The 14th annual Four Corners Folk Festival is just two weeks away!
The festival will take place Sept. 4-6 over Labor Day Weekend on Reservoir Hill, right here in Pagosa Springs. The musical lineup features 15 outstanding national and international performers including Tim O’Brien, the subdudes, The Bills, the Russ Barenberg Quartet, Eddie From Ohio, Marc Atkinson Trio, The Quebe Sisters, the Wiyos, The Greencards, Shannon Whitworth, Sarah Siskind and this week’s featured artists: The Infamous Stringdusters and Anne and Pete Sibley.
Three-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award-winning band and Sugar Hill recording artist The Infamous Stringdusters hit the road this summer to deliver their unique bluegrass acoustic show to audiences across the country. Though the band is rooted in the traditions of bluegrass, fans can always expect to hear a mix of country, bluegrass and free form improvisations that help make every show a one of a kind experience. The band performs with such virtuosity and energy that they are equally as comfortable performing in a sit-down performing arts center as they are in a standing room only rock club, and they relish this diversity in their performances. With a solid repertoire of original songs compiled from their two Sugar Hill albums, plus new songs and a constantly changing set list, the band continues to pick up new fans each stop they make.
The Infamous Stringdusters’ genesis can be traced back to 2002, when Andy Hall, Chris Pandolfi, and original guitarist Chris Eldridge met in Boston. They knew they had musical chemistry, but their lives were too out of synch to start a band until they all found themselves in Nashville in 2004. By then, Hall had been in the band of acclaimed bluegrass singer and songwriter Ronnie Bowman, where he met Jeremy Garrett and Jesse Cobb. Together, this newly formed alliance of superpickers searched for the right bass player, who wound up being Travis Book, a product of the Colorado jamgrass scene. The departure of Eldridge in 2007 led to the addition of Andy Falco, whose blues infused style perfectly complemented the Stringdusters’ sound. Falco joined the Stringdusters in the late summer, and according to bassist/vocalist Travis Book, “It ended up giving the band a lift I don’t think anybody anticipated. It was almost like the sails finally filled up completely.” That same year the band released their debut album, “Fork in the Road,” through Sugar Hill Records.
The band’s sophomore release (June 2008) through Sugar Hill Records, self titled “The Infamous Stringdusters,” feels like an introduction of a sort. Whereas “Fork in the Road” was made during their first potent months together, this album displays the band’s evolution during two years of intense touring, meticulous woodshedding and brotherly jamming. It’s their first record with accomplished guitarist Andy Falco, whose blues infused licks and stunning virtuosity has added a new facet to the band’s musical personality. It’s the first of their CDs produced by Tim O’Brien, a Grammy winning musician who has pioneered and embodied the progressive school of roots and bluegrass that underlies the Stringdusters sound. It also features nine band originals supplemented by a few carefully chosen tunes from colleagues in the acoustic music community.
The Infamous Stringdusters continue to tear up the road relentlessly, hitting some of the biggest festivals in acoustic music and jamming on major stages with heroes like David Grisman, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Del McCoury and Jack Black. Catch the spirit and their newest songs at this year’s Four Corners Folk Festival; they’re closing Friday night with a 7:30 p.m. set time then they’re back on the main stage again on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.. The Stringdusters will also be featured on the late night stage with a 10 p.m. performance on Saturday night.
For Anne and Pete Sibley, it is the simplicity of the music: the words, the vocals, the harmonies. The storytelling and intimate nature of their original songs has drawn fans and encouraged the husband and wife duo to keep delivering. They aren’t afraid of making music that is personal, paring it down, and staying true to their instincts.
Raised in New England singing in choirs, studying all types of music except folk and bluegrass, Anne and Pete stumbled upon their true calling when they moved west to Jackson, Wyoming. They consider folk and bluegrass the people’s music, nature’s music, and they sing it freely and graciously. In April 2009, the Sibleys took top honors in the “Great American Duet Sing-Off” on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor. This prestigious accolade has helped launch them onto the national music scene.
Anne and Pete have recorded four well-received albums, including one for Christmas. They celebrated their newest release, “Coming Home,” in April 2009. Of the album “Will You Walk With Me,” music journal Bluegrass Now writes, “What emerges front and center are the couple’s transcendent harmonies, vocal renditions that embellish already artful songwriting.” CD Baby raves, “this duo is bound for greatness, with their stripped-down but stunning original songs and choice covers.” Anne and Pete will continue the tradition of opening Sunday morning’s show with a lovely blend of bluegrass and gospel music on the main stage starting at 11 a.m.
The Four Corners Folk Festival is supported by a grant from the Colorado Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Colorado General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
Advanced tickets can be purchased locally through Sept. 2 at Moonlight Books downtown and at ReSport in the Pagosa Lakes City Market shopping center. They can also be purchased online at www.folkwest.com or by phone, (877) 472-4672. Additional festival information is available on the festival Web site: www.folkwest.com.