It’s a folk high in Fair Oaks

Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre

7991 California Ave.
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

(916) 966-3683

The New Christy Minstrels were my gateway drug. That’s right; the strains of songs such as “Green, Green,” “Saturday Night” and that one about the heartbroken girl who was eaten by a bear (“Julianne”) was a setup for a future of singing along to folk and Americana. The Minstrels’ harmonic version of “Jimmy Grove and Barbara Ellen” inevitably led to the more plaintive, dissonant and heartsick version by Jean Ritchie. Thanks to the white-bread song stylings of this choral group, still under the direction of Randy Sparks, I discovered other “soft” folk groups such as the Limeliters and the Kingston Trio—and that led to the hard stuff: Pete Seeger, the Weavers, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan. So head out to the family-friendly benefit Saturday night in Fair Oaks. The $20 ticket will benefit both the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival’s Capital Campaign and the New Christy Minstrels Foundation. They’ll be joined by Barry McGuire (a former Minstrel who had a monster hit in 1965 with “Eve of Destruction”) and Sacramento banjo picker Chuck Cole. The show starts at 7 p.m. in the Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre in Fair Oaks. For more information, call (916) 966-3683 or visit