Porchlights to play Glenwood’s Yagatta Regatta
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado Dont they look like theyre having a good time?The Porchlights sure sound like it, too. During a recent conversation, the acoustic duo (Bill Kneebone and Barb Hilton, a married couple) were at once upbeat and laid back, each taking a turn on the phone. Im not sure what brought us together, Hilton said, but Im sure glad it did.She recalled how they met, back in 1996. Hilton was 21 then and new at the guitar. She was trying her hand at the open mic scene in Flagstaff, Ariz. Those days, she was happy to play with anyone. Thats when Kneebone, a musician since the 70s, came on the scene. They started out as jamming buddies, she said, with him on acoustic lead guitar and her on guitar and vocals. At first, they played their lively, bluegrass melodies on Hiltons back porch, but eventually moved to coffee house gigs. As Hiltons guitar skills grew, the Porchlights started taking their tunes to the road and putting out CDs. Eventually, their mix of original pieces and reworked classics could be heard all around the Four Corners area.In short order, the duo was a real musical item and a romantic one, as well. They tied the knot in 2000, and since then, havent let up their playing one bit.We just decided that we love it, Hilton said. And were going to keep doing it and keep riding the wave.A few months back, that meant a major upheaval for the two. After a relative of hers bought a home in Delores, she and Kneebone were given the chance to move there. Hilton, then a full-time radio DJ, quit her job, and they started a brand new life in a town of about 900. Though she admitted to being a little nervous
first, she said that her world now is just so much more fun. These days, shes hiking, hanging at the local brew pub and playing all over.And then she answered the question all musical couples do. Whats it like to work with your spouse?It doesnt feel like work, she said, sounding totally earnest. It feels more like connecting. And its great.When handed the phone, Kneebone agreed whole-heartedly. Though he doesnt get to see it himself, he said that people are always commenting about the closeness the band shows on stage. The audience notices those smiles, the unspoken cues.We have some kind of chemistry and special intimacy, he said, and thats apparent to the public.He didnt really try to explain their work, saying that it was too hard to describe. Anyway, hed rather hear someone else take a stab at it. So, for the record, the few songs up on their website are actually difficult to put to words. Theyre sassy and fast-paced, almost Appalachian in feel, yet also distinctively modern. Kneebones guitar stylings are quick and enviable, and Hiltons vocals are crisp and clear and sweet, with just a hint of twang. As Kneebone told it, it was that special quality of Hiltons voice that really drew him to her.In short, they sound like they fit together in a way you just kind of have to hear for yourself.When we get up there (on stage), we actually draw on some outside energy and channel that into some high energy thing, Kneebone said. Its sort of the only way we know how to do it.They take their music seriously, not themselves, he explained. And this isnt about being famous or even having people like them. Its about being connected to something bigger than themselves, something beyond the everyday world. Its about communing with the audience and with each other, too. Life is a movie, he went on, and theyre the ones writing their own script.As were seeing it, we can either go work for a living or play for a living, he said. Id rather go play for a living, if I had a choice.And he gave out a happy, hearty laugh.Theres just no arguing with that.
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