The Samples come back home: Colorado

The Samples’ front man, Sean Kelly, is originally from Vermont. But make no mistake about it: The Samples belong to Colorado.

“I remember the morning we got here,” Kelly, 47, said about his arrival to the state in 1987. “There had just been a blizzard. The weather was beautiful. It was 10 or 20 below. It had been gray and miserable back east and we got here, there was white snow and blue sky. It was magic.”

A bit of magic has propelled Kelly into a life of a musician as he took his musical talent and created one of the most popular touring bands of the ‘90s.

“I quit high school,” said Sean, speaking from his house in Highlands Ranch just outside Denver. “I’ve never taken a music lesson. I just know the basic chords. My focus has always been on making good music.”

Since its start, The Samples have cycled through band members – with Kelly always providing the anchor with his distinctive voice, songwriting abilities and guitar work. Now Kelly and The Samples are playing two Colorado dates. On Feb. 15, they’ll be at the PAC3 at the Third Street Center in Carbondale, and on Feb. 16, they’ll perform at The Grizzly Rock in Denver.

Playing in Colorado reminds Kelly of the touring the band did years ago around Vail, Aspen, Steamboat, Breckenridge and Telluride.

“It was a way for us to get our music out,” he said. “So many people come to Colorado from so many places, then they’d take our music back with them and spread it around.”

Birth of a name
Often described as a combination of Sting – Kelly’s voice has a similar pitch – and The Grateful Dead – The Samples are known as a jam band – the group is decidedly distinct. During the past 25 years, they’ve generated around 20 albums with more than a million records sold.

In 1987, singer, songwriter and guitarist Kelly, then 21, landed at 14th and Euclid in Boulder after driving to Colorado with his friend and fellow guitarist Charles Hambleton. The two drove from Burlington, Vt., where they had been playing music together.

“There were people crashed on the floor there,” Kelly said of the Boulder house. “We practiced in the basement, which was an unused garage. It was rock solid. And we played our first gig there. We were the entertainment for a party. We were getting our chops.”

Kelly and Hambleton soon added to their group when bass player Andy Sheldon joined them, along with drummer Jeep MacNichol and keyboardist Al Laughlin. The five started playing at FACs and in the frat party circuit in Boulder, and later in clubs like Tulagi’s.

Money was tight. Besides paying cheap rent at 14th and Euclid, the band members were always looking for ways to cut corners.

“We discovered the supermarket samples they passed out at King Soopers,” Kelly said. “After about three weeks of that, we thought, ‘Let’s call ourselves ‘The Samples.’ Eventually we graduated to the food at Happy Hours.”

Influences
For all the roots The Samples have established in Colorado, listeners can’t deny strong reggae-inspired influences in their music. Kelly said that came from drummer Jeep MacNichol who was with the band from 1987-1997. Songs like “Feel Us Shaking” feel more like beach tunes than coming from the mountains.

“Jeep was really affected by reggae,” Kelly said. “At the time when we were starting out, [rock/reggae jam band] Little Women was playing in and around Boulder. Some of their musical influences got blended into ours.”

Several other musicians have influenced the band as well. Kelly credits Neil Young, The Rolling Stones and Jackson Browne as having an impact on his songwriting. And surprisingly, another musician close to home affected Kelly.

“John Denver,” said Kelly, who has written numerous songs about nature and environmental concerns. He said he used to listen to Denver’s songs growing up.

Currently, Kelly has recorded a couple cover bootleg acoustic renditions of his own, of “I Guess He’d Rather Be in Colorado,” and “Rocky Mountain High.” They sound entirely different than the originals, putting a new spin on some old classics.

Kelly said he wishes he could go to those musicians who have gone before him to ask how they have done it.

“I wonder how they made it,” Kelly said. “It’s a crazy world. I’d love to ask Neil Young, ‘How did you pull it off?’”

‘A new generation’
Kelly’s life leading The Samples has had its share of challenges, including several management and agency snafus, and music label buyouts. It recently took its toll this past year.

“I quit smoking cigarettes, I quit drinking,” he said. “It’s been really painful. It’s so mental. I’ve been punishing myself. I still was dealing with the sadness I had of my mom dying 17 years ago. I had to physically and emotionally remove myself. I can’t describe it. I had to heal.”

Now back and feeling strong, Kelly is ready with his new band mates to continue making music – and remaking it.

Just last year, The Samples song “Could It Be Another Change?” was featured in the major motion picture “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” starring Emma Watson. The song, which was recorded in 1993 has since had more than 400,000 hits on YouTube as a result of the film.

“It’s crazy,” said Kelly. “I got into The Doors way after they were around. Now there’s a new generation that is hearing The Samples’ stuff because of this movie and the Internet. Maybe they’ll get into the 20 albums we’ve done. There’s really cool stuff out there.”

Two Samples dates
Feb. 15
PAC3 at the Third Street Center
520 S. Third St.
Carbondale
970-379-5403
pac3carbondale.com

Max Gomez Article in New Mexico Magazine

Max Gomez is his name, he comes
from Taos, he’s all of 25 now, and his debut album, Rule the World, is just now being released on New West Records, a label that’s home to the likes of Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson, and John Hiatt (who, coinci- dentally, wrote the title track of Riding with the King). In the Americana genre, it’s like a rookie cracking the Yankees lineup.

“It’s been my life goal to make a real record,” says Gomez. “New West is like a family. I feel at home there.”

Of course, most of the other family members on the label are graybeards old enough to be his father, a point not lost on Briggs, who has also handled aging luminaries Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, and Randy Newman.

“We made a decision to get young,” says the avuncular Briggs. “Max is everything I was looking for. We needed a new face.”

The youngest of five brothers, by several years—“That’s why I got into
‘old’ music”—Gomez got a children’s guitar for Christmas when he was 10. The family moved from Santa Fe to Taos in the ’80s, and his father, Steve, became a furniture craftsman. “There’s a similarity between my dad’s work and mine,” says Gomez. “He really studied what he did; there were always a lot of books on old furniture in his studio.”

Gomez reports that growing up in Taos was “wild, man! It’s still the Wild West compared to any city or suburban lifestyle. You can get away with anything, and we were turned loose as kids.” At 14, when Gomez performed at a benefit concert,

he played “Sunday Mornin’ Coming Down”—a down-and-out classic by future labelmate Kristofferson. Soon he was play- ing at the Old Blinking Light, filling in for the house performer, Michael Hearn. “The school I went to was playing in that bar,” he says. Later, the Hotel St. Bernard became his regular venue.

“Taos has a great sense of community, it’s very kind,” says Gomez. “They embrace people’s goals and dreams. I’ve always had a few people who believe in me.” He’s friends with painter Ed Sandoval, among

Once upon a time in New Mexico,

there was boy who was born with golden ears. Whenever he heard great music, it became part of him, and it would shape his destiny in magical ways that would be revealed over time.

When the lad was four, his parents played John Prine’s The Missing Years, which won the Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1992. It was the first music the boy liked well enough to learn to sing along with. Years later, he would befriend and make music with songwriter Keith Sykes, who had col- laborated with Prine on two of the boy’s favorite songs from that very album.

When he was 13, an older brother brought home Eric Clapton and B.B. King’s Riding with the King, the Grammys’ Best Traditional Blues Album of 2001. Their version of “Key to the Highway” led the boy to discover his favorite blues singer, Big Bill Broonzy, a country-blues legend who had died 30 years before his birth.
A dozen years later, Gary Briggs, who
had managed Clapton for Warner Bros.
at the time of that recording, would sign the boy—now a young man whose voice had ripened to a rich, warm, café mocha timbre, and who had learned to write songs and play guitar in the modes of his folk- blues masters—to his first record deal.

72 NEW MEXICO | FEBRUARY 2013

 

others, but as for the music scene, well, Taos is not Austin or even Santa Fe; as a solo singer-songwriter, he says, “I couldn’t help but feel like a loner.”

On a reconnaissance trip to Nashville,

Gomez saw first-hand the workings of the Music Row songwriting process, where hired guns crank out tunes all day, every day; it was an eye-opener about the music profession. “I realized that this is not far- fetched at all, that I can write and record,” says Gomez. “I came home and wrote ‘Rule the World’ in 15 or 20 minutes. When I wrote my favorite line—‘If I could rule the world / I’d take the pain from your heart

/ I would tear it all up, I’d tear it apart / I would drown out the cries with redemption songs / I’d part the truth from the lies and right from the wrong’—I knew it was really good. It had a catchy hook, and I knew it would do something for me.”

He recorded a demo version of the song and started flogging it. Briggs heard him sing it by accident (unless you believe in destiny, that is) in Austin in 2010, at a South by Southwest showcase, and was “intrigued. I couldn’t get him out of my head.” A year and a half later, Gomez was in Los Angeles, recording an album for New West with Jeff Trott, a songwriter and producer whose main claim to fame is as the architect of Sheryl Crow’s albums, all the way back to her 1993 breakout, Tuesday Night Music Club.

Trott knew exactly how to handle Gomez. Rule the World arrives as a fully formed piece of straight-up Americana, the debut of an artist you can anticipate listening to for years to come. Easygoing and expertly played blues, folk, country, and even gospel form a soundscape that creates
a comfort zone around Gomez. He sounds grounded and fresh, mature yet still youth- ful, sensitive and earnest but not sappy. Mid- tempo songs get up and gallop, choruses swell in all the right places—but there’s no strain, no overplaying, no impulse to rock out to score angry-young-man points.

In concert, Gomez expands on this impression. He’s got a low-key charisma, and guitar chops plenty good enough to

go it solo; he’s confident enough to wing
it, follow his muse off the set list, and turn a gig into something more than a mere recital. Here we learn that there’s more where the album material came from, and
a stage presence—including brown-eyed, boyish good looks—that could take him far.

“He makes it look easy, offhand, casual—without making it look like he’s not working on it,” says KBAC/Radio Free Santa Fe deejay Eric Davis, who’s been following Gomez’s career for a few years. “He gets who he is, but he’s just himself, and you either latch on to it or you don’t. Honesty comes natural to him.”

In songs with telling titles like “Never

Say Never,” “True Blue,” and “Love Will Find a Way,” Gomez confronts personal- relationship issues that usually resolve with an upbeat philosophical declaration of steadfastness and growth. He’s not naïve, and he’s optimistic—and why shouldn’t he be? Everything is going his way. A seasoned coach, Briggs, is bringing him along carefully, promoting him on Triple-A (adult album alternative) radio stations, putting him

on the road in middle America, and as an opener for established artists like Hiatt, Patty Griffin, and Shawn Mullins. Then, when the time is right—perhaps as early as next month—they’ll give the single, “Rule the World,” a chance to do just that.

Gomez may project a taking-it-in- stride, aw-shucks demeanor, but of course he’s excited. He’s also fully aware of the charmed, full-circle symmetry of growing up on records by the John Prines and Eric Claptons and B.B. Kings of the world, then getting to follow in just those footsteps by collaborating with their collaborators. “It’s hard to believe it came around in a perfect way,” he says. But if this sounds like a fairy- tale ending, it’s not. For Max Gomez, this is only the beginning. ✜

LISTEN UP To hear the songs “Rule the World” and “Run from You,” go to http://bit.ly/ QCWklg. Purchase the new album and singles on amazon.com. For information about gigs, etc.: maxgomezmusic.com.

nmmagazine.com | FEBRUARY 2013 73

 

Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue

November 9th, 2012

Doors @ 7pm/ show @8pm

$12 advance/ $15 @the door

We loved RMGDR, so we are bringing them back!  Did you miss the this summer?  No worries they are coming back to PAC3!

Rocky Mountain Grateful Dead Revue

Featuring Rob Eaton from Darkstar Orchestra, Jake Wolf from Shakedown Street, Ted Tilton from Dead Phish Orchestra, Jim Allard from Coral Creek Band, and Dave Kochmann from American Beauty.

Cajun blues legend and wetlands restoration leader comes to PAC3

Protest tunes don’t typically sound like Delta blues or Cajun music, but Tab Benoit is changing that.

The Louisiana guitarist and singer has paired his on-stage skills with environmental activism that hits close to home for him. He’s become a leader in the call for wetlands restoration along the Gulf Coast, an issue that receives national attention only when storms threaten or hit Louisiana, as Hurricane Isaac did last month.

Benoit, who plays the PAC3 in Carbondale on Thursday, is also founder and president of Voice of the Wetlands, a nonprofit advocating for coastal restoration.

While it did damage and knocked out power in southern Louisiana for days, Isaac’s damage isn’t comparable to Hurricane Katrina’s from 2005, largely because a new levee system around New Orleans held up this time and prevented flooding.

Benoit rode out the storm at his home in Houma, La., outside New Orleans.

“We got lucky because the eye of the storm sat on top of us for a whole day,” Benoit said. “The eye is the calmest place. If it goes 20 miles west it’s a whole different story.”

The fury with which the hurricane hit southern Louisiana would have been far less furious, he noted, if the wetlands were in their natural state and protecting inland communities like Houma and New Orleans.

“Every time a storm comes through it opens the discussion again,” he said of renewed calls for coastal restoration in the wake of Isaac.

An acre of wetlands per hour on Louisiana’s coast disappears into the Gulf of Mexico. Over the last 20 years, the Gulf itself has moved about 20 miles closer to downtown New Orleans and Houma. An estimated 1,500 square miles of wetlands have turned into open water since 1930 on Louisiana’s coast.

The result is far less natural protection against hurricanes. Wetlands have historically taken the brunt of storms at their worst, serving as a “speed bump” before they reach significantly populated areas.

“Our best protection against storms is the marshes and the coastline and it’s disappearing,” Benoit said.

Isaac’s highest winds blew at 80 miles per hour and the storm caused an estimated $3 billion in damage in the U.S.

Benoit and others have been pushing for years to restore the coastal wetlands, which host an ecosystem of their own and fisheries as well as providing natural hurricane protection. Benoit founded Voice of the Wetlands in 2004 — a year before Katrina brought the issue into the national spotlight — and it remains a leading wetlands advocacy group.

The wetlands are eroding largely because of the way the Mississippi River was redirected with federal levees a century ago, stopping it from depositing silt and nutrients into the delta where it would naturally. But doing anything on the ground to restore the coast has failed to gain political traction in Washington. Benoit provided testimony in congressional hearings on the issue in 2008, but has been frustrated with the lack of progress as the coast disappears.

“We’re ready to talk whenever they are,” Benoit said of the nation’s elected leaders.

Next month in Louisiana he’ll host the annual Voice of the Wetlands Festival, which blends activism on the issue with performances by Benoit and other Louisiana musicians. This summer he toured with his Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars Band, which includes keyboardist Dr. John and Mardi Gras Indian chief Monk Boudreaux.

Last year, Benoit and the band released an album, “Box of Pictures,” following up on their 2005 self-titled debut. The record is part of what has been a prolific artistic stretch for Benoit. Earlier this year, he released a greatest hits record called “Legacy” and last year also had a solo album, “Medicine.”

Benoit’s lively performances and guitar skills have made him the standard bearer for Cajun blues around the country. He’s made frequent stops in the Roaring Fork Valley, playing the Belly Up Aspen and the Thursday Night Concert Series in Snowmass Village, which included an impromptu jam with Aspenite and rock legend John Oates.

“Basically, I don’t know what’s going to happen until I get up there and start,” Benoit laughed. “I like to have it open and free so we can roll with the moments.”

andrew@aspendailynews.com

Jimmy Herring

ASPEN — Jimmy Herring has a dream: to one day not see his name in lights.

For the moment, Herring is the guitarist and leader of the Jimmy Herring Band, a name he seems to have genuine discomfort with.

“I never wanted that,” he said of being the bandleader, the guy with his name on the marquee. “At some point it will just be a band, and it will have a name.”

Herring’s unease stems from the fact that music — or at least, music the way he has always seen it — is a fully collaborative endeavor. The bands he has been a part of have emphasized the group aspect; even the names of those outfits — the Allman Brothers, the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Phil & Friends — reflect the idea that music-making is a team effort.

“I feel like we’re all equals. We just get together and play,” Herring said from a tour bus rolling across Missouri on its way to Colorado. “So having my name on it makes me uncomfortable. All of us know music is a collaborative effort.”

Herring, accompanied by his mates, drummer Jeff Sipe, bassist Neal Fountain and keyboardist Matt Slocum, will play at PAC3 in Carbondale on Thursday, Aug. 23, at 8 p.m.

Back in his native North Carolina, Herring did once lead a band. But only sort of, and he was terrible at it, and he didn’t enjoy it.

“I became the bandleader. I had to say some of the tough things like, ‘Be on time’ and ‘You’re not playing well,’” he said. “I hated it with a passion. Swore I’d never do it again. I came up with the notion of joining someone else’s band. And that’s what I did.”

Herring has, indeed, made a habit of being in other people’s bands. But to call him a sideman would be a mistake, since the groups he’s been in have been so oriented toward ensemble playing. Herring’s first notable position was in the Aquarium Rescue Unit, a band led in name by Col. Bruce Hampton, but that focused the spotlight on each of the gifted musicians. Herring had a short stint in the Allman Brothers Band, sitting in for Dickey Betts. He co-founded Jazz Is Dead, which put a fusion spin on the songs of the Grateful Dead, and then carried on with the Dead repertoire as a member of Phil & Friends, led by Dead bassist Phil Lesh. In 2006, Herring joined the Southern jam band Widespread Panic, whose original guitarist, Mike Houser, had died four years earlier.

Herring said that hopping on a fast-moving train like Widespread Panic was relatively easy because a) he had known the band members for 15 years; b) they were Southerners like him; c) they were nice people; and d) they were all the same age, meaning they had the same TV shows as cultural reference points. But mostly what he respects about Panic is how much the band plays as a team.

“There’s a wonderful democracy they have, and it’s such a rare thing,” the 50-year-old Herring said, adding that he’s thrilled about the recent announcement that Panic will end its 11-month hiatus in January. “I want to be like that with my group, where everybody has a voice, everybody’s voice is welcome, nobody thinks they have to shut up and go with the flow.”

But Herring doesn’t aim to turn his band into a Widespread clone in sound. Herring’s band — as reflected on “Subject to Change Without Notice,” his second solo album, released on Tuesday — plays instrumental fusion, with a nod to the Dixie Dregs, who likewise mixed jazz fusion, Southern rock and more.

Noting that his music added elements of gospel and Indian styles, Herring said he resists categorizing his approach. What does distinguish his music, though, is how tough it can be to play.

“My tendency is to write music to my weaknesses,” he said. “I’ve got millions of things I could do better, so subconsciously or unconsciously I write music that’s hard for me to play.”

With “Subject to Change,” he has added another layer of difficulty. “Curfew” has a part by banjoist Béla Fleck; “Red Wing Special” features fiddler Nicky Sanders. Both are exceptional musicians — meaning that the chances of duplicating the sound in concert is next to impossible. Herring said he probably won’t be performing those tunes anytime soon.

Herring said that his biggest weakness as a guitarist was his inability to adapt to the cold.

“Outside, when it’s cold, not letting the mental game beat you — that’s tough for me,” he said. “When my hands get cold, I turn into a baby.”

stewart@aspentimes.com

PAC3 heads into year two with improvements, diversity

April E. Clark
Post Independent Arts Writer
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
CARBONDALE, Colorado — Josh Behrman has had quite the year.

At the end of May, Behrman celebrated the first anniversary of the opening of his entertainment brainchild, the Performing Arts Center at Third Street (PAC3).

The facility is Carbondale’s first and only performing arts center based in the arts-focused Third Street Center, formerly Carbondale Elementary School. Three years ago, the school was refurbished with a focus on green building techniques to house valley nonprofits, art studios and the PAC3 theater in the space that was once the gymnasium.

“I’d say in the first year, it’s been quite radical,” said Behrman, founder and president of Mountain Groove Productions Inc. and Music For the Mountains, the nonprofit entity that spearheaded the theater’s opening.

“I’ve definitely felt every emotion possible. We’ve had really great performances. The room is getting a great reputation — people are saying PAC3 is a great room to play,” he said.

Behrman and his staff have put an emphasis on bringing diversity to the venue, presenting national touring acts ranging from the March Fourth Marching Band and Robert Earl Keen to hosting fundraising events for local nonprofits WindWalkers and the Waldorf School.

Mixed in have been stand-up comedy by Paula Poundstone, burlesque performances, a dance festival, and a kids’ concert by The Not-Its, the PAC3 Music Academy Summer Camp for young musicians, and more. Saturday night features three up-and-coming comics from the Denver stand-up scene. the Two & Half Men of Comedy.

“It’s really nice, we’ve gotten statewide recognition, as well as out-of-state, for what we’re doing here,” Behrman said. “We’re getting recognized in the artist community. A lot of people think it’s a school when they pull up, then when they get inside they see what it’s all about and say, ‘This is really fantastic, and not what we expected.’ The artists have been very impressed with Third Street, that we have a theater, an arts council, art studios, and nonprofits here. They say they love Carbondale and can’t wait to come back.”

Hospitality is a main focus of the PAC3, putting Carbondale on the map for performing artists that may not otherwise have heard of the small mountain town, Behrman said.

“The town treats performers well,” he said. “People enjoy the eccentricity of what we’re all about here. We’ve had some pretty well-known artists say we love this room, we love Carbondale.”

July’s recent acoustic Hot Tuna show was a highlight for Behrman in the last 14 months the venue’s doors have been open. The blues-rock band is a spin-off of legendary rock band Jefferson Airplane.

“Hot Tuna, hands-down, has been my favorite show,” he said. “They have been idols of mine for quite some time. Artists of their caliber are starting to get what we’re about and help us grow. Our performers have been very generous to us. Hot Tuna loved the room and they loved the experience. Now they know there’s a choice outside of Aspen, where we can say this room might be more fitting for a show like Hot Tuna.”

Behrman also enjoyed presenting Texas country and folk artist Robert Earl Keen at the packed theater for a standing-room only performance last August.

“For the last 16 or 17 years, I’ve presented him almost every year,” he said.

‘In it to win it’

Now that PAC3 has experienced a year of operation, the venue is gearing up for the challenge of remaining steadfast in times when businesses have struggled, Behrman said. This summer, PAC3 offered a $100 summer pass that provided entry to almost 30 shows.

“We want PAC3 to be accessible. Membership is a great thing, and donations are a great thing. We want to expand the PAC3 family. Ultimately that’s our goal, to make this theater sustainable so that it can operate and not be in financial trouble.”

Behrman credited season ticket holders, private donors and valley businesses such as Alchemy Audio Visual, which helped with lighting and sound, for improving the venue in its maiden year.

“What’s cool is it has made use of a previously used space, making it another indoor outlet for music and entertainment in the lower valley,” said Alchemy lighting designer and audio/visual technician Matt Soltesz of Glenwood Springs. “Right there in itself is right on.”

Soltesz noted PAC3′s use of light-emitting diodes (LED) lighting and state-of-the-art, energy-efficient materials in creating the theater’s versatile and professional atmosphere.

“They’ve adapted the materials and the needs for a venue like that to produce a well-balanced theater look and feel,” he said. “It such a good use of space. I think it’s fun, and we need more of it. The whole Third Street Center is a shining example of things to come in the valley.”

Behrman said PAC3 continues to make improvements in lighting and sound to better accommodate the major acts coming through the doors. He also plans to better incorporate the valley art scene by displaying works by locals in the space.

“We’re really going to expand using PAC3 as a way to promote art,” he said. “We’re going to invite local artists to paint during shows. And I want to change up the [stage] panels with every season.”

PAC3 may also see a boost in marketing efforts thanks to a recent $15,000 grant from Garfield County to improve sales tax revenues. The grant requires the nonprofit Music for the Mountain PAC3 Foundation to raise an equal amount of matching funds for the theater’s continuation.

“We hope people embrace this and understand that we’re doing this for the community and that they can all take ownership of it,” Behrman said. “I tell the staff that we’re not going out of business by any means. That we’re not in trouble, we’re in need. And you know what they say back to me? ‘We’re in it to win it.’”

Carbondale’s PAC3 looks to boost marketing

CARBONDALE, Colorado — A nonprofit performing arts center that’s been in existence here for a little more than a year now is looking to expand its marketing reach and help promote Carbondale as a live music destination.

Recent concerts at the PAC3, located in Carbondale’s Third Street Center, have included legendary acts such as Hot Tuna, David Grisman, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and New Riders of the Purple Sage.

This Friday brings folk/bluegrass artist Tim O’Brien, followed by more top musicians, comedy acts and cultural presentations scattered throughout August.

In fact, the PAC3 rivals some of the bigger-name resort venues in Aspen and Vail for its concert and event lineup.

But as PAC3 is still a fledgling nonprofit organization, concert promoter Josh Behrman has been limited in his ability to get the word out beyond a core group of local regulars.

“There is a big driving force now to boost sales tax revenues in the community,” Behrman pointed out during a recent request before the Garfield County commissioners for a $15,000 marketing grant.

Ticket buyers for PAC3 shows do come from all over Colorado but are mostly concentrated in the middle and upper Roaring Fork Valley, Behrman said.

With a stepped-up marketing effort, that reach could expand to the rest of Garfield County and throughout the region, he said.

“The PAC3 is the only venue of its kind in Garfield County presenting acts year-round,” Behrman wrote in his request to the commissioners.

“Almost all of our national acts have attracted fans from afar that have stayed in either Carbondale or Glenwood Springs lodging,” he said. “If given the opportunity to increase marketing and touch more out-of-town visitors, we could help put more heads in beds and bring more tax dollars to the county.”

Commissioners approved the $15,000 request, noting that the county has provided similar marketing sponsorships for events such as the Five Point Film Festival, Glenwood Springs Summer of Music and Rifle Rendezvous.

But the PAC3 must also raise an equal amount of matching dollars from other organizations, including private donations and in-kind support, before the county money will be handed over.

“I am amazed by the number of live entertainment venues there are in Carbondale, for a town without a large bed base,” Commissioner Tom Jankovsky noted. Carbondale only has two local hotels and some smaller bed and breakfasts.

“We do like to see an equal matching amount for these types of grants,” Jankovsky said.

In addition to bringing in national and regional touring acts, the PAC3 also serves as a venue for rent to other local nonprofit organizations for fundraisers and other programs.

This summer’s Music Academy for area youth that was held at the PAC3 is one example, Third Street Center Executive Director Jody Ensign pointed out in a letter of support for the county grant.

“To the best of my knowledge, an academy such as this has not been available to young people in the mid-valley before,” she said.

Support letters also came from Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities Executive Director Amy Kimberly, Carbondale Mayor Stacey Bernot and Carbondale Chamber director Andrea Stewart.

“PAC3 really strives to work with other nonprofits on affordable solutions for rental space,” Bernot wrote. “I have received numerous positive comments from visitors on what a tremendous venue we have in PAC3.”

For more information on PAC3 and the upcoming schedule of events, visit www.pac3carbondale.com.

Music up in her head….Sarah Jarosz

When Sarah Jarosz got seriously interested in music, one of the things that appealed to her was how not-serious the music-making was. About 10 years ago, Jarosz and her mandolin began showing up at the Friday-night bluegrass jams at Collie’s, a burger joint in her hometown of Wimberley, Texas, 20 miles south of Austin. No one seemed to mind that she was 10 years old, new to her instrument and to the bluegrass genre.

Read more…

Rock ‘n’ roll’s odd couple, Hot Tuna, plays PAC3

CARBONDALE — Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady are hardly without their differences. Kaukonen lives in southeast Ohio, a few miles from the West Virginia border; nearby, in the village of Pomeroy, population less than 2,000, is the Fur Peace Ranch, the guitar camp that Kaukonen and his wife, Vanessa, have run since 1998. Casady lives in Los Angeles.

“And that says it all,” Kaukonen said. But that wasn’t all: “We’re the odd couple of rock ‘n’ roll — Felix and Oscar. And I’ll leave it to you to pick who’s who.”

Read more here…

Aspen Times Weekly cover story: 13 to watch this summer

Sarah Jarosz

Who: Multi-instrumentalist and singer

Where to hear her: July 26, PAC3, Carbondale

What’s Up: A Texas native, 21-year-old Jarosz has had much of her musical upbringing in Colorado, at festivals like Rockygrass and Telluride Bluegrass. Her latest album, “Follow Me Down,” is a piece of newgrass excellence, featuring Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas and Punch Brothers. She finally makes her Roaring Fork Valley debut.


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