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.

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

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Supes move to reject Breed’s picks for police oversight body, call for strong reformers

Ronen, Mar cite qualification concerns in voting against Police Commission nominees

SF public defender urges police to explicitly bar technique used in George Floyd death

Public Defender Manohar Raju is calling for policy changes after a widely… Continue reading

Protesters turn out Sunday in San Francisco for second day in a row

“To me, it’s everyone’s breaking point,” said Chris Jackson, who handed out water to fellow demonstrators.

Businesses slam proposed COVID-19 worker rehire law as too ‘burdensome’

Supervisor Mar’s legislation would require employers to take back staff at same pay

Curfew to remain in effect Monday night in SF; dozens arrested from Sunday protests

Police chief estimates as many as 6,000 took part in demonstrations

Most Read