Pete Kartsounes in concert, special guest Bob Hemenger

Acoustic Trail, Inc., a division of the Pagosa Springs Arts Council, kicks off its 2009 season with a May 29 concert hosted by Wild Spirit Gallery, starring award winning songwriter and recording artist Pete Kartsounes and special guest Bob Hemenger on saxophone. The concert will raise awareness for Pete’s Hike4Cancer organization and will serve as a membership event for Acoustic Trail.

A prolific songwriter, accomplished guitarist, singer and philanthropist, Kartsounes has been touring for the past 15 years, playing close to 200 shows per year, sharing his gift of music, and sharing the stage with such impressive artists as Grammy Award Winner Sally Van Meter, Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon and members of the Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, Railroad Earth and Yonder Mountain String Band. This year, he was selected as a finalist for the esteemed Telluride Bluegrass Festival Troubadour Competition.

Pete’s concerts, whether with his charismatic band or as a soloist, are at once intimate, diverse and captivating, spanning many genres from his original repertoire, including blues, folk, funk, jazz, bluegrass and forms that surpass definition and expectation. His songs involve superb musicianship and conscious, provocative lyrics, and his powerful voice employs an arresting passion that wins over audiences around the globe. Add to this powerful foundation the transcendent virtuosity and soulful, saxophonious grooves of acclaimed musician and local educator Bob Hemenger, and you’ve got a stirring musical journey that can, and does, go anywhere. Hemenger injects poignant, perfectly placed harmonies and an artfully improvised back-and-forth conversation into Pete’s music to formulate a dynamic, rocking duo that is not to be missed.

An accomplished player in his own right, Hemenger has played in numerous rhythm and blues, rock, funk, jam, folk, jazz and, believe it or not, bluegrass bands over the last 25 years. He has graced the stages with many stellar acts like Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, The Victor Wooten Band, The Infamous Stringdusters and The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Bob just returned from an enterprising trip to Nashville, where for the past three years he has joined the talented staff of Victor Wooten’s Bass/Nature camps, teaching how music and nature are connected, wilderness survival, tracking and low ropes activities.

In 2007, Kartsounes began a new journey when he co-founded the Hike4Cancer Foundation. Hike4Cancer is a non-profit organization that combines music, hiking and community to raise funds for organizations that support families struggling with childhood illness. In 2009, Pete will once again hike the 500-mile Colorado Trail, playing concerts and festivals along the way to raise money and awareness for their 2009 beneficiary, “There with Care.” Pete will hike from Denver to Durango between July 28 and Sept. 9.

The duo will highlight tunes from Pete’s newest CD release “Out of Nowhere,” as well as celebrated favorites and brand new songs Pete composed over the past months while on his travels. Doors will open at 6 p.m. at Wild Spirit Gallery, located at 480 San Juan St., allowing show-goers to enjoy the catered hors d’oeuvres, cash bar and to browse the gallery. Show starts at 7 and tickets for the limited seating will be $12, or $10 for those who sign up for membership with Acoustic Trail. Pete will take time to discuss and answer questions about his Hike4Cancer organization during the concert. Kartsounes hopes to promote awareness and get others to join him on legs of his hike and/or to inspire others to be engaged with his organization.

To order tickets and receive information on Acoustic Trail membership opportunities, call Jen at 946-7498. Presenting Web sites: AcousticTrail.com, PeteKmusic.com, Hike4Cancer.org, WildSpiritGallery.com.