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Bluegrass season arrives

Stewart Oksenhorn
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Warm temperatures and green mountains mean the bluegrass season is about to hit Colorado. The most high-profile happenings, of course, belong to Planet Bluegrass, the Boulder organization that presents Rockygrass, the Folks Festival and the big daddy of all, Telluride Bluegrass, but the Roaring Fork Valley has plenty of picking to partake of.

Following the Hell Roaring String Band into the confines of Steve’s Guitars is another local act, the Frying Pan Bluegrass Band, which plays next Friday, June 2. Also on Steve’s schedule: Anne & Pete Sibley, a bluegrass couple from Jackson Hole (Saturday, May 27); and Dread Clampitt, an out-of-bounds bluegrassy act from Florida (June 3).The Bluegrass Sundays series, on Aspen Mountain every Sunday July and August, is heavy with local acoustic talent. The Crowlin Ferlies, a bluegrass/old-time/Celtic act featuring members of the Flying Dog Bluegrass Band, Lone Pine Bluegrass Band and Last Minute String Band, plays July 23. Following on consecutive Sundays are the Frying Pan Bluegrass Band (July 30), the Lone Pine Bluegrass Band (Aug. 6) and the Flying Dogs (Aug. 13). The series concludes Aug. 27 with local act Coyote Gospel.Touring bands in the series are: Wayword Sons (July 2), North Carolina’s Chatham County Line, toting their new CD, “Speed of the Whippoorwill” (July 9); Slipstream (July 16) and Sweet Sunny South (Aug. 20).

Making a surprisingly strong appearance on the bluegrass train is the Belly Up. Bluegrass picks at the club this summer include the high-energy Old Crow Medicine Show (June 10) and Ricky Skaggs (July 10).Local bluegrass will be on film as well as the stage. Members of the Flying Dogs and Lone Pine were tapped to appear in “Oedipus Marshal,” the film being shot in Ashcroft by Aspen Art Museum artist-in-residence Javier Téllez. The film, a Western twist on “Oedipus Rex,” will be screened at the museum beginning in August.The North Fork Bluegrass Festival, in Hotchkiss June 9-11, features the full range of festival attractions – camping, jams, multiple venues and workshops – as well as such acts as Adrienne Young & Little Sadie, the Stringdusters, Halden Wofford & the Hi-Beams, and locals the Frying Pan Bluegrass Band.



Telluride Bluegrass, often credited for making Colorado a center of the progressive bluegrass scene, has its 33rd outing June 15-18. Headliners include the usual (Béla Fleck & the Flecktones, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, the Del McCoury Band and Tim O’Brien) and acts plucked from outside the bluegrass universe (Barenaked Ladies, Bonnie Raitt, Drive-By Truckers).Rockygrass (July 28-30 in Lyons) features Tony Trischka, Peter Rowan & Tony Rice, Yonder Mountain String Band and three Earl acts: banjo legend Earl Scruggs, alt-country rebel Steve Earle, and all-female group Uncle Earl.Folks Fest (Aug. 18-20 in Lyons) leans decidedly away from bluegrass, with Kris Kristofferson, Ani DiFranco, Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, Martin Sexton and more.