A honky-tonk world | VailDaily.com

A honky-tonk world

Jennifer Gersbach
Special to the DailyHalden Wofford and the Hi-Beams open the free Show DownTown concert series in Eagle. They aim to make folks jitterbug.

Combining the soulful rhythms of country greats like George Jones, Dwight Yoakam and Lefty Frizzell, Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams know how to raise the roof. They play at the ShowDown Town in Eagle Town Park today at 6:35 p.m.

Breaking away from the contemporary stream of western music that today sounds more like rock music than traditional country music, Wofford and his band dig deep into the heart of their roots and play tunes to shuffle and two-step by.

“The music we play is deeply rooted in the traditional sounds of country,” he said.

Wofford admits that he has nothing against contemporary western music, but sometimes it sounds too much like the new-age style of pop. Therefore, he’s trying to break away from today’s modern country and western epidemic, which he thinks sounds more like rock than the dancing, drinking and crying music that is so inherent to the country music world. In so doing, the band reaches into the past for inspiration and they have dedicated themselves to the performance of “Pure-D, Grade-A Honky-Tonk.”

Hank Williams Sr. was the stimulus that sparked Wofford’s initial love of the music. And growing up in Texas he learned to play the acoustic guitar as well as perfect his vocal talents to match up to the traditional style. Halden and his band the Hi- Beam agree their best work comes from the great oldies – their source of motivation.

“There is such a history to draw from in the country-western world that they seem to have forgotten over in Nashville,” said Wofford. “We want to bring the older tunes to our fans and play music that’s fun to listen to.”

Their music is said to be “real” and they are committed to playing it that way. They have lots of energy and are excited and enthusiastic. Combining three guitars – an acoustic, an electric, and a steel guitar – with a snare drum and an old upright bass, without pedals, their instrumental ensemble is vibrant. And as musicians playing together for nearly four years, the bandmates have become in tune with one another musically.

“We have really gelled, and coming together musically has allowed us the opportunity to play the hard core honky-tonk that we all like,” said Wofford.

A mixture of the old tunes from the greats as well as many of their own original songs will be on the today’s concert bill. “Hum Dinger” is an original that Halden says people just love.

“We will be mixing hillbilly jazz with rockabilly tunes to get people out and dancing the jitterbug, a dance that people just love to watch,” he said.

Cara Herron, director of marketing for the Vail Valley Foundation is equally excited to present Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams as well as the other bands that will be playing the Show DownTown throughout July. It will be a nice mix of great music and fun activities to get the whole family involved, Herron said.

Concessions will be available, picnics are permitted and to celebrate the Fourth of July, hot dogs, chips and sodas will be served free at today’s concert. Admission is free.

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