By Crista Munro
Special to The PREVIEW
The 12th annual Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass festival takes place June 9-11 on Reservoir Hill in downtown Pagosa Springs.
We are still looking for our last couple dozen festival volunteers; working two four-hour shifts earns you free three-day admission. Volunteering at a FolkWest event is great fun and it’s a fantastic way to meet people from Pagosa Springs and beyond. More information can be found at www.folkwest.com/pfb-volunteer.
We have another terrific musical lineup in store for 2017 with Grammy-winning headliners The O’Connor Band (2017 — Best Bluegrass Album) and Loudon Wainwright III (2010 — Best Traditional Folk Album) plus a highly talented array of supporting bands including Ten Strings and A Goat Skin, The Lil’ Smokies, Molly Tuttle, The Dustbowl Revival, Western Centuries, Phoebe Hunt and the Gatherers, The Barefoot Movement, The Last Revel, The Stash! Band, The Heartstring Hunters and this week’s featured bands: The Luke Bulla Trio and Moors and McCumber.
The Luke Bulla Trio
Luke Bulla has been singing and playing music most of his life. Touring with and singing in his family band from age 4, Bulla took up the fiddle at 7. Over the course of the next few years, he won the National Fiddle Contest (in Weiser, Idaho) six times in his respective age categories. His seventh win came in the Grand Champion division at age 16, making him the youngest to have earned the title at the time. Entering Nashville’s Grand Masters fiddle contest at age 10, Bulla distinguished himself by being the youngest person to have made the top 10.
Spring of 1999 found Bulla moving to Nashville to establish himself as a full-time musician. He spent his early years in Tennessee playing fiddle in Ricky Skaggs’ band, Kentucky Thunder, which earned him his first Grammy Award. Following the Skaggs stint, he became a member of the John Cowan Band.
More recently, Bulla has performed and/or recorded with a slew of talented musicians including Darrell Scott, Alison Krauss, Jerry Douglas, Lyle Lovett, Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Bryan Sutton and Chris Thile, to name a few. Bulla was also a perennial instructor at Mark O’Connor’s fiddle camps growing up.
With long-time friend Casey Driessen, Bulla founded the band Wisechild. The band toured briefly with John Mayer and Counting Crows. In addition to violin, Bulla plays guitar, mandolin, sings and writes songs. In the spring of 2009, Lovett asked Bulla to join his Large Band, and Bulla now tours full time in all of Lovett’s configurations. Bulla also released a solo EP featuring Jerry Douglas, Bush, Fleck and Aoife O’Donovan, to name a few.
In 2015, Bulla co-founded a bluegrass/Americana record label called Pure Music Nashville with music and business executive John L. Heithaus.
Bulla’s new LP, “Who Loves You Better,” was released by Pure Music Nashville in May of 2016. Recorded at Zac Brown’s awesome Southern Ground Nashville, the LP was produced by Grammy winner Bryan Sutton.
“Who Loves You Better” showcases features vocal performances by Sharon and Cheryl White, Maura O’Connell, Lee Ann Womack and Sara Jarosz, complemented by a veritable A-List of Americana’s finest musicians including Douglas, Noam Pikelny, Bush, John Cowan, Sam Grisman, Bryan Sutton and many more.
The Luke Bulla Trio will play twice at Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass: June 9 at 5:45 p.m. and June 11 at 1:45 p.m.
Moors and McCumber
James Moors and Kort McCumber grew up in different places and listening to different kinds of music — classical, rock, bluegrass, you name it. But when they met 10 years ago, they knew they’d found something golden.
Since then, they’ve been cultivating their wide-ranging musical influences in songs that delve into love and life through haunting lyrics, soaring harmonies and dazzling instrumental proficiency.
As Grammy award-winning producer Lloyd Maines put it, “These guys should be playing every major festival in the country. They bring it all to the stage and deliver it in a big way.”
Moors and McCumber create that rare chemistry that happens when two gifted singer-songwriters and multi-instrumentalists perfectly complement each other’s strengths, a modern day version of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Currently touring in Ireland, the pair have incorporated a decidedly Irish flavor to their lovely harmonies on their latest release, “Aisling.”
Moors and McCumber will play the main stage at 11 a.m. on June 11.
Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass is supported in part with funding from Colorado Creative Industries. Tickets and information about the festival can be found online at www.folkwest.com or by calling (877) 472-4672.