With just five weeks to go until this year’s Pagosa Folk ’N Bluegrass Festival, it’s time to pick up your tickets for this incredible weekend of music that takes place pretty much in your backyard.
While others will be driving in from Phoenix, Denver, Boulder and even Oklahoma and Wyoming, you need only take a short drive to Reservoir Hill to enjoy the nationally touring musical acts featured at this year’s festival: John Jorgenson Quintet, The Belleville Outfit, Tony Furtado Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Missy Raines and the New Hip, Bearfoot, Sweet Sunny South, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, The Boston Boys, Expedition Quartet and this week’s featured bands, Jeff and Vida and The Badly Bent.
Vida Wakeman’s powerful vocals and driving 1942 Gibson J-45 guitar, combined with Jeff Burke’s rock-n-roll approach to mandolin and guitar, gets crowds’ feet a-stomping, and is about as perfect a combination as you’re likely to find. Performing original songs spanning from Appalachian bluegrass to alternative country, New Orleans’s well-known acoustic roots act Jeff & Vida have recently relocated to Nashville. After three studio recordings and years of rigorous touring nationally and internationally, Jeff and Vida have found a creative musical setting with their newest band featuring Jake Schepps on banjo, Justin Hoffenberg on fiddle, Greg Schochet on guitar and bazouki, and Will Downes on bass.
Inspired by ’50s bluegrass and rockabilly sound, the band’s music is both old and new. Members of The Jeff and Vida Band have incredible fluency on their instruments, and their exciting approach to string band music helped achieve Jeff and Vida’s vision for this project. With original timeless ballads, raucous bluegrass barn-burners, and driving acoustic honky-tonk, their material is striking, the arrangements are electrifying, and the result is music that is real, true, and unforgettable.
The ensemble will open this year’s Free Friday concert at the Folk ‘N Bluegrass Festival on Friday, June 5, at 5 p.m. at the gazebo in Town Park. They’ll also play the main stage on Reservoir Hill on Sunday, June 7 at 1:30 p.m.
The Badly Bent has been entrenched in the regional bluegrass music scene since 1997. Based in Durango, Colorado, The Badly Bent has proven its musicianship by winning prestigious music competitions and receiving accolades from many of the band members’ peers in the bluegrass industry.
The Badly Bent is definitely not one of the new pseudo-bluegrass jam bands. Although their musical prowess allows them to explore the edges of traditional music, the listener will find that the music never strays far from the roots established by the fathers of the genre. Their love for the genuine bluegrass sound is evident every time they take the stage. Their repertoire will please even the most discriminating listener.
The Badly Bent started in Durango with a group of well-known musicians. The configuration of the band evolved to its current form in 2003. Sharing lead vocals are Pat Dressen (guitar) and Mark Epstein (banjo). Harmony vocals by Robb Brophy (mandolin) and Jimmy Largent (bass), combined with the sought-after sound of Bill Adams (dobro) rounds out the ensemble of The Badly Bent. The group will open this year’s Folk ‘N Bluegrass main stage with a performance on Saturday, June 6 at 11 a.m.
Tickets to the festival are on sale locally at Moonlight Books and Re•Sport or in Durango at Animas Trading Company and Canyon Music. There is no admission charge for children 12 and under. Tickets and information are available online or by calling (877) 472-4672. If you are interested in volunteering at the festival in exchange for a two-day festival pass, call 731-5582.