Tom May, Chris Kennedy plucked up a storm here here |

Tom May, Chris Kennedy plucked up a storm here here

Sam Bauman
Appeal Entertainment Editor

Those of us old-style folk music fans – the “Barbara Allen” and “John Henry” era – who dropped in for the Brewery Concert last Friday to hear Tom May and Chris Kennedy perform had a pleasant shock. Their music wasn’t the old chestnuts of yore but rather something that might be called “contemporary” folk music – songs that are written by musicians probing the current woes and wonders of the world.

About 60 of us turned up at the Brewery’s outdoor performance area to hear May (who has a program on PBS) sing “Blue Roads” and Kennedy play “Wind River Mountain Secrets.” “Roads” harks back to when there were maps of red and blue roads in America; “Wind” salutes the beauty of Wyoming.

Saturday, Kennedy presented a concert of railroad folk music at the state’s Railroad Museum. And on Sunday afternoon in the backyard of city Parks and Recreation Director Roger Moellendorf, the pair showed up for a final sing. Moellendorf is personal friends of the duo and had invited them to drop by after their public playing. The backyard was a fine place to hear such music.

Musicians such as May and Kennedy have elected to go their own way, play their own and other contemporaries’ songs. No big rock concert crowds and rock concert money, but something rock can’t offer. Ask them what it is.

A bonus in hearing them pick and strum their guitars was that they played more than the standard five rock chords.


The City Library will host The High Strung Library Tour Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m., in the library’s parking lot. The High Strung band is from Detroit and their energetic music has electrified library patrons nationwide. The band’s three-part harmonies and witty, lyrical bravado mix furious guitar playing and “squonking” organ music, whatever that is. The band plays catchy sing-along choruses, in addition to playing a full-set of rousing Beatles jams.

San Francisco’s rock quintet New Monsoon plays at River Ranch next Thursday as part of a concert series outdoors on the patio next to the Truckee River. Concert opens at 8 p.m. Music starts at 9. A great setting with the Truckee roaring away just feet away. It’s $15.

Aaron Lewis, Grammy-nominated singer, songwriter and frontman of alternative rock band Staind, jumps up at the MontBleu Resort Casino next Saturday at 9 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $50 plus tax at (800) 658-3353.

The mighty old REO Speedwagon plays at the Grand Sierra next Sunday at 8 p.m., It’ll cost you a spiffy $38.50, $60.50 or $71.50. Mary Wilson of The Supremes is at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe Aug. 11. The fee is $35.


“Sherrybaby” stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, as a mother of a 5-year-old daughter just released from prison. While “inside” Sherry worked hard to prepare herself for mothering her daughter, currently living with her brother and his wife in suburbia. Sherry starts out hopefully, toting a Bible and preparing to work hard for her daughter. But she quickly comes up against reality in the form of a job director whom she has to please sexually to get a decent job. Problems with her brother and his wife create friction with the daughter and Sherry bounces around seemingly hopelessly. And incest with her father is revealed.

Director Laurie Collyer does a fine job of mixing hope and anguish and Gyllenhaal brings strength and believability to the role. But not for kids or the squeamish. Rated R, 96 minutes, 2006.

• Contact Sam Bauman at 881-11236 or