Some new shows coming up…

Mark your calendars – Stray Muse has some new shows scheduled:

  • The Golden Gate Park Beer & Wine Garden (at the Rose Garden on JFK Drive). September 23 at 4PM.
  • Head West, Hayes Valley, October 22, 3-5pm. On Patricia’s Green at Linden Street.

See you there!

Join us on Father’s Day, 2023!

Stray Muse will be back at the Chit Chat Cafe in Pacifica, CA, for a Father’s Day show on June 18. This will be our first public show with both new members, Rob Bassinette and Steve Lussie. We’ve got some new songs and new arrangements, including some new original compositions.

The show starts at 12:30pm, just in time for lunch. The Chit Chat is beachside at 5 West Manor Drive, at Esplanade. (Note – there are two Chit Chat locations in Pacifica…this is the right one!)

Hope you’ll join us for a fun afternoon of music.

The band is back!

Stray Muse has been on hiatus since Shelley’s accident last fall. (It’s tough to play flute with three broken bones in your hand!) Since then, Rob Bassinette (bass) and Steve Lussie (guitar) have joined the band – yay!

It’s a big effort to learn a 40+ song repertoire, but Rob and Steve have been up to it. They’ve each contributed a lot to our arrangements, and our performances are feeling revitalized and fresh. Hope you’ll come check us out – we’ll be back at the Chit Chat in Pacifica on June 18 (Father’s Day!) at 12:30pm.

Last night we played the Bay View Boat Club in SF. (Rob couldn’t make it, so friend John Sweet and ex-Muse Andy Charmotz both filled in on bass.) There was a great, friendly crowd, and it was a gas to be together playing in front of live people, indoors again. Many thanks to Mike Dingle at the Boat Club for inviting us to this exclusive venue!

Songwriter’s Showcase – March 26

Mark will be featured at a special songwriter’s day at the Chit Chat Cafe in Pacifica this Sunday, March 26. Shelley will be doing the vocals on most of the songs, to give it a Stray Muse feel. Some of these songs are being debuted, and will find their way into the Stray Muse repertoire soon, so come get a preview.

The Chit Chat is at Manor & Esplanade in Pacifica. The show starts at 12:30 – come early and get a table and a sandwich!

The Story Behind a Song

“Maria’s Cards from Heaven” is a song inspired by a human rights activist from El Salvador, and by a mysterious card from the sky. Here’s the story:

We sat sharing coffee, my friend Barbara and I, as a white card fluttered from the sky into my back yard. It didn’t seem like litter…it was solitary and looked pristine. Barbara retrieved it.

Written on this index card, scrawled in pencil, began a story: “My name is Maria Julia Hernandez.” Maria wrote that she was from El Salvador, where she led the fight for human rights amid the wars that claimed so many lives. And the story ended In mid sentence.

We searched the internet, and found that Maria was a real person, a beloved Salvadoran activist. She was beside Archbishop Romero when the soldiers murdered him. She founded an important rights group, and she died a decade ago. Amazingly, when Barbara asked her niece in El Salvador, she replied that she had raised money for Maria’s organization.

It’s possible that the index card from the sky was written by a student for a history project. I choose to think otherwise. While I’m not very religious, I think that in retrieving the falling card, we may have entered the mythology of a fallen hero. So I wrote her song for her.

Maria’s Cards from Heaven on Soundcloud.

– Mark

Join us at the Chit Chat in November

The band will be back at the Chit Chat on the Sunday after Thanksgiving (November 27) with a full show, starting at 12:30pm. We’ll be introducing our new bassist, Spike Conner, and playing some favorites and a few new songs. Hope to see you there!

PS: Our SF Free Folk Festival show has been viewed almost 1000 times. If you haven’t seen it, check it out on YouTube.

Stray Muse delivers…via the SF Free Folk Festival

We’re coming to a computer, phone or TV near you! Starting all day on July 16, you can see a 40-minute Stray Muse concert, recorded specially for the San Francisco Free Folk Festival.

We had a blast recording this in Nevada City, at the recording studio of our buddy and former Stray Muse bassist Brandon Buttrick. (Brandon is known to fans as Django Mack – check out his music). We think you’ll enjoy the results.

To check out the video (on or after July 16), go to

Stray Muse and Richard Thompson

Songwriter, guitarist and singer Richard Thompson has been a major inspiration to all of us at Stray Muse. As founder of Fairport Convention, he and singer/songwriter Sandy Denny invented a genre – rock based on traditional English and Scottish music. Since those days, he has written and recorded countless great songs, some of which we perform.

Thompson recently published a memoir called Beeswing (highly recommended), and he was just interviewed on Fresh Air by Terry Gross. The interview is definitely worth a listen.

If you’d like to hear our rendition of Richard Thompson’s songs Night Comes In, Dimming of the Day, and Walking on a Wire, click the links. Enjoy!

Richard Thompson