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Mountain Towns Need More Rock ‘N’ Roll

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Ok, mountain towns, I get it. Ya love Bluegrass music. But enough already.

The Ride Festival in Telluride, Colo; Photos by Matt Kroll

Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you Colorado. And don’t think you’re off the hook Wyoming and Utah. Oregon, Idaho, Montana, you listen up too. California, put down that baja fish taco and pay attention.

I have had it up to my mustache with these twangy melodies, patchy beards, floppy hats, and overalls ruling the stage. Mountain towns are drowning in patchouli oil and Bluegrass.

If I hear Wagon Wheel one more time…I mean, that’s about as original as yelling out “Freebird” at a concert. And where is the percussion? Would it kill you to add a drum, even just a little one? Heck, I’d sacrifice squirrels to the backwoods god of Bluegrass for the rest of my days if someone would hit a snare drum or shake a tambourine. No, the triangle does not count.1V6A7046

No More Bluegrass In Mountain Towns

Ditch the damn banjo. It’s time for good ol’ fashioned American Rock-n-Roll to come in and clean house.

Take, for example, my recent attendance of Telluride’s The Ride Festival. That town typically has more rapid tempo fiddle flickers and finger-dancing banjo strummers than cats have meows.

But this past July 9th and 10th, Telluride Town Park was filled with screeching electric guitars, back beat, thumping bass, and (thank the Rock gods) some real, g-damn drums.

All the bands shredded the box canyon, but the highlight was fest headliner Pearl Jam.

Yeah, that Pearl Jam. The gods of Grunge came to a town rife with jaw harp and high-pitched harmonies to give the good people of the San Juans the Rock-n-Roll head banging party it has been yearning for.

Bluegrass has become so commonplace in mountain towns like Telluride it’s basically background elevator music or the smooth tunes your dentist plays while stabbing at your gums. It’s become an annoyance that hangs in the air you can never quite seem to get rid of.

While at The Ride Fest, some buddies and I took respite from the sun beneath a tent shade. One friend leaned in close as she said, “Ya know, Bluegrass #$%@ sucks.” As she nursed her child! That is Rock-n-Roll.

Clear Out The Hippies

At The Ride, there were no whipping blonde dreadlocks of tie-dyed trustafarians (Pa’ will provide, maaan). There weren’t any rapt Old Time-rs swaying in barefoot unison to Appalachian anthems of dendrophilia.

And there weren’t any bejeweled glass blowers selling cheese sammies out of their magic mushroom-patched backpacks.

It was refreshingly ass-kicking and a welcomed display of hard-drivin’, bone-crushin’ Rock. Please mountain towns, get some more Rock-n-Roll on Main Street. Otherwise, the campfire-yodeling is going to poison the watering hole. More Rock, please. I beg you.

–Colorado-based contributor Paddy O’Connell recently covered the “trend” of cramping.

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