Exceptional Music, Libations at 19th Annual Wine & Music Festival

Lake City’s Uncorked Wine & Music Festival, sponsored by Downtown Improvement & Revitalization Team (DIRT), pops its cork next Saturday, September 21, as the 19th annual music festival gets underway with an eclectic mix of acclaimed regional musicians and comprehensive array of sparkling beverage.
With the promise of bright blue skies, moderate temperatures and fall colors on the horizon, the benefit festival gets underway at 10 a.m. Saturday when gates open at Lake City Town Park, with music beginning at 11, and volunteer wine servers begin their task at noon.
Local resident Phil Virden will serve as this year’s Master of Ceremonies. $65 per-person tickets allow a sampling of both wine and music throughout the day, while $45 tickets are for music only.
Music will begin with Lake City’s own Jeff Heaton, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., who is a classically trained singer and a self-taught guitar player. He has an eclectic sound with the styles of James Taylor, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, and Merle Haggard.
Heaton often says that he likes good music, regardless of the genre or the artist. In the last few years, He has opened for Michael Martin Murphey, Asleep at the Wheel, The Bellamy Brothers, Johnny Lee, Suzy Bogguss, Johnny Rodriguez, Exile, Restless Heart, Hal Ketchum and Marty Haggard. Jeff’s repertoire is a collection of songs that tell a story and will pull at your heartstrings.
Next to take the stage from 12:15 p.m. until 1:30 are the Shavano Blues Trio, who play a wide range of Blues, Rhythm and Blues, and Jazzy Blues from the ‘40s to the present day. Powerful, sultry vocals in combination with rhythmic stand-up bass and classic Blues keys make this trio a Blues lover’s dream. Shavano Blues Trio delight with unique renderings of songs by the likes of Ray Charles and Bonnie Raitt, Aretha Franklin, Koko Taylor, and Etta James, as well as original songs like “Close My Windows” and “Run Me Ragged”.
Up next from 1:50 until 3 p.m. is a favorite on the Uncorked stage, Lisa Morales, who began her singing career by penning tunes to express her emotions about the complex landscape of relationships. Her perspective now is that of a woman who’s gone through many storms and witnessed their sometimes-beautiful aftermaths as well.
With her albums Luna Negra and the Daughter of the Sun, Morales sought to reach even more deeply into her soul. Drawing from a creative palette informed by the rhythms, colors and flavors of the Southwest, from the painted-desert skies of her native Tucson, Arizona, where she and cousin Linda Ronstadt grew up, to the sea-salted air of Houston, where she moved at 18 and the history-filled city of San Antonio, where she now lives, Lisa Morales confirms that she is a woman in touch with her emotions and inner power.
As the afternoon continues, Honeyhouse, a unique acoustic trio combining the talents of three very diverse and seasoned artists into one unexpected powerhouse force, will take the stage. Consisting of award-winning R&B and Gospel soulstress Hillary Smith, earthy Blues and Folk singer-songwriter Yvonne Perea, and sweet-voiced Mandy Buchanan, “hONEyhoUSe” seamlessly melds the lines of musical genres with their original creations embracing Blues, Soul, Folk and Americana into one sweet Honeyhouse of music.
Cash’d Out, a major Lake City favorite, is up next at 5:15 p.m. “Some people are impressionists. These guys leave an impression,” says Bill Miller, owner of Johnny Cash.com about Cash’d Out (Douglas Benson vocals, George Bernardo drums, John Heussenstamm guitar, Nate Lefranchi bass).
This band invokes the spirit of the late Johnny Cash, and after 13 years have won over many fans, fans who still continually tell the group how grateful they are that Cash’d Out so righteously carries the torch of the Johnny Cash Show.
Besides music critics anointing Cash’d Out as “the next best thing to Johnny Cash himself,” their highlights have been many: W.S. Holland, Johnny Cash’s longtime drummer, has sat in with Cash’d Out; front man, Douglas Benson, has played Johnny’s cherry sunburst Guild guitar (courtesy of Mr. Miller); Longtime Johnny Cash manager Lou Robin has also been to several Cash’d Out shows and claimed that if he closed his eyes it was as if “going back in time.”
The band’s live shows respectfully reference the late, great Man in Black’s Sun Records and early Columbia era sound, combined with the energy of the classic multi-platinum live recordings from Folsom Prison and San Quentin. The group’s genuine love and authentic recreation of Johnny Cash’s music and its universal appeal fans of all ages and of virtually all musical genres makes each Cash’d Out show a must-see event.
To finish off the festival, Mo’Champipple & the Meso Horns from Salida, Colorado will play into the evening, beginning at 7 p.m. They are a funky 8-piece Blues & Soul ensemble with horns, and their influences range from James Brown and Al Green to Tower of Power and Tedeschi Trucks.
They are first and foremost a dance band with solid rhythms, driving beats, screaming guitars and syncopated horns that will keep fans on their feet and dancing. Festival-goers are advised to come ready to party.
Music between acts will again be provided by Bruce Hayes, who plays a fusion of the musical styles that combine acoustic and electric instruments with elements of Rock, Bluegrass, Celtic, and R&B. Collaborating with The String Cheese Incident and Acoustic Junction, Hayes helped define the acoustic jam band sound. He continues this tradition performing original songs and arrangements on mandolin, guitar, dobro, foot board, and his latest creation – the Stratobassto.
The list of nearly 80 distinctive types of wine ranges from light to dark, sweet and dry, domestic and foreign. Thanks to Darin Thorn of Republic National Distributors, the list of wines at this year’s festival, is impressive and panders to discerning palates.
If flavorful brew is more to the festival-goer’s taste, they’re also in luck with a park booth featuring beers provided by San Luis Valley Brewing’s Scott Graber from Alamosa, Colorado. Featured beers at this year’s festival are six different microbrews, as well as Coors Light.
Between imbibing, the flow of music, and, perhaps, an occasional dance, festival attendees might feel the urge for a bite of food or bit of merchandise shopping.
Food booths lining the park venue will include a return of favorites such as Mountain Valley Kettle Corn from Crested Butte; Lake City’s own Climb Elevated Eatery, Haugen’s Mountain Grown Lamb from Center, Colorado and, the ever-popular Kip’s Grill from Creede will be serving their famous and well-loved Tex Mex dishes. Additionally, Smokin’ Johnny’s BBQ from Monte Vista will be available for hungry revellers.
In the way of shopping opportunities, Festival Director Kristi Borchers says there will be a total of 23 artisan and specialty vendor booths featuring photography, pottery, jewelry, clothing, hats, and baskets.
From the local angle, merchandise booths on Saturday will see a return of Chuck Chetwin’s color landscape photography, Kaki Dewault’s Laurel’s Pearls, and Dr. Phil and Jane Fleishman’s Pepper Mills of Distinction will also be on hand, offering one-of-a-kind pepper mills.
Other vendors will include local favorite Queen Beads Jewelry, Rocky Mountain Outback Hats, Festive Fascinators, who sell colorful and eclectic headwear, and H.J.’s Hats of Crested Butte. Flying Mookey Acres out of Mosca, Colorado will be on hand selling their handcrafted jellies and jams. Silverwares will be for sale by silversmith Peter Emerson, as well as Pinon Wood Fibers Ranch, who will be selling hand-spun alpaca wool yarn-woven clothing accessories. The Blue Yak from Creede will be on hand with a variety of merchandise, as well as Jeansonne’s Fine Designs, Festive Fascinators, Dream Wild Studio, Autumn Tenyll Designs, Alpen Glow Essentials and many others.
Commemorative sale items, which are eagerly collected at each festival, include limited edition Wine & Music wine glasses. The glasses sell for $20 and are hand-painted by Lake Fork Club resident Julie Reel. Klean Kanteen beer mugs are $10, and an array of hoodies and long and short-sleeve t-shirts emblazoned with this year’s festival artwork cost $15/$20 for short/long-sleeve t-shirts; hoodies, $40. Limited edition Wine & Music posters are $10.
This year’s poster, shown center, was created by Lake City local Yolie Brown. The commemorative poster is produced in rich colors, key elements being a radiant view of Uncompahgre Peak surrounded by bugling elk and views of historic downtown business buildings, as well as the requisite wine glass and music notes.
Brown is know for her artwork and many creative pursuits, including home design, carpentry, dance, music, song-writing, and her newest incarnation with the art of massage as a licensed massage therapist. Her business is called OMGoodness Massage.
The Festival’s sponsor, Lake City Downtowm Improvement & Revitalization Team (DIRT), oversees the local Main Street program to improve economic vitality, support historic preservation and aesthetic improvements, and promote and celebrate community. More information can be found at www.lakecitydirt.com The annual Wine and Music Festival takes place the third weekend of September. All proceeds support community programs.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit lakecityfestival.org.