Rodeo and Juliet in Ouray
‘Rodeo and Juliet’ is the stage name of husband-and-wife singers Chris and Jan Harris. The moniker was carefully chosen. “We do a lot of Western stuff,” she said, both music they’ve written and covers, and “We love the older classics. There were so many great songs in the 50s, 60s and 70s. We grew up in the 60s.”
As you might expect from a duo with a name that recalls Shakespeare’s star-crossed lovers, the Harrises, who will play a Valentine’s Evening concert in Ridgway tomorrow night, are not only happily married offstage, they specialize in singing love songs while on it. “We have well over 100 in our repertoire,” she said. But I was curious: when you specialize in love songs, what do you do when you happen not to be getting along with your partner – no matter how briefly – and your job is to sing them with him? Jan laughed. She’d been asked this before. “When you’ve walked through all kinds of stuff together, your love goes deeper” than a tiff, she replied. “So something that comes up that day doesn’t change the underlying feelings that hold you together.” There is also the matter of the long perspective, which she and Chris received abruptly at age 23. “When we were first married, we got a big reality check” when Chris’s father unexpectedly passed away. “All of a sudden, you realize life is really short. There’s always stuff [in a relationship] to work out, but it’s not life-or-death.” Finally, there is the connection that musicians share not only when they onstage, but before they get out there. “When I know we’re going to sing together,” she said, “I can just feel us getting closer.”
On Friday night, Chris and Jan will be accompanied onstage by the musician and songwriter Phil Madeira, a good friend from Nashville – where all three of them work in the music industry – who plays the guitar, accordion and harmonica. Madeira’s songs have been covered by Alison Krauss, Toby Keith and Bruce Hornsby, among many others; Jan calls him “one of the most gifted musicians and songwriters of our time.” Speaking of gifted songwriters, the conversation turned to the late Pete Seeger. “He and his wife were married 70 years,” she observed. “Isn’t that amazing?”
Rodeo and Juliet appear at the 4-H Convention Center at 7:30 p.m. Tickets ($15) can be purchased at ocpag.org, at Buckskin Booksellers, Cimarron Books and the Coffee Trader in Montrose, and at the door.
Piano Salon in Montrose
Montrose hearts Kirill. The Russian concert pianist Kirill Gliadkovsky returns for his eighth concert here next Saturday, February 22. His performance will take place on a grand piano in the living room of a private home at 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. It is the Montrose Arts Council’s first event of the new year; the Council has been bringing arts and culture to the region for over four decades.
Gliadkovsky, a Moscow native, has been performing since the age of 6; he attended the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Russia and played as a soloist in that country’s Bolhoi, Mally and Rachmaninoff Halls, as well as all over Europe and the U.S. (he got his masters and doctorate degrees in music at USC). A Los Angeles Times critic called Gliadkovsky’s renditions of Brahms’ Variations and Handel’s Fugue on a Theme (Opus 24), among other numbers, “a gripping and masterful performance.”
Gliadkovsky’s special interest is interacting with audiences and musical education. He hasn’t announced what he’ll play in Montrose yet, except to say he’ll be concentrating on masterpieces of Classical and Romantic music based on Spanish and American themes, including works by Soler, Albiniz, Gottschalk and Gershwin. From the latter, he could play “Concerto in F,” or “Rhapsody in Blue,” or even “I Got Rhythm” (they’re all in his repertoire). “I Got Rhythm” is from the 1930 Broadway comedy-musical Girl Crazy where a 23-year-old named Ethel Merman made her stage debut. Her rendition of the Gershwin brother’s jaunty words and syncopation (“I got rhythm/I got music/I got my man/Who could ask for anything more?”) made her a star overnight. (Lyricist Ira Gershwin admired her “no-nonsense voice that could reach not only the standees but the ticket takers in the lobby.”)
Gliadkovsky may bring Broadway to Montrose – at least for one musical selection – but he will end his visit to this region in true Continental style: he’ll team up with the Valley Symphony for a performance of Norwegian composer Edward Grieg’s Piano Concerto the following day, part of the Symphony’s celebration of the music of Sweden and Scandinavia.
Tickets for Gliadkovsky’s salon concert can be purchased by phone (970/240-1602) or by mailing a check to Montrose Arts Council, P.O. Box 2123, Montrose, CO 81402-2123 (please include your phone number or email for directions to the salon location). For information on the Valley Symphony concert, to be held at 3 p.m. the next day at the Pavilion, visit valleysymphony.net.
Grand Junction Art Auction: “We’re All About the Fun”
The third annual Art & Other Treasures antiques auction to benefit Grand Junction’s KAFM community radio station is next Friday. Over 100 items will be featured, including paintings, photography and sculpture as well as antiques, rugs and jewelry. It’s a major fundraiser for the station, and it’s growing. The station raised $42,000 in the auction’s first year; last year, the figure was $52,000. Not all of that goes to the radio station. “About 30% of it does,” KAFM’s Executive Director Tedi Gillespie explained. “We don’t keep the entirety of the proceeds. Part of our mission as a community station is to support the arts and culture.” Therefore, the balance of the proceeds from this year’s sale, to be held in the Clarion Hotel Ballroom at 7 p.m., go to the work’s creators. Said Gillespie, “We don’t want to be taking all the money.”
That public-spirited sentiment extends to the audience, as well. “We would like people to bid. And if they’re anything like me, they won’t be able to resist,” Gillespie said. “But so much about this is about learning, seeing great art” – works by the painters Steve Datz, Ned Jacob, and Dan Sprick, among others, will be featured, as will this year’s centerpiece painting by Gayle Gerson – “and listening to live jazz. Our tag line is Surround Yourself With Beauty, and that’s true.” But really, “We’re all about the fun.”
In that spirit, I asked KAFM’s Randy Rex, who hosts the Eclectic Ear radio show, what his three favorite Valentine’s Day songs might be. His picks:
Queen, “Love of My Life” “One of the most enduring love songs of our time.”
Muse, “Neutron Star Collision (Love is Forever)”
“Theatrical rock at its finest! and – The Beatles, “In My Life”
“Some say the best song ever written by the Beatles. Keyboard solo by producer George Martin.”
My own preference would probably one by Steve Earle. Singer-songwriter Jack Ingram, who has played the Wright Opera House twice in the last two years, had this to say about Earle’s song in a post on YouTube: “I wouldn't necessarily take relationship advice from a man who's been married five or six times to four or five women (u figure it out) BUT he wrote this under the red hot pressure of really having nuthin to give his girl ON Valentine's Day! That's like a walk off Home Run! A successful Hail Mary! Pressure! And beautiful...Happy Valentine's Day!”