TELLURIDE – The hills are alive…with the sounds of bluegrass – and then some, starting Thursday night, when the Telluride Jazz Celebration’s Patrons’ Party kicks off, at the Peaks Resort and Spa, in Mountain Village, with the Telluride Student All-Stars Jazz Ensemble and the Hazel Miller Trio.
Downtown, in Telluride, the Telluride Bluegrass Allstars kick off events with a three-night stand at the Steaming Bean Bar (Thursday-Saturday).
“This is an exciting week for bluegrass in Telluride,” says Jeremy Baron, mandolin player for the band, which he describes as “a combination of the Turkey Creek Ramblers, the Ballard Mountain Boys, and from the early 2000 band, the Rocky Mountain Mullets!”
Onstage alongside Baron are guitar players Mike Pale and Adam Pace, fiddler Chuck Hugenburg, Jason Flournoy on banjo, Robin Davis on guitar/mandolin/bass and Mike Enriquez on bass. Sunday, the Allstars move to the Bubble Lounge; Monday-Tuesday, they play at the newly formed Marmotte Festival.
The brainchild of La Marmotte’s Mark Reggiannini, this daytime festival (11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., both days) is being called Marmottestock – an homage to you-know-what – and it’s filling in the hours before Phish takes the stage in Town Park. It’s featuring Cornmeal with Leftover Salmon’s Drew Emmitt; Peter Prince and Friends, with DJ Logic, Josh Clark of Tea Leaf Green and Very Special Guests; Peter Prince from Moon Boot Lover; and the Telluride Bluegrass Allstars. And, Reggiannini says, “with all the musicians in town, expect many surprise, sit-in guests.
That said, there’s music all throughout the town, with bands booked at Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, the Llama, the Sheridan Opera House, and the Mountain Village Confeence Center – “all the major venues,” says Bryan Thames, of Bottleworks, one of the Marmottestock sponsors (Proceeds from the $20-a-ticket event will benefit Telluride Adaptive Sports Program).
Sunday night brings Jeff Austin and Friends to the Mountain Village Conference Center (showtime, 8 p.m.), but don’t go expecting to hear a reprise of Austin’s work with Yonder Mountain Stringband.
“I’m doing original stuff and it’s going to be a great night, hanging out with friends and playing music,” says Austin, who grew up “fascinated by choral music and singing in choirs and studying musical theater in college – but not playing the mandolin until 'later in life.'”
Turns out Austin is a Phish-fan, and when he realized “I was coming to Telluride, anyway, it just kind of came together – ‘Hey, let’s just do a gig down there.’”
Joining Austin onstage are country-jazz-punk banjo player Danny Barnes, along with guitarist/singer/2008 National Flatpicker Champion Tyler Grant, now touring with the Drew Emmitt band, and bass player Eric Thorin, touring with the Drew Emmitt Band and with Brother Mule.
Planet Bluegrass has organized the Austin (Telluride Conference Center Sunday, Aug. 8, 8 p.m.) gig as a lead-in to the following two-night Phish concert (Telluride Town Park, Aug. 9-10). Further bracketing the jam-band spectacular is yet another Planet Bluegrass-organized extravaganza, featuring two nights of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, again at the Telluride Conference Center, Monday, Aug. 9 and Tues., Aug. 10, 11:30 p.m. (Denson is playing at the Telluride Jazz Celebration as well.)