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Holy Water and Whiskey, An Evening of American Folk Music

A concert entitled, “Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music,” takes place Friday, Nov. 19, at The Ross Aragon Community Center in Pagosa Springs. Featuring a fabulous acoustic trio from Albuquerque that specialize in traditional and contemporary folk music, cowboy songs, gospel and bluegrass.

A pre-concert social begins at 6 p.m. with free coffee. A beer and wine cash bar will be open throughout the evening. You are invited to bring a dessert to share for the pre-concert social and concert intermission, if you wish.

The concert begins at 7:00 p.m. $10 advance tickets go on sale next week at the Community Center and Higher Grounds Coffee Company. Tickets at the door are $12. Young people, 18 and under, will be admitted free. 

The music of Holy Water and Whiskey is characterized by a solid instrumental style with a special emphasis on beautiful vocal harmonies. They have been well received at hundreds of concerts throughout the West. The group consists of Maggie Washburne on bass, Scott Altenbach on guitar, and Bruce Washburne on guitar and banjo.

When she’s not singing, Maggie Washburne works as a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico. Her husband, Bruce, is a social worker in charge of the VA programs assisting blind veterans in New Mexico and Southern Colorado. The Washburnes owns a farm in Cuba, New Mexico.

When he isn’t playing music, Scott Altenbach might be found dangling on a rope three hundred feet down an old mine, looking for bats. A retired professor of biology, Altenbach is the foremost photographer of bats and he has written extensively about them. Currently, he consults with several state governments about preserving natural habitat. He is a renowned rattlesnake expert and once owned the largest personal collection of rattlesnakes in the world (don’t worry, he won’t be bringing any to the concert). Altenbach, who enjoys rebuilding old steam engine farming and mining machinery, has been living off the grid on his farm in the south valley of Albuquerque for 35 years.

“We believe that harmonies are healing and that music brings people together in a harmonious way,” says Maggie Washburne. Washburne has a strikingly beautiful voice, with more than a trace of the superb vocal quality of another female singer, Joan Baez. One of her original songs, “Grandma’s Angel,” is a song that tells of an experience her grandmother had when she returned to the orphanage where she was raised. Another, “Laugh When the Sun Won’t Shine,” is a blues tune with the message that a good man, or woman, is hard to find.

“We choose songs that resonate with our lives,” says Washburne. “We’ve had great times brightened by friends, family, laughter and love — and times when we were touched by suffering, separation and death. These things are the emotional basis for our music and harmonies — and our songs represent the positive resolution of all of these valued experiences.”

Come hear “Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music” on Nov. 19, for a concert that is sure to create a memorable ambience for Thanksgiving season in the Rockies.

The Ross Aragon Community Center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For further information, call the center at 264-4152.

The Ross Aragon Community Center is producing this concert in collaboration with Elation Center for the Arts.