on the SWINGING DOORS page at www.maynesmith.com/swinging-doors.htm. Pretty soon we'll be uploading some demo songs as MP3 files you can listen to and download!



BULLETIN (March 4, 2011)

Friends, after 10 months out of the public eye, I'll be playing in a new electric band called Swinging Doors at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse on Thursday, March 10. The show will also include two other fun groups, Loretta Lynch and Los Train Wreck, and dancing space will be provided. You can go to www.freightandsalvage.org for directions and advance tickets.

The name Swinging Doors is meant to tell you that we focus on country honky-tonk favorites from the third quarter of the 20th century. I've had great fun rehearsing in my garage with my old friends Ray Bierl (vocals and fiddle), Markie Sanders (bass and vocals), Steve Baker (lead guitar and vocals), and John Hanes (drums), mostly playing the pedal steel. It's a strong bunch of musicians and we've chosen a fine batch of songs to move you and inspire your booty to shake. From now on we'll be available to play for weddings and other community celebrations as well as clubs and bars. I'm really looking forward to playing for dancers again.

Here's our first promo picture, photographed and PhotoShopped by my wife, Gail:

Other News

Chris Strachwitz of Arhoolie Records recently issued a book accompanied by four CDs covering a wide variety of sounds he recorded between 1954 and 1971. The collection is entitled HEAR ME HOWLING! Blues, Ballads, & Beyond, and it contains not just the excellent country, Cajun, and blues music Chris captured in the 1960s, but also a number of local performers. My sister, Janet, is represented. Also included are two cuts originally released in 1963 that were written and sung by Toni Brown, with Pete Berg on electric guitar and me playing a steel-bodied National slide guitar. The book was ably researched and written by Adam Machado. I have, of course, suitably updated the discographical information available at MayneSmith.com.

At the same time I was able to add a listing for my work on the sound track of an hour-long film called The Highly Exalted, released in 1985 but still available online at www.thehighlyexalted.com. It's about some of the last Northern Nevada cowboys to work a full-scale roundup from a horse-drawn chuck wagon. Jamie Kibben (on keyboards) directed the music and Alan Senauke added his guitar and mandolin work to my dobro playing.


BULLETIN (April 23, 2010)

Our forthcoming Wednesday-night appearance at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley will have special significance for Mitch Greenhill and me.

Our Fortieth Year. It was a little over 40 years ago that Mitch and I first teamed up as sidemen for Mark Spoelstra. Enlarged, this ensemble became the Frontier Constabulary, and then the Frontier after Mark left. Finally, we started gigging as a duo in 1976. On May 5 we'll be playing original compositions and arrangements from all phases in our collaboration, from 1969 to 2010.

Tribute to Mark Spoelstra. Mark Spoelstra was a stellar singer, songwriter, and 12-string guitarist. He died of cancer in March 2007. Mitch and I are working up one of our favorite Spoelstra songs, a masterpiece of humorous self-parody called “Don Juan's Turn to Bow.”

Dave Holt to Sit In. Dave “The Kid” sang and played piano with the Frontier in its final era, and he's agreed to do four songs with us at the end of our first set. It's going to be hot!

Pedal Steel Guitar. You don't often get to hear a pedal steel guitar in a duo context. I'm doing some woodshedding for this demanding situation, and I think it will be pretty special.

Back Where We've Never Been. Our 1986 cassette album of this name is just now for sale in a new “green” CD package. It's our only recorded work that was performed live in a cozy studio, direct-to-digital with no overdubs or edits of any kind. And it contains songs we haven't released in any other form. Visit the CDs AVAILABLE page of this website to find out more and order this CD re-issue.

Our First Time at the New Freight. This will be our first time performing at the new, vastly enlarged and improved Freight & Salvage, now located at 2020 Addison just a block from the downtown Berkeley BART station. If you haven't seen it, you'll be knocked out! For details, visit www.freightandsalvage.org.


BULLETIN (February 24, 2010)


For those in the L.A. area, Mitch Greenhill and I will be appearing in a show that starts at 3pm on Sunday, February 28 in West Hollywood. Sponsored by Public Works Improvisational Theatre, the (strictly musical) performance will occur at the Crescent Heights United Methodist Church, 1296 North Fairfax (at Fountain). Also on the bill will be Mitch and his friends Peter Spelman and Bob Applebaum in the debut performance as the all-acoustic, all-instrumental group, String Madness. Bob and Peter will help us in our set, too. A $10 donation will cover Mendocino Organic Wine Tasting as well as two sets of music.

Then on May 5 at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse (8pm), Mitch & Mayne will play two sets billed as a 40th anniversary celebration. (It's actually been longer than 40 years, but who cares?) We're going to include a number of our early repertoire as well as some quite recent material. For details, and to check out the educational offerings at the Freight's new home at 2020 Addison go to www.thefreight.org. The new facility, located a block from the downtown Berkeley BART station in a growing arts district, is very attractively designed with wonderful sound, over 400 cushy seats, and ample toilet facilities for women.

Website improvements

I've been busy working on enhancements to MayneSmith.com.

There's a revised edition of “A Shuffle in Charlie: Technical Communications Among Improvising Musicians.” The essay that I posted last October attracted lots of compliments, requests for permission to distribute hyperlinks and hard copies, and responses to my request for additions and corrections. The description of how musicians create arrangements on the fly and make a jam sound like a rehearsed concert was informative to non-performers and fun for experienced players. Valuable suggestions from Peter Wernick, Mitch Greenhill, Julian Smedley, Markie Sanders, and Herb Steiner and make the revision worth reading to those with professional interests. There's also a seven-page Glossary with thumbnail explanations of jargon words like “Diamond,” “Double shuffle,” “Head arrangement,” “Nashville number system,” “Potatoes,” “Push,” and “Walking waltz.” A NOTE ABOUT HYPERLINKS: The revised essay has the same html filename as the previous one, so existing links from other websites will still work.

Ray Bierl wrote a third verse for “My Dancing Days” several years ago, and now I don't sing the song without it. I've now added it to the text posted in SONG LYRICS AND NOTES.

Back in 1966 I wrote a song called “I'm Not Your Man,” played it for a few years, and then let it drop out of my active repertoire. Since the website went up, three different guys have written me to make sure they have the correct words and melody. Thank you Rolly Brown, Jim Cerano, and Charley Walter, for keeping the song alive and letting me know about it. All the other songs in SONG LYRICS AND NOTES have been recorded and released, but now I've added “I'm Not Your Man” to that section and included an MP3 file that you can hear online and download if you want. The recording is a demo from the late 1960s when my finger picking was in good shape and there was no wart on my vocal cords.

BULLETIN (October 22, 2009)

Musicians' secret signals now exposed!

Friends, in the PIECES OF OUR MINDS section I have just posted an essay titled “A Shuffle in Charlie: Technical Communications Among Improvising Musicians.” I hope you'll enjoy it.

You can read the essay online or download a PDF version that you can print out regardless of your operating system. In printed format, the article is about 9 pages long, followed by a 4-page glossary of jargon used by musicians in the country, blues, folk, rock, and jazz worlds.

Most of the information in the essay will be familiar to experienced musicians, but I've never seen it written down before. I will welcome all questions, comments, and corrections. If I get a lot of feedback I will produce an improved and expanded version.

Because Smith-Harper Express has been disbanded, I'm not sure where I will focus my music-playing energy next, but in the meantime I am directing extra attention to songwriting and I'm excited about the results.

My best wishes to you all, especially those who are struggling in these hard times.

BULLETIN (September 17, 2009)

I'm very sad to announce that Smith-Harper Express has been disbanded, for reasons that are unsuitable for public discussion. To my deep regret, we will not be able to appear at the North Richmond Shoreline Festival on September 26, 2009.

BULLETIN (August 1, 2009)

There's lots of good stuff coming up soon!

The fourth annual Cur-ville Dog Days Festival will be held in Kenwood, just outside Santa Rosa, on Saturday, August 22. This is a wonderful daytime event which Mayne and Johnny Harper have played on three previous occasions. It’s really not far for Bay Area fans to travel — an hour and a half unless you hit a traffic jam. And it’s really worth the trip! For $15 in advance you can hear eight different, high-quality roots/Americana acts. These include Smith-Harper Express with a bunch of newly developed songs … Solid Air, a fabulous wife-and-husband duet with brilliant original songs (one of our favorite groups) … the irresistible Michael McNevin, whose beautiful voice and immaculate finger-picking guitar work will enthrall you as he spins his vivid story songs of small-town life and colorful characters ... infectious high-energy country music by Doug Blumer ... lovely trio harmony singing by a new group, Three At Last ... and more! The party takes place on a small ranch in the Valley of the Moon, where you hear the music surrounded by gorgeous fields and hills, and relax in the sun with a gaggle of friendly folks, dogs, and kids. Food and beverages will be available. The show is a benefit for music in the Kenwood schools. This event could sell out, so it's wise to reserve tickets in advance. Get all the details, including the time each act will perform, at www.cur-ville.com.

For another thing, on Friday, August 27 the Freight & Salvage Coffeehousewill be opening in its new 400-seat downtown location at 2020 Addison Street in Berkeley (barely a block away from Shattuck Avenue and the Central Berkeley BART station). The entire building has been rebuilt to our careful specifications, including its wonderful showroom, spacious lobby (with food counter), and a roof garden --- and we own it outright! This level of success was inconceivable in 1983 when I helped to form the nonprofit corporation that has operated the club ever since. Details at www.freightandsalvage.org.

Of related interest is a four-page article by Maureen Brennan in the September/October 2009 issue of Dirty Linen magazine entitled “The Once & Future Freight & Salvage.” She quotes extensively from an e-mail interview with me, among many others, and includes plenty of interesting “insider” stories.

Smith-Harper Express will be performing on the main stage at the North Richmond Shoreline Festival on the afternoon of September 26. This community event is designed to call attention to the beauty and value of the bay shore near Point Pinole (a favorite hangout of Mayne's) and rally help to protect the area from being ruined by developers. There will be two different music stages and numerous other attractions and events. Go to www.northrichmondshoreline.org/festival.htm for updates and details.

Let me note in passing that I have added a few new (old) items to the discography of my recorded performances in the Bio / Disco / Bibliography section at MayneSmith.com. Working on the website has forced me to reclaim my own past in several ways.

BULLETIN (May 18, 2009)

At 8:00 pm on Wednesday, May 27 at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, I'll join a special band led by Nell Robinson that will perform songs about members of the U.S. armed forces and their families. Proceeds from this Soldier Stories concert will be donated to increase mental health services for veterans. The recipient project is a collaboration between Swords to Plowshares and Disability Rights Associates, two respected non-profit organizations. Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum will play the second set. If you join us, you will be contributing to an important cause and you will hear some songs, ranging in age from 1690 to 2008, that give insight into the sacrifices made by members of the military on our behalf.

Also, on Sunday, June 14 at the Station House Café in Point Reyes Station, the Smith-Harper Trio (Mayne, Johnny Harper, and Markie Sanders) will play two long sets beginning at 5:30 pm and 7:30 pm (with a dinner break in between). The Station House is a good, moderately-priced restaurant with a cozy bar area. This is going to be a fun gig with plenty of time for us to play some new arrangements.

BULLETIN (May 1, 2009)

On the evening of April 30 I sent the following message out to all the e-mail addresses on my mailing list. If you're not already on the list, you can join that precious few by e-mailing me at mayne@maynesmith.com.


The new and vastly enhanced MayneSmith.com website is now up and running, thanks to Victor Landweber! It now offers dozens of photos and scanned posters in a SCRAPBOOK section, a special section on the REDWOOD CANYON RAMBLERS with a playable version of "The House Carpenter," and a section called PIECES OF OUR MINDS that has essays from Neil Rosenberg, Scott Hambly, Mitch Greenhill, and Peter Feldmann.


Mayne Smith & Johnny Harper, with Markie Sanders on bass, played live for nearly an hour last night on Larry Kelp's radio show, Sing Out, on KPFA-FM, beginning about 10 pm. Since we started off the show, you can easily go to the station's online archives and listen to about 10 songs. Here's the link: http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/50462.


For those of you lucky enough to live in the Bay Area, the Smith-Harper trio will be sharing the bill with Ray Bierl & Friends at the Freight & Salvage, 1111 Addison Street, Berkeley on May 6, beginning at 8 pm. Please join us!



BULLETIN (April 21, 2009)

For those of you who’ll be in the SF Bay Area on Wednesday, May 6, I’ll be playing at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse <www.thefreight.org/2009/0905-may/info_090506.html> with the new performing unit we’re calling Mayne Smith & Johnny Harper, with Markie Sanders, a regular member of the new group, on bass and high harmony vocals. We're sharing the bill with another longtime musical pal. Ray Bierl and Friends will play the first set starting at 8:00 p.m.

It was putting my recent CD together that turned Johnny and me from longtime musical friends into partners — Johnny acting not only as producer but also as the dominant instrumentalist on most of the tracks. After the album was released we began adding to our repertoire of my songs by developing arrangements of some fine compositions by Johnny. We also perform versions of a few classic songs from a variety of American traditions — gospel to honky-tonk. Markie has joined us for some performances that went over very well, and is an invaluable addition to the group sound. I can honestly say that I’ve never enjoyed rehearsing so much. I think this group, which can easily expand to a quartet with drums for playing dances, is going to have its own long life.

We have more gigs booked and we’re hoping you’ll come see us soon. The dates will be posted here at MayneSmith.com. If you're not getting announcements by e-mail from Johnny or me, click on the e-mail button displayed all over this site and send me your e-mail address. I'll put you on my distribution list immediately.

BULLETIN (July 3, 2008)

My new CD album, PLACES I'VE BEEN, is now available for download or mail purchase on the CD Baby website. You can listen to samples from any of the songs there, too.




Please also check out my album with Mitch Greenhill, STORM COMING on CDBaby.com. This album was recorded in 1979 at Bay Records when it was still in Alameda, California. It has lots of original songs and arrangements by Mitch Greenhill and myself, and some neat arrangements with horns and stuff. Guest appearances by Doc and Merle Watson, Taj Mahal, Tony Marcus, Larry Hanks, and the Primordial Oohs backup singers. The image for the LP cover was an oil portrait by Mitches old blues-playing friend, Eric Von Schmidt (1930-2007); Mitch has the original on his wall. We reproduced the LP cover for the 1999 CD version.

BULLETIN (June 24, 2008)

To all the kind souls who have inquired about my health following my brief retreat from the stage at the Freight last Friday night, I'm doing fine. Although I won't see a surgeon until next week, I've been examined at Kaiser and it appears that I have developed a small groin hernia condition that is easy to repair by surgery and involves just a brief recovery period. In the meantime, I'm to refrain from heavy lifting and strenuous exercise.

If I'm careful, I can still do the gig Mitch and I have with Rosalie Sorrels at the Kate Wolf Festival next weekend. And I should also be able to attend Sweet's Mill as planned—assuming we can get somebody else to do the physical labor of loading/unloading the van and setting/striking camp.

The CD-release concert, otherwise, went just fine, and I have a great sense of fulfillment and gratitude toward those who shared the experience with me - especially Johnny Harper who sang two songs in my stead while I was stretched out in the dressing room. Despite my temporary physical discomfort I have seldom felt so surrounded by love and support.

My profound thanks to you all for contributing to a memorable, if somewhat overly dramatic, event.

—Mayne Smith        


BULLETIN (June 20, 2008)

I'm pleased to announce that my new CD, PLACES I'VE BEEN: A Songmaker's Retrospective, has been released! The CD contains 20 songs, all of them made up by me (and others in some cases); there are three recordings from back around 1970, but the rest of the recordings are all new. Four of the songs are performed with the REDWOOD CANYON RAMBLERS (me, Neil Rosenberg, Scott Hambly, Ed Neff, and Tom Glass)—the S.F. Bay Area's first bluegrass band, which is now about 50 years old! Mitch Greenhill will participate, of course. There is also an excellent electric band that includes electric guitar (Johnny Harper), fiddle (Tony Marcus), pedal steel & dobro (Mayne), keyboards (John R. Burr), bass (Marty Holland), and drums (John Hall). Johnny Harper produced the whole album and did a bang-up job.

Get the album now at Down Home Music!

BULLETIN (June 7, 2008)

I'm pleased to announce that my new CD, PLACES I'VE BEEN: A Songmaker's Retrospective, will be released on June 20, 2008. The occasion is being celebrated by a concert at the Freight & Salvage Coffee House, 1111 Addison Street / Berkeley CA 94702. (It's one of their 40th Anniversary events.)

The CD contains 20 songs, all of them made up by me (and others in some cases); there are three recordings from back around 1970, but the rest of the recordings are all new. Four of the songs are performed with the REDWOOD CANYON RAMBLERS (me, Neil Rosenberg, Scott Hambly, Ed Neff, and Tom Glass)—the S.F. Bay Area's first bluegrass band, which is now about 50 years old! Mitch Greenhill will participate, of course. There is also an excellent electric band that includes electric guitar (Johnny Harper), fiddle (Tony Marcus), pedal steel & dobro (Mayne), keyboards (John R. Burr), bass (Marty Holland), and drums (John Hall). Johnny Harper produced the whole album and did a bang-up job.

If you can make the June 20 gig, you're advised to buy advance tickets ($18.50) at FreightandSalvage.org or 510-548-7603. The doors open at 7:30 and the show goes at 8:00. All ages welcome!

If you can't make the June 20 gig, you'll be able to buy the album at Down Home Music