If you love live music, this next week is for you

The next week or so will strike a chord with live-music fans in the Grand Valley.

This weekend’s Four Peaks Downtown Music Festival starts at 5 p.m. today and runs through 2 p.m. on Sunday. There will be at least 16 bands on three stages. The Infamous Stringdusters headline the festival at 8 p.m. Saturday. The festival features several local favorites. Scheduled are Tight Thump, Zolopht, Shotgun Hoedown, Tankerays, Jack & Jill, Suckafish, Soul Habit, Tim & Richard, Snootch, Mount Orchid, DJ Stringfellow, Bobby Walker, Dubious Brothers and Stray Grass. Sunday will feature jazz bands from Grand Junction High School as well as Colorado Mesa University. Find more info at downtowngj.org.

This weekend is also the occasion of Triple Play Record’s 29th anniversary. To thank our customers we are offering several thousand of our back stock LPs at $1 each as well as other specials throughout the store in all departments, running from today through 4 p.m. Sunday. In addition, Triple Play Records, Four Peaks Brewing Company, and the Grand Junction Off-Road bike race are teaming up to present the first Four Peaks After Party on the rooftop of the Avalon Theatre to celebrate Triple Play’s anniversary. The party starts at 9 p.m. Saturday, featuring music by local artists DJ Squatch, Sobear, and Tauru5. Tickets are $6 in advance at Triple Play Records and the Avalon Theatre for this 21-and-over party.

Thursday marks the first Colorado Riverfront Concert of the year. Tinsley Ellis brings his “Blues is Dead” concert tour to the valley. I caught up with Tinsley this past week and asked him a few questions about the show. My questions are followed by Tinsley’s typed response.

Q: How did the “Blues is Dead” Tour come about?

A: I wanted to explore a more improvisational take on blues music and the Grateful Dead Blues and R&B songbook is the perfect song list for that.

Q: Are you playing with your regular band? If not, who is in this band and how did you pick them?

A: I hand picked these players from the Atlanta Blues and Jam community. Phil Skipper on bass, Erik Kaszynski on drums and Sasha Swetlowski on keys.

Q: Did you pick the songs, or was it a group effort?

A: I picked most of them but others suggested some that I had forgotten about. I’ve been playing these songs for decades.

Q: How do you all decide on which songs to play?

A: “Blues Is Dead” focuses on the blues and R&B songs performed by The Grateful Dead (and a few other Fillmore era acts)

Q: Are you having fun on this tour?

A: These are our first tour dates but we debuted the act at Skull and Roses festival in Ventura, California, last month. We had a ball!

Q: Are you playing any original songs, or strictly Grateful Dead songs?

A: Mainly blues covers that the Dead did. Songs like “Spoonful,” “Turn On Your Lovelight” and “Minglewood Blues,” but I’ll throw in some songs from my own albums.

Q: Now I’m obligated to ask you these four questions. Who are the biggest influences on your music? 

A: Chicago blues but also British blues and Southern rock.

Q: How many times did you play with the Allman Brothers, and how was that?

A: I played with them 4-5 times and absolutely loved it each time.

Q: What was your high school mascot?

A: Can’t remember.

Q: Are you going to play “Free Bird?”

A: No, but I may play some of the same notes that are in the song.

Rock Cesario owns Triple Play Records, 530 Main St., and hosts “Acoustic Sunday” from 9 a.m. to noon on KSTR 96.1 FM. Email him at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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