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Live, from Nevada City, it’s The Geezer Gig!

Tom Durkin
Special to The Union

“Party like an animal and be home in bed by 10!”

For the past four years, that’s been the promise the Bob Woods Trio makes — and keeps — whenever they play their highly popular Geezer Gig.

The trio and the Geezer Gig have become so popular that community radio KVMR is broadcasting this Friday’s Geezer Gig live and worldwide (via the web) from Nevada City’s legendary Crazy Horse Saloon & Grill.

As best as anybody can remember, it all started four years ago at the Crazy Horse. The first Friday of every month from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. the trio would play their kickass brand of country rock — a blend of Woods’ own rockabilly originals and classic rock. The no-cover dance party was an instant hit and has had a loyal following ever since.

The Gig abides

Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances (not worth going into here), the Crazy Horse closed in July 2010, and the gig moved across the street to Cooper’s Ale Works. Recently, the group has added a second monthly gig at the Old 5Mile House.

Meanwhile, the Crazy Horse recently reopened. Last month, this prompted the idea for a one-night-stand “homecoming” of the Geezer Gig to the Crazy Horse.

The idea caught fire immediately. KVMR DJ Wesley Robertson said, “Maybe we should broadcast this live.” (For the last 23 years, Robertson has owned Saturday afternoons with his 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. “Rockin-N-Stompin” show, often featuring the music of Woods.)

“Our DJs get calls from Australia, Brazil, Paris — and even San Francisco,” said KVMR Program Director Steve Baker, who OK’d the live broadcast.

Even before Robertson suggested going live, guest geezers Homer Wills (harmonica) and Juliet Gobert (singer/songwriter) had signed on for the Crazy Horse homecoming.

At last count, confirmed guest geezers for this special show include Dakota Sid Clifford (vocals and guitar), Scott Hickman (harmonica, Grease Grit & Grime), KVMR’s own Paul Emery, Ken Miele (guitar and vocals, Cousin Cricket), Pete Kmeto (accordion and bass, SwampBilly), Josh Ford (trumpet, Earles of Newtown), Ray Elzey (pedal steel guitar) and Shay Dillon (vocals) with Paul Kraushaar (guitar).

It’s not an age thing

Although the Geezer Gig attracts an older crowd, ranging from 40s to 70s, they are living proof you’re never too old to rock’n’roll. In fact, Ford, the youngest guest geezer, is only 30.

Actually, the Geezer Gig is more about the early-evening time slot than the age of the players or fans, said Woods, who is 62. A veteran of the Northern California music scene for more than four decades, he said he just got tired of the late night bar scene, where he often didn’t take the stage until after 11 p.m.

“It’s nice to be able to go right after work and dance your legs off and be home before you hurt yourself. And frankly, to see the caliber of musicianship in such a casual way … I never take Bob for granted,” said loyal fan Kim Patton Rogers.

The Bob Woods Trio

Best known for his blazing guitar virtuosity, Woods also holds his own as a singer/songwriter with songs ranging from his hard-rocking “Hillbilly Cadillac” to his nostalgic “Last Train Through Moraga.”

In addition to his own bands, over the years Woods has sat in with such country rock legends as Billy Joe Shaver, Chuck Wagon and the Wheels, the New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen and even the Surfaris to name a few.

Nevertheless, it wouldn’t be the Bob Woods Trio without Bill Smart, 63, on five-string bass and Skip Alan Smith (“Will you still love me when I’m 64?”) on drums.

All three band member share singing lead vocals and have an easy rapport with each other and their fans.

Dedicated to Dianna

Although in years past, the Crazy Horse has had a rough and rowdy reputation, former owner Dianna Hill transformed the bar and grill into a safe and respectable place for people who know how to party without police intervention.

The Trio, Geezer Gig fans and new owner Terra Saxton are all quick to credit Hill for creating a fun and reputable venue for local music.

“She’s the best bar owner I ever worked with,” said Woods.

Hill has since moved to Southern California, but she sent an e-mail: “Wish I could be there to welcome everyone with a Big Hug!!! The Geezer Gig is the Best! Many friends were made and some marriages too! Always, Too Much Fun!!!”

Tom Durkin is a freelance writer/photographer in Nevada City. He can be reached at tdurkin@vfr.net.

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