Top Shelf

Furniture as Art, Canadian Avetts and Pammy serves up 20

by Chris Aaland

New Country Rehab plays the Strater at 7:30 p.m. Saturday before heading to Dolores on Sunday

If lutefisk is outlawed, only outlaws will have lutefisk. Two hundred years ago this Saturday, Norway basically told Sweden to kiss its ass. Technically, the Constitution of Norway was signed on May 17, 1814, declaring Norway to be an independent kingdom in an attempt to avoid being ceded to Sweden after Denmark-Norway’s devastating defeat in the Napoleonic Wars. Today in parts of the Midwest and Canada, Sons of Norway lodges serve up lutefisk, pickled herring, lefse and shots of aquavit and wave the familiar red flags adorned with indigo blue Scandinavian crosses outlined in white. The world reacquaints itself with this banner every four years at the Winter Olympics. So at some point on Saturday afternoon, Ska head brewer Thomas Larson and I will crack open a bottle of iced Linie’s aquavit and toast our forefathers. Mine became Dakota farmers in the late 1800s. Skål!

Sunday marks the 2014 Taste of Durango – a bacchanal in which restaurants and breweries serve up tasty tidbits and creative cocktails on Main. And, of course, there’s beer. Lots of beer. The event runs from 11 a.m. ‘til 3 p.m.

KDUR hosts its annual Furniture As Art silent & live auction tonight (Thurs., May 15) at the Durango Arts Center. Bid on dozens of furniture-cum-art and art-cum-furniture at the event, groove to the soothing sounds of pianist Jonas Grushkin and enjoy drinks and hors d’oeuvres. Among my favorite artists who have contributed works are Hardison Collins, McCarson Jones, Bryan Saren, Jules Masterjohn, Maureen May, Scott Smith, Shay Lopez and the esteemed Dan Groth, among others.

Win passes to dozens of local and regional festivals and concerts during KSUT’s annual Festival Fund Drive from 7 a.m. ‘til 6 p.m. Wednesday. You can pledge by calling the station at 563-0255 during those times, online anytime at or by sending a check in the mail. The grand prize is a VIP package to the Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass Festival (June 6-8), which includes a pair of backstage passes; reserved seating; catered backstage meals and beverages; and lodging, soaks and massages at Overlook Hot Springs. The “Morning Edition” prize (9 a.m. drawing) is a pair of tickets to see Steve Earle & the Dukes at the Community Concert Hall, plus $100 in gift cards to Homeslice Pizza. See this week’s Top Shelf list for more festival passes that make up the booty donors will walk away with.

Canadian alt-country outfit New Country Rehab plays the Henry Strater Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and the Dolores River Brewery at 8 p.m. Sunday. These guys rocked the Four Corners Folk Festival a year ago. With a pair of CDs under their belts, NCR have been called more Arcade Fire than Lady Antebellum and “Canada’s answer to the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons.”

The Hank also hosts singer/songwriter Garrett at 7:30 p.m. Friday. He tours in support of his eighth CD.

Pat Roberts & the Heymakers bring their rockabilly show to Crash Music at the historic Aztec Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Arizona-based trio has opened shows for the Blasters, Junior Brown, Dave Alvin, Los Straitjackets and the Derailers. It’s simple stuff, echo-based electric guitar backed by a swinging rhythm section.

Head north to Montrose if you like the blues this Tuesday, as Tommy Castro plays the Turn of the Century Saloon at 7 p.m. An old-fashioned guitar slinger, Castro built a 20-year career that landed him a spot on the Alligator Records roster, a Chicago-based label that specializes in nothing but the blues.

Fancy a jog? The Mancos Cowboy Half Marathon takes place at 10 a.m. Saturday at Boyle Park in Mancos. It’s more than just a race, though. The Jelly Belly Boogie Band entertains, there’s a beer garden and more. Run in your best cowboy/cowgirl gear and you could win an award. Visit for more information.

Moe’s madness this week includes Funked Up Fridays with Booty Conda and The Weigh at 8 p.m. Friday. Peter Robot, RXN, Inspire and Codestar all spin at 9 p.m. Saturday, while the Durango Funk All-Stars and Sky Pilot play the Taste of Durango after-party at 2 p.m. Sunday.

In beer (or breakfast) news, it’s Pammy’s 20th Anniversary Week at Carvers. She started waitressing there on this week in 1994. The brewmeisters call her their Cal Ripken. Or, to be more exact, Cal is the Baltimore Orioles’ Pam Marshall. Drop by between 6:30 and 11 a.m. Friday to help her celebrate on her shift.

Elsewhere: Jack Tallmadge brings country music to The Sporting News Grill in the Holiday Inn just west of all the construction chaos at 6 p.m. tonight and the full band version of Black Velvet plays the Derailed Pour House at 8 p.m. Saturday.

We’re taking a one-week break from our guest Top 10 list this week – Thomas Larson, my ace-in-the-whole for this week’s celebrity list, got too busy installing a new canning line at Ska. Hopefully this will shame him into providing a list for next week.

Instead, this week’s Top Shelf list includes 10 of the festivals (and there’s many more) that have offered up weekend passes for the KSUT Festival Fund Drive.

1. Pagosa Folk’n Bluegrass, June 6-8: Peter Rowan, Tony Furtado Trio, Claire Lynch, the Railsplitters.
2. Four Corners Folk Festival, Pagosa Springs, Aug. 29-31: Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Elephant Revival, Sarah Jarosz.
3. Telluride Blues & Brews, Sept. 12-14: Violent Femmes, George Clinton & P-Funk, Buddy Guy, Peter Frampton, the Meter Men.
4. The Ride, Telluride, July 12-13: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Spoon, Joan Osborne, Lucero.
5. Telluride Jazz, Aug. 1-3: Lettuce, Dragon Smoke, Snarky Puppy, Grupo Fantasma, Poncho Sanchez.
6. Bluegrass in Paradise, Crested Butte, July 4-5: Drew Emmitt, Shannon Whitworth, the Black Lillies, Yarn.
7. Sedona Bluegrass Festival, June 7-8: Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum, Peter Rowan, Darol Anger, Ben Sollee, Pick & Holler.
8. Albuquerque Folk Festival, June 7: Tim O’Brien & Darrell Scott, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Birds of Chicago, Canote Brothers.
9. Telluride Americana Music Fest, July 17-19: Holly Williams, Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, Eric Bibb, Scott Miller, Birds of Chicago.
10. Music in the Mountains, July 13-Aug. 3, Durango: Bruce Robison & Kelly Willis, Karan Casey.

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