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Still a Hoot

March 21, 1993|MARK EHRMAN

Who says you can't have real down-home music and ample parking? The latest incarnation of Ronnie Mack's Barn Dance--for years a Monday-night fixture at the Palomino Club in North Hollywood--now brings its roster of traditional American music bands to In Cahoots, a country dance club in a Glendale shopping center.

Although the present digs are way more modern, not to mention spacious, this weekly hootenanny still showcases local talent, still happens every Monday evening and, best of all, is still free.

"I've always maintained a free admission policy because I want to expose bands that are out there working really hard for either no money or little money," says Barn Dance impresario and rockabilly musician Ronnie Mack, who's been holding these West Coast Grand Ole Oprys since early 1988.

"Secondly," he says, "I want to expose alternative forms of music like hard-core traditional hillbilly, rockabilly, Sun Records-type of stuff, traditional blues, Cajun, zydeco, whatever that big industry tends to ignore."

To this end, Mack has booked an array of players including Mary Chapin-Carpenter, Rosie Flores, Dave Alvin, Stray Cat Brian Setzer, Jim Lauterdale, Big Jay McNeely and King Cotton.

Others, like Lucinda Williams, have shown up unannounced for impromptu jam sessions and many, like Flores, are Monday-night perennials.

"I've been playing them since they began," Flores says. "This way, we can get out and jam with each other and know that we're going to go out on a Monday night and run into a bunch of people that we know."

The move to Glendale allows the Barn Dance's usual rocker-type clientele to mix with In Cahoots' Wrangler-and-Stetson crowd.

"I come here every Monday night," says Bob Darnell, a mechanic and manager of a Goodyear shop when he isn't out line dancing. "They're bringing back all of what used to be--the old country and the music that started rock 'n' roll."

Younger club-hoppers, too, find this new hybrid to their liking. "It's kind of a different attitude than going to a regular nightclub," says Donna Hemmert, a 30-year-old management information systems director. "It's less pretentious, less a singles scene and more down home. No, you certainly don't expect a shopping center-type club to be like this."

* Name: Ronnie Mack's Barn Dance

* Location: In Cahoots, 223 N. Glendale Ave. (818) 500-1665

* Door: Free admission. 21 and over

* Prices: Beer, $2.75; drinks, $3.50.

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