Sometimes youve got to be lucky and good.
Thats how three of Durangos High Rollers Andy Janowsky, Jeff Johnson and Mike Canterbury ended up in Pontivy, France, last weekend for the villages annual Mayfest, playing to a crowd of some of the most rabid country music fans Janowsky can remember in the bands 15-year history.
The bands fourth member, guitarist Garrett Valencia, was unable to make the trip for personal reasons, and French guitarist Jay Desoteux played with the High Rollers in his stead.
It was wonderful, the experience of a lifetime; a strange thing you dont expect, but it was just a lot of fun, Janowsky said upon the bands return to Durango on Wednesday.
Last summer, a group of French tourists caught the High Rollers at a local Durango gig. That was when Janowsky first learned of the popularity of American country music in France.
Several of the French tourists were affiliated with Mayfest, a country music festival held in conjunction with an annual celebration commemorating Frances liberation from the Nazis during World War II.
Before long, the High Rollers had received an invitation via Facebook to play Mayfest 2011 all expenses paid and the trip culminated with Sundays concert and an unforgettable morning for Janowsky.
The highlight for me was the memorial service, he said. We walked up a hill and heres all these decorated French soldiers, some resistance members, then a guy pointed at me to play the (U.S.) National Anthem. It was one of the most emotional moments Ive ever experienced, and it was very well-received. They really remember.
The High Rollers set at Mayfest was just as energizing, and the band is now immortalized on the pages of Made in USA magazine, a French publication dedicated to American country music.
The musics popularity in France cannot be overstated, and Janowsky said hes never played to crowd in the U.S. that matches Pontivys.
Seeing all these French fans in the cowboy hats, people were stomping and going nuts chanting Merci! Merci! it was so much fun it was hard to believe, Janowsky said.
Locals can catch the now-international country stars one time before the band embarks on a summer of weddings and private parties. The High Rollers will play the Wild Horse Saloon on May 21.