Cyrus Clarke Cyrus Clarke has been playing his own brand of Americana music in the Golden West since the early nineteen-seventies. In 1972 he co-founded the Cache Valley Drifters in Santa Barbara, California. From their home base they gathered a good head of steam and tapped a potent and growing interest in traditional acoustic music all over the US. Over the next thirteen years the Drifters rode hard and fast over the club and festival circuit from San Francisco to New York City and back again. In between their long haul tours they recorded three well received albums for Flying Fish Records. With the Drifters in abeyance by the late eighties, Clarke and long time picking pal, mandolinist Mike Mullins, kicked up a new band, The Acousticats. This stellar group, which also featured virtuoso fiddler Phil Salazar, was a tremendous showcase for Cyrus' inventive flatpicking guitar work and songwriting talents. As they criss-crossed the West from the Rockies to the Sierra Nevada, Montana to the Mexican border, Tucson to Tucumcari, the Acousticats developed a reputation for exciting performances and innovative arrangements. They also produced two finely tuned recordings for Flying Fish and Ranch Recording. Clarke's history illustrates a long interest in creating new sounds. His newest projects, the Cyrus Clarke Band, Cyrus Clarke and the Expedition, and his solo endeavors are intialled with a contemporary approach to an always changing contemporary folk scene. The ensembles comprise mandolin, guitars, bass, and percussion and provide a wonderful context for his songs and fine guitar playing. As time goes on, Clarke continues to use music to flex his imagination and reflect on experiences around him. His feet are planted firmly in the west and he has stayed true to his roots in the fertile soil of California. California Americana Americana music in California is a force which blew out of the Great Valley on a wave of twang, glitter, hard knocks, lonesome songs, and sorrowful steel guitars. The first incarnation was a honky-tonk scene in Bakersfield, a hard scrabble oil town that gave birth to the telecaster driven music of singers like Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. This tough, yet plaintive sound took the Grapevine south to Los Angeles and influenced Rose Maddox, Bob Wills, Merle Travis, Don Rich, Roy Nichols, Fuzzy Owen, Ken Nelson, James Burton, and Joe Maphis; all postwar purveyors of honky-tonk dreams on the edge of the world. In the sixties a new, hard edged take on those traditional sounds morphed into country music LA style. It grew quickly through Merle and Buck to Chris Hillman, Clarence White, Jimmy Messina, Gram Parsons, Roger McGuinn, Ry Cooder, Linda Ronstadt, Emmy Lou Harris, Neil Young and a host of others. Along with the Bakersfield sound, rhythm and blues and rock were driving forces throughout California, particularly in the rapidly growing urban areas. In East Los Angeles, a fertile, thriving Latino culture produced hybrids beautifully suited to the strong character of the land and the people. Meanwhile up in San Francisco a new style of music was evolving with rock as it's catalyst. California Americana's rock influence is fully realized in themusic of Ritchie Valens, Los Lobos, the Grateful Dead,David Lindley, the Byrds, the Blasters, Santana,Buffalo Springfield, The Flying Burrito Brothers, and many other great bands. San Francisco's coffee houses also produced a heady, iconoclastic acoustic music scene. It may have started in the hills south of the city where fledgling folkies Jerry Garcia, Robert Hunter, and David Nelson were playing bluegrass as the Hart Valley Drifters. Maybe it settled in later when the Dead and the New Riders of the Purple Sage rode their sound into the sunset. Farther north back among the redwood trees, traditional music found it's voice in the plaintive, yearning simplicity of Jim Ringer and Mary McCaslin. And in the rolling grassy hills of Marin County, David Grisman's mando cohort, the Quintet, with it's lucky plucking bounciness and minor swing on the edge of the 'grass' changed the rules on how to play music with traditional instruments. All this interweaving has lead to new styles and new sounds. It has defined traditional music on the West Coast. Kate Wolf's sensible, beautiful odes to humanity hold court along with Laurie Lewis's fine fiddling, writing, and singing. The Cache Valley Drifters have been stalwarts of the scene for over thirty years, constantly developing and grooving with grace and fire. Tom Ball and Kenny Sultan are two of the finest blues men of their generation, and their influences and homes are here on the sun drenched West Coast. Dave Alvin, one of the original Blasters successfully defines what modern folk music should sound like. So here we are in the Golden State of California....so many places to so many people. We're at the beginning of a new century, trying to write the book on what's going to be next. Nobody knows for sure, but we'll be redefining Americana music, California style for generations to come.