Ladies Day, Genuine Cowhide & Redneck Tenors

by Chris Aaland

I’ve become a slave to online communities. MySpace. Facebook. Linked In. Even MyFort, a virtual meeting place for Fort Lewis College alumni that I launched in July. Each day at work, I open web browsers to at least three of these. I’m sure many of you are just as guilty. And our bosses thought we dicked around at work before! Then I come home and guess what? I’m online again.

One of my first Facebook friend requests came from a guy named Colin – someone I hadn’t thought about in more than 20 years. Colin, who was a year ahead of me in high school, has little in common with me. He, Blankenheim and I worked on the night watering crew at Applewood Golf Course. Barring rain, we’d spend each spring night roaring around the course on ATVs to change the sprinkler heads – usually putting us home sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. Once summer arrived, we switched to daytime shifts, mowing greens, weed whacking, repairing sprinkler lines and picking up trash.

Ladies’ Day at Applewood happened each Tuesday. That meant wine and cheese was placed near the ninth tee box. Colin taught me the trick to Ladies’ Day: pull up to the ninth tee to empty the trash, grab a wine-in-the-box, shake it gently and then lie to somebody’s grandma that it was empty. The grannies usually tipped us with homemade cookies. We could nab three or four cartons of joy in a morning and then pray for a rainout. Do the math, and you can imagine my first hangover.

Looking over Colin’s profile, I see he’s friends with other former Applewood workers I vaguely remember. These are the memories of online communities.

You can make your own memories over in Dolores on Saturday, as Genuine Cowhide makes its triumphant return to the Hollywood Bar at 9 p.m. Cowhide features Dale X Allen (lead axeman for Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers) on guitar and vocals. The Austin-based band blends honky-tonk, rock ‘n’ roll and retro hillbilly with elements of rockabilly, spaghetti Western, two-step and Western swing.

Durango Acoustic Music brings the Boulder Acoustic Society to the Henry Strater Theatre at 7:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday). BAS, which played at the Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass and Four Corners Folk festivals last summer, mashes up blues, folk, gospel, indie, world music and even punk on such diverse instruments as violin, accordion, bass and percussion. Although initially billed as a 21-and-over event, this is now an all-ages show.

Big-time hip-hop comes to the Abbey for an all-ages event at 10 p.m. on Friday with Evidence of Dilated Peoples, DJ Vajra, Kahlee and the Smob. Touring in support of his latest album, “The Layover EP,” Evidence is a rapper, graffiti artist and producer who earned a Grammy for coproduction work on Kanye West’s debut, “College Dropout.”

Get into the holiday spirit this weekend at the Community Concert Hall with a pair of seasonal offerings. Cy Scarborough and the rest of the Bar-D Wranglers do XMAS cowboy style at 7 p.m. Saturday. Formed by Scarborough in 1969, the Bar-D boys blend Western music, cowboy poetry, humor and some of the best flat-pick guitar around. At 7 p.m. Sunday, the Three Redneck Tenors offer up their Christmas SPEC-TAC-YULE-AR. They’re a cross between Larry the Cable Guy and Pavarotti. Billy Bob, Billy Joe and Billy Billee are three classically trained cousins who mix Beethoven, Puccini, NASCAR and light beer. Yee-haw.

On Friday, the Summit hosts a local blues twin-bill, “Blues at the Summit,” featuring Larry Carver & Jack Ellis at 5 p.m. and the Kirk James Blues Band at 9. Other Summit offerings this week include Elizabethan Report and The Good Neighbors tonight and Felonious Groove Foundation with Fantastic Planet on Saturday.

Telluride’s Hillbilly Hotel returns to Steamworks on Friday, bringing along their danceable mix of blues, rock and soul.

Dog at Large, a rock ‘n’ roll mainstay from the classic Farquahrts years in the ‘80s and ‘90s, will have a reunion gig at Legends in the Centennial Center at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Sean Madden plays an acoustic set at the Ska Brewing World Headquarters at 5 p.m. tonight to celebrate the opening of the new Zia Taqueria satellite location.

Just in time for holiday shopping, this week’s Top Shelf list recaps my top 10 albums of 2008, regardless of genre. Tune in to my “Cask Strength” radio program on KDUR (91.9 and 93.9 FM and ) from 8-10 p.m. Wednesdays to hear many of these artists on a regular basis.

1. Drive-By Truckers, “Brighter than Creation’s Dark” – After their messy divorce, Jason Isbell left the Truckers for a solo career and Shonna Tucker kept the band. Isbell’s departure left more room for the seven standout Mike Cooley-sung numbers.

2. Beautiful Losers Society, “Aim Low” – Cortez crooner Chuck Barry and company do Merle, Hank and George proud with this beer-soaked collection of everyday life.

3. Chatham County Line, “IV” – These North Carolinians play less bluegrass and more Americana with each release. Their fourth effort showcases Dave Wilson’s sensitive, emotional songwriting.

4. Danny Paisley & the Southern Grass, “The Room Over Mine” – This is exactly what Big Mon had in mind when he invented bluegrass.

5. Dave Insley, “West Texas Wine” – We’re lucky to be able to rope Insley into a couple of local shows each year. His evolution as a honky-tonk songwriter and classic twang interpreter continues on his third solo record.

6. Town Mountain, “Heroes & Heretics” – Greer and company play high-energy bluegrass originals, plus heart-wrenching covers of Springsteen and Townes.

7. Metallica, “Death Magnetic” – James, Lars and Kirk return to their speed metal roots for their best album in more than 20 years.

8. Bob Dylan, “The Bootleg Series Vol. 8: Tell Tale Signs – Rare and Unreleased 1989-2006” – When you release a canon of work like Dylan did in the ’60s, it’s easy to ignore later masterpieces. This collection of rarities and alternate takes validates Dylan’s past two decades.

9. Fred Eaglesmith, “Tinderbox” – The Canadian songsmith calls upon Ontario farmers, Buddhism and Tom Waits-tinged noise for inspiration.

10. The Dixons, “Still Your Fool” – One of the year’s best country albums comes from an unknown Brooklyn band? Hell yeah! •

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