Triple crowns, Reservoir Hill & Edgar Winter

by Chris Aaland

Just as the summer concert season winds down, sports action heats up. It’s an annual autumnal occurrence not much different than the changing of the colors, the smell of green chiles being roasted and college freshmen racing across campus on their longboards.

This year’s festival circuit was a crazy one. Like many of you, I found my way to Meltdown, Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass, Telluride Bluegrass, RockyGrass and two days of Phish.

Now, as the calendar turns to September, it means meaningful football games for the first time since February, another pennant race in baseball, and, for the first time in my 42 years, a legitimate baseball Triple Crown chase.

Albert Pujols, Joey Votto and Carlos Rodriquez are racing toward baseball immortality. What makes it better is that their respective teams, the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies, are in the thick of the playoff hunt.

The Triple Crown is a sacred milestone in America’s pastime. Not since Boston’s Carl Yaztremski batted .326 with 44 homers and 121 RBI in 1967 has someone accomplished this feat. Add 30 years for the last time a National Leaguer won all three statistical categories (St. Louis Cardinals left fielder Joe Medwick for you baseball historians).

Pujols (.318, 35 homers, 95 RBI), Votto (.325, 32, 94) and Gonzales (.325, 29, 91) have four weeks to duplicate Yaz’s efforts.

Records are meant to be broken and history rewritten, although not to everyone’s satisfaction. Most fans hoped Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs set in 1927 would stand forever. Of course, an elongated season helped Roger Maris break the mark some 34 years later and baseball’s roid rage allowed Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa to shatter Maris’ record during the infamous years of 1998 - 2001.

Whether you’re glued to the tube this weekend watching the boys of summer or heading out for live music, Labor Day Weekend is the perfect time to kiss the summer goodbye.

The 15th annual Four Corners Folk Festival takes place Friday through Sunday on Reservoir Hill in Pagosa Springs. Organizers pulled out all the stops this year by booking headliners Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Sam Bush, and the Infamous Stringdusters. Don’t miss the undercard, which includes such artists as the John Jorgensen Quintet (whose leader is one of the world’s most gifted guitarists), Celtic supergroup Solas, award-winning singer/songwriter Sarah Siskind, up-and-coming bluegrass siren Sarah Jarosz, and longtime favorites Sweet Sunny South, Anne & Pete Sibley, Over the Rhine and Crooked Still.

Through the years, FolkWest festivals have been marked as much by the on-site camping experience as by its diverse music. If you’re a seasoned festival veteran, you know that campgrounds fill up quickly and tarp space is considerably more limited at the Labor Day festival than at June’s Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass. Take a hint and get there early, as campgrounds open today (Thurs., Sept. 2) and fill up quickly. Campground passes are required.

One concert that has flown under the radar is Edgar Winter at the Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio at 6 p.m. Sunday. With a built-in audience of thousands already in place in the form of Ignacio Bike Week participants, local promotion has been sporadic. The 62-year-old Winter warrants a trek southbound. Best known as the multi-instrumentalist who performed 1972’s groundbreaking instrumental, “Frankenstein,” covered by acts as diverse as Phish, Mötley Crüe and thousands of drunken air-drummers worldwide, his career has wandered through Southern rock, blue-eyed soul, R&B, blues, and jazz. Expect all of the classic hits from his vintage bands, Edgar Winter’s White Trash and the Edgar Winter Band, plus cuts from his well-received latest album, “Rebel Rocker.”

KSUT’s September on-air pledge drive is the largest event it its annual quest for new members. This year’s fund challenges listeners to pledge for such premiums as KSUT’s “Roots and Rhythms, Vol. 4,” Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers’ “Mojo,” John Prine’s “In Person & on Stage,” and KSUT member T-shirts. Pledges received by Friday, Sept. 10 will be entered into a drawing to receive a pair of VIP tickets to the 17th annual Telluride Blues and Brews Festival. Call 563-0255 or visit to support Four Corners public radio.

The hip-hop duo Dead Prez brings its confrontational style and socialist lyrics to the Abbey at 9:30 p.m. tonight, Sept. 2. Composed of and M-1, Dead Prez maintains an ethical, militant stance against corporate control of the media, especially hip-hop record labels. The bill also includes White Owl, Drastek and Diabolical Sound Platoon.

The Congress, which blends feel-good American music with Southern R&B, plays the Summit at 8 p.m. tonight. Led by guitarist Scott Lane and vocalist/guitarist Jonathan Meadows, the band transports listeners to the Haight-Ashbury, New Orleans’ French Quarter and the Mason-Dixon Line.

The Summit’s schedule this week also includes First Friday event with Skins & Needles and a live visual artist Friday; Lucy with History Of at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Summit; and a “Karaoke Gong Show” with DJ Daryll at 9 p.m. next Wednesday. If you don’t like what’s being sung onstage, you can gong them. The only stipulation is you have to buy them a drink.

Elsewhere: The Scrugglers bring their high and lonesome sound to the Ska Brewing World Headquarters for tonight’s Ska-B-Q from 4-6 p.m.; the Kirk James Blues Band rocks the Sky Ute Casino Resort at 8:30 p.m. Friday; the Starlight hosts DJ Double at 9 p.m. Friday; Cosmic Accident struts its stuff at the Purple Haze from 8 to midnight Friday and Saturday; Seven plays the weekly Durango Brewing Co. barbecue at the Starlight from 4:30-8 p.m. Saturday; and Link spins music at the Starlight at 9 p.m. Saturday.

In honor of Carlos Gonzales and his Colorado Rockies, this week’s Top Shelf list recounts the last 10 Triple Crown winners:

1. 1967 – Carl Yaztremski, Boston Red Sox

2. 1966 – Frank Robinson, Baltimore Orioles

3. 1956 – Mickey Mantle, New York Yankees

4. 1947 – Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox

5. 1942 – Ted Williams, Boston Red Sox

6. 1937 – Joe Medwick, St. Louis Cardinals

7. 1934 – Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees

8. 1933 – Jimmie Foxx, Philadelphia Athletics

9. 1933 – Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies

10. 1925 – Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals

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