Music

Country with a Taos twist

Distinctive, danceable and delightful – that’s Taos Plaza Live

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This week's Taos Plaza Live show pairs up one of Taos’ tried and true original bands with a new-to-town singer-songwriter who makes his Taos Plaza Live debut this year.

First up at 6 p.m., Thursday (Aug. 10), is the Averill Lovely Band. Lovely moved to Taos about a year and a half ago, and he is excited to be playing his first Taos Plaza Live show. His show will be followed at 7 p.m. by the popular Bone Orchard.

The summerlong Taos Plaza Live concert series happens every Thursday through the end of August and features some of Taos’ best musicians and songwriters. Concerts are free and family-friendly events.

Lovely is a singer-songwriter who has done his fair share of traveling around the world, living and working in Romania, Germany, Turkey, Switzerland, Ecuador and Belize, as well as the United States.

When asked what he and his band have been up to this past year, he said, “We’ve really made a good connection with the two-stepping community in Taos.” The Averill Lovely Band plays about once a month at both Taos Mesa Brewing and Old Martina’s Hall and performs fairly regularly at The Alley Cantina in Taos, Bull O’ the Woods Saloon in Red River and The Mineshaft in Madrid, New Mexico.

“We’ve been quite busy,” Lovely said. “I can’t complain about how much we’ve been playing.”

He said he had intended to record a new album this summer, “but we ended up playing so much I didn’t have time to get in the studio.” He has 11 new songs picked out for the album and hopes to get into the studio before the end of the year to record them.

Lovely’s band is comprised of David Kinney (guitar, harmonica) and Colin Jenkinson (bass). For the Taos Plaza live show, the trio will play with Thomas Ziccarello on drums.

For Taos Plaza Live, Lovely plans on creating some high-energy fun, performing mostly his original Americana songs. “Plan on coming and dancing,” he said. “We want people moving. The more people move, the better the energy is for us. … We’re gonna give it both barrels and keep it high energy and fun.”

Lovely will also be playing some of his original material and showcasing his songwriting skills at a special performance at SOMOS on Aug. 18 (a Friday). He will explain how his songs come together and how his experiences develop into music. “It’s more on the literary side,” Lovely noted, adding that he appreciates how Taos supports artists’ creativity and original expression.

For more information on Lovely, visit averill-lovely.com.

Since meeting in the underground music scene of Los Angeles, California, Daniel Pretends Eagle and Carol Morgan-Eagle have been co-writing, recording and producing their own music together. The duo is inspired by the West’s storied landscapes, as well as Celtic harmonies, Gypsy melodies, Spanish rhythms, spaghetti Westerns, surf and psychedelic music. They call their genre “Southwest noir Americana.”

Bone Orchard is Pretends Eagle (guitar, vocals), Morgan-Eagle (vocals), Chipper Thompson (mandolin, guitar), Michael Chávez (drums) and Paul Reid (bass).

When asked to comment on the direction the band is headed in these days, Morgan-Eagle said, “We’re feeling a renewed sense of adventure and wanting to bring ourselves and our music more out into the world. Our motto this year is, ‘Just say yes.’”

Morgan-Eagle said that the band’s attitude has opened some interesting doors. Over the course of just one weekend, Bone Orchard was invited to perform at three different locations: Philadelphia’s oldest salon, an outdoor house concert in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles and at a venue in San Antonio, Texas.

“We’ll see what else shows up,” remarked Morgan-Eagle.

Meanwhile, Bone Orchard continues to write new music.

“Dan just wrote a beautiful song for our 25th wedding anniversary about the alchemy of time and love. Of course, after he sang it for me, I needed to get in there and add my part to it,” said Morgan-Eagle.

Another new song, “Digging Up Our Ancestors,” was inspired by the couple’s visit to Standing Rock and the No DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) Oceti Sakowin Camp. Pretends Eagle is an enrolled member of the Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux.

“We stayed with relatives getting stories of his ancestors,” Morgan-Eagle said.

Bone Orchard has been steadily working on a new CD, and the band will be holding a GoFundMe fundraising campaign this fall to raise money for its production costs.

For Taos Plaza Live, Morgan-Eagle said she looks forward to “being in the heart and soul of a New Mexico summer sharing a good time with old friends and new friends on the Taos Plaza.”

Morgan-Eagle commented, “Dan and I truly love the romance of the Southwest: the stories and old legends, the mix of cultures, the wind, rain and sunsets, the sense of melancholy and rich beauty, high desert up against the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the Land of Enchantment, a sense of timelessness. We write all of that into our own mythology of the Southwest performing with the feeling that we ourselves experience here.”

The day after Taos Plaza Live, Friday (Aug. 11), Bone Orchard will be performing at the Eye of the Mountain Gallery in Santa Fe. The gallery was inspired by Bone Orchard’s music to create the “Skull and Bones” art show, and Aug. 11 will be the closing of that show.

On Labor Day weekend, Bone Orchard will be playing on the Río Chama for a river rafting trip run by Los Ríos River Runners.

For Bone Orchard’s complete schedule, as well as song samples, visit boneorchardmusic.com.

Taos Plaza Live is produced by the Taos County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by local businesses. For more information, call (575) 751-8800 or visit taoschamber.com/taos-plaza-live-music-schedule.

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