Petaluma farmer turned musician Arann Harris is talking about the creepy side of bluegrass and its rural origins, when he arrives at one of the all-time truisms of horror cinema:
“You know aliens always hit the farmers first. They crash into the barn and the farmer goes out there in his overalls and says, 'What's going on out here?' Then it spreads from there.”
It happened in all those creepy crop circle movies. It happened with that meteor in “Creepshow.” Beyond aliens, the country cringe happens all the time — from the bluegrass banjo in “Deliverance” to the “The Children of the Corn.”
And that's exactly what Arann Harris and the Farm Band are going to do tonight in the Bluegrass Freakshow at the Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol.
“Bluegrass was made for Halloween,” said Harris. “We're talking backwoods, sinister songs about dead people.”
Growing up on a sheep farm outside Petaluma, he has seen the dark side of ranch life: “The farm is just like one giant mortuary. Now I go to dig and bury something, and I find something I already buried.”
Not to mention, chickens running around with their heads cut off and dark barns filled with pitchforks.
But, not to worry, if twang ain't your thang, bluegrass is only one of many creepy scenes this Halloween. From reggae to indie rock, from tonight until Thursday's Hallowed Eve, here's the Top 5 list:
1. Hopmonk Tavern
No Sonoma County live music venue delves deeper into Halloween than Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol. It kicks off with the Bluegrass Freak Show, staging Arann Harris and the Farm Band, Supermule (filtering bluegrass through soul and folk) and the T-Sisters (who just came off a momentous Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest). 8:30 tonight. $10.
Spook and spectacle continues Saturday with the annual hay-bale Halloween carnival Cirque du Sebastopol, bringing in touring DJ VibeSquaD, along with Jug Dealers and Bad Apple String Band. 9 p.m. Saturday. $20-$30.