This is definitely a good week for music fans who have a vested interest in indie-folk and Americana.
On Wednesday, Colorado Springs' biggest outdoor music event, the MeadowGrass Music Festival, unveils its 2015 lineup, headlined by the godlike Canadian band Blue Rodeo.
Then on Friday at 10 a.m., tickets will go on sale for a newly announced gathering of suspenders, vests, mustaches and banjos, curated by Mumford & Sons in, of all places, Salida.
More on that in a bit, but first, let's look at the MeadowGrass roster. Now in its seventh year, the Memorial Day Weekend event will host some two dozen acts, 16 of whom are now confirmed. According to Rocky Mountain Highway executive director Steve Harris, the performers who have yet to be announced will be mostly local artists.
The promoter has certainly scored a booking coup by bringing in Blue Rodeo, a band that's earned a dozen Juno Awards — the Canadian version of the Grammys — and sold more than 4 million albums.
No Depression, the authority on all things Americana, declared frontmen Greg Keelor and Jim Cuddy "the Lennon and McCartney of Canadian roots rock" back in 2008, while Rolling Stone famously stated that "if as many bands played with the honesty and passion of Blue Rodeo, this would be a different world indeed."
But on this side of the 49th parallel, Blue Rodeo is still largely a cult band, however enthusiastic that cult may be.
Local musician Michael Salkind is among the band's south-of-the-border devotees.
"Of the thousands of bands I've seen, many are good, some are great, and some are transcendent," says the Rough Age/Wild Hares drummer. "I will never forget seeing Blue Rodeo fulfill the promise of their Five Days in July CD. Glorious, beautiful, made me forget where I was and what I was doing."
Here's the MeadowGrass lineup so far:
On Friday, May 22, performers will include Roosevelt Dime, Reed Foehl, Lazer & Levi, Shook Twins, and The Stray Birds.
On Saturday, look for the aforementioned Blue Rodeo as well as Front Country, honeyhoney, Roma Ransom and Whitewater Ramble.
Closing day will kick off with a Sunday Morning Gospel Bluegrass show featuring Briar Branch Road, as well as Stephen Kellogg and The Ragbirds.
Other attractions will include camping, food and drink vendors, plus late-night sets from Briffaut, Trout Steak Revival and Woodshed Red.
In addition to all of the above, Harris says the festival's tradition of afternoon music workshops will continue as well, including sessions with The Stray Birds, Roosevelt Dime, honeyhoney and The Ragbirds. You can find more about this year's MeadowGrass, including early-bird ticket prices that will be available through March 15, at rockymountainhighway.org.
As for this week's other big announcement, the Mumford & Sons gathering will take place on Aug. 21 and 22 at Salida's Vandaveer Ranch. It's one of only five dates, described by the band as "Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers." The "gentlemen" on the Colorado date will include Jenny Lewis and tUnE-yArDs, as well as the more manly Flaming Lips, Blake Mills, Dawes, The Vaccines, James Vincent McMorrow, and JEFF the Brotherhood.
Similar events are also slated for Seaside Heights, New Jersey; Waverly, Iowa; Aviemore, Scotland; and the winsomely named Walla Walla, Washington. In a press statement released on Monday, the U.K.'s best-known Americana act explained the unusual locales in a quote attributed to the entire band:
"The Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers are all about live music. We get to put them on in towns not normally frequented by touring bands in busses or splitter vans. We deliberately look for towns that have something unique, or some vibe of which they are proud, explore them and enjoy what they have to offer." Head over to gentlemenoftheroad.com for info on tickets and the rest.
And finally, although we can't promise Inaiah Lujan or Mike Clark will be sporting their vests, we do know that they and the rest of The Haunted Windchimes will be performing at Pueblo Memorial Hall this coming Friday. The event will feature the premiere screening of a new episode of PBS' Music Voyager: Sun City focusing on Pueblo's music scene and other cultural offerings. Comedian Wade Ridley will host, and there will also be live performances by Okolitza Tamburitzans and Grupo Folklorico del Pueblo. Visit puebloarts.org for more info.
I miss you, Lenny! My family and I thank you for all the special times…
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