The Hard Road Trio house concert, July 14

The Hard Road Trio – Saturday, July 14, $15, 8 pm.
Refreshments available. BYOB. Come early for a good seat.
Steve Smith and Chris Sanders and Anne Luna
www.hardroadtrio.com & www.desertnight.com (575-649-1595)

Stories abound where the prairie meets the hills – modern/retro harmonies and groove in original and traditional Americana and Bluegrass music. Life-long musicians Steve Smith (vocals, mandolin, mandola and guitar) and Chris Sanders (vocals and guitar) have captured audiences across the country with the depth of their songwriting and the power of their distinctive voices.

The Hard Road Trio

Recent appearances include Pickin’ in the Pines, Bighorn Mountain Festival, Swallow Hill in Denver, Durango Bluegrass Meltdown, Albuquerque Folkfest, Wildflower Concerts, Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass.  Steve and Chris are in demand as teachers and clinicians including Camp Bluegrass, Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp, California Coast Music Camp and Zoukfest.   They welcome the exciting groove of Anne Luna (bass, vocals) – she has appeared with April Verch, Spring Creek Bluegrass and recorded with Kenny Maines and Alan Munde.

Their music grows from Steve’s love of bluegrass rooted in his native Virginia and the beauty of choral singing ever-present in Chris’ Minnesota childhood. Together, their north/south blend of Bluegrass and Americana provides a unique heartbeat and lilt underscored by Anne’s driving bass. The Trio is set to release their new recording of original material in Feb ’12.  Watch for “Monticello”

“Steve Smith is undoubtedly among the best mandolin pickers in the known universe, and combined with Chris Sanders marvelous vocals and steady rhythm guitar, they light up a room like the New Mexico sun.” Mike Shirkey, GoodFolk Productions.

Their latest CD Signs Along the Road (Jan. ‘10) is receiving national and international airplay and has found its way onto folk, roots and bluegrass charts climbing to #30 on the Billboard Cashbox charts.

“…the best work yet from Smith, Sanders and Hard Road.  Above it all soar two impassioned singers whose individual vocal gifts are periodically transformed into choruses of alchemical harmony”.
Bruce Bergethon, Host of Acousticity, WGLT, Normal, IL

“Signs Along the Road refuses any one label, except perhaps that of good, evocative music.”  Bluegrass Unlimited, June ‘10

Kem Watts house concert, April 28


Kem Watts – Eternity Blue


Kem Watts, Saturday, April 28, $20, 7-10 pm.

Catered briquette dinner with all the trimmings. BYOB.
www.kemwatts.com

Kem Watts and Willie Nelson

Kem Watts and Willie Nelson

Singer/Songwriter Kem Watts and her band, Kem and the Pistols, are coming from Austin, Texas, to perform a house concert at Uncle Bill’s Music Barn on April 28th. Kem is another featured musician playing at the Barn who grew up in Lubbock.

Austin singer-songwriter Kem Watts grew up in Lubbock, following the family musical heritage of her father, Dennis Watts, and her brother, Dary Watts. Kem says, “I was raised in Lubbock, Texas, and grew up in a family of musicians. I have been singing since I was a young girl. However, I got a late start in picking up the guitar. I first began writing songs acappella in my early 20’s shortly after moving to Austin, Texas. I had things to express so I figured I better get with the program and learn how to play an instrument so that I could get my point across the way I heard the melodies in my head. I picked up the guitar and taught myself to play in 2006 and haven’t stopped yet. I have many mentors and friends that continue to guide and support me along the way, and for that I am blessed! I write about nature, love, life, and I have been told by many people that my songs tell a story! I just do what comes from the heart and there is nothing better than sharing music with your friends. I hope you enjoy!”

Kem tours Texas three times a year and has also toured Quebec with her good singer-songwriter friend, Emilie Clepper. Kem has shared the stage with many personal friends, including Earl Poole Ball, Monty Montgomery, John Inmon, Ponty Bone, Van Wilks, Paul McLaughlin, Dale Watson, and more. Kem and her four-piece band, Kem and the Pistols, perform regularly in Austin. You’ll also often find Kem performing at various musical festivals. Drop on by for a great show!

Josh Rosenthal CD-release house concert, April 14


Easier features Josh Rosenthal with Mickey Raphael – Willie Nelson’s harmonica player.


Josh Rosenthal, Saturday, April 14, 7:00 p.m.
, $10.
Appetizers and refreshments included. BYOB.
www.joshmusic.com

Josh RosenthalJosh’s autobiography: “Hawaiian Lap Steele guitar or record an album? It’s still not an easy answer for me. Back in 2004 I saved $1,000 to put toward that guitar, but in a moment of weakness I thought “why don’t I spend money on something that will make me some money?” Drawing everything from savings, I wrote and recorded “Inspired by Tuesday”. It taught me that I could actually create something people would enjoy.

The birth of that album, at the time, meant no more college, no more responsibilities and no more 1984 Mercury Grand Marquis. I was young. My career didn’t skyrocket, in fact that year taught me of my need for college, responsibility and old beat-up cars. Sales were just good enough to show me that I was on to something, but at that time I had little to say. I didn’t know how to make sense of all I had experienced by that time in my life. I needed to spend more time developing what my message as an artist would be.

A few years later, I enrolled at the University of Utah and eventually graduated with a degree in Strategic Communication. The one thing I believed would interfere with my music career proved to the thing that advanced it – a diploma. I learned about discipline and how to finish well.

In high school, I had a list of three professions I admired: pastor, surgeon or musician. I experimented in a bit of each. Well, I’ve never been a surgeon, but I worked in an intensive care unit near surgeons. I stayed long enough to realize I didn’t want the hours surgeons worked. One doctor I talked to said his wife asked him to work less hours because their family was falling apart. He chose to keep his hours at the hospital, which left me turned off to the path of a surgeon.

I left Texas for Utah where I worked with high school students and led worship at two churches for a total of five years. It was good while it lasted, but I was eager to see that chapter pass. Finally, I landed as a singer/songwriter because I felt like it was a combination of all three professions I admired. I can write songs and use them as instruments of healing in the lives of the people I love.”

Orrin Star, February 25 & 26

Orrin Star is an award-winning guitar & mandolin player recognized as a top bluegrass instructor. A National Flatpicking Champion, he is the author of Hot Licks for Bluegrass Guitar and a columnist for Flatpicking Guitar magazine.

Orrin Star combines hot picking, cool singing, and good humor. Described as “Arlo Guthrie meets Doc Watson,” he has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and boasts a repertoire ranging from bluegrass standards to little-known folk gems, Celtic fiddle tunes, and fingerstyle blues.

Orrin Star house concert: Doors open 7:00 p.m. $15. Refreshments available.

Orrin Star workshops: Sunday, February 26

1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Bluegrass Rhythm Guitar
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
An Intro to Norman Blake’s Guitar Style

You can find more information on Orrin Star at his website, www.orrinstar.com. You can find more information about Norman Blake at his Wikipedia entry.