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John Mellencamp, Kanye West and LeAnn Rimes will make their local debuts at Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ 2006 Labor Day Festival. The 12th annual Labor Day Festival is set for Sept. 1-4 in Snowmass Town Park.Also set to make their first local appearances at the outdoor festival are Los Lonely Boys, Raul Midón and Del Castillo. Making their Jazz Aspen debuts are Matisyahu and Keller Williams.Rimes, who arrived as a teenage country star with the 1996 debut “Blue,” tops the bill Sept. 1, with blues-soul singer-guitarist Susan Tedeschi opening.Mellencamp, who headlines Sept. 3, emerged as John “Cougar” Mellencamp with the 1982 album “American Fool,” which included the hit “Jack and Diane.” The heartland rocker has scored recent success with “Mr. Happy Go Lucky” and 2003’s “Trouble No More.” Opening are Texas rockers Los Lonely Boys, built around brothers Henry, JoJo and Ringo Garza; and Texas Latin rock group Del Castillo.West, the Sept. 2 headliner, earned Best Rap Album Grammys in both 2005 and 2006, for “The College Dropout” and “Late Registration,” respectively. He has also won Grammys for Best Rap Song and Best R&B Song, and has been nominated for Album of the Year and Song of the Year. Also on the bill are New Jersey sacred steel group Robert Randolph & the Family Band, and singer-guitarist Raul Midón.Hasidic reggae singer Matisyahu closes the festival Sept. 4, with one-man band Keller Williams and another act to be decided opening.The festival also includes the on-site JAS Music Club, featuring Oteil Burbridge, Aphrodesia and Gnappy Funk; and late-night JAS After Dark shows to be announced.Tickets are available at the Wheeler Opera House box office, at 920-5770; at 1-800-JAS-TIXX (527-8849); or online at

Aspenite Barry Smith earned a five-star review from the Montreal Gazette for his recent performance of “Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult.” Gaetan L. Charlebois called Smith’s one-person, comedy theater piece “a devastatingly significant work” that made the Montreal Fringe Festival “a total success.” Smith, who debuted “Jesus in Montana” in Aspen in January 2005, performed the show seven times at the Montreal festival last month.Smith is scheduled to perform “Jesus in Montana,” which won an award for outstanding solo show at the New York International Fringe Festival last year, at the Vancouver Fringe Festival in September and on the outdoor stage of the Aspen Art Museum on Sept. 28.Smith will also perform two works-in-progress in Aspen this summer. “Culture Shock Therapy: From Mississippi to California” is set for Aug. 6, and “Squatter: Portrait of a Personal Rebellion” for Aug. 20, as part of Theatre Aspen’s Sunday Series at the Theatre Aspen tent. Smith performed both pieces as works-in-progress this past spring at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale.

Glenwood Springs singer-songwriter Frank Gayer Martin earned third place last month in the Troubadour Competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. First place and the prize of a Saturday evening appearance on the festival main stage went to Nels Andrew of Brooklyn.Also, local group the Hell Roaring String Band took fifth place in the Telluride Band Competition.Martin’s second CD, “Postmark,” is due for release this month. Recorded at the local YellowDogDingo Studios, the album includes 13 original songs and appearances by local musicians Randy Utterback, Chris Bank, Paul Valentine and Sue Krehbiel.Martin’s previous awards include honorable mention at the 2004 Songwriters Showcase at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and fourth place at the 2002 Songwriters Showcase.Martin performs as part of the Sirens Tuesday, July 4, in downtown Glenwood Springs, and does an acoustic show with Krehbiel in the Basalt Music in the Park series, July 12. He performs with his own band July 29 at Carbondale’s Mountain Fair.For further information, go to

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