This weekend’s musical choices exemplify the adage “To each his own.” Or hers.
In this case, it’s the return of a popular jam band for those downtown, as well as an award-winning singer and songwriter for the less-than-late-night crowd on campus. Hardly something for everyone, but that’s why they have jukeboxes.
The Motet remains a Durango favorite as a representative of the Front Range jam-band community. That means lots of touring, long shows, extended jams, funk and rock. For the jam naysayer it’s a must pass, but if you love it, you’ll love The Motet. The band will play tonight and Saturday at the Abbey Theatre. The Motet is a huge cast of musicians, at times numbering a dozen people on stage, led by founding member and drummer Dave Watts.
Over the years, it has grown from a small funk band to a more well-rounded combo. On a given night, the set list could include heavy funk, serious jazz, world-influenced afro-beat or rock. That translates into sold-out shows throughout the state, whether it’s covering the Grateful Dead in a funk set to covering classic albums or bands for a run of highly popular Halloween shows, a la Phish.
If funk music in a theater full of twirling hippies is a bit too much, the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College will welcome bluegrass gal Claire Lynch and her band, albeit for just one night. This will be the two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Vocalist of the Year’s first time in Durango. She plays guitar and sings, backed by her band of Matt Wingate on guitar, Mark Schatz on bass and Bryan McDowell on everything else.
Lynch is a seasoned songwriter who began honing her craft in the 1980s while playing in the Front Porch String Band. She began a solo career in the 1990s, and her latest release, “Watcha Gonna Do,” came out in 2009.
Some of Lynch’s older songs are getting some new life, especially with the addition of McDowell. The young multi-instrumentalist won the fiddle, mandolin and flat-picking contest all in one day at the Walnut Valley Bluegrass Festival in Winfield, Kan. He’s a welcome member to the lineup.
“New blood or new energy never hurts,” Lynch said last week from Nashville. “Especially if it’s good synergistically, there’s a lot of good stuff going on, and that’s what’s happening.”
Her IBMA awards came 13 years apart. I’m not sure if awards for musicians are catalysts for pushing their workload into high gear, striving for the prize, or if they’re even significant. However, for Lynch, they remain nice acknowledgements of a healthy career.
“It was a nice pat on the back – ‘Claire you’re still good and you still got it girl.’ It’s a nice accolade to have and looks great on the résumé,” Lynch said. “I’ll take an ego boost – don’t forget, musicians are made of what you call ego-tripping britches.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at Liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.