Ryan McGarvey returns to ignite the Moon
by Rebecca Thoreson
May 21, 2009 | 637 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rock and roll, here we go. Memorial Day weekend has signaled the start of the jam-packed festival and summer concert season in Telluride and across the Western Slope. Indeed, the music scene is about to explode, with the Telluride Jazz Celebration now just two weeks away, and believe it or not, Bluegrass less than a month down the road.

Yep, it’s time to get off the couch and out on the town, because many Telluride venues are springing back to life after the sleepy off-season.

The infamous Fly Me to the Moon Saloon is sure to be rocking this weekend, when the tremendous Ryan McGarvey returns on Saturday night.

Telluride Blues & Brews fans may recall how the Albuquerque, New Mexico phenom blew everyone away at the festival last September with his scorching guitar work, smoldering vocals and sensational songwriting.

At the ripe old age of 22, McGarvey is on the fast track, having garnered widespread accolades including the New Mexico Music Award in 2007 for “Blues Song of the Year” for his tune “Cryin' Over You,” and was again nominated in the same category last year for the beautiful ballad “Blue Eyed Angel Blues.”

Guitar Player Magazine took notice of the young buck, and featured him not once, but twice last summer and Albuquerque’s The Magazine hailed him as that city’s best musician, period.

Oh, and he’s a nice guy too, and has managed to remain humble, even though he’s already shared stages with a kaleidoscopic batch of acts like Blue Oyster Cult, Shemekia Copeland, Chris Duarte, Ian Moore, Back Door Slam, and one of his heroes, Joe Bonamassa.

Armed with fierce chops and a spicy blend of influences ranging from early delta blues to classic hard rock, McGarvey’s delicious debut, Forward in Reverse, recently reached the top 20 on the best seller’s list on CDBaby.com.

McGarvey says he's been back in the studio, and fans will get a taste this weekend. "We are currently playing new songs that will be featured on our newest recording, as well as some that didn't quite make the cut. We are literally flooded with almost too much original material, and our biggest hurdle is trying to figure which songs rise above the rest!"

He adds that the sophomore effort may have a harder edge than the first CD. "It is quite a bit heavier on the rock side of contemporary blues-rock. We are working with the award-winning engineer and co-producer John Wall at his studio, Wall of Sound, based in New Mexico. We should have a finished product ready to be released this summer."

McGarvey gets help from his rock-solid rhythm section, with K.C. White on drums and Kevin Kraybill on bass. The trio is explosive.

McGarvey adds that the band is stoked to return to town. "We love Telluride, and we adore The Fly Me to the Moon. So we are looking forward to delivering a performance that will go down in Telluride history!"

You can bet your booty on that, as the band is on fire. Be there to welcome the marvelous Ryan McGarvey back to town on Saturday night, and look for the band to tear it up at the 1st Annual Mile High Blues fest in Denver, which is slated for August. Blues-alicious!

The Bubble Lounge will be bopping this weekend too, with the multi-faceted Mike Pale appearing in a couple of his cool collaborations.

On Friday night, it's the driving grooves of Pale's funky soul-jazz project, BluOrbit. Then on Saturday night, get ready for a tasty bluegrass treat with the Turkey Creek Ramblers at the Bubble. One of Telluride's favorite hometown acts, TCR is back and badder than ever, featuring Pale in a different element with his buddies Adam Pace, Mike Enriques and Ari Etkis. You know it, the Turkey Creek boys will be pickin’ and grinnin’ at breakneck speed, and the guys say they’re getting pumped for a big show at the Moon during Bluegrass next month, so they’ve been polishing up their sets. Get out and party with them on Saturday night at the Bubble. TCR will be rippin’!

Tommy's has been cruising through off-season, and regional favorite Lane Rider will be kicking it down on Thursday night. The girls tell me there's more on tap, including Karaoke on Sunday, so drop by Tommy's and chill with the locals.

In Ridgway this weekend, pack your axe and drop into the Sherbino Theatre where an open-mic will be happening Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings starting at 5 o'clock. Who knows who might show up for a jam?

Talking about jamming, the mini-orchestra that is Otra Vista will be kicking it down at the Switchback Tavern in Ridgway on Friday night. The Norwood band is making the rounds and making waves wherever they play.

Saturday night at the Switchback, don't miss Til Willis who is one of the most talented singer/songwriters around, and his hard-driving, expansive guitar work is fantastic. The Ouray rocker says he has a few irons in the fire. "I'm working on releasing a new record this year, and I've been working on an experimental instrumental project as well. This is something new that's been really exciting," he explains. "I'm using a lot of found instruments like rebar, springs, and ambient noises, and then playing a lot of bowed electric guitar." Now that could be interesting!

Look for Willis to be popping up all over the state and beyond this summer. "I'll mainly be playing around Colorado, but I do have plans to tour down south in July. During that time I'll be performing at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival for the third time. Then in September I'll be touring the West Coast." Catch him while you can; Willis is sensational!

Need a festival fix? Head on over to Moab this weekend, where it will be sizzling in more ways than one. The Desert Rocks Music Festival line-up is fat, with some 40 acts on the roster including The Mother Hips, David Gans, Hot Buttered Rum, Tha Alkaholiks, Billy Nershi & Head for the Hills, The Motet, Lion Vibes, Stonefed, Equal Eyes and much more. The festival runs Friday through Sunday, with some all-nighters on tap for those who dare. Get more at desertrocks.org.

Speaking of festivals, be sure to secure a pass for the Telluride Jazz Celebration in the near future, as it will be here before you know it. This year sees the return of the legendary Bill Frisell, who has been named this year's Guest of Honor.

Also on this year’s line-up: Karl Denson's Tiny Universe along with jazz heavies like Jimmy Herring, On the One, The Rebirth Brass Band and Lizz Wright. There’s also a super-funky “Jazz After Dark” line-up this year. Get the scoop, and score your pass at telluridejazz.org.

And yes, The 36th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival is nearly upon us. It's time to gear up for the annual solstice celebration, and be sure to get a pass soon before tickets sell out at bluegrass.com.

Oh, there's so much more on the way for summer, including the spectacular 10th Annual Sunset Concert Series in Mountain Village which will kick off right after Bluegrass with The Drew Emmitt Band. The free concert series also boasts John Lee Hooker, Jr., James McMurtry, Coco Montoya and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Happy Memorial Day - and best wishes for a rockin' festival season!
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