Lube job, Genuine Cowhide & â??Journeymanâ??s Wagerâ??

by Chris Aaland

t some point in dark hours between really late at night and really early in the morning, Chuckles sent me out to the car for a lighter. I’d just fallen asleep after a monumental day that included shaking Phil Lesh’s hand after the Dead sang the national anthem at Coors Field. Groggy and drunk, I slipped on my Crocs and walked down the stairway at the two-star La Quinta Inn on Park Avenue West. La Quinta sits in industrial territory between I-25 and Denver’s commercial railroad hub.

The parking lot was pitch black … it was 3 a.m., after all. As I approached my ride in search of a torch for Chuckles, I suddenly found myself parallel with the asphalt. Just like Charlie Brown when Lucy pulls back the football, I crashed. Only Charlie had the benefit of soft grass to land in. I fell into a giant puddle of motor oil that some trucker had changed in the parking lot.

I returned to Room 205 covered in oil from head to toe, bleeding from my left knee and wide awake. I tossed Chuckles an old matchbook I found in the car. He yelled at me that it wasn’t a lighter like he requested. I snapped. A cooler of beer was sent flying across the room and our perfect day of baseball and the Dead ended badly.

Around 6:30 a.m. I got up and showered. Sleep didn’t come easy because everything smelled and tasted like a Jiffy Lube. In the shower as I scrubbed oil and blood from my body, I had a disturbing revelation: no matter how much I compost, recycle and bring my own cloth bags to the grocery store, some asshole will surely change his oil and leave it to seep into the South Platte River, undoing all the environmental good deeds I’ve done.

It’s nice to return to a place where good deeds happen each day.

Taste of Durango shuts down Main Ave. from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday and raises money for Manna Soup Kitchen. If you’re new to town or live in a cave and rarely venture out, here’s the skinny: Trade your greenbacks for tasting coins, and then sample food from Durango’s best restaurants and craft beers from our four microbreweries. There will also be live music and activities for the whole family – except for your furry, four-legged friends. Dogs aren’t welcome at Taste of Durango.

Perhaps no single band did more to invigorate country music than BR5-49. By blending ‘50s honky tonk, Western swing, rockabilly and the ‘60s Bakersfield sound, channeling Hank Williams and Hank Snow, playing vintage instruments and performing regularly at Robert’s Western Wear in Nashville in the mid-‘90s, they became darlings of traditionalists near and far. Their frontman, Chuck Mead, plays the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Mead released his solo debut, “Journeyman’s Wager,” in March. Mead’s touring band features

Sweet Sunny South is a Durango favorite, having played here countless times for the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, Durango Acoustic Music and a host of fund-raisers for nonprofit groups. They’re back at the Henry Strater Theatre at 8 p.m. Saturday. Now eight years into their journey, the Paonia-based quartet plays old-time and bluegrass. While rooted in the Carter Family and the Stanley Brothers, they’re best-known songs are originals, penned by Bill Powers and Rob Miller.

Genuine Cowhide brings its version of retro honky tonk and Western swing to the Summit at 9:30 p.m. Friday in a Durango Acoustic Music production. Fronted by Dale X Allen, the lead guitarist for Dave Insley’s Careless Smokers, this Austin-based outfit plays hard twang with nods to Bob Wills, Dave Dudley and Spaghetti Westerns. If one night of Cowhide isn’t enough for you, they also play the Hollywood Bar in Dolores at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Carvers hosts “Feed the Roots,” a reggae-themed fund-raiser to support the children of Uganda, from 7-11 p.m. Friday on their patio. A Dub Rock Band and DJ I-Gene will perform. The event has a suggested $5 donation and proceeds from crafts and Lightner Creek Lager sales benefit the Ssejinja Children’s Foundation.

Toga! Toga! Toga! Fashion those old bed sheets into a toga and wear it to Steamworks on Friday and your cover charge and first drink will be free. You can also dance to the deep electronic funk of Megaphon. Also on tap at Steamworks this week: Honky Tonk Zydeco at 10 p.m. Saturday and an “Aftertaste” party from 1-10 p.m. Sunday with live mixes by Link, Master D, Ralpstad, DJ I-Gene, Posh Josh, Bigfoot Bridges, Spark Madden, Benjamin K and Mr. Anderson. Steamworks will accept Taste of Durango coins at this event.

Equaleyes comes to the Summit on Tuesday with its blend of rock, reggae, funk, bluegrass and pop/electronic sounds. With a strong fan base in Idaho, Utah and Colorado, Equaleyes packs the dance floor wherever it plays — including the Fox Theatre in Boulder and the Knitting Factory in Boise.

Equaleyes comes to the Summit on Tuesday with its blend of rock, reggae, funk, bluegrass and pop/electronic sounds. With a strong fan base in Idaho, Utah and Colorado, Equaleyes packs the dance floor wherever it plays — including the Fox Theatre in Boulder and the Knitting Factory in Boise.

Moe’s Starlight Lounge features Cyle Talley during FAC at 6 p.m. Friday, live DJ music with Peter Robot at 9 p.m. Saturday, “Musica del Mundo” with DJ X and Maize at 8 p.m. Sunday, and Kentucky Deluxe (Sam and Kat) on Tuesday.

With the addition of keyboard player Jeff Dysinger, Jack Ellis and Larry Carver have morphed into a trio and changed their name to High Altitude Blues. They play their first Durango gig at the Derailed Saloon tonight (Thursday) at 7 p.m.

The Derailed Saloon also hosts Formula 151 at 9 p.m. Friday.

Jack Talmage brings country to the Diamond Belle Saloon at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A seasoned veteran in the local music scene, Talmage has played in countless local bluegrass and country bands.

This week’s Top Shelf list recalls highlights of last week’s trip to Denver:

• My first-ever Dead show

• Seeing Chuckles’ face when he shook hands with Phil and Warren; he’s been to more than 100 Dead shows, but never met one of them

• The Coors Clubhouse — best seats ever for Rockies baseball

• A trip to Bill’s Sports Collectibles, my favorite store on earth

• Falling Rock Tap House on Blake St. with 75 handles!

Got the crude oil blues? E-mail me at