Superharp, return of The Gourds and hypnotherapy

After the week of Snowdown that we Durangoans just lived through, I would assume that those of us who have not yet joined a monastery or been admitted to rehab, plan on taking it easy this week. That’s a fine idea, but there is still plenty of stuff going on for those of you not getting a liver or brain transplant. I don’t want to say last week was out of control, but I probably saw more 35-year-old women crying and 22-year-old guys puking than in all of my past experience. And being a bartender, I see that sort of thing from time to time. But I digress, we have fortunately moved on to saner, less indulgent times.

This week’s action begins on Friday night with James “Superharp” Cotton bringing his roadshow to the concert hall at Fort Lewis College. Obviously a harmonica player, Cotton learned from Sonny Boy Williamson, and myth has it that he plays so hard that the harmonica will sometimes fall apart in his hands. One should expect more that just a guy blowing on a harp, though. Cotton has earned a reputation as a consummate showman and will have a full band that should result in a rockin’ good time. Plus the Concert Hall is opening the dance floor for those who wish to shake their booties, and Steamworks will be selling beer. Steamworks also is offering a dinner, transportation and ticket packages for $50. Concert tickets range from $18-$25.

A few months ago, Austin rockers The Gourds played an insanely fun set for a jubilant sold-out Storyville. They are back again, and this time for two nights, Saturday and Sunday. If you have been living under a rock or have just returned from your five years in the Peace Corps, let me tell you all about The Gourds. They are a five-piece band with a sound that’s a bit hard to describe. It’s a little folk, a little rock, a little country and a lot kooky. The semi-recent addition of Max Johnston (Uncle Tupelo, Wilco) has helped flesh out their sound and added yet another name to the group’s long list of songwriters. If you go, expect packed houses both nights, a fun-loving crowd and several hours of great, often funny, music. A lot of people I know are going both nights, and the $10 tickets are moving fast.

On Saturday night, Durango will be graced with the presence of Spencer, the “world’s fastest” hypnotist. I’ve seen these hypnotists before, and while I may doubt their ability to gain control over another person with the flick of a wrist, it’s still fun to watch a grown man crawl around on all fours and bark like a dog. Even if you think hypnotists are scamming us, you probably have a laugh watching people do crazy things and who knows, your mind may be changed. The happening takes place at the Diamond Circle Theatre on Feb. 8 at 8 p.m. and should end in time for you to make the beginning of The Gourds.

Those who are headed north should know that the Reverend Horton Heat will begin a mini tour of Colorado tonight, Feb. 6, in Denver. The tour will come as close as Aspen on Feb. 11. For many, the good Reverend alone is worth the drive, but if you will be up that way anyhow be sure to catch the show nearest you. The last time I saw the band was in Santa Fe in this long, narrow hall with horrendous sound. In spite of all that, I had a great time; that’s how good they are. Check out for more specifics.

This Week’s Sign That the Ends is Near: “The Goods” is not a political column, and nor should it be seeing as how I’ve got about as much political savvy as the “Simpson’s” Barney Gumbel, which happens to be one of our many shared traits. However, this week I just can’t help but show off the fact that I watched our president’s entire State of the Union speech. No matter where you live on the political belief spectrum, I can’t see how anyone could possibly believe that the Cheney-Bush juggernaut suddenly cares about clean air, healthy forests, nonpetroleum burning cars or AIDS in Africa. This is the same group that already eased air-pollution regulations and threatened to shut down federal AIDS research, is it not? They must think we are some stupid folk. Thank you, next week I’ll go back to whining about really important stuff like pasta pots, sports and Cher.

This Week’s The Best Album I’ve Heard in Months: Brian Connoly is probably best known for writing and performing the theme song for the sketch comedy show “Kids in the Hall” with his former band, Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet. Others may know him as one of Neko Case’s “boyfriends” or co-conspirator with the Canadian group The Sadies. “Gowns by Edith Head,” recorded under the name Atomic-7, is the latest incarnation of Connoly and company.

Picking up where Shadowy Men left off, there are plenty of secret-agent surf instrumentals to keep the purists happy, but Atomic-7 goes further with nods to lounge, jazz and country. With 19 songs, this album clocks in at just more than 40 minutes, which should inform the listener that Atomic-7 isn’t wasting any time. I don’t think any song is longer than 2 1/2 minutes. That, my friends, is what rock and roll was meant to be.

“Gowns by Edith Head” boasts some of the best song titles I’ve ever heard such as “Save Your Fork, There’s Pie,” “Artistry in Nachos” and the instant classic “You Ain’t Havin’ Fun Till You’re Dialin’ 911.”

All in all, there is not a party or road trip in the world that wouldn’t be made a little better by this record. You can get more information on Atomic-7 at

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