Day 2 of the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival finally lived up to the second half of its name. From noon to 3 p.m., 50 breweries from around the country (including more than a dozen from Colorado) offered the increasingly jovial crowd a variety of free libations (see 10 Best Beers from Telluride Blues & Brews Festival coming later today). A pair of funk bands, Monophonics and Oregone, worked just fine as the background for the beer fest, but the music improved when Portland’s March Forth Marching Band played to a loosened up audience. With an abundance of horns, drummers and dancers on stilts, the gypsy punk band drew inspiration from a crazy-but-inspired mix of genres to create a groove that’s still stuck in my head.
I was glad to have caught the band the night before, though, because it was time for to head back to our mountain cabin to record a session with The Lee Boys. The Miami-based band—made up of three cousins and their two uncles—had just driven up from a gig in New Mexico, but they sang and rapped and joked before the cameras had even started rolling. They’re mission is to take Sacred Steel beyond the bounds of their House of God church, and it’s a sound that certainly inspires a sense of awe.
I also missed out on Anders Osborne’s mainstage set, though I’d catch him at the late-night “juke join” set. And my excuse—recording a hotel session with Warren Haynes—felt pretty valid. All our Telluride Sessions will be up on the website in the coming weeks, and I’d highly recommend checking back for Hayne’s solo performance in a reverb-filled lobby with The Rocky Mountains in the background.
We made it back in time for New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty, who brought his amazingly tight and entertaining band Orleans Avenue along for the day’s best mainstage set. Bassist/trumpet player Mike Ballard is a particularly natural entertainer, but Shorty was the ringleader, whether singing, playing his ‘bone or jumping behind the drum kit.
Gov’t Mule was the evening’s headliner, and Haynes opened the set singing an almost unrecognizable cover of Steve Miller’s “Joker.” His effortless guitar work and the band’s lock-step, complex time signatures provided the jammed-out ending for another glorious day in the Rocky Mountains.
But the music doesn’t end when the festival grounds close. After catching a couple songs from muscular-blues guitarist Anders Osborne, we closed the night out at the Lee Boys less-crowded tent. It might not have been packed, but nearly everyone there was dancing to the gospel-fried blues songs. I was mostly just watching slack-jawed as Roosevelt Collier made his pedal steel sing. It was the highlight of our final day in Telluride.