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Back For A Third Turn, Scenes From The Telluride Ride Festival

Jim Hill
At times loud, at others rootsy and bluesy, The Ride Festival - now three years old - returned to the beautiful confines of Telluride's box canyon.

It's never goes unsaid on stage: Telluride provides one of the best backdrops of any venue anywhere. Every band, whether it's their first trip or not, says it on stage. It happens with such frequency, one cynic in the crowd wondered aloud if there was a stage note telling them to say it.

Now in it's third year, there was a mix of what you could call Ride veterans and Telluride first-timers. All were there to wonder at the scenic beauty and deliver the music to match.


Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
Craig Finn of The Hold Steady letting go on stage. Brooklyn's The Hold Steady were the opening act for the Ride on Saturday.

Saturday's lineup included Brother & Bones (they made their U.S. debut at the 2013 Ride), White Denim, Joan Osborne, and Rival Sons out of Los Angeles. Saturday night was capped by JJ Grey & Mofro, along with festival headliners Spoon and Thievery Corporation.

Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
No stranger to Telluride, Joan Osborne's set kept the soulful and bluesy flavor of the festival going. Some new tunes were brought as well, Osborne's latest is called "Love and Hate." Yes, "One of Us" was part of her set.
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
One of the familiar names on the playlist for the Ride. JJ Grey and Mofro played at the first Ride Festival and made a 2014 appearance getting the crowd warmed up before the day's headliners Spoon and Thievery Corporation.
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
Britt Daniel of Spoon.
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
Thievery Corporation were a blistering close to Saturday. With one-half of the founding duo, Rob Garza, as the DJ every song nearly had a different performer. The 'thieves,' as the touring performers are known, offered up diverse sounds and styles. Rapping lyricists, synth and sitar and a wandering bassist made Thievery Corp the easy highlight of the festival.


Following in the Sunday morning spiritual tradition that Hazel Miller brougt in 2013, the Harlem Gospel Choir opening the day and got the crowd to their feet, closing out their set with a cover of Pharrell's "Happy." Delta Rae followed in a closing day lineup that included the Wood Brothers, Reignwolf, Lucero, Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Vintage Trouble and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros.

Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
The harmony and exuberance of North Carolina's Delta Rae were a perfect follow-up to the Harlem Gospel Choir Sunday.
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
Noting the soul and energy of both Delta Rae and the harlem Gospel Choir, the Wood Brothers promised to slow things down a bit - right before bringing the tempo right back up again.
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
With only a few singles to their name and no album yet, Reignwolf turned the volume up on the festival. A raw and loud sound, Jordan Cook (pictured) was the Sunday surprise delivering a performance that included broken guitar strings and an impromptu tribute to John Lee Hooker. In an affirmation of the volume change, one festivarian was overheard in the crowd asking, "who was that mid-day band? They woke me up from my nap way in the back."
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
Lucero was the middle slot in the Sunday lineup as the crowd took in both incredible weather and the scenery.
Credit Jim Hill / KUNC
A burst of bubbles brought Vintage Trouble to the stage Sunday night. Whether they were familiar with their new soul sound, the crowd came to know them real quick. At one point during their set, singer Ty Taylor jumped off stage and took a tour of the crowd, handing out high fives.

Special thanks to our public radio colleagues at KOTO for their hospitality while I was in Telluride.

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