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Curbside buskers bringin’ the Meltdown funk

Bluegrass musicians take the stage on our city streets

In its 21st year, the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown has grown into an institution bringing nationally renowned flat pickers, award winning songwriters and homecoming harmonies that echo annually throughout the downtown area.

Yet while polished and professional acts take the stage inside Durango’s historic venues such as the Henry Strater Theatre, outside a different show goes on. On street corners and town benches, you’ll find an array of musicians happy to share their love of music, and the price of admission simply is to stop and listen.

For many, it’s quite a surprise. These bluegrassers of all ages love what they do, and inside or out, the Meltdown is their time to shine.

The Durango Herald asked a few of our curbside buskers Saturday which songs were their favorites to play:


Patrick Storen, mandolin, Ruckus in the Rice Paddy - “Rollin’ in my Sweet Baby’s Arms”

“It a song that shows both sides of your lady: It shows the rolling around in your sweet baby’s arms; but it also shows when she just won’t bail you out of jail and her parents don’t like you. But then, the chorus comes around, and it’s alright again.”

“I like the community. I like the friends you make, the instruments you play, the simplicity and the complexity of it.”


Stacia Carola, washboard, Ruckus in the Rice Paddy, “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms”

“Everyone always knows it, and the rhythm is really good, it’s a fun singalong. Music is just good for your soul. It brings people together. I grew up dancing, and this (washboard), not very many people have it. I like trains, and it has that really nice ‘chica chica chica chica.’ I like that sound.”


Teagun Wilkens, 11, mandolin, “Blackberry Blossom”

“It’s been really hard for me to play, and now it’s getting easier. It’s just cool. It can be speedy, and it doesn’t have to be to harsh. It can just be fun to do.”


Seth Thornburg, 14, fiddle, “Redwing”

“Its pretty fun and pretty active. I just like to play. It’s more exciting. Classical is pretty exciting, but Bluegrass is pretty fun, too.”


Elaine Gapinski, mandolin, Choke Cherry Jam, “Sitting on Top of the World”

“I like the peaches’ verse. Everyone who sings it would know what that is ...

“‘If you don’t like my peaches, don’t shake my tree, stay out of my orchard, and let my peaches be.’”


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