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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Watch Billionaire Warren Hellman Play the Banjo at Slim's This Weekend

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 4:37 PM

click to enlarge The Wronglers, with Warren Hellman on banjo.
  • The Wronglers, with Warren Hellman on banjo.

Perhaps it's unfortunate for Warren Hellman, the wealthy San Franciscan who puts on the free, three-day Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival in Golden Gate Park every year, that the words "billionaire" and "banjo" begin with the same big, beautiful letter. After all, the above headline probably should read, "Watch Warren Hellman's band, The Wronglers, Perform with Texas Songwriter Jimmie Dale Gilmore at Slim's This Sunday Afternoon." That is pretty much what's happening.

But alas. Were we less entranced by alliteration, we'd also have managed to point out before now that, though Hellman is a part-owner of Slim's, Sunday will be the first time he or his bluegrass band mates will perform on its stage.  Which is kinda funny. If we played banjo and owned a stage -- well, anyway.

Going back to Sunday's show, we should also communicate the wholly Hardly Strictly Bluegrass-ness of seeing the Wronglers and "sagebrush soul" troubadour like Gilmore on a weekend afternoon in San Francisco, even if the show will be held inside and it is barely yet spring.

Unlike HSB, the Sunday show is not free; but at $10, it's not pricey either. And lastly: should you envision this purely as some sort of rich man's vanity project, we'd encourage you to read our interview with Hellman from last year's Bluegrass fest. He's the sort of man who tolerates -- even agrees -- with strangers who call him out of the blue and call him "the worst." He's also funny. So as far as billionaire banjo pickers go, we'd rank Hellman among the best.

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Ian S. Port

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