Tony Furtado plays final show of Minturn Concert Series at Little Beach Park
If you go …
What: Tony Furtado performs final show of Minturn Concert Series, presented by Alpine Bank, the Minturn Community Fund and the town of Minturn.
When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27.
Where: Little Beach Park, Minturn.
Cost: Free; food and 3.2 beer are allowed, but no glass is allowed in the park
MINTURN — Very few musicians of any stripe so personify a musical genre as completely as Tony Furtado embodies Americana roots music. Furtado is an evocative and soulful singer, a wide-ranging songwriter and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar and baritone ukulele, mixing and matching sounds and styles with the flair of a master chef.
“Tony Furtado is a major musical force, without a doubt,” said David Lindley, musical adventurer. “He has his black belt in voice and bottleneck guitar and his banjo playing scares the crap out of me.”
Furtado will play the final free show of the Minturn Summer Concert Series today at Little Beach Park.
A native of Pleasanton, California, who now makes his home in Portland, Oregon, Furtado took up the banjo at age 12, inspired by the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show and a sixth-grade music report. He first attracted national attention in 1987, when he won the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Not long after that, Furtado opted for the life of a full-time professional musician, joining Laurie Lewis & Grant Street and bookending his tenure with the band with a second victory at Winfield in 1991.
In 1990, Furtado signed a recording deal with independent Rounder Records. Beginning with “Swamped” in 1990, he recorded six critically acclaimed albums for the label, collaborating with such master musicians as Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Tim O’Brien, Stuart Duncan, Kelly Joe Phelps and Mike Marshall. During this period, Furtado also performed and recorded with the band Sugarbeat and the Rounder Banjo Extravaganza with Tony Trischka and Tom Adams.
Beginning in the late 1990s — influenced by such musical heroes as Ry Cooder, David Lindley and Taj Mahal — Furtado added slide guitar, singing and songwriting to his musical toolbox and began leading his own band. A tireless road musician, he has performed in a dizzying variety of formats — solo, in a duo or trio or with his full five-person band — and has toured with such legendary musicians as Gregg Allman and esteemed slide guitarists David Lindley, Derek Trucks and Sonny Landreth.
Furtado has performed throughout the world at top venues and appeared at music festivals ranging from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra Music Festival, Jazz Aspen and Kerrville Folk Festival to Strawberry Music Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Sisters Folk Festival, San Jose Jazz Festival and countless others.
“I love playing live,” he said. “All my energy is focused on the love of playing music and rolling with the moment. It’s a give and take from the audience to the stage and back. And the music that is created is something that otherwise might not occur without that flow.”
Furtado has recorded and produced almost a dozen CDs for various labels such as Dualtone, What Are Records and Funzalo Records, and he enthusiastically described his newest CD, “The Bell,” as “the most personal of my career.”
To be released this summer on his own YousayFurtado Records, “The Bell” is an important album for several reasons: It represents a return to Furtado’s banjo-playing roots, with the banjo and cello-banjo more prominent than in recent years; the original songs concern such weighty themes as the loss of his father, the birth of his son and his own creative rebirth with the move to a new record label and management team; his working band is featured; and most important of all, this is the first album in a long time on which Furtado had complete artistic control. It’s his music, done his way.
The final show of the Minturn Concert Series begins at 6 p.m. today. To learn more about Furtado and his music, visit http://www.tonyfurtado.com.