Beth Williams and Susan Walton, above, held the first of the Pearl Road Music House Concert Series May 10. Courtesy photo.

Beth Williams and Susan Walton, above, held the first of the Pearl Road Music House Concert Series May 10. Courtesy photo.

Mirror Staff Report

REGIONAL–(May 20, 2014)  Yes, there are a host of big-name, exciting musical performances set to take in Montrose and the surrounding region this summer. Not all local music takes place on the traditional concert stage, however. Some local acts are opting for more intimate shows in alternative settings, while others are taking a break from performing to focus on writing or recording. And some of the season’s most exciting shows are free concerts for entire communities.

On May 10, Singer/Songwriters Susan Walton and Beth Williams brought their audience home, with the first in an anticipated series of shows, the Pearl Road Music House Concert series.

The two-hour kickoff concert featured the pair in a song swap, with the artists taking turns playing originals and sharing with friends, neighbors and fans the stories behind the songs. At the end of the evening, Williams picked up the guitar and Walton the bass, joining together for a rendition of Beth’s song, Big Bad Blues.

Walton said that she hopes to host another House Concert in the fall featuring Warren Baker, pianist.   For more information about upcoming shows, call 970 249-1382.

Sultry Montrose jazz singer Deb Barr, known for her world-class vocals and low-key local presence, performed recently with the Kevin McCarthy Jazz Trio at Arroyo in Telluride, though Barr said she has been playing mostly private events in recent months– things like weddings, funerals, receptions, parties and church specials.

“I am working on two new albums — all original music,” she said.  “Love, Faith & Mystery is a faith-based recording, and *TGF, a working title that stands for Texas Girl Forever, is a singer/songwriter album and will feature guest appearances by old friends who mostly live in Texas.

“I want to get them both done by the end of the year if possible,” Barr said. “I’m writing a lot, which is wonderful, and I’m grateful that I continue to be inspired to write new material.”

On May 25, Rev. George Miller will play a free concert, hosted by Community Spirit UCC, in the sanctuary at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 2900 Sunnyside Road.

“Someone said that God gave us music so we could pray without words,” Miller said. “I agree completely.  Singing has always been a way for me to express the joy and gladness of being alive.”

Community Spirit UCC invites you, your family and friends to “Songs I Love to Sing,” a free concert being given by Miller at 2 p.m. in the St. Paul’s sanctuary.

Selections will include favorites like “Old Man River,” show tunes like “Impossible Dream,” and folk songs like “Lonesome Valley.”  Rev. Miller will also sing an aria from Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass.” Guest artist Debra TenNaple will join Rev. Miller on two pieces, and will also play two of her own.  Sharon Clark is the accompanist.  A love offering will provide summer camp scholarships for the youth of the church. Community Spirit UCC is wheelchair accessible.   For more information, contact Rev. Karen Winkel at 970-765-7070.

On July 5, the long-awaited Stupid Band Earth Dance will take place at Turn of the Century Saloon in Montrose–and as always, the dance party (featuring the band’s popular originals and some cover tunes) will be a canned food drive for Sharing Ministries. Doors open at 8 p.m., and admission is $10 and a non-perishable food item. For information call Bradley at 209-1260.

Finally, Western Colorado also welcomes a host of free concerts this summer, thanks to Pickin’ Productions. In Ridgway, the seventh Annual Free Summer Concert Series in Ridgway Town Park is set for Thursdays in July, from 6pm ‘til Dark–finishing up on July 31 with a performance by longtime Telluride favorite Peter Rowan. The family-friendly shows include activities for the kids, a live broadcast on KVNF, and fun, late-night after parties at the Sherbino Theater. For a full lineup of national acts, visit The entire series is free to the public and features top notch national acts.  The Ridgway Concert Series is presented by the Town of Ridgway and funded entirely by community sponsors, fundraisers and donations.  The on-site alcohol and merchandise sales also help fund the series.

In Paonia, Pickin’ Productions free concerts take place Thursday evenings in August, starting at 6 p.m. KVNF is Pickin’ in the Park’s presenting partner and will be serving refreshing beverages, including award-winning, locally-brewed draft beer by Revolution Brewing, local wine from the West Elks Wineries and cold, crisp hard ciderfrom Delicious Orchards.  2014 welcomes back local food vendor Delicious Orchards Organic Farm Market.

Pickin’ Productions also produces The Mountain Air Music Series in Ouray (Thursdays in June). All concerts will be broadcast live on KVNF.