It Don’t Mean A Thang If It Ain’t Western Swing
Like most everyone in the local music scene, we were caught unawares by the surprise announcement that blues guitar slinger Jake Loggins was hanging up his guitar and re-locating to Utah. Following in the footsteps of Colorado Springs blues legend John-Alex Mason, Jake established himself as a driving force in the local music community. He will be missed, and we wish him well but sincerely hope that he will return to a local stage at some point in the future.
Meanwhile, a quick glance at the Pikes Peak Concert Calendar reveals that the coming week is a very good time to be a connoisseur of live music. Here, in all its extraordinary glory, is the world famous Rocky Mountain Highway list of the Top 10 Concerts in the Pikes Peak Region:
1. Fiddles, Vittles & Vino XI, Rock Ledge Ranch, Sun July 26 (2 pm, $50). Eleven years and counting, FFV remains one of the hottest local summer festivals. This year’s string music offerings include Hot Club of Cowtown, Caribou Mountain Collective, Songs of the Fall and The Stanleytones. Enjoy two stages of music with tastings from the area’s finest independent restaurants, wine purveyors, and craft brewers and distillers. All proceeds benefit the historic Rock Ledge Ranch.
2. Blues Under the Bridge, West Colorado Avenue Bridge, July 25 (2 pm, $40 adv, $45 day of show, $91.50 VIP). Make it a festival weekend with bluegrass Sunday and the blues on Saturday! The lineup for the 9th Annual BUTB, presented by KRCC and the Pikes Peak Blues Community, includes Carolyn Wonderland, Naomi Shelton & the Gospel Queens, Mr. Sipp (the Mississippi Blues Child), Mulebone, and BJ Estares & Route 61. Also plenty of tasty, cold Bristol Brewing drafts.
3. The HillBenders, Stargazers Theatre, Thurs July 23 (7 pm, $12.50 adv, $17.50 day of show). Compass Records recording artists The HillBenders tackled the daunting challenge of covering The Who’s rock opera Tommy in is entirety, bluegrass-stylee. The result is Tommy: A Bluegrass Opry, and the ‘Benders will be performing the whole shebang Thursday at Stargazers. For our friends to the south, the group also plays the Damon Runyon Repertory Theater in Pueblo on Wednesday night.
4. The Blackberry Bushes, Front Range Barbeque, Wed July 22 (7:30 pm, free). This rising young string quintet from the Pacific Northwest is working on a new album, Three Red Feathers, which is being funded by a PledgeMusic campaign. They’ve already met their fundraising goal and have promised to donate 5% of monies collected to Garden Raised Bounty in Olympia, Washington.
5. Tia McGraff, Black Forest Community Center, Fri July 24 (7 pm, $10 or $5 BRAS members and students). This edition of the famous Black Rose Acoustic Society Open Stage welcomes Canadian songstress Tia McGraff, who is touring in support of her brand new album Crazy Beautiful. The new disk was produced by Colorado native Tommy Parham. Here’s a video of their last BRAS show.
6. Asleep at the Wheel with Joe Johnson, Stargazers Theatre, Fri July 24 (8 pm, $25 adv, $30 day of show). Western Swing is making a comeback with young people! Ok, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch. But if you dig the Swing, then you are in luck this weekend. Asleep at the Wheel bandleader Ray Benson brings his hard-working team back to the Springs with a new album, Still The King – Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. The new release includes collaborations with The Avett Brothers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Lyle Lovett and a host of other A-list Americana stars.
7. Whiskey Dick with Tejon Street Corner Thieves, Ivywild School, Thurs July 23 (8 pm, $8 adv, $10 day of show). The band Whiskey Dick claims to hail from the town of Yeehaw, Texas. Whether that’s a town or not, you won’t want to miss this stop on the Heavy Metal Honky Tonk tour. Their new album The Bastard Sons of Texas drops next week. Manitou’s own Tejon Street Corner Thieves should fit right in!
8. Mary Fahl, Grand Ballroom at the Mining Exchange Hotel, Fri July 24 (8 pm, $25 GA or $40 VIP). The lead singer of the folk rock band October Project has reportedly expanded her horizons to encompass classical, medieval and world music. See her now, before October Project releases their first recording in nearly twenty years – The Book of Rounds, due this fall.
9. The Rifters with The Mitguards, In Cahoots House Concerts (Manitou Springs), Sat July 25 (7 pm, $20). The founder of Howlin’ Dog Records, Don Richmond has established himself as the “go-to” music producer in the San Luis Valley and was recently honored with the 2015 Governor’s Creative Leadership Award. In his spare time Don also anchors the acclaimed southwestern trio The Rifters, who return for a repeat engagement at the home of the live-music-supportin’ Weizeneckers.
10. The River Arkansas, Songbird Cellars (Pueblo), Fri July 24 (8 pm, $10). Hometown hero Mike Clark and his new project will surely slay it at the Pueblo storefront for Beulah winery Songbird Cellars. I know, I know – we’ll quit calling you Shirley, for reals.
Steve Harris, Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Highway