Archive of News Items and Other Such Stuff



The Mighty CrowsThe Mighty Crows is a Bay Area bluegrass band with a style and repertoire that borrows heavily from the traditional sounds of The Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Vern Williams, Red Allen and Jimmy Martin. If you like the old time bluegrass we'll get along just fine. Butch Waller from High Country says "It doesn't get any more straight ahead than that; you all are 'bluegrass boys' for sure."

Want to decide for yourself? Are you ready for a band with no "contemporary sensibilities?" We would love to have you come join us some time or you can just listen to some tunes from our demo or some video clips from a taping we did for a local cable show.

The Mighty Crows are available for BBQs, corporate events, weddings, or just about any other event that needs some music. Get yourself to the contact us page and let us know what we can do for you.

The Band includes Chris Smith on guitar, Jeff Zieba on banjo, Ken Torke on mandolin and Mark Wardenburg on fiddle and Dave Walker on bass. Most of the singing is built around the trio sound of Chris, Jeff, and Mark but everybody sings and everybody has fun. We've played at the Freight and Salvage, RBA, Plymouth, GOF, SFBOT, Wolf Mountain, Sam's BBQ, the Riptide, on local cable, radio and more.

More about the band...


The Crows had a mighty fine time at the CBA Father's Day Festival. We spent the whole week. The highlight was whooping it up on Vern's stage on Friday evening. It was our 100th gig and we celebrated by sharing some black crows candy with the audience. What else? Well we did finally finish the 1.75L bottle of Old Crow that we use to celebrate birthdays. Cheap bourbon, cool name. You can find some pictures by Doctor Dave and Mike Melnyk and on

"Bluegrass band the Mighty Crows perform on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, at Palo Alto's Community Farmshop farmers market in front of Palo Alto City Hall. In addition to shopping and music, there was a cooking demonstration at the market. (Joshua Melvin/Daily News)"

Where's Dave? I guess Joshua figured Dave wasn't photo worthy. We think he really captured Ken's bluegrass essence.

NCBS Band of the YearWe'd like to thank the academy...

The Mighty Crows won Band Of The Year during the Northern California Bluegrass Society's 2009 award show.

Awwwww shucks .

Look for pictures (hint: we're 75 - 90)
San Francisco Bluegrass and Old Time FestivalWe had a fine time at the Starry Plough during SFBOT. It's always nice to play in Berkeley, Jeff's home town. The show was part of the San Francisco Bluegrass and Old Time Festival (SFBOT) which continues through February 14th. The other acts on the show included our friends in High Country and the Alhambra Valley Band who all did a might fine job.The show started late and we didn't get on the stage until almost midnight. Fortunately, there were plenty of hearty souls left to cheer us on for the late set. So what about the pictures? Mike Melnyk was there snapping photos. He takes some of the best photos in the biz. We count on him to unintentionally update our home page photo every now and then. He also has a nice quote about us on his web site: "They’ve got the talent and the look to go with it, but if they take off their hats they look just like you and me. I can hardly recognize them." Thanks MIke, we don't recognize you when you don't have that camera in front of your face, so we know what you mean!

New Tag Line for the Crows
After looking around at other bands descriptions and reviews and I think there may be a more accurate way to describe ourselves. "Mighty Crows, bluegrass with no contemporary sensibilities."

Is it one more electronic thing to spend time updating or is it a good way to inform and find new fans? We don't know, but there's now a Fans of The Mighty Crows group.

Highway 52 at GOF
Here's a moving picture for you. Nancy Zuniga taped this rendering of Dave Evans' Highway 52 and posted it on YouTube a while ago. I just neglected to post a link here. We should be up to a couple million views in no time at all.

Mighty Crows take to the Air Mighty Crows Take to the Air - KPFA
KPFA 94.1 FM Berkeley: Listener Sponsored Free Speech Radio (and Free Bluegrass) We played on Ray Edlund's Pig in a Pen. Did you miss it? You can listen to it here.

Quotes and Links to Venues:
We've added a page of quotes just in case you were wondering what folks are saying about the Crows. Besides, it might help you decide to come out and see us some time.

Archive of News Items and Other Such Stuff:
Did you miss something? Do you have another half hour to go before work ends for the week? We'll start putting that in either the Pictures Page or The Lost Archives.


New Section - Frequently Asked Questions
Home of the Might Crows - San RamonFAQ #1: Hey Mighty Crows, I know that the geometric average of your five addresses falls on Rose Street in Hayward so why do you list San Ramon as your home town?
Answer: That's a great question and thanks for asking. Our band was formed with one goal in mind. "What can we do to lift the spirits of San Ramon, California?" Could we bring that glimmer of hope? Could we give them something to be proud of? Could this be the city with the best offer for co-branding with the Crows? Well, as you can see from their city logo, prominently displayed is the image of a crow and our corporate colors. Next time you're passing by San Ramon, consider stopping, buying a Peet's coffee to support the local economy, and give the city flag the hearty solute it deserves.

Note: The Crows are actively seeking additional endorsements from some products that we really can stand behind and be proud. If you know anybody at Peet's Coffee, Old Crow Burbon or Big John's Suspender Warehouse please have them contact us asap.


Starry Plough, Berkeley with the Barefoot Nellies
Starry PloughThe Starry Plough at 3131 Shattuck is cranking up a new blugrass series on the 4th Thursday thanks to Jacob Groupman. The Crows played in Jeff's home town on the 3/27/08 and best of all, the long awaited billing with the Barefoot Nellies! They are our sister band. At least that is what we say. They're all younger, slimmer, more attractive and maybe even smarter but they like the same kind of music! They sing them all about a 5th higher, but the same songs. We did practically a full set of songs with members of both bands on stage! Sadly, it was Erika's last official gig as a Nellie. :(

It's a great venue and a nice crowd. Hopefully we'll go back again some day.

2008 starts with a nod from the judges
Chuck Polling of Jeanie and Chuck's Country Round-up has nominated, voted and annointed the Crows for a first annual Chuckie.

Best Dressed - Band with Hats Subcategory: The Mighty Crows – serious chops and trad tops.

Tuesday, February 5th 2008
SFBOT at the Freight and Salvage

This was our third year doing the San Francisco Bluegrass and Old Time Festival. Shelby Ash scheduled us for the Bluegrass Buffet show at the Freight. Huckleberry Flint and Zack Driscoll and Three Quarter Time round out the showat the Freight.

Freight Night
That's  Roz on the bass! Freight and Salvage with the Mighty Crows August 11, 2007Wow! The Crows got to play the Freight and Salvage in 2007 and we play again in 2008. As a local band I don't think there is anything cooler than to get to play the Bay Area's acoustic Mecca. We were totally psyched to walk in and see a big crowd that we weren't expecting. We knew that a few of our very good friends ;> (that's a crow wink) and family would be there but we didn't expect people all the way to the back. I think that having a few local/regional bands get to play a place like that brings out all their friends for the big event. Throw in some venue regulars and all the sudden you have a big, enthusiastic crowd. We felt very comfortable there right away. First, we had a lot in common. We like coffee and, much like the Freight, we are also a non-profit. Most of all, they had a grand piano for a coffee table which is pretty classy.

The Crows play the Freight for the San Francisco Bluegrass and Old Time FestivalThe Bluegrass Revolution went first. They played a lot of fast instrumentals and rock-and-rollie numbers. Next in line was Belle Monroe and her Brewglass Boys played and they played a fine set of crowd pleasing tunes. Then...the Crows came out and played a lot of really sad songs. We had a great time and the audience was great. Jeff's mom came all the way from Minnesota and gave it two thumbs up. She said Jeff was her favorite part. She also said that I should never make fun of the accordion or polka bands and that she would still love Jeffrey even if he did decide to pick up the bag pipes. Shelby Ash put on the show and asked us to play again there for the SF Bluegrass and Old Time Festival in February.

Mighty Crows at the Kings River festival in Sanger 2007Kings River
2007 8th Annual King River Bluegrass Festival
Located in Hobbs Grove Park, Sanger, California. This was the surprise festival last year and was even better this year with more folks and two well received sets at 8 pm Friday and Saturday nights. Paul Knight ran the sound and played the bass. We did get a little rain but just enough to knock the dust down and keep it pleasantly cool during the days. We should have some photos and video to post before long.

The Crows had one heck of a time at the 2007, 5th Annual Plymouth Bluegrass Music Festival. The festival is held at the Amador County Fairgrounds. It was a beautiful weekend. The Crows won the emerging artist competition last year so this year we got to play two sets. Best of all, we got to hang out with all our good buddies and played music night and day. Another highlight was watching our friends, the Barefoot Nellies, compete in the emerging artist competition. They didn't come home triumphant but they put on a great show and made some new fans. This is a great festival run by some folks who really know how to throw a party. Thanks for supporting local and regional bands!

Science Marches On
Crows Display Incredible Common Sense (pdf version) - as a follow up to last years article explaining that the mamby pamby robin is responsible for West Nile virus (pdf) - we now see that Crows are pretty darn smart. Of course they didn't test us but I'm sure we would have faired well as long as it was multiple choice. We don't do well on the essay portions.

How the Mighty Crows Got Their Name
Dave Lange is doing an article on band names and asked how we got our name. Here's what I told him...

It's a long, and not terribly interesting story. This is how I remember it. Other band members memories most certainly would differ. I would guess it took us about 3 or 4 months to settle on a name. We wrote down every one we could think of and "civally" discussed it at every practice. We probably had close to a hundred names on the list. There was definitely no agreement on any of them. At one point we were considering Mighty Squirrel (from a line in Molly and Tenbrooks "you're looking mighty squirrel"). I already owned the domain nPro's were a domain name, good logo, being different and the double meaning of crow. Negitives were being too different and some other things I can't remember.ame and everything. But on a second session of ended up that there was a non-active Colorado "pick-up" band with Charles Sawtelle that used the name some times so we dumped it. We did like the "Mighty" and we were trying to think of bluegrassy things like tractors, stills, knife fighting, crows, etc. Mighty Crows was suggested and made the long list with a few proponents and at least one detractor.

So anyway, key considerations were not too cheesy, a good nickname, a web domain available, no other bands or things with the same name, opportunities for good logos, etc. We used those criteria and personal preference and each came up with a short list. We compiled those into a single short list, everyone agreeing that none of the names were something they couldn't live with, even if they weren't crazy about them. Then we voted. Afterwords Chris said he couldn't live with Mighty Crows but it was too late.

Scott Valley - Etna Report
That is one fine little festival and one beautiful little town. It's a long drive from the Bay area and on the way up we swore we would never do that again. On the way home we said we would do that again. We stayed with some local folks who were kind as can be (big thanks to Lori and Gary Fleck and to Jaymie and Matt). We jammed in the streets. We played to an audience of nice folks. We saw some other great bands. And...Chris made some new contacts (shout out to Madeline!). We even got a little review - The band is fairly new, having just formed in 2004, but many are already fond of the strong vocals and sense of humor the men bring to stage. - Siskayou Daily News
Good Old Fashioned Report July 07
Mark nearly stabs Ken with the  deadly fiddle bow at Good Old Fashioned in 2007Hollister can be a brutally hot spot on any given day in July. This year the NCBS's Good Old Fashioned couldn't have been any luckier or better. The days were in the 80s and the nights were nothing but cool. A few of our bluegrass pals played on stage like the Barefoot Nellies and Grizzly Peak and a whole lot of our bluegrass picking friends set up camp and stayed up late. Good times! The Crows got tapped for a perfect time slot this year. We got to play Saturday night as the sun went down to a big, raucous crowd. It may have been our most fun ever. Roz played bass and did a mighty fine job. Chris was almost back in full voice and things went without a hitch. Well, a little problem with the sound at first but Paul Knight figured it out and on with the show. We got some kind words from CBA president Darby Brandli - "I thought everything you did at GOF was great: the vocals, the musicianship, the between-song banter, the wardrobe, the pacing. FIRST RATE." Awwww shucks.
CBA Father's Day Festival - June 2007
Some of us think the CBA festival was the best ever this year. The weather was great and a week off from work is always good. We had a great time at Chief Crazy Horse in Nevada City on Thursday night. Some of our best friends (old and new) came out from the festival for a cold beer and a sad song. Chris has had a little trouble with his voice and by Saturday wasn't up to a power set. We had to cancel our appearance at Vern's Place. Vern's is the new beer and wine pavilion during the dinner hour. We were going to share a shift with the Barefoot Nellies. But hey, you can't have everything go your way. It worked out ok though because the Barefoot Nellies took over and had a fabulous full hour set. We got to watch and have a cold brew. Could July be better?

The Crows Finally Win Something - September 2006
Photos of the Crows at the Emerging Artist competition at the Bluegrassin' in the Foothills festival in 2006. Come out in 2007 and we get two sets and you can watch the Nellies play their little hearts out for the Emerging Artist portion of the show.

The Hat
Open Road StetsonFor a while Bill wore a Stetson Open Road. The felt one is pricey and a bit warm during the summer. But, the panama version is way cool and only $60. The Crows highly recommend Tell Adam Kolojay that we sent you.

Mighty Crows MugSilly Stuff
You can order your very own mug from Cafe Press and the Mighty Crows. Collect them all (well, there are two sizes). We also have t-shirts, sweat shirts, thongs, so on and so forth.

West Nile
Still blaming the Mighty Crows for West Nile Virus? Think again. We're not responsible for avian influenza A (H5N1) either!

More Science
Crows Display Incredible Common Sense (pdf version) - as a follow up to last years article explaining that the mamby pamby robin is responsible for West Nile virus - we now see that Crows are pretty darn smart. Of course, they didn't test us but I'm sure we would have faired well as long as it was multiple choice. We don't do well on the essay portions.

When you type in a web address wrong you get a 404 error. Or, perhaps, your techie friends say "you are so 404" meaning that you aren't ever really on the same page. The Crows have our own custom 404 page but we hope you'll never have to see it. If you do please let us know and we'll fix it.

Mighty Crows Video Taping for KMVTTV's New Darlings - 2006
The Crows are on the TV! You can See clips or See some pics from the show.