Jimmy and Andy met in 1996 in Sonoma County and started playing the type of crappy music that young men sometimes find themselves playing (Chai Pai, Piper Down, The Bionic Band, LeeMaj7). After lugging around heavy amps and making people deaf at 11 on a Tuesday night, they found themselves drawn towards the types of instruments they could bring out into the fields of the farms they lived on. Jimmy had been messing around with a banjo for a bit during the final days of The Bionic Band; the beginnings of Mr. December can be heard at the end of The Bionic Band’s album “No Means Friends” with a bluegrass version of  “Little Boat Adrift.”    

In 2003, Andy found himself an upright bass and started sitting in with local songwriters such as David Luning, Alison Harris and Daryl Scariot. On one of his annual surf trips to Mexico, Jimmy was given a ukelele by Shawn Magee of The Barbery Ghosts. Upon Jimmy’s return, they started writing goofy songs and reconfiguring some of their punk songs to bluegrass. Mr. December was born.  

Originally a duo, Mr. December started gigging heavily throughout the Bay Area, playing at the Handcar Regattas, Rivertown Revivals, Oysterpaloozas, Maker Faires and just about every bar and barn that offered them a gig. In this early era, they won the 1st Bohemian North Bay Music Award for Best Acoustic Act.  

In 2008, Mr. December released their first album, Pants. Recorded and mixed in SF at Andy’s studio in the Tenderloin, Pants included drums by Peter Stalsky and guest appearances by Dominic Padua on trumpet, Emery Barter on guitar and Kelly Cowan on vocals. Pants had an eclectic mix of styles; traditional bluegrass songs like Ashes and Fishin’ blended with jazz (Dom Chi), blues (Clams), rag (Hittin’ the Hay) and even punk (Third Time Lucky). Distance went from a groovy upright line into a hip hop section, complete with beats and epic rhymes from Jimmy, while Shapetown featured beatbox.  

Mr. December set up residencies at such local restaurants as Café St. Rose and Rocker Oysterfellers. It wasn’t uncommon to invite other local musicians such as JD Limelight or Kelly Cowan to sit in during these sessions. Around that time, Jimmy was playing drums for marching band/activists The Hubbub Club, where he met Jesse Shantor (Church, Free Peoples, Baso Negro, every other band in Sonoma County apparently). Jesse was invited sit in at a show at The Phoenix Theater where Mr. December was opening for The Brothers Comatose, and he impressed Jimmy & Andy so much that he started gigging regularly with them.  

In 2010, Mr. December started working on their 2nd album, Arms & Legs. Recorded at Prairie Sun Records and engineered by Matt Wright, Arms & Legs was more ambitious than previous efforts, with Jimmy & Andy adding guitar, banjo and percussion over their normal uke/bass compositions. Pete Stalsky returned to play drums, with guest appearances by Dina Maccabee on violin and Luca Rondanini on electric and slide guitars. Arms & Legs was a more coherent album, with the band sounding more like a string band on tracks like Paper Airplanes, Pants, Tall & Lean and Pepper Tree.  

By 2011, Jesse Shantor was a permanent member of the band. In 2012, Mr. December invited Scott Knippelmeier (The Gomorrans) to sit in with them during a gig at The Russian River Brewing Co. Not only was his playing solid, his bolo tie and denim style fit right in with the Mr. December sauce, and he joined soon after.  

In 2014, Mr. December released Dust. Recorded at a century-old schoolhouse frequented by Poor Man’s Whisky in Two Rock Valley. Matt Wright was brought back to engineer, and guests included Pete Stalsky on drums, Yvette Holzwarth on violin and Sean Tergis on Cajon.  

2015 marked a high point in activity for the band as they promoted Dust throughout Northern CA. They added local legend Mike Carrol on drums and Ashley Holmberg on violin for a series of shows. Highlights of the year included gigs at the Mystic in Petaluma opening for Poor Man’s Whisky and several sets at Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol.  

By 2018, multi-instrumentalist and producer Marco D’Ambrosio was added to the band, lending his trumpet, keyboard and melodica skills. They recorded and released their fourth album (and Matt Wright’s final engineering turn) Molehair. Phil Brezina from Brothers Comatose contributed violin throughout the album.  

Mr. December continues to play throughout the greater Bay Area, and has shared bills with such artists as Brothers Comatose, David Luning, Bootleg Honeys, Frankie Boots, The Sam Chase, and The Easy Leaves. They are currently in the studio working on their next album, which should be released in 2024...