Nightowls, Ride Festival and Fab Fridays

Nightowls, Ride Festival and Fab Fridays

KSUT and Music in the Mountains present the Nightowls at the Purgatory festival tent, Saturday at 7 p.m.

Chris Aaland - 07/12/2018

The dog days of summer bring a laid-back sweetness to the area this week, with classical music, ukuleles and singer/songwriters taking center stage.

Music in the Mountains kicks it into high gear with seven events in Durango, Cortez and at Purgatory this week. As part of the festival, soul, funk and pop take center stage when MITM and KSUT present the Nightowls at 7 p.m. Saturday at the fes- tival tent up at Purgatory. A 10-piece ensemble based in Austin, Texas, the Nightowls run the musical gamut from James Brown to Michael Jackson. Bright, bold horns dance and leap over a funky rhythm section, while lead vocalist and founder Ryan Harkrider’s soulful voice shimmers alongside gorgeous female harmonies. Formed in 2011, they’ve quickly won over critics and fans. Austin Monthly noted that the Nightowls were a “band to watch,” while Texas Music Magazine called them “a smooth addictive blend of pop, R&B and funk that will delight the band’s dance-happy fans.” The  group released its fourth record this spring, “We Are the Nightowls,” to much acclaim. They were a showcase band for the second time at the SXSW and drew acclaim from such music press as Glide, SoulTracks and Indie Voice for a string of catchy singles.

In other big news this weekend, The Ride Festival returns to Telluride Town Park this weekend, July 14-15. Headliners include two nights of String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow and Chris Robin- son Brotherhood. Other leeser known but no less worthy must-see acts include Grace Potter, Larkin & Poe and the New Respects. The festival kicks off with a free concert in Mountain Village Friday night. For tickets and a full rundown, go to www.ridefestival.com.

The Rocky Mountain UkeFest kicks off tonight with a free Concert @ the Park in Buckley Park featuring its All-Star Band. Members include Daniel Ward, Victoria Vox, Jason Arimoto, John Bartlitt and Craig McClelland. The festival continues with per- formances, workshops and more Friday through Sunday at such venues as the Rochester Hotel Secret Garden, Animas City Theatre and FLC Theatre. Ward is skilled on numerous instruments and a flamenco and Latin virtuoso; Vox is a songwriter and accom- plished beat boxer who has opened for Jackson Browne, Leo Kot- tke and others; Arimoto, a native Hawaiian, is known for face-melting ukulele; McClelland is an instructor who performs on bass, guitar and tuba in addition to the uke; and Bartlitt is also an accomplished percussionist and drummer.

Most Telluride festivals are big deals, attracting thousands of musical worshipers into Town Park. An except is the Telluride Americana Festival, which calls the intimate Sheridan Opera House home and seats a few hundred each night. Now in its 11th year, the four-night production begins Wednesday night with a song swap featuring relative newcomers Drew Kennedy, Josh Grider, Kelley Mickwee and Walt Wilkins. We’ll explore the head- liners in next week’s Top Shelf but give you a tease this week in case you’re looking to buy a four-day pass. The acclaimed duo of Dave Alvin & Jimmie Dale Gilmore lead the way, with Ruth Moody of the Waillin’ Jennys, acoustic bluesman Chris Smither and Texas blues guitarist Carolyn Wonderland among the per- formers.

Singer/songwriter Will Kimbrough gives a taste of what you’ll hear at the Telluride Americana Festival when he plays The Showbar at the Sheridan Opera House at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. A na- tive of the Gulf Coast, Kimbrough first came onto my radar in the mid ’90s when he began a decades-long collaboration with Todd Snider and served as lead guitarist in Snider’s band, the Nervous Wrecks. Kimbrough’s songs have been recorded by a veritable Who’s Who of Americana music, including Jimmy Buffett, Little

Feat and Jack Ingram. Re- cently, he released “Mock- ingbird Soul,” a duets album with soulful indie singer/songwriter Brigitte DeMeyer that got plenty of spins in the public radio world.

In addition to the freebies in Buckley, Three Springs starts serving up weekly con- certs gratis when the Kirk James Band gets bluesy from 6-8 p.m. tonight. They’re billing the series as Concerts @ the Plaza and highlight local talent.

The 416 Fire wreaked havoc on the tourist season, stressing many businesses. 

To help stimulate the local economy, the Downtown Business Improvement District has organized a succession of Fab Fridays in July the next three weeks. The block party events will be held 5-8 p.m. in different blocks of downtown, and participating businesses will coordinate interactive events, host talks, offer food specials and even host live music. This week’s Fab Friday will be held on the 1000 and 1100 blocks of Main. Businesses that fly green balloons are the ones participating. In conjunction with the Rocky Mountain Uke- Fest, Devin Scott will serenade on the ukulele.

Also of note: the Afrobeatniks bring their world fusion to tonight’s Ska-B-Q at 5 p.m. at the World Headquarters in Bodo Park; the Jeff Solon Jazz Trio entertains at the Seven Rivers Steakhouse at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio at 6 p.m.; and Black Velvet has a busy week, with the duo performing at the Animas River Beer Garden at the Doubletree Hotel at 5 p.m. Fri- day and Monday and Cyprus Cafe? at 6 p.m. Tuesday, while the trio play at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Derailed Pour House and 4 p.m. Sunday at the Balcony.

The best thing I heard this week is “Time Flies,” the 30th album that Jim Lauderdale has released since launching his career in 1986. Think about that for a minute: that’s nearly an album per year. And Lauderdale writes nearly every single tune, nary a cover to fill the gaps. Not one to be pigeonholed, Lauderdale has floated be- tween country, folk, bluegrass and soul throughout his career, craft- ing songs that can be presented in any genre. “Time Flies” succeeds with tunes like “Where the Cars Go by Fast,” “The Road is a River,” “Slow as Molasses” and the title track. As always, he recruits some ringers to help out, including former BR5-49 guitarist Chris Scruggs and Marty Stuart axeman Kenny Vaughn. Lauderdale, who has won Grammy Awards for his work with Ralph Stanley and Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, is truly an American treasure, Nudie suits and all. Time certainly flies, especially at Lauderdale’s frantic pace, yet the tunes are laid back and breezy.

Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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