Top Shelf

Gaelic Storm, The Dunwells and banjo camp

by Chris Aaland

There’s a lot happening this week, so let’s ignore my usual start-of-column drivel and get right to it. If bagpipes, bouzoukis and bodhráns are your bag, then don’t miss Gaelic Storm at the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The rousing Celtic band first found stardom by appearing as the party band in “Titanic” in 1997, just a year after they formed in Southern California. They haven’t let up since, releasing nine albums along the way. They’re known for channeling the feel of a rowdy Irish Pub with raucous sing-alongs, driving bagpipes and fiddle tunes. Their latest effort, “Chicken Boxer,” is only a few

Gaelic Storm blows into the Concert Hall Saturday at 7:30

months old.

British folk-rockers The Dunwells play the Community Concert Hall at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. This five-piece band has drawn comparisons to Mumford & Sons and Crosby, Stills & Nash thanks to its Americana flavor and three-part harmonies. Their debut album was recorded at Willie Nelson’s Pedernales Studio by Roxy Music bassist John Porter. Emerging from the pubs and clubs of Leeds, the band features brothers Joseph Dunwell (vocals, guitar) and David Dunwell (guitar, piano, banjo), cousins Johnny Lamb (vocals, drums) and Rob Clayton (bass) and longtime best mate Dave Hanson (guitar, pedal steel).
Want to jam, but you’re new to your instrument and afraid to join a pick in the festival campground? Pete Wernick has the answer through his jam camps, one of which lands in Durango the next six Mondays. Bluegrass fans know Wernick as Dr. Banjo and the creative force behind Hot Rize and its alter-ego, Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers. He recruited Sue Coulter, a member of the Colorado Bluegrass Hall of Honor, a multi-instrumentalist and an experienced teacher, to lead the Durango camp. Tuition is $195 and more information can be found at … just follow the links to Sue’s class. The camp kicks off this Mon., Oct. 8, and runs six weeks through Nov. 12 from 6-9 p.m. each night at Band Wagon Music.

Tickets remain for Sunday’s 7 p.m. Amy Goodman lecture at the Community Concert Hall, an event sponsored by KDUR and the Fort Lewis College Independent. Seating is general admission, so doors open at 6. Tickets are available at KDUR and Maria’s Bookshop. If you miss out on Goodman in Durango, consider heading over to the Mancos Opera House at 6 p.m. Monday to catch her. Goodman treks through 100 towns and cities across American on the “Democracy Now! Election 2012 Silenced Majority Tour.” Since Mitt Romney thinks 47 percent of us are freeloaders, my guess is Goodman will have more than ample fodder to rile up the masses. Both of Goodman’s appearances are free, but a $10 donation is suggested to help the promoters defer expenses. Remember, Mitt doesn’t like freeloaders.

KDUR’s fall fund drive, “The Local Spin,” starts Friday and runs for a full week. It kicks off with Guest DJ Day on Friday. The big question is, can local chefs (Doug from Carver’s, Desiree from The Palace, Alison from Cyprus Café, Adrian from Guido’s, Shawn from Steamworks and Warren from the Manna Soup Kitchen) dethrone reigning champion Ted Holteen? Methinks no, simply because Terrible Ted runs with the rich and famous and will appease the octogenarians in our community by playing Bing Crosby and Sammy Davis Jr. Everyone gets an hour to see who can raise the most for KDUR in the competition for the coveted Brieger Guest DJ Trophy. You can also pledge during your favorite show during the week … perhaps on my “Cask Strength” program from 6-8 p.m. Monday, when I’ll be joined by KDUR czar Bryant Liggett to spin loads of honky tonk. Visit, call 247-7262 or tune it to 91.9 or 93.9 FM.

Moe’s celebrates its sixth anniversary on Saturday with DJs Peter Robot and Treazon from 8 ‘til close and drink specials all night long. There’s also Matt P’s blacklight birthday bash, featuring the sounds of the Intelligents, Goldfizz and Juicy Money from 8 ‘til close Friday, plus Thursday’s recurring Salsa Night.
Hello Dollface is one of Durango’s hardest working bands, and they’re at the Summit at 9:30 p.m. tonight (Thurs., Oct. 4) and the Derailed Saloon at 8:30 p.m. Friday. In just three years, this four-piece indie soul group has done more than 200 shows, released three albums and quit their “jobs” … all in a sincere effort to live and relay their truth: “Live with love, passion, peace and purpose.” You can help them by picking up a CD at one of these shows. They’re launching a kick-starter campaign this Friday to raise $10,000 to distribute their third record, “Virtue,” nationally.

The Summit’s lineup also includes the electro-rock band Jimkata at 10 p.m. Saturday and the First Friday pairing of live music (this month, it’s Marinade) with visual artists at 10 p.m. Friday.

Also of note: Matt Kavan brings local blues to tonight’s Ska-B-Q and Psychedelic Mojo plays the Balcony’s season-closing night at 5 p.m. Saturday.
In honor of KDUR’s fund drive, this week’s Top Shelf list details eight of my favorite shows on 91.9 and 93.9:

1. “The Velvet Rut,” Saturday, 9-noon. Kynan and Rags play the dark side of country music … lots of songs about whiskey and guns.
2. “Rezbilly Breakdown,” Tuesday, 6:30-9 p.m. Stephanie Benally alternates with DJ D-Lars’ “Sweet By and By” to air the same good-time bluegrass that North Dakotan David Smith played for nearly a decade.
3. “Upbeat,” Monday, 8-10 p.m. Jeff McGarvin follows me with music that’s good for the soul. It’s Americana-based, and Jeff’s a bit of a musical historian, so expect deep cuts and lots of musical factoids.
4. “Audience of One,” Monday, 1-3 p.m. Jon Lynch digs into the new music playbox for a classic college radio indie rock show.
5. “Lovely Day Radio,” Tuesday, 6-8 a.m. Steph gets up early to spin vintage and contemporary Motown and funk.
7. “Rock ‘n’ Soul Sputnik,” Friday, 9-10:30 a.m. Michael Davenport blends garage, rockabilly, hillbilly, surf, soul and R&B.
8. “Heart Beat of Zion meets Healing of the Nation,” Fridays, 6-8 p.m. Rasta Stevie, Revelation and Queen Coleen do reggae, dancehall and Rasta dub. Reggae isn’t my strong suit, but Stevie’s energy and effort (he regularly interviews reggae legends) puts most DJs to shame.

So don’t become some background noise? Email me at


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