By Carla Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
The Wild West Jubilee on Wednesday, April 13, will feature some fine, homegrown, old-time music and a foot-stomping barn dance with caller Carla Roberts.
This family-friendly western-themed event will feature demonstrations of basic, mainstream and plus dancing of the Wild West Squares, free food and a community “barn” dance with live music for anyone who would like to try very simple and fun square dance activities.
50 years of local music history
Back in the 1960s when musician Randall Davis started spending summers on the family ranch in Pagosa Springs, not many folks here knew what bluegrass music was.
Bluegrass was a hot trend with exciting new bands forming all over the U.S. and the concept of the “bluegrass festival” catching on. Pagosa’s very own bluegrass band was the Left Hand Band, formed by Davis and some bluegrass buddies in 1977 to bring some of the high and lonesome sound to our mountains and valleys.
Davis played banjo and guitar and the Left Hand Band played local bars, restaurants and special events. He has fond memories of this changing configuration of Left Hand Band members that lasted through the early ’90s.
Later, Davis picked up the fiddle during his musical sojourn in Cross Creek, a band from the San Luis Valley, then went back to banjo and guitar for his own group, Buckstop Party, named after a Daffy Duck cartoon that was the idea of his young son. That youngster is now renowned bluegrass/punk guitarist Robin Davis of the Robin Davis Duo with bassist Jimi Giles.
Randall Davis’ last band, Bluegrass Cadillac, formed in the last decade, originally consisted of Melinda Lutz, Keith Abbey, Clay Campbell, Ron Sutcliffe and Randall Davis. The group played for years at the Durango Meltdown and for many concerts and special events in Pagosa Springs.
When the Wild West Squares needed live musicians for its community barn dance events, Davis volunteered to put together a group to accompany dancing with the old-time fiddle tunes that are the backbone of bluegrass today.
After a 30-year break from the fiddle, Davis has reacquainted himself with the instrument and invited local duo Dan and Juanalee Park to join him. Juanalee plays both old-time and bluegrass style on the banjo and Dan rounds out the trio on the guitar.
The Wild West Jubilee at 7 p.m. on April 13 is a free evening of entertainment for the whole family to attend. The PLPOA Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave. The doors will open at 6:45 p.m. For more information, call Roberts at 903-6478.
The Four Corners-based Wild West Squares program is designed to bring the joy of modern western square dance to people of all ages with free classes available in Pagosa Springs, Durango and Aztec, N.M.