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Poor Man’s Poison Longtime friends bring folk, bluegrass music to Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton

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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 7:09 am

With a mandolin and vocals, Central California band Poor Man’s Poison is joining into the folk-Americana craze that has become popular since bands like Mumford & Sons started winning Grammys. Poor Man’s Poison is opening for Darius Rucker in Stockton on April 25, and musician Tommy McCarthy took a few minutes to share about the band and their music.

Tell me about Poor Man’s Poison.

We’re just a group of guys that have been playing music for — this is crazy — for about 15 years ... We were like, “Let’s start doing something like this. I’ll try a new instrument.” I started playing the mandolin.

What genre would you say your music fits in to?

I’m going to say folk, Americana, roots, singer-songwriter stuff. We attract audiences who like a lot of country or bluegrass.

What makes your band work?

We’re from Hanford, Calif., between Fresno and Bakersfield.

What makes your band work?

We’ve known each other forever. It’s like family. We can handle being in a van for 12 straight hours together.

What is your personal favorite song of all time?

This is just me — I like Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath. I’ve always listened those guys. Other guys in the band are huge Bob Marley and Ani DiFranco fans. Bad Religion, maybe — they’re a big deal on vocal harmonies.

Are there any bands you started listening to when you started playing more folk and bluegrass? It seems to be getting more popular in mainstream music again.

The band that backs up Allison Krauss, Union Station. They did the (main song in) “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” It’s more like traditional stuff with a more modern feel.

You’re opening for Darius Rucker in Stockton. Are you excited about that?

Yeah — man, that guy can sing!

What do you feel like your role is as an opening band?

To warm up the crowd. (As a concert-goer, it’s also cool when you go to see a new act, an opener you’ve never heard. I guess opening acts kind of contrast whatever’s going on.

Who should attend your show?

It’s kind of hard to say. Age isn’t really a thing. We have fans who are in their 70s and people saying, “Well, our kids love your music.” We have a lot of people who are like, “Man, I didn’t listen to any of this before you guys.”

Anybody and everybody should attend ... our fans are a lot of people who are into the new folk stuff, like Mumford & Sons.

Poor Man’s Poison does sound like a good name for a cocktail. Can you tell me about the beer that is being named after the band?

Barrel House Brewing Co. in Paso Robles got in contact with us, and on May 4, they’re going to introduce a beer with our name on it. We got to go down and try it, and it’s really good.

Poor Man’s Poison will open for Darius Rucker Thursday, April 25 at the Bob Hope Theatre in Stockton. For information, visit

Contact Lodi Living Editor Lauren Nelson at



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