Free music at Copper Mountain Resort for Guitar Town festival
Friday, Aug. 12
Guitar Town ‘16 Kick-Off Party
Jimi Hendrix Revolution with Randy Hansen
Saturday, Aug. 13
Frank Vignola with Vinny Raniolo and Olli Soikkeli
John Jorgenson Quintet
J2B2 (John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band)
Acoustic All StarJam
Sunday, Aug. 14
Guitar Army featuring Robben Ford, Lee Roy Parnell, Joe Robinson
John Jorgenson Electric Band featuring Special Guest Redd Volkaert and Cindy Cashdollar
Mark Selby featuring Special Guest Stig Mathisen
Electric All Star Jam
Musician John Jorgenson said Guitar Town makes him feel like “one of those gymnasts in the all-around.”
That’s because he has three different bands, all with very different sounds, and Copper’s annual Guitar Town weekend is a time when they all come out to play.
“This is one of the few places where I can perform with all three of my bands,” he said of the event.
So let the games begin.
Guitar Town, held Friday, Aug. 12 through Sunday, Aug. 14, is in its 12th year at Copper Mountain. This year’s festival includes three days of free performances, guitar and songwriting workshops as well as family activities throughout the weekend. Friday’s kick-off party features the Jimi Hendrix Revolution by Randy Hansen. Saturday is acoustic day, with performances by Jorgenson, Martin Taylor, Frank Vignola, Laurence Juber and more, and Sunday is electric day, featuring Jorgenson again, as well as Mark Selby, Lee Ritenour, to name a few.
“Basically, people who come to Guitar Town like guitar playing,” he said. “Maybe I am a little more broad than the average, but I still think the average guitar player loves great playing — whether it’s metal or flamenco, or whatever, they can appreciate it. And plus, it’s like the weather, if you don’t like it, just wait 15 or 20 minutes and something different will happen.”
Jorgenson’s newest release, titled “Divertuoso,” is a three-CD package that shows all three of the Grammy-winning guitarist’s bands. Guitar Town will feature all three of his bands, too — two on Saturday for acoustic day and one on Sunday for electric day.
The festival’s founder, Bob Burwell, had an original vision for Guitar Town: to add pairings and special guests — on-stage dynamics that may not happen anywhere else in the world.
“He loves that surprise element,” Jorgenson said of Burwell, “and turning the audience on to new players, people they have never seen before. Then they are probably going to become fans.”
A great example of the new-found talent at Guitar Town, according to Jorgenson, is Joe Robinson, a 25-year old, self-taught musician from Australia. Robinson won the “Australia’s Got Talent” television show at the age of 17 and has since moved to the United States and continued to expand his fan base.
“He’s pretty well-known in Australia,” Jorgenson said, “but this gave him a chance to develop an audience in America. He has done the festival a number of times now and has really built a good following.”
Robinson will be playing an acoustic set at Guitar Town on Saturday and will also play on Sunday with the talented trifecta called Guitar Army, composed of Robinson and fellow guitarists, singers and songwriters Robben Ford and Lee Roy Parnell.
“It’s a group of three different guitar players with pretty different backgrounds,” Ford said. “Basically, we each play our own music and the others support.”
His background is more with jazz blues, and Parnell’s music is rooted more in country, rhythm and blues.
Parnell describes Guitar Army as a “well-oiled machine.”
“I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve ever been involved in a musical entity that has been more enjoyable, less stress — it’s just been a gift,” he said.
Sunday afternoon will be Guitar Army’s debut at Guitar Town, although Ford, Parnell and Robinson have all played at the event in the past.
Robinson said audiences can expect a “monstrous wall of sound” from the group.
“I think the open air vibe will be really a great place for us to just let go and really dig in,” he said. “There’s a lot of energy in the show, and I think it’s going to be a great way to close out the day.”
Stay for the jam session at the end of each day, organized by Jorgenson. He said there’s a trick to finding a few songs that everybody can join in on, and, every year, he looks forward to the talent-coated combinations.
Parnell describes the Guitar Town experience in a sentence: “It’s the best of the best, all packed into one weekend.
“Honestly, with all the year’s I’ve spent playing on the road and making records, I don’t know that I have ever played in an event quite like Guitar Town,” he said. “The folks at Copper have made us so welcome there, year after year.”
Guitar Town is free and open to the public. For more information and full a schedule, visit villageatcopper.com/guitarTown.
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