Ear to the ground

“I believe your ass has been trying to call me.”

– A Durangoan without AT&T after getting butt-dialed by a friend

Spacing out

One of Durango’s Bar D Wranglers has blasted into orbit. The music of Joel Racheff – a local singer-songwriter, Diamond Belle regular and the Bar D Chuckwagon’s bass player – has gone where few tunes have gone before – outer space.

Five years ago, Racheff and musician Brendan McKinney, of the Vail Valley, met up in Nashville. The two, who been friends for years and performed occasionally as the duo The Finaglers, sat down and started writing a tune called “Get Yourself Paroled.”

“We pretty much knew we were on to something right away with that one,” McKinney, told theVail Daily. “We got about three quarters of the way through it and then went out drinking. The next day we were a little hung over at the publishing house but it was still sounding good so we added another verse and tightened up the chorus.”

McKinney went on to record the tune last October with his band, The 99 Brown Dogs. In mid-March, “Get Yourself Paroled” went well beyond the charts and into outer space. The song made history during the recent South By Southwest music festival, when it was broadcast live from the International Space Station to Austin, Texas. For the performance, astronaut Cady Coleman played a flute with a live uplink of her band on earth. The tune was broadcast before a live SXSW audience on March 15.

“We had a great time writing that song,” Racheff told theDaily, “But outer space? We could’ve never predicted it would end up there.”

Durangoans can visit Racheff back on Earth this Saturday. The Derailed Saloon is hosting a benefit for local Fawn Lofton, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, at 6 p.m. April 23. The event features a silent auction, Las Vegas vacation giveaway and live music from Racheff and band Freeplay.

Leftover grass

Procrastinating festivarians could be out of luck. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, set for June 16-19, is on the verge of selling out, a first in the event’s 38-year history.  

As of press time, all four-day passes, camping passes and single-day passes for Friday, Saturday and Sunday had been purchased. Only a few single-day Thursday passes remained.

While nearly half of the tickets have been sold to Coloradans, ticket orders have come from as far off as Norway, according to Planet Bluegrass organizers. As always, this year’s lineup is fairly eclectic by “bluegrass” standards. Artists like Led Zepellin’s Robert Plant and The Decemberists are on the bill alongside Telluride regulars, like Sam Bush and Emmylou Harris.




In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows