OA Rock Column July 24, 2009
Grand Junction gets musical doubleheader on Aug. 8
It’s almost like Election Day, but instead of the lesser of two evils, you have two great choices on Saturday, Aug. 8.
I’m talking about two great shows coming to beautiful downtown Grand Junction on the same day. I have heard many of you say that we don’t have enough “good” shows come to town and when they do, they all come at once. Well, sadly this time, it is true.
Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen will be performing at the Roper Ballroom and Greg Brown will be playing at the Mesa Theatre and Club on Aug. 8. I know it’s a tough choice for me to pick which one of the shows to see. I may try to go to both of them.
Chris Hillman began his career in earnest in 1963 with Vern Gosdin in the band
Hillman renamed from Golden Gate Boys because of Hillman’s ability as a mandolin player and a vocalist. He was a member of the seminal folk rock group the Byrds from 1964-’68. From 1969 to 1972, Hillman was part of the Flying Burrito Brothers with Gram Parsons, among others.
After being part of Stephen Stills’ Manassas, Hillman rejoined the Byrds for a brief period before forming the (J.D.) Souther, Hillman and (Richie) Furay band. They released two fairly successful albums and then Hillman released two solo albums in 1976 and ’77.
In 1978, Hillman rejoined former Byrds Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn in the McGuinn, Clark & Hillman band, and they released two LPs together.
This brings us to 1982, when Hillman released the first of two albums with several of his musician friends, including Herb Pedersen. Morning Sky and Desert Rose were the names, and both were great folk rock recordings, which I still own, as well as almost all of his other records.
Herb Pedersen began his career in the 1960s playing with Dave Grisman and then in Earl Scruggs’ band before joining the Dillards as a replacement for Doug Dillard from 1968 to 1970.
In the 1970s, Pedersen was a session musician in L.A. for numerous recording artists such as John Prine, Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne, Emmylou Harris and many more. Pedersen released two albums: 1975’s “Southwest,” then “Sandman” one year later.
After a stint in John Denver’s band, Pedersen released “Lonesome Feeling” in 1984.
In 1986, after working with Chris Hillman on Morning Sky and Desert Rose, Pedersen, Hillman and John Jorgensen formed the Desert Rose Band along with three other musicians.
The Desert Rose Band released six excellent albums from 1986 to 1993 and to this day are still one of my favorite country rock bands.
After the Desert Rose Band disbanded, Hillman and Pedersen continued to work together, both in the studio and as an acoustic duo in live settings. From 1996 to 2005, they have worked on four recordings together; “Bakersfield Bound,” “Like a Hurricane,” “Way Out West” and “The Other Side,” and have performed numerous live shows together.
Their show at the Roper Ballroom will be a rare treat. Not very many folks get to see these two music legends in such a beautiful, small room with great sound.