Get Your Free Monthly Dose of Courage

john courage
Photo: Sarah Sanger

Santa Rosa has so much noteworthy music that sometimes it can be difficult to stay on top of who’s playing where at any given time. Ah, the challenges of living in Santa Rosa, right? But here’s a simple solution. Mark your calendar for the monthly show John Courage puts on at everybody’s favorite pub, The Toad in the Hole.

On the third Sunday of every month, Courage – sometimes solo, sometimes with other musicians – stands before the room filled with friends and neighbors happily sipping beers and eating Shepherd’s Pie to play his guitar and sing some songs. A striking tall figure with lots of red hair and a voice for bluesy Americana with a badass rocker side which comes to visit sometimes, John Courage’s songs are made for sidling up to at that perfect part of the evening when you’re ready to feel a little bit dangerous, or a little bit moved.

Among other Santa Rosa favorites who have joined him, he’s welcomed to the stage Francesco Catina (otherwise known as Frances Wolfe), Henry Nagle of Eight Belles, Ashley Allred, and Josh Windmiller of The Crux. Each lends their own particular sound and style along to that of Courage, who describes his sound as ‘Sad Disco meets California Soul’. Some are more electronic and experimental, some a bit dreamier, some bring the edge. It’s clear that whoever shares the stage with John Courage is a welcome friend, and a good time is definitely being had by all.

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The show is always free and perfectly complimented by the dozen or more beers available at The Toad, or a glass of local wine. Settle in with the other over-21’s with some dinner, like Bangers & Mash, a flaky hot pastie, or just a healthy serving of super garlicky fries.

John Courage

Don’t forget: John Courage, third Sunday of every month, free!

 Toad in the Hole Pub: 116 5th Street, Santa Rosa – 707-544-TOAD

John Courage on Facebook

RR Square 2016 Greatest Hits

Enjoy these highlights from the Second Annual Railroad Square Music Festival, recorded live and unplugged at the Santa Rosa Out There Welcome Wagon.

Still spinning at 33 & 1/3

By Guest Blogger Estefany Gonzalez

After more than 30 years of selling records, The Last Record Store has become  just what its name says it is: the last of its kind in Santa Rosa.

Music stores and record shops have come and gone from our city. The connivance of adding cheap CDs to an online cart and easy downloads have closed them all down. Yet, The Last Record Store remains because it is a vital part of our community, and a home for the recordings of musicians who play here. One entire wall is dedicated to local talent and the community created by it. You can find genres from Americana, punk, hardcore and everything in between.

Local Artist Section

In a world full of MP3s, music applications and streaming sites, The Last Record Store stands out as a local treasure. Listening to a song is virtually just a click away, but the shop offers more than just records, cassettes and CDs. It provides a space for local musicians to showcase their work.

Part of what makes this store special are the live performances. On show days, you can pile between isles of records and the local music-loving scene to watch artists of all kinds. Recently, The Vibrating Antennas played a full set in-store to celebrate the release of their newest album ‘State of the Art’. Within the past six months local acts like Rags, Decent Criminal, and various other artists, played in-store shows.

The Vibrating Antennas at the Last Record Store

In honor of the past 33 years of vinyl and impromptu concerts, The Last Record Store celebrates its 33 1/3rd Anniversary party, June 26 at The Arlene Francis Center. The event is free and you can expect a line-up full of different types of bands, much like the music selection the store offers.

13533074_10154925980619348_53482328061549199_nPerformances include indie-rock act The New Trust, singer-songwriter Ashley Allred, shoegaze sounds by The Down House, and a reunion by Santiago for the 10 year anniversary of the album 'Rosenberg’s After Dark.'

For the full line-up and event information visit the Facebook page for the event.

Estefany Gonzalez is a writer and photographer from Santa Rosa. She spends most of her time at local concerts and taking pictures. She's written for The North Bay Bohemian, The Bay Bridged, KQED and other publications. You can see her photography portfolio and find links to her social media

Great Music, To The Second Power

Santa Rosa's newest, and free-est, live music tradition returns on June 5th.

Last year's Railroad Square Music Festival brought together some of the region's top bands, spontaneous works of art, delish food, libations and a joyous crowd of local music lovers. This year, Josh Windmiller and the good people at Hootenanny have done it again with another incredible line-up of musicians - click here to see and hear for yourself. If you were among the celebrants, hopefully, you swung by the SR Out There Welcome Wagon for a portrait. If not, watch the vid below to get a sense of what it's like to have a day full of live music for free in Railroad Square in downtown Santa Rosa.