‘Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music’

Elation Center for the Arts presents “Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music,” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24, at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse.

Holy Water and Whiskey consists of Maggie and Bruce Washburne, and Scott Altenbach. Accompanying themselves on acoustic guitars, banjo and acoustic bass guitar, they are known for their beautiful vocal renditions of traditional and contemporary American folksongs, bluegrass gospel and cowboy songs.

All three began performing professionally during The Great ’60s American Folk Music Renaissance, earning money to put themselves through college. Maggie and Scott are biology professors. Bruce is a social worker in charge of a VA program that assists blind veterans.

They are folks with a strong connection to nature. The Washburnes operate a farm in Cuba, N.M. Altenbach has been living on his off-the-grid, self-sufficient farm in the south valley of Albuquerque for 35 years.

Altenbach recently retired as biology professor from the University of New Mexico. Besides performing music, he slides down ropes into ancient mines, looking for bats and consulting with state governments about preserving natural habitat.

Altenbach is a renowned rattlesnake expert. He has owned the world’s largest collection of rattlesnakes, including every type of rattlesnake in North and South America. After getting a few too many bites, he shifted and became a bat expert. He is now the foremost photographer of bats, having published his own book of bat photos as well as having them published in National Geographic. He has also written many articles about bats.

In his youth, Altenbach was a hard-rock miner in Colorado. Now he does contract work throughout the Southwest — combining his mining experience with his biology expertise. While you’re having your morning cup of coffee, Altenbach may be dangling on a rope 300 feet down a vertical shaft exploring to inner life of an old mine. He’s got some great tales to tell about it. Altenbach is a fascinating guy. He’s also into old steam engines and has a steam tractor and steam mine hoist that he rebuilt.

The Washburnes are interesting folks, too. We’ll go into their background – and how these three fine musicians got together - in next week’s PREVIEW.

Join us at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse Saturday, Jan. 24, when Holy Water and Whiskey perform the songs that keep their audiences coming back for more. Songs from the unique diversity of American folk music.

Advance tickets for “Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music,” are $12 and are available online, at elationarts.org, and at Higher Grounds Coffee Company. Tickets at the door are $15. Young people 18 and under will be admitted free of charge.

Please help us continue the tradition of sharing a dessert at the concert intermission social.

Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. in the Vista subdivision of Pagosa Lakes. Take U.S. 160 to Vista Boulevard; turn north on Vista, then left on Port. The clubhouse is at the end of Port in the PLPOA complex.

Elation Center for the Arts is a nonprofit organization that provides cultural arts programs to the community of Pagosa Springs.

For more information, call 731-3117.

Photo courtesy ECA
Scott Altenbach plays guitar in the popular New Mexico group Holy Water and Whiskey. The band specializes in traditional and contemporary folk songs, cowboy songs, gospel and bluegrass. Holy Water and Whisky makes a Pagosa appearance Saturday, Jan. 24, at the PLPOA Clubhouse in an event sponsored by Elation Center for the Arts.

Photo courtesy ECA
Holy Water and Whiskey is a popular group in New Mexico, and they will entertain at an ECA-sponsored concert at the PLPOA Clubhouse Saturday, Jan. 24. The group consists of Bruce Washburne, top left, on banjo and guitar, Scott Altenbach on guitar, and Maggie Washburne on bass. The group’s vocal harmonies and interesting choice of songs keeps their audiences coming back for more, and their Pagosa appearance is sure to create a new group of fans.