review

Review: Classic Albums Live “Chronicle, Vol. 1”

headerBy Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Chronicle, Vol. 1, also known as Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits, is a greatest hits album by Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) released by Fantasy Records in January 1976. Classic Albums Live honors the legacy of CCR by performing their Chronicle album without changing any of the music. Each song is played with every note and rhythm of each song perfectly replicated.

As the lights dimmed and the musicians unceremoniously came on stage, there was a hush that came over the audience as they anticipated the performance that was about to begin. The band members were not in matching costumes, or sequins or flashy attire. They are dressed in black and were all about the music. Without any introductions, the band began to tune their guitars and prepped to perform “Susie-Q,” the first song of the album.

Being a part of the audience, I found myself along with many others, bobbing my head, clapping and tapping my toes as we all sang along with the band. Once “Susie-Q” came to an end, the band performed “I Put a Spell on You,” followed by “Proud Mary” and “Bad Moon Rising.” Mike Slute, the lead vocalist, nailed the vocals. It was as if I was there in 1976 when the original album was released.

In the first half of the show, there was very little to no interaction between the band and the audience. Mike Slute explained at intermission that they rather play the music just like the original album. After intermission, during the second half, they took liberties.

The second half was kicked off with the second album.  The band played “Run Through the Jungle,” “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain,” and many more. Lead guitarist Shane Honkonen blew the audience away with his ability to play the guitar, replicating each note as it was originally written and performed. It was mesmerizing to watch him play and I got lost in the music.

James Taylor, who played the bass and vocals, was very connected with the audience.  He seemed to really enjoy himself.  This translated to the audience.  He joked with drummer Ryan Granville Martin, who also kept the audience entertained.  Included in the performance were some local musicians. These musicians only met the band the day before.  They were incredible together! One would have thought they were all on tour together. On percussion and sax was Eric Natsuhiro Jordan, Bill Stephens was on keys, and on trumpet and percussion was Dylan Vessel.

The night ended with everyone signing “The Midnight Special.”  It was the perfect ending to an amazing show.

If you have not seen Classic Albums Live, you will want to check back often on the Lone Tree Arts Center web site.  Classic Albums Live is an all-time favorite and performs here frequently. The next title they will perform is Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon on Saturday, June 8. Tickets for that performance are available here.

Review: Oh SNAP!

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Oh SNAP!

By Kristi Andrus, guest blogger

If you are heading to Lone Tree Arts Center tonight, Sunday 5/5/19, at 7pm, for SNAP, you’re in for a treat. The show is silent, illusory storytelling with a mixture of shadow art, a disappearing door that leads to other worlds, or maybe dreamland, a very unusual juggler, bumbling mimes, and even a tribute to your favorite first-generation video games. It’s hard to explain, but it’s so much fun!

Eight Korean performers star in the contemporary magical mystery performance. The energy is upbeat, and I found myself rooting for the mimes, even though they never utter a word. They weren’t heroic necessarily, but good-hearted and resolute. The music is fun and appropriate – it’s scary during suspenseful scenes, and energetic when the action is frantic.

I took my three little ones, 6, 6, and 4, and they were mesmerized from start to finish. They kept saying “It’s so funny, mom. How did they do that?!” I especially loved not knowing what was next. Truly, when was the last time you couldn’t guess what was coming or how something ended?

The storyline flipped back and forth from the real (ish) world to the dreamlike characters, and it felt a little vaudevillian and little bit woo-woo. I think there might have been a subtle message in there somewhere, but with the kids, we missed it, or rather we embraced SNAP for its lighthearted comedic elements instead.

Highlights included:

  • The color-changing clown who had a magic Lego box that played cartoons (or is it animated episodes now?) and classic video games.
  • The cards that morphed to confetti and glitter and more!
  • The umbrella dances.
  • The paint studio shenanigans, especially the paint brushes that kept appearing in hands, the hand the crawled out of the painting, and the sneezes that made things disappear.

It was the perfect length and perfect tempo for families. Enjoy!!

Review: An Intimate Evening with the Ivy Street Ensemble

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By Theresa Allen, guest blogger

On April 26, 2019, the Ivy Street Ensemble presented a spirited evening of chamber music at the Lone Tree Arts Center. The performance celebrated the music of three, prolific, male composers, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ferde Grofé alongside the works of two modern, female, master composers, Rebecca Clarke and Maria Newman. Members of the Ivy Street Ensemble include Catherine Peterson on flute, Erik Peterson on violin, Phillip Stevens on viola, and Danielle Guideri on cello. All of the performers are also members of the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.

The concert featured commentary by Betsy Schwarm, a local music historian, who warmly provided context and analysis on each composition for the audience.  For those of us who were new to chamber music, Schwarm said that this form was written to be performed by three or four instruments in small intimate spaces, such as a living or drawing room. She said that in chamber compositions, no one particular instrument is the star, rather the music is an interplay of parts that showcase the strengths of each instrument.

The concert opened with “Serenade for Flute, Violin and Viola Op 25” by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827). Schwarm explained that Beethoven wrote this in 1801, when he was merely 30 years old. At the time, Beethoven was writing Mozart inspired symphonies and this playful, light, spirited piece reflects that influence. While chamber music may have been originally played in a drawing room, the Lone Tree Arts Center’s stage has wonderful acoustics and this beautiful, elegant music filled the room leaving the audience with the sense of having experienced something quite remarkable.

The second performance, “Two Pieces for Viola and Cello,” by Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) was constructed in two parts, the first a lullaby, a form most of us are familiar with and the second part was a grotesque, which Schwarm described as being quirky and irregular. Stevens and Guideri performed together giving us a beautiful, soft lullaby that was executed with dramatic precision and then a bright, lively, full-sounding piece for the grotesque movement.

The Ivy Street Ensemble then performed Table d’Hote: Humoresque, by Ferde Grofé (1892-1972), which was originally written in 1945. Schwarm explained that the title takes its name from the convivial gathering of people conversing around the main table in a restaurant, and as such, the performance evolves through many moods from cheerful to melancholy and back to lively.  I noticed members of the audience listening so intently and silently that you could hear a pin drop.

We then heard a thrilling rendition of Mozart’s (1756-1791) “Quartet for Flute and Strings in D Minor, Op. 285” which was written for the flute as the lead. The first movement was a lilting serenade that transitioned into a soft, sad mood that allowed the audience to appreciate the mastery and genius of Mozart.

The last work that the Ivy Street Ensemble performed was “Pennipotenti for Flute, Violin, and Viola” composed by Maria Newman (1962). Schwarm noted that Newman is from Los Angeles and is the daughter of composer Alfred Newman as well as related to Randy Newman, the musician. Composed in 2005, the title of this composition means “the power of feathers,” and Newman created in four movements representing birds. The first movement, “The Dipper,” soars bewitchingly light and playful, the second movement “The Hummingbird,” is fast and furious, the third movement, “The Snowy Owl” is quiet with its deeply moving harmonies and textures, and the last movement, “The Falcon” is complex, contemporary, and full of energy and power. Newman’s piece was a splendid ending to a delightful evening of beautiful music sprinkled with charming stories by Betsy Schwarm.

In addition, the Ivy Street Ensemble also generously gave each member of the audience their latest CD, Serenades: Then and Now. If you’d like to learn more about the Ivy Street Ensemble, you can visit their website at http://www.earwarp.com

Review: Beehive the 60s Musical

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Photo by Danny Lam

By Monica Jarrell, guest blogger

Beehive the 60’s Musical

Created by Larry Gallagher

Director/Choreographer: Candy Brown

Musical Director: Dr. Michael A. Williams

If you have not seen Beehive the 60’s Musical at the Lone Tree Arts Center, you still have time. It will be showing from April 3rd through April 13th. Call soon to reserve your spot.

This is one musical you do not want to miss. It is based on the songs from the 60s, with the all-female cast performing songs originally sung by women during that era. By showcasing the women’s music of the ‘60s, Beehive shows us the influence of the female social issues and political feelings of the time.

The show opens to the voice of a radio announcer. The band is on stage, inside the working rooms of a radio station. It feels like we are part of a radio show. The stage is decorated in a ‘60s theme with 45s records hanging from the ceiling.

The first performance is the introduction of the 6 powerful female vocalists. They are dressed in the big swing dresses of the ‘60s, talking on corded phones and of course they all have big beehives and kitten heels. The number is a high energy song “Round the Beehive/Lets Rock.” This first act has everyone in the audience singing from the start.

The ladies introduce themselves by singing the name game. They even had some people from the audience participate. This is where the party gets started.

Jasmine is played by Piper Lindsay Arpan who is a choreographer, singer and performer. She has been seen in Reunion ’85, Home for the Holidays, Guys and Dolls in Concert, Ragtime and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Her dancing ability is as impressive as her singing talent.

Patti is played by Valerie Igoe. Valerie is making her debut to the Lone Tree Arts Center. Her credits include Annie, The Full Monty, Rock of Ages and 42nd Street.

Karen Jeffreys plays Alison. Maybe you saw her in My Way: Tribute to Frank Sinatra, Camelot, Winter Wonderettes, Reunion ’85, South Pacific in Concert and Home for the Holidays.

Melody Moore stars as Laura. Melody has been in numerous off-Broadway shows including Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Queenie in The Wild Party and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Gina is played by Sheryl Renee. Sheryl’s career highlights include singing the national anthem for President Barack Obama. She has appeared on stage shows, a radio host and numerous theatrical productions. Sheryl stole the show with her performance of Tina Turner.

Wanda performed by Sharon Kay White serves as the show’s narrator. She offers bits of fashion advice and information about the era to give greater insight to each song. Wanda’s credits include performances all over the world including the Arvada Center, Lake Dillon Theater Company, Aurora Fox Arts Center, Country Dinner Playhouse and many more.

As we move through the decade, the music and the costumes shift dramatically. The six powerful performers make their way through the early ‘60s with songs such as “It’s My Party” By Lesley Gore, “I’ll Never Change Him by Annette Funicello, “Sweet Talkin’ Guy” by The Chiffons, “To Sir with Love” by Lulu, “My Boy Friend is Back” by The Angels and “Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals.

Beehive then moved through to a more edgy time of the ‘60s with full or partial renditions of songs like “You Don’t Own Me” by Lesley Gore. For those of you who do not know this song was thought to be a game changer for the women’s movement in the ‘60s. Other numbers included: “Baby I Love You” by Aretha Franklin, several selections from Tina Turner (“River Deep, Mountain High” and “Proud Mary” and “Chain of Fools”).

The costumes changes were incredible as the decade rolled out on stage. The beehive was gone, and long hair, go-go boots and mini skirts are now seen. The women on stage convey to the audience the changing attitude of the women of the 60s.

Next up was Janis Joplin (Karen Jeffreys). This performance brought down the house with “Cry Baby” and “Me and Bobby McGee.” She looked, acted and sounded the part, with boa feathers and all. If Janis was a favorite of yours, you will want to see to this.

The show combines nostalgia with girl power. The ‘60s was a time when proper behavior gave way to youthful rebellion and a newly awakening generation pushed to be heard through their music.

Make plans to see this show before it is gone.

Review: The Choir of Man

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By Cassie Schauer, guest blogger

Raise a pint to pub culture! We joined the cast for a fun night of dance and song when the Choir of Man hit the stage at the Lone Tree Arts Center on Thursday night, February 21, 2019.

With the stage set as an actual working pub (complete with Lone Tree Brewing Company beer on tap), we were invited to grab a pint as the cast members (all from the U.K.) mingled with the audience sharing selfies, and laughs. Blurring the line between stage and audience continued throughout the performance. It kicked off with the 80s hair-band hit “Welcome to the Jungle” which played surprisingly well with a folksy, Celtic twist. The cast dashed through the audience, on top of the bar, around the tables, playing all manner of instruments. Denis, the narrator, invited us “to be present for tonight: dance, sing, laugh, join in!”

We were drawn into the camaraderie between the men as Denis presented each one in funny vignettes of song and dance. An astoundingly multi-talented cast of Irish actors and singers, the performers played the piano, guitar, banjo, accordion, drums, ukulele, bagpipes, and fiddle. They pounded on trays and crates, and clapped beer mugs together. As Denis was weaving his tales, the energy of the pub was swirling around him. The boys were chatting, arguing, mopping the floor, talking on the phone, and spinning on the bar stools.

Playing the fiddle and banjo while singing Avicii’s “Wake Me Up,” they danced into the theater aisles, grabbing people from the audience to join them for a pint. Peter sang Katy Perry’s hit “Teenage Dream,” while staring longingly at his guest. As the song ended, she surprised him with a kiss on the cheek.

Andrew, “with the voice of Pavarotti, but dressed like an Agatha Christie character,” sang “The Impossible Dream” in a deep, rich tenor, while challenging his guest to build a card tower. The tower grew as the song crescendoed, and the rest of the crew joined in, topping the tower with a pint of beer and tossing cards at the audience.

“50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” showcased Freddie’s tap dancing skills and featured a piano solo by Connor. As Denis joked, “the more you drink the better we sound and the better we look” he decried the loss of local pubs to make way for chain restaurants and bars.

In a break from the action, Tom sang Adele’s hit “Hello.” Cleverly presented in freeze frame, the cast stood in suspended animation as if they were watching their team on TV. Mark shared his love for his wife while singing “Pina Coladas” into a mop handle. The crew joined in with exaggerated hip swinging, a cheesy flute solo, and disco lights.

We sang along to “500 Miles,” dubbed as “Scotland’s Most Famous Song.” An acapella version of Sia’s “Chandelier” was sung under prism lights as if reflected off the baubles of a chandelier.

One of the funniest scenes featured Aidan facing us in front of a bank of urinals, relieving himself as he sang “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The other cast members joined in as the never ending “flow” splashed onto the stage.

As the performance began to wind down, Denis raised a pint to his mum, stating “don’t treasure the moments only when they are gone.” This lead to the Luther Vandross hit, “Dance with My Father,” with the emotional “dear lord, she’s dying to dance with my father again” tugging at our heartstrings.

As a final statement to the brotherhood of pub life, Denis proclaimed, “when I come through those doors I feel at home.” They ended with the traditional Irish goodbye song, “The Parting Glass,” embracing us on their first North American Tour. A funny, energetic, and joyful celebration!

Review: International Guitar Night

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By Michelle Marx, Guest Blogger

Last Friday, International Guitar Night made its only Colorado stop for its 2019 tour at the Lone Tree Arts Center. The sold-out crowd was treated to a guitar extravaganza featuring four accomplished guitarists: Luca Stricagnoli, Antoine Boyer, Samuelito, and Cenk Erdogan.

Stricagnoli runs on stage, picks up a guitar, and starts playing. His music is his introduction. Playing a mix of original songs and covers, he has excellent stage presence. He doesn’t just play a simple acoustic guitar, he also plays a guitar with three fingerboards. Not just a showman, Stricagnoli is also the evenings host.

Antoine Boyer gets his solo moment next. The 22 year old gypsy jazz guitarist from France also begins his set by playing. He explains to the crowd how he likes to play with the harmony of famous songs and then punctuates his explanation with his playing. He dazzles with a cover of The Sound of Silence.

Samuel Rouesnel, stage name Samuelito, is a Flamenco guitarist from France. Both a composer and player, Samuelito began with classical guitar at age seven. He plays several songs by Paco de Lucia, a Flamenco virtuoso and a great inspiration to Samuelito.

From Turkey is Cenk Erdogan and his fretless guitar. He introduces himself with an original composition. He explains the fretless guitar and its range of sounds and tones. Erdogan has played and taught around the world. It shows through his ease with communicating with the audience and improvising as he plays. His music is beautiful and my personal favorite of the evening.

All the performers have the opportunity to showcase their skill and I appreciate that they all talk about themselves and their influences. They are all engaging and humorous storytellers.

International Guitar Night is known for rotating through only the best of the best guitarists and  highlighting each individual artist, but they also celebrate their skills through collaboration. After the solos come the duets and final quartet performance. These range from a raucous cover of “Another One Bites the Dust,” to beautiful ballads and fun pop culture references.

International Guitar Night tours annually highlighting new and fabulous talent. Keep your eyes open for their next tour and hopefully their next trip through Colorado. For samples of each musician visit https://internationalguitarnight.com

Review: RESPECT – A Tribute to Aretha Franklin with the Mary Louise Lee Orchestra

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By Kristi Andrus, guest blogger

I typically pick the shows I want to see to review. That’s my entire process, nothing complicated, just personal preference.  Occasionally, however, my process is unintentionally complicated, like for instance, when the show I pick is performed by a local legend who is paying tribute to a national treasure. Oh, and did I mention she’s married to Denver’s mayor?

I went to Saturday night’s sold-out show Respect: A Tribute to Aretha Franklin with the Mary Louise Lee Orchestra knowing it would be a cool night out, but it was way more mellow and vibey and fun than I even expected.

Was it the red dress? The red shoes? The 13-piece orchestra? The gravelly infectious vocals? The selfie with my brother and the mayor? Or something else?

Let’s dissect the night. Here’s a look at the songs, the lyrics, and the moments that stood out.

But first, the facts:

Denver First Lady Mary Louise Lee (MLL) of Mary Louise Lee Band (MLLB) has incredible range, perfect pitch, is a blend of liveliness, sultriness, confidence, good energy, and a warm hug. She’s a Denver institution married to a Denver institution. She commands the stage, works the room, and knows when it’s time to take off her shoes, symbolizing to the audience that it’s also time to party.

Now, the rundown: (Try to sing everything in italics if you will).

The band was dressed head to toe in black with red accents, ties for the men, shoes for the women. MLL was wearing a red dress and red shoes and comfortable in the spotlight. She was welcoming and ready, her band equally ready to rock.

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Review: Shaun Boothe’s Unauthorized Biography Series

By Cassie Schauer, guest blogger

Celebrate Greatness! Shaun Boothe brought The Unauthorized Biography Series to the Lone Tree Arts Center for one night.  Part hip hop performance, part history lesson, and part motivational speech, Boothe presented bios of the world’s greatest heroes and leaders through rap and song.

Shaun Boothe’s message is aimed at children and teenagers; however, it resonates with everyone. By celebrating our heroes, we can awaken the greatness in all of us. We can accomplish change when we see what was accomplished in the past. By using rap and hip hop, Boothe delivered this message using a language that children and teenagers can relate to and cultural icons that they recognize. Standing in the middle of the stage with the house lights up and a giant screen behind him, he engaged the kids by asking if there were any hip hop or Snoop fans out there. He asked, “How do you view yourself? Look inward, not outward. Honor your greatness.”

Boothe wanted us to see that we all have access to the same courage and power that some of our greatest cultural heroes do.  He showed us how they overcame obstacles, opened their hearts, and became stronger and courageous enough to put others above themselves.

Five leaders were presented, beginning with a short intro followed by Boothe’s hip hop story.  Video clips were shown on the screen behind him.  All of the bios included both widely known and less familiar information about each person.

Muhammed Ali, who famously proclaimed, “I am the Greatest,” was the perfect starting point.  Boothe emphasized how Ali chose character over fame by refusing to change his beliefs for anything or anyone.  He was first perceived as a villain but became a hero as popular opinion about the Vietnam War changed. Ali’s bio ended with the audience chanting “Ali Bomaye” (“Ali kill him”), the cheer made famous by Ali’s 1972 “Rumble in the Jungle” versus George Foreman.

Emphasizing we have to choose between “working for applause or working for a cause,” Boothe’s next presentation was Martin Luther King Jr, with scenes of the Selma riots of 1965.  MLK passed the baton to President Barack Obama: “Martin walked so Obama could run.” After presenting Obama, Boothe stopped and restated how by rising above the low expectations he faced, he honored his limitless potential. Obama then passed the baton to the next generation.

Speaking again to the young people in the audience, Boothe asked, “How do you view yourself? Look inward, not outward. Honor your greatness.” Asking why we should celebrate MLK when that was so long ago, he answered that current breaking news is heartbreaking news. By focusing on the greatness we can tune out the negativity.

Sitting on the edge of the stage and speaking directly to the kids in front of him, Boothe asked if anyone could tell him who Malala is. Hands shot up and he passed the mic to a young girl who described her as “a girl who fought for girl’s education in Pakistan and was shot because of it.” Boothe then told the story of Malala’s life, how she wouldn’t stop pushing for female education in the face of great adversity, how she was told over and over to stop, and how she eventually became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

The screen flashed, #Whatsyourlegacy.  Boothe asked, “What is your story? Don’t let anyone write the story of your life.” Again, speaking to the kids in the audience, he stated, “Greatness is really all about committing to something larger than yourself.  Great small moments can make a great difference to one person. Find something great to do in the moment.”

Giving a shout out to any fellow Jamaicans in the audience (Boothe is from Toronto but of Jamaican descent), reggae singer-songwriter Bob Marley was the final bio presented. Boothe emphasized Marley’s message of “One Love” and that the choices we make take us one step closer or farther away from our dreams.

That led to Boothe’s final message: dreaming big inspires big action from us. To make that dream happen we have to take the first step and the next step appears. He reminded the kids that our heroes didn’t have a master plan or blueprint. They just took that first step.

The performance ended with Boothe singing his first hit, “One by One” and telling all of us to stay true to our dreams.  He high-fived his way through the audience and ended with a brief Q&A.  By the end of the performance, Shaun Boothe left all of us, especially the youngest members of the audience,  inspired to find the greatness in ourselves.

Review: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

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Review: And We Drop The Needle Once Again!

By Theresa Allen, guest blogger

If we could only step back in time… Well, you can, with the Lone Tree Arts Center’s Classic Album Live series. This spring, two new shows featuring the music of Creedence Clearwater Revival and Pink Floyd will be performed on the LTAC’s stage. On Saturday, January 19, I attended Classic Albums Live: Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and was pleasantly surprised to get caught up in the excitement of listening to the Beatles play once again.

What was really amazing was the faithfulness of the sound to the original album. Craig Martin, founder of Classic Albums Live touts the series as a “note for note, cut for cut” endeavor. The clean, clear voices of the singers, the precision playing of the instruments, and the distorted noises that we all remember from listening to the Beatle’s vinyl versions are all there.

There are a couple of reasons why this unique type of performance works for Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. The band follows some of the conventions of the symphony. The eleven performers on stage are anonymous to the audience—their names are not listed in the theater program nor announced during the show, they all wear black, they play numerous instruments, and no one acted the part of being a Beatle. Whether they were playing the violin, piano, or bass guitar, they were all extraordinary musicians playing a rock masterpiece that has stood the test of time. Songs like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” “Lovely Rita,” and “Within You Without You” were sung by the performers with strong voices, and no fake British accents. Now you might say, the Beatles had strong Liverpool accents, how can the song sound the same? But remarkably, it does. Perhaps, it’s the instrumental accuracy paired with the audiences’ deep love for the album that really breathes life into the music.

The Classic Albums Live band had a great rapport with the audience whether they were tuning an instrument or moving to perform some other function. The full performance of the Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was completed in about an hour. The second half of the performance focused on many of the Beatles hits, demonstrating that these musicians really prepared for a deep dive into Beatles history.

Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was performed to a sold out audience both nights. At the end of the performance, there was nothing more inspiring than to see the response of concert goers singing along with the band and enjoying the beat of the music. The Classic Albums Live band received a standing ovation and as I left the building I heard many people remarking on their wonderful performance.

The Lone Tree Arts Center will be hosting two more events in this series including Creedence Clearwater Revival’s, Chronicle Volume 1 on Saturday, May 11 at 8 p.m. featuring the songs “Bad Moon Rising,” “Proud Mary,” and “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” The series has become so popular with local audiences that a new concert has been recently added on Saturday, June 8, at 8 p.m. featuring the music of Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

So, it is possible to step back in time and to once again hear the music that is the soundtrack of your life. Tickets for the next two Classic Albums Live concerts are going fast, but still available from $32 to $45 and can be purchased online at www.lonetreeartscenter.org. The Lone Tree Arts Center is located at 10075 Commons Street in Lone Tree. Free on-site parking is available.

Review: Sons of the Pioneers

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By Janice Hubbell, guest blogger

“Yipee Tie Yie Yay, get along little doggies!” crooned the Sons of the Pioneers at the Lone Tree Art Center this weekend. This enduring western trio formed by Roy Rogers in 1933 is now ably led by his son and emcee, Dusty Rogers. Original compositions such as “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” “Cool Water” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky” have become beloved American classics capturing the mystery and romance of the early cowboy.

It was an icy-cold night with snow packed streets as we made our way to the Arts Center and were surprised to see a sold-out crowd ready to take a deep dive into Roy Roger’s western music. As the music began, I took a trip back to my childhood as the group sang familiar tunes I had grown up with and was surprised to realize I could still remember almost every word! My parents had played quite an eclectic mix of music on our family record player–from Beethoven and Mozart to Burl Ives, Glen Campbell, Sons of the Pioneers and various gospel music artists.

All that was missing was the campfire smoke as the evening progressed with “trail boss” Tommy Nallie playing the guitar and singing a couple solos. Ken Lattimore sang tenor and played several instruments including the mandolin, as well as providing light hearted banter with other members of the group. Dusty Rogers, the lead singer of the group, shared childhood stories about his famous father and stepmother Dale Evans. Baritone John Fullerton played rhythm guitar and yodeled beautifully. Last, but not least, star talent Paul Elliott expertly played the fiddle, keeping the audience spellbound.

The evening ended on a high note with the group singing “Happy Trails.” Truly, as declared by the Smithsonian Institute, the Sons of the Pioneers are one of our cherished national treasures in their timeless documentation of the Great American West.