Saturday night offers two options of music to choose from, or if you want to commit, a full night of straight-up Americana at two different venues.
Todd Snider will be kicking off at 8 p.m., bringing his wit and charm to Durango for the first time in five years at the Henry Strater Theatre.
Across the street at the Abbey Theatre at 10 p.m. will be Vince Herman's Great American Taxi. Herman's appearances in Durango date back two decades when the venue formerly known as Farquahrts hosted music. It will be a Saturday night of folkie songwriting charm and psychedelic-jam-country.
Let's start with Snider. The Oregon-born musician spent a whole bunch of time in Memphis, Tenn., and was influenced by great folk singers, most notably John Prine.
Prine took a shine to the young Snider, eventually signing him to his "Oh Boy" record label. Snider has written a load of songs, but is best known for his hit "Talkin Seattle Grunge Rock Blues" and "Beer Run" with its catchy chorus of "B double E double R-U-N beer run," which often contains blue improv between verses. He's written some great numbers, put out a ton of music including 11 studio releases and one live album, and is just downright funny.
He's a great songwriter who wears his politics on his sleeve, and he'll tell you what he thinks. That's great.
Appearing with Snider at the Hank will be singer-songwriter Johnny Burke.
Herman's musical career in Colorado began in a campground in Telluride as one of the founding members of Leftover Salmon. Thousands of shows later (including dozens in Durango at Farquahrts, the San Juan Room, Community Concert Hall, Durango Arts Center, KDUR and the Abbey), he'll make a return with his rootsy, Americana band Great American Taxi.
The band formed in 2005 when members got together to play a benefit in Boulder, and have played somewhat regularly ever since. It currently is wrapping up the recording of its new CD called "Reckless Habits."
Herman remains a funny and downright fresh front man, who, too, is well-versed in improv as well as lyrical gibberish. Herman, too, wears his politics on his sleeve, and he's capable of making songs up on the spot, and often does.
Joining Herman, who plays guitar, is a full lineup of seasoned musicians. Jim Lewis plays electric guitar, Chad Staehly plays keyboards, Chris Sheldon plays drums and Edwin Hurwitz plays bass. All the musicians handle vocals.
Herman and Snider are no strangers to each other. They've recently played shows together on the Front Range with members of the Yonder Mountain String Band. It wouldn't be out of the question for either to cross the street to crash the other set. Let's hope that happens.
Liggettb@fortlewis.eduBryant Liggett is a freelance writer and general manager of KDUR.