Sports heaven, The Doctor and big knobbies

This week finds The Goods dreaming in bracket form and making breakfast pancakes in the shapes of famous baseball players.You see, this is by far my favorite time of the sporting year.Sure the Super Bowl is a huge party, the World Series captivates the imaginations of us all, and the Daytona 500 is watched by millions.But in my mind, the beginning of the Major League baseball season coupled with the culmination of the college basketball season – aka March Madness – is as exciting as sports can be.

I might try to connect my near ecstatic sports enthusiasm to the coming of spring and the sense of newness and renewal of life, but really, I’m just ready to make a little dough in my basketball pools and see my favorite baseball squadron make good. The truth is, if you are looking for me this week, just hunt down my TV and announce the fact that you have a pizza.I’ll be on you like Oprah on a honey-baked ham.

Those of you looking for real, live, non-TV action might want to head to Storyville tonight, March 20, to check out The Motet.A longtime Durango favorite, The Motet is a jazz- and blues-informed jam band that hails from Boulder and always packs them in. If you like the jam-based grooves of bands like Phish or Widespread Panic,then The Motet is for you.

On Saturday, March 22, The Diamond Circle Theater is playing host to a “Survival Revival,”your chance to “party in the face of madness.” Hosting this event is one of my favorite local performers, Sand Sheff. The show doesn’t stop withSheff and his band, but also includes the “Swarthy” Bob Greenspan, the Catch It Quick Jugglers and the exotic dancer Mon Alisa.This show is sure to be part barn-dance hoedown, part vaudeville-esque variety, and part church-tent revival.

Many years ago, in another life, I expressed to a friend an interest in learning about bluegrass music. The next day he returned with a handful of albums: Bill Monroe, The Bad Livers and a collection of songs by the Stanley Brothers. I was immediately stricken by the high tenor of brother Ralph and loved the Stanley Brothers’ mountain sound. It is because of those few albums that I decided to acquire as much bluegrass and old-time mountain music as I could.

Ralph Stanley began playing music in the mid 1940s and is still going strong today, these days performing with his band, the Clinch Mountain Boys. The touring juggernaut that is Ralph Stanley (he has been doing nearly 200 shows a year) will be making a stop at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis this Friday, March 21. I keep bringing this show up because this really is a chance to see a living legend right here in Durango. This must-see show starts at 7 p.m.

Of course, I know that most of you will spend the weekend doing the same thing I will be doing. You will have your ass on the couch with a beer in one hand and your bracket in the other, watching an endless stream of college basketball games. There is nothing at all wrong with that, it’s what the Big Dance is all about, just try not to forget that there is a huge world out there with people like Ralph Stanley performing in it. You can always catch the late Sportscenter.

This Week’s Sign That the End is Near: Just because you drive a gigantic SUV doesn’t mean you are allowed to run the streets with reckless abandon during a snowstorm. Sure, you’ve got a four-wheel drive with a lifter and huge knobbies, and we’re all very happy for you. But grandma’s Datsun doesn’t have all that. Grandma’s Datsun has windshield wipers that barely work, and she is having a hard enough time negotiating the snow without having to deal with your tailgating self.

This Week’s Album You May Wish to Own: One-time Pavement frontman Steven Malkmus is back on the scene with his second solo recording, “Pig Lib,” recorded with his backing band, The Jicks. “Pig Lib” finds Malkmus exploring territory familiar to Pavement fans but also embracing a wacky almost jam-like sound that Pavement only hinted at. My big beef with this record is that it sounds so derivative. “(Do not feed the) Oyster” could’ve been at home on any number of Frank Zappa’s records; “Dark Wave” sounds like any of the edgier ’80s new-wave bands; and Ray Davies’ fingerprints are all over the album. “Pig Lib” is at its best when Malkmus sticks to what he does best – Fairport Convention-inspired folk rock. “Vanessa From Queens” and “Animal Midnight” both cook along with pleasant hooks and interesting vocal lines. Malkmus’ latest effort is either a good folk-rock record or a bad hippie trip-out record - it just depends on how you hear it.





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