VPAC Scoop column: Tunes from the Mississippi delta will roar into Beaver Creek twice this summer
Editor’s note: From time to time, members of the Vilar Performing Arts Center community will provide insights into upcoming art, music and dance performances at the 535-seat theater in Beaver Creek Village. This week, the Vail Valley Foundation’s president previews upcoming blues artists.
The only thing better than enjoying soothing, smoky blues music by two Grammy award-winning artists is being able to do it in an intimate theater right beside stunning mountain views.
This summer, Vail Valley blues fans won’t have to travel to New Orleans, Memphis or St. Louis to soak up extraordinary music because The Robert Cray Band and Keb’ Mo’ Band will fill the stage at our local Vilar Performing Arts Center with their unique and timeless tunes on Monday and Saturday, August 13, respectively.
We are truly fortunate to have a venue right here on our slopeside doorstep that brings talents such as these to our community stage. We can bike, hike and get lost in our beautiful mountains by day and see world-renowned blues artists, such as Cray and Mo’ by night.
These two blues icons resonate for me, as they’ve learned from their predecessors and are now influencing the next generation of blues musicians.
Robert Cray grew up in the American Northwest, listening to the gospel of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Bobby Bland’s soul, Jimi Hendrix’s rock guitar and The Beatles’ pop music. These varied influences, among others, shaped Cray as an artist and performer.
Albert Collins’ influence “sealed the deal” on the early style and direction of The Robert Cray Band, Cray has said. The band has since had Grammy and Billboard success, working with artists such as Eric Clapton and Keith Richards.
In recent news, Vail Valley favorite Keb’ Mo’ released his Grammy award-winning, double live album “Keb’ Mo’ LIVE: That Hot Pink Blues Album,” and was appointed to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
While entertaining crowds and producing music, Mo’ strives to make changes for future generations. His support for the Playing for Change Foundation, a nonprofit music and arts education organization, has become one of his central focuses, and a portion of the proceeds from his new live album will benefit the foundation.
It’s an exciting time for us here in the Vail Valley, and we’re looking forward to sharing our small mountain community with these artists as they help us remember the past and look forward to the future. With endless things to do in the mountains each and every summer day, we are honored that the Vilar Performing Arts Center can complement our lifestyles with some of the world’s great musicians.
Whether inspired by blues music or fly-fishing or listening to blues music while fly-fishing, we seem to have the perfect mix right here in the Vail Valley.
Mike Imhof is the president of the Vail Valley Foundation.
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