Over the course of the past three years, I have written about the Haunted Windchimes on approximately 32 occasions. And in this time, I have witnessed more than just the personal and professional growth of a group of fine young musicians — it's what I truly feel was the planting of a musical and cultural seed.
I first met Inaiah Lujan, guitarist, vocalist and founding member of the Pueblo-based Americana quintet, shortly after he had recorded a 20-song demo of solo material called Songs from a Small Town. We were talking "music" at my record store that I'm not supposed to talk about, when I said something about my friend Joe Kuzma's completely brilliant self-recorded albums, The Modern Italian Cinema and Laissez la Peur du Rouge aux Bêtes à Cornes, and how his music completely disrupted my auditory sensibilities, forcing me to re-evaluate everything I thought I knew about music.
Inaiah told me about his own self-recorded album, and how he hoped I would have a similar reaction to his work. "Yeah right, kid!?" I thought to myself as he eagerly ran out to grab a copy.
Days later, when I finally got around to listening (as I learned long ago never to listen to an album in the presence of its creator), the experience was unnerving. Was this real? Could this be happening? How could some of the most intriguing original music I've heard in years be created by regular kids, in their bedrooms and basements, right here in Southern Colorado? Again, I was awestruck.
Shortly thereafter, I heard that Inaiah had met a girl, Desirae Garcia, and that she was going to be joining him onstage, and together they'd be called the Haunted Windchimes. "No!" I thought naively, until seeing them perform together at a crowded Kinfolks. It was clear, this Desi was no Yoko. Twice proven wrong, I had no reservations when the pair added Inaiah's sister, Chela Lujan, on banjo and vocals, stand-up bassist Sean Fanning, and guitar/harp player Mike Clark (from the far less active but no less endearing Jack Trades).
Now, after doing four self-released albums (including their latest, Honey Moonshine, now in its second pressing since March) and countless shows, the band will be sharing a bill with the absolute embodiment of American folk music, Arlo Guthrie.
On Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 6, on the lawn of Monument Valley Park just west of the Fine Arts Center, the 'Chimes will be opening for Mr. Guthrie, the man who wrote the song "Alice's Restaurant," and what is, silly enough, one of my all-time favorites, "The Motorcycle Song." The man who played the opening day of the Woodstock Festival, and who carries the blood of Woody Guthrie in his veins!
"We'd gotten an offer to play with Glen Campbell at the [Denver] Botanic Gardens and that fell through," says Inaiah, "so we didn't want to get our hopes up ... But then I get a call from our management, Scott O'Malley and Associates, and they said, 'Arlo approved it, we got the gig!'"
For tickets, info and free album downloads, visit hauntedwindchimes.com.
There are about a dozen other awesome shows this week — including Cheap Girls and Damion Suomi & the Minor Prophets at the Triple Nickel on Friday, Sept. 3, and Living Legends with Black Pegasus and the ReMINDers at the Black Sheep on Tuesday, Sept. 7 — so dig a little, dig?
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