Classic country and more with Nell and Jim’s ‘Down Home Christmas’

Courtesy PhotoMusic for the season: Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally perform their pure Americana in holiday shows at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley.

Courtesy PhotoMusic for the season: Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally perform their pure Americana in holiday shows at the Aurora Theatre in Berkeley.

Like most musicians, Nell Robinson and Jim Nunally spend a lot of time on the road. Their partnership has taken them from concerts at the Kennedy Center to appearances on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and The City’s own Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival.

This month, though, the duo is spending Christmas down home.

#link_box { width: 150px; height: auto; margin: 0; padding: 0; margin: 10px 20px 10px 0px; padding: 10px; background-color: #fbfade; /* ecru – light yellow */ border: 1px solid #343a25; /* green – for summer arts */ float: left; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; } #link_box img, #link_box a { border 0px; border-style: none; outline: none; } #link_box h1 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #8A0808; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 14px; text-align: center; } #link_box h2 { margin: 0; padding: 5px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; text-transform: none; color: #000; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-weight: bold; font-size: 10px; text-align: center; } #link_box ul { list-style: none; margin: 0; padding: 0; border: none; } #link_box li { margin: 0px padding: 0px; border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; } #link_box li a { display: block; padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px; /* Padding for bullet */ /* border-bottom: 1px solid #ddd; border-bottom-width: 1px; */ color: #000; width: 100%; width: auto; /* height: auto; */ /* border: 1px solid blue; */ margin: 0px; font-family: arial, sans serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: 14px; text-decoration: none; } #link_box li a: before { /* background-position: top left; */ } #link_box li a:hover { background-color: #ddd; color: #000; }

In “A Down Home Christmas with Nell and Jim,” opening today at the Aurora Theatre, the duo will give audiences a taste of the music they love best.

Presented in the Aurora’s intimate cabaret, Harry’s UpStage, the show includes country gems, Christmas favorites and original tunes from the pair’s new album, “House and Garden.”

“It’s like a little house concert — like sitting in a living room with friends,” Robinson says. “We’ve got some good stories to tell, and songs that people can sing along with.”

Robinson and Nunally, both based in the East Bay, have been working together for three years. He co-produced her first album and joined her band as a guitarist, and they quickly became a duo.

Together, their sound is pure Americana.

“It’s got a real richness and simplicity to it, because it’s guitar and two voices, with a lot of harmonies,” Robinson says. “The guitar is often like a third voice.”

Nunally, a veteran of tours with the Jayhawks and David Grisman, says the show takes him back to his own roots.
“In 1976, my parents and my four brothers bought me a Martin guitar for Christmas,” he recalls. “I still have that guitar, so this time of year has a special meaning for me.” The show includes music he played with his family — “from Buck Owens to Irving Berlin,” he says, as well as songs by Dolly Parton, Bill Monroe and others.

Robinson, who also performs as half of the yodeling duo The Henriettas, thinks audiences are hungry for the sweet harmonies and soulfulness of down-home music — be it country, folk or bluegrass.

“Americana captures it pretty well,” she says. “When I was growing up, it was just called country. For a while there, country got away from those rich roots. It became more of a pop-rock sound. I’m really glad people are coming back and connecting to that front-porch, sitting-around-with-friends kind of sound.”

artsAurora Theatre Co.entertainmentmusicPop Music & Jazz

Just Posted

Pregnant women are in the high-risk category currently prioritized for booster shots in San Francisco. (Unai Huizi/Shutterstock)
What pregnant women need to know about COVID and booster shots

Inoculations for immunosuppressed individuals are recommended in the second trimester

Examiner reporter Ben Schneider drives an Arcimoto Fun Utility Vehicle along Beach Street in Fisherman’s Wharf on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
Could San Francisco’s tiny tourist cruisers become the cars of the future?

‘Fun Utility Vehicles’ have arrived in The City

The Science Hall at the City College of San Francisco Ocean campus is pictured on Jan. 14. The Democrats’ Build Back Better bill would enable free community college nationwide, but CCSF is already tuition-free for all San Francisco residents. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
What Biden’s Build Back Better bill would mean for San Franciscans

Not much compared to other places — because The City already provides several key features

A directional sign at Google in Mountain View, Calif., on Oct. 20, 2020. Workers at Google and Amazon are demanding their companies pull out of Project Nimbus, a $1.2 billion contract to provide cloud services for the Israeli military and government. (Laura Morton/The New York Times)
Google and Amazon employees criticize $1.2 billion cloud services contract with Israel

‘We can create a world in which tech companies can thrive without doing harm’

Most Read