TELLURIDE – Ooh-la-la, it's going to be a busy weekend – with Valentine's Day falling on Saturday night this year, romance is in the air, and whether you have a special someone to share it with, or you’re running solo, there are plenty of options to hear some marvelous music across the Western Slope. Plus, there’s the potential for a little extra magic, with Friday the Thirteenth sure to hold a few sensual surprises!
The scene starts heating up tonight, when the tremendous Ryan McGarvey and his band will be tearing it up at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon.
Telluride Blues & Brews fans may remember McGarvey shredding at last year’s festival, both on the Main Stage and at the Sheridan Opera House. The young Albuquerque phenom is carrying the torch in the blues tradition, following in the footsteps of other young players, a la Jonny Lang and Alex Maryol. But while McGarvey may invite comparisons, he's got his own thang goin’ on, and his scorching style has gotten him some big time attention, including the New Mexico Music Award for Blues Song of the Year for his song “Cryin' Over You,” and being featured in Guitar Player Magazine twice last year.
“Performing at the 2008 Telluride Blues & Brews Festival was definitely a big highlight last year,” he reflects. “Also, being able to share the stage with some incredible musicians that I not only look up to and admire, but am fortunate enough to call dear friends, such as Joe Bonamassa, Shemekia Copeland and Back Door Slam. We also had many more accolades in 2008, including me being voted by Albuquerque The Magazine as Best Local Musician, and for the second year in a row being voted Best Blues Act by The Weekly Alibi, and being nominated again for the New Mexico Music Award for Best Musical Production in the Blues category."
Obviously, the 22-year-old is on a roll, and plans to keep the momentum going this year.
“We are getting everything in line for quite a bit more touring than we have done in the past, including more Colorado shows this August, including our opening set at the First Annual Mile High Blues Festival in Denver,” he says. “Also, bigger and better things are always in the works, including a new record to be released sometime in the early spring."
While many players his age are embracing hip-hop and other alt-rock forms, McGarvey says he’s firmly planted in the blues/rock genre. “I found the blues by tracing back the Classic Hard-Rock groups I admired when I was younger such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan,” he says. “I saw how it influenced all the groups I loved, and then upon building my knowledge of the blues I came to see how it truly is the most pure, and in a technically simple aspect, the most difficult and beautiful genre of music that is out there to this day.”
McGarvey is packing along his terrific band, which includes his buddies K.C. White on drums and Kevin Kraybill on bass. McGarvey adds that the power trio format gives him room to move. "They are both well-seasoned musicians, and highly respected in our home state of New Mexico. Plus, they’re great guys in addition to their superior playing abilities."
McGarvey notes that the band had a blast at Blues & Brews last year, and is ready to rock the Moon tonight. “Our live shows are leaps and bounds above what our recorded material showcases,” he says. “We are really looking forward to the show, because we know it’s going to be a good one. So, come see what all the fuss is about, and be ready to rock the blues with us!"
McGarvey is poised for the big time, so catch him while you can. He and his band will be rippin’ tonight at the Moon.
Friday, things could get a little spooky at the Moon, with DJ Krittah in da house for a Friday the Thirteenth bash. You know it… the Moon has been haunted for years, and the spirits love any chance to create a little mischief. In fact, the “Moon guys” are billing this as “Halloween in February” with costumes de rigueur, and you can bet your booty that the house will be rocking with Krittah’s killa’ mixes. Get your freak on for the bash at the Moon on Friday night.
Then on Saturday night, dazzle your sweetie with a night on the town and prepare for a smokin’ time at the Moon when Topaz & Mudphonic return for what is sure to be a Valentine's Day rager. Darlin’, I'm not kiddin’, this is Texadelic swamp and funk at its finest, and those in the know recall that Topaz blew more than a few minds last time the band roared through town.
The incredible saxophone player dove into jazz at an early age, and honed his chops in New York City, landing a record deal back in the mid 90s. In the Big Apple, Topaz enjoyed a decade of remarkable success, performing on national networks such as BET, and sharing stages with internationally known artists including Norah Jones, TV on the Radio and Widespread Panic.
Topaz returned to his hometown of Austin, Texas, and reconnected with the scene and other monster players there, where Mudphonic was born.
Fusing funk, Reggae, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian styles with a good dollop of southern drenched rock and roll, the kick-ass band invites you to dance your pants off with their gritty, raw sound. The debut album Music for Dorothy was stupendous, and Topaz says the band has been hitting it hard on the road. “We had a fun New Year’s in New Orleans, did two really great shows out in San Francisco and had our first sold out gig in our hometown of Austin last week. The line was wrapped around the block, so it was awesome!”
He adds that the band is back in the studio, and getting some heavy-hitting assistance with the project. “We just started working on the new record with our friend Bret Orrison who used to do sound for Galactic and works with Kenny Wayne Sheppard now,” he says. “I'm really excited to be back in the studio!”
The band is rolling through Colorado, hitting ski towns on this run, and Topaz says there’s stoked to be returning to Telluride. “Are you kidding? We love Telluride! The first time we played there with this line up we were at The Bubble Lounge and it was the middle of the week but the place was just going off! Telluride loves to throw down and we're all about creating a party environment, so it’s the perfect crowd for us.”
Expect the band to be tighter than ever, and you know Mudphonic will pull out the stops for this show at the Moon. “Hell, yeah!” he says. “Come dance your ass off with us for Valentine’s Day!”
Don’t miss Topaz & Mudphonic at the Moon Saturday night. Downright delicious!
The Bubble Lounge will start bopping tonight, with DJ Darryll in the house for a Hip-Hop Dance Party.
Also, catch Taylor Pale après ski at the O2 bar. Yes, that’s Amy Taylor and Mike Pale, who team up for a delightful duo act, Thursday through Sunday evenings.
Pale also returns with his funky soul jazz trio BluOrbit on Saturday night for a tasty Valentine’s Day treat. Featuring non-stop grooves, the trio includes the terrific Pale on guitar, with Mike Enriquez on bass and John Michael Peck on drums.
And, this just in: Lubriphonic will be returning to the Bubble Lounge next week. Super-funky, don’t miss ’em!
Tommy's will be hopping along this weekend as well, and look for the place to be going off with their Friday the Thirteenth bash, featuring The Lane Rider Experience. ’Nuff said. Rider cooks. Saturday night at Tommy’s, it’s “Singles Awareness Night” and you never know who you might run into. Be aware!
Sunday it’s the wildly popular Karaoke Night, and locals have a chance to shine at Open Mic on Wednesday evenings at Tommy’s.
OK, speaking of singles, here’s your chance to hook up in Ridgway this weekend, where the Switchback Tavern is offering raw oyster specials for their “Find a Valentine Night” revelry. Live music from local rockers Shed Nuisance, too, Friday night at the Switchback. Hey, it just might be your lucky day!
Actually, it’s a lucky weekend for music lovers, as the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association is throwing down for a free show with JJ Grey & Mofro set to perform at Heritage Plaza. Save some juice for this one, with festivities getting underway at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon.
Comedy rules at the Sheridan Opera House this weekend, and the classic venue is about to heat up for spring break, with some big shows on the way in a couple of weeks. Grab tickets soon for Jo Jo Hermann & Friends. The St. Patty’s Day bash will undoubtedly sell out. Get more at sheridanoperahouse.com.
Still don’t have a gift for your sweetheart? Festival announcements are flying these days, and it’s time to grab early bird tickets for both the Telluride Jazz Celebration and Bluegrass Festival, which just got sweeter with the addition of David Bryne to the already stellar roster. Also, early ticket deals are ending for the Pagosa Folk ’n’ Bluegrass and Desert Rocks Festivals next week.
May cupid hit his mark. Good luck and Happy Valentine's Day!