Telluride Bluegrass Festival
The sense of sound, like all our other senses, can take you back to a place and time in an instant. The impact and reverberation of first listening to Alison Krauss resonates with me. I had just moved to Durango, Colorado, a few years before that fateful summer of 2004. I was walking through Southwest Sound, a local record store, just browsing for a new CD to pop in the player. Then I heard this ethereal voice over the speaker, singing this ironically sweet song about crushed love instantly blossoming into eternal love. I stood, mesmerized by this voice. When the song was over I walked over to the counter to ask the salesgirl if she knew who just sang that song. She said, “Oh, her? That’s Alison Krauss. She’s great!” I asked her if she could recommend a CD from Alison Kraus. She beelined to the bluegrass section and picked out a CD. Little did I know how my life would change just from being in that store, at that moment, listening to that song.
Prior to moving to Durango, Colorado, I really knew nothing of bluegrass music. Couple this with my lack of experience listening to live music, and I was as far down on the totem pole of music as a person can be. Then I moved to Durango the summer of 2002. I had no idea that I had just moved to a town with both a rich bluegrass scene and lively music events. started paying close attention to the music scene in Durango. I checked out countless shows at the Summit, the Abbey, Steamworks, Storyville, and any local downtown event playing live music. I fell in love with listening and dancing to live music. There was something intoxicating about being that close to the musicians and also the feeling that permeated my senses. Beside the allure of live music, I was also paying closer attention to the local bands and the type of music they were playing. I was drawn to this bluegrass music sound from this little corner of Colorado from these local bands. Watching just how adept these musicians are with their chosen instruments and the potent lyricism immediately drew me in. I became acutely aware that Durango was a hotbed for bluegrass pickers and bands. Two bands that piqued my interest were Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band and the Badly Bent. Each had a unique sound and approach. One was a traditional bluegrass band with tight vocal harmonies and precision while the other band was comprised of virtuosic pickers and youthful fervor. I was now drawn in to bluegrass music and would never look back.
June 2005 brings another Telluride Bluegrass Festival, yet I have a special interest because I knew Allison Krauss and Union Station are closing out the festival, but also because two of Durango’s own, the Badly Bent and Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band, are in the band competition. Because of job constraints, I could not be in Telluride for the band competition or to see Allison Krause. Instead I anxiously awaited the Telluride Bluegrass Festival to update their website Friday afternoon to let the masses know who made the band competition finals. Then, right before my very own web-browsing eyes, the Badly Bent and Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band were in the band finals. Then in an ironic twist, I discovered a blogger for USA Today was also covering the festival with constant online posts for USA Today. I read his posts for Thursday and Friday. Further my love of live music was enhanced from his words describing to me what I could not see or hear. Saturday afternoon, I am parked at my computer screen to find out who won. The USA Today blogger posted both an entry about the band competition and also the winner of the band contest. When I see that the Badly Bent has won, I did a little happy jig and one of those “woohoos!” Then my elation was elevated when I found out later that Broke Mountain Bluegrass Band came in second. Wow! These two local Durango bluegrass bands I had been listening to and following at local shows took on a special significance. Alas, Allison Krauss and Union Station were closing out Sunday night, but I could not be in attendance. Yet just the knowledge of her performing in that setting, hopefully singing that song I heard a year earlier, brought a smile to my face. My tie to both bluegrass music and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival was suddenly forged from so many angles. Amazing how a moment in time will suddenly shift things in one’s life. Allison Krauss and that beautiful voice provided the bridge to a richness I am thankful to continue to experience.