Sarah Hope Reflects On The Blues Under The Bridge That Was…

July 11, 2018

Engineers of the passing trains blast their whistles at the growing crowd under Colorado Avenue for the undeniable awesomeness that is Blues Under the Bridge.

The annual event brings together many elements of our community with local businesses serving up homegrown food and drink. This year, BUTB connected hearts with a deeply historic presence of the Latino community in Colorado Springs with the addition of Los Lobos - perhaps the most respected crossover band in the country.  

Grant SabinCredit Matt Chmielarczyk
Grant Sabin

The festival's co-founder, local musician Don Goede, kicked off the event with his energetic new Project - Vegan Wolf. Don (aka Wolfgang Farrell) accompanied by the gorgeously rich vocals of new talent, Caren Tackett.

Colorado Springs' own Grant Sabin and the Juke Joint Highball followed, and sounded so right, brushing the root chakra with their train-gritty blues.

Next was Kerry Pastine and the Crime scene. Denver shared them and their fresh, cabaret-style, back-alley, rockabilly approach to the blues. 

Chris Thomas King, whom many may recognize as the young blues musician who sold his soul to the devil in the Coen Brother's Oh Brother Where Art Thou, played his New Orleans blues with such perfection one could easily believe that he made himself a good trade.

Chris Thomas KingCredit Matt Chmielarczyk
Chris Thomas King

Finally, from East L.A., Los Lobos did not disappoint. Famous for being able to play any kind of music on any instrument, they brought us an array of blues, rock, and what they informed us was Mexican Blues - CUMBIA! Other bands have built amazing careers with one strong vocalist and a great guitarist. Los Lobos raises the bar by genuinely sharing the words, the melody and the performance amongst their incredibly versatile roster.

Los Lobos - BUTB 2018Credit Matt Chmielarczyk
Los Lobos - BUTB 2018

In it's twelfth year, Blues Under the Bridge has been built on a musical and cultural history that began on this same city block with Fannie Mae Duncan's famous Cotton Club. 

For me, the moment that summed up the magic of the day was catching a glimpse of Los Lobos at a roundtable backstage, sharing a bottle of Colorado Springs' own 291 whiskey- a moment of unmatched local pride. 

Written by Sarah Hope/photography Matt Chmielarczyk