Hilltop Summer Music Series returns to Rifle

Bruce Imig of Rig Image
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4th Annual Hilltop Summer Music Series

Free concerts at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays

June 26: Leonard Curry Trio

July 10: Bone Tree

July 24: Valle Musico

Aug. 14: Fifty50

Aug. 28: Rig Image

The Bookcliffs Arts Center presents its fourth annual Hilltop Summer Music Series beginning with the Leonard Curry Trio on June 26. Concerts are at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Thursdays through August.

The series this year comprises five concerts, a couple less than last year. Cindy Dempsey, vice president of Bookcliffs Council on the Arts & Humanities, said that organizers opted against a September concert this year. “We put a lot of money into that concert last year, and the weather was really terrible,” she said. So better to scale back and count on more reliable summer weather patterns. The series is also starting a little later than last year.

Dempsey said that, thanks to the generosity of series sponsors, the musicians are paid, but some of them give their fee back to the arts center. This reciprocates the series’ goal of supporting local musicians, as all acts are from western Colorado.

Over the course of seven shows last year, Dempsey said there were about 1,750 attendees. The concert venue on the 5-acre arts center grounds at 1100 E. 16th St. in Rifle could hold a lot more people, and Dempsey said, “We’d like to double that number.”

Series opener the Leonard Curry Trio offers its self-styled genre-impaired Americana, featuring folk, bluegrass, swing, Irish, Cajun and rock. The trio performed at Hilltop last season as well, and all three are arts center members.

On July 10, Bone Tree plays acoustic bluegrass that band members call deep canyon music. They should know, as they come from Unaweep Canyon south of Grand Junction.

On July 24, the Carbondale-based Valle Musico play elegant guitar music, including jazz, classical, Latin and world styles.

On Aug. 14, valley stalwarts Fifty50 play classic, modern and original rock.

On Aug. 28, Rig Image, featuring “Teeth Jarrett and Donny Image” (aka John Riger and Bruce Imig), play music they call homegrown, gourmet, western smooth and groove.

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