Tennessee’s Black Lillies Headline Mountain Air Fundraiser  
by Samantha Wright
Oct 25, 2012 | 1328 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
MOUNTAIN AIR – The Black Lillies, hailing from Nashville, Tenn., perform at the Wright Opera House in Ouray on Saturday, Nov. 3, in a benefit concert for the Mountain Air Music Series.  (Courtesy photo)
MOUNTAIN AIR – The Black Lillies, hailing from Nashville, Tenn., perform at the Wright Opera House in Ouray on Saturday, Nov. 3, in a benefit concert for the Mountain Air Music Series.  (Courtesy photo)
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OURAY – Direct from Nashville, The Black Lillies headline a classy fundraiser at Ouray’s Wright Opera House on Saturday, Nov. 3, in support of next summer’s Mountain Air Music Series.

The Black Lillies are a young Appalachian band at the forefront of the Americana music scene. Founded by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Cruz Contreras, the band has a spirited sound all its own that evokes an old-fashioned Southern tent revival with equal parts country, roots, rock and blues. Their  2009 debut album, Whiskey Angel, won the Independent Music Award for Best Album in the Americana category, and their current album, 100 Miles of Wreckage, appears destined for the same honors.

“They have a huge following,” said Mountain Air Music Series coordinator David Turner. “They are a very danceable, upbeat band.”

Betse Ellis of The Wilders is the opening act for what promises to be a memorable musical adventure. The concert is envisioned as an upscale cocktail party, with dressy attire encouraged. Tickets are $75 and include music, hors d’oeuvres and two drink vouchers. Advance tickets are available at The Eclectic Eye in downtown Ouray, or RSVP at ouraycolorado.com. The party starts at 6 p.m.

The evening’s entertainment has been lined up by Pickin’ Productions out of Paonia, the promoter of both the Mountain Air Music Series and Ridgway’s Summer Concert Series.

The Mountain Air Music Series debuted in Ouray last summer, with four free concerts in Fellin Park happening on Thursday evenings throughout the month of June. Planning for next summer’s series is already well underway, said Monica Moran, a board member of the Ouray Chamber Resort Association and owner of The Eclectic Eye, who together with Turner has spearheaded the effort to bring the free summer concert series back to Ouray.

“There are three big names and a lot of up-and-coming bands we have been talking with, but no contracts yet,” she said.

Moran recently teamed up with Turner, a member of the City of Ouray’s Parks and Recreation Committee, to attend a budget planning workshop with the City of Ouray to ask the city to consider being the concert series’ main sponsor once more.

“We are willing to do all the work if they are willing to put money on the table,” Moran said.

The city has not yet announced whether or how much it will financially support the 2013 series. Last year it contributed $5,000, and also provided significant in-kind support. The Ouray Hot Springs Pool was the presenting sponsor.

In addition to hitting up the city, the Mountain Air planning committee will be making the rounds of the community in the coming weeks, asking businesses and residents for donations.

Moran said she and fellow organizers were excited by how successful last summer’s concert series turned out to be – each evening of the four-part series attracted crowds that were several-hundred strong  – and added she hopes this year will be even better.

“We would like to see the park fuller than last June,” she said. “It has the potential to hold a lot more people.”

Toward this end, the concert series planning committee is investigating the possibility of running shuttles between Ouray and Ridgway for both communities’ concert series in June and July.

There were a few glitches in last year’s Mountain Air series which the planning committee hopes to rectify this time around. One of these has to do with alcoholic libations, which some concertgoers opted to bring along with them into the park last summer. It is against state law to do so, Moran noted.

“We ask people to abide by that, and understand the reasoning behind it,” Moran said. “It’s not heavy-handed; we’re just trying to be considerate of the law. We don’t want to tape off the park; we want an open-air feeling and expect people to have the maturity to abide by the law. Rather than buying a six-pack and bringing it along, buy your beer at the park.”

Concert organizers will once again be selling beer, wine, and margaritas at each concert, with funds going to help raise money for the following year’s music series and to build a permanent stage in Fellin Park. Moran noted that at the 2013 concert series, a different microbrew will be on tap each week, as well as a selection of domestic beers.

Mountain Air Music Series planners welcome suggestions from the community about which bands to bring in next summer. Email mjm5658@gmail.com with your ideas.

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