Media Life: Auburn’s Party in the Park fires up the Cajun musical spice

By: Gus Thomson, Media Life
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AUBURN CA - Auburn’s Party in the Park is still hopefully a few more rainstorms away but the fun fest has already locked in its headliner. Mr. Party in the Park Scott Holbrook has zeroed in on some rootsy Cajun sounds for this one and booked Lisa Haley & the Zydekats for June 15. Haley, who wields a red-hot fiddle on her five-piece band’s mix of Americana, Cajun and Zydeco songs, will be touring in support of “Zydecosis 2.0,” the Zydekats’ eighth release over 18 years as a band. It may be impossible to top last June’s power-bill of Great American Taxi and Mumbo Gumbo but the 11th annual Party in the Park promises to be a lively, fun-filled event. Haley – who claims ancestors as diverse as Pocahontas and Bill Haley – is a serious Americana artist but she’ll be punctuating the music with some entertaining story-telling. She also has a musical sense of humor, as her YouTube hit “Chicken Fiddler,” demonstrates. Clucking like a chicken as she plays fiddle, Haley has drawn more than half-a-million views to the video snippet. The free event at North Auburn’s Regional Park promises to deliver an entertaining headliner and Holbrook said that he’s still looking for an opening act to fill out the bill. As well, Holbrook wants to find a catchy slogan for Party in the Park’s Cajun theme. Media Life’s “Partie dans la Parc” suggestion didn’t get very far with the discerning impresario so the challenge is out there for readers. Holbrook mirthfully says that he’ll reward anyone who comes up with the right slogan with a free pass to the event (already no charge) and a parking pass (could be valuable if you get there early enough). The Zydekats have a strong female presence, with three of its members being women. And they’ll be playing traditional favorites as well as new songs from “Zydecosis 2.0,” which is slated to be released May 1. Winter in May Speaking of seriously talented musicians, little old Nevada City is welcoming one of the greatest blues guitar players on the planet for a gig May 17 at the Miner’s Foundry. Johnny Winter will be playing the Nevada County and it’s a first appearance in Nevada County for one of the superstars of the blues. A check with the Foundry folk finds that tickets are already selling fast for the $40 reserved seats and the general admission ducats at $30 – “dancing room only” behind the reserved seats – should be going on sale next week. Winter, who will be jumping on a plane for a tour of Japan right after playing the Miners Foundry, is likely to sell out the hall, which holds about 600 for similar concerts. And, of course, it illustrates the type of star power that the State Theater could welcome to Downtown Auburn when its dream to expand seating to about that number becomes a reality. So, if you’re buying a Mega Millions ticket or five, consider the State in Auburn as a worthy recipient of some of your largesse when your winning numbers are drawn. The Auburn Placer Performing Arts Center group’s most recent estimate on costs for the State Theater upgrade and expansion is “several millions.” The finished product would be a state-of the-art venue with seating for 500. In the meantime, pencil in some time for the Clint Eastwood Film Festival at the State Theater from May 27 to 29. “The Good The Bad and The Ugly, “Dirty Harry,” “Play Misty for Me” and “Gran Torino” are on the bill. Miller time in July The Thunder Valley Casino Resort has emerged as Placer County’s go-to venue and the outdoor amphitheater is consistently attracting top acts closer to Auburn. And it has mega-capacity for music lovers, with seating for 4,500. In the casino’s latest announcement, we find that the Steve Miller Band will be performing July 13 and the 80s rock triumvirate of Bret Michaels, Night Ranger and Slaughter will be rocking the amphitheater June 15. Reach Media Life’s Gus Thomson at (530) 852-0232 or You can catch Thomson tweeting at A_J_Media_Life or talking at 6 p.m. most Fridays on Dave Rosenthal’s KAHI 950 AM drive-time radio show.