Free concerts, foxes, Firstgrass and Farmington Hill

Free concerts, foxes, Firstgrass and Farmington Hill

Rising Nashville progressive-indie star Michaela Anne kicks off the free at the Concert @ the Park at Buckley this Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

Chris Aaland - 06/14/2018

Let’s face it: the fires sucked the life out of summer even before spring left us. Thousands of our friends and neighbors have evacuated from their homes. Hundreds of thousands of tourists changed their summer plans to avoid Southwest Colorado. Businesses are hurting and all of us are suffering from the smoke. We can’t go camping, hiking, biking or fishing in the San Juan National Forest. But remember: these are the times that bring us closer. We don’t live here just because of our beloved mountains, forests and rivers. We also live here because of the people who bend over backwards every time a neighbor – often a total stranger – is in need.

Go play in the river. Drink at the bars. Eat at the restaurants. Thank every firefighter you see. Be excellent to each other. And remember to have fun.

NPR favorite Paula Poundstone returns to the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Best known as a panelist on NPR’s popular weekly news quiz program, “Wait, Wait ... Don’t Tell Me” (aired at 10 a.m. Saturdays on KSUT), Poundstone has racked up Emmy and Cable ACE awards for her HBO and PBS comedy specials. Her live show, which usually sells out in Durango, draws upon her own complex life: three children, multiple cats, a demanding job and crazy travel schedule, the always-popular subject of aging, and her signature bag of neuroses.

KSUT and the Henry Strater Theatre present seven-time Grammy nominee Joan Osborne at the Henry Strater Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Sunday. This one sold out months ago, but it always seems somebody has tickets for sale at the door. Her tour and latest album, “Songs of Bob Dylan,” celebrate the legendary music icon.

Americana singer/songwriter Michaela Anne kicks off the free Concert Hall @ the Park series at 5:30 p.m. tonight (Thurs., June 14) in Buckley Park. Michaela is among a talented crop of “New Nashville” progressive indie-country artists who is equally adept at traditional honky-tonk fare and introspective folk. The music-based website Saving Country Music called her “a ravishing female reincarnation of Hank Williams.” The daughter of a military officer, she enrolled in the School of Jazz at the New School in Manhattan, thinking jazz was her destiny. A chance encounter with Brooklyn-based folk/bluegrass guitarist Michael Daves pointed to a different path, though. After 10 years in New York, she relocated to Nashville. Her records “Ease My Mind,” released in 2014, and its 2016 follow-up, “Bright Lights and Fame” brought attention from public and community radio. Once again, attendees are encouraged to bring their own chairs, blankets and picnic food. Fired Up Pizza and Mountain Taco will have food stands. Dogs are welcome, but must be on a leash, no longer than 6 feet. You can also catch Michaela at the Dolores River Brewery at 7 p.m. Friday.

The Durango Celtic Society presents the trio One for the Foxes at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Henry Strater Theatre. Three familiar faces from past Durango Celtic Festivals make up the band: Galway’s Dave Curley (from SLIDE) on vocals, guitars, banjo and mandolin; Dublin’s Tadhg O Meachair (from Goitse) on piano and accordion; and Denver’s Joanna Hyde (of The Hydes) on vocals & fiddle.

The StillHouse Junkies host their official CD release party at Durango Craft Spirits at 5:30 p.m. Friday. “Over the Pass” became available to local fans at April’s Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, although they never scheduled an official release party. What better place to do it than Durango Craft Spirits, since the distillery is where the band was born out of weekly jam sessions between pals. The lineup has evolved since the beginning, and currently consists of bassist Cody Tinnin, guitarist/mandolin player Fred Kozak and fiddler Alissa Wolf (Bruce Allsopp played dobro on the album, but is no longer in the group). The title track and “On the House” have quickly become favorites out here in radioland.

The Americana quartet Route 358 plays the Balcony Bar & Grill at 5 p.m. Saturday. They bend and blend influences from bluegrass, country, folk, pop and rock into a unique form with a pair of albums and a constant touring schedule. They’ve also showcased at the John Hartford Memorial Festival and won the 2018 Arkansas Country Music Awards Americana/Roots Artist of the Year.

Who doesn’t like pie? Durango Friends of the Arts host a pie sale at the Durango Farmers Market starting at 7 a.m. Saturday. I recommend getting there early, before I roll into the joint.

And then there’s that little ol’ shindig in Telluride. Nearly 10,000 of us will cram into Town Park for the 45th annual affair from June 21-24. True festivarians find themselves up at Sunset Plaza in Mountain Village for the free FirstGrass concert on the Wednesday prior to the actual festival. This year, two of newgrass music’s finest up-and-coming talents take the stage: Billy Strings at 5 p.m., followed by the Lil Smokies. Billy Strings plays as hard as he lives, picking songs so fast that he’s known to break multiple strings per tune. His East Nashville front porch is constantly filled up with some of Music City’s best roots musicians trying to keep up. The Lil Smokies, of course, are favorites around these parts, thanks to past Animas City Theatre and Reservoir Hill performances. If you’re one of the lucky few, you scored NightGrass passes to see Dierks Bentley with the Travelin’ McCourys at the Telluride Conference Center later Wednesday night. All of the NightGrass events for the festival sold out months ago. More on the festival itself next week.

More good stuff: Pete Giuliani does this week’s Ska-B-Q starting at 5 p.m. tonight at the World Headquarters in Bodo Park; the Kirk James Band gets bluesy at Durango’s newest venue, The Rusty Shovel Saloon at Vallecito, at 6 p.m. Friday before he goes solo at Digs Restaurant in Three Springs from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Saturday; Farmington Hill brings its brand of honky tonk rock & roll to the Fenceline Cidery in Mancos from 6-9 p.m. Saturday; the Black Velvet duo plays the Animas River Beer Garden at the DoubleTree Hotel from 5-9 p.m. Saturday and the Cyprus Cafe? from 6-9 p.m. Sunday; and the Blue Moon Ramblers are back at their standing Sunday gig at the Diamond Belle Saloon at 6 p.m.

Was the year the West was burning? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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