Keeping Music Alive — One Child at a Time!

Rhythms on the Rio is hosted by the South Fork Music Association.

SFMA is a volunteer and non-profit organization that provides musical instruments
and lessons, free of charge, to children throughout the San Luis Valley.


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Camping • RV

“Rhythms On The Rio is now my favorite festival. On the banks of the Rio Grande River, grass field camping and all night campsite picking circles, what’s not to love?”

 2022 Lineup

Railroad Earth

A brother leaves this world too soon. A trip down U.S. Highway 61 ends in a deluge of Biblical proportions. A retreat to the Big Easy results in its own flood of inspiration. A new chapter begins. These moments and many more fade in and out of focus on Railroad Earth’s fourth full-length album, All For The Song.

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The celebrated New Jersey quintet—Todd Sheaffer [lead vocals, acoustic guitar], Tim Carbone [violins, electric guitar, vocals], John Skehan [mandolin, bouzouki, piano, vocals], Carey Harmon [drums, percussion, vocals], and Andrew Altman [upright & electric bass]—chronicle the twists and turns of this journey through eloquent songcraft, bluegrass soul, and rock ‘n’ roll spirit.

“Perhaps, it represents the journey we’ve been on for twenty years as a band and as a family,” observes Carey.

“I will always remember these sessions as a time of healing and reflection,” adds Andrew.

“What threads the record together?” ponders Todd. “Nostalgia, sadness, and a lot of great moments to sing along to.”

For over two decades, Railroad Earth has captivated audiences with gleefully unpredictable live shows and eloquent and elevated studio output. The group introduced its signature sound on 2001’s The Black Bear Sessions. Between selling out hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, they’ve launched the longstanding annual Hangtown Music Festival in Placerville, CA and Hillberry: The Harvest Moon Festival in Ozark, AR—both running for a decade-plus. Sought after by legends, the John Denver Estate tapped them to put lyrics penned by the late John Denver to music on the 2018 vinyl EP, Railroad Earth: The John Denver Letters. Beyond tallying tens of millions of streams, the collective have earned widespread critical acclaim from David Fricke of Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Glide Magazine, and NPR who assured, “Well-versed in rambling around, as you might expect from a band named after a Jack Kerouac poem, the New Jersey-built jam-grass engine Railroad Earth has let no moss grow under its rustic wheels.” 

In 2018, Railroad Earth bid farewell to founding member Andy Goessling who passed away from cancer.  His shadow loomed over the process as the guys retreated to New Orleans for the first time to record.

“From the beginning, the vision was more than just the music,” states Todd. “We looked at this like a ‘destination’ record. Our past records were all made close to home or, in fact, at home. Andy’s passing was very much in the center of our thoughts and our hearts in the writing and recording of this album. Things were so shaken up that we thought it’d be a benefit to go away from all of the distractions and be together. In New Orleans, there is great food and there are great spirits to be shared. I’ll leave the music part of the equation for others to judge, but we surely succeeded in making the bonding part of the vision come to fruition!”

Another first, they recorded with Anders Osborne behind the board as producer. It might’ve been the gumbo, but the guys seamlessly absorbed the homegrown flavors of the Big Easy by osmosis, incorporating horns, blues harmonica, and the producer’s own perspective and guitar playing.

“His enthusiasm is contagious,” exclaims Carey. “There are five producers in this band, so a strong-willed voice from the outside is usually pretty essential. Anders was the voice.”

Todd agrees, “He brought a pure and striving soul, unforgettable laugh, rich palette of emotion, a great stash of guitars and amps, philosophical driftings, freedom, unguarded honesty, warmth, and love.”

The band paved the way for the album with “The Great Divide,” “It’s So Good,” and “Runnin’ Wild.” Beyond those initial singles, the record picks up steam on “Blues Highway.” Over dusty acoustic guitar, hummable fiddle, and a banjo pluck, Todd recounts a particular road trip down Rte. 61, which ended in “the most downpour of rain I’ve ever experienced.

“We had a show in Natchez, so I decided to make my own adventure out of the trip,” he recalls. “I flew to New Orleans, rented a car, and drove up the Blues Highway like a tourist, stopping and touring the old plantations and blues honky-tonks. I was smelling the river and the refineries. On my return to New Orleans, I drove into what might’ve been a hurricane with intense and terrifying lightning to boot. In the dead of night, I gave up trying to inch down the road, pulled over, and waited it out. The trip seemed like a parallel for my life at the time and inspired the song.”

The epic “Driftin’ The Bardo” hinges on one of the final recordings of Andy on ukulele and high-strung guitar. It slips into a poignant piano-driven crescendo punctuated by cinematic strings.

“As we were recording it, ‘The Bardo’ came to represent Andy’s transition,” reveals Tim. “It was an emotional experience.”

Clocking over eight minutes, “Showers of Rain” unfurls as a “psychedelic excursion” complete with an improvised jam, guitar solo by Anders, a dreamy string section, and imagery “inspired by a strange 19th century novel called Green Mansions.

“We all have those moments when we feel visitations and remember loved ones we’ve lost,” Todd observes. “In New Orleans, Andrew shared with us the night previous he’d had a visit from Andy in his sleep. At my house, we have a cardinal who taps on the window, and my wife think It’s her mom. These are the thoughts in the middle of the song where I ask, ‘Was that really you?’

The album culminates on the wistful “All For The Song” as the final refrain, “All of the heartache, all that’s gone wrong, all for the moment, all for the song, rings out before a harmonica passage.

“It’s a bit painful to contemplate or talk about, to be honest—as are a couple other tunes on this record,” confesses Todd. “The song says way more than enough, I believe.”

In the end, Railroad Earth brings listeners closer than ever on All For The Song.

“We want audiences to connect to the album,” Carey leaves off. “We hope they’re as moved by the music as we were making it.”

website: railroad.earth

Bluegrass Generals featuring Chris Pandolfi & Andy Hall (Infamous Stringdusters) plus Bill Nershi (The String Cheese Incident), Ronnie McCoury (The Travelin’ McCoury’s) and Alan Bartram (The Travelin’ McCoury’s)

Chris Pandolfi and Andy Hall are the Bluegrass Generals. We bring together our musical allies to serve and protect the bluegrass people of planet earth. Past guest generals include Sam Bush, Billy Nershi, Keith Mosley, Paul Hoffman, Larry Keel and more.

website: Bluegrass Generals on Facebook

The Travelin’ McCoury’s

✭ 2019 Grammy winner for Best Bluegrass album

✭ 2018 IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year

From a source deep, abundant, and pure, the river flows. It’s there on the map, marking place and time. Yet, the river changes as it remains a constant, carving away at the edges, making new pathways, gaining strength as it progresses forward. The Travelin’ McCourys are that river.

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The McCoury brothers- Ronnie (mandolin) and Rob (banjo) – were born into the bluegrass tradition. Talk about a source abundant and pure: their father, Del, is among the most influential and successful musicians in the history of the genre. Years on the road with Dad in the Del McCoury Band honed their knife-edge chops, and encouraged the duo to imagine how traditional bluegrass could cut innovative pathways into 21 st century music.

“If you put your mind, your skills, and your ability to it, I think you can make just about anything work on bluegrass instruments,” says Ronnie. “That’s a really fun part of this- figuring the new stuff out and surprising the audience.”

With fiddler Jason Carter, bassist Alan Bartram, and latest recruit Cody Kilby on guitar, they assembled a group that could take what they had in their DNA, take what traditions they learned and heard, and push the music forward. In fact, the band became the only group to have each of its members recognized with an International Bluegrass Music Association Award for their instrument at least once. There were peers, too, that could see bluegrass as both historic and progressive. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Allman Brothers Band, improv-rock kings Phish, and jamband contemporary Keller Williams were just a few that formed a mutual admiration society with the ensemble.

The band played the Allman’s Wanee Festival, and guitarist Warren Haynes’ Christmas jam- an annual holiday homecoming of Southern music. An early-years jam with the Lee Boys was hailed by many as the highlight of the evening, and with the video catching fire online, earned a legion of new, young fans of their supercharged combination of sacred steel, R&B, and bluegrass. There were unforgettable collaborations with country smash Dierks Bentley, and onstage magic, jamming with titans String Cheese Incident and Phish, cutting an album with Keller (Pick), and creating the Grateful Ball- a tribute concert-turned-tour bridging bluegrass with the iconic music of the Grateful Dead.

“That’s something that’s part of us being who we are,” says Ronnie. “It comes, too, with us plugging in. It gets louder, for sure. We can’t be another version of our dad’s band. It wouldn’t make any sense for us to do that.”

Their concerts became can’t-miss events, whether headlining historic venues or as festival favorites, drawing the love and respect of a growing fanbase craving their eclectic repertoire. At the 2016 edition of DelFest, an annual gathering of the genre’s best aptly named for the McCoury patriarch, the band delivered the take-away highlight. Rolling Stone called it “a sublime combination of rock and bluegrass, contemporary and classic, old and young. The best set of the festival…” The river was going new places, getting stronger. It was time to re-draw the map.

“We’ve tried to pick songs we think people are going to enjoy,” says Ronnie. “Something we learned from our dad is that a good song is a good song. It can be done in any way.”

So arrives the long-awaited, self-titled debut album from the quintet. A brilliantly executed set overflowing with inventive style, stellar musicianship, and, of course, plenty of burnin’ grass, the 14 song collection is a true culmination of their decades-long journey. From the headwaters of Bill Monroe and the waves of Jerry Garcia to a sound both rooted and revolutionary , soulful and transcending that belongs only to the Travelin’ McCourys.

“The album definitely shows what we’ve evolved into as a band. And, it’s a pretty good representation of what’s happening with the whole genre,” says Rob. “The old bluegrass material is something I love but it’s been done many times. We’re forging ahead with our own sound. That’s what you have to do to make it all work.”

…and the accolades continue to come. The Travelin’ McCourys were honored by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2018 as the Instrumental Group of the Year. They were further feted in February 2019 with the Grammy Award for Bluegrass Album of the Year.


website: thetravelinmccourys.com

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway

Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway—her brand new band of bluegrass virtuosos featuring mandolinist Dominick Leslie, banjoist Kyle Tuttle, fiddle player Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, and bassist Shelby Means—will tour the United States in 2022 in support of Tuttle’s forthcoming Nonesuch Records debut.

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An award-winning guitarist and songwriter, native Californian Molly Tuttle continues to push her songwriting in new directions and transcend musical boundaries. Since moving to Nashville in 2015, she has worked with many of her peers and heroes in the Americana, folk, and bluegrass communities, winning Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2018 Americana Music Awards. Tuttle’s 2019 debut album, When You’re Ready, received critical acclaim, with NPR Music praising its “handsomely crafted melodies that gently insinuate themselves into the memory,” and the Wall Street Journal lauding Tuttle’s “genre-boundary-crossing comfort and emotional preparedness,” calling the record an “invigorating, mature and attention-grabbing first album.”

Tuttle’s accolades also include Folk Alliance International’s honor for Song of the Year for “You Didn’t Call My Name,” from her 2017 Rise EP, and consecutive trophies for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Guitar Player of the Year; she was the first woman in the history of the IBMA to win that honor.

During the pandemic, Tuttle recorded a covers album, …but i’d rather be with you, which was released in August 2020. The record, which features guest vocals from Dawes’ Taylor Goldsmith and Old Crow Medicine Show’s Ketch Secor, includes songs by musicians ranging from FKA Twigs to Cat Stevens, Rancid to Karen Dalton, and The National to The Rolling Stones. The New Yorker’s Jay Ruttenberg, in praising her rendition of the Stones’ “She’s a Rainbow,” says: “In Tuttle’s reading, the song uses a bluegrass spirit to look to the past—and a feminist allegiance to peek at the future.”

website: mollytuttlemusic.com

George Porter Jr. & Runnin’ Pardners

George Porter Jr. is an award-winning bassist, songwriter and vocalist. He is a founding member of New Orleans’ seminal funk band, The Meters and widely recognized as one of the greatest bass players of all time.

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Formed alongside Art “Poppa Funk” Neville, Leo Nocentelli and Joseph Zigaboo Modeliste, the pioneering R&B funk outfit hit the scene on the streets of the Crescent City in the 1960s, to ultimately become one of the progenitors of the funk music genre. The groundbreaking collective carved out syncopated polyrhythms and grooves inherited from New Orleans’ deep African musical roots. Porter’s heavy pocket and fat notes formed the rubbery bass lines behind funk classics like their signature “Cissy Strut,” the now classic 1969 funk instrumental released as a single from their eponymous debut album, which reached No. 4 on the R&B chart and No. 23 on the Billboard Hot 100 respectively. While the group rarely enjoyed massive mainstream success, they are widely heralded alongside James Brown, Sly Stone, and George Clinton’s Parliament/Funkadelic as the founding fathers of funk. The Meters have been nominated four times for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (most recently in 2017), and were presented with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018.

At the outset of his young career, Porter developed his signature style on sessions in his hometown New Orleans, with early musical pioneers Johnny Adams, Irma Thomas, Snooks Eaglin, Eddie Bo and The Lastie Brothers. While Porter developed his pedigree, The Meters were gaining notoriety, soon becoming the house band for Allen Toussaint’s recording label, backing classic records from Dr. John, Lee Dorsey and Earl King, while later supplying the musical foundation for classic hit albums and singles from modern artists Robert Palmer, Paul McCartney, Tori Amos, Taj Mahal, not to mention Patti Labelle’s No. 1 R&B hit “Lady Marmalade.” George and The Meters toured with the Rolling Stones in ’75, were embraced by Led Zeppelin and The Beatles, and became primary influences to modern artists such as Red Hot Chili Peppers and the Beastie Boys. Porter’s rhythmic work with drummer Modeliste also became the building block behind primary samples used by the most relevant hip-hop artists of the 1980’s and 1990’s, including A Tribe Called Quest, Run DMC, N.W.A. and Queen Latifah.

Porter has accompanied the stage as a band member or special guest with the likes of David Byrne, Dead & Company, Jimmy Buffet, Warren Haynes, Widespread

Panic, Tedeschi Trucks Band, John Scofield, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart and various members of Phish, to name a few.

He continues to be the bandleader of current projects, George Porter Jr. and Runnin’ Pardners and George Porter Jr. Trio; with both incarnations still playing often locally, and touring prolifically, garnering respect not only as quintessential New Orleans’ bands, but also as major national attractions within the jam band and festival scene. On special occasions, Porter still anchors Foundation of Funk, a current Meters “reinvention” with original drummer Zigaboo Modeliste, boasting a rotating line-up which has featured members of Widespread Panic, Medeski Martin & Wood, Dumpstaphunk and 2018’s now infamous Lockn Festival sit-in by Bob Weir, John Mayer and Grateful Dead drummers Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann, the latter of whom George played with in the popular side project, The 7 Walkers.

Currently, Porter still maintains a healthy touring schedule with his trio and Runnin’ Pardners projects with a cast of seasoned and talented musicians including long-time collaborator Michael Lemmler (keyboards), Terrence Houston (drums) and Chris Adkins (guitar). George and his Runnin’ Pardners recently released their highly acclaimed first new studio album in six years, Crying For Hope in March 2021. The album garnered national coverage with Billboard, Tidal, MOJO, Premier Guitar and Bass Player, along with Porter’s hometown publication, Offbeat, which declared:

“While the title cut harkens back to the social commentary lyricism of some of the best Meters songs and references the déjà-vu all-over-again experiences of Black America in these fraught times, the rest of the album remains emotionally upbeat and hopeful. For a band that is known for its stop-on-a-dime tightness when performing live, this album proves over and over that with the right musical ingredients the magic can actually be bottled.”

During the course of his career spanning more than four decades, Porter has made a deep impression as an elite player; acknowledged as one of Rolling Stone Magazine’s 50 Greatest Bassist of All Time. At 74 years young, George Porter Jr. plans to keep a smile on his face and often says, “I feel like I am working towards something that will be remembered.”

website: georgeporterjr.com

The Hip Abduction

Evoking the ocean and guided by the spirit of travel, The Hip Abduction pilot a sonic expedition past genre barriers. The band is the moniker for singer/songwriter David New who writes and produces music in between travel excursions and touring. Live shows morph into a versatile musical ensemble consisting of Matt Poynter (drums), Chris Powers (bass), Justino Walker (guitar, vocals, ngoni), and Cody Moore (keys, sax); each of whom have a mutual appreciation for African (Afrobeat/Soukous/Malian Blues), Reggae, and American (jam/electronic/indie) music.

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Since 2012, the band has played almost every noteworthy music festival in the country, has landed major TV/Movie syncs and Sirius Xm radio spins, have ~400k mo listeners on Spotify, have provided direct cross country tour support for artists like Dirty Heads, Galactic, Slightly Stoopid, The Revivalists, and who’s highly energized live show have landed the 5-piece a sizable fanbase across the US and Canada.

website: thehipabduction.com

The Texas Gentlemen

Pop on Floor It!!!, the new and second full-length effort from the Texas Gentlemen, and prepare your eardrums to be hit with everything from woozy, brass-fueled Dixieland-style jazz (“Veal Cutlass”), to slinky, chicken-scratch country funk (“Bare Maximum”) to lushly orchestrated pop-soul balladry (“Ain’t Nothin’ New”)—and that’s all in just the first 10 minutes of play time.

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While the Gentlemen’s sound is clearly steeped in the classic roots, rock and pop music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, there’s a dreamy (the lilting “Sing Me to Sleep”), spacey (“Skyway Streetcar”) and occasionally progressive (“Dark at the End of the Tunnel”) element to what they do that seems to detach the music from belonging to any particular place and time. Add in elements of funk, soul, country, r&b, southern rock, gospel and essentially any other style that catches their musically omnivorous ears; an expansive and detailed approach to arrangement that sees the songs adorned with all manner of horns, strings and heavenly background vocals (“Hard Road”) and you have a collection of tunes that is more than just a mere album. Rather, Floor It!!! is a rich and righteous ride.

website: thetexasgentlemen.com

Cole Chaney with Wolfpen Branch

Songwriter from Eastern KY
Find my debut album, “Mercy,” (released 05-15-21) on your streaming platform of choice.

website: Cole Chaney on Facebook

The Jauntee

Meet the band:
The Jauntee pays tribute to music’s ability to transcend simple entertainment and cultivate a truly distinctive experience. The Jauntee has fostered a musical community based on a breadth of original material that engages fans through nightly exploration and risk taking. Averaging over one hundred shows a year, with each containing a unique set list and their own special improvisational moments, the band is constantly expanding upon what defines them and their live performances.

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With almost a decade’s worth of touring experience; appearances at major festivals such as Peach Fest, Catskill Chill, and Resonance; and 36 states toured with stops at national touring staples such as Brooklyn Bowl, Georgia Theatre, and the Paradise Rock Club, The Jauntee have been nurturing a fanbase of dedicated followers who are inspired by their music and willing to travel to see what the band has in store next. Fans that thoroughly analyze their music, track their set lists and passionately promote their music. The Jauntee makes each night an exciting prospect of a new shared experience with bust-outs, fresh jamming, poignant covers, and accessible songwriting.

website: thejauntee.com

Pixie and the Partygrass Boys

Hailed as “the hottest band in the wasatch” by The Intermountain Acoustic Music Association, Pixie and the Partygrass Boys create a uniquely american sound that can turn the room into a ruckus, but offers a full variety of other dynamics as well—approaching bluegrass/folk with a classical and jazz background while incorporating elements of broadway, pop-punk, and an unabashed love for having a damn good time.

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The band has been touring while steadily gaining a fanbase nationwide and playing festivals including: High Sierra, Delfest, Peachfest, Winterwondergrass, Arise, and Hangtown, in addition to sharing the stage with artists such as: Lake Street Dive, Billy Strings, Grace Potter, Yonder Mountain String Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, and The Travelin’ McCourys.

—City Weekly Utah

Best Local Band/Group: Pixie and the Partygrass Boys
“This local band earns their namesake over and over again—because they really do bring the party wherever they go. While 2020 put a wrench in their usually busy show schedule, they still managed to make frequent appearances at establishments all over the place. The group also found the time to finally put out a new album, which fans of the band have surely heard already at one of their recent shows.”

—Americana UK:

“If Bill Monroe and Emmylou Harris road tripped to Burning Man festival and then moved to the mountains to write music and ski you would have Pixie & the Partygrass Boys.”

“Pixie & the Partygrass Boys have found a home on the festival scene, as it is in a live setting where they shine brightest.”

“The strength of the band is in their diversity of songwriting, which allows them to take on many musical identities like a weird bluegrass-superhero-freak.”

—SLUG Magazine:

“Pixie And The Partygrass Boys are the bluegrass version of Fleetwood Mac, and Racine plays that dark witch as good as Stevie Nicks.”

—FestyGoNuts Festival Awards and Interview:

“We managed to catch Pixie and the Partygrass Boys at a bunch of festivals this year, and they impressed the hell out of us every time.”

“It seems like they have been showing up at all of our favorite festivals this summer, instantly increasing their fanbase with every set they play. They have a unique way of blending beautiful harmonies with quirky lyrics, pulling together grit with grace.”

—Hangtown Music Festival Review:

“Pixie & the Partygrass Boys buoyed by charisma, onstage joy and effervescence and a bluegrass prowess, painted smiles on lots of faces during their three performances, including an off-the-hook collaborative set.”

—High Sierra Music Festival Review:

“Pixie & The Partygrass Boys proved more than a “one funny song wonder” as the acoustic five-piece presented a high-energy brand of jamgrass featuring tales of growing up in Utah, touring the country and more.”

website: pixieandthepartygrassboys.com

Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs

Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs are an energetic Americana band from Bozeman, Montana, that infuses four-part harmonies, engaging songwriting, and rock-n-roll drive into a modern approach to traditional folk music.

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Coming from varied musical backgrounds, the five-person ensemble creates a sound unique to them, but one that finds common ground by adding the energy of Montana’s big sky country into their music. The Bird Dogs weave stories through their songs that are reflective, joyous, longing, or meant to share a journey with the listener. Through it all, the band is able to convey heartfelt honesty, getting the audience to immerse themselves in the moment by dancing, singing and laughing along.

The Bird Dogs have been taking their infectious sound on the road since 2013, supporting acts such as The Travelin’ McCourys, The Steeldrivers, The Steep Canyon Rangers, The Jeff Austin Band, Amy Helm, Leftover Salmon, Town Mountain, and many more.

The most recent album from Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs, Through the Smoke, was recorded in February of 2021 at The Panoramic House in Stinson Beach, CA. This album is one of personal transformation. The concept of letting things go, processing past and current situations, and moving forward has been ever present in 2020-2021, as the world went through trials beyond words. Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs found a way to represent their journey through hardship, while also celebrating the silver linings and breakthrough moments in their lives. Through the Smoke brings energy to the darkness, and proves that resilience can get us through the hardest of times.

The Bird Dogs released a live self-titled studio album in 2016, recorded at Basecamp Studio in Bozeman. Their follow-up album, titled The Vigilante Session, was recorded live at a forest service cabin in the Ruby mountains. In 2019 Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs recorded their first full-length studio album, Sweet Little Lies, at Prairie Sun Records in Cotati CA. Their live album, Live at the Filling Station, was recorded in 2019 at the Filling Station in Bozeman MT and released in 2020.

Laney Lou and the Bird Dogs consists of Lena (Laney) Schiffer on vocals/guitar/percussion, Matt Demarais on vocals/banjo, Ethan Demarais on bass, Brian Kassay on fiddle/mandolin/harmonica, and Josh Moore on vocals/guitar.

website: laneylouandthebirddogs.com


Branjae is the personification of Classic Soul, Funk, and R&B.  She is an artist, activist, dancer, singer, and actress who empowers women and inspires hope for us all.  She asks “why not” through her music, challenging listeners to embrace their natural selves.  Branjae is a fearless, headstrong, and energetic woman who happens to be Black.  Her lyrical depth, energetic theatrical performances, and out of the box genre fluidity are as unique as the personas she embodies.

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Branjae’s music remains in touch with the human experience in a creative way.  Her style of storytelling keeps it real while constantly evolving based on her truths.  Born in the city of Motown and rooted in the city of The GAP Band, Branjae has established herself as a full-bodied entertainer.  Her voice has been likened to the rasp of Lauryn Hill, the alto register of India Arie, and the soul of Nina Simone.  Alternatively, her stage presence is heavily influenced by the leg work of Tina Turner, confidence of Michael Jackson, the commanding presence of Freddie Mercury, and the vigor of Beyonce.  Having shared the stage with Jeff Tweedy, Joan Osbourne, Gangstagrass, Thundercat, Fishbone, Ohio Players, RC and the Grits (Erykah Badu’s current band), Andy Frasco, and the late Wayman Tisdale, her live shows pay homage to the art form of theatrics, music, and writing as Branjae utilizes every square inch of the stage.  She captivates her audience by drawing them in with her singing and mesmerizing them with her performance.

Branjae is a modern day Harriet through her creativity, unapologetic authenticity, and passion for humankind.  To Branjae, there is power and magic in owning your words, and that is something she takes very seriously when she’s performing live.  She is well aware that she’s manipulating energies; holding the power to evoke joy, excitement, or even pain.  Her live performances are full of mood.  From the theatrics of her wardrobe, to her often acrobatic choreography, combined with the power of her voice, a Branjae show promises to be sensually fulfilling and organic.  In the town, Branjae’s energy on stage, and in person, is unmatched.

All roads lead to Branjae, and in 2021 her multimedia project Free Facts released on January 22nd.  Free Facts features artwork and photography by Josh New.  Through a successful kickstarter campaign funded within two weeks of being launched, the project’s short film was completed within three days of filming on location in Tulsa, OK at Living Arts and FireThief Productions.  The red carpet screening of Free Facts premiered in Tulsa at the Woody Guthrie Center in 2021; and the film went on to screen in Europe and Australia.

website: thejauntee.com

High Country Hustle

Brought together by a universal love of the mountains of Southwestern Colorado, High Country Hustle was birthed from the music that the San Juan Mountains inspire, bluegrass music. Four years and countless shows later, the gentlemen of High Country Hustle stand ready to shift into a new gear.

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Two years after their self-titled debut, HCH is stepping back into to the studio to create their sophomore album. Recently recorded in Fort Collins at SwingFingers Studios and drawing on the producing talents of Jake Simpson from The Lil Smokies, this forthcoming compilation showcases the writing abilities of all four members and highlights the growth of the band over the last two years.

The High Country Hustle live show is really where you begin to ride the vibe with the band. Heartfelt songwriting and rolling melodies dominate their sound. Pair that with unaffected originals and a wide array of covers, HCH is guaranteed to put a little bounce in your boogie. From John Hartford and Sam Bush to Ween and Kid Cudi, variety is the spice of life and there is never a lack of flavor at a High Country Hustle show.

2022 begins a push in the HCH touring schedule. You’ll once again find them at all the Colorado staple venues: Cervantes, Mishawaka, and The Fox Theater, but be on the lookout to find them at exciting new venues and festivals!

website: highcountryhustle.com

The River Arkansas

If you have been looking for a band to obsess over, you have found the one.

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The River Arkansas is comprised of five incredibly talented musicians that the Colorado front range has to offer. Front man Mike Clark, of Sugarsounds and The Haunted Windchimes, has brought together musicians–all with wide ranges of talent and inspiration–to form a cohesively eclectic experience that exemplifies every aspect of Americana.  This is a band that is quite at home performing a house concert one night and Red Rocks Amphitheater the next.

website: theriverarkansas.com

Smelter Mountain Boys

Smelter Mountain Boys are a newer bluegrass collaboration in Durango featuring some familiar faces of the area’s music scene as well as some brand new ones. Most notably Corey Clark whose voice and songs beckon to bluegrass music origins and roots.

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After some time with Clinton Gregory Bluegrass Band out of Nashville, TN, Corey Clark moved to Durango, CO and quickly met some local pickers who all saw an opportunity to fill a void of more traditional bluegrass, apart from the progressive sounds so pervasive in Colorado today.

Corey plays both guitar and banjo, Steve Labowskie on bass (formerly of the Scrugglers) a Kay bass with this project instead of the tub bass he’s mostly known for, Pete Donahue on mandolin was raised on Colorado bluegrass and the festival circuit. Peter draws from many musical genres outside bluegrass, he also shreds electric guitar and co-founded local infamous punk band, Your Bones. Eli Emmitt is the newest member of the band, having grown up in Creted Butte, CO. and learning the family trade of Colorado style bluegrass now resides in Durango and is also elctric and jazz player.

Together the boys play an energized, some even say radioactive, traditional style of bluegrass chock full of high lonesome vocals and blistering instrumental breaks steeped in the mountain tradition.

website: Smelter Mountain Boys on Facebook

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