Mancos is home to the coffeehouse sound of music

I hate missing concerts.

One too many times I’ve been somewhere and picked up a local paper or seen an old flier, only to see what I missed days before. Technology has made it easy to be in touch with shows happening everywhere, yet sometimes things slip through the cracks. I had no idea that Fahrenheit Coffee House in Mancos, along with Baby Toro’s Hardison Collins, had been producing a small series of shows this summer.

For Collins, who will continue with the shows next summer, he produced and promoted the series by himself – and selfishly – so he could enjoy local music. If it entertained others, it was a bonus.

The Fahrenheit Summer Shows series will wrap up Saturday night. Montezuma County continues to have a sleepy and unassuming yet original small roster of bands. They are small outfits that create simple,inventive music, in addition to playing some tasty covers. Residents of Mancos, Dolores and Cortez don’t take this stuff for granted, nor do the handful of Durangoans who never miss a Baby Toro performance. Every show I’ve been to at the Hollywood, The Dolores River Brewing Co., The Columbine Bar and even this weekend’s venue are packed. And it’s not like these bands play regularly. The two performing tonight, to my knowledge, have played only once or twice in the last year. I guess that’s the breaks when you’ve got kids, jobs and organic farms.

For the final show of the season, Hardison saved the best for last. The small venue will undoubtedly be packed shoulder to shoulder with local music-lovers to see Baby Toro along with the Holy Smokers.

The Holy Smokers include aa husband-and-wife team, plus another. Chuck Barry plays the hollow-bodied electric guitar, and Rosie Carter is on lap steel. Jimbo Fairley plays bass. Barry and Carter areproprietors of the Stone Free Farm, so they have likely sold you produce at the Durango Farmers Market and at the Cortez Market. Barry is also the leader of the country rock band Beautiful Loser Society, which will have a new record out in the fall.

Baby Toro’s Collins describes the Holy Smokers as “instrumental bar-room tearjerkers.” Barry describes them as “Spaghetti Western meets Tin Pan Alley on the Big Island.” Take that for what it’s worth as they blast through a 45-minute set of original instrumentals, old country and Hawaiian music.

Baby Toro remains a duo playing folk rock, described at times as a slowed-down version of the Cramps meets the Everly Brothers, but perhaps more fitting is punk-reverb-a-billy.

Alongside singer-guitarist Collins is Lindsay Isbell, who handles the same duties. They co-write all of their material, usually by individually creating parts and sharing what they have recorded until they have developed a song. Over the years, they’ve maintained a do-it-yourself aesthetic, releasing unique EPs, singles and a couple of full-lengths on compact disc, featuring their own artwork and other oddities in the packaging. The duo has been working on new material, with possible plans for a new release in the fall.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at