Telluride day 2: Of strangers and steak, soaring gondolas, and 18 South’s New Americana revue
Arriving at Telluride just as the sun was setting on Wednesday night, I stumbled into the campground. Beat after the long drive from Denver, I was laso feeling altitude sickness. Most obvious sites had long been claimed and the party was in full swing. I ambled over to the primitive section and soon found a hedgelike growth with enough room to twist my tent into. After getting the tent up and starting back. My path was blocked by a woman holding a frying pan. “STEAK!”,l she exclaimed, “We have extra and we don’t want to throw it out”. I obliged by stuffing a few choice pieces in my maw in the interests of sustainability. I was instantly reminded of the classic Garcia/ Hunter lyric “Strangers stopping strangers, just to feed them steak”. It was a great welcome to Telluride.
Along with fantastic views, the town of Telluride has the greatest free amusement ride on the planet. The ingenious gondola system runs until 2am and the views are unbelievable. A moderate level of intoxication along with new acquaintances make the experience damn near eutphoric.
A fine sextet has reared its head in Nashville in the past year. Roots band 18 South formed when several of its members jammed together on a south Nashvile porch and used that energy to form this promising young band. Guthrie Trapp of the Jerry Douglas Band holds down axe duty, Mike Bub, Larry Atamaniuk on bass and drums, John Randall Stewart lead vocals. Keyboard player Jimmy Wallace brought down the house with the hilarious new tune “Don’t Take My Blanket!” a funk blast romp from Peanuts’ Linus’ perspective.
This group has many genres mastered. Blues, R&B, funk, gospel and New Orleans all blend together seamlessly with sultry vocals by Jesse over the top. Its a rich dish, enjoy it with a beer, long neck.
I got a real strong hit of Delaney and Bonnie and they have the Tulsa shuffle nailed.
A very strong opening set by cellist Ben Sollee got a standing ovation. Ben’s soulful vocals reminded this scribe of Paul Simon in terms of phrasing and delivery. His topics ranged from the personal “Boys Don’t Cry” to songs about Mountain top removal coal mining in Kentucky.