TELLURIDE – Hot on the heels of the Jazz Celebration, it’s full steam ahead into the 35th Annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival, with a boatload of fabulous talent rolling in over the next week as the energy escalates into the big bluegrass bash.
Tonight, welcome Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband back to Telluride, who will fire up the fiddle and kick it down at the Sheridan Opera House for Wild West Fest. Shupe wowed the crowd at the Bluegrass Festival a couple of years ago, and says the band is stoked to return to town.
“We’re looking forward to it,” he says. “It’s such a good music community and such good vibes there.”
Since his phenomenal CD Dream Big won widespread acclaim a couple of years ago, Shupe says the band has been on a roll, and spent some time back in the studio. “We just released our new CD, Last Man Standing,” he explains. “If you know the Rubberband from our live shows, you’re like, ‘Oh yeah, it makes sense.’ There’s a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but it’s maybe a little more rockin’ than the last CD. You’ll want to crank it up in your car!”
For sure, as the new CD is a triumph, and showcases the band’s versatility. “We do some bluegrass-ish stuff, there are good catchy tunes and insightful songs, so there’s a lot of diversity,” he adds. “We all like different kinds of music, and I think we’re a little bit A.D.D., so it’s kind of like the name of the band, we like to stretch it out and change it up.”
Shupe is a sensational songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, who says he started the band as a vehicle for his tunes. “I bring the songs to the band, and we’ll jam on them and see what works and feels cool.” Shupe adds that The Rubberband is comprised of some monster players, many of whom started playing at very early ages. “They’re all super musicians who grew up in music families,” he explains. “I’m very lucky that we all get along and travel well together, and it helps that they’re just great players.”
Shupe makes his home in Utah, and says that’s where his heart is. “They keep saying, ‘C’mon move to Nashville!’ But we just love the mountains too much, so that’s where we’re at.”
A rollicking wild ride, kick up your heels with Ryan Shupe & The Rubberband tonight at the historic Sheridan Opera House.
The Wild West Fest includes a full lineup of fun throughout the weekend, and look for The Turkey Creek Ramblers to be rolling around town pickin’ on the stagecoach today. The local boys are gearing up for Bluegrass next week, and will hit the Sunset Concert Stage in Mountain Village on Monday at 3:30 p.m., and look for them again at Elks Park during the festival, and at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon for the closing night rager one week from Sunday. Keep your eyes on the TCR, they’re on their way!
There’s lots of other hot talent around town this weekend, too, as the scene begins to heat up for next week's festivities. Tonight, you can get your hip-hop fix with DJ Essential & Emcee Joey Baggs at the Moon, and on Saturday, it’s Nederland’s psychedelic progressive rockers, Smooth Money Gesture at the Fly Me to the Moon Saloon. Successfully blending funk, blues, bluegrass and more, SMG is also on the roster for the Silverton Jamboree this weekend, and look for the band to rock the Moon into the wee hours Saturday night.
Next week, the Moon will jump with Head for the Hills rolling in on Wednesday night, and then it's full-tilt at the Moon with the superb Nightgrass lineup.
In the meantime, it is Friday the Thirteenth, and if you like music that rocks, it’s your lucky day, with The Voles ready to hit it hard at O’Bannons. Hopefully you caught Telluride’s edgy rockers on KOTO earlier this week, where they played a couple of cuts from their forthcoming CD. The Voles will appear with special guests tonight, Lesbian Bodyguard. Uh-huh, this is the hot late night ticket tonight at OB’s.
Upstairs at the Bubble Lounge get on board tonight with The Last Bus, with their funky mountain boogie style. Saturday night at the Bubble Lounge, it’s the funky rock multi-media extravaganza of Boulder’s Jive Coulis, who just released their self-titled debut CD. Rock and roll, baby!
By the way, The Last Bus will roll down the hill to Ridgway on Saturday for the 13th Annual Love Your Valley Festival, which runs from noon until 6 p.m. on Saturday. The band will hit the stage in the early afternoon, followed by Denver’s groovy Grateful Dead Cover Band, Juba Juba! The Love Your Valley Festival is free, although there’s a $15 donation charge for the microbrew tasting. It’s family and dog friendly, too. Check it out Saturday at Ridgway’s Hartwell Park.
Ridgway is gonna hop all weekend, and Rock Creek & Co. will be tearing it up at The Independence Café tonight. Rock Creek’s Mary June Page says she has another valley on her mind these days. “Tonight’s show is to raise awareness about the uranium mine that’s going into the Paradox Valley. It’s just horrific, and people in this area should be alarmed,” she explains. “It’s upstream from the Dolores, San Miguel and Colorado rivers, and it’s located in that beautiful valley on the way to Moab. So, I’m on the bandwagon asking people to take action,” she adds, noting that more info is available at savingparadox.com.
OK, so the word is, love all of the valleys, and join Rock Creek & Co. for the eco-jam tonight at the Independence Café. Also, look for the good time sounds of Rock Creek & Co. in Telluride next week during the Bluegrass Festival, including at Tommy’s on Saturday afternoon.
The action continues to roll into Sunday in Ridgway, when a long-time friend of Telluride, Pete Kartsounes, returns to the Sherbino Theare. Kartsounes now lives in Boulder, and is hitting the road in support of his latest CD Out of Nowhere, which features appearances by several familiar names, including Sally Van Meter, Drew Emmitt, Jeff Austin, and Travis Book.
Bluegrass fans may know him as a member of the Wayword Sons, whose Nightgrass show sold out last year in Telluride. A terrific songwriter and a sizzling guitarist, Kartsounes goes beyond bluegrass, easily moving from funk to jazz, rock and blues. He says, he’s about to expand his horizons further, with a major endeavor on tap this summer.
“Last fall I came up with an idea to give more, and started the Hike For Cancer Foundation, which helps to sustain organizations who offer support for families with childhood cancer. This summer, I’ll be hiking the 500 mile-long Colorado Trail, playing concerts along the way. The proceeds from each show will go to benefit Camp Wapiyapi, a supportive place for kids with cancer and their families,” he explains.
Kartsounes adds that his partner is “Digger” from the North Mississippi All-Stars, and that they hope to increase the scope of their cause. “I've been doing interviews all over the country. Eventually we’d like to do fundraisers and concerts and set up camps all over the world."
Well-known in bluegrass circles, look for Kartsounes to pop up for a jam – or 10 – in Telluride next week. "I may be sitting in with Yonder, like I did last year, and maybe jam with Head for the Hills. For sure, I'll be pickin’ in the campground."
Super-talented, and consciously cool, catch Kartsounes in Ridgway Sunday evening. Get more on Kartsounes’s music and mission, at petekmusic.com. He rocks!
If you’re feeling adventurous, get up and over to Silverton this weekend, where The Silverton Jamboree is getting underway today. The lineup is as spectacular as the scenery this year, with The Motet, Papa Grows Funk, The Reverend Horton Heat, Gigi Love, Mofro, Robert Bradley, and Bruce Hayes. Smooth Money Gesture will make the trek after their show at the Moon this weekend to appear on Sunday.
Get the full lineup and low-down at silvertonjamboree.com.
Then it's the biggie, with the 35th Annual Bluegrass Festival set to kick-off in less than a week. The lineup is fat for the anniversary year, with long-time favorites, legendary stars, and bright, fresh faces. The Nightgrass schedule has firmed up nicely, by the way, and you may want to secure tickets now, as several shows have already sold-out. As the old Newgrass Revival song says, “Can’t Stop Now,” and that’s just the way it will be heading into the fantastic week ahead.
Gear up, get ready and good luck!