The Rifters bring Southwestern influences to music about the West, will perform at CMC in Rifle |

The Rifters bring Southwestern influences to music about the West, will perform at CMC in Rifle

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The word “rift” may refer to a split, but the Rifters have found more success in coming together to perform their acoustic Americana music about living in the West.

“It’s funny to think what makes a good Rifters song. It still puzzles me,” said Don Richmond, one of the three members of the group. “We have songs that relate to the region we come from. In general terms, that is the West. In specific terms, it’s in our own area.”

The band is based in the mountain community of Taos, N.M., and their name originates from where the band lives along the Rio Grande Rift, an ancient, inactive chasm in the ground that starts south of Leadville and follows the Rio Grande River to the Mexican border.

Using a wide range of acoustic and electric instruments and soaring three-part harmonies, the Rifters touch on a variety of music from driving “blue-grama-grass” to country and dance music of the high desert.

This variety is the reason their music appeals to so many audiences and keeps the band traveling to more than 100 shows each year in Colorado, New Mexico and Texas.

The Rifters will return to Colorado Mountain College, 3695 Airport Road in Rifle, for a free concert at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27.

The band formed when members of two popular bands from the creative music scene of Santa Fe, N.M., joined in 2002. Jim Bradley and Richmond of Hired Hands and Rod Taylor of the Rounders had all known one another for years, playing in the acoustic Americana music scene of northern New Mexico.

“The music scene in Taos and Sante Fe is very dance-oriented,” Richmond said. “Although we don’t have a drum section, our music can be very rhythmic and danceable.”

The band also enjoys sit-down concerts where they can be a little quieter and more nuanced with their dynamics.

“There’s nothing like having a few mandolin notes floating off into the night,” Richmond said.

The band released a live CD this year, “The Rifters Live at the Sagebrush,” and Richmond said they plan to start recording a new studio CD in the near future. The band has two other CDs with a mix of their original song writing and covers of similar artists.

The Rifters will be the first performance in a free concert series presented by CMC in Rifle and sponsored by Chevron and Grand River Health. Other upcoming concerts at the campus include Katie Glassman on Nov. 22 and the J. Miller Band on Jan. 17. All concerts are free and open to the public. For more information, call 625-1871.

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