Music helps keep Kimberly in tune with Valley |

Music helps keep Kimberly in tune with Valley

Post Independent /Kara K. PearsonAmy Kimberly poses in front of shelves of CDs at the KDNK studio in Carbondale. Kimberly has been KDNK's development director for the past four years.

CARBONDALE ” Amy Kimberly doesn’t sing like Joan Baez.

But there are some similarities between the two.

“I worked the Telluride Film Festival and during the intermission of the Bob Dylan documentary, I was mistaken for Joan Baez,” said the KDNK development director. “A girl said, ‘You’re in the film, you’re Joan Baez.'”

Kimberly doesn’t mind being associated with musicians such as Baez. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Pa., she always wanted to be a folk singer. Her favorite album in high school was a Joni Mitchell record.

“When I was little ” before I knew I couldn’t sing ” I thought I would be a singer. My family is all tone deaf,” said Kimberly, whose first 45 record was “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye. “I loved listening to the Kingston Trio. I definitely would have loved to be an adult in the ’60s.”

For the past four years, Kimberly has put her passion for music to work in the Roaring Fork Valley. The single mother of an 18- and 21-year-old is director of the Carbondale Mountain Fair and hosts “The Shimmy Shack” radio show every other week on KDNK.

“My show here is all lounge music,” said Kimberly, sitting among thousands of CDs at the grassroots radio station in Carbondale. “I love that feel-good, have-fun music. Probably more than anything, the thing that keeps me in the valley is KDNK. Independent media and radio ” that’s what drives me.”

The theatre major, who once had aspirations to become a director, originally came to Colorado for Telluride’s Mushroom Festival.

Kimberly ended up staying in the sleepy mountain town at the base of the San Juan Mountains, building a well-connected career in the music business.

“I lived in Telluride for 20 years,” said Kimberly, a former co-owner of Fly Me to the Moon Saloon. “The ‘Moon was definitely a pretty historic spot. When we got the saloon, it was sort of like directing.”

From Widespread Panic to the “Man in Black,” Kimberly worked with a variety of famed musicians while working in Telluride.

“We had everyone from Widespread to Jerry Jeff Walker to Spin Doctors to Blues Traveler,” she said. “I worked with Johnny Cash and June once. And Emmylou Harris ” she is a dear, dear friend. She’s just so beautiful and she’s always a lady.”

While living in Telluride, Kimberly organized festivals in New Mexico and shared her time in San Francisco, where she was exposed to obscure, cutting-edge music.

“I’ve worked so many festivals, but I cut down. I used to work in New Mexico,” she said. “I lived in San Francisco too. I saw Buckethead with Les Claypool at the Great American Music Hall. My friends said, ‘We’re going to see Buckethead and I said, ‘Who’s Buckethead?’ and there was this guy on stage with a bucket on his head.”

Still a festival organizer for Planet Bluegrass ” which presents the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival and Nightgrass ” Kimberly has been instrumental in successfully coordinating Carbondale’s Summer Music Series.

“I would like to see a vibrant music scene here. For me, it’s about community,” said Kimberly, who prefers to listen to rock ‘n’ roll, specifically anything by Jerry Joseph. “When I see an opportunity to bring the community together through music, it’s a fun time. We just keep growing the music scene.”

As Mountain Fair director, Kimberly is responsible for not only bringing in popular local acts, but attracting national bands ” on a minimal budget.

“One thing that helps is I have very long-term relationships with agents,” she said. “Having that Sunday show is good because a lot of bigger bands are available. And Mountain Fair has been going on for 34 years. It’s well-known.”

One way the music scene in Carbondale can progress year-round is the town’s addition of the a new theater this winter, Kimberly said.

“I’m definitely hoping to bring in shows because the theater’s capacity is 250,” she said. “I’m looking at anything from Tim O’Brien (folk) to reggae to Hot Buttered Rum (bluegrass).”

Along with her love of live music, Kimberly serves on the board of the Stepstone Center and organizes the annual Stepstone Talent and Fashion Show. She also enjoys snowboarding and making the most out of life.

“I’ve been snowboarding for 15 years now,” Kimberly said. “I have fun in my life. I think I can create magic in my own life.”

Contact April E. Clark: 945-8515, ext. 518

Name: Amy Kimberly

Age: 48

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.

How long in Garfield County: 4 years

Occupation: KDNK development director and Mountain Fair director

Favorite place in Garfield County: the corner of Seventh and Colorado in Carbondale

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