Keen, jugs and politics


 

by Ted Holteen

The last time Texas party-crooner Robert Earl Keen was in town, it was my charge to interview the artist for some print and radio fluff stuff. When Robert called at the agreed upon hour (4 p.m. I think), I was driving on an isolated stretch in the greater Bondad area and had, in fact, completely forgotten I was supposed to talk to the man. “That’s OK,” he said. “I just woke up myself.” He’s a pretty alright bloke. Even let me call him Bob. We had a nice chat, but R.E.K hardly needed my help to fill the Abbey Theatre, and chances are he doesn’t need any help to fill the Concert Hall next Wednesday when he makes his latest visit to this very Keen-friendly town. There’s nothing fancy about this artist – he brings straightforward Texas country/rock with a down-home feel that makes you feel like you could just raise your hand and chant right back at Bob. It kind of sucks when people in the audience do that at concerts, so be a sport and don’t do that. Hurry on the tix – I’m sure they can round up 600 people in the next week who would be happy to take your seat.

Typically, I would not suffer gladly the news that anyone from Texas was coming to town, let alone two different musical acts. But situational ethics being the guiding principle of every aspect of my life from relationships with women to lying to women to lying to young children, I have not only learned to adapt to the exception, but to expect it. Fortunately, Robert Earl Keen and The South Austin Jug Band are not Brooks & Dunn or Big & Rich, one of which at least I assume to be from Texas, though I won’t even waste the time to Google either duo to confirm that assumption. The Jug band isn’t quite what it sounds like, seeing as they have no jug, but neither do they have a drummer. It’s typically atypical Texas roots music, kind of like a bluegrass band but with more teeth (literally & figuratively). They’ll be at the Abbey on Saturday night at 9 p.m. with openers Rock and Rye. The performance follows the screening of “Favela Rising,” a happy little yarn about drug trafficking in the slums of Rio.

By the way, speaking of bluegrass bands with teeth, this week the Concert Hall welcomes back local ambassadors The Badly Bent for the free Thursday night show. At least I think they all have their teeth. And like the cutting-edge technowizards that they are, they’ve even got a page at MySpace now. They would welcome your visit and ask that you leave them a message in their guestbook, whatever the hell that means. Damn kids.

As a chronicler of all things amusing and entertaining, some folks are often surprised to hear that I don’t really much care for live music, the arts, film, or patrons of music, the arts and film. Mostly, I like baseball, infantile political and social satire, and pretty girls. And cheesesteaks. This opens two more windows of opportunity for me to inform and befuddle. The first is trivial but reaches across two counties. On the west end of Pagosa Springs, in the vacant lot next to the Everyday gas station, sits a husband and wife from South Philadelphia in a tent that looks

like an Iron Horse Rally temporary tattoo parlor. In actuality, it’s the only place in the Four Corners to get an authentic cheesesteak. He gets all of his ingredients shipped in from South Philly, and they’re just wonderful. So that’s that.

The second window gives me voice to make my much-anticipated endorsement in next week’s Democratic primary for Colorado State Representative between Fightin’ Joe Colgan and Jeff Deitch. I believe that my views and opinions represent those of The Durango Telegraph and its principal ownership group, and the paper assumes both legal responsibility and liability in all matters relating to this endorsement. You’ll find their phone number on page 3. In what I think is a preview of the tone we’ll see and hear in the upcoming fall elections, it’s not necessary this year to put down one candidate to back another. How odd. While this upsets my plans to sit comfortably in my glass house hurling rocks, I think it’s a refreshingly pleasant change in the political atmosphere. From everything I’ve seen and heard, it seems Jeff Deitch would make a fine rep, and his stance on most of the issues facing our region is right-on from where I stand. But it’s the esteemed Mr. Colgan’s star to which I’m hooking my wagon. As a former journalist (or more so one than I am now anyway), I had an opportunity to watch Joe regularly in his alternating roles of councilman and mayor for the past 145 years. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has put in more time in public service to his community and even more so who can match his commitment to doing what he thinks is the best for the most, politics aside. He cemented it for me last week when he lent his support to the cause of saving public-access television and also by declaring his affinity for “Democracy Now!” There are not many in Joe’s generation of landed Durango gentry who speak up for the commoners, and we should not take such a voice for granted. By the way, there’s an election on Tuesday.

Got an upcoming event? Tell someone who cares. egholteen@hotmail.com. Catch “Ike’s America” on KDUR Monday mornings at 9:30 a.m. It’s awful. •

 

 

In this week's issue...

May 2, 2019
In the flow

Rafting season is already under way on the Animas River, which has been flowing at near record levels and almost double the average rate for this time of year.

April 25, 2019
Laying down the law

Over the past couple decades, Jeff Robbins’ work as an  oil and gas lawyer – with a specific focus on serving local communities – allowed him to build relationships and gain the experience needed to carry out one of Colorado’s most sweeping reforms to oil and gas regulations, Senate Bill 181. 

April 18, 2019
A new kind of cold war

It’s a good thing Heidi Steltzer can’t tolerate the heat or the open ocean. “I thought I wanted to be a marine biologist, and I got seasick,” said Steltzer, a professor in the Biology Department and Environmental Science program at Fort Lewis College.