Dishin’ up Cajun, country and Cali-soul sounds
Are you finally over that holiday hangover? Is it time to get up, get out and get groovin’ again? If you are still here, just got here, or live here, you’re in luck. The Vail Valley is rocking this week and next with summer lovin’ sounds hailing from around the country and around the world. Throw some crawfish in the cooler and hook yourself a spot on the lawn in Eagle’s Town Park at 6:30 p.m. Thursday for the free, family-friendly show featuring The Bluerunners. This band is as colorful as the bluish green, silvery gray and golden Louisiana swamp fish they are named after. They are a rock ‘n’ roll Cajun, blues and funk band. Frontmen Mark Meaux and Steven Le Blanc write most of the material and as their surnames suggest, a deep Cajun heritage is at the heart of their sound. Many of the songs are sung in French but it’s less about what they are singing and more about the way they sing it with these Southern Louisiana boys. Riding high on the success of their latest album, “Honey Slides,” the Bluerunners’ latest tour promises to be their best ever.
Friday features more sounds of the South with New Orleans Jazz Fest favorites Bonerama. Trom-bones that is. Five of them. Bonerama began in 1998 when Mark Mullins and Craig Klein found themselves with some rare time off from their steady gig in Harry Connick Jr’s Big Band. They recruited three more trombone talents, Steve Suter, Brian O’Neill and Rick Trolsen, and together, created a band – and a sound – unlike any other. They opened for the Neville Brothers during their Mardi Gras show at the House of Blues in New Orleans, they pack the Boom Boom Room in San Fran every time they show up and their debut album, “Live at the Old Point,” is a top-seller at Jazz Fest three years running. Skip the plane ride to Louisiana and catch the Gondola to Eagle Nest instead for Bonerama’s 5 p.m. Friday show or stay low (sort of) at 8150 where they take the stage at 10 p.m. Contact 8150 at 479-0607 for ticket info. Not enough down-home Southern soul yet? The N’awlins theme of the week rocks on Saturday at 8150 again with The Soul Rebels Brass Band and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes at 10 p.m. The Soul Rebels have been called a marching band, but this isn’t your typical high-school breed. Their rhythms range from reggae to hip-hop, from rap to heavy metal. Their sounds are complemented by thoughtful lyrics that hint at their ghetto life but proclaim hopes of a brighter future. Somehow, and especially powerfully live on stage, this band has a way of making you forget whatever’s on your mind, except how to dance.
Don’t let the Rebels wear you out though. Save some moves for Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes (JSDN) set. Imagine a guitar, a violin, a harmonica and a hard driving rhythm section (think Radiators plus Tower of Power) and you get an idea of what to expect from JSDN. The band members’ stage names might give you some ideas, too. Johnny Sketch, Dirty Johnny, Busta Gnutt, Harry, Johnny Fashion and Johnny Hitman are famous for their manic energy and their frenzied live shows. Contact 8150 at 479-0607 for ticket info. For something a little more laid back, but no less engaging, check out Beaver Creek’s free outdoor concert series Saturday at 4:30 p.m., featuring Australian country music star Jedd Hughes. A native of the small south Australian town of Quorn, Hughes started performing at the tender age of 8. His still boyish looks belie his mature, complex sound. His debut album “Transcontinental” is aptly named and reflects the jet setting 20-something’s musical style. He blends the traditional sounds of his childhood with the rocking country skills he’s acquired in Nashville, his current home.
“Country music still excites me like I’m 4 years old,” says Hughes. “There have always been so many possibilities with country. Cash was doing what he was doing, and Merle was doing his own thing too. There were all these different country artists, but it was always still country music. And country music is still cool.”Postive vibes roll in to the Sandbar with Rising Lion in West Vail at 10 p.m. for the bar’s Reggae Night. You can’t get more roots reggae than Danny Dred, singer/songwriter behind Rising Lion, who has been performing since 1992. Rising Lion’s tunes are characteristically full of simplicity and good cheer. The group plays mostly original root reggae tunes. However, the band’s been known to throw a few covers into its live gigs. or ticket information, call Sandbar at 476-4314.
And the free music doesn’t stop there. Tuesday’s 6:30 p.m. Hot Summer Nights concert features the sultry sounds of San Francisco’s beloved Samantha Stollenwerck. A California native, Stollenwerck coined the phrase “Cali Soul,” defining her sound as a unique blend of soulful pop rock. She says she gets her inspiration from looking through her window at the vista of San Francisco. You’ll hear about what she sees, what she feels and what is going on in the world. “I’m so shamelessly Californian it’s hilarious; I still wear flip flops when we’re on tour in the Rockies in the dead of winter,” Stollenwerck said.
Well, it’s summertime now and Stollenwerck’s flip flops, and free flowing stage style will fit right in at the Ford Amphitheater. For a complete list of entertainment happenings, see the entertainment calendar on page B??