Telluride Bluegrass Festival

15-18 June 1995

Town Park, Telluride, CO


The two of us each traveled 300 miles for Telluride '95. My friend from Salt Lake, me from Colorado Springs. When we met in Grand Junction, it was 48 degrees, and drizzly, here in the middle of June, much like Olympia, WA, where we both grew up. Both of us were concerned that the next day's festival could be similarly gloomy. But, as we took Highway 50 towards Montrose, a rainbow beamed down right between the East- and Westbound lanes--she snapped a picture of the rainbow, the beginning of a great Telluride Bluegrass Festival weekend.

Sure enough, the next day's drive to Telluride was as beautiful as Southwest Colorado can be. We got into Town Park a few minutes before new age guitarist Michael Hedges took the stage. I have heard of Michael's session work with other artists; my friend has some of his tapes. After his breezy acoustic set, my friend and I enjoyed a stroll through downtown Telluride, lunch, and a hike up to Bridal Veil Falls, the pinnacle of the entire valley.

We got back just in time to see Shawn Colvin's set. Shawn is heavily influenced by Joni Mitchell, so much that a) she employs several of her guitar tunings, and b) employs her husband to play bass during studio sessions. While performing "Polaroids", in an almost self-effacing manner, she medlied it with several other popular songs that utilize similar melodies, including the Beatles, "Baby You're A Rich Man", and the 1960's pop anthem, "Put A Little Love In Your Heart". Expectedly, she layed our her 1994 Police-remake single, "Every Little Thing He Does Is Magic", off of an entire album of remakes, Cover Girl. Later came several from Fat City, "Climb On (A back that's strong)", "Tennessee", "Round Of Blues", the somewhat-of-a-ripoff-of-George-Michael's-"Faith", "Object Of My Affection", "I Don't Know Why", and "Tenderness On The Block".

Next was the festival's finale, James Taylor. He began with ten songs my friend and I had never heard before, including newer material, which we liked. But, song by song, we were starting to itch for the familiar stuff, and so invariably, we would clap, yell out "Yeah", and then, under our breath, say, "Song we KNOOOOWWW!!!!". Sure enough, the end of the set, he began to dig into the archives, playing songs that you pretty much expect to hear at any James Taylor concert, but still enjoy them as special, such as "Your Smiling Face", "Fire And Rain", "Carolina In My Mind", etc.

Neither of us remember a complete set list from this concert--the Telluride Bluegrass Festival is more than just a concert lineup, it's a cultural experience. It's not just the music, it's the scenery, the atmosphere, the food, and, especially the people watching! As such, there were plenty of reasons to be distracted.

At breakfast the next morning, we got to see Saturday Night Live's Keven Nealon. Needless to say, over the years, this festival has turned into a very popular annual festivity, attracting even celebrities from New York.

All vacations should be so relaxing and enjoyable.

[*****] - Steven T.

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