Vail Valley music: Gandalf Murphy kicks off songwriter series |

Vail Valley music: Gandalf Murphy kicks off songwriter series

Kris Sabel
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyVail Valley music: Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams describes its music as "punk-classical-hillbilly-Floyd."

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –There is no doubt about it, fall has arrived in Colorado’s Vail Valley. The aspens are turning, the guests have left, the restaurants are again offering local specials and businesses are gearing up for ski season.

For those of us who live here, it’s one of the best times of the year. In the spirit of all of these things the Vilar Performing Arts Center is presenting a fall concert series, with a diverse lineup of artists and our own version of the locals special: The Singer/Songwriter Series – three concerts for a package price of $45.

We created the series with several goals. First, there are an amazing number of artists (who may not be household names) who are creating some really incredible music that we feel will resonate with most audiences if they just get a chance to hear them.

Second, we wanted to continue fulfilling our mission of enhancing the cultural and entertainment life of our community throughout the year, not just in the winter and summer.

Third, we wanted to do all of the above and make it affordable. We hope audiences will come away with an appreciation for three new artists; artists who they add to their play-lists; artists who entertain as well as inspire; artists who remind us that music is at its best when performed and seen live.

The series kicks off Sept. 26 with a return of Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams. If you were lucky enough to see them in 2008, you know what a great band this is – and please tell your friends! If you don’t know this band, this is your chance to see one of the hottest bands on the independent music scene. Formed in Sleepy Hollow, New York, in the late 1990s, Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams is one of the best known and loved bands in their home state, singled out as Hudson Valley Magazine’s Band of the Year for the past three years.

On stage they create an enchanting atmosphere, using traditional folk instruments, tasty electric guitar and the distinctive singing and songwriting of Joziah Longo. Citing influences as diverse as Hank Williams, Dylan, Bowie, Incredible String Band and early Pink Floyd, Longo describes the band’s music as “punk-classical-hillbilly-Floyd,” a mental rollercoaster of whimsical, thought-provoking songs. That’s a mouthful and perhaps a bit hard to digest. Suffice it to say that one of the best things about the band and their musical style is that doesn’t fit neatly into one simple genre.

When I listened to their album “FlapJacks from the Sky” I knew immediately that this band was worth a second listen. I liked every song on the disc the first time I heard it. This is the way albums used to sound, and I wanted to know more about these artists and find out what else they had recorded. Their latest album, “The Great Unravel,” had the same effect. So I encourage you to come and hear them for yourselves.

The evening kicks off with local favorites The Laughing Bones performing an opening set. The promise to get the evening started off with their unique blend of rock, folk and funk, paving the way for Gandalf to take the stage.

The fall Singer/Songwriter series continues on Oct. 24 with singer/songwriter/pianist Vienna Teng and on Nov. 12 with 13-time Boston Music Award Winner Ellis Paul.

For more information please check out these artists on And for tickets please call the box office at 888.920.ARTS(2787), or go online.

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