Some of our younger music fans may not remember, but there was a time when a Durango concert by Tony Furtado was a guaranteed sellout. But it’s been a while.
Veterans of the local scene may be surprised to hear that Furtado hasn’t played here in more than 10 years – neither he nor a perfunctory search of The Durango Herald archives could pinpoint his last Durango concert, but it’s safe to say that many of today’s regulars on the bar circuit were probably in grade school when it happened.
Furtado is “Old School” Durango – he rattled off venues such as the San Juan Room (now the Wild Horse Saloon), Storyville (Lost Dog Bar & Lounge), Farquahrts (Derailed Saloon) and the upstart Abbey Theatre when remembering his days on stage in Durango.
“It’s been years, and when the San Juan Room went away, that was my place,” Furtado said from the road where he was preparing for a show in Cedar City, Utah, before two dates in Colorado. He’ll play Wednesday in Carbondale before driving south for Thursday’s solo concert at Durango Arts Center.
“That little corner just fell away for a while. I think the problem was that my agents don’t have those relationships in Durango, and once a tour is packed, it’s packed. But this time it worked,” he said.
Despite his absence here, Furtado has stayed busy. He moved to Portland, Ore., about 11 years ago and also spent a short stint in Southern California. He has released seven CDs in the last decade including “Live from Mississippi Studios,” which also was released as a 60-minute DVD of the live onstage recording at the Portland venue.
Furtado has learned a lot about his business through the years. At some point, he stopped hiring record producers and started assembling his own bands and recording his own music.
“What I do has evolved over those albums,” Furtado said. “I never trusted myself to do it, but after 15 albums I said: ‘I think I know the process by now.’ It’s very fulfilling and fun, and I got something that sounded exactly the way I wanted.”
Furtado’s solo show will feature a mix of instrumentals and vocal-driven songs with his instruments of choice, banjo and acoustic guitar, providing the accompaniment.
He’s also expanded his role as a working artist. In addition to his music, Furtado began sculpting, mostly clay work with a gold patina process. He’ll have his first solo gallery show in Carbondale at the White Dog Gallery concurrent with his concert there, and he will have smaller works on display and for sale at the Durango concert.