From England (Mumford & Sons
) and Ireland (Imelda May
), we'll turn a little closer to home for today's 2010 lineup addition...
I met Michael Ebert in Telluride the Monday after last year's festival. Michael, a resident of nearby Rico, found me after I had gushed about his son's band in the Telluride Watch. For weeks I had been obsessed with them - literally kidnapping anyone who walked by my desk to sit down and watch a live youtube video with me. (You think I'm kidding
A couple months later the band made their Colorado debut at our Wildflower Pavilion on the Planet Bluegrass Ranch in Lyons. That afternoon 10+ bandmembers poured out of a big bus, running to the river, giddy. They rolled their upright piano (yes, they travel with a real piano, along with cases and cases of drums) onto the tiny Wildflower stage and we fed them painfully hot peppers from the ranch's garden.
Their sold-out show in Lyons that September night was a revelation. The jubilation, the energy, the connection between band and audience. The crowd was still dancing 10 minutes after the show had ended. Our faces hurt the next day from smiling so much.
And then there was Michael. He hadn't seen his son perform for years and there he stood in front of the stage all night - in awe. The term "proud papa" doesn't begin to capture it. His son was alive, passionate, connected to something deep and joyous. They danced together for a song, tears were shed, magic was in the air. Michael told me it was a night he'll never forget.
[ Here's a glimpse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTLR-AiD07k
We booked them to play Telluride Bluegrass the next day. Oh, did I forget to mention who "them" is...
(obligatory Ferg-ian delayed gratification
Wait for it...
One more scroll...Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
In less than 6 months, the L.A.-based band has performed live on David Letterman. They were named one of Rolling Stone Magazine's "artists to watch in 2009." And they've toured the country, playing to nothing but sold-out crowds since September.
[ Here they are on Letterman: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb9jY8yAxgs
Two nights ago a bunch of us saw them stir a sold-out Boulder Theater into a complete frenzy, then have the entire room of 1000+ people sit around them on the theater floor and stage for a singalong. We've never seen or felt anything like it.
After that spectacular show (yes, spectacular) Alex Ebert (aka Edward Sharpe) told me a story:
A year or so ago he was at his father's place near Telluride, and he and Jade (a glowing singer in the band who shares some wondrous duets with Alex) went to Town Park to stand on the empty stage. Alex sang a song while Jade stood in the empty poser pit. Then Jade ran up onto the stage and performed for Alex. Their band was just getting started, but the 2 shared a dream of someday playing on the Telluride Bluegrass stage.
This Father's day weekend Michael will watch his son's dreams realized as one of the most talked-about bands in America makes their Telluride Bluegrass Festival debut.
Michael can't wait. Alex and Jade can't wait. We can't wait.
And if you think your waiting will be easy, spend a few minutes on youtube... welcome to your newest musical love.
Just 195 more days...
Listening to: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - Up From Below