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Music: Bluegrass & Beyond

Throw another log on the fire. Pour another ‘nog with brandy. Put on that (dreaded) Christmas music. After all, your sweetie likes it.

Start with Elmo Shropshire. Who? You know… Dr. Elmo… “Grandma got run over by a reindeer.“ Dr. Elmo’s “Bluegrass Christmas” features Dr. Elmo on the banjo, singing and playing original and traditional Christmas songs. (I can’t call them carols.) This is on Time-Life, so it can’t be all bad!

Actually, most bluegrass musicians have, or participate on, Christmas albums. Some of my favorites are: Anne & Pete Sibley’s Winter on the Great Divide: A Christmas Album; Newgrange A Christmas Heritage; Alison Brown Quartet’s Evergreen; The Kruger Brothers’ Christmas Magic.



On Dec. 23, from 4-6:30 p.m., you can listen to my Annual Christmas show.

The gift of music never goes out of style. Musicians release most new music from September through December. There are several new CD’s you might want to consider giving this year. Some of these musicians have been nominated for Grammy awards, meaning that they are good. Check out The Del McCoury Band’s Streets of Baltimore, and Mark Johnson & Emery Lester’s 1863. Nora Jane Struthers Carnival and Alan Jackson’s The Bluegrass Album are sure to please. Straygrass’ Live is a good way to support the “hometown boys.”



Tickets to a festival, concert, or a music camp are especially appreciated by the music lover on your list. Some of my favorite festivals to consider are Mid-Winter Bluegrass in February; Durango Meltdown in April; Palisade Bluegrass and Roots Music Festival in June; Bluegrass in Paradise in July. Of course, there are larger venues, Telluride and Rocky Grass. You can purchase one-day passes or weekend passes at a discount.

If you want to get an amazing festival experience, take an extraordinary cruise with Mountain Song at Sea in February, sailing from Miami to the Bahamas. It’s hosted by the Steep Canyon Rangers of North Carolina. Four nights and five days of nothing but bluegrass. (My husband Joe and I gave this cruise to each other last year. It was the music experience of a lifetime, being held “captive” on a cruise ship with the best of the musicians in bluegrass.)

If you cannot go away or afford the tickets for a festival, give a DVD of a past festival. I recommend Bluegrass: Country Soul, one of the first bluegrass festivals, filmed in 1970. You’ll see a young Sam Bush, also Ricky Skaggs, Earl Scruggs, and Del McCoury, and a very young Missy Raines in the audience. Another festival you will enjoy is Telluride Bluegrass Festival: 30 Years. If you cannot find these locally, you can find them, and others, on Amazon.com.

Bluegrass jams take place most Fridays in Grand Junction and are open and free to the public. The location changes weekly. Check the website for the calendar at http://www.gvbluegrass.com.

Coming up soon is the Pea Green Saturday Night concert series. PGSN is held the last Saturday night during the winter in beautiful downtown Pea Green, located in the farm country between Delta and Olathe.

The dates are Jan. 25, Feb. 22, March 22, and April 26. Music starts at 7 p.m. and is over at 9:30. Get there early though, so you can get a seat. A ticket is only a half-a-sawbuck ($5). it’s the best value on the Western Slope.

Happy Holidays from Vetabluegrass at KAFM Radio in Grand Junction.

GJ Free Press music columnist Veta Gumber, aka Vetabluegrass, hosts a weekly show on KAFM 88.1, Bluegrass and Beyond, every Monday, from 4-6:30 p.m. Tune in to hear old and new bluegrass, from traditional to progressive; from Doc Watson to The Boxcars to Hot Buttered Rum, and beyond! She can be reached at vetabluegrass@gmail.com. KAFM Tuned in is funded in part by the Gill Foundations Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, a proud supporter of local programs like Colorado Champions for Science, Technology, Engineering and Education.


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