Catch Trout Steak Revival in Telluride and Whiskey Blanket in Durango
Reverend Horton Heat at the Sheridan in Telluride
The mid-80s marked the beginnings of psychobilly figure Jim Heath’s arrival on the Dallas music scene, but reflecting upon his entire discography in the present indicates an unprecedented foresight into crafting sonic colloids long before the technique became popular. Where mainstream music now overtly reaches to blend the most obvious signifiers of unlikely genre pairings, Heath’s approach to audible compounding translated organically with the ferocity of punk matching the emotional twang of country. It goes deeper than that, too. The smooth groove of pure rhythm and blues being a catalyst for the heavy swing of rockabilly represents another facet of unlikelihood that somehow finds success with Heath at the helm. Performing such an addition reaction comes with the risk of achieving either calculated perfection or the volatility of failure. Thousands of rocking shows, critical acclaim from every nook of the industry, and praise from his peers tell the story of success better than any journalistic attempt possibly could.
As a musical entity The Reverend Horton Heat became an undeniable symbol for energized exploration that does not forget the base from which it derived. The band also grabbed generations of followers that represent a cross section of every sub-genre that guitar-based music has to offer. Now 28 years and 11 albums deep into their campaign of music hall chaos, the trio has commented that their recent signing to Victory Records was a decision that coincides with concerted effort to return to their edgier persona. For fanatics of the Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em era, this is prime news. For those that aren’t, there are plenty of watered-down incarnations of the Reverend for you to latch on to. Seemingly reinvigorated as they approach three decades on the circuit, it will be the Stewed, Screwed and Tattooed Tour ripping through Telluride next Wednesday that offers a benchmark show for where the charismatic rockers plan to take their hybrid sound. After all, the initial inspiration for the Reverend’s auditory crusade came from a punks versus rockers brawl at The Cramps show in Dallas all those years ago. It doesn’t get any more rock and roll than that.
Reverend Horton Heat, Wed., Jan. 23, Sheridan Opera House, 8 p.m., $20-25
Trout Steak Revival at The Steaming Bean in Telluride
Denver’s unsigned rising talent Trout Steak Revival is making their way to the Western Slope for an always necessary dose of wintertime mountain music. The traditional five-piece bluegrass band started as an informal jamming unit during treks through the peaks of the Front Range. Formally coming together as a cohesive band in 2009, the quirkily named group has stepped into the flourishing roots music scene of Colorado and the Midwest. Keeping with the orthodox structure of the string-based genre, each member sings on their own original tunes while being accompanied by clean vocal harmonies from the other bandmates. A tenacity for quick picking landed them a respectable third place at the 2012 Rockygrass Band Competition. Pushing forward from there, the quintet laid down their second album, Flight, in October of 2012. A mix of bold originals and inspired traditional tunes, the album has all the right polish without sacrificing the raw feeling of well-executed bluegrass. With an arsenal of picking vehicles, Trout Steak Revival aims to expand their reach with a must-see show at The Steaming Bean in Telluride on Sunday.
Trout Steak Revival, Sun., Jan. 20, The Steaming Bean, 9 p.m., $5
Whiskey Blanket and More at the Summit In Durango
Although not often regarded for a producing a native born hip-hop scene, the Front Range has become a mandatory hub for everyone from classic emcees like Public Enemy to heavily buzzing rappers like Kendrick Lamar to spit their game. Yet underneath the mainstream showcasing is a thriving underground presence that boasts underestimated talent. The brains at Rabid Mind Entertainment have enlisted mile high representatives Steakhouse, Sloppy Joe and Funny Biz of Boulder trio Whiskey Blanket to headline a rap party in Durango. Unorthodoxically combining live violin, cello and turntables into their instrumentation alone makes these guys worth checking out. Beyond that, their emphasis on conscious lyricism and substantial song crating puts this threesome among the top crews in Colorado. Also on the bill are Durango locals Lozee and DJ Apparition of the group White Owls, Skitts and DJ Mowgli. There will also be a rap battle organized by the DirtV3nt crew if you are in need of a fix of clever wordplay and landing punchlines. Check it all out at The Summit on Saturday night.
Whiskey Blanket with White Owls, Skitts, DJ Mowgli & Dirtvn3t rap battle league, Sat., Jan. 19, The Summit, Durango, $5, rabidmindentertainment.com.