The Jubilee, Def Leppard and bachelorhood

Welcome to “The Goods,” the weekly entertainment report that wants it known that this column is being written with a corked bat. However, no steroids were taken before or during this writing. I swear, the extra bulk comes strictly from off season exercise.

For those of us who love the weekend-long outdoor music festival, this weekend should be a blast. There are two in the vicinity and both look to be much more fulfilling and economically reasonable than the over-populated and over-hyped event in Telluride last weekend. Seriously, why would someone pay upwards of $170 to stand in a field a quarter of a mile away from The String Cheese Incident? It don’t make sense. Things are different this weekend.

First, the 16th annual Silverton Jubilee takes place Saturday and Sunday in one of Colorado’s few remaining unspoiled mountain towns. The music lineup lacks the star power of other festivals, but at least the folks in Silverton are trying to keep it a festival that’s actually about folk music. Plus, I have found that even the most seasoned of music fans or critics drive away from Silverton having seen something new or unexpected. Highlights will include 9-year-old banjo virtuoso Ryan Holladay on Saturday afternoon and headliner Dar Williams that night. Sunday features the Eastern European group Fragment playing bluegrass music. Sunday’s headliner is Indigenous, an American Indian blues-rock band whose guitarist, Mato Nanji, has grabbed attention nationwide and drawn comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughn.

The festival in Silverton is not always about the music, it’s also about spending time with friends, pickin’ circles and, to quote one of those friends, finding out “just how low down you can get at 9,300 feet.” It’s also about being asked for, or offered, ’shrooms only a couple of times, not a couple hundred times. At a mere 70 bucks with camping, this festival is a swingin’ deal.

The other area music festival is the Taos Solar Music Fest in, you guessed it, Taos, N.M. While Taos is another over-run, too-big-for-its-britches kind of place, this year’s lineup is worth the trip if high country shenanigans aren’t your style. The spooky ethnic group from Denver, Devotchka, will play Saturday afternoon. I caught their act in Durango a few months back, and it was really good. They looked and sounded like they could be the house band at the Playboy Mansion if Hugh Heffner were a vampire.

Later on that day, you can catch Acoustic Hot Tuna featuring longtime musical cohorts Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen. Amazingly, I was only recently acquainted with this duo’s work and, if not otherwise committed, would make the drive for that act alone. It gets better though, as John Hiatt and the Goners will headline Sunday. Touring behind Hiatt and Co.’s best work in 10 years, this should be a great show that again is worth the trip alone.

Incidentally, a mere 16 hours after Silverton, Dar Williams will perform in Taos, a feat that kind of makes her the Phil Collins of Southwest music fests. Still, she’s not really going from London to Philadelphia in one day and will probably travel by bus and not the Concord. Still, I’m sure there will be less ego and better music provided by Williams.

So if hanging out in a field and having your taste in music challenged is not your ideal, but you still want to get out of Durango, I have your destination. The Journal Pavilion near Albuquerque is fast becoming the hot destination this hot summer. Already on the books is Ozzfest ’03 (Ozzy’s still alive?), Iron Maiden and Weird Al Yankovic. This weekend kicks off the superstar summer lineup with the world’s greatest band with a one-armed drummer, Def Leppard. That’s right, folks! The group that gave us lyrics like, “I’m hot sticky sweet/ From my head to my feet” and “If you’ve got love in your sights/watch out/love bites” and the uber-classic “Hang on/Yeah/Ha ha ha ha” are in our southern back yard on Sunday, June 29. It’s hard to believe it took until the late ’80s for someone to rhyme the word “feet” with “sweet.” Pure genius, as are the folks at the Albuquerque Journal for bringing them to town. I would make another joke about washed-up rockers giving it another go if I wasn’t sure this show will sell out.

This week’s sign the end is near/all’s well: This week finds yours truly enjoying the rigors of bachelorhood again. It has been a while, which is good as I don’t tend to do well without family life. I seem to spend all of my time on the couch, and if I really think I need exercise, I roll onto the floor and make “garbage angels.” I even know a pizza delivery guy who’ll stop and get me a six pack on his way. I’m not too worried about rotting in my own crapulence, though. You see, it’s summertime and as they say in these parts; “Dude, I’m goin’ to a fest, Bro.”

“This week’s record that is really good: Upside/Downside” by Scott Miller and the Commonwealth is a little less than new, it’s been in stores for a couple of weeks now. But by the artist’s own admission, this is a record that must be spun several times before its greatness can shine through. Miller, once a member of the almost famous V-Roys, has with his Commonwealth, recorded an album that will make a lot of year-end top 10 lists. This is a collection of songs that range from straight-ahead bar blues rockers and noncheesy soul-bearing ballads to straight-up bluegrass and an instrumental homage to Booker T Jones and his MGs. As I listen to this record over and over, sometimes pushing play after it just finished, I look for its weakness. I can’t find one, not even in the final track, a solo acoustic add-on called “For Jack Tymon.” The song is a heart-wrenching melodic dish that is at once a prayer for the future of a family member and an apology for the world Jack will inherit.

Do you love Def Leppard?





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