Bluegrass super-group Sugar in the Gourd swings by Boulevard Music

Sugar in the Gourd delivers traditional tunes with contemporary perspective

Train songs, romantic woes, jaunty gospel tunes, murder ballads, fiddle reels and honky-tonk shuffles: such are the stock in trade of old-time and bluegrass bands. Taking their name from a traditional banjo-fiddle instrumental, the women of Sugar in the Gourd deliver all of the above with a wry feminist perspective, and sweet harmonies cut with a knowing tang.
The kinship shown within the quartet extends to a strong sense of community; individual Sugars are frequently seen supporting other Americana artists around town. Onstage, standup bassist Lynn Sokolow’s grounding, grinning presence is the most visible evidence of the joy felt and shared between the Sugars, friends who happen to be busy musicians.
The nature of such an ensemble is that coordinating members is akin to the proverbial wrangling of cats. Mandolinist Lisa Salloux, for instance, just returned from a quick pop over to Spain, where she supported Malibu duo the Blue Dolphins. Fiddler Aubrey Richmond has been hopscotching between coasts performing with all-gal country band the Mustangs as well as Shooter Jennings, the latter of whom she’ll be backing in Missouri this Saturday; honorary Sugar Julie Pusch will fill in for her when Sugar in the Gourd share a bill with Santa Monica songwriter/actress Nettie Rose and veteran multi-instrumentalist and music book author (and Sokolow’s husband) Fred Sokolow at Boulevard Music. Ainjel Emme will be playing her second show with the versatile Sugars, stepping in for guitarist and expectant mama Carly Ritter.
A jam with Sokolow and Nettie Rose is all but certain, so it should be a lively night for Westsiders craving bluegrass breakdowns.

— Bliss Bowen

The music starts at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, at Boulevard Music, 4316 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City. $15. Call (310) 398-2583 or visit