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The Crags celebrate new album with show

The music business is a drag. It’s a business that can be unforgiving, at times awarding mediocrity and ignoring some releases that truly are great. The indie level has always been the go-to scene to find the good stuff, yet indie or not, a lot of musicians have come to the realization that whether you’re a glorified pop star or indie darling, it’s a tough racket of a business.

So, let’s hear it for the musicians who continue to make a kick-ass product whether it sells a million copies or not because those musicians are great for the type of fans who like to dig below the surface for tunes, because that’s where you find the good stuff. That’s where you’ll find local band The Crags.

The Crags have recently dropped another great record of hazy, desert-noir, psychedelic rock music, and will celebrate the release of “Watch For the Sun” with a semi-secret performance tonight in downtown Durango, secret being only in you have to visit the band’s website to find out where they’re playing. Also performing are local bands Playing with Skunks and Beer Fight.

If you go

WHAT: The Crags CD Release Party, also Playing with Skunks and Beer Fight.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday (July 15).

WHERE: Location TBD – check out www.thecragsband.com.

TICKETS: $10 suggested donation.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.thecragsband.com.

All four members of The Crags – Tracy Ford on guitar and vocals; John Ford on drums and vocals; Dan Leek on bass; and Tim Lillyquist on guitar – have day jobs, so hitting it big remains on the back burner; they remain OK with releasing records at their own pace and playing out when they want.

“We’re just sailing along, having fun and playing occasional shows. It feels successful to me, I feel happy and very, very satisfied for where we are and what we create and the way we work together,” Tracy Ford said. “It’s one of the best things in my life, for sure.”

Five records in and they’ve developed a productive formula. Every record they’ve made is a solid product, and this one is no different: The songs are punchy when they want to be, thanks to Lillyquist’s surf-rock jabs, while also drifting along at a dreamy pace. The songwriting, the melodies, the whole thing is flat out great. They’re also a well-organized and productive machine, getting into the studio and knocking out their records on the quick; there’s no slacking or wasted days goofing around.

“We are always on a budget because we don’t play a lot of shows and make a lot of money, and we try to not put our personal money in. We try to have the band and this hobby pay for itself, so we go into the studio completely ready to play the songs,” Ford said. “We go in there, we play them each three times, boom, done, that’s it. It’s quick. It’s not the way you read about in the Rolling Stones biography where they give you a chateau in France and say, ‘go create something.’ This is a complete, efficient process.”

That “efficient process” approach in the studio comes with a fierce and independent mentality when it comes to being in a band. They’ve got their own definition of success and realize you can be successful in the music industry without being “pop star, tied to a record label” successful in the music industry. Being in complete control of your musical hobby, playing when you want and releasing a record every two years or so, records that fans truly enjoy, is a great place to be in the music business.

“If you’re not making big bucks and not a superstar, you might as well do what you want to do and make it fun and do it your way,” Ford said.

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.