First Thing’s First with Calman Hart

This Saturday May 2nd, San Diego Folk Heritage is excited to welcome not one, but five stellar musicians to our Encinitas stage in the form of local Americana act Berkley Hart Selis Twang, featuring notable songwriters Jeff Berkley, Calman Hart, Eve Selis and Marc “Twang” Intravaia and special guest opener Barbara Nesbitt (a former San Diegan who now calls Austin home).

In the interest of folk heritage, we challenged each songwriter to revisit their personal music heritage and recall their first songwriting experience. So far you’ve heard from Barbara and Jeff. Here’s Calman’s story.

Calman Hart - by Dennis AndersonCalman Hart: The first song I remember writing was called “I Love Her”. It was 1970 and I was 11 years old. This was when pop radio wasn’t broken down by genre. In one afternoon you would hear The Beatles, The Guess Who, Bobby Sherman, Santana, The Kinks, The Temptations, CSN&Y, Elvis Presley and Anne Murray, all on the same station. “Fire and Rain” was big. I decided I wanted to be James Taylor. 1970 was also a year when Walter Cronkite was coming on the TV each night and showing us horrible pictures of the Viet Nam war, which was in full swing. As a kid in the fifth grade, it was hard to fully understand all that the war meant, but I understood enough to be terrified that I might one day be drafted and sent off to fight in a war that no one seemed to believe in. The words are understandably corny and juvenile; yet they are also charmingly heartbreaking to me because when I think of them, I remember the anxiety I felt.  I still remember the melody and all the words:

When they took me away from my broken down shack
I told her that I’d be coming back
And she said she’d wait for me till she died

  I love her, yes I do
  I love her, more than you
  I love her, yes I do
  I love her, more than anything else

All you are is a bloody fight
You really don’t know what is wrong or right
And you’re gonna keep going till one side dies


Here’s a lovely live performance of Calman’s song “It’s Going to be Okay” from last year’s Acoustic Alliance anniversary party.

Four Play with The Dustbowl Revival’s Z. Lupetin

We had 4 questions for The Dustbowl Revival’s founder Zachary Lupetin. He had 4 answers. Lupetin and his Venice Beach-based band of merry men/women are headed to San Diego this Friday, April 3rd to perform at Templar’s Hall in Poway. This energetic young roots/jazz collective was named LA Weekly’s “Best Live Band” so we’re definitely looking forward to a barn-burner!

1.I see from your press page that many media outlets have used some fun descriptive words and metaphors to convey the essence of your band and your music. Now I’d like to hear how you describe The Dustbowl Revival.
I would describe The Dustbowl Revival as a brass band and a string band who had a baby. It’s a great confluence of roots music sounds that have been forged through five straight years of playing on the road.

2. Your tour schedule is packed! What’s one city/country you’ve never played in but would love to?
We have never played in Austin or New Orleans – love to make the pilgrimage down there soon.

3. Is there any song that has been banned for life in the tour van?
We try and avoid any smooth jazz in the van at all times.

4. It’s been a while since you’ve played in San Diego – what can first-time attendees expect from your award-winning live shows?
Our show in San Diego will showcase some of our newest material we are passionate about now – we never make a set list the same twice so it’s a discovery process we play with the audience.

THE DUSTBOWL REVIVAL “RIVERBOAT QUEEN” from The Dustbowl Revival on Vimeo.

San Diego friends, we hope you’ll join San Diego Folk Heritage in welcoming The Dustbowl Revival to our Poway Stage for a wonderful evening of live music. For tickets and information, please visit Full Press Release:

Catching Up with John McCutcheon

It took everything we had not to name this blog “McCatchin’ up with McCutcheon.” Everything! But since we are true professionals, we showed some restraint. We will not show restraint, however, when it comes to our excitement in welcoming the incredible John McCutcheon back to San Diego on Saturday March 21st for a performance at San Dieguito United Methodist Chuch in Encinitas, CA!

John has graced us with his stories and songs many times, developing a strong fan base in San Diego. We took a moment to ask him about his upcoming performance.

What might die-hard John McCutcheon fans find familiar or comforting about next week’s performance in Encinitas? What might they find different or unique about the new album you will be previewing?
One thing different is that, for 30 years, I’ve always come in January. So the weather will be a little nicer. I’m always packing a new quiver of songs and stories, everything from childhood remembrances to musings on the day’s news. This year you all will be one of the very first concerts I’ll be doing supporting a brand new album. The SDFH audiences know my debt to those who’ve come before me. I learned from some of the great musicians of Appalachian music. Without them I’d simply be another white guy with a guitar. But I was also mentored by many of the greats of contemporary American folk music, Pete Seeger, Utah Phillips, Tom Paxton, and more. Many, though thankfully not all of them, are gone now. But they learned from those before them…and I’ve been honoring those writers and musicians, as well.

Back in 2012 I released an album celebrating Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday. 2015 is the 100th anniversary of the death of Joe Hill…the “I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night..” Joe Hill. He was a songwriter for the IWW, the Industrial Workers of the World, at the turn of the 20th century. Mastered the art of writing parodies of popular songs to be used in labor struggles. Woody learned from him. Dylan and Seeger from Woody. I learned from all of them. And this year I’m releasing Joe Hill’s Last Will to honor this songwriting pioneer and, not incidentally, show how many of the things ordinary people and workers were dealing with a century ago are still relevant today.

So, lots of new stories and songs, a new album, but still my usual arsenal of instruments and guaranteed good time.

For those handful of San Diego folk music lovers who perhaps haven’t yet heard your music, please give them the “John McCutcheon 101” crash course…List 5 of your songs you’d suggest they check out to get a sense of your journey as a songwriter.
Someone once described my shows as a mini-folk festival: a half dozen different instruments (fiddle, banjo, guitar, hammer dulcimer, piano, autoharp), singer-songwriter, traditionalist, political commentator, storyteller, stand-up comedian, song leader, keeper of the flame. It’s hard to compare it to anything or anyone because I’ve forged a pretty unique route over the past 40+ years. Songs? All of these should be available on Youtube…

And they were! 

Christmas in the Trenches

Kindergarten Wall


Pretty Boy Floyd

Not in My Name

We hope you’ll join us in Encinitas on March 21st! Visit here for more information and tickets!