I've recently returned to Telluride, and am jazzed to find the music scene sizzling along, even during the off-season. In fact, a wide array of offerings are being served up this weekend, from Telluride to Moab.
You can stay put and jam out to the funky sounds of Stonefed at Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, get a taste of culture with DRUM! at the Palm Theatre, or extend the festival season one more weekend with a quick jaunt to Moab for the Moab Folk Festival.
Tonight, be sure to get a dose of Stonefed at the Moon. One of Utah's hottest jam bands, the group has been receiving rave reviews for their incredible musicianship and genre-busting sound. The group plays mostly original material, with a splash of eclectic covers.
Stonefed was born in the red rock country of Moab, Utah, and features the formidable talents of bassist David Mealey, also known for his work with the Moab Jazz Quintet and The Remnants of Rock. Mealey lays down fat funky bass grooves, citing the work of Victor Wooten and Jaco Pastorius among his influences. Mealey's driving bass is complemented by Jon Olschewski's soulful blues-funk guitar licks along with Ed Stone's jazz-flavored drumming. The three original members are joined by Jasper Groff, who joined the group three years ago, and rounds out the foursome on guitar and vocals.
In fact, all of the guys sing and are super-talented musicians, gaining them fans across the country. Stonefed is on the verge of national recognition, so be sure to catch them at the Moon tonight! If you need another dose of Stonefed, check 'em at Scootin' Blues in Durango next weekend.
While Stonefed brings a taste of Moab to Telluride this weekend, many faces familiar to Telluride audiences will be gracing the stage at the Moab Folk Festival. Headliners include several Telluride Bluegrass Festival favorites, with the likes of Darrell Scott, David Wilcox and the John Cowan Band all set to perform. Also in the line-up: Trout Fishing in America, Melissa Crabtree, Kenny White, Sloan Wainright and Lucy Kaplansky. Heal what ails ya' with the unique and quirky sounds of Gandalph Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams. The Slambovians take the stage on Saturday on the Main Stage at the Moab Ballfield, and, if you're not familiar with the Circus, well, let's just say their sound has been described as Hillbilly-Floyd-Folk-Pop! Check out the debut release "A Good Thief Tips his Hat," or their new one, "Flapjacks from the Sky." The Slambovians are sure to win a lot of new fans at the festival this weekend with their eclectic sound and multi-instrumental magic.
The Fourth Annual Moab Folk Festival kicks off this evening, with both John Cowan and Darrell Scott playing at the Grand County High School Auditorium. The festival continues through Sunday with performances at the Moab Ballfield, the Historic Star Hall and at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center, plus at the school. Festivarians can participate in various songwriting and picking workshops and, the entire weekend is a bargain, with a festival pass only $95. Single day and single venue passes are also available, with free admission for kids under 10 to the Ballfield shows. Get the skinny and check out the full line-up at moabfolkfestival.com.
Speaking of familiar names, if you're in Durango tonight, you can catch the amazing Natalie McMaster at Ft. Lewis College. As Telluride Bluegrass fans know, this incredible performer will fiddle and dance her way into your heart. The show is at 7 p.m. tonight at the Community Concert Hall.
In Telluride on Sunday night, don't miss the electrifying celebration of Nova Scotia's cultural diversity when the Michael D. Palm Theatre presents DRUM! The production highlights the four principle cultures of Nova Scotia with a dazzling troupe of dancers, musicians, poetry and of course, drummers. The production of DRUM! first began in 1999, and has been receiving top reviews and standing ovations for this amazing celebration of unity through diversity. Showtime is 6:30 p.m. Sunday evening at the Palm, and is sure to be worth the $28 ticket price.
I need to regress slightly to a discussion of jam bands, as I've just been handed a copy of the brand new Phish Colorado '88 CD. The three CD set of rare recordings captures the legendary band's first national tour, and the launch of their amazing career right here in Telluride. The new compilation features recordings made at both the Roma Bar and at the Moon, plus photos of the band in town during the late 80s. Surely you'll want to check out a copy, not only for the music, but for the cover shots. Phish Colorado '88 was released on Halloween and is now out on Jemp Records. Stay tuned for more on this new (retro) CD.
Meantime, off-season rambles along, and who knows what new great talent is waiting to be discovered right around the corner? The Side Street Tavern continues to support live music, with Michael Psaras tonight and Johannes & Makeshift Saturday night.
A note for teens: there's plenty to do this weekend, with a couple of hot shows specifically for you. The Telluride AIDS Benefit Free Youth Fusion show at the Moon this evening includes a D.J., snacks, information and testing. Admission is free for ages 13-20. On Saturday night, Dave Anderson heads up Skip Daddy and the Dirt Dogs for the Teen Dance Party at the Youth Link Skateboard Park, starting at 9 p.m.
Be sure to support your local musicians at Open Mic Night, Wednesdays at Big Daddy's. Andrew Wynne does a great job getting people set up on stage, and there's lots of talent to be heard. The latest buzz is that the open mic starts at about 9 p.m., so bring your axe, be brave and play a couple of tunes. Now in it's 11th month, open mic is a great way to meet other musicians and hone your skills, whether you're a beginner or a seasoned pro. I'll be the one packing the flute, so c'mon let's jam!