Archive of News Items and Other Such Stuff
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
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
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 http://mikemelnyk.com/cba_fdf_09/
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
Where's Dave? I guess Joshua figured Dave wasn't photo worthy.
We think he really captured Ken's bluegrass essence.
like to thank the academy...
The Mighty Crows won Band Of The Year
during the Northern California Bluegrass Society's 2009 award
Awwwww shucks .
for pictures (hint: we're 75 - 90)
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
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 -
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
Archive of News Items and Other Such
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
New Section - Frequently Asked Questions
#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
Starry Plough, Berkeley with the Barefoot
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.
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.
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.
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
Bluegrass and Old Time Festival in February.
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
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 googling...it 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
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
|Good Old Fashioned Report July 07
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."
|CBA Father's Day Festival - June
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.
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 QualityHats.com.
Tell Adam Kolojay that we sent you.
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.
Still blaming the Mighty Crows for West Nile Virus? Think
again. We're not responsible for avian influenza A (H5N1)
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
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.
New Darlings - 2006
The Crows are on the TV! You can See
clips or See some pics from