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High Rollers to perform benefit

Town Park promises the perfect beginning to a great Fourth of July weekend.

On Saturday, June 30, at 7 p.m., Durango’s High Rollers Band will be in town for their annual Pagosa Springs concert/dance, and it’s free to the public.

The High Rollers, a local favorite for the past 15 years, continue to expand and improve their repertoire of standard covers and original songs. Highlights from the past year, their most successful to date, include an invitation to play at Mayfest, a country music festival in France, opening for nationally-known acts Uncle Kracker and Dwight Yokum, and recording a new CD entitled “Altitude,” which will be introduced in Durango on June 29 and here in Pagosa on June 30.

The High Rollers fans keep coming back, in part because the band continues to improve their sound, musicianship, stage presence and repertoire. While many of their crowd favorites are kept and played regularly, the band is always working on new material to keep their sound fresh.

This year’s performance promises to be especially exciting, with a guest appearance by French guitarist Jerome “Mr. Jay” Desoteux. “Mr. Jay,” as he is known by French country music fans, met the High Rollers last spring when they played at the Mayfest Celebration in Pontivy, France. A professional touring musician in Europe, Desoteux is well known, particularly in France, as an accomplished musician, handling electric and acoustic guitar, mandolin and pedal steel, as well as contributing lead and harmony vocals. Desoteux became friends with the band and is excited as they are about the chance to perform with them in the Southwest.

In Europe, Desoteux headlines in two bands, one bearing his own name, “Mr. Jay’s Band,” and another, “Hat-Trick,” a very popular band among American Country Music fans in Europe.

Desoteux contributed a variety of tracks on the High Rollers new CD, “Altitude,” and agreed to come to the United States to play with the band when they release the new CD. His electric guitar, steel guitar and mandolin tracks, like the songs themselves, are original and showcase his ability to use his musical instruments to help tell the stories songwriter Andy Janowsky has crafted. Blending his sounds with fellow stringed instrumentalists Jeff Johnson and Garrett Valencia, he gives the band its most professionally-polished sound to date.

The concert in the park has become an annual event, with large crowds of people of all ages attending the past several years. The concert serves as a fund-raiser for the Pagosa Wrestling Club, which sponsors local wrestlers from the youth level through high school in their quests to succeed in the sport of wrestling.

Lead singer and songwriter Andy Janowsky is brother to Pagosa Springs wrestling coach Dan Janowsky, and enjoys helping the club raise money for the upcoming year. The concert is free to the public, and the club sells concessions, baked goods, holds a silent auction and accepts donations to cover the expenses of the event and raise funds.

Check out the High Rollers Band website, www.highrollersband.com, and Jay Desoteux’s websites — mrjaymusic.net and www.hat-trick.fr — for photos and information.

Join the fun June 30 and see the hometown favorites in their strongest performance yet!

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