Live music — the exclamation point, the emotional accompaniment to all the flavors of Taos served up on big stages. From jazz to chamber arrangements, there is a rhythm sure to elicit reflection, toe-tapping, dancing, singing and smiling.
Power to the Peaceful: Michael Franti & Spearhead with The Wailers and Supaman, Saturday, Sept. 30, 5 p.m., Kit Carson Park, Taos.
Michael Franti is described as a musician, filmmaker, and humanitarian who is recognized as a pioneering force in the music industry. "Long known for his globally conscious lyrics, powerful performances, and dynamic live shows with his band, Spearhead, Franti has continually been at the forefront of lyrical activism, using his music as a positive force for change," as stated in press materials.
"I make music because I believe it can change people's lives and make a difference in the world," enthuses Franti. "Music gives us new energy and a stronger sense of purpose." Franti is known for his authentic, uplifting music and has found global success with multi-platinum songs like "Say Hey (I Love You)," the chart-breaking 2010 release from the album The Sound of Sunshine.
Tickets are $46 in advance, $50 day of show (including all service charges). Tickets for kids 12 and under are just $9 (including all service charges). Tickets can be purchased online at holdmyticket.com and are also available by calling (505) 886-1251.
Jazz it up: Frank Morgan Taos Jazz Festival, Nov. 15-18, Various venues.
Bebop is a type of jazz originating in the 1940s and characterized by complex harmony and rhythms. It is associated particularly with Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, and Dizzy Gillespie. Another legendary jazz performer was Frank Morgan, albeit he often flew under the radar.
Morgan's journey to Taos was a bit more tumultuous and long-fought. At the age of 7, Morgan met Charlie Parker and immediately abandoned the guitar (his father’s instrument) for the saxophone. As a teenager, Morgan had opportunities to jam with the likes of Dexter Gordon and Wardell Gray. When he was just 15 years old, Morgan was offered Johnny Hodges's spot in Duke Ellington's Orchestra, but his father deemed him too young for touring. Instead, he joined the house band at Club Alabama where he backed vocal luminaries such as Billie Holiday and Josephine Baker. Impressionable and passionate about the music, Morgan followed in the footsteps of Parker, becoming addicted to heroin at the age of 17. In those days, heroin was deeply entrenched in the jazz lifestyle — using it was a crime punishable by imprisonment. Many of the jazz stars did time behind bars and Morgan was no exception. Years of incarceration followed. He would get arrested, do time, get out and then get arrested again — a cycle that lasted 30 years. In between periods of incarceration, Morgan still managed to play and record, cementing his reputation as one of the alto saxophone greats.
In 1963 some Los Angeles musicians rented a defunct, boarded up movie theater in Watts to hold Saturday night after-hours jam sessions. There were always incredible jazz musicians in town who would drop in before they left on Monday. But to hear Morgan play his alto sax, you had to take the warden’s tour of San Quentin and hear the prison band. This band was known in some circles as “The World’s Greatest Jazz Band That Never Recorded.”
Morgan came to Taos from Minneapolis in 2000 to play a two-night gig. He loved it here, felt like he was left alone to just be himself. He lived in Taos for five years, until illness forced him to move back to Minneapolis to spend the last two years of his life with family. While in Taos, he was a regular performer at the Taos Inn, and while touring the U.S. he always referred to Taos as “my home town." He suffered a stroke and developed cancer, but that didn’t slow him down much, as he toured Europe until the last month of his life. Cancer took his life in 2007.
In his honor and to keep his sound alive, the Taos Jazz Bebop Society presents the third annual Frank Morgan Taos Jazz Festival. This hugely successful Frank Morgan Taos Jazz Festival features Morgan's protégé, alto saxophonist and singer Grace Kelly (the Grace Kelly Quartet), who has blossomed into a major jazz star in her own right.
Saxophonist, singer, and composer, Grace Kelly continues to climb the ranks of today’s true jazz stars. She plays with the heart and passion of an old soul yet with the genre-bending zest and energy of a 24-year-old. Last year she was a regular with Jon Batiste and Stay Human, bandleader for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert." “Grace Kelly has an electric charisma on-stage that instantly ignites the room. She is also one of the most kind-hearted, easy-going people I’ve had the pleasure of working with,” Jon Batiste is quoted as saying.
Her 10th CD, "Trying To Figure It Out," was voted #2 Jazz Album of The Year in the 2016 Downbeat Magazine Readers Poll. In recent years, she has been featured on Amazon’s Emmy-nominated TV show “Bosch,” CNN.com, Glamour Magazine, Forbes, Billboard, Vanity Fair, Huffington Post, and in many appearances on NPR. As a songwriter, she has won multiple ASCAP Composer Awards and International Songwriting Awards.
On Nov. 17, another longtime friend of Morgan’s, vocalist Ed Reed will perform at the Harwood with the Lorca Hart Trio (Josh Nelson on piano, Edward Livingston on bass and Lorca on drums). Lorca grew up in Taos and is now a mainstay in the California jazz scene. The festival opens on Nov. 15 with another Taos favorite — the Doug Lawrence/Pete Amahl Quartet. They will be performing at the Historic Taos Inn for the free kickoff event.
Rounding out the festival is the highly acclaimed jazz film “I Called Him Morgan," screening at the Taos Community Auditorium (TCA) on Nov. 16. The film documents the relationship between jazz trumpeter Lee Morgan and his common-law wife Helen, who shot and killed him in 1972. Part true-crime tale, part love story and an all-out musical treat, “I Called Him Morgan” is a stirring tribute to two unique personalities and the music that brought them together. “One of the most unconventional, spellbinding music documentaries ever made.” — Gary Giddins, Telluride Film Festival.
“I Called Him Morgan” premiered on Sept. 1, 2016, in the official selection at the 73rd Venice Film Festival and went on to play Telluride Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, New York Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival. For tickets or more information, go online to taosjazz.org.
2017 Frank Morgan Taos Jazz Festival Schedule
Wednesday, Nov. 15 – Taos Inn Free Kickoff Event, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Doug Lawrence/Pete Amahl Quartet.
Thursday, Nov. 16 – TCA film documentary of Lee Morgan, 7 p.m., “I Called Him Morgan”.
Friday, Nov. 17 – Harwood Museum, 7:30 p.m., Ed Reed with the Lorca Hart Trio.
Saturday, Nov. 18 – Taos Mesa Brewing Mothership, 7:30 p.m., Grace Kelly Quartet.
Happy feet: Michael Hearne's Big Barn Dance, Sept. 7-9, Kit Carson Park.
The Big Barn Dance started out as informal Saturday night neighborhood two-steppin’ parties on the outskirts of Taos. Every couple of weeks all summer long during the 1990s, an authentic mountain country barn dance took off under the stars at Casa de Caballos Ranch in Des Montes. Hearne’s band, South X Southwest, showed up with various friends and musical colleagues to pick, play and dance ’til the wee hours of the morn. Folks just kept coming, and the summer barn dances became a beloved tradition that music lovers and two-steppers looked forward to year after year.
For a decade afterwards, the Big Barn Dance was produced at the Old Blinking Light Restaurant and KTAOS Solar Center on Route 150, where the generosity, hospitality, food and fun were the best to be had. The Barn Dance has also been held in the alpine beauty of Taos Ski Valley.
Entering its 15th year, Michael Hearne’s Big Barn Dance Music Festival has transcended to being a premier musical event of the Southwest. This three-day Americana music festival plays out under the sun and stars in Kit Carson Park in the heart of Taos.
Hearne's friendship with some of the most notable songwriters and bands in the world provides a showcase for musical excellence, allowing audiences an up-close and personal experience with songwriters as they spin tales revealing the creative process and the story behind the song.
The Big Barn Dance Music Festival is often described as "a listening room experience in a festival setting" that concludes with the Big Barn Dance, so bring your listening ears as well as your happy feet.
Thursday, Sept. 7 – Doors open at noon
Michael Hearne and Jimmy Stadler
Dana Louise & The Glorious Birds
Chris Brashear, Peter McLaughlin and Todd Phillips
Red River Songwriters (Walt Wilkins, Kelley Mickwee, Susan Gibson, Brandy Zdan, Drew Kennedy and Josh Grider)
South by Southwest
Friday, Sept. 8 – Doors open at noon
Songwriters Round (Rex Foster, Tommy Elskes, Gerry Spehar)
Terri Hendrix & Lloyd Maines
High Plains Jamboree
Shake Russell and Michael Hearne (with Mike Roberts)
Band of Heathens
Saturday, Sept. 9 – Doors open at 11 a.m.
Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne
Trout Fishing in America
The Bill Hearne Trio
Halden Wofford & the Hi*Beams
South by Southwest and Special Guests
Intimate performances – Music From Angel Fire, Aug. 31-Sept. 3
Since 1984, the festival from Moreno Valley is a touring organization serving the rural Northern New Mexico Rocky Mountain communities of Angel Fire, Taos, Raton and Las Vegas. Music from Angel Fire concerts are broadcast by American Public Media, Performance Today, throughout the United States. The mission of Music from Angel Fire, according to its web site, is to share the experience of chamber music throughout the region by presenting intimate performances and educational outreach by exceptional young artists and world-class musicians.
The final performances for this season include a Youth and Family Concert featuring musicians from the Young Artist program, which is composed of students from the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia; a free concert at the historic Shuler Theater in downtown Raton featuring works by Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky; a free and informal gathering with musicians at an open rehearsal; an Austria-inspired concert with works by Haydn, Johann Strauss and Schubert; and the final concert of the festival highlights Spain with music by Turina, Boccherini, Arriaga and Albéniz. For more information, go online to musicfromangelfire.org or call (575) 377-3233.
2017 Music From Angel Fire Performance Schedule
Thursday, Aug. 31
10 a.m. Youth and Family Concert, Eagle Nest Elementary Middle School, 225 Lake Ave., Eagle Nest, NM. No admission charge. (575) 377-6991.
7 p.m. "Russia," Shuler Theater, 131 N. 2nd St., Raton, NM. No admission charge. (575) 445-4746
Friday, Sept. 1
1 p.m. "Closer Encounters," Angel Fire Community Center, 15 CS Ranch Rd., Angel Fire, NM. Get to know the musicians and music being performed during an open rehearsal.. No Admission charge. (575) 377-1544
Saturday, Sept. 2
7 p.m. "Austria," Taos Center for the Arts, 133 Paseo del Pueblo Norte, Taos. Tickets $35 at the door. (575) 758-2052.
Sunday, Sept. 3
2 p.m. "Spain," Angel Fire Baptist Church, 63 S. Angel Fire Rd., Angel Fire, NM. Tickets $35 at the door. (575) 377-3107
Turning Red River Blue – Red River Bluegrass Festival, Sept. 14-17
Head to the Red River Community House and the Red River Ski and Summer Area for this exciting 43rd annual event featuring bluegrass and Americana musicians from all over the region who proudly swim in the deep currents of classic bluegrass, tried-and-true honky tonk, country swing and skillfully spun folk tales. "Bluegrass music and festivals are a worldwide fact of life and the number of such gatherings is growing every year. With roots in the traditional music of England, Scotland and Ireland, other influences can be found in this popular form of Americana," as stated by the organizers, Southwest Traditional and Bluegrass Music Association (better known as The Southwest Pickers).
Among the featured acts scheduled to appear are Blue Highway — nominated for a 2017 Grammy Award for Best Bluegrass Album, the Soda Rock Ramblers, FY5, East Mountain Serenaders, the Badly Bent, Audrey Davis & John Archuleta and the Cody Sisters. Saturday will feature contests for fiddle, banjo, guitar and songwriting at the Community House. Saturday will also feature workshops and jams.
Other events are the Band Scramble and impromptu Jams. For the Band Scramble, judges make up random teams who then become a “band.” In a few hours, the bands perform on stage. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry — you’ll have a great time, and you’ll meet a lot of good pickers. Jams spontaneously form around the site in the barns, buildings and even the parking lot. Carry your instrument along when you’re in the mood to pick; you never know when a jam will break out. Passes: all events $50; Friday only $20; Saturday only $30; Saturday 5 p.m.-close only $15; Sunday only $15. For more information, go online to southwestpickers-festival.org.
2017 Red River Bluegrass Festival Schedule
Thursday, Sept. 14 — Red River Community House
4:30 p.m. Taste of Red River (special "limited" culinary event)
6 p.m. Higher Ground Bluegrass
Friday, Sept. 15 — Red River Community House
5-7:30 p.m. Jamming, Open Mic
7:30-8:30 p.m. Jam hosted by Audrey Davis and John Archuleta
Friday, Sept. 15 — Pioneer Stage and at the ski hill
9 a.m. The Cody Sisters
10 a.m. Entertainment duo/vocal contest
11 a.m. Blue Highway
Noon FY5 (Finnders and Youngberg)
1 p.m. The Badly Bent
2 p.m. Audrey Davis & John Archuleta
2 p.m. Spencer Branch Band (special event at "The Tip")
3 p.m. East Mountain Serenaders
4 p.m. Soda Rock Ramblers
5 p.m. Contest awards and dinner break
6 p.m. The Badly Bent
7 p.m. FY5
8 p.m. Blue Highway
Saturday, Sept. 16 — Red River Community House
9:30-10:15 a.m. Showcase Band
10:30-11:15 a.m. Banjo contest (bluegrass and old time)
11:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Spencer Branch Band
12:30-1:15 p.m. Fiddle contest (bluegrass and old time)
1:30-2:15 p.m. Fritz Davis
2:30-3:15 p.m. Flatpick guitar contest
3:30-4:15 p.m. Roadrunner String Band
4:30-5:15 p.m. Songwriting contest
5-6 p.m. Jam hosted by East Mountain Serenaders
9-11 p.m. Barn dance
Saturday, Sept. 16 — Workshops/Jams (locations TBA)
10 a.m. Fiddle (bluegrass) — The Badly Bent
10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. TBD
11:30 a.m. Fiddle (old time) — Soda Rock Ramblers
12:30 p.m. Mandolin (old time) — Soda Rock Ramblers
1:30 p.m. Flatpick guitar — Blue Highway
2:30 p.m. Harmony vocal — Blue Highway
2:30 p.m. Songwriting — FY5
3:30 p.m. Band song arrangement — FY5
3:30 p.m. Banjo (bluegrass) — The Badly Bent
Sunday, Sept. 17 — Pioneer Stage and at the ski hill
9 a.m. — The Badly Bent
10 a.m. Blue Highway — "Gospel Sunday"
11 a.m. FY5
Noon Band Scramble
2-4 p.m. Bluegrass and old-time band contest
Big music, small venues – Shortgrass Music Festival, Sept. 16-18.
"The grasslands of northeast New Mexico, on the eastern face of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, stretch east as far as the eye can see. Part of the largest biological community in the entire North American continent, this high altitude portion of it is composed of the short grasses — tough little plants like blue grama and buffalo grass that can withstand the perennial drought cycle of the region.
The Shortgrass Music Festival is a celebration of the open range and limitless sky, and invites music lovers to enjoy the immense natural beauty of the area along with a feast of live music from some of the very best concert artists in the world. Festival artists will perform in venues that are themselves a tour of the short-grass country. The deer and the antelope really do play here, along with elk, bear and Mr. Turner’s bison, and visitors will see them as they retrace the old Santa Fe Trail between Colfax, Cimarrón and Rayado," as stated in festival materials.
The Northern New Mexico town of Cimarrón hosts the 13th annual celebration featuring Spencer Branch, baritone Andrew Lovato, Tish Hinojosa and Hwy 38 Houndogs.
Spencer Branch is siblings Martha and Kilby Spencer from Whitetop Mountain, Virginia, who collaborate with North Carolina native Kelley Breiding to perform music drawn from their Appalachia mountain heritage. Combining traditional country and bluegrass songs with a healthy dose of original material, they offer a powerful combination of vocal harmonies and classic fiddle/guitar/banjo instrumentation. “Called a “winning baritone” by The New York Times and “sensitive and sympathetic” by Cincinnati’s City Beat, Wisconsin native and baritone Andrew Lovato is garnering excitement among enthusiasts of the classical and modern vocal repertoire across the nation. Lovato is the winner of the George L. Hackett Prize in the Livingston Mather Competition and a first-place winner in the Schubert Club competition. Singer-songwriter Tish Hinojosa from Austin, Texas, creates a blend of folk, country, Latino and pop with an undeniable far reaching appeal, from a White House concert at the invitation of President and Mrs. Clinton to teaming up with artists Joan Baez, Booker T. Jones, Flaco Jimenez, Pete Seeger, and Dwight Yoakam. With 16 CDs to her name, Hinojosa has recorded as an independent artist as well as for A&M, Warner Bros. and Rounder Records and has been a featured artist on "Austin City Limits," "A Prairie Home Companion" and other NPR programs.
Music writer M. Elwell Romancito wrote of Hinojosa in The Taos News in October 2016: “If you’re from Taos, you know Hinojosa as a songbird with vocal and guitar chops, savvy song choices and dazzling originals who played during the peak of the old two-step scene at the Sagebrush Inn. For those of us veteran boot-scooters, when Tish was playing in Taos that was right about the zenith or at the heart of the scene…”
Rounding out the entertainment is the Hwy 38 Houndogs who cross the pass from Red River with an irresistible home brew of dance music they call, “Southwest Americana with a green chile twist.” Formed in 2007, they are a working roadhouse band that plays all over the Northern New Mexico and west Texas region. Their very large array of blues, country and folk makes you want to get up and dance.
A reception for the artists will be held at the Express St. James Hotel immediately following the performance; all are invited to attend. For more information, go online to shortgrassfestival.com or call (575) 376-2417 or 888-376-2417.
2017 Shortgrass Music Festival Schedule
Friday, Sept. 15 – Cimarrón Mercantile (adjacent to the infamous St. James Hotel)
7 p.m. Spencer Branch — $10. Open to all ages. Age 18 and under admitted free.
Saturday, Sept. 16 – Cimarrón Maverick Club Rodeo Grounds (west of State Highway 64)
8 p.m. Tish Hinojosa (opening act Hwy 38 Houndogs) — $20. Open to all ages. Age 18 and under admitted free.
Sunday, Sept. 17 – United Methodist Church (31082 State Highway 64)
4 p.m. Andrew Lovato — $10. Open to all ages. Age 18 and under admitted free.
Celebrating 25 years of wild and scenic music
Taos Chamber Music Group, Sept. 30-Oct. 1/Nov. 11-12
Recognized for creative programming and first-class artistry, the Taos Chamber Music Group’s (TCMG) 25th concert season runs from September 2016 through May 2018. Programs include a signature mix of chamber music masterpieces, more contemporary works and multidisciplinary collaborations performed at the Harwood Museum of Art where TCMG is the Resident Chamber Music Group. "In its signature style, TCMG will combine favorites by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Dvorak, Ravel and Saint-Saens with lesser known musical gems and contemporary compositions," as described on the group's web site.
During Fall Festivals, TCMG presents "All-American," featuring the New York City-based American String Quartet — internationally recognized as one of the world’s foremost quartets. Works include Zhou Tian’s Viaje (Journey) for flute and string quartet, Robert Sirota’s American Pilgrimage for string quartet, Samuel Barber’s iconic Adagio, and Dvorak’s “American” String Quartet.
In November, TCMG will present "Living Legacy: Women in the Arts" — in conjunction with the Harwood Museum of Art's upcoming winter exhibit, "Work by Women"— a program of women composers performed by women. Pieces include Clara Schumann’s Piano Trio, a trio sonata by Italian Baroque composer Anna Bon and a variety of contemporary works.
Musicians include Daniel Avshalomov (viola); Debra Ayers (piano); Elizabeth Baker (violin); Laurie Carney (violin); Sally Guenther (cello); Wolfram Koessel (cello); Nancy Laupheimer (flute); Mary Kay Robinson (flute); and Peter Winograd (violin).
What began as the dream of flutist Nancy Laupheimer for chamber music to be a year-round presence in her hometown, has taken its place among the area's world-class summer music festivals that have made Taos a nexus for classical music.
Over the past quarter century, TCMG has presented an incredibly diverse scope of performances and has gained a reputation for artistic excellence, with its roster of talented musicians from New Mexico and around the country. As TCMG’s artistic and executive director, Laupheimer is known for her creativity in coming up with compelling musical story lines, and her conversational approach with artists keeps TCMG’s vision fresh and varied. An accomplished flutist and wilderness enthusiast (despite having MS), Laupheimer often programs works that reflect the physical beauty and unique cultural diversity of the Taos area.
In January, TCMG presents international flute phenom and performance artist Claire Chase in a mind-blowing show that includes works recently written for her. February’s “Storm & Stillness” program explores the power of music to depict the natural world. April's annual "Play it Forward" concerts, in which TCMG features younger musicians, showcase the astounding abilities of 17-year old violinist and Santa Fe native Phoenix Avalon, and Memorial Day weekend brings an encore performance by multiple cellists, a TCMG favorite that this time will feature four "Cello Chicks!”
Concerts begin at 5:30 so audiences can enjoy dinner afterwards at one of TCMG's participating restaurants, Doc Martin's, Lamberts, Martyrs and the Gorge Bar & Grill. Visit taoschambermusicgroup.org for more information. Tickets are on sale on the web site, and season tickets are available at a discount. Individual tickets may also be purchased through the Harwood Museum, (575) 758-9826.
Taos Chamber Music Group Fall Performance Schedule
Saturday, Sept. 30, 5:30 p.m., Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St., Taos. "All-American" — American String Quartet with Nancy Laupheimer.
Sunday, Oct. 1, 5:30 p.m., Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St., Taos – "All-American" — American String Quartet with Nancy Laupheimer.
Saturday, Nov. 11, 5:30 p.m., Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St., Taos – "Living Legacy: Women in the Arts" — Debra Ayers, Elizabeth Baker, Sally Guenther, Nancy Laupheimer and Mary Kay Robinson.
Sunday, Nov. 12, 5:30 p.m., Arthur Bell Auditorium at the Harwood Museum of Art, 238 Ledoux St., Taos – "Living Legacy: Women in the Arts" — Debra Ayers, Elizabeth Baker, Sally Guenther, Nancy Laupheimer and Mary Kay Robinson.
Of the folk, by the folk, for the folk – Red River Folk Festival, Sept. 21-24
This folk festival debuted in 2015 in conjunction with the Aspencade Arts and Crafts Fair. The lineup includes well-known Americana, country, bluegrass and folk musicians Max Gomez, Shawn Mullins, James McMurtry, Jim Lauderdale, Chuck Prophet, Dylan LeBlanc, Mike Addington and Colin Brooks performing in a beautiful alpine setting where the autumn gold of the aspens will just be hitting its peak.
Gomez is a young singer-songwriter from Taos in the seasoned vein of Jackson Browne and John Prine. "A blues enthusiast from an early age, the young Gomez immersed himself in the primordial Delta and traditional folk blues of Lead Belly, Big Bill Broonzy and, of course, Robert Johnson. Though 1,200 miles and decades removed from his Mississippi heroes, Gomez had his imagination to fill in the gaps. Having honed his chops on the blues, Max turned his interest to traditional American folk music," per his official website. The best stuff, Gomez says, is the old stuff.
Since we last heard from Shawn Mullins on 2008’s honeydew, the Atlanta-based singer/songwriter and bandleader has undergone a series of transformative experiences, leading to a second coming for the veteran artist. Evidence of Mullins’ newfound level of musical and lyrical ambition courses comes through with "Light You Up" (Vanguard Records, October 12). This captivating new song cycle will likely be viewed as a flat-out revelation even by Mullins’ most fervent fans.
James McMurtry spins stories with a poet’s pen (“Long Island Sound”) and a painter’s precision (“She Loves Me”). Proof: The acclaimed songwriter’s new effort Complicated Game. McMurtry’s first collection in six years spotlights a craftsman in absolutely peak form as he turns from political toward personal (“These Things I’ve Come to Know,” “You Got to Me”). “The lyrical theme is mostly about relationships,” McMurtrysays on his web site. “It’s also a little about the big old world verses the poor little farmer or fisherman. I never make a conscious decision about what to write about.”
Jim Lauderdale is a multiple Grammy and Americana Music Association Award-winning musician and one of the most respected artists working the Americana, bluegrass and country music communities today. He is considered as one of the dynamic forces who’s shaped the last 30 years of modern country — including 14 George Strait cuts, a Patty Loveless/George Jones CMA Awards winner (“You Don’t Seem To Miss Me”), a Mark Chesnutt chart-topper (“Gotta Get A Life”) and a Dixie Chicks raver (“Hole In My Head”). — as well as this thing called “Americana.”
Chuck Prophet describes his new disc Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins as “California Noir.” It’s an album inspired partly by the mysterious death of rocker Bobby Fuller in LA in 1966. “California has always represented the Golden Dream, and it’s the tension between romance and reality that lurks underneath the surface in all noir films and paperbacks, and that connects these songs.” Gritty and jangly, Prophet’s new album features original works that explore doomed love, loneliness and fast paced violence via his muscular songwriting craft.
Dylan LeBlanc knows second chances don’t come around often. But, neither do voices like his. Overwhelmed by the speed his gift would take him, from Applebee’s server to “the new Neil Young” in a matter of months, he walked away from an unlikely major label deal after releasing two critically acclaimed albums. He slipped into a blur of booze and self-doubt. Exhausted and damaged at just 23-years-old, LeBlanc went home to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, to write a new life for himself.
In between the moments of clarity and a few familiar falls, he also wrote a new album, Cautionary Tale: a collection of shimmering, arresting songs with the same haunting vocals that caught the attention of Lucinda Williams and Bruce Springsteen, now with a sharpened edge honed by hastened maturity.
Best described as soulful Americana, country folk with a honky-tonk edge; singer, songwriter and guitarist Mike Addington began his professional career "as soon as he could enter a bar." Addington picked up the guitar at the early age of 6, and never doubted his calling. A veteran of honky-tonks, nightclubs, concert halls and festivals, Addington has opened for many acts including Asleep at the Wheel, Leon Russell, Cross Canadian Ragweed and shared the stage with greats Joe Ely, Gary P. Nunn, Freddie Fender, Keith Sykes & Kevin Welsh (to name a few, according to information on his official web site. A voice all his own and a guitar style second to none, he crafts songs that speak to a common thread among all of us. Observation and raw emotion are the primary tools he uses when writing. His extensive repertoire runs the gamut from the roots of country music to the modern troubadours of today.
Red River's own singer-songwriter Colin Brooks was a Kerrville new folk winner in 2003 and formed the Band of Heathens with Gordy Quist and Ed Jurdi in 2006, after they shared a stage together as individual songwriters. Austin awarded them “best new band” in its annual chronicle survey. In 2009, the band was nominated for a “New Emerging Artist” award by the Americana Music Association. In 2010, the band was again honored by the Americana Music Association as nominees for the “Best Duo/Group of the Year." Brooks went on to pursue solo endeavors in November 2011.
The action is expected to take place in Brandenburg Park, the Lost Love Saloon and the Motherlode Saloon, although it may expand to other venues. The Lost Love Saloon serves as the casual smaller Main Street venue where music will start daily at 5 p.m. Inside the saloon, you will see an array of performers casually swapping songs and trading guitars with other festival artists who happen to be walking by. This little tavern often produces some of the most magical performances around. "You never know who’s gonna walk in and pick up a guitar," touts the festival web site. Right next door is The Motherlode. A great American honky-tonk of the first order, it was built in the mid-1930s as a saloon, dancehall and gambling establishment. Well, two out of three ain’t bad, and even though gambling ended in the early 1950s, the saloon and dancehall are still going strong. This classic venue will be home to the evening headline performances. And finally, Brandenburg Park, Red River’s beautiful public green space, is the place to enjoy live world-class music under the pavilion in the cool high country. The park is located at 100 Main Street.
Tickets: All Access VIP Admission $125 (limited availability); Lauderdale/Gomez show $25; Prophet/Mullins show $25; LeBlanc/McMurtry show $25; and Bittercreek Brunch $25. Tickets can be purchased online at redriverfolk.com, at Texas Red's in the Lodge at 400 E. Main St. or by phone (575) 754-6280. For more information, call (575) 754-3030 or go online to redriverfolk.com.
2017 Red River Folk Festival Schedule (Set times and artists are subject to change)
Thursday, Sept. 21
5 p.m. Welcome party with various artists, The Love Lost Saloon.
8 p.m. Jim Lauderdale
9:30 p.m. Max Gomez
Friday, Sept. 22
1 p.m. TBA
2 p.m. TBA
3 p.m. TBA
The Lost Love Saloon
5 p.m. Happy Hour with various artists
8 p.m. Dylan LeBlanc
9:30 p.m. James McMurtry
Sunday, Sept. 24
11 a.m. Brunch at Bittercreek Ranch and Amphitheater with details TBA