The Valley-Journal: “37th Mountain Fair delivers musical flair”

July 24, 2008

This article originally appeared in The Valley-Journal on 07/24/08.

From high school rockers, gypsy jammers and Gospel singers to Chicago funk, Columbian Vallenatto and Boulder folk, the 37th annual Carbondale Mountain Fair has it all when it comes to musical entertainment.

Best yet, it’s all free in Sopris Park starting Friday evening, July 25, and continuing through Sunday, July 27. Here’s a sampling of the weekend’s offerings.

For a full schedule of music and other Fair happenings, see the official Mountain Fair Guide inside this edition of The Valley Journal, or pick up a copy at the park entrances.

At 5 p.m. Friday things get rocking and rolling in a big way with the up-and-coming Aspen trio Slightly White. These high schoolers, multi-year winners of the local Battle of the Bands contest, have been playing since before middle school, and have opened for the likes of the Dave Mason Band, Joe Cocker and Little Feat.

Two band members, Obadiah Jones and Cooper Means, have been playing together since they were 6, and performing live since they were 7, when they won the Carbondale Talent Show with an original song called “Time.”

The trio, which now includes Miles Phillips, has been together since 2003. Learn more about them at www.slightlywhite.com.

After that, it’s Latin, American style, as Cerronato takes the stage at 7 p.m. Friday.

Cerronato takes its inspiration from the Vallenato tradition of coastal Colombia. Interspersing various Vallenato approaches with cumbia, the Texas quintet’s debut album “De Músico, Poeta, y Loco” was met with rave reviews. More about them at www.cerronato.com.

The funky sounds of Chicago are going to be prominent on the stage this weekend with two bands in particular — Bumpus (Saturday, 7 p.m.), described as an unusually groovy sound for central Colorado (www.bumpusweb.com); and the Chicago AfroBeat Project (Sunday, 5 p.m.) The band tours using used veggie oil and other green methods to minimize their carbon footprint, too. More about them at www.chicagoafrobeatproject.com.

The Fishtank Ensemble (Saturday, 2 p.m.) brings a mix of traditional and original songs. They’re described as “the rompin’, stompin’ leaders of cross-pollinated Gypsy music.” More about them atwww.fishtankensemble.com.

At 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Lipbone Redding shakes things up with his New Orleans-style dance-hall music and ’70s soul.

Boulder singer-songwriter Kort McCumber leads the folk-bluegrass band McCumberland Gap (Sunday, 1 p.m.). A classically trained pianist & cellist (he learned from his mom, Joy Myers, who played for the Jacksonville Symphony for more than two decades) McCumber now plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica, piano, bouzouki, cello and more. He writes, plays and sings Americana — equal parts folk, country, blues and bluegrass (www.kortmusic.com).

The sound will switch to rock and roll after that, when Nelson Oldham’s local band, the Redtones, take over at 5 p.m. Owner .of Dos Gringos Burritos in Carbondale, Oldham is both a friend and fan of the Band of Heathens, a group that performed last year at Mountain Fair. And, while the same band is never booked twice for the event, the Heathens will be in town and performing at Steve’s Guitars on Sunday night. But, they may just pop by the gazebo to play with the Redtones. Might want to be there for that one.

Continuing in the folk-bluegrass vein, The Clumsy Lovers (Sunday, 7 p.m.) come from the Pacific Northwest to close out the fair, which is traditionally one of the highlights of the entire weekend. More about this band atwww.clumsylovers.com

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