TELLURIDE – With one week to go until festival season officially begins in Telluride, the lineups for summer music fests are firming up nicely, with a jubilant Jazz Celebration set to kick off in just a few weeks. Bluegrass will be a blast, as that venerable festival will celebrate 35 years with long-time favorites and scorching hot fresh talent, starting in just a month.
To top it all off, the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival has announced that legendary Blues singer and three-time Grammy Award winner Etta James will headline the 15th annual September festival this year.
James’s career spans five decades, and the blues powerhouse is known as one of the most prolific female R&B vocalists ever. Now at the top of her form, James is a true treasure, and will certainly be a tasty treat at this year’s Blues & Brews Festival.
In fact, the lineup is super fat for the anniversary celebration, and includes a spicy mix of blues, funk, zydeco, and good old rock and roll.
Check out the stellar roster: Gov’t Mule, John Hiatt, Joan Osborne, Susan Tedeschi, Canned Heat, Back Door Slam, Mama’s Cookin’, plus G. Love & Special Sauce. Also on tap, Dwayne Dopsie & Zydeco Hellraisers, Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Trampled Under Foot, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Chris Thomas King, and The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band.
Oh, and this just in, The Blind Boys of Alabama will be back to perform on Sunday, too.
Indeed, it looks like Blues & Brews will be a wonderful cap to a sensational festival season with its big mack-daddy lineup on the Town Park stage, plus there’s the Fais do do, Bal de Maison and nightly Juke Joints.
The festival runs Sept. 12-14 this year, and you can still get early bird tickets at Telluride Music. Get the full lineup and more at tellurideblues.com. Whoo-hoo!
OK, I get a bit excited when festival season rolls around, as the fabulous parade of sensational talent that streams through the tiny town of Telluride never ceases to amaze even the most seasoned music aficionado.
And here it is, just one week until Memorial Day weekend. That means that the music scene is about to lively up itself, and already there’s momentum heading into the season.
This weekend, you can kick up your heels, and help a good cause at the same time at the Clean-Up Day party in Mountain Village. The Turkey Creek Ramblers will be playing for the event, starting at about noon at the Meadows near the post office.
The Turkey Creek boys, a.k.a. Adam Pace, Tyler Scott, Chuck Hugenberg, and Jeremy Baron, have been working throughout off-season to get tight, and as their website says, are “smokin’ mountain grass!”
“We did some networking and recorded a demo in Durango during the off-season,” says Hugenberg. “We made some great contacts, including the Blue Canyon Boys and Jeff Scoggins & Fresh Horses.”
Hugenberg notes that the demo will contain four tunes, and the Ramblers are ready to kick it down this summer.
“Everybody’s been working really hard, and we’re looking to be coming out of the gate strong,” he explains. “Jonathan Greenspan, who’s on the town council in Mountain Village, came up with the idea for this weekend’s show, and decided to offer the local boys a chance to play, so we’re really grateful.”
Hugenberg has had his own success as of late, scoring a recording session with blues legend Otis Taylor. “It originated from the gig with Smokey Robinson last winter in Telluride,” he explains. “It seems like all of my years of playing are starting to come to bear.”
Yeah, baby, look for The Turkey Creek Ramblers to be pickin’ and grinnin’ their way right into the big leagues this summer, as they will be playing on the Sunset Concert Stage for Ride the Rockies in June, and have a big gig booked for Nightgrass at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon.
“We’re excited to be playing during Bluegrass,” says Hugenberg. “We’ll have a bass player joining us for the festival. It’s Yuri, who used to play with Shanti Groove.”
Clean up and get down with the rapidly ascending Turkey Creek Ramblers, this Saturday in Mountain Village.
Tommy’s has been rocking along during off-season, with Open Mic night on Wednesdays and Karaoke on Sunday nights. This weekend, Tommy’s is back with live music on Saturday night, featuring Mark Eisenberg and friends with Part-time Bad Habit.
The Enterprise in Rico is firing up for the season too, and this weekend, check out JP, that’s the traveling songsmith James Patterson, who will do a solo show on Saturday evening. Look for Andrew Wynne later this month at the Enterprise, and a batch of great music this summer in Rico.
In the meantime, in Ridgway it’s time to get to the Sherbino Theatre, where Denver’s Grateful Dead tribute band Juba Juba! is set to return this Saturday night.
The band is headed up by guitarist Steve LaZar, well-known for his work with several popular Front Range groups, including Radio Blue, Unifari Band and Ship of Fools.
LaZar says, the band has gone through some personnel changes as of late. “We reorganized and switched it up a bit,” he explains. “I’m now doing rhythm guitar, with Haven McInerney doing lead. This was the same configuration we had in the Ship of Fools band, so it’s great to be back together with our Steve and Ian duo thing.”
The band also includes Karl Topper on bass, Ian Bodley on drums and Fancisco Soldana on percussion, and the sound is big, gaining Juba Juba! attention from some heavy-hitters.
“We’re going to be doing five shows with Melvin Seals and Tom Constanten in July. Juba will be their band while they’re in Colorado, so we’re pretty excited,” LaZar beams, and adds that the band has added new material. “We’re going to be playing some new songs this weekend. For the first time we’ll be pulling out ‘Dark Star’ and ‘The Other One,’ so we hope everyone will come out to the Sherbino to boogie!” Jam out with Juba Juba! Saturday night at the Sherbino Theatre, starting at 8 p.m.
Wow, more last minute announcements as businesses are beginning to re-open following off-season. The Fly Me to the Moon Saloon says it will be open this weekend, with Doctor Sean-O spinning hip hop tonight, and DJ Essential rolling in to spin on Saturday night. Telluride’s legendary underground club has also announced a grand opening bash next weekend, featuring the return of reggae man Joseph Israel on Saturday night.
Expect more upcoming band announcements soon at the Moon. It’s gonna rock!
Also coming up next weekend, it’s the return of live music at the Bubble Lounge, with Meniskus on tap to kick off the season at the O2 bar. The super hot alt-rockers out of Denver have been recently nominated in the Modern Rock category for Westword’s Best of Denver band competition. Wish ’em luck, and let’s just hope they’re not too darn loud!
Las Montañas will also be back in action soon, with a pile of shows on tap, starting at the end of the month. Look for Todd Anders Johnson and Salem on May 31, Blue Turtle Seduction on June 15 and On the One returns on June 18.
Gear up, get ready and let the games begin.