So much music, so little time …
Buena Vista’s music scene has become a year-round attraction all its own, offering a wide range of eclectic live music all over town. As added allure to what the Ark Valley already offers, music is a great way to enjoy a relaxing afternoon or evening while taking a break before the next big adventure. This weekend, music junkies can get a dose of the mountain town vibe while enjoying artists from reggae to rock and roll who are soaking up the scene just as much as the rest of us.
With the rapid growth Buena Vista has experienced, business owners have tapped into Main Street’s appeal and are taking advantage of the busy summer crowd and their willingness to enjoy what Buena Vista is all about. Crowds of all ages can journey their way through the weekend, letting their ears lead the way, beginning on Friday evening.
For starters, The Beach Summer Music Series on South Main hosts free, live music every Friday evening during and after the local farmers market. This Friday, from 6 to 9:30 p.m., Space Orphan will headline at The Beach. In their debut Buena Vista performance, members of Space Orphan are looking forward to the outdoor venue, a new town and crowd, and being able to really showcase what they are all about. Their album Shut up About the Sun was named one of the Top 20 best funk albums of 2016.
Space Orphan band member Jon Wirtz describes what kind of performance to expect: “We play funk music and like to keep people dancing. Everyone in this band has played together for a long time, whether in this group or other configurations, so we feel very comfortable with our musical chemistry. I think that comes across to the audience. We’ve also heard it’s one of the coolest venues in the state, so we’re excited to make it a party.”
While the funk is grooving on South Main, Backyard Beserker will be playing at House Rock Kitchen at 8 p.m. This four-person band from the nearby town of Alma has a unique style that can be described as “a constantly evolving undefined sound.” These artists feel the audience and provide an easy move-and-groove experience.
Just down the block, whiskey lovers can enjoy live music at Deerhammer Distilling Co. from 7 to 10 p.m. Husband-and-wife duo John Drew “Cotopaxi Wizard” Petersen and Maryellen Munday will perform original acoustic works with Munday on vocals. As Ark Valley residents, they are just as passionate about the outdoors as they are about showcasing their musical communication.
To cap the evening in true Lariat fashion, Texas band Blue Water Highway takes The Lariat stage at 10 p.m. With a sound all their own, these diverse, talented musicians travel all over the country introducing fans to their Americana/rock and roll persuasion. The trio’s lead singer and songwriter, Zack Kibodeaux, is enthusiastic about their first performance in BV.
“Our live show is something we really take pride in, so the crowd can expect a fun experience – entertaining and energetic – with great, three-part harmony singing and a tight band. The opportunity to play in a new town is always great, and we’re also looking forward to getting in some fishing and sightseeing on our down time as well.”
Blue Water Highway has spent the past two years exposing new audiences to their original playlists, and Kibodeaux said his passion for music has become the ultimate career.
“My favorite part of this career is that I get to have it at all! I would be writing and playing music regardless, so to make a living traveling with your friends and performing your original music is living out the dream. It also allows a lot more people to hear the music than would have otherwise.”
The weekend’s marathon of music continues on Saturday with local talent Fred Morrison performing at Eddyline Brewery from 6 to 9 p.m. He can be heard playing classic rock and ’90s alternative covers with an acoustic singer-songwriter vibe. Morrison is a regular performer in town, seizing any opportunity that presents itself to become part of a fun night scene.
“I enjoy playing in BV because, for a small town, it has quite a few great, little venues. Being a local musician and not a touring performer is just an awesome chance to create a fun environment for me and my friends on any given night. My favorite shows are when the crowd is as involved as the musicians,” Morrison said. “Whether it has been as a member of a band playing open mic, or entertaining people when I worked in outdoor education, I’ve just always enjoyed singing and entertaining.”
The Lariat is offering two rounds of musical talent Saturday evening, starting off with Barb Maxey and Friends at 6 p.m. and ending the night with Blue Recluse featuring Shawntel Royale. Both bands feature a powerful blues sound that will have fans on their feet throughout the evening. Blue Recluse’s sultry vocals in combination with upbeat rhythms offer a platform to dance the night away.
Singer Shawntel Royale is enthusiastic about another performance at The Lariat. “The owners, Court and Robbie, are fantastic people, and they have done an excellent job refurbishing their space by providing a stage and a sound man. It is pretty much a musician’s dream to play there. If you put that in combination with the way they treat the bands that play there and the crowd that The Lariat draws now, it is always super fun for us, and we’ll come back and play anytime for those two,” she said.
On Sunday, the mountains will be filled with music as matinée performances round out the weekend. Renowned reggae musician Wylie ”Crazy Horse” Jones takes the stage at Eddyline Brewery at 1 p.m., hypnotizing listeners while he belts chords that channel his childhood “fathers,” Bob Marley and “Toots” Hibbert.
House Rock Kitchen ends the day with a live performance by Eric from Philly from 5 to 8 p.m. His journey of healing sounds can be described as providing peace, joy and inner harmony for the listener. With a life-long passion for singing and creating music, Eric’s performance involves various instrumental sounds as he entertains fans with covers as well as original selections.
Music is a simple way for a community to come together and connect. And what better way to spend the weekend than by enjoying the valley’s myriad of outdoor fun one hour and dancing to a great beat the next. Tune into The Ark Magazine’s schedule of events to get this week’s rundown of musical entertainment.
Texas-based Blue Water Highway (courtesy photo).
Fred Morrison and friends perform during an impromptu evening at the Deerhammer Distilling Company (photo courtesy Space Orphan).