The big 5-0, Celtic fest, folk and 'The Flock'

The big 5-0, Celtic fest, folk and 'The Flock'

Folksinger Martin Sexton plays a twin bill with guitar maestro Andreas Kapsalis at the Animas City Theatre at 8 p.m. Thurs., March 8.

As the clock ticks down on my 40s – just a few more weeks until the big Five-Oh! – I take refuge in the memories of my past ... fishing trips with grandfathers long dead, concerts and festivals when I was in my prime, drinking escapades and more. Last weekend, I was watching college basketball, and remembered the feeling and smell of my old red basketball kneepads. Nobody wears kneepads anymore. But suddenly I was 10 years old, suiting up for a Rifle Pee Wee Basketball League game. Then Duke worked the ball inside against North Carolina and I was back in the present.

The Durango Celtic Festival takes place tonight through Sunday at the Henry Strater Theatre and Irish Embassy Pub. Highlights include headliners Old Blind Dogs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and DAIMH at 7:30 p.m. Friday. Old Blind Dogs have stood on the cutting edge of Scotland’s roots revival since the early 1990s and have released 13 albums. They’ve also won the prestigious title of Folk Band of the Year in 2004 and 2007 at the Scots Trad Music Awards. DAIMH is a Gaelic supergroup that champions Highland music. They, too, won the Scots Trad Music Awards Best Band of the Year award in 2015. Local and regional talent like The Hydes, Kitchen Jam Band and Patrick Crossing, among others, rounds out the bill.

The Southwest Colorado Concert Association presents one of my favorite groups, the Hot Club of Cowtown, at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Montezuma-Cortez High School auditorium. The trio of Whit Smith (guitar), Elana James (violin) and Jake Erwin (dog-house bass) is no stranger to the Four Corners, having first played an old DSCPA show following the release of their 1998 debut, “Swingin’ Stampede.” Ever since, they’ve championed the music of Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys and other swing innovators. Albums like “Ghost Train” and “Dev’lish Mary” have garnered them tour opening slots for the likes of Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan.

The Animas City Theatre has a cool twin bill tonight (Thurs., March 8) with folksinger Martin Sexton with opening support from acoustic guitar maestro Andreas Kapsalis. Sexton is a longtime favorite of Four Corners music fans, with more than a half-dozen Durango dates under his belt the past 20 years. Sexton got his start busking on the streets and in the subways of Boston before being discovered by John Gorka. Albums like “Black Sheep” and “The American” are personal favorites of mine. The only time I ever saw Kapsalis was an intimate gig at BREW Pub & Kitchen a few years back. He immediately struck me as a guitarist in the vein of Leo Kottke, Michael Hedges and Michael Gulezian ... one who was adept at Gypsy jazz, flamenco, classical and other forms. Doors open at 7, with music starting at 8.

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong returns to the ACT at 9:15 p.m. Friday. This group’s high-energy, psychedelic sound features electro-funk grooves and undeniable high energy. Jim Belcher, the bassist for Sky Pilot who knows just a thing or two about the jam, sings their praises. This Baltimore-based quartet has a devout fanbase known as “The Flock,” and have been tearing up dance halls across the country. Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers opens.

It bums me out that I won’t be able to attend tonight’s sold-out Shovels & Rope concert at the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, but perhaps you’re luckier. The Opera house keeps busy, though, with several other concerts this week, including Keller Williams & the Monophonics (9 p.m. Friday), an encore performance by the Monophonics (9 p.m. Saturday), and the King of Telluride himself, Sam Bush, at 8 p.m. Monday.

The Met: Live in HD continues at 10:55 a.m. Saturday in the Vallecito Room of the FLC Student Union with Rossini’s “Semiamide.” This masterpiece makes its first Met appearance in nearly 25 years and features an all-star bel canto cast. Rossini’s epic is set in ancient Babylon (now modern-day Iraq), a kingdom that flourished between the 18th and sixth centuries BCE.

For the 20th year in a row, KSUT Public Radio will send one of its members to the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival as the grand prize winner in its spring membership drive. The drive itself starts Wednesday morning, and listeners will get the chance to win prizes all week long through Tues. March 20. The New Orleans trip is more than just the chance to see acts like Aerosmith, Stevie Wonder and hundreds of Crescent City favorites at one of America’s premier festivals ... it also includes five nights’ lodging in the French Quarter and round trip airfare for two from Durango. The winner will travel from May 2-7 and attend four days at the festival eating Cajun cooking, drinking hurricanes and dancing to jazz, blues, rock, gospel and more.

With the Trump administration proposing the elimination of public radio funding, local community radio stations are threatened with the loss of a huge chunk of their budget. A gift to these stations will continue to allow music and the arts to thrive in the Four Corners. Call 970-563-0255 or visit ksut.org to pledge your support.

Finally, BREW Pub & Kitchen continues to roll out the barrels for its fifth anniversary celebration, culminating with a performance by the Lawn Chair Kings from 6-9 p.m. Saturday. Brewmaster Erik Maxson taps a different barrel-aged beer each day.

The best thing I heard this week was the latest from Canadian singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega, “Liberty.” It’s an elegant, goth-country gem that stands alongside prior releases by Neko Case, Maggie Bjo?rklund and Daniel Lanois-produced Emmylou Harris records. She recruits the spooky Nashville duo, Steelism, to back her on the record with lush steel and guitars. There’s also no shortage of Spaghetti Western instrumentals, which tie the concept album together. My favorite cuts include “Liberty,” “Afraid of the Dark” and “Lovers in Love.” The street date is March 30.

How it shines in the moon’s silver light? Email me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

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