Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 10, 2006 · Page 72
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Albuquerque Journal from Albuquerque, New Mexico · Page 72

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Issue Date:
Friday, November 10, 2006
Page 72
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By David Steinberg JOURNAL STAFF WRITER A las, Walon Mickey and his band Sons of the Rio Grande will only get to perform two songs at next week’s Western Music Association’s Award Show and Festival. The Albuquerque band will be doing the song “Salt River Valley” at the Thursday, Nov. 16, tribute to the Sons of the Pioneers. The Cindy Walker song was in Bob Wills’ movie “The Lone Prairie,” Mickey said. Then on Nov. 17, the Sons of the Rio Grande will be back playing a single tune at the WMA’s 18th annual festival’s “Barn Dance Broadcast” show. They’ll do the famous ballad “Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?” Mickey is familiar with this format for some festival concerts. “It’s the kind of event that each performer takes the stage for one number and yields to the next,” he said. But Mickey said what’s really important about the festival is that it’s the WMA’s contribution to keeping Western music alive. One can hardly hear this style of music — Western swing, songs based on Western folktales, cowboy songs — on the radio anymore, he said. As a result, serious fans from all over the country flock to the festival because it draws great talent nationally, even internationally, Mickey said. The Sons of the Rio Grande, now in its 10th year, are one of a number of New Mexico bands performing at the festival. Singer-guitarist Earl Gleason of Belen will perform at several WMA concerts. Gleason, 69, sings old cowboy songs and has also written many of his own, some based on his ranching experience. His newest CD is “The Drovers.” Jim Jones of Corrales also sings and plays the guitar. Jones said some of his original songs talk about “taking care of the environment, the future of the West and women’s experience in the West.” His latest CD, “The West — Then, Now, Next” — reflects his interest in the past, present and future of the region. The 56-year-old Jones said he’ll be performing a handful of songs at WMA morning showcases on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18 and a few tunes at the Nov. 17 Barn Dance Broadcast. Another local group playing the festival is the Curio Cowboys, led by Albuquerque’s John Feldman. The Western swing band will provide the music for the Nov. 18 evening dance. Feldman said the band will unveil its third CD at the festival, titled “Ticket to Albuquerk.” “It’s the result of efforts by Tulsa recording studio owner Hayden Burlingame and the Curio’s soundman, Eric Burris, to capture the sound of the band in their natural environment, the Town House on Central and Morningside,” he said. The CD, Feldman said, has three songs about the Duke City. They are “Ridin’ Down the Trail to Albuquerque,” which Tex Ritter recorded in the 1930s, “Albuquerque Polka,” which was first recorded by Rex Allen, and Herb Hendler’s “A-l-b-u-q-u-e- r-q-u-e.” One original on the CD is Feldman’s “That Spells Prairie Dogs.” He said the WMA event is back in Albuquerque this year “in part because local music promoter Rick Huff made the WMA conference a success here last year.” Huff, a member of the WMA’s board of directors, said that some classic country music radio stations are now including Western and Western swing music “to freshen their programming and return to the true country sound.” Huff is working on his second recording, a compilation of Western and Western swing artists. The first, the double-CD set “The Best of New Mexico Western,” contained 48 tracks. Among the other New Mexicans performing at the WMA Festival are Kip Calahan of Animas and R.W. Hampton of Cimarron. Michael Martin Murphey, a former Taos resident now living in Wisconsin, will perform at the Nov. 17 Lone Cowboy Campfire Concert. MUSIC 20 venue Friday, November 10, 2006 Albuquerque’s Sons of the Rio Grande will pay tribute to Sons of the Pioneers on Thursday. Sons of the Rio Grande, other N.M. performers celebrate Western music Earl Gleason sings old cowboy songs and has composed some of his own. We stern Music Association’s Award Show and F estival ◆ WHEN: Thursday, Nov. 16-Nov. 19 WHERE: Hotel Albuquerque, 810 Rio Grande NW HOW MUCH: The public may attend all festival events. For ticket prices and events schedule go to the Web site or for information call 232-3184 OPEN SKIES,RISING STARS

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