Pictured above: Feller Quentin, The Pine Box Boys, and The "Tami Show"
One of the best kept secrets in town, are the doings and goings on at "CitySessions", hosted by the Ethiopian restaurant, Club Waziema. The brainchild of Diana Gaffney and Dean Preston, CitySessions is a monthly acoustic music showcase in the Western Addition, featuring some of the Bay Area's best original music. The second Tuesday of each month, a large crowd of music lovers packs Club Waziema's back room to discover the incredible local talent in this small, intimate venue. Gaffney and Preston launched their first music showcase on August 12th, 2003, less than two months after the idea for CitySessions came together. With the overwhelming response to the showcase, this project is cultivating a rich new live music scene in the Western Addition.
Owned by the jovial Giday Beshue, Club Waziema was formerly known as Club Morocco, with artists such as Billie Holiday, James Brown and Tina Turner performing there in its heyday in the mid 70's. With Beshue's blessing, live music returned to this historic venue with the successful launch of CitySessions in August 2003.
The list of local talent is simply amazing, and CitySessions has amassed a loyal fan base. Artists like The Pine Box Boys, (fresh from an European tour), appear regularly. Michael Zapruder, "Ray's Vast Basement" and the popular Toshio, have also graced the Club.
The success of CitySessions has led to a compliation CD, "CitySessions: Volume One", featuring the regulars mentioned above, as well as Feller Quentin, Michael Hicks, Sean Laskey, "The Tami Show", Lisa Alice, Joel Murach, the hilarious "Tijuana Strip Club", Sean Corkery, Stuart Rosh, Mica Lee Williams, Anamude, and Christian Kiefer.
"We're proud to offer this compilation CD as a tribute to the musicians who have performed at our showcase, who have supported us and contributed their great music to this project.", wrote Gaffney and Preston. "We've had the great fortune to listen to and share their music live in an atmosphere that captures the heart of their work and their sound with styles ranging from dark murder ballads, pop, bluegrass to moody modern rock."
"Our goal at CitySessions was to feature the Bay Area's best musicians in a setting where their music would be truly appreciated. We never anticipated how successful this project would be. Musicians found a new audience in a unique intimate setting. Local music fans return month after month to discover great new music in a red velvet club that once hosted music legends like James Brown, Tina Turner and Billie Holiday."
CitySessions is a fantastic night of music on any given Tuesday. Their next session is on Aprill 11th, and features Rays Vast Basement, Aleta Diane and Garrett Pierce. So head down to 543 Divisadero between Fell and Hayes, and enjoy some good humor, and some great Ethiopian food. Some mighty fine pickin' awaits you!
Visit CitySessions at: http://www.citysessions.com
E. "Doc" Smith is a musician and recording engineer who has worked with the likes of Brian Eno, Madonna, Warren Zevon, Mickey Hart, Jimmy Cliff, Paul McCandless, Jack DeJohnette and Bill Bruford's Earthworks, among others. He is also the inventor of the musical instrument, the Drummstick. He can be reached at email@example.com