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By Crista Munro
Special to The PREVIEW
FolkWest’s festival season officially kicks off with the sixth annual Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass Festival June 7-9 on Reservoir Hill. The festival will feature more than 20 live performances from 16 different bands on the main stage and late night stage over the three-day event. The incredibly deep lineup represents a variety of musical styles and genres, from experimental bluegrass to Celtic and alt-country rock. The bands who’ll be playing on the hill this June are The Band of Heathens, The Duhks, The Iguanas, Della Mae, The Black Lillies, Matt Flinner Trio, the Warren Hood Band, Taarka, The Defibulators, Front Country, Finnders and Youngberg, Corn Yeti, The Expedition Quintet, The New Shoots Trio and this week’s featured bands, The Haunted Windchimes and Paper Bird.
Once again, the week leading up to the festival will bring two bluegrass camps to Pagosa Springs: the Pagosa Bluegrass Camp for Kids and the Pagosa Bluegrass Jam Camp, both taking place June 4-6. The kid’s camp is for students age 8-16 and is taught by highly qualified music teachers from around the nation.
Jam Camp is an excellent opportunity for intermediate level pickers to take a big step forward in their bluegrass understanding and pickin’ proficiency. The camp uses a quick-paced variety of different teaching styles and formats including large group instruction, small like-instrument workshops, one-on-one lessons and a band scramble that is coached by each of the staff members from the band Finnders and Youngberg. There are currently a few spots left for those who play the banjo, bass or fiddle.
Since the band’s formation over five years ago, Paper Bird has been playing its joyful blend of folk, roots and Americana to delighted audiences across the country. Their unique sound is a combination of a dynamic and energetic rhythm section intertwined with effortless and ﬂowing harmonies. The group’s backbone is their songwriting, musicianship and general allergy to all limitations and trends. With seven members and no leader, the possibilities are ever unfolding, with ﬂuctuations in style and mood akin to weather patterns. A household name across Colorado, Paper Bird continues to tour and develop its voice and presence across the country. With three full-length albums and several national tours under their belt, Paper Bird has steadily grown in both their success and sound while continuing to expand and explore what the band can do musically.
The seven members of the band are Mark Anderson (drums), Sarah Anderson (voice, trumpet), Paul DeHaven (guitar), Esme Patterson (voice), Genevieve Patterson (voice), Caleb Summeril (banjo, guitar) and Macon Terry (bass). Each individual writes songs for the group and this keeps new material rolling off the shelf at a healthy pace. Paper Bird’s live performances showcase the diversity and good-time vibe of the group while providing a fresh and unique take on a sound that has a tendency to bring the listener back to a different era. Young in age, but timeless in spirit, Paper Bird continually captures the hearts of new listeners and long-time fans. Their rare and beautiful approach to music led them to be featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and were voted in the Top 10 Best Underground Bands by the Denver Post three years in a row, as well as being 5280’s Top of the Town 2009 Top Local Band.
Paper Bird has released two studio albums, “Anything Nameless and Joymaking” (2007) and “When the River took Flight” (2010), and also a live album, “Carry On” (2011), which was the score to a collaboration with Ballet Nouveau Colorado of the same name. 2012 had the band on the road once again while releasing “Carry On” remixed and remastered on vinyl in the fall. A new studio album is being written and recorded and is set to be released this year.
Paper Bird’s main stage set is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, June 8.
The Haunted Windchimes are another homegrown Colorado band. Their sound draws from traditional folk and American roots music. The songs have a vintage quality, as if they might have been written yesterday or 75 years ago. Grounded in honeyed harmonies and spirited pickin’, it lies in a nowhere land between distinct styles: It’s not quite bluegrass or blues or country. Still, there are elements of all those in songs that paint pictures of empty train stations and nights of passing a jug of moonshine around. It’s the vocal harmonies that really set them apart, a three-headed juggernaut of Desirae Garcia (ukulele), Chela Lujan (banjo) and Inaiah Lujan (guitar).
“When their voices blend, it is nothing short of beautiful,” writes Bill Reed of The Colorado Springs Gazette. The sound is often moody and melancholy, but it is always deeply affecting. That sound is embroidered by the instrumental mastery of Mike Clark (harmonica, guitar and mandolin) and the standup bass foundation of Sean Fanning.
On the group’s 2006 debut EP “Verse/Visa,” The Haunted Windchimes presented what Denver Post journalist Eryc Eyl called, “a beautiful chamber pop sound.” However, with 2010’s “Honey Moonshine,” the band “perfected an old-timey hoedown sound, executed with passion and precision.” Last May, the band released “Live at the Western Jubilee,” a celebration of its career so far. Recorded in December 2010 at the Western Jubilee Warehouse, a legendary Colorado Springs venue, the record’s 13 tracks capture the five musicians in peak form in front of an appreciative audience.
You can catch a set by The Haunted Windchimes on Saturday, June 8, at noon.
Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass is supported in part with funding from Colorado Creative Industries.
The 18th annual Four Corners Folk Festival takes place Aug. 30-Sept. 1. This year’s exciting lineup includes headliners John Hiatt and the Combo and Natalie MacMaster, along with The Wood Brothers, Darrell Scott Band, Jimmy LaFave, John Fullbright, Elephant Revival, the Lone Bellow, Sarah Siskind and Travis Book, Rose’s Pawn Shop, Baskery, New Country Rehab, Aoife O’Donovan Band, Slaid Cleaves, The Giving Tree Band and Halden Wofford and the Hi-Beams. Early Bird tickets to the Four Corners Folk Festival are available through April 30.
For more information on the festival or bluegrass camps, or to purchase tickets, visit www.folkwest.com or call 731-5582. You can also find both festivals on Facebook, which is a great way to keep up to date on the latest announcements.