Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash

Bogguss' aces, Irish eyes and Salmon splash
Chris Aaland - 03/12/2020

Perhaps the biggest and baddest Durango Celtic Festival to date runs tonight (Thurs., March 12) through Sunday, with events alternating between the Henry Strater Theatre and the Irish Embassy Pub. This year’s line up is one of the best in the festival’s history, with five internationally acclaimed artists. First, there’s Scotland’s premier fiddle ambassador and a classically trained California cellist, Alasdair Frazier & Natalie Haas, no strangers to concert venues and festival grounds around these parts. Celtic-American roots supergroup Runa returns to the festival this year. Then there’s the full-bodied Irish pipes and whistle extravaganza, Réalta. Scottish folksinger Ed Miller performs with Rich Brotherton, the longtime lead guitarist for Robert Earl Keen. Rounding out the headliners is High Time, a trio from Connemara on the west coast of Ireland. In addition to the concerts, the festival boasts a number of workshops and movie screenings.

Leftover Salmon celebrated its 30th anniversary with the release of the Tim Newby-penned Leftover Salmon: 30 Years of Festival!; and a 10-record vinyl box set called “30 Years Under the Big Top!,” which captures all of their studio albums, a pair of early live records, unreleased tracks and rarities, and the stripped-down, acoustic “Stories from the Living Room” tour.

Leftover Salmon returns to Durango – one of the first communities to embrace its eclectic polyethnic Cajun slamgrass in the wee early ’90s – when it plays the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Despite seemingly in constant flux with members coming and going, the current incarnation has been around for the longest in LoS history. Founding members Vince Herman (vocals, guitar) and Drew Emmitt (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, vocals) have been around since the beginning. Greg Garrison (bass) joined in 2000, followed by Andy Thorn (banjo, 2010), Alwyn Robinson (drums, 2013) and Erik Deutsch (keyboards, 2016).

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, Suzy Bogguss was a Top 40 country singer who churned out hits like “Aces,” “Drive South” and “Outbound Plane,” all of which were written by contemporary folksingers like Cheryl Wheeler, John Hiatt, Nanci Griffith and Tom Russell. In those pre-Americana years, she was actually something of a Top 40 oddity … someone with one foot in Bleecker Street and the other on Music Row. In the late ’90s, she scaled back her touring and recording to start a family. When Bogguss emerged on the other side, she took control of her career from the major labels and Nashville hitmakers. The second half has seen Bogguss dabble in Western swing with Ray Benson of Asleep at the Wheel, jazz and folk. She’ll play the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The Concert Hall’s “Artists You Should Know” series continues at 7:30 p.m. Sunday with an intimate performance by Yarn. This series seats the audience onstage, where the quartet will perform stripped-down versions of their tunes. True to the band’s name, the members do indeed spin a yarn or two through music, storytelling and a vibrant blend of back porch melodies and narrative lyrics.

Dirtwire lives at the intersection of centuries-old American roots music and futuristic electronic sounds. The trio of David Satori (Beats Antique), Evan Fraser (Bolo) and Mark Reveley (Jed & Lucia) conjures up a whirlwind of sound using traditional instrumentation, world percussion, soundscapes and electronic beats. The sound it emits is a mysterious blend of beats, blues, African, Asian and South American sounds. Dirtwire plays the Animas City Theatre at 8:30 p.m. Saturday (doors at 7:30).

New Orleans comes to Telluride’s Sheridan Opera House when Galactic featuring Anjelika Jelly Joseph brings the funk at 8 p.m. Monday. The show is part of Galactic’s 25th anniversary tour and comes on the heels of the release of 2019’s “Already Already Already” album. On this record, they take a decidedly contemporary stab at R&B with a host of guest vocalists including Nahko, Miss Charm Taylor, Princess Shaw and others. Only a handful of tickets remained as of the start of the week.

String Cheese Incident frontman Billy Nershi returns to The Sheridan at 8 p.m. Tuesday with his wife, Jilian Nershi, and their band, Island Grass. It’s a St. Patrick’s Day show, so maybe a jig or two might find its way into their acoustic bluegrass and reggae mix. Telluride was one of the towns that claims SCI as one of their own, as the band has roots in San Miguel County.

The Sheridan also presents Spafford at 9 p.m. Saturday with support from Cycles. Spafford is known for its improvisation and off-the-cuff extended jams. Expect a mix of influences, ranging from Steely Dan to electronica to ‘90s alternative rock.

The San Francisco-based R&B, soul and psych-rock septet, Con Brio, turns Telluride’s Club Red into a multi-cultural jam at 8 p.m. tonight. Their live show is peppered with guitar solos, buoyant horn lines, drum and synth, and a lead singer who’s known for backflips and James Brown-esque slides.

There’s still a chance to win some great prizes in KSUT’s Spring Membership Drive, which runs through 6 p.m. Friday, when one lucky member will win a trip for two to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and get the chance to see The Who, Brandi Carlile, Buddy Guy and dozens more. Today is Festival Day, with a VIP experience at Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass (June 5-7), a 10-ticket package to Music in the Mountains (July 11-Aug. 2) and a pair of weekend passes to the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown (April 17-19). Pledge at ksut.org or call 970-563-0255 between 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. to ensure your entry into the drawings.

There’s also a big summer show that KSUT and the Community Concert Hall have inked for Sun., July 5, at Ward Lee Field at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. The two entities hope to announce this on Thursday, but the announcement is being delayed by the artist, presumably so that it can publish a string of summer dates all at once. Tune in to find out more on Thursday.

Elsewhere: Get your pre-Salmon tailgate on at the Ska Brewing World Headquarters from 5-7 p.m. tonight with Sunny & the Whiskey Machine; Glenn Smith plays Durango Craft Spirits from 6-8 p.m. Friday; and the Black Velvet trio returns to the Derailed at 7 p.m. Saturday.

’Tis like the morn in spring? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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