The Jackstraws

Jeff Pekarek: Bass guitar, Composer | Tom Cunningham: Fiddle, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Mandolin

Genre: Acoustic, World

RIYL: Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jethro Tull, Horselips, Steeleye Span, Pentangle, Fairport Convention

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Synoposis

Inception: San Diego, 1979

Ex-Band Members: David C. Kendall, Guitar (acoustic), Guitar (electric), Vocals

Influences: Steeleye Span, Pentangle, Fairport Convention, Renaissance, Richard Thompson, Sandy Danny, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Kronos Quartet, Odetta, Bob Dylan, Tom Rush, David Bromberg, Jethro Tull, Dave Grisman

Background:

The folk music group the Jackstraws was founded in 1979 by classical musician Jeff Pekarek (aka Jeff Basile) and David C. Kendall. In the mid-’70s, Pekarek was the youngest member of the San Diego Symphony when he joined the contrabass section at age 17. He performed with the orchestra from 1975-1979, and during the summer pops concerts he backed up such luminaries as Benny Goodman, Sara Vaughn, and Sergio Mendez.

According to Kendall, "The most fundamental fact about the existence of the band, including the name, is that Jeff Pekarek and I were profoundly influenced by folk music from the British Isles, most notably Steeleye Span, Pentangle, and Fairport Convention. Our first actual gig away from Balboa Park, where we performed every Sunday for a stretch, was a Renaissance Faire at Grossmont College, as most of our material consisted of British folk songs. Happily, a lot of our material fit into the maritime music category, and many years later led to our association with Joe Ditler at the Star of India, where he and I planned the first Sea Chantey Festivals that continue to this day."

The Jackstraws combine theater and folk music, with colorful (and culturally accurate) costumes. Themes range from Irish and English folk music, Bush Band, and Renaissance music to pirate ditties and nautical songs of yachtsmen.

The group regularly plays Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, Horton Plaza events, and at Seaport Village. Tom Cunningham (of Lighthouse and Grassology) is the band’s fiddler, but he’s also known as a virtuoso on guitar and mandolin.

As of 2012, David C. Kendall lives in Paris and is producing his own original music.

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Comments

Christine_Kendall Sept. 14, 2012 @ 1:33 p.m.

I am surprised to read about this history of the Jackstraws, since my husband David C Kendall is a co-founding member (with Jeff Pekarek) of the Jackstraws in 1979 and he was the one who actually came up with that name and the theatre aspects of the band. So he should be mentioned in this page. Could you please modify your bio of the Jackstraws? Should you need any other information, please contact us. David is now living in Paris and producing his own original music, co-produced by Jeff Pekarek: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcEPqM...

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Dave_the_K Nov. 16, 2013 @ 4:32 a.m.

Thank you very much for revising the Jackstraws bio at my wife's behest, I really appreciate it! I would just like to add a few details, rather than ask for further revision of the bio. The most fundamental fact about the existence of the band, including the name, is that Jeff Pekarek and I were profoundly influenced by folk music from the British Isles, most notably Steeleye Span, Pentangle, and Fairport Convention. Our first actual gig away from Balboa Park, where we performed every Sunday for a stretch, was a Renaissance Faire at Grossmont College, as most of our material consisted of British folk songs. Happily, a lot of our material fit into the maritime music category, and many years later led to our association with Joe Ditler at the Star of India, where he and I planned the first Sea Chantey Festivals that continue to this day. Here's a song from those days. All the best to you at the Reader, and to all your readers as well! Cheers , David in Paris

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