Iron Horses, Hi-Beams and jamborees

by Lindsay Nelson

Memorial Day weekend is upon us once again, bringing as it does each year the true beginning of the tourist season, the frustrating out-of-town recreationist period, and the sunburn and road rash era. From June until August, we’ll alternately thrill to the joys of outdoor recreation and whine incessantly about all the other people who’re ruining it. It might be the last vestige of Durango’s old ways clinging to life amid the wine bars, pricey condos and dog laws. If there’s one thing we should have all learned by now, it is the universal truth that nothing stays the same; life itself is fundamentally a constant state of dynamism.

Take, for example, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. Once it was just a guy and his brother and a bet, who probably never imagined that one day their train-racing stunt would give birth to a race of thousands. Over the years, the Iron Horse has morphed into a serious road race with corporate sponsors and all kinds of rules. Lame rules like, only 2,500 people can enter, and you have to finish by 1 p.m. or you’ll be loaded up on a paddy wagon and hauled in to Silverton with your head hung low. This modern obsession with safety and orderliness is such a drag.

All Spandex jokes aside, the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic is great for entertainment purposes. For example, late ‘90’s chart-topper Shawn Mullins (remember “Lullabye,” that masterpiece of spoken-word folk-pop that had high schoolers in 1998 wondering who Bob Seger was? That Shawn Mullins) is playing the Saturday evening concert on Main Avenue, brought to you by the Wells Group. Technically it’s free, but donations to benefit Mercy Health Foundation Diagnostic Breast Care Center are suggested. Mullins was never able to match the success of that album “Soul’s Core,” which went platinum and was actually his sixth release, but he’s still going strong, producing music and appearing on CMT’s Pure Country 12-Pack Countdown with his latest single, “Beautiful Wreck.” It’s catchy and he still has that deep, gruff yet smooth voice. Check him out Saturday on the Main Avenue stage, starting at 7 p.m.

A bit later on Saturday evening, climb the dirty stairs of the Summit for an unlikely honky-tonk show by Denver-area band Halden Wofford & The Hi-Beams. These boys bring back the heart and soul of Country and Western music with their original songs and classic style. Their Storyville show four years ago was fantastic, and although the Summit offers somewhat more limited dancing space and does not have ice cold Schlitz in a can, it’ll be a damned good time.

Just up the road from the Summit is the Wild Horse Saloon, and on both Friday and Saturday nights it’s hosting cowboy singer-songwriter Sand Sheff, formerly a fixture on the Durango music scene. Visiting from Utah this weekend, he’s got three new recordings to reveal and lots of old friends to get reacquainted with. Be sure to stop in and say howdy.

Another hallmark of the summer is live music and rowdy


carousing up on El Patio at College and Main. Under the clamshell this Friday night are the Lawn Chair Kings, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Go for the “Trailer Park” song, stay for the margaritas and drunken bikers.

See the Lawn Chair Kings and diverse musical acts under the big tent in Silverton next weekend at the inaugural Silverton Jamboree. Taking up the torch after the demise of our beloved Silverton Jubilee, the Jamboree boasts a full day of music at Kendall Mountain in Silverton on Saturday, along with juke joint musical events at downtown bars both Friday and Saturday nights. Tickets are cheap, and camping is even cheaper, making this the most accessible outdoor music festival of the season. On the lineup are the aforementioned LCK, plus the Derailers, the Lee Brothers, Sisters Morales and Warsaw. There’s also bellydancing, bloody mary service and additional Sunday entertainment in the form of bluegrass, swing dancing and African dance & drumming. Get your tickets online at now and help bring back the high-altitude hell-raising.

In the world of film, the Abbey comes through again with “The Namesake,” an adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s beautiful novel of the same name. Directed by Mira Nair (“Monsoon Wedding,” “Kama Sutra,” “Hysterical Blindness,” etc.), this movie promises a rich, compelling story of the Ganguli family from India and their first-generation American son trapped in the limbo between old traditions and new. A fun side note: the aforementioned son, the namesake, is played by Kal Penn, known to most adolescent American filmgoers as Kumar from “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.” Fortunately, he is more than capable of playing an unbaked character at least as well as he does the herbally medicated college student thing.

Correction: As incestuous as the local music scene may be, in the case of the band Boxcar, no former members of Broke Mountain are presently on the roster. Also, there is nothing old-timey about this new Americana rock band that rips the keyboards and drums as hard as the lap steel. The Telegraph strives for accuracy, but not always with the greatest success. Thank you for your understanding.

As I predicted last week, Wilco’s “Sky Blue Sky” made a big splash on the local charts this past week, and deservedly so – this is one great record. •




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