victoria williams

Joshua Tree National Park is a mere eight-hour road trip from here. The trees, rocks and spirit of Gram Parsons are certainly worth the I-5 mayhem, and just outside the park is the music freak’s dream palace. Pappy & Harriet’s is in Pioneertown, a city created in the ’40s as a movie set for the westerns. Gene Autry made films here. Every Saturday (April-October), the Mane Street Stampede Wild West Show performs outside at 2:30pm. Every Sunday, the Sunday Band performs for free inside at 7pm. Although the Sunday Band includes a rotating cast of local characters, you will usually find Victoria Williams at the mic. The beer is cold, the steaks are grilled to perfection…

joshua tree2

March 31st was my maiden voyage. The FOUR HOUR show included: “She” (Gram Parsons), “The Fugitive” (Merle Haggard), “Pacific Coast Rambler” (Creek Dippers), “On Time”/”Sweet Relief”/”Crazy Mary”/”You are Loved”/”Kashmir’s Corn” (Victoria), “Jambalaya,” “Wade in the Water,” “Midnight Special”/”Up on Cripple Creek” (CCR), “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay,” “Season of the Witch” (Donovan), “Nobody Loves You,” “One after 909″/”Something” (Beatles), “The Weight” (The Band) and the uber-rare “Skin and Bones” (Kinks)!

The band included 22 year old Ryan Erskine, a tall n’ lanky, skin n’ bone bass player with a super dreamy voice. I expect we will hear more from him soon. The Sunday night shows are infamous for special guests. The Jayhawks, John Doe, Robert Plant, Band of Horses and Shelby Lynne have all shown up. You should too. Other nights of the week are also quite tempting. Upcoming shows include Damien Jurado, Beth Orton and recent Bay Area emigrant/Gram Parsons devotee/guitar god Dave Gleason.

noah purifoy museum

And while you’re out there, don’t miss the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Art Museum!

Here’s Giant Sand in 1992 at the height of their powers (when the band included Calexico’s John and Joey) in Pioneertown with Pappy and Harriet, Victoria Williams on banjo and Joshua Trees galore.

It just so happened that the Real Boss Hoss 10 year anniversary was taking place March 29th and 30th in Burbank. Seemed like a convenient way to break up that big drive… Although I missed Thee Cormans, I did arrive in time for The Rantouls. Great set and the band was awful sweet with my kid, gifting her a ‘Chug-a-Lug’ t-shirt. Saturday, I was able to enjoy the full evening’s offerings including The S’lobsters (with dancing lobster), Tuci and the PJ’s, Los Macho Borrachos, Larry and the Angriest Generation (featuring Total Trash Amy on keyboard!!), Rock and Roll Adventure Kids (with Total Trash Marcos), and the Dukes of Hamburg (Russel Quan’s legendary German band)!

The Rantouls
The Rantouls

Thee S'lobsters
The S’lobsters

Rock N Roll Adventure Kids
Rock n Roll Adventure Kids

Dukes of Hamburg
Dukes of Hamburg

“Cliffs up here are only meant to ponder. Roads down there were built for you to wander. Go ahead and leave the girl you’re fond of. Bring ’em home a big o’ pile of wonder.” – Howe Gelb