Black Mountain Ramble, June 6, 2013-Featuring Wolf van Elfmand, Luke Callen, Staci Foster & Alysia Kraft, and Farmer’s Daughters
This week’s ‘special guests’, artists who are not present at every month’s show, are Staci Foster & Alysia Kraft, and Farmer’s Daughters. Farmer’s Daughters played first, a country folk band that played a great set of bluegrassy old-timey music. These guys were fantastic, and hopefully sometime in the relatively near future we’ll get a longer show from this excellent folk band somewhere in Fort Collins. Their rendition of “Wagon Wheel” did get slightly muddled in that pesky third verse, but they played an impressive enough set to easily overshadow a few missed words in an admittedly challenging-to-memorize latter verse on their closing song.
I think my favorite thing about the monthly Black Mountain Ramble at the Wild Boar coffee house is that it is always a mix of artists I’ve never seen or photographed in concert plus a few regular performers whose photos I have lots of. As I started typing this post, Luke Callen was playing his set, and I enjoyed the rare luxury of just listening without thinking too much about taking more photos. One of these days, when I leave Fort Collins or when he does, I will need him to have recorded an album or two out of these songs he’s been playing a lot, but so long as we are both here in town, I might as well just enjoy his live shows every week or so as a far better music experience than any recording could offer.
Wolf Van Elfmand played the third set this month. Wolf is the fellow responsible for keeping this music event going each month, assisted over the past few months by Luke Callen. It is thanks to these two, but especially thanks to Wolf’s efforts that the Black Mountain Ramble has been bringing great acoustic artists to the Wild Boar every month for well over a year now. He himself has released two albums fairly recently, and he always has at least a few great original songs to perform at these shows, usually with at least a few loud long-sustained notes to show off his vocal powers. Wolf is an occasionally mercurial fellow, one who would be quite happy singing and playing his guitar without all the speakers, wires and electronic gadgets with just a few dedicated listeners. The busy, easily distracted crowds that have been turning up for his shows lately as Black Mountain Ramble has become more popular are certainly an unfortunate tradeoff at times. But, every month there are a few more new faces in the crowd and far fewer empty chairs, always a good sign for an event located in a coffee shop not yet known for having a great live music schedule. With any luck, and certainly if the Black Mountain Ramble keeps on as it has been, it may well become a well-established fixture in the Fort Collins music scene, and may help to establish Wild Boar as a great acoustic music venue.
Alysia Kraft and Staci Foster are the other ‘special guest’ performers tonight. Alysia is familiar to folks around town as the lead singer for a popular local band, the Patti Fiasco, but in addition to this band she also writes and performs material as a solo artist. Staci Foster makes a great partner for Alysia, creating what may be one of the strongest new music acts in town. These ladies have quite a few original songs cooked up together, but are still in the process of settling on a great band name. By the time they figure out what to call themselves, I could easily see this duo opening for big-name acts like Brandi Carlile. At the moment there is no next concert scheduled for these ladies, but Patti Fiasco is playing at Hodi’s Half Note on June 21st.