Latest festival is well worth THE RIDE

Telluride needed another festival, so it made one.

KOTO-FM, Telluride’s community radio station, has always hosted music events in the summer; why not add a festival into the mix and make a weekend out of it? That’s what they’ve done with THE RIDE festival, and the second annual two-day event will kick off Saturday in Telluride Town Park.

David Byrne and St. Vincent, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Cake, Steve Earle, Son Volt, Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale and The Drive By Truckers are just a few of the names taking the stage.

It’s the second time the Drive by Truckers will play Telluride, having headlined the Bluegrass Festival in 2006. They remain one of the more exciting bands in the rock world, annually churning out one good record after the next, touring incessantly and playing shows exceeding three hours in length. Their lyrical take on growing up Southern likens them to classic American Southern rock bands of the ’70s, while they also remain a fiercely independent rock band with a rabid following. They are everything a rock band should be – they’re loyal to their fans, don’t sell out and deliver when on stage.

The Truckers are a two-front man band. Guitarist and vocalist Patterson Hood has been playing with Mike Cooley, who also plays guitar and sings, for decades. What began as the hard-rock act Adam’s House Cat based in Alabama in the late 1980s grew into the Drive By Truckers, who to date have released nine studio albums and a pair of live releases along with a handful of “Record Store Day” releases. Their lineup may have changed here and there over the years, and they helped birth Jason Isbell’s solo career, but the combination of Cooley and Hood remains constant as they continue with their original combination of punk, country and classic American rock music.

Byrne is another act who first played Telluride at the Bluegrass Festival. The multifaceted artist, who should need no introduction as the lead Talking Head, has had a genre-spanning career of punk and new wave, rock and world music. His live shows are consistently reviewed as being better than the last as he digs into his vast solo catalog and Talking Heads favorites. His onstage partner for this tour is St. Vincent, a Manhattan-based multi-instrumentalist; the pair’s 2012 release “Love This Giant” is a twist of classic Byrne, bouncing from pop to new wave to rock. Look for the same in his show as Byrne can bring down the house whether he’s playing in a trio or leading a 20-piece band complete with full brass section.

Recently added to the lineup is Austin, Texas’ “The Whiskey Sisters.” This straight-up rock band grew out of the ashes of the alt-country rock band The Mother Truckers, led by dual front-women Teal Collins and Barbara Nesbitt, and featuring the blazing guitar of Josh Zee.

THE RIDE festival is an all-weekend affair, with nightly off-campus concerts Friday through Sunday at The Sheridan Opera House, Fly Me to the Moon Saloon, The Roma, The New Sheridan and Floradora Saloon. Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager.

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