VAIL — “Willie’s Chickens” is more than just a tale of what happens when a man falls in love with a chicken. Join Jim Carstensen for a special live acoustic presentation and find out what lies at the root the local guitarist singer/songwriter’s seventh album. On Saturday, Carstensen’s newest CD, “Willie’s Chickens,” will be released at a party at the Vail Racquet Club Mountain Resort. The new album of all original music is a blend of country folk with a touch of bluegrass, weaving together ballads and love songs storied with heart ache, revelation, irony and a dose of humor.
Carstensen moved to Vail in 1981 after winning the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Award for best Best Folk Artist in Southeastern Wisconsin. He found a home as the musician at Crackers Lounge, which was formerly located at the Inn at West Vail and Raintree Inn. He has opened for many major recording artists including Michael Johnson, the Subdudes and Leo Kottke. After Crackers, Carstensen played several long term engagements at various venues in town including the Up Town Grill, the Golf Course Restaurant and Alpine Tavern. He supplemented his nightly gig with a steady job at the Town of Vail as a bus driver and is often recognized at the helm on the East Vail route. It was at this job that he met Willie McDonald and they became fast friends with shared musical interests that included writing and preforming.
Carstensen’s latest Album was recorded in collaboration with McDonald and several great friends who have been featured on some of his other albums. McDonald is known for having played with the Blue Grass Patriots for the last 30 years along with Capo Zero and “The McDaileys.” Additionally, featured on the album are long time musical partner Bob Schwartz, keyboard player Mark Bews and drummer Paul Kronkforst, all from Wisconsin. When the Northerners could not make it back to Vail in time for the release party, Carstensen and McDonald decided to go ahead and pick up the slack and treat all friends in Vail to a live performance of the entire “Willie’s Chickens” CD.
Doors open at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday in the Royal Elk Room, with drink service available from Blu’s. The live performance starts at 6 p.m., and then join continues at Blu’s into the evening.