Part of Sep 2010 by
Telluride Blues and Brews Music Festival

Telluride Blues and Brews Sept 17 – 19

The 17th Annual Telluride Blues & Brews Festival takes place this weekend starting on Friday the 17th and ending on Sunday the 19th.  This is definitely one of the premiere blues festivals in the country and its outdoor venue is one of the most beautiful any mountain range could supply.  When B.B. King played the festival in 2004 he said, “”Out of the 90 different countries Ive been to, Ive never seen anything more beautiful than what you have here.”  This year Mr. King is back and headlining the whole festival on Sunday night.

But before we dive into the line up lets take a look at the festivals other half.

“Brews” gets equal billing in the festivals name — and the queue of microbreweries in attendance is impressive.  53 microbreweries representing over 150 beers: From Aspen Brewing Co to Twisted Pine Brewy and 51 other of the southwests best small batch-beer makers will be vying for your thirsts attention this weekend.  On the festival grounds on Saturday the “Grand Tasting” (included with your ticket) takes place from noon to 3:00PM.  If I werent such a classy guy I would yell “FREE BEER!” at this juncture but decorum dictates that I refrain and instead wish you a healthy Cheers! (free beer).

Telluride Blues and Brews

Telluride Blues and Brews

But dont drink at noon without breakfast so before you get there, head to the Elks Lodges “Blues For Breakfast” which starts at 9am.  The top six competitors from The Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition will be playing for a chance to win a Gibson Acoustic guitar, $300, and a main stage performance later on in the day on Saturday.

One last cool thing before the artist run down.  Theres something called a “Juke Joint Pass” for the local watering holes around the festival where the festivities and music continue on after the festival day ends on Friday and Saturday.  The Juke Joint Pass gets you into any of the participating venues that have the capacity to hold you.  On Saturday night from 2:00AM – 4:00AM there is an after-hours jam with artists from the festival at the Fly Me To The Moon Saloon.  Check this link out for the list of Juke Joints and whos playing.  Also, on Sunday is a closing party but Im pretty sure its all sold out. So maybe ask B.B. King if he can sneak you in.

There are 19 acts playing over the 3-day festival.  You can always tell a good festival when theres no filler acts and it gets started with a bang.  The guy who starts the festival off on Friday at noon is a gentleman by the name of Matt Schofield who has been named one of Britains Top Ten blues guitarist along with the likes of Eric Clapton.  And he plays at freakin noon.  Thats the sign of a festival with confidence.  Check out Schofields playing – emotional, inspirational, and masterful.

If youre up for some wicked blues rock then Alberta Cross takes the stage at 3:50.  Sometimes compared to the Kings of Leon and sometimes to Neil Young, their style of bluesy rock is experimental but still large enough to command a festival audience.  Headlining on Friday is George Thorogood and The Destroyers.  Working on his 40th year as a musician Mr Thorogood who is known for the classic song “Bad To The Bone” and touring all 50 states in 50 days in 1980 has said he will be playing the fans favorites as well as his favorites at the Blues and Brews.

On Saturday at 1:20 grab your beer sample and head towards the stage to hear Cedric Burnside & Lightnin Malcolm.  Cedric Burnside is a branch from the blues royalty family tree. Son of the great Calvin Jackson and grandson of the legendary R.L. Burnside, Cedric Burnside is considered to be one of the best drummers playing today.  Lightnin Malcolm is a lifelong blues man who is skilled at guitar, bass, drums and probably a bunch of other stuff he doesnt even tell people about.  These 2 will put on a bluesy dance groove that will make your day.  Galactic has been described as “Modern New Orleans funk” and their music is influenced by a very diverse list of styles from blues to world music, and hip hop to rock with a good dollop of jazz thrown in.  Galactic performances have a very large “Wow” factor and once you see them youll know why.

On Sunday its basically legends time.  T-Model Ford is 90 and can deliver his Chicago style blues with lots of Delta style attitude.  He started his musical career in the early seventies.  Im no Stephen Hawking math guy but Im pretty sure that means he was in his 50s when he started playing guitar.  Thats a level of badass I think he deserves an award for and for sure our attendance at his set which starts at 12:20.  By the way hes touring 20 states and Sweden for his “90th Birthday Tours”.  Badass.

At 1:40 the Beth Hart Band takes the stage.  Beth Hart has the vocal power of a Janis Joplin and is well known for her top-5 Adult Contemporary Chart hit “LA Song (Out of This Town)”.  Beth Hart likes to tell stories in her set that are usually as cool and engrossing as her songs.

B.B. King plays from 6:00 to 8:30.  Dont get no better than that.

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