Cure cabin fever with ‘Acoustic Duets’ Monday

By Cynda Green
Special to The PREVIEW
Attention, music and theater lovers: “Acoustic Duets,” a benefit for Thingamajig Theatre Company, is just around the corner — Monday, March 4, at 7 p.m. at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.
“Acoustic Duets” showcases five duos comprised of 10 local musicians. Each duo will perform four songs in an intimate concert setting, with each musician singing and playing acoustic instruments. Vocals and instruments will be plugged in to the theater’s professional sound system. This venue is a wonderful opportunity for music enthusiasts to hear and see our local musicians.
Who are the “Acoustic Duets” duos? Last week, we featured the talented Americana Project duo of Allora Leonard and Ella Hemenger. This week meet the other four duos: Brooks-i and Jarret Heber, Robin Davis and Jimi Giles, Debbee Tucker and Carl Mori, and Greg Milioto and Bill Hudson.

Photo courtesy Thingamajig Theatre Company
The Brooks-i Duo, Brooks Lindner and Jarret Heber, will be playing for “Acoustic Duets” Monday, March 4, at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

Sprinkled with Spanglish and humor, Brooks-i had this to say about his duo: “Brooks-i and Jarret Heber’s relationship began as teacher and student at Pagosa Springs High School circa 2006 when Jarret received his comeuppance for his currish behavior in Spanish class. Fast forward to 2012 when the Profe began to teach his estudiante a new lesson — that of playing original rock-n-roll music.
“After years of practice with a focus on superlative vocal harmonies, Brooks-i grabbed his trusty Taylor, Jarret grabbed a bass fiddle and the Brooks-i Duo was born. With a continued focus on the original songwriting of Brooks-i, the Brooks-i Duo bring their jovial jams to the tap rooms and cantinas of Pagosa. Felicities and euphonious sounds abound when the Brooks-i Duo is in the house.”
The Robin Davis Duo features impeccable dropped D, flat-picking guitar from Pagosa Springs native Davis. Paired with Giles on the upright bass, the duo melds original tunes, interesting harmonies and a dynamic energy that only years of playing with one another can mirror.

Photo courtesy Whitney Hagen
The Robin Davis Duo, Jimi Giles and Robin Davis, will perform at “Acoustic Duets” Monday at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

The duo tours throughout the American West, mainly playing in the Southwestern and Front Range sections of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. In the fall of 2015, they released their first self-titled album. According to their website, “Davis melds throat chanting with trancy fiddle tunes and his poetic style of storytelling will drag you on a space car adventure that will dance in your brain for hours.”
Davis’ past projects include Broke Mountain, where he played mandolin alongside Anders Beck (dobro, Greensky Bluegrass), Travis Book (bass, The Infamous Stringdusters), Jon Stickley (guitar, Jon Stickley Trio) and Andy Thorn (banjo, Leftover Salmon). Davis also played fiddle and mandolin in his Durango project Waiting on Trial alongside Ryan Doty (guitar) and Chris Lane (banjo).
Milioto and Hudson began playing music together in 2008, when the fledging Pagosa garage band Rock-ola lost its lead guitar player and was lucky enough to adopt Milioto to fill that position. At that point, Hudson was playing electric bass and singing mainly back-up vocals, and the two musicians became close friends through a series of musical projects that included Honeybone (with lead singer Lisa Saunders) and more recently The Retro Cats (a trio with bass player Bruce Wayne). The two buddies also played around town as a duo known as The BBQ Boys.

Photo courtesy Thingamajig Theatre Company
Greg Milioto and Bill Hudson will be one of the five duos playing in “Acoustic Duets’ on March 4. The benefit show will take place at the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts.

Along the way, Hudson has taught himself to play piano and keyboards and Milioto has traded his way through a dozen different guitars and amplifiers in the search for musical nirvana. Milioto has also played lead guitar locally with blues keyboardist Jeff Dysinger, songwriter Shane Lane and with Pagosa band Country Thunder.
The duo appeared in the original “Acoustic Duets” benefit concert in 2011. They are currently working on a new acoustic-oriented musical project with vocalist Laurie Brinkmann called The Bohemians.
Tucker and Mori have played dozens of gigs together over the years.
Tucker has been singing since she was a tiny child and began playing guitar at age 12. She wrote her first song at 14 and found that to be a positive experience that made her feel good about life. Through her teens, she took her guitar to school every day and played guitar instead of games at recess.
At age 23, Tucker visited Pagosa and never looked back. A highlight of her career was meeting the late John Graves and working up a duo with him where he played piano dressed in his tux and she was his “torch singer.” They went on to play other gigs with his band in some ritzy venues.

Photo courtesy Thingamajig Theatre Company
Carl Mori and Debbee Tucker will perform at “Acoustic Duets” on Monday, with the show serving as a benefit for the nonprofit Thingamajig Theatre Company.

Mori learned other instruments before guitar, then started playing guitar “because I had one.” By high school, he played guitar well enough make money playing occasional gigs. Mori has played in many bands, such as The I’s Havit Trio in Vail for 10 years. Mori played in a rock band on the base when he was in the Air Force (who knew?) and has played with major southwest touring duos. Tucker described Mori’s harmonies and lead guitar as the perfect compliment to her music.
“Acoustic Duets” — so much musical talent packed into one evening. What better way to chase away the winter blues?
Mark Brown will entertain the audience as master of ceremonies; Mori will provide sound. Both are returnees from the sold-out 2011 “Acoustic Duets” that also benefited the nonprofit Thingamajig Theatre Company.
Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling 731-SHOW (7469) or online at www.pagosacenter.org. If available, tickets will be sold at the door. For more information, please call or email info@pagosacenter.org.
Thingamajig Theatre Company is an award-winning professional nonprofit 501(c)(3) theater in residence within the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. Its talented actors, directors and designers come from across the U.S. and around the world to produce musicals, comedies and dramas year-round.

This story was posted on March 1, 2019.