He’s familiar to many as one quarter of the 1960s folk supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. But Stephen Stills was brilliant on his own; witness his short-lived band (and seminal album of the same title) Manassas.
Allmusic.com critic Rob Caldwell has called the record “Manassas” “a spawling masterpiece, akin to the Beatles’ ‘White Album,’ the Stones’ ‘Exile on Main St.’ or Wilco’s ‘Being There’ in its makeup, if not its sound.”
Recorded in 1972, just three years after David Crosby, Stills, Graham Nash and Neil Young coalesced as CSN&Y, “Manassas” “could have been a disorganized mess in other hands,” Caldwell writes. But the “energetic musicians” Stills brought together on this double-record set, and the genres it touched on, which Stills would go on to explore in the decades that followed — rock, folk, blues, country, Latin, and bluegrass — “came together in a cohesive musical statement.” The only thing missing on the remastered CD with its excellent sound, Caldwell noted ruefully, “is the foldout poster and handwritten lyrics from the original vinyl release.”
Friday evening brings a chance to secure your own copy of that vinyl release in a raffle sponsored by Telluride Music — replete with poster and handwritten lyrics — as well as something equally trenchant and valuable if you’re a music fan desperately missing concert season: a deep-dive discussion of “Manassas” led by local music doyenne (and, full disclosure, Telluride Daily Planet associate editor) Suzanne Cheavens. The monthly talk, titled the Listening Club, takes place from 7-8 p.m. on Zoom — which is to say, it unfurls someplace cozy, such as your couch, with the substance of your choice to relax with as the talk unfolds. Sponsored by the Wilkinson Public Library, with support from Telluride Music, it’s recommended that you check out the album ahead of time (which you can also easily do online) ahead of the discussion, and then tuck in for inspired, insightful commentary on a somewhat-overlooked, yet undeniably seminal, recording that Stills considers “some of the best work he’s ever done,” which includes an appearance by bassist Bill Wyman (who reportedly said “he would have quit the Rolling Stones to join Manassas”). Sign up for the club at telluridelibrary.org.
NEW WARREN MILLER FILM
Come Saturday, more fresh entertainment arrives directly to wherever-you-are, when the new Warren Miller film, “Retro Future,” premieres online at 6 p.m. “You can buy tickets through our website,” said Jessica McGee, marketing director for Warren Miller Entertainment. But if you get your ticket through a link at sherbino.org or at tinyurl.com/y6eqggoz, McGee went on to say, your purchase will trigger “a kickback” to the places you’d normally be lining up to see this film (which typically sells out) this time of year: the Sheridan Opera House in Telluride, and Ridgway’s Sherbino Theater. Colorado skiers in this, Miller’s 71st release, include Baker Boyd and Victor Major, who reside in Aspen, and Breckenridge resident Tanner Rainville; destinations include Alaska, Iceland and Switzerland.
“The segment that I think is the most fun, and truly captures the theme of past, present and future” embodied in the movie’s title, McGee said, “is the Montana segment filmed in Big Sky and at Moonlight Basin” featuring veteran freeriders Dan Egan, John Egan, Scot Schmidt and Tom Day, joined by younger-generation athletes Parker Costain, Jack Lovely and Maria Lovely.
There’s a one-hour pre-show before the full-length film. “You basically have about 48 hours to watch it, until Monday at 10:50 p.m.,” McGee said. Miss “Future Retro” this weekend, and you can catch it in the very near future; the film screens again next Saturday (visit warrenmiller.com for a link). “The athlete interviews in the pre-show take you behind the scenes and also feature vintage clips,” McGee said. Ski-film swag has gone online too — “there’ll be a dozen-plus giveaways, both local and national,” as McGee put it — but the awards are very real, and include Helly Hansen outerwear, a stay at the Stein Erickson Lodge in Deer Valley, and (the grand prize) a foray to Switzerland. “If travel restrictions don’t lift, we’ll push the dates back,” McGee said. “The trips can be postponed as needed.”