Telluride Bluegrass: Pickin’ through the years
Music / Music festivals

Telluride Bluegrass: Pickin’ through the years

By JOHN LEHNDORFF June 17, 2017 – The 44th Telluride Bluegrass Festival is this weekend in southwestern Colorado. Listen to a live stream of the festival: radiorethink.com/tuner/index.cfm?stationCode=koto My first was the Fourth Annual Telluride. For more than 30 years I covered the Telluride Bluegrass Festivals for various publications including the Boulder Daily Camera, Rocky Mountain News and Aurora … Continue reading

Acoustic Flashbacks: A harmonious chat with Emmylou Harris in 2004
Music / Music festivals

Acoustic Flashbacks: A harmonious chat with Emmylou Harris in 2004

By JOHN LEHNDORFF (Rocky Mountain News, Aug. 27, 2004) During a 30-year music career spanning her discovery by Gram Parsons to gold-selling solo CDs to shining moments on the O Brother soundtrack, Emmylou Harris has happily basked in the spotlight as a bona fide star. The thing is, she’d really rather be simply harmonizing. At … Continue reading

Folks ’16: Ten Ways to Look at a Song
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Folks ’16: Ten Ways to Look at a Song

By JOHN LEHNDORFF Last weekend’s Folks festival in Lyons CO (bluegrass.com/folks/lineup.html provided dozens of examples of how folk/songwriter-driven music has evolved but it made no attempt to define it. I couldn’t be there for the entire weekend but I was lucky to hear some songs and performances that have stuck with me and my brain since. … Continue reading

Folks ’16: Songwriters reveal how to write your first real song
Music / Music festivals

Folks ’16: Songwriters reveal how to write your first real song

By JOHN LEHNDORFF This year’s Folks Festival is Aug. 19–21 in Lyons has sets set for Mavis Staples and a host of singer-songwriters (bluegrass.com/folks). I love talking to songwriters about how they came to write songs. The following is from the printed program from the 23rd Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, August 16-18, 2013, in Lyons, CO. … Continue reading

Folks ’16: A festival built for those of us who love to listen to the words
Music / Music festivals

Folks ’16: A festival built for those of us who love to listen to the words

By JOHN LEHNDORFF (8/12/16)   As a writer, this is my favorite musical event of the year.  The Folks Festival is a great gathering of like-minded people who really care about lyrics, the beauty of words and the human voice and the power of words to address the human connection, to make us feel something. As … Continue reading

Rockygrass ’16: Tales from the acoustic wonderland
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Rockygrass ’16: Tales from the acoustic wonderland

https://johnlehndorff.wordpress.com/2016/07/29/rockygrass-16-guitar-gods-and-colorado-bluegrass-next-gen-style/ By John Lehndorff (7/29/16: 2 p.m. Lyons CO) – First there was Hot Rize. They took Colorado bluegrass values to  a national audience. It was very good, and Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band, each bending Bill Monroe’s mashup of styles their own harmonic twist. The Infamous Stringdusters and Greensky Bluegrass, … Continue reading

Rockygrass ’16: The Family Fleck and a  stringed strength in numbers finale
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Rockygrass ’16: The Family Fleck and a stringed strength in numbers finale

By JOHN LLEHNDORFF (2:05 p.m 7/31/16 Lyons CO/ overcast with a chance a brilliance) – Saturday’s sets at the  44th annual Rockygrass Festival featured the return of many of the leading lights of this progressive bluegrass tradition fostered at Rockygrass over the past two decades. I first talked to Mark O’Connor backstage at Telluride when … Continue reading

Rockygrass ’16: After the yoga, drum-driven fusion and iconic twang
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Rockygrass ’16: After the yoga, drum-driven fusion and iconic twang

JOHN LEHNDORFF (3:07 p.m. 7/30/16 Lyons CO / Sunny with  a chance of more sun) – I missed the yoga session at 8 a.m. The fans on the field at the Rockygrass Festival pretty much knew when they wheeled the drum riser onto the stage that Tony Trischka and his band (above) probably weren’t going … Continue reading

Rockygrass ’16: Rambling from Canada to Appalachia to New York
Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Rockygrass ’16: Rambling from Canada to Appalachia to New York

By John Lehndorff (1:49 p.m. July 30, 2016: Lyons CO/ 88 degrees, cloudy, chance of twang) – The gates of Rockygrass swung open at Planet Bluegrass for the second day of the 44th annual gathering. The first one I attended was at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds and Hot Rize was there. Today’s array started with … Continue reading

Rockygrass ’16: The NOT bluegrass part
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Rockygrass ’16: The NOT bluegrass part

By JOHN LEHNDORFF (9:15 P.m.7/29/16 Lyons CO) – While the Steep  Canyon Rangers are onstage I’m backstage thinking about the last, rare set  by Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer. I’ve seen these guys play for 30 plus years delivering their virtuoso instrumental music that bears only a passing relationship to the stuff Bill Monroe … Continue reading

Rockygrass ’16: Guitar gods and Colorado bluegrass, next gen-style
Reviews - Acoustic music

Rockygrass ’16: Guitar gods and Colorado bluegrass, next gen-style

By John Lehndorff (7/29/16: 2 p.m. Lyons CO) – First there was Hot Rize. They took Colorado bluegrass values to  a national audience. It was very good, and Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident and Yonder Mountain String Band, each bending Bill Monroe’s mashup of styles their own harmonic twist. The Infamous Stringdusters and Greensky Bluegrass, two … Continue reading

2016 Field Guide to Colorado’s coolest Summer Festivals
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

2016 Field Guide to Colorado’s coolest Summer Festivals

By JOHN LEHNDORFF Pondering the glut of must-go summer gatherings this summer across the state and trying to schedule a calendar and itinerary could require an app, not mention a calculator. From music festivals that include paddleboarding to barbecue competitions and Shakespeare under the stars, there seems to be a destination right for hipsters, families, … Continue reading

Twang spoken here: Bill Monroe fathered Colorado’s bluegrass boom
Music / Music festivals

Twang spoken here: Bill Monroe fathered Colorado’s bluegrass boom

BY JOHN LEHNDORFF (This feature appears in the current issue of Colorado AAA Encompass magazine – plus additional information) It’s not a native tongue, but the bluegrass ballads, waltzes and breakdowns full of stories about mournful death, deep valleys, lonesome train whistles, heartbreak, outlaws and wide creeks resonate in the Rockies as clearly as they … Continue reading

Acousticity: Hot licks and tuneful torches passed at a Rockygrass to remember
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Acousticity: Hot licks and tuneful torches passed at a Rockygrass to remember

By John Lehndorff (August  2015) – I have attended and written about Colorado’s Rockygrass Festival at least 20 times over the years at various rural county fairground sites and the last 16 in Lyons. That’s approximately a billion notes (pick, plucked, strummed and bowed) under the bridge and down the creek along with innumerable versions … Continue reading

Acousticity: After 42 years of Festivation it’s a new stage for Telluride’s Town Park
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Acousticity: After 42 years of Festivation it’s a new stage for Telluride’s Town Park

By John Lehndorff (This feature originally appeared in the Festival Guide for the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival) Sometime this autumn after the final festival of the year in Telluride, theFred Shellman Memorial Stage in Town Park will be demolished down to the bare ground. A new stage long in the planning will debut in 2016. … Continue reading

Acousticity: A Q&A with Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White
Music / Music festivals

Acousticity: A Q&A with Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White

By John Lehndorff (June 17, 2015) I had the opportunity to chat with one of my musical heroes, Ry Cooder, while writing a feature about his upcoming tour with Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. You can read that feature at: https://johnlehndorff.wordpress.com/2015/06/17/acousticity-the-one-where-ry-goes-honky-tonkin-with-ricky-sharon-and-buck/ You can listen to Ry Cooder, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White perform live from … Continue reading

Acousticity: The one where Ry goes honky tonkin’ with Ricky, Sharon and Buck
Music / Music festivals

Acousticity: The one where Ry goes honky tonkin’ with Ricky, Sharon and Buck

By JOHN LEHNDORFF (Note: This feature originally appeared in the Daily Camera and online at Second Story Garage. Cooder-Skaggs-White performs Wednesday, June 17,  in Aspen, Friday in Boulder, Sunday in Telluride, and Monday at the Denver Botanic Gardens.) Ry Cooder may be the greatest musician of our era that almost nobody knows. Guitar geeks do … Continue reading

Acousticity: It’s almost sunset for Telluride’s Fred Shellman Memorial Stage
Music / Music festivals

Acousticity: It’s almost sunset for Telluride’s Fred Shellman Memorial Stage

Phases and stages: After 42 years of Festivation it’s time for a new stage for Telluride’s Town Park By John Lehndorff (This story will appear in the Festival Guide at the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival with archival photos) Sometime this autumn after the final festival of the year in Telluride, theFred Shellman Memorial Stage in Town … Continue reading

Acousticity:  A blog about the music that matters to me
Music / Music festivals / Reviews - Acoustic music

Acousticity:  A blog about the music that matters to me

By JOHN LEHNDORFF (April 28, 2015) I grew up long ago under the auspices of Pete Seeger and Johann Sebastian Bach. I listened to Cream upstairs while Dad played with his string quartet downstairs. I thought every kid got to go see Leonard Bernstein. My brother Pete wrote funny modern folk songs. My brother Paul … Continue reading