Weekly Top Ten December 16, 2015

Proof: COS Folks It Up!

Last week the nominations for the 58th Annual Grammy Awards were announced, and we were tickled pink to learn that two of the “American Roots” nominees have deep ties to the Pikes Peak Region.

Earlier this year longtime resident Scott O’Malley’s Plectrafone Records label released Wood, Wire & Words by Americana icon Norman Blake, which was nominated for “Best Folk Album.” Blake, whose music was featured on the Grammy-winning soundtrack for the classic film O Brother Where Art Thou?, had not released a collection of original songs in over thirty years. This is not the first nomination for O’Malley’s impressive roster of country and cowboy artists at the Western Jubilee Recording Co., which also happens to be a first class music venue.

Scott O’Malley & Steve Harris, MeadowGrass 2011
Blake and O’Malley face stiff competition as part of a field that also includes Patty Griffin, Glen Hansard, and the duo of Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn, the latter of whom graduated from our own Colorado College in 1999. Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Washburn didn’t originally set out to be a musician. But after picking up the clawhammer banjo she co-founded the first “all G’earl” bluegrass band, Uncle Earl, and met future husband and fellow banjoist Fleck, with whom she later founded The Sparrow Quartet, which performs traditional Chinese folk songs with a bluegrass touch.  In addition to their nomination for “Best Folk Album,” the pair also scored a nod for “Best American Roots Performance” for the song “And Am I Born To Die” from Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn.

Just before the Grammy winners are announced, new parents Abby & Bela will perform in the Kathryn Mohrman Theatre (formerly Armstrong) on groundhog day, so mark your calendars now. Free tickets are available to those with CC ids at the Worner Center desk on campus starting January 5; tickets for the general public can be purchased through TicketsWest next month.

Who knew Colorado Springs was such a hotbed of roots music?  We sure did, and we hope you will consider helping us to make the Springs a true music-full city by supporting Rocky Mountain Highway with a tax-deductible donation via the Give! campaign. We made a lot of progress last week with great turnouts at the Willy Porter and Yarn shows – thanks so much to everyone who attended and boogied down with us.

Yarn at the Snow Ball, Photo courtesy Jeff DeWitt
We are now up to nearly $4,000 raised toward our $10,000 goal, given by 56 awesome donors. With your help we know we can make it to 100 donors by year’s end! If you can spare as little as $10 to help keep our shoestring budget operation going, we would be most grateful. Of course, donate $25 or more and you will be eligible for a free drink from our friends at 3 Hundred Days of Shine in Monument and one complimentary beverage at next May’s MeadowGrass Music Festival.

Now, here it is – this week’s list of the Top 10 Concerts in southern Colorado:

1. David Wax Museum with Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra, Ivywild School, Thurs Dec 17 (8 pm, $10 adv, $12 day of show). Touring in support of the brand new album Guesthouse, Texo-Americana band David Wax Museum will share the stage with a quartet from Santa Cruz that “seamlessly weaves trance based blues music, harkening back to John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf, with a drunken minor swing comparable to some of Tom Waits‘ darker works.”
2. Sally Barris & Rebecca Folsom, Tri-Lakes Center for the Arts (Palmer Lake), Fri Dec 18 (7 pm, Adv: $16 TLCA members, $20 non-members; DOS: $20/$24).  We brought ’em to The Gold Room one year ago, and now they return with new music. Sally has a new CD out called The Road In Me, while Rebecca just concluded a successful Kickstarter campaign for a new album to be called Little Medicines.

3. Grass It Up, Front Range Barbeque, Wed Dec 16 (7:30 pm, free).  It’s an annual tradition on the west side, with the Grass It Up boys headlining a holiday benefit show and food drive. This year’s costume theme: Super Hero.

4. Face Vocal Band, Pikes Peak Center Studio Bee, Thurs Dec 17 (7:30 pm, $25). Boulder’s favorite all vocal sextet returns to the intimate setting of Studio Bee with Connections, a new live album culled from the band’s tour of Europe this fall. The album includes a cover of Cake‘s “Short Skirt, Long Jacket.”

5. Reverend Horton Heat with The Lords of Altamont, The BellRays, The Black Sheep, Sun Dec 20 (8 Pm, $20 adv, $22 day of show). “The Rev” is back with his brand of psychobilly rock, and this show is sure to be loud, as he will be joined by the soul punk of The BellRays and the garage-biker rock of The Lords of Altamont.

6. No Stone Unturned with Ides of Mae, Arwen, Source, The Black Sheep, Sat Dec 19 (8 pm, $5 adv, $10 day of show). Get your alternative rock on and support Toys for Tots by bringing an unwrapped new toy to donate at this show featuring up and coming local bands – you’ll be entered into a prize drawing if you do. And just so there is no confusion – Arwen is a songstress from Milwaukee and transplant to Colorado, with a new three-song EP with her band The Mega Reset coming out Friday, not the metal band from Madrid.

7.  Devin James Fry with Briffaut, Charioteer, Mountain Fold Books, Sat Dec 19 (8 pm, $10 at the door). Our fellow Give! campaign literary non-profit presents a night of freak folk featuring DMT aficionado Devin James Fry from Austin. Plan to arrive early at 3 pm for a community read-through of the Dylan Thomas classic, A Child’s Christmas in Wales , although we would save the DMT for later.

8. Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry with Grant Sabin, Jesse Cotton Stone & Mike Nelson, Peak 31 at Union Station, Fri Dec 18 (7 pm, $15).  Hailing from the Mississippi Hill Country, Blues Hall of Fame inductee Bill Perry brings five decades of blues guitar experience to Colorado for a very bluesy Christmas.

9. Heather Romero & the Butterfly Effect, Swirl (Manitou Springs), Sat Dec 19 (7 pm, free). Heather and partner-in-crime Moondog Mike debut this new project, which also features the rhythm section of Emily Gould and Joe Armijo.

10. John Will, Kinfolks (Manitou Springs), Fri Dec 18 (8 pm, $20).  Singer-songwriter John Will presents his annual Christmas show with special guests.

Merry Solstice!

Steve Harris, Executive Director
Rocky Mountain Highway