The first musical act on this year's Cherry Days schedule is Shinyribs. This nine-member group out of Austin (Texas, that is) performs at 8 p.m. Saturday, June 30, at The Paradise Theatre in downtown Paonia.
Shinyribs features an R&B horn section, back-up singers, and soul-stirring sounds that have uplifted audiences from Austin city limits to the Ridgway Concert Series and Paonia's Pickin' in the Park concert series. Described as an "exaltation of spirit," their show is a "hip-shaking, belly-laughing, soul-singing, song-slinging down-home house party. Featuring Winfield Cheek on keyboard, Keith Langford on drums, Jeff Brown on bass, the Tijuana Trainwreck Horns, and The Shiny Soul Sisters," they touch on all styles of American music and are sure to get you up on your feet. Visit paradiseofpaonia.com/shinyribs/ for details. This show was close to selling out at press time.
On July 3 and 4 the Paonia Chamber of Commerce Downtown Day and Howard Berkman Memorial Stage at Paonia Town Park feature a strong line-up of local and regional musical acts. Cherry Days 4-Ever Committee music coordinator Skip Naft has brought major talents to Paonia the last five years, and this year is no exception. Naft personally dedicates this year's Cherry Days music to Mike Gwinn. A lifelong stage man and longtime Paonia musician, Gwinn passed away last December. He had a positive influence on the local music scene and played at many Cherry Days. "Mike was just a fantastic member of the community," said Naft.
He also recognizes Daniel Be, "the unsung hero and sound man of Cherry Days" and many other musical events. "He's been doing this for a long time and deals calmly with anything you throw at him."
Tuesday, July 3
Naft has assembled a line-up sure to have something for everyone, beginning on July 3 at the annual Paonia Chamber of Commerce Downtown Day.
11 a.m.-2 p.m. -- Take a break at Poulos Park and enjoy acoustic music by Ellen Stapenhorst and Kim Johnson.
Stapenhorst's talents have taken her from the LA coffee houses of the 1960s, the eclectic Aspen-based country-rock band Tanglefoot in the 1970s, and to Nashville and Northern California. Stapenhorst has shared the stage with John Denver, Buffy Saint Marie, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Shawn Colvin, Frankie Valle and others. Her most recent CD, "Gravity & Light," was recorded at Cool Brick Studios in Carbondale. Songs range "from new folk to new grass, Celtic, gospel and more." Her song "Traveler" made LA Acoustic radio's most requested list for two years, and "Grand Junction" was featured on NPR's "Car Talk" program. Her fifth album, "Gravity & Light," continues her personal mission of social conscience with a little satire for good measure.
Johnson performs original material and covers from John Denver, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac and others. Johnson hails from Southern California, but grew up in Colorado and has deep family roots in Paonia where her parents met.
12-1:30 p.m. -- Sam Heart will serenade the crowd at First Colorado National Bank during the barbecue fundraiser for the Paonia High School volleyball team. Heart offers a broad mix of covers and originals including rock, blues, country, pop, hip hop and Americana. His strong, soulful vocals and percussive guitar style just might get you dancing and laughing, or even a bit teary-eyed.
3-4:30 p.m. -- Head to Paonia Town Park, where Paonia musicians Sarah Eller and David Snider, with Bobby Walker on drums, bring jazz, rock and blues to the Howard Berkman Memorial Stage. A jazz, blues and rock vocalist, Eller has graced the local stage the better part of 20 years. She is a perfect complement to Snider, a multi-instrumentalist who has toured with Sonny Sharrock and Gato Barbieri. He has played, toured and recorded with jazz saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders, Maria Muldaur, Pat Benatar, Richard Belzer, Janis Ian, Dusty Springfield and others. Snider composes both jazz and pop music as well as movie and video soundtracks. Among his greatest influences are Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Nat King Cole, James Brown, and John Coltrane. His latest CD, "Be Cool," offers a mix of jazz and jazz-funk.
5-6:30 p.m. -- Gypsy Whiskey is a dynamic acoustic group out of northern Colorado. "Painting on the canvas of life from a pallet of emotions, Gypsy Whiskey harnesses rock 'n' roll, blues and folk into a soulful acoustic performance." Just off of playing Silver City in Aspen, Cherry Days was very lucky to get this up and coming band, as they are on the verge of releasing their first album, says Naft.
7-9 p.m. -- Spend an unforgettable evening Lipbone Redding.
Lipbone played the 2016 Cherry Days and last year performed at The Paradise Theatre during Cherry Days. "Lipbone is the consummate performer," says Naft. This unplugged one-man orchestra weaves original stories through throat-singing, bass and beat boxing, and his astonishingly realistic lip-tromboning talents, funky rhythms, catchy melodies, brash humor, soulful singing, and inventive guitar-playing. A modern-day Louie Prima, "...this organic soundman has crazy talent that must be seen and heard to be believed."
Wednesday, July 4
This year's Cherry Days parade featured band is The Scones.
"The Scones are a perfect fit for Cherry Days," said Naft. A 1960s-era rock band featuring Rick Stockton, Helen Highwater and Melanie Jean, The Scones will rock the entire parade route with their iconic blend of original and cover tunes influenced by the Summer of Love. They'll ride on a flat bed generously provided by Austin Family Farms, with a sound system powered by a generator from the estate of Paonia photographer Celia Roberts. Miss Jaecey Hoops, local master of the iconic hula hoop, will perform alongside the band.
At noon, Van Tuin will open Cherry Days with the singing of the national anthem at the Howard Berkman Memorial Stage.
1-2:30 p.m. -- A four-member band based in Grand Junction, Stray Grass specializes in a high-energy interpretation of acoustic music. Although played mostly on traditional instruments, the musical styling of Stray Grass is anything but traditional. They have played at festivals throughout Colorado, and were finalists at the Telluride Bluegrass band competition. They've opened for Sam Bush & Del McCoury, Cadillac Sky, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and others. On June 22 they released a new CD, "Live from the Radio Room," recorded last December.
3:30-5 p.m. -- After the crowning of the royalty, the cherry spitting, wood-splitting and coal-shoveling are over, enjoy the sounds of The Bobby Walker Trio, featuring David Snider and Paonia drummer Justin Hess. Walker has brought his own brand of rockin' blues to the Paonia stage, and every time it's been fun. He's also coming off of the release of his latest CD, "Come out Swingin'," featuring Snider and Sarah Eller.
7-9 p.m. -- Zolopht will close out Cherry Days. Established in 2009, Zolopht has become a premier act in the Colorado music scene. Zolopht has an entirely unique sound that is as catchy as it is progressive. The band has shared the stage with notable artists including The Wailers, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Dirty Heads and Sam Bush. With two full-length studio albums under their belt and a third on the way, Zolopht has gained an unstoppable momentum. This is an act not to be missed.