What's New? !    (Last update - 26 Ocotober 2014 )


A new compilation CD of live recordings from the Freight, private parties, and other venues ranging from the '70s to the present day. Also includes some studio recordings from 2004 onward. None of these tracks has been previously released. Check the OAT webshop for availability by clicking here.

Here's the dedication carried in the liner notes from the jewel case:

Oak Ash & Thorn was born in November 1973, when the Living History Center hired Dale, Doug and Tom to perform at the Dickens Christmas Fair.  Over the next decades, through multiple changes in personnel, we performed at coffee houses, house concerts, weddings, bar mitzvahs,
wineries and other venues in the Greater Bay Area and beyond.  Today, forty years later, we perform mostly (to our dismay) at funerals and memorials.

Many of these recordings come from the sound systems of those coffee houses and other venues. Technically, the quality ranges from adequate to excellent.  We hope the energy and enjoyment of our performances comes through regardless of the imperfections of thirty-year-old Dolby-free cassette tapes.

In addition, a number of studio recordings from 2005-7 are included here.  These were intended to be part of a studio CD that was never completed.

Oak Ash & Thorn personnel evolved like this:

1973 - 1979:  Dale, Doug and Tom
1980 - 1992:   Dale, Dave, Doug, and Mitchell.  After about 1986, Tom
would occasionally join again.
1999 - 2013:   Dave, Doug and Tom

At one point, we sat down and tried to understand what we wanted to give an audience.  We were proud of our performance and vocal skills, but we knew those were not world-class caliber - much better than average, but neither operatic nor pop-music superstar quality.  We finally concluded that what we had to offer was a Good Time.  We hope you can have a Good Time listening (for the young) or re-living (for those of a Certain Age) to our music.

We have been aided and abetted by many friends and companions over the years.  Please know that we treasure what you have given us.  We are grateful always.

Wassail!  (Anglo-Saxon, literally "Be well!")

Oak Ash & Thorn

February 19th!

OAT Withdraws from Beltain Double-Bill at the High Street Station in Alameda

Still a great time to be had with Beltain! Come on across the water!!


We stand before you, hats twisting in our hands, looking down at our shuffling feet and saying: “ really is better this way. Trust us. We love you too much to ask you to settle for less than our best.”

We find we need to withdraw from our portion of the High Street Station date on February 19th.* After finally cobbling together a rehearsal schedule for Jan-Feb to get us audience-worthy in time for the gig, at our first meeting we found that a combination of shift changes and shifting family commitments had gutted our already shaky calendar.

Rather than just tightening the remaining straps and hoping the 'chute doesn't come off on the way down, this time we're just not going to get on the airplane.

Taking this hard decision is made a good deal easier by the fact that our friends and fellow-travelers in trad-music eclecticism--Beltain Band--have agreed to take the whole night. This provides High Street Station with an uninterrupted stream of quality acts, and our fans with a guaranteed fix of quality music and high jinks in the DCF/RFP tradition—honeyglazed with their own original material.

For the few among you who may not be familiar with Beltain, the co-founders are (Susan)Morgan (Cyderman's Fancy, Pipe & Bowl Morris) & Mick McDow(The Jars, Alliance), joined by one-man ethnic orchestra Dave Cowan(Ruby Hollow, Willowgreen). Think tight, dramatic vocals carried on waves of guitar, octave mando, accordion, panpipes, electric bass and bodhran and a repertoire that moves between 16th century great halls and 20th century Nashville with grace and conviction.

Please do accept our deep apologies for the head fake. We hope a month's advance notice does mitigate any disappointment, and we deeply appreciate both your current patience and your loving support down through the years.

It's Alive! OAT at the Freight with Shay Black, and on our own in Alameda

We've finally cobbled together enough free time between us to re-awaken the slumbering Kraken that is the OAT repertoire. With tendrils in every nook of music from 50's cereal box jingles to medieval disco, our used set lists are buried in lead-lined boxes after each performance for your safety as well as ours.

Saturday 18 September 2010
We'll be joining Shay Black for his Big Six-Omygod birthday onstage at the new Freight & Salvage in Berkeley as part of a kaleidoscopic display of local and international trad-music talent. Be there or be square. Proceeds will go to the non-profit family services agency: Family Paths, Inc of Oakland.

Friday 24 September 2010
We'll be doing two sets at the High Street Station coffeehouse in Alameda: a lovely new venue on the corner of High & Encinal of about 60 seats.

Last but not least: the final proof of the Oak Ash & Thorn Ominbus Songbook is making the rounds between us, and should be ready for release by the 24th, if not the 18th. It contains reproductions of both the previous OAT songbooks: The Drink-Along Songbook and God Bless the Human Elbow plus a new compilation,'Time, Gentlemen!', containing standards that somehow missed inclusion in the prior issues as well as new (to us at least) material. All together it contains 76 songs with notation and full lyrics as we perform them, with indexes by title and first line of the verse and chorus. And it's spiral bound so you can lay it flat or double it over to leave one or both hands free for your jar(s) or bottle(s) as you sing along. And it comes complete with a shiny, beer-resistant cover for longevity and ease of maintenance; just run a bar rag or your tongue over any spillage and Bob's your uncle.

OAT Takes A Holiday

After 35 years of toping and bellowing, we've been taking a year or so off to sober up (sic) and try to remember where we left our hats and wallets. We plan to regroup at some point in the coming year; so keep checking this space, please, and know that we miss you more. — T, D & D

In Harmony's Way Once Again — 2007

We've signed on again for the trad song expression of the mosh pit phenomenon with the usual band of suspects.

Bay Cruise w/Beer & Chanteys Aboard Dephinus

We'll be singing and swaying abord the Delphinus for a full moon night on the Bay. More Info....

OAT at the Freight
Sunday - 14 January 2007

Singing and slurping at our favorite BA venue once again, come on out and join us in all our choral refulgence. More Info...

OAT Falls In Harmony's Way...

OAT appears along with 14 other Trad Music vocalists in a new CD release In Harmony's Way. Produced by Steve Baughman, who gathered together many of the SF Bay area's best-known a capella folkies--voices like Sylvia Herold, Shay & Micheal Black, Dick Holdstock and Alan McCleod, Lani Hermann, Kim Hughes, Pam Swan, et al--with the idea of re-constructing a typical pub sing in the UK or Ireland. The CD release concert will occur on Friday, July 8th at the Freight & Salvage. Singing along is the name of the game, so take a deep breath and come on down.

OAT at The Black Rose and on the Radio in Santa Rosa

Saturday April 2nd

How long has it been since you've been at an OAT concert where you could sit and listen and sing along with a righteous pint in your hand, matching the rioters on stage pull-for-pull and note-for-note? We'll be at the Black Rose Pub in Santa Rosa April 2nd — and on KRCB FM's "Our Roots Are Showing" in the afternoon. Tune in to the webcast if you aren't local, and come on up wherever you live!

More Info Here!

OAT on the Yukon Quest
The Bonanza Inn, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada

Monday 13 February

While mushing sled dogs with Muktuk Kennels in the day, we sang for the 21st Century sourdoughs thronging the lounge at the Bonanza Inn in downtown Whitehorse in the evening. A warm (no mean feat with outside temps in the -20s) and welcoming audience turned up—mostly locals as the throngs that were in town for the start of the Yukon Quest on Saturday had gone back to their lower latitude lives by Monday. Snaps of OAT on the runners will appear shortly in the Photo Album page. Stay tuned!

OAT - Mid-Winter Freight

Saturday January 22nd

:The Traditional (in California it takes 2 occaisions to make a tradition. We've been doing this for 32 years.) OAT Holiday sing-shout-hum-uulate-along. Come help us sing in a New year in the old-fashioned way.

OAT - Midsummer Freight

Saturday July 17th

Our bi-annual evening at our favorite local venue: the Freight and Salvage. Come on down and lift your voices and spirits with us as we set the Way-Bak for 1723--the year porter was invented.

And check out the historical poster display in the Freight's lobby during the break or as you file in. There are photo bills from our appearances in the 70's and 80's--back when we had more hair and less circumference!

Saturday June 26th

We'll pop up in our usual auditorium slot for sing along on Saturday night, and will post up for a workshop in the afternoon. Check the calendar page here or at the SFFF site for times and rooms.

New Tunes on the Tunes Page Mouse on over and check out cuts from the new CD in the A-V Album.  We've posted copies of I Can Hew, The Brave Dudley Boys, and Non Barleycorn along with some of the all-time favorites from our previous releases.

Mouse on Over!
The OAT Webshop is open for Business!
The Oak Ash & Thorn Webshop is online and ready to take your order for all things OATish.   We got T-Shirts.  We got CDs.  We got your cassettes. We got '45s.   We got  tankards.  We got coasters.  And we're working on a way to ship Doug's killer homebrew without violating anti-terrorism statutes.  You can pay for your OAT-logoed fun via credit card through PayPal's secured servers, or just send us a check to cover your order.  Check it out!

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