Concert at Schoenberg Guitars in Tiburon

Saturday, December 12, at 8 p.m.

Two of our favorite performers, Craig & Meredith renew songs taken from 78s and old cylinders recorded before any of us were born—old vaudeville tunes and popular songs: Eubie Blake and Scott Joplin are no strangers here and Blind Blake is an old, familiar friend. In other words, Tin Pan Alley at its best is what these two are up to! Craig, whose casual virtuosity was honed on the street corners of San Francisco, takes up the most complicated guitar arrangements and swings them with rhythmic verve. Craig was the guitarist in the ragtime-revival trio “Bo Grumpus.”  And you may have heard him featured on the soundtracks for Terry Zwigoff’s films “Crumb” and “Ghost World.” Meredith, whose rich contralto seems to emerge from a ‘20s recording—her version of Bessie Smith’s “Backwater Blues” comes to mind—also plays superb rhythm guitar. Together they’re likely to make us believe the shop is an old speakeasy and the ‘20s high rollers are still rolling. Ain’t we got fun!

Craig Ventresco is the most “authentic” neo-ragtime/acoustic blues wrangler in the country…his commitment to this stuff is admirable; in a way, it’s the same kind of proselytizing fervor that fired Clapton and the original Rolling Stones.” – Joe S. Harrington, New York Press

“Meredith Axelrod sings and plays guitar as if she really returned to the pre-mic days. We’re not talking revisionist copy of so and so from way back when; we’re talking as if we plucked an original out of the era and time-traveled her to bless us with a taste of who we were when we had guts.” – JL Stiles

“Craig Ventresco and Meredith Axelrod make very good music together . . . “ – from the review of their CD, Craig Ventresco & Meredith Axelrod, by Jack Rummel

Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door

Call for tickets: 415-789-0846

BACK IN TOWN! House Concert in Point Richmond, CA

I’m nearly back in town, and I’ll make appearances, which are listed on my calendar page, at many of my regular places; I hope you can make it out.  I’ll play a house concert in Point Richmond, and a concert with Craig Ventresco at Bird & Beckett Books and Records in Glen Park.  Here’s the information.

Meredith will transport you musically as she channels jazz,

blues, country and pop of the 1890’s through the 1930’s

learned from 78 rpm records of that era. Live streaming at

Casa Verde Kitchen Music -Friday November 6

Arrive: 6:30- 7:30 PM, Music at 7:30 PM

Donation at the door: $15 – $ 25

Potluck and BYOB

RSVP: 510-236-3880

Sunday, November 8th – 4:30-6:30 pm
Craig Ventresco & Meredith Axelrod

A return engagement of San Francisco’s finest interpreters of early jazz, vaudeville, rural blues, ragtime and popular tunes!  Click here to listen to their duo guitar performance of Cold Mornin’ Shout.

Craig Ventresco-bwCraig Ventresco was lured out to San Francisco from Maine in 1987 by the promised riches of the musician’s life to be had here.  Like Rick with regard to Casablanca’s fabled waters, he was misinformed. Nonetheless, he has managed to ply his trade here for decades, and is known internationally as a virtuoso of the guitar and historian of early American popular music. He sings a bit as well, which is always a pleasure to hear.

Craig is deeply familiar with all manner of turn-of-the-20th-century popular music, gleaned from years of collecting old cylinders and 78 rpm records after glomming onto the music as a toddler. “I love all kinds of music from the turn of the century–” he says, “ragtime, waltzes, marches.”  On hearing Craig, the late great San Francisco critic Phil Elwood had the revelation that “to see the future, you only need to go back in time.”

You may have first heard Craig in Bay Area clubs and festivals with Pete Devine and Marty Eggers in the trio called Bo Grumpus back in the late 1980s, or in recent years playing solo and in duo with Meredith Axelrod (Craig and Meredith continue to play regularly at the Atlas Cafe). He has been acclaimed on the festival circuit the world over. He’s played solo guitar and duets with Bucky Pizzarelli at the Atlanta Jazz Party, has opened for Reverend Horton Heat, and has been featured on the soundtracks of two memorable films: “Crumb” and “Ghost World.”

Without doubt, Craig is among the most important musicians San Francisco can boast, a versatile multi-instrumentalist of the strings and a profound historian of popular music from the late 1800s through the depression era.

Meredith AxelrodMeredith Axelrod is recently back from an engagement with Jim Kweskin and the Jake Leg Stompers in Nashville and as a duo with Kweskin at the Kentuck Festival in Northport, Alabama after a September swing through Portland and Seattle. She’s a fine, uncanny singer and a multi-instrumentalist with great rhythmic drive and a sure grasp of early jazz, rural blues and the many pop music genres of the early 20th century, learned from a deep immersion in old 78s.

As a solo artist, Meredith has headlined her own shows at the Steve Allen Theater in Hollywood, opened for the Cheap Suit Serenaders at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, opened for David Bromberg at the Sweetwater Music Hall, and toured as far as Australia and New Zealand.

Meredith leads her own hot jazz and string bands, and is heard frequently around the Bay and further afield in a duo with Craig Ventresco, performing at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, Freight & Salvage, the West Coast Ragtime Festival, the Blind Boone Ragtime and Early Jazz Festival and countless small clubs and cafes. Her duo and small group performances with Jim Kweskin have included a recent appearance at the fabled McCabe’s in Santa Monica as well as recent Nashville and Northport, Alabama dates. She has also played with Frank Fairfield, Dan Hicks, Maria Muldaur, Geoff Muldaur, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot, Cindy Cashdollar, David Grisman, Bill Keith, Terry Zwigoff, Robert Crumb, and the Cheap Suit Serenaders, and has toured domestically and internationally.

Click here for When I Was a Cowboy with Craig and Meredith on guitars, and Meredith’s vocal.


Hey everyone; here is info about my upcoming tours through October. I’m leaving for Seattle in a week or so.

SEATTLE September 17-18

Rhapsody Concert at The Hillman City Collaboratory this fall with wonderful singer and performer, Meredith Axelrod! Join us for an incredible night of music with special guests from Seattle’s jazz and blues scene.

Thursday September 17

The Hillman City Collaboratory

5623 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, Washington 98118
This show will be a sliding scale $10 – $20
Doors at 7:00, music starts at 8:00
All ages, BYOB

Friday September 18 I’m playing a swing dance called Eastside Stomp with Jacob Zimmerman, Ray Skjelbred, and Matt Weiner.

Aria Ballroom

9pm-12am $12

15300 NE 95th St, Redmond, WA

PORTLAND September 19

Saturday September 19 I’m playing in St. Johns, Portland, OR

at Slim’s

8635 N Lombard St (at N Alta Ave), Portland, OR 97203, United States

Free 8pm

ROSEBURG, OR September 20
SAN FRANCISCO, CA September 22 – October 9

I’m coming back to San Francisco to play at Blush Wine Bar Tuesday, Sep 22 w Robert Young, Ari Munkres, and Craig Ventresco 7:30-10 476 Castro St. SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Saturday, September 26 Atlas Cafe 4-6 SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Thursday October 1 Outdoor Concert at Transamerica Redwood Park w Craig Ventresco and band 12-1pm SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Saturday October 3 Atlas Cafe 4-6 SAN FRANCISCO, CA

Tuesday October 6 Meredith Axelrod Old Time Jazz Band w Craig Ventresco, Robert Young, and Ari Munkres play 7:30-10 at Blush Wine Bar 476 Castro St. SAN FRANCISCO, CA

AUBURN, CA October 10

Saturday October 10 Crooked House Concert Solo (530) 401-6381 8pm AUBURN, CA

CHICAGO, IL October 14

I will play a solo set in a show w Devil in a Woodpile

Red Line Tap

7006 N. Glenwood Ave.

8pm $10


NASHVILLE, TN October 18

I will play a set w Jim Kweskin and the Jake Leg Stompers, and the Jake Leg Stompers will play a set at City Winery 8pm Details here:


Here’s where I’m going.

Sunday July 26 Jalopy Theatre w Craig Ventresco BROOKLYN, NY

Saturday Aug 1 Sioux River Folk Festival w Frank Fairfield CANTON, SD

Sunday Aug 2 Sioux River Folk Festival w Frank Fairfield CANTON, SD

Thursday Aug 6 (Solo) SANDSTONE, MN

Friday Aug 7 Mother Fools’ Coffee House (Solo) MADISON, WI

Hope to see you there, friends!

TODAY I’m at Atlas Cafe 4-6

I’m missing my residency gigs while I’m out of town; always check my Calendar page to see that I’ll be there.  Thanks, friends.