Music Scene, January 2020

By Deb Barr, Music Editor

[January 2020 | San Juan Silver Stage | By Deb Barr, Music Editor]

We are fortunate that national and international musical artists of a variety of genres find their way to the Western Slope of Colorado and gift us with their talents. And that’s not to discount some fine young regional musicians who are making their way to the top, as well as a cadre of more seasoned performers who have chosen clean air and open spaces over the highlife. Indeed, musical careers are often a matter of choice, not a measure of talent. Our snowy hills really are alive with music.

After a flurry of winter concerts throughout the region over the holidays, January offers up yet another round of superb musical entertainment. Check the Silver Stage calendar for upcoming shows.


Courtesy Photo

Compass Records artist Pierce Pettis and Austin’s pianist extraordinaire David Webb will be performing on Saturday, January 26, at 7 P.M. at the Grand Mesa Arts Center (GMAC ) in Cedaredge and on Sunday, January 27, at 2 P.M. at Healthy Rhythm Music in Montrose.

Pettis is a fingerpicking guitarist who incorporates unusual tunings into his songs, plus he’s a terrific harmonica player. Alabama born and raised, much of his best and moving material deals with life and experiences in the South. He is a tenured songwriter and performer who started out as an unpaid staff artist/writer at Muscle Shoals and also worked as a staff writer at Polygram. He signed with Windham Hill/High Street in 2001 and put out three records with Windham Hill, including “Chase the Buffalo” in 1993.

His songs have now been recorded by a variety of artists, including Joan Baez, Art Garfunkel, and Garth Brooks. “Father’s Son,” his newest solo project for Compass Records Group, was released in January 2019 to widespread critical praise in the U.S and Europe.

Webb and Pettis met in Tallahassee in 1988 and have been playing on and off together for over 30 years. Webb, a go-to pianist in Austin who commands a variety of song genres, from jazz to Americana, performs regularly and often with the best of Austin’s musical talent. His musical vita includes stints with Jerry Jeff Walker and Butch Trucks, but he is probably most well-known for his work with Jimmy LaFave.

Of his work with Pettis, Webb said, “Pierce taught me the fine art of accompanying performing songwriters, which largely consists of thorough mastery of the material and, most importantly, leaving ego behind and playing to the song itself.” (On a personal note, Webb played on this writer’s first CD, Comets and Waves, released in 1997.)

A musical partnership of big hearts, kind souls, and sharp minds, Pettis and Webb offer the listener a wonderful evening of insightful, expertly crafted songs and finely honed musicianship. Theirs is honest music to cherish and relish in a world of musical clones and imposters. Catch a show if you can.

The Grand Mesa Arts Center is located at 135 West Main in Cedaredge. Healthy Rhythm Music is located at 68 South Grand in Montrose. For more info or to purchase tickets, visit grandmesaartscenter.com/performances or healthyrhythmartgallery.bigcartel.com.


The Valley Symphony’s winter concert will feature talent from within its ranks at “A Kaleidoscope of Local Color: Collaborations and Debuts,” to be performed at the Montrose Pavilion on Sunday, February 23, at 3 P.M. The concertmaster and flute section members will take the spotlight on Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto No. 4,” and the symphony will perform new compositions by members of the oboe and bass sections.