Crying Time will be in Martinez to honor one of country’s greats.
The Berkeley area isn’t usually thought of as a hotbed for country music, but judging by the throng loitering on San Pablo Avenue cursing their late arrival to the sold-out Crying Time show at the Ivy Room last September, there are a whole lot of undercover twangheads in the East Bay.
Featuring the vocals of North Oakland guitarist and songwriter Jill Rogers, Crying Time covers a gilded array of classic songs from Nashville’s post-World War II golden age. But the Ivy Room show was more a celebration than a gig, with a special guest-laden cast of vocalists honoring the legacy of George Jones, who was widely hailed as country music’s greatest singer before his death in 2013 at the age of 81.
On March 17, Crying Time settles into the invaluable Martinez outpost Armando’s to revisit the Jones material with many of the same special guests. In addition to Rogers, the band features her Berkeley-based younger brother Peter Garellick on bass and vocal harmonies, drummer Tim Rowe, Myles Boisen on guitar and vocals, and Oakland fiddler Tony Marcus. They’ll be joined by singer/songwriter Maurice Tani, the Loretta Lynch Trio, and Danny Allen.
Like at the Ivy Room, the secret sauce here is Bobby Black, the 83-year-old pedal steel guitar master who played on Jones’s first recordings in the early 1950s. Black went on to perform and record with dozens of country music stars, but is probably best known for his extensive work with country rockers New Riders of the Purple Sage and Western swing revivalists Asleep at the Wheel in the 1970s. The Armando’s concert focuses on songs “really stamped by George Jones’s take on them,” said Crying Time drummer Rowe, who wrote his master’s thesis about the country music legend. “Maurice Tani is singing more of the melodious ballads, and Loretta Lynch is coming in and doing some classic Nashville harmonies.”
George Jones celebration with Crying Time and special guests, 8 p.m., Saturday, March 17, Armando’s 707 Marina Vista, Martinez, $20, 925-228-6985, ArmandosMartinez.com