Studies show that attending live music concerts can extend one’s life. That comes as little surprise to those of us who love music and relish going to shows to either discover new talent, or to see old favorites as often as possible. With the announcement of Music on the Green’s summer lineup, music devotees can get a dose of lifespan-enhancing music most Fridays in Mountain Village.
The summer series is a collaboration between the Telluride Mountain Village Owners Association and music-savvy promoter, Denise Mongan, who heads up Beyond the Groove Productions. Mongan is excited for the series’ third season to get underway next Friday with indie rocker Brent Cowles.
“I’m quite excited,” Mongan said. “Musically the series is top-notch. I’m really quite proud of it from a musical standpoint.”
The series, now in its third year, is free and takes place in Reflection Plaza every Friday from June 7 through September 6, with a break on July 5. There is some seating, though Mongan said many attendees bring their own lawn chairs. The Hotel Madeline’s bar is adjacent to the venue, with a service area outside, providing food and beverages. The shows are billed as running from 5-7 p.m., but Mongan clarified that the music is from 5:15-6:45 p.m. Concerts take place rain or shine.
“It is a chance to relax and socialize while enjoying live music performances in a small intimate outdoor venue,” Mongan said.
The lineup is one that Mongan calls eclectic and features performers whose work ranges across the genres — honky tonk, indie rock, swing, jazz, Irish folk and even “punk-Americana” are represented in the series.
Given Mongan’s unquenchable curiosity and love of music, the acts booked this summer include established performers and emerging artists.
“I like to book the emerging acts and showcase them,” she said. There are a few acts, like Cowles and Freddy and Francine that have played all three years of the series and have created substantial, local followings, thanks to playing Music on the Green.
Leading off is Cowles, a Denver-based musician who once fronted the band You Me & Apollo. He launched his solo career after dissembling You Me & Apollo and has made waves with his R&B-inflected sound.
“He’s a small man with a big sound,” Mongan said of Cowles’ incredible voice.
Cowles, who started performing as a teen in his pastor father’s church has attracted notice from heavyweights like NPR, which considers him one of the hottest up-and-coming acts of last year.
Also on tap this summer are a pair of Irish acts. Mongan, who hails from Dublin, is always eager to share the work of Irish artists with American audiences. I Draw Slow (August 2) and Pat Byrne (August 23) will each make the trip across the pond to perform. I Draw Slow is a brother-sister act that, Mongan said, usually sticks to performing closer to home where they like being near family.
“They don’t really travel, so it’s great to have them here,” she said.
Pat Byrne won The Irish Voice contest in 2012 and though the accomplishment earned him a record contract, he’s since moved to Austin, Texas to “take on America,” and immerse himself in the music scene there.
He’s just wonderful,” Mongan said. “He’s got this raspy voice and a rich sound.”
Of particular note will be the appearance of Texan singer-songwriter, Robert Ellis, (July 12) whose 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival set commanded Mongan’s full attention. Ellis’ star is rising so when he confirmed, Mongan said she was “thrilled.” He’ll play honky tonk at the piano, clad in a white tux and, yes, a cowboy hat.
Sammy Brue, a 17-year-old from Utah will take the stage in Reflection Plaza June 28. He’s been called a prodigy by those in the know. The young troubadour’s story-songs are imbued with wisdom that belies his youth. His latest record, “I Am Nice,” is produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes and John Paul White of the Civil Wars.
Local acts are represented by the McCarthy Jazz Trio (August 16), performing for the third time in the series, and Jim Parker (August 30), who calls Telluride home for a portion of the year, and who will play his own country-Americana songs.
Benyaro (June 14) is a fun band that Mongan calls “punk-Americana.” The duo of Ben Musser and Leif Routtman, she said, is high-energy and “a little different.” They are darlings of the indie rock crowds that frequent Austin’s South By Southwest music showcase, and have worked with The Avett Brother’s producer, Danny Kadar.
The Carolyn Sills Combo (July 19) will bring the crowd to its feet with its lively brand of swing. Who doesn’t like to swing dance?
On June 21, You Knew Me When, the husband-wife duo that just put down roots in Ouray, will perform, and on July 26, folk-rocker, Andrew Duhon — a “soulful, mesmerizing singer,” according to his bio — will take the rough edges off the work week.
Freddy & Francine play August 9. The husband-wife duo is no stranger to Telluride music lovers. They were even the featured performers at a private birthday party last year, enchanting an adoring crowd at the Sheridan Opera House. Their harmonies weave seamlessly and they exude warmth through their intimate songs and performances.
Rounding out the series on September 6, is the band Ruby, an indie rock outfit.
Music on the Green is free, thanks to support from Telluride Ski & Golf, TMVOA, Madeline Hotel and Residences and the Town of Mountain Village.
“Music on the Green is a great way to start your summer weekends,” said TMVOA president, Anton Benitez. “Meet with friends, grab a dink, a bite to eat and enjoy live music in Reflection Plaza.”
For more info go to tmvoa.org