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Playing for the Cats and Dogs

A pair of acoustic duos to perform at Pets Lifeline

By Mary Catherine Cutliffe

The Straw Wattles Duo join Teja Gerken and Doug Young for An Evening of Acoustic Guitar Music to benefit Pets Lifeline on Saturday, August 20. The show will begin at 7 p.m. in The Great Room at Pets Lifeline.

“The musicians proposed performing a concert that benefits Pets Lifeline. We offered to host it at Pets Lifeline rather than an offsite venue. I am thrilled and excited to see our new Animal Resource Center being utilized for a fun evening event,” commented Nancy King, CEO of Pets Lifeline. “The musicians are very talented and have big hearts.”

The Straw Wattles Duo is comprised of North Bay roots music stalwarts Josh Yenne and Adam Traum. Their music has a buoyant spirit that is based on the mutual respect for each other’s skills, their friendship, and a love of authentic music.

Josh Yenne is an in-demand sideman on pedal-steel and electric guitar, and just as facile picking acoustic steel-strings. His excellent songwriting is quirky, often drawing on historical references, while showcasing his wit and humor. He is a truly well-rounded musician and bandleader.

Adam Traum hails from a musical family, which instilled in him a passion for music. Growing up in Woodstock, New York, his favorite place was always next to the stage, or in the middle of a song circle. Raised in the eye of the storm during a high time of music and creativity, Adam was saturated with the sounds from his father and uncle, Happy and Artie Traum, The Band, John Sebastian, Doc Watson, Pete Seeger, and too many other luminaries of roots music to count inspire him to this day.

Teja Gerken has shared the stage with many guitar visionaries, including John Renbourn, Alex de Grassi, and Andy McKee. He is a familiar face at most Northern California acoustic music venues and has toured throughout the USA and Europe, including as a part of the International Guitar Night series.

Doug Young is the winner of the 2011 International Acoustic Music Awards in the instrumental category. He has released two albums, Laurel Mill and Closing Time, which feature his solo guitar playing, compositions, and arrangements. Doug has written several best-selling guitar instructional books, he is a contributing editor for Acoustic Guitar magazine, and he is in-demand for teaching workshops at guitar events throughout the country.

Inspired by the examples set by instrumental guitar duos ranging from folk-baroque legends John Renbourn and Bert Jansch to the sophistication of the Duo Assad, Gerken and Young seek to create arrangements that are larger than the sum of their parts. The duo also takes advantage of the timbres available through a dazzling array of tunings and by pairing a wide variety of guitars.

The concert at Pets Lifeline will include sets by each duo and a finale of the four pickers playing together.

Pets Lifeline is the only animal shelter located in Sonoma Valley and provides a refuge for pets and resources for people. Pets Lifeline is a private, non-profit organization, dependent on donations and memberships and does not receive government funds or support from national organizations. For nearly 40 years, Pets Lifeline has been dedicated to protecting and improving the lives of cats and dogs in need in Sonoma Valley through sheltering and adoption, humane education, and community programs.