Arts & Culture: Musical Marriage


Sacramento may be prescribed for a case of the blues, courtesy of musical duo Chicken & Dumpling. Charles Oriel and Julia Simon, a musically talented married couple and language professors at UC Davis, will once again take their old-school brand of blues to Fox & Goose Public House.

Oriel, 62, and Simon, 54, play acoustic guitar and electric bass, respectively. Simon says Oriel’s slide guitar style complements her prominent bass lines “in a very rhythmic and percussive way.” 

“It allows for a certain flexibility,” Oriel says about their instrumental pairing. “We can do Delta-style blues, a lot of Robert Johnson, the early stuff. But it also enables us to do later stuff like Muddy Waters and Bonnie Raitt, and people like that.”

The duo has also performed covers of Reverend Gary Davis and Mississippi John Hurt songs for their debut album “Feel Like Goin’ Home.” They recorded the album, evenly split between tunes sung by Oriel and those by Simon, at a Vacaville studio in 2015.

The name Chicken & Dumpling was partially inspired by a romantic lyric from the song “Dixie Chicken” by Little Feat: “If you’ll be my Dixie chicken, I’ll be your Tennessee lamb.” Simon says their marriage and musical connection go hand in hand.

“I can anticipate what he’s going to do sometimes, or just follow his lead and go where he’s going,” Simon says.

Chicken & Dumpling will play at Fox & Goose Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. Their album may be purchased through