End of the season, â??Texas Tornadoâ?? & The Belleville Outfit


by Chris Aaland

or sports fans, mid-November marks yet another changing of the guard. Up on the mesa-like terrace that houses Fort Lewis College, it means putting the fall sports season to bed. Equipment is inventoried, repaired and stored until the spring, student-athletes are left to wonder what might have been, coaches scurry to recruit replacements for graduating seniors, and the record books get dusted off for their annual update. Careers end, and the best of the best get listed in eight-point type as being ranked No. 5 all-time in blocks per set or No. 12 in yards per game. An eerie silence falls over the fields, one that allows you to hear wind and snowfall instead of whistles and cheers.

Indoors, the squeaks of sneakers and bounces of balls fill the gym. Basketball has always had a more urban mystique than outdoor sports. There’s something very global about soccer, very Rockwelleian about baseball and very blue collar about football. But basketball – sorry, Gene Hackman and Hoosiers – belongs to the city. It’s techno, hip-hop and thrash metal all rolled into a no-look, alley-oop finished with a tomahawk dunk and a finger wag.

Outside on Dirks and Dennison fields, the cold wind blows.

Tracy Lawrence, who plays an unplugged set at 7 p.m. tonight (Thurs., Nov. 18) in the Community Concert Hall, is a Top 40 country artist who commands your attention, even if you’re not a country fan. To wit: Lawrence has posted more No. 1 country singles than Glen Campbell and Barbara Mandrell, more Top 5 hits than Shania Twain, Faith Hill and the Judds, and more Top 10 tunes than Ricky Skaggs, Charlie Rich and Dwight Yoakam. I’m kind of fond of Ricky, the Silver Fox and Dwight, so my eyebrows raised. Among his familiar songs are “Sticks and Stones,” “Texas Tornado” and “Alibi.” You’ve heard Tracy’s tale: young singer inspired by George Strait and Southern rock moves to Nashville, plays hallowed halls like the Bluebird Café, gets noticed by A&R men, signs with major label and gets rich. Lawrence has given back, though. His foundation has raised millions for the Alzheimer’s Association (the disease claimed his grandmother), the fight against Cystic Fibrosis, disaster relief and giving instruments to school children. Bayfield artist D.L. Marble opens.

The Belleville Outfit returns to town at 7:30 p.m. tonight for an all-ages Durango Acoustic Music show at the Durango Arts Center. The band’s promo says it all: “With an energy and charm that inspires nothing short of a celebration, this young band of early twenty-somethings is firmly weaving its signature blend of pop, Gypsy, big band swing and American roots music into the hearts of listeners.” If you attended recent Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass Festivals, you’d concur. The lineup of Rob Teter (guitar), Connor Forsyth (piano, B3 organ), Jonathan Konya (drums), Phoebe Hunt (violin), Marshall Hood (guitar) and Jeff Brown (bass) has charmed the pants off Pagosa festivarians, both onstage and in the campground, where their late-night jams around one campsite in particular have been unadvertised summer highlights. Those in the know gravitate toward that particular camp, with its giant canopy that covers, among other things, a piano — not something normally found amidst fire rings,

charcoal grills and beer coolers. Just three years into its career, the Belleville Outfit has two fine albums under its collective belt (“Time to Stand” and “Wanderin’”) and has toured nonstop. Their music appeals to all ages and likes, and, if their 2008 Henry Strater Theatre gig was any indication, ladies in particular like gyrating to their sounds. Yes, the dance floor will be open Thursday, and tickets are priced affordably.

This week’s Starlight schedule includes Salsa Night with Dario at 8 p.m. tonight, dancing with DJ Double D at 9 p.m. Friday, live art demonstrations and music from Alan at 8 p.m. Saturday, Musica del Mundo at 8 p.m. Sunday and the bluegrass stylings of Old North State at 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Also of note: Kirk James plays solo blues at 5 p.m. tonight at Rylee Mac’s; Freeplay rocks out at the now year-round Ska-B-Q in Bodo Park; the Jelly Belly Boogie Band is at Desperado’s on Friday; Steve & Amy perform at the pre-Thanksgiving Durango Farmers Market from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. in front of First National Bank of Durango; and the Kirk James Blues Band does the Schank House at Vallecito at 7 p.m. Saturday.

This week’s Top Shelf list looks forward a few months to the Community Concert Hall’s winter and spring lineup, announced earlier this week. While this list isn’t complete (visit www.durangoconcerts.com for all the dirt), these are 10 that caught my eye:

-Ailey II, Feb. 1. Dance at its finest.

-Brubeck Brothers Quartet, Feb. 11. Like their papa, Dave, brothers Dan and Chris Brubeck bounce between traditional and contemporary jazz.

-The Wailin’ Jennys, Feb. 17. A post-Lillith, pseudo-old time, Canadian folk trio that I’ve been reading a lot about lately.

-Dailey & Vincent, Feb. 24. Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent have been touted as bluegrass’ hottest act.

-One Night of Queen, March 23. Gary Mullen’s tribute band recreates the music, theatrics and pyrotechnics of one of the all-time great rock bands.

-Great Big Sea, March 24. I’m not a big Celtic guy, but ever since seeing Ashley MacIsaac tear the innards out of Telluride in 1997, I’ve had a soft spot in my heart for the Scottish/Celtic sounds from Newfoundland and Nova Scotia.

-The Infamous Stringdusters with Waiting on Trial, March 31. The return of favorite son Travis Book, coupled with my birthday, makes this a no-brainer. Somehow I know there’s going to be a Book/Davis moment or two in there.

-Los Lonely Boys, April 5. Henry, Jojo and Ringo mix Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana and Ritchie Valens. And Willie likes them. Strangely, I’ve never caught their live act, but plan on this one.

-Hot 8 Brass Band, May 5. Does it get any better than traditional New Orleans second line parade music?

-Johnny Clegg, May 8. Long before Paul Simon introduced the world to Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Clegg had formed his unique multi-cultural band performing African jazz-pop music, Zulu chants and choreography and multilayered vocal harmonies – songs which feature English lyrics alongside South African musical structures.

‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever? E-mail me at chrisa@gobrainstorm.net.

 

 

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