A plethora of music styles to visit the Hill

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By Russ Gordon

Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, the Los Alamos Summer Concert Series will be in White Rock at Smith’s Food and Drug’s and Bandelier Grill’s parking lot with the great western swing and hot jazz band, the Hot Club of Cowtown.

The Hot Club of Cowtown’s name and sounds comes from the fabulous Django Reinhardt/Stephane Grappelli 1930’s jazz band, the Quintette of the Hot Club of France plus the greatest of all Western Swing bands, Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. The Hot Club has gotten hotter over the years as they toured with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson. They’ve been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered,” “Prairie Home Companion,” “Mountain Stage” and “The Grand Ol’ Opry.” They’re also among the youngest members inducted into the Texas Swing Hall of Fame. If Los Alamos had a Hall of Fame, you’d come to the show on Friday and say, “These cats are great and we should elect them in!”

Don’t forget to bring some dance shoes. Also, bring kids because Steve Rivera from LA Tan and More recently purchased a “Tommy The Train” bouncer and will be setting it up at no cost. One more thing about the Hot Club of Cowtown, The Quintette of the Hot Club of France is still considered by many critics to be the greatest European jazz band of all time and in Texas, Bob Wills is still the “King of Swing.” Check out www.hotclubofcowtown.com.

The Los Alamos County Fair and Rodeo kicks off Aug. 8 with the incredible entertainer, Candye Kane. She plays blues, sultry rock, roots rock, jazz and some country. She puts on a wild show. I can’t wait. Go to www.candyekane.com to listen and read her biography.

At 11 a.m., right after the County Fair parade Aug. 9, I’m very proud to present roots rocker Chuck Prophet. I’ve been working with his manager for years and have been advised to bring Prophet to town. Earlier this year, I saw him on “The Late Show with David Letterman” and called his agent the next morning. Prophet should be a major star. What is pop culture doing making superstars out of Mariah Carey and others? Catch Chuck and then tell your friends and family to check out this artist at www.chuckprophet.com and any time he’s playing near them.

The show continues about 1:30 p.m. with the Los Alamos Big Band playing the wonderful music of the 1930s, 40s and early 50s. The Big Band does a great job in covering the music of the Gerhswins, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hart, Rogers and Hammerstein, Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, the Dorseys, and many other fabulous songwriters and musicians. I won’t argue with anyone who says this is the “Golden Age” of American music. Read more about the LA Big Band at www.hendricksonline/photo5.html.

At 7 p.m. Saturday, the County Fair and the sponsors of the LA County Summer Concert Series presents New Mexico’s best country dance band, South By Southwest. We’ve moved this dance concert to the Posse Lodge near the Rodeo Grounds on North Mesa. South by Southwest is always a great night of dancing in Los Alamos and I’ve no doubt that’ll be the case this time. Visit www.michaelhearne.com for more information.

I get a lot of requests for venues and for different styles of music. A lot of folks want more concerts at the Ski Hill. Well, the Series is paid for by a lot of sponsors including the County of Los Alamos and the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corp.

To be frank, the purpose of the series is not only to provide entertainment to the people of Los Alamos, but to support the local businesses. We want you to stay in town more often on weekends and therefore shop at our stores and eat at our restaurants. We want you to invite your friends and families to visit Los Alamos and have them to stay at our hotels.

The concerts used to be at the parking lot at my old CD store. I wanted you to buy music and eat dinner at the Blue Window and to shop at Brownell’s and Smith’s. We have one concert per year at the ski hill because it is a major sponsor, but the other shows are near other sponsor locations. The venue at Los Alamos National Bank is not as scenic as the ski hill but without the bank’s and credit union’s support, the shows wouldn’t be nearly as good.

The yearly shows at LANB and Del Norte Credit Union are two of the best shows every year because they ask for especially good bands and they’re both wonderful hosts. The county is a sponsor because they want a vibrant downtown and it’s the taxes from the local business that helps pay for the series, the skating rink, the library system, the parks and on and on. I am working on possibly doing a festival at the ski hill but that is entirely different from a free concert series. For now, it’s one concert a year at Pajarito.

I also get requests for harder rock, punk rock, hip-hop and rap. Folks, I’d get kicked out of town! My kids went to concerts with mosh pits and where people were anti-social. My son would come home bloody and happy but I’m not producing any of that type of show. What a mess. Ask me about the time my wife and her best friend took our kids to see Motley Crue at Tingley Coliseum. I didn’t go.

I try really hard to bring music that is of high quality and for all people. E-mail gordonscds@losalamos.com for more information about the concert series.