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7908 The Aspen Songwriter's Festival: Great Expectations from Aspen's Great Indoors

Jamie Lynn Miller's picture

Lights, Here Comes ActionLights, Here Comes ActionASPEN, CO - Friday: Abundant sunshine. Saturday: A good amount of sunshine. Sunday: Bright sunshine, pleasant. The local papers have run out of adjectives to describe the flawless fall temperatures; it’s so ridiculously beautiful in Aspen these days, we might start calling it Pleasantville. Or Oz. And so, it’s a true testament to the abundance of 7908 The Aspen Songwriter’s Festival that festival-goers left the plentiful fall colors of the great outdoors to step into the darker, cooler confines of the Wheeler Opera House.

Happily, there was plentiful scenery and ever-changing colors across the Wheeler stage, as well. The Aspen Songwriter’s Festival, John Oates’ labor of love and dedication, kicked off Thursday afternoon with some excellent complimentary beer from Aspen Brewing Company, followed by festival opener, musical super-talent and comedic genius Mike Rayburn.

The stage lights turned to green, as Wheeler Master of Ceremonies Gram Slaton introduced the musician: “he’s the original tight pair of pants, ready to rip!” Rayburn is a one-man heckler, who’s sold out Carnegie Hall and venues across the nation with a mix of music, mockery and tremendous talent. “I make fun of songs that other people have written”, said the artist, before launching into uncanny impersonations of his fellow musicians: Dan Fogelberg does AC/DC, Johnny Cash does Justin Timberlake, general boy-band bashing and, in a brave and exceptional entertainment moment, with pants rolled up and channeling Angus Young, Rayburn did AC/DC doing Dan Fogelberg.