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Couple promotes acoustic music revival

Tamie MeckStaff Writer

Thanks to “O Brother, Where Art Thou,” the re-release of the movie of The Band’s final concert, “The Last Waltz,” and the 30th anniversary re-release of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” old acoustic blues, bluegrass and old-time music is making a comeback.But did they ever really go away in the first place?Ask acoustic blues aficionado George Gertz and he’ll tell you, “No.”These forms of music are alive and well at homes and garages and backyards and front porches all across the country.”So far,” said Gertz, “these types of music have been kept off the mainstream.” But thanks to all the media attention they’ve been getting, “they will be main stream in a few years.”Gertz, along with his wife Jody Andrews, are promoting acoustic blues, bluegrass, old-time and other musical genres through a series of three concerts, to be held this summer near Paonia. The weekend of May 31, and June 1 and 2, “A Weekend of Bluegrass,” features Bluegrass Etc., Open Road, the Flying Dogs, Sweet Sunny South, Western Tradition, the Lone Pine Bluegrass Band and the Hand-Me-Downs. On July 12-21, it’s “An Old Time Music and Dance Gathering,” with Uncle Earl with Sally Van Meter, Frank Lee, Pigs Eye Landing, High on the Hog, the Paine Family, Rick Meyer’s Old Time Music Show, dance caller Chris Kermiet and the Grouchy Geezer String Band. Sept. 6-8, “An Acoustic Roots Music Weekend” includes Jim Hurst & Missy Raines, Pete Wernick’s Live Five, Mary Flower, Dan Sheridan, Kevin Dooley, Midnight Mesa, and Friends of Your Mother.”We want to hit not all, but most of the acoustic music styles, acoustic being the big thing,” said Gertz.The concerts happen at Crystal Meadows Resort, which is located just off Highway 133, directly below the Paonia Reservoir, at the confluence of Anthracite Creek and Muddy Creek.Tent and RV camping sites are available, but rooms at the resort are booked, at least for the first concert, said resort owner Cheryl Dix.While promoters want this to be an ongoing venue, they don’t want it to grow to an unmanageable size, said Gertz. The area can handle about 1,000 people, and that’s plenty, he said.Nor, said Gertz, are they trying to attract big-name, big-ticket musicians. “What we want are cutting-edge bands and to provide a spot for local and regional bands to perform.” It’s a musician-oriented event and is for people “that really enjoy listening to and playing music.”Located in proximity to the Gunnison National Forest, the West Elk and the Raggeds wilderness areas, and with Mount Beckwith in the background, the area offers lovers of the outdoors a place to hike and fish and enjoy some incredible scenery, added Gertz.Gertz also wants to see the event remain affordable. This year, weekend passes are $30, and daily rates are also available. Parking is available for $3 per vehicle, and camping spaces start at about $6. A children’s camp will also be open from noon to 9 p.m. on Saturday.Plenty of affordable, home-cooked food will be available, assured Dix, whose son, Brad, is the resort chef.Running through a list of soups, breads, salads, desserts and other menu items, Dix said she anticipates feeding between 600-800 people. “We’re just very excited that everybody is coming,” said Dix.Gertz, the PEAK coordinator at Glenwood Springs Middle School, and Andrews, a local counselor, have recruited several local bands and musicians for this year’s shows, including the Flying Dogs from Aspen, Sweet Sunny South from Paonia, Western Tradition from Grand Junction, the Lone Pine Bluegrass Band from Basalt, and the Paine Family from Glenwood Springs, just to name a few.Classes and workshops will be offered from 10 a.m. to noon daily, mainly for stringed instruments, as well as for songwriting. A special workshop will offer advice on the business of being a band. Musicians are encouraged to bring instruments, swap phone numbers, and play to their heart’s content.Plans are already being made for next year’s shows, scheduled for June 6-8 (bluegrass), July 11-13 (old-time), and Aug. 8-10 (roots). There are also plans for a music academy on Sept. 4-7.For information on camping and other amenities, contact Crystal Meadows Resort at 970-929-5656 or 877-886-9678, fax to 970-929-5957, or mail to 30682 County Road #12, Somerset, CO 81434.To find out more about performers, or for links to other music-oriented sites, visit http://www.pickinparlor.net, or call 947-9500.


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