Ear to the ground:

“It’s like the time I was drinking at a resort in Mexico and realized I was the only one getting out of the pool bar to use the restroom.”
– Local woman relating her spring break experience to current arguments regarding recreation on the Animas River

Going, going, Gourds

Many local music fans are still in mourning after the darlings of the hillbilly alt scene, The Gourds, called it quits. After 19 years as “Austin’s Greatest Band” – and numerous raucous shows in Durango – The Gourds hung up their washboards and accordions with a goodbye show in Austin on Oct. 27.

According to the band’s website, it is unclear how long the “hiatus” will last, although individual  band members will continue recording and performing on their various side projects.

In the meantime, those jonesing for a glimpse of Kevin Russell, Jimmy Smith and company shaking their stuff to a lively rendition of “El Paso” can get their fix next Thurs., Dec. 12, at Fort Lewis College. KDUR will screen a 96-minute rockumentary on the band, “All the Labor,” at 7 p.m. in the Vallecito Room.

The recently released documentary was directed by fellow Gourds groupie Doug Hawes-Davis, co-founder of Missoula-based High Plains Films and founder of the Big Sky Film Festival.

 “All the Labor” is chock full of live footage of what many call one of the most undersung “junkyard rock” groups of all time, with some even going so far as to compare them to The Band. The film includes lots of bonus scenes, in-depth interviews as well as trademark Gourd wit and randomstance.

“‘All the Labor’ ... touches on the key biographical points while understanding that nothing about the members is as interesting as its richly invigorating groove connection,” writes the Austin American-Statesman. “Bassist Smith is the most mysterious member, and his story is artfully told through a quirky vignette that cuts a Keaton-esque run to the convenience store on a bicycle with Smith’s solo acoustic swipe at Stadium Blitzer.”

The Statesman goes on to comment on the band’s enduring commitment, even in the face of marginal commercial notoriety. “These five are in it together against a music industry that can be quite brutal, especially when the songs are too arcane for Americana and too gritty for jam band status. Named after a Smith song, ‘All the Labor’ is about a functional family of organic musicians.  What sets it apart from other music docs is that they aren’t making bands like The Gourds anymore.”

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