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‘Holy Water and Whiskey’ Nov. 19 at community center

“Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music,” takes place Friday, Nov. 19, at The Ross Aragon Community Center.

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 social and intermission, if you wish.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. $10 advance tickets are available at the community center and Higher Grounds Coffee Company. Tickets at the door are $12. Young people, 18 and under, will be admitted free. 

Holy Water and Whiskey is a delightful trio from Albuquerque that specializes in traditional and contemporary American folk music, cowboy songs, gospel and bluegrass. Consisting of Maggie and Bruce Washburne and Scott Altenbach, the group is renown for its beautiful vocal harmonies, solid instrumental style, great stories and humor. The group performed a highly successful concert in Pagosa two years ago.

Maggie Washburne’s beautiful voice has more than a trace of the superb vocal quality of another female singer, Joan Baez.

“We choose songs that resonate with our lives,” said 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. Our songs represent the positive resolution of all of these valued experiences. We believe that music — harmonies, especially — are healing,” she said.

Besides music, these folks have another love in common: farming. The Washburnes own and operate a farm in Cuba, N.M., Altenbach lives, off the grid, on his farm in the south valley of Albuquerque.

“Their music is so uplifting, humorous, and perfectly woven — with guitar, bass and banjo — that you wish it would go on forever,” writes a concert reviewer. “The vocals are exceptionally fine — with Maggie Washburne’s voice soaring clear as a bell one minute, and then, just as naturally, joined by Bruce Washburne and Scott Altenbach’s harmonies. It’s like hearing what you see when birds change formation in mid-flight: seamless. These folks are the real deal, for whom music is as natural as breathing.”

When she’s not singing, Maggie Washburne works as a professor of biology at the University of New Mexico. Bruce Washburne is a social worker in charge of the VA programs assisting blind veterans in New Mexico and southern Colorado. Altenbach, who is a retired professor of biology, might be found dangling on a rope 300 feet down an old mine looking for bats when he isn’t playing music.

“Holy Water and Whiskey packed the house again,” writes another reviewer. “It seems that everyone loves this group - and for good reason. They gave a night of great songs, flawless harmonies and Bruce’s great jokes - a night of music, laughter and even a few tears.”  

Be sure to join us at The Ross Aragon Community Center for “Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music.”

The community center is located at 451 Hot Springs Blvd. For further information, call 264-4152.

This program is sponsored by The Ross Aragon Community Center and Elation Center for the Arts. ECA is a local nonprofit, dedicated to the preservation of traditional music and dance. The community center operates as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization through the Pagosa Springs Facilities Coalition (PSCFC), benefiting the community of Pagosa Springs by creating, coordinating and providing space for social, athletic, fine arts, performing arts, cultural, educational, business and faith-based activities.

“Holy Water and Whiskey: An Evening of American Folk Music” is a benefit fund-raiser in support of The Ross Aragon Community Center and Elation Center for the Arts.