Studio 55 Marin

Premier Live Music Listening Room

1455 East Francisco Blvd., San Rafael, California


Drive To

For Live Music

Performance Hall
& Music School

Live shows presented by

Roots Music Marin

a registered 501c3 non-profit

Traditional Music


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part of world tour -
only bay area concert

Saturday, January 31 - 8:00pm - $15 advance / $18 at door

April Verch Band

Famous Canadian Fiddler, Step Dancer and Singer-Songwriter

Official Video of April's song Broken

Video of April stepdancing

Video of two fiddle tunes

The story of how Verch came to be a brilliant interpreter of tradition is just as striking as the results. Practically from birth she was immersed in folk music and dance from her native Ottawa Valley, a melting pot of Franco-Celtic flavors brought by the hard-working loggers who settled the area. Ferried to dance-filled old-time gatherings and country & western jamborees by her music-loving parents, she followed her older sister into step dancing at age 3, and picked up the fiddle at age 6. She was lucky to have the chance to start studying, performing and competing in both so early, but there's no question that she also made the most of it.

Says Verch, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to grow up performing with a lot of people that didn't make their living playing music, but were the local country music stars. And I remember my parents asking them questions and having them talk to me and tell me how hard it was to have a career in music. I think the reason I did some of the things I did so early on, such as recording my first album at thirteen, was because I thought, 'I know this is hard, but I'm still going to do this. So I'd better get going.' In a sense, their way of trying to warn me just made me push all the harder.

By the time Verch graduated high school, she'd won the Canadian Open Old Time Fiddle Championship and released a pair of albums, followed by a year at Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music and a win at the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Competition, which made her the first woman ever to take both of her country's two top contests. From there she dove into a full-time music career, signing with Rounder Records for a trio of albums and starting to put her delicate soprano to use and experimenting with a more contemporary palette.

Verch looks back on that earlier era with clear-eyed perspective. I was always true to myself in performing stuff that I liked, she reflects, but I think I was also trying to please a lot of people. I mean, we were playing bluegrass festivals, Celtic festivals, folk festivals. And I was just really trying to do everything I could to make sure that this was a career that was going to last. Now I've been doing this long enough that I've realized I'm the one playing the music every night - I'd better love it. And if I'm loving what I'm playing, it's going to get across no matter what. I think it's just a part of growing up and realizing that I don't need to try so hard to please everyone. We are the April Verch Band, and this is what we do. That's what people love about us.

There's a lot to love. The April Verch Band - rounded out by bassist and clawhammer banjo player Cody Walters and guitarist Hayes Griffin, who has a Masters in jazz improv from the New England Conservatory - is an energetic, virtuosic, tradition-celebrating outfit, not to mention one that's not soon forgotten when they depart the stage. It doesn't hurt that the thrilling grand finale involves Verch fiddling and step dancing - and often executing two entirely different intricate rhythmic patterns - at once.

Wonderful night
of guitar and harp-guitar

Thursday, February 5 - 8:00pm - $15 advance / $18 at door

Muriel Anderson

World-Famous Fingerstyle Guitarist

Live video of Muriel's amazing bluegrass medley

Live video of Muriel playing harp guitar

One of the world's foremost fingerstyle guitarists and harp-guitarists, Muriel Anderson is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship. An engaging performer, her obvious joy of music, humor, and facility across musical genres is revered by guitarists and audiences worldwide. She has recorded with country legend Chet Atkins, performed in New York with Les Paul, across the globe solo, in ensemble and with orchestras. She is host and founder of Muriel Anderson's All Star Guitar Night, the premiere live music event for over 20 years at the semi-annual NAMM music trade shows, and also the founder of the Music for Life Alliance charity. She is a prolific composer of music on guitar and harp guitar.

Her unique approach to the instrument virtually transforms the guitar into a lyrical choir, then a marching band, then a Japanese koto, then a Bluegrass band, one minute launching into a Beatles tune and the next, Rodrigo's Concerto de Aranjuez.

Her Heartstrings cassette traveled into space, accompanying astronaut Susan Helms for 2.3 million miles on the space shuttle Discovery. Muriel's music can also be heard in Woody Allen's film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. She enjoys touring as is evidenced by her "photos from the road" and "recipes from the road" on her website. Her new double CD Nightlight Daylight is a culmination of her creative spirit, and is also the first CD to incorporate fiber optics in the packaging.

Muriel fell in love with the guitar at an early age and learned every style available to her, beginning with folk, bluegrass, and then jazz in high school. She received a degree in music from DePaul University and went on to study with classical virtuoso Christopher Parkening and with Nashville legend Chet Atkins. She has composed music since about age five, and has written solo instrumentals and vocals, choral and orchestral compositions.

Live, in concert
CD recording

Friday, February 6 - 8:00pm - $17 advance / $20 at door

SF Live Arts presents:

David Jacobs-Strain

with Bob Beach, plus Chris Ayer

Video of David performing Hurricane Railroad

Video of David and Bob performing Tree Top Flyer

SF Live Arts is proud to present the superb blues-roots vocalist/guitarist David Jacobs-Strain accompanied by harmonica virtuoso Bob Beach, with vocalist/guitarist Chris Ayer opening the show and also performing with David & Bob.

David Jacobs-Strain is a fierce slide guitar player, and a song poet from Oregon. He's known for his virtuosity and spirit of emotional abandon, as well as his clear, powerful voice. His music moves from humorous, subversive blues, to delicate balladry, and then swings back to swampy rock and roll. It's a range that ties him to his own generation and to guitar-slinger troubadours like Robert Johnson and Jackson Browne. He has appeared at festivals from British Columbia to Australia, including Merlefest, Telluride Blues Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, Hardly Strictly, Bumbershoot and Blues to Bop in Switzerland and has toured with Boz Scaggs, Etta James & Lucinda Williams.

David Jacobs-Strain sings and plays slide-driven country blues with a passion and authority that few artists of any age can muster. But besides firing off compelling covers of traditional tunes... his original songs have served to update and evolve the idiom. -Guitar Player Magazine

Bob Beach has been a working professional musician for more than 40 years, adding harmonica, flute and vocals to a broad scope of genres. As a sideman he has recorded or performed with national acts such as; Ollabelle, Langhorne Slim, the Avett Brothers, Pat Wictor, Beaucoup Blue, Fruit and many more. David and Bob recently released Live From the Left Coast.

Chris Ayer is a singer-songwriter based out of Los Angeles. In the last few years, Ayer has played over 1000 shows in the US & Europe. In 2013 he released his third album, called "The Noise", and is busy writing songs for his fourth.

Cello Like You've
Never Heard Before

Friday, February 13 - 8:00pm - $14 advance / $17 at door

Dirty Cello

Just Added: Tracy Blackman Opens

Dirty Cello performs Bessarabian Girl

Dirty Cello performs Typewriter Two-Step

Tracy Blackman performs Love Collapse

Starting with a bang and never stopping, Dirty Cello features the virtuosic cello stylings of Rebecca Roudman, one of the San Francisco bay area's most exciting cross-over cellists. Dirty Cello takes you on a wild tour of uptempo music featuring down home blues, Eastern- European dance music, a bit of bluegrass, and some classic rock.

With a truly unique voice, Dirty Cello presents a high energy performance of everything a cello can do. Having wowed audiences in numerous tours throughout the U.S., plus acting as cultural ambassadors to China and working the Europeon festival circuit, Dirty Cello has a unique voice that's resonated around the world.

Tracy Blackman is an award-winning, musical performing and recording artist residing in Marin County. Soulful, stirring, authentic: heartfelt singer songwriter Tracy Blackman is all of these. Her dynamic and powerful voice has the ability to transport the listener into the heart of any song she sings. As a songwriter, she pens songs that deeply touch the soul with infectious hooks and grooves melded with a tasteful fusion of blues, pop, jazz and rock reminiscent of Rickie Lee Jones.

ethereal renaissance
pop songstress

Saturday, February 14 - 8:00pm - $18 advance / $20 at door

Lloyd Barde Productions Presents:

Kristin Hoffmann

Valentine's Day Concert In the Key of Love

Links for Tickets        

Video of Kristin performing her song Open

Video of Kristin performing her Song for the Ocean

Kristin Hoffmann offers a uniquely beautiful blend of pop and classical styles. Kristin is a singer-songwriter who has a gift, one we can all experience through her ability to be open. As a human compass, she navigates through her own waters right into ours, with sound, like poetry without words. Her perfect pitch is a serene perfume. We, as an audience, are the witnesses and we watch as she volunteers her soul's journey. Starting at the age of 4, this ethereal renaissance pop songstress and multi-instrumentalist began building a prolific career that reads like a lifetime achievement award speech. In addition to stints at major record labels and song placements on hit TV shows like Dawson's Creek and Palmetto Pointe, she has shared stages with The Wallflowers, Feist, Brandi Carlile and many other musical luminaries. With a strong sense of artistic altruism, she is most passionate about projects that explore music's healing power and allow listeners to tap into their higher potentials.

Having studied with Sound Healing pioneer Fabian Maman, Hoffmann not only made music to accompany acupuncture sessions but also composed 170 songs for health-challenged children as a writer/producer at non-profit organization Songs of Love. A spokesperson for ocean conservation, she has performed her Song for the Ocean at environmental awareness conventions around the world. In 2011 she became the singer for Bella Gaia, a multimedia immersive theater ensemble experience created in conjunction with NASA. Her most recent work includes a self-produced album entitled The Human Compass (2012) and a symphonic collaboration with composer Marco Missinato called Unfolding Secrets: A Symphony of the Heart.

Similar perhaps to Tori Amos, Stevie Nicks, Fiona Apple, and Joni Mitchell, she easily slides into a Tina Malia or Donna De Lory vein at a moment's whim, switching with ease between guitar and keyboards . With half a dozen powerfully varied releases over the past decade and praise-filled reviews, Kristin is an artist to embrace, discover and move mountains with.

CD Release Concert & Dance Party

Saturday, February 21 - 8:00pm - $14 advance / $17 at door


World Music Band Returns

Click below to see a Janam video from their 2013 show

Janam (My Soul) blends Balkan, Near Eastern and American roots and original music, creating rapturous acoustic textures, whirling rhythms and stunning vocal harmonies. Led by Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble veteran Juliana Graffagna, Janam unites some of the San Francisco Bay Area's most imaginative and devoted practitioners of Balkan and Near Eastern music, who weave together Eastern exoticism, gritty Appalachian folk melodies and their own inspired compositions. The resulting music is transcendent, sensuous and irresistible.

Setting out to explore her passions for Balkan and American folk music, vocalist Juliana Graffagna formed Janam in 2008. The group has since evolved into a tight-knit ensemble of talented multi-instrumentalists who create unique and varied textures with their mix of crystalline strings, dissonant vocal harmonies and sultry rhythms. Janam has garnered recognition throughout California and the Northwest, playing to mesmerized audiences and frenzied folk dancers in venues as diverse as Yoshi's San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara Multicultural Center, Cafe du Nord, Ashkenaz and the de Young Museum.

Janam's repertoire includes Albanian, Macedonian, Hungarian, Romanian, Greek, Turkish, Sephardic & Ashkenazi Jewish, Romani ("Gypsy") and American roots music as well as original compositions inspired by these traditions. Janam proves that the foothills of the Balkans and the Appalachians lie in Oakland. The group's funky meters, bittersweet modes, driving tunes, and sultry ballads invoke the nightingales and dark eyes, the hot love and cold hollows of Europe and America's most musical mountains.

This tour supported by

Saturday, March 7 - 8:00pm - $15 advance / $18 at door


Contagiously Energetic Irish Music, On Tour from Ireland

Video of Ladies Choice set from previous show

Video of Bring Me a Boat from previous show

Forged in the white-hot creative crucible of Limerick University's Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, the quintet have graduated with a musical maturity worthy of the greatest. They have made a name for themselves as one of the most sought after bands amongst connoisseurs of Irish Traditional music cross the globe, with their performances gaining notoriety across four continents. Having won feverish critical plaudits for their Dónal Lunny-produced second album Transformed, the band has skyrocketed to the forefront of the traditional Irish music scene.

Their distinctive sound lies in the quality of their own compositions interspersed with traditional tunes from Ireland and abroad, which make each set entertaining and unique. Laying the foundations for the music are World and All-Ireland bodhrán champion Colm Phelan and Conal O'Kane, who is fast making a name for himself as one of the finest guitarists of this generation. The gripping rhythm section sets a breaktaking pace for the music while the sweet, charismatic voice of Áine McGeeney draws audiences into the music in a way very few performers can achieve. When not singing, Áine's energetic style of fiddle playing is complimented hugely by multi-award-winning banjo and mandolin virtuoso James Harvey. His ability to transcend genres, combined with his unparalleled technical ability is a joy to behold. Bridging the gap between melody and accompaniment is the piano and piano accordionist, Tadhg Ó Meachair. The Dublin native is renowned for his unique approach to bass work and accompaniment, while also having picked up national awards for his melody playing. Lace up your dancing shoes and get ready for a night of wonderful music and fast paced fun with Goitse.

Goitse is an informal Gaelic Irish greeting meaning come here.

Country Music Star

Saturday, March 14 - 8:00pm - $17 advance / $20 at door

Audrey Auld

Famous Australian Singer-Songwriter

Click below to see Audrey's video of Bound for Glory

Click below to see Audrey's video of I'd Leave Me Too

Devils are not the only thing to come from Tasmania. Singer-songwriter Audrey Auld's heart is in Country/Folk music, with a presence as big as The Outback. Her songs are the wry and poignant observations of an Aussie troubadour touring the States since 2003. Recorded in Nashville, Auld's 2013 release Tonk is a breath of fresh country air, right out of a Saturday night honky tonk.

An honest and witty writer and a spontaneous comedienne, Auld is never afraid to venture into the dark places of life and shine a humorous light upon them. It's in her live show that you'll really meet her. She's entertaining, funny, heartfelt and dry. You'll laugh and cry. She's wickedly witty with a country sound that harks back to the days of a tight frock and a promise. But don't be fooled - she's Australian after all.

As of 2013, Audrey had released ten albums and two EPs on her own Reckless Records label. She's had songs recorded by various artists and songs placed on the FX TV shows "Justified", "Longmire" and "The Good Guys".

"The only problem with Auld is trying to decide if she's more remarkable as a singer or a songwriter, which isn't the worst problem an artist can have." ~ John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music, Austin, TX, April 2012