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Jeff Scroggins and Colorado features talented roster

Special to The PREVIEW

Photo courtesy Paul Roberts Jeff Scroggins and Colorado includes, from left, Jeff Scroggins, KC Groves, Greg Blake, Annie Savage and Tristan Scroggins. The group returns to Pagosa Springs for a concert at the Ross Aragon Community Center on April 18.

Photo courtesy Paul Roberts
Jeff Scroggins and Colorado includes, from left, Jeff Scroggins, KC Groves, Greg Blake, Annie Savage and Tristan Scroggins. The group returns to Pagosa Springs for a concert at the Ross Aragon Community Center on April 18.

Spring bursts forth with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, a world-class bluegrass band, performing in concert at the Ross Aragon Community Center, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, April 18.

Advance tickets for $12 are on sale at the community center. Tickets at the door are $15. Young people eighteen and under will be admitted free of charge. The doors and cash bar will open at 7 p.m. For more information, call the community center at 264-4152.

“I grew up on my grandfather’s farm in the thriving metropolis of Dibble, Oklahoma, population thirty-something,” quips Jeff Scroggins, one of the premier masters of the five-string banjo. Scroggins grew up in rural Oklahoma listening to his grandfather, J.M. Cary, perform old-time country music and hearing the fiddling of his great uncle, Oklahoma fiddle legend Ace Sewell.

Scroggins has performed and recorded with many of the top names in bluegrass and has won numerous awards including the prestigious National Bluegrass Banjo Championship and dozens of state, regional and local banjo contests. An internationally known performer and banjo teacher, Scroggins’ virtuosity has earned him many fans worldwide. He has toured throughout the U.S., Canada, Japan and Russia.

Scroggins is proud of his son Tristan’s presence in the band.

“I just think it’s amazingly cool that my son, Tristan, is doing this. I never pushed him; he picked up a mandolin at the age of nine and just started playing. Six months later, he won his first contest and has won many since then. Tristan is consumed with music. He practices all the time. Tristan is a prolific composer and has written somewhere between a hundred and one hundred fifty instrumentals.”

“Tristan is an exciting one to watch,” said fiddler Annie Savage. “Not only does he represent the authentic process of the passing of the music down from one generation to the next through his work with Jeff, but he is also a prodigy along the lines of Mark O’Connor and other bluegrass greats who started young and grew up inside the tradition. Tristan fully understands what defines traditional bluegrass and he is stretching its boundaries, without taking them to the breaking point. Concert goers love Tristan’s original compositions, which tend to give a nod to Bill Monroe while incorporating elements of jazz, funk and Afro-grass.

“The fiddle has always been my language,” said Savage. Annie began her career in the music business when she was only 8 years old.

“I started playing the fiddle when I was 2,” she said. “I learned to play music kind of like I learned how to talk — through listening to a lot of other people around me do it.” Annie’s vivaciousness and versatility have developed through 30 years of performing classical violin, concert harp and bluegrass fiddle. She also has a strong background in music education, and, besides enjoying a rigorous performance schedule, she teaches orchestra at a school in Lafayette, Colo.

Lead singer Greg Blake delivers his vocals with conviction, style and clarity.

Blake was born in southern West Virginia and from there acquired his love for bluegrass and mountain music. Influenced by Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Doc Watson and others, Blake began playing guitar and singing at age seven. Blake has won numerous awards for both his singing and guitar playing.

KC Groves is a recording artist and founding member of the popular old-time band, Uncle Earl, which played major festivals in the U.S. and toured extensively abroad, gaining fans and musical cohorts such as Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones, who produced one of the band’s CDs.

The Ross Aragon Community Center presents Jeff Scroggins and Colorado in collaboration with Elation Center for the Arts. The Pagosa Springs SUN is the event sponsor. Thanks to audio engineer Jeffrey Heintzlman for his knowledgeable support in staging this production.

This story was posted on March 28, 2013.