Top Shelf

The Ride, The Main Squeeze and the Zen Cowboy

by Chris Aaland

The Main Squeeze plays its brand of heartland funk at the ACT on Sat., July 12, at 10 p.m.

I was going to put a lot of effort into a clever lead this week, but the sight of a Mennonite family bungeeing their baby’s car seat to the rear wheel well of an ATV at last Friday’s Silverton Fourth of July parade (while mom sat on the other cradling a toddler) has rendered me stupid. Too many beers at the Avalanche Brewing Co. and rum drinks at Nordstrom’s 44th birthday bash didn’t help, either.

Deal with it.

The Ride Festival locks down Telluride Town Park for the third year in a row this weekend. It’s a much lower-key event than Bluegrass or Blues & Brews, meaning tarp space is easy to come by and there’s always room in the dance pit right in front of the stage. This year’s headliners are eclectic, ranging from the dub/acid jazz of Thievery Corporation to the indie folk of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros to the alternative rock of Spoon to the bluesy Americana of Joan Osborne.

A radio conference in Denver will keep me out of Telluride. If I were going, I wouldn’t miss Memphis alt-country band Lucero; Long Beach hard rockers Rival Sons; the dirty, hippie blues of JJ Grey & Mofro; and jazzy funksters Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe … the latter if for no other reason than to hear their take on the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army,” complete with jazz flute.

Durango Massive Productions hosts two sets by The Main Squeeze at 10 p.m. Saturday at the Animas City Theatre. The Main Squeeze is a raging funk experience born within the thriving live music scene of Bloomington, Ind. Since coming together in late 2009, the Squeeze has managed to establish a unique sound and identity in a short period of time.

Zen cowboy singer/songwriter Chuck Pyle performs at the Edgemont Picnic Grounds at 6 p.m. Sunday, with a picnic preceding the event. This is one of a pair of laid-back concerts put on by Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering talent wrangler Karren Little this summer. Pyle’s 11 CDs showcase songs that have been recorded by the likes of John Denver, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Suzy Bogguss, Chris LeDoux and Jerry Jeff Walker.

Sunday marks the opening of the 38th annual Music in the Mountains with the “Summer Soiree” donor event. Everyday folk like you and me can catch the Mana Quartet playing a free concert in the First National Bank lobby at noon Monday. Visit for a full schedule and more.

Dancing hippies unite! Hot Buttered Rum returns to the Animas City Theatre at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Lest you’ve forgotten, this good-timey newgrass quintet lives for songs.

The Community Concert Hall’s free Concerts in the Park continues from 5:30-7:30 tonight (Thurs., July 10) with Groove Factor Four. Comprised of Chad MacCluskey (bass), Jack Maynes (keyboards), Brad Tarpley (drums) and Bob Hemenger (sax), the quartet plays a wide variety of styles. Macho’s Mexican Food will have their food cart at the park to stave off hunger pangs.

Moe’s slate this week includes Funked Up Fridays with the Mountain Top Pocket Pickers at 6 p.m.; a Durango Roller Girls fundraiser for Machete at 5 p.m. Saturday; and dancing to the sounds of DJs Inspire and CK at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Elsewhere: Kirk James goes solo at Dalton Ranch at 6 p.m. tonight; Jack Ellis plays the Derailed Pour House at 5 p.m. Friday and the Seven Rivers Steakhouse at the Sky Ute Casino Resort at 5 p.m. Saturday; and the Pete Giuliani Band puts on swimming trunks from 1-4 p.m. Sunday at Trimble Hot Springs.

This week’s Top Shelf list features the Top 10 albums of Kynan Kelly, co-host of “The Velvet Rut,” which airs from 9 ‘til noon each Saturday morning on KDUR. Kynan and his sidekick, Rags, play the dark and hilarious side of country music in my favorite three hours of radio each week. Here’s what fuels Kynan’s lawnmower:

1. Metallica, “Master of Puppets,” 1986. Metallica stepped out of the weight rooms and crossed over into fine art, while still finding time for “Damage, Inc.” The spin class the Cranky Old Guy hosts every Sunday in the Office Depot parking lot features a heavy rotation of “Disposable Heroes” and “Leper Messiah.”

2. Waylon Jennings, “Honky Tonk Heroes,” 1973. All but one of the songs were written or co-written by Billy Joe Shaver, who had told Waylon that he was willing to fight him if Waylon refused to listen to his songs. It’s the only time I wouldn’t want to see that fight.

3. Willie Nelson, “Red Headed Stranger,” 1975. First made me pay attention to music as a little kid during 50-mph road trips to California every summer. Admittedly, there’ve been a lot of changes in the law, but you still can’t hang a man for shooting a woman who’s trying to steal your horse.

4. Eazy-E, “Eazy-Duz-It,” 1988. A real man would publicly prefer NWA’s “Straight Outta Compton,” but Eazy’s debut album was just more fun and featured a real drum solo. When I start to think I’m too hard to be raking these leaves, I recite “Boyz-n-the-Hood” verbatim, with shotgun sound effects.

5. Operation Ivy, “Energy,” 1989. The enigmatic ska-core band’s only studio album. Oi.

6. Clutch, “Elephant Riders,” 1998. This quirky, lyrical release from the Maryland stoner rockers was a departure from their darker, more bludgeoning stuff.

7. Billy Joe Shaver, “Unshaven: Live at Smith’s Olde Bar,” 1995. His only live recording. (C.A. says: Actually, Kynan, he has five other live albums, but who’s counting?)

8. The Pixies, “Surfer Rosa,” 1988. Any arguments?

9. Slobberbone, “Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today,” 2000. My belated introduction to what is now one of my favorite bands of all time. “Pinball Song” might as well have been written in Solid’s.

10. Mojo Nixon, “Whereabouts Unknown,” 1995. “Root Hog or Die” is, of course, his classic album, but this gig with the Toadliquors pretty much defined a decade for me. Being too drunk for a Mojo concert is still the all-time benchmark for measuring debauchery.

Kynan tried to sneak in others to prove his coolness, but space won’t allow them all. Let’s just say Robert Earl Keen, Rancid, BellRays, Dropkick Murphys, Fugazi, Beat Farmers and Suicidal Tendencies are all in heavy rotation on Kynan’s stereo. n

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