nabolom bandWe discovered something magical in Berkeley today, something we suspect few students know about: The perfect Saturday-morning hangover cure. Absolutely, exquisitely, unbelievably perfect.

Every Saturday from 10 to 1, the folk band Friends of Old Puppy plays at Nabolom Bakery. The healing, restorative part of it? Well, picture this: Some home-brewed chai or a fat, green mug of latte steaming in your cupped hands, a freshly baked almond croissant or cheese roll resting on the table before you (a product of the worker-owned collective you are supporting), a near-tangible calm and wisdom radiating from the heads of wispy, graying hair all about you (they were not out late last night, they were not steeling themselves against a week of studies and late nights and awkward social encounters with shots of Popov, but you are not bitter, no, you are grateful that you are young and that one day you will no longer be quite so very young), while waves of familiar and unfamiliar instrumental hiccups of happiness break over your lingering headache.

“A lot of local musicians come and listen to them,” Deborah Robins, a friend of the band and local folk musician, said, with husband and musical partner Larry Hanks and her toddler-granddaughter by her side, “They’re really highly regarded. What they do is unusual: They have an unusual repertoire.” (We recognized a lovely folk-jazz rendition of Le Moulin from “Amelie.”)

Robins took a moment to explain the unusual instruments the Friends were playing: Steven Strauss, the band leader, and Billy Wilson both held what looked like dismembered guitar fretboards held the wrong side up (formerly known as electric ukuleles), Wilson also had a lap steel guitar, while Ed Johnson strummed away on a home-made washtub bass (Wikipedia tells us this is also known as a “gutbucket”), Kurt Stevenson played guitar and Cynthia Wilson, Billy Wilson’s sister and schoolteacher by day, drummed and rocked her head side to side in time with the music, a huge smile on her face that said everything that could possibly be said about Saturday mornings and coffeeshops  and Berkeley.

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Comments:
Steven Strauss said:
Jan 30, 2011 at 11:48 pm

The coffee didn’t hurt.



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Robots have colonized these comments!



Christine said:
Feb 16, 2012 at 11:52 am

I would never have called their music “folk”. It’s not incompatible with folk music but it’s far too eclectic to be categorized. They play blues, cajun/zydeco, standards, music from other countries, theme songs, serious stuff, silly stuff, etc, etc. The common thread is a deep love of the music itself and of playing into the room rather than at the listeners. It’s a very calming and respectful approach. Billy & Steven have been playing together for over 30 years and are both excellent musicians. Come on down; you will not be disappointed.



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I hate when people clap with the music, they’re always off & it fucks me up



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