ASPEN, CO “Thanks to everyone for coming out to see us. Hope your sunburned hangovers weren’t too painful on your pleasant drive home. Dodging the state troopers, drunks and left-over Roman Candles has forced me into buying this sweet new ride that I found over in South Central. I traded a six pack of Bud for the rims. It’s gonna be a good summer.” - Ryan Bingham, from whatever’s on his mind at binghammusic.com.
Winning a Golden Globe, Academy Award and Grammy for Best Original Song from the movie Crazy Heart hasn’t really changed much for gritty, down-and-out sounding Outlaw Country hero Ryan Bingham. True, he’s now far from down-and-out, but the raw, earthy, road and world-weary sentiment behind his music still rings true, despite his meteoric rise to center stage and into the spotlight.
Sunday, February 13, 2011- It was finally a decent temperature today or as my friend put it, “It’s about 70 degrees warmer than last week. Let’s go skiing.” I’ve been sick all week and today seemed like a good day to try and participate in the world. The three of us boarded the Couch and wrestled with overly weighty footrest bar. The Couch is aptly named and meant for sharing with friends: oversized and kind of cushy and not going anywhere soon. In the words of the great AC/DC, it’s a long ride (way) to the top. And there’s no way you could ever lift the footrest bar on your own.
Aspen, CO - “It’s snowing today in Philadelphia,” says singer-songwriter Amos Lee, while playing catch-up around the house. “Yeah, it’s an interesting walk to wherever – you have all these fun things to do with the snow in Aspen but here, we just shovel it!” I hear some water running in the background and, as though reading my mind, Lee reassures me it’s not what I think. “I’m doing the dishes and multi-tasking; hope you don’t mind. It’s not like I’m peeing or anything...”
Aspen, CO - Truthfully, I wasn’t really waiting; I was more anticipating. It was a quiet, overcast winter afternoon, dark sky, bright snow, and I was already settled down for the day. Any staring at the phone was my own choice, afraid I’d miss the call because the ringer was on vibrate and not train whistle, or that I’d miscalculated the time change in Aspen, Colorado and shouldn’t have gone in search of coffee without my cell phone. Past experience has taught me that a watched phone never rings but lo and behold, at 3:47 p.m., Eastern Time, the train whistle started blowing. It was Rufus on the line with a friendly, drawn out “Hiiiiiii!”
Aspen, CO -"You know, my dad taught me to drive a stick when I was around 16, too. We went out in his silver Scirocco and drove around and around this empty parking lot, after dark, for what seemed like months," I told actor, playwright turned singer-songwriter Jeff Daniels, recalling what must have been a very painful process for both my dad, and his nice car.
"Oh, I can still smell that clutch burning!" said Daniels, with a chuckle, taking a break from driving to chat in a good cell zone. He’s on the road with his wife Kathleen, their two Australian Shepherds and their 42-foot recreational vehicle, on nation-wide tour and making their way to Aspen for this Friday’s show at the BellyUp.
ASPEN, 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.