Bruce Hayes joins acclaimed musician at Tabor

Marc Berger and Ride, featuring multi-talented Ark Valley musician Bruce Hayes, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, June 22, at Leadville’s historic Tabor Opera House.

Berger, a nationally touring musician based in New York, has shared the stage with well-known acts like Bob Dylan and had his songs performed by world-class musicians. In fact, Berger’s song “The Last One” became a staple of Richie Havens’ performances for over two decades.

Berger and company will perform songs from his critically acclaimed album Ride, which masterfully paints a sonic picture of the American West. A review from The Living Room describes the band’s performance as “a well-choreographed mix of deep country folk songs with touches of bluegrass, roots, Americana, a little spicy cajun, and even a little indie with an effects-laced lead acoustic guitar. It’s near impossible to sit through a set without feeling a musical kinship to something in every song, even if it’s just the basic joy of watching a well-seasoned band rip through every song as if it was the final number of their farewell tour.”

Berger will also perform tunes from his upcoming album, Folk Music, which will include his first recording of “The Last One.” “With Ride, I enjoyed very much making an album with an idea behind it,” Berger said. “Hopefully, like Ride, the new album presents a complete thought.”

Berger said he has always been interested in what the term “folk music” means. “For some it means, ‘I’m so sensitive; I love my guitar.’ But what it means to me … goes back to Walt Whitman, who essentially defined the American artist/poet” in the prologue to his masterpiece, Leaves of Grass.

Berger quoted from Whitman’s essay, “‘The attitude of the great poets is to cheer up slaves and horrify despots.’ For me, folk music is something that does that. It should challenge authority, point to the future, destabilize the status quo. Therefore, it can be one guy with an acoustic guitar or it can be a punk band. So the album I’m making is a genre-bending idea of what qualifies as folk music. … Some of the songs rock hard. … The album is definitely ‘Stonesier’ than Ride” and features the horn section from the Squirrel Nut Zippers.

Berger’s Tabor performance will be his third in the Ark Valley. “I really enjoyed the outdoor concert in Salida last year. … I love the very cool vibe of the area and its communities. … It’s exciting to be playing at a place like the Tabor with such a beautiful space. It should be an awesome night. We’re going to rock out.”

Mike Ricciardi, Ride producer and Berger’s usual drummer, played the Salida gig but is currently touring with legendary band Badfinger. Not to worry though, as Berger said he’ll be playing with “a great rhythm section out of Denver” – drummer Kevin Matthews and bassist Mike Facey – along with local legend Bruce Hayes on guitars, lap steel and mandolin.