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Scoop on Kern River Blues

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Merle Haggard’s farewell to Bakersfield becomes a musical rallying cry to make a river flow again

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Gregory Porter

Editor in Chief

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Zacari

Assistant Manager

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Amy Adams

Art Director

Monty Byrom

Programming Editor

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The artists

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The artists

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Musician bios

Amy Adams

Amy is a proud AEA and SAG-AFTRA performer, as well as a vocal coach, life coach, youth mentor, and businesswoman. Amy is known as a top ten finalist on the third season of the hit television show American Idol.  Amy has toured the country multiple times with arena and stage shows, including her favorite starring role as the Narrator, with Patrick Cassidy, in the North American tour of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. One of Amy's most favorite adventures was her 5-year stint in the number one Las Vegas show, Le Reve-The Dream at the Wynn Las Vegas. She is a recording artist with compilation and solo albums, a producer, an executive producer, and a casting agent in the entertainment industry. Amy is passionate about giving back to the Bakersfield community. Amy is the Director of Arts Mentoring with Garden Pathways. She is also the Vice President of Health Through Wholeness which is working in partnership with the CVAF to commission 12 tiny homes for homeless veterans. Amy is the founder of Performance Partnerships which helps develop nonprofits, businesses, and individuals to grow their brands. Amy is excited to be a Stars Theater Board member where she can utilize all of her skills to make a positive impact in the Bakersfield Arts scene. Amy is proud of her new pop-soul band, CaliLuna. Lastly, and she feels most importantly, Amy is the mother to her two amazing children, Harry and Emery, and FLP (forever lady person) to her everyday superhero, Captain Theodore King.

Gregory Porter

Known for his warm baritone vocals, Gregory Porter rose to acclaim in the 2010s with his earthy, cross-pollinated brand of jazz, soul, and gospel. A gifted singer of standards as well as more contemporary soul material, Porter has earned favorable comparisons to his idols Nat King Cole, Donny Hathaway, and Stevie Wonder. He announced his arrival by picking up a Grammy nomination for his 2010 debut, Water. After signing to Blue Note, he gained even wider notice for his third album, 2013’s Liquid Spirit, which hit number two on the jazz charts, and won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Although his original songs are his main focus, Porter often returns to his roots, such as on his 2017 tribute album Nat King Cole & Me. Born in Los Angeles in 1971, Porter grew up in Bakersfield, California, where his mother was a minister. It was through his mother’s record collection that he fell under the spell of Cole, learning early on how to imitate him. Along with singing, he was also a gifted athlete, and left high school with a football scholarship to San Diego State University. However, after an injury to his shoulder derailed his sports career, he moved to Brooklyn where he worked days as a chef while performing in local jazz clubs. It was during this period that he met saxophonist, composer, and pianist Kamau Kenyatta. ​ Kenyatta quickly became Porter’s mentor, introducing him to flutist Hubert Laws. Laws then featured Porter on a track on his 1998 album, Hubert Laws Remembers the Unforgettable Nat King Cole. Laws’ sister, Eloise Laws, also heard Porter during the sessions and cast him as one of the leads in the musical It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues, which eventually enjoyed a run on Broadway. In 2010, Porter released his debut album, Water, on Motéma Music. Well-received, it picked up a Grammy nod for Best Jazz Vocal Album. Be Good followed two years later and further showcased Porter’s growing confidence. In September of 2013, Porter issued his third album and Blue Note debut, Liquid Spirit. Produced by Brian Bacchus, the album was a huge success, landing at number two on the Billboard Top Jazz Albums chart, and scooping up the 2014 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album. It also became the one of the most streamed jazz albums of all time, with over 20 million streams. His second effort for Blue Note, Take Me to the Alley, was released in early 2016, and featured Porter’s own version of “Holding On,” a track he co-wrote and previously recorded with electronic act Disclosure. Also in 2016, Porter delivered the concert album Live in Berlin. The following year he released an album that paid tribute to the artist who had been most influential on his own music. Nat King Cole & Me featured Porter’s versions of some of Cole’s most treasured classics, including “Smile” and “Mona Lisa.” The concert album One Night Only: Live at the Royal Albert Hall arrived in 2018. ~ Matt Collar

Soulajar

Daisy Sanchez

Monty Byrom

Jim Ranger

Rudy Paris

Rudy Parris, a Native American singer, guitarist, and songwriter hails from Central California's San Joaquin Valley. Rudy is well known for his appearances on Season 3 of NBC’s The Voice, where he was featured to over 190 million viewers as a proud member of Team Blake Shelton. Parris enjoyed a longstanding 10 year residency playing alongside country music legen Buck Owens at the Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, CA. He recorded his latest album, “Makin’ My Way,” at Hollywood’s famed Capital Records. As a renowned guitarist, Rudy has toured with Hank Williams III. Rudy has also signed deals with Universal and Warrior records. Recently Rudy has been asked to front the world famous Buckaroos, who were named by CMT as the number 2 greatest country music band of all time. “The Buckaroos have always been big fans of Rudy, so working together be a real pleasure!” - Jim Shaw. Rudy is of Navajo/Apache descent.

Zacari

Zacari Moses Pacaldo is a Filipino American singer & songwriter born and raised in Bakersfield. Zacari has made a name for himself despite his young age and relatively short career as a professional musician. Zacari was raised by a highly musical family. His mother Ede Pacaldo, a former drummer for rock bands, taught Zacari how to play the guitar, and his father Moses Pacaldo passed down his love of soul, blues and jazz music. He was enrolled in a school for performing arts by age eight and began learning guitar, followed by drums, saxophone, and keyboards. Zacari had a stint in Alaska where he worked for the summer after graduating high school. After finishing high school, he worked seasonally for three years at an Alaska national park, and enrolled in a music school in Los Angeles. One of Zacari's breakout moments was being featured on Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy award winning album DAMN, along with only two other featured artists – Rihanna and U2. The song, “Love,” was originally written by Zacari but redone by Lamar into the song listeners know. In addition to Lamar’s album Damn, Zacari was featured on various TDE albums such as The Sun's Tirade, Do What Thou Wilt., and Black Panther: The Album. TDE announced the signing of Zacari in January 2019, when he released his first single on the label "Don't Trip". His debut EP Run Wild Run Free was released on March 15, 2019.

Norm Hamlet

Norm Hamlet is an American steel guitarist was a longstanding member of Merle Haggard's legendary band The Strangers band for the nearly 50 years. He was born on February 27, 1935 in Woodville, California. He began playing guitar in his teens and played throughout North Central California for a number of years with several groups, before going to Bakersfield, California in 1965 where he became an influential part of the Bakersfield sound. He has won many awards, including induction into the Western Swing Society hall of fame in Sacramento, California and the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. Hamlet toured with Haggard until Haggard's death in April 2016 and was a part of the original recording of "Kern River Blues," which Haggard recorded shortly before his death. Since Merle's death has done touring with Haggard's sons, Noel and Ben, as well as pianist Mario Carboni.