Folk music concert scheduled Jan. 24

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 is an acoustic trio from Albuquerque that sings folk, gospel, bluegrass, cowboy and contemporary songs. Their rich harmonies are the hallmark of their sound. The trio has been very well received at performances throughout the Southwest.

Holy Water and Whiskey consists of Maggie Washburne on bass, Scott Altenbach on guitar, and Bruce Washburne on guitar and banjo. Bruce and Maggie got together to perform in a folk group in Hawaii in 1977, were married, and have been playing folk music together ever since. In 2003, they started performing with Altenbach, a Colorado native.

All three members got their start performing during the ‘60s. Since then, their musical tastes have evolved to include many acoustic instrument and vocal styles. Their latest CD, “Spirits of All Kinds,” represents a cross section of their repertoire. Using the strong vocal leads of Scott and Maggie as the foundation for most of their selections, the group adds their own special blend of close harmony singing. Audiences consistently report the group’s harmonies and interesting selection of songs are what keep them coming back for more.

Maggie Washburne has a strikingly beautiful voice, with more than a trace of the superb vocal quality of another female singer, Joan Baez. “Spirits of All Kinds” includes three original tunes written by Maggie, including, “Ill Wind,” about a successful divorce; “Grandma’s Angel,” a song that tells of an experience that Maggie’s grandmother had when she returned to the orphanage where she was raised; and “Laugh When the Sun Won’t Shine,” a blues tune with the message that a good man, or woman, is hard to find.

Maggie is a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico. Bruce is a social worker in charge of the VA programs that assists blind veterans in New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The Washburnes own a farm in Cuba, N.M.

Altenbach is a retired professor of biology who has been living, off the grid, on his farm in the south valley of Albuquerque for 35 years.

Altenbach, who consults with state governments about preserving natural habitat, is a renowned rattlesnake expert who once owned the largest personal collection of rattlesnakes in the world, which included every type of rattlesnake in North and South America (Don’t worry, he won’t be bringing any to the concert). Altenbach is also the foremost photographer of bats and has written extensively about them. When he isn’t playing music — or dangling on a rope three hundred feet down an old mine looking for bats — Altenbach enjoys rebuilding old steam engine farming and mining machinery.

Together, these three remarkable musicians weave a colorful and appealing tapestry of American folk, gospel, bluegrass, cowboy and contemporary songs. Join us this Saturday at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse for “Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music.”

Advance tickets for $12 are available on-line at and at the 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 Holy Water and Whiskey
Holy Water and Whiskey band members, from left to right, Maggie Washburne, Scott Altenbach and Bruce Washburne (seated) present, “ An Evening of American Folk Music,”at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.