Erik Nordstrom has always been someone I’ve looked up to musically. He’s a dude in possession of better records, has knowledge about cool bands from this and the last four or five decades, and he plays in great bands – Farmington Hill and the Lawn Chair Kings. If you’ve discussed music with the man, he’s likely turned you onto numerous bands, and if you’ve played music with him at parties or picking circles at festivals, he’s probably tried – and succeeded – in bringing out your musical best.
So it’s fitting that he’s humbly spearheading a new musical series, “Erik and Friends,” a low-key event that will showcase the abundant amount of musicians found throughout Southwest Colorado.
This once-a-month music series will alternate between Fenceline Cidery and Mancos Brewing Company. It kicked off in June, with Nordstrom playing a show with Dolores-based musician Glenn Smith. Sunday will feature Nordstrom’s band mate and Lawn Chair Kings drummer Pat Dressen, who will put down the drumsticks and pick up the mandolin and guitar. Sunday’s set will feature music from the Lawn Chair Kings, new material hot from Nordstrom’s head to his guitar, and some tunes from Dressen.
Nordstrom recognizes the series may be a selfish way for him to lengthen the list of local musicians he plays with, but he’s also looking to better his own chops.
“Similar to KDUR’s cover night, the series is a way to connect with other musicians in the area. I often experience having one foot in the rock community, and the other foot in the folk scene. Things I love about the folk and bluegrass community include the spontaneity of the picking circles and the ability to play with a variety of musicians. I also enjoy playing in rock bands and performing songs that could be considered ‘jam-busters,’ which are songs that are relatively difficult to follow by any random group of musicians because of their non-standard structures,” said Nordstrom.
He’s adept at playing folk, country, blues, and rock, which you’ll hear Sunday, and this series will help him bridge any gaps between the genres. If it happens to also entertain some folks and put more fun into your “Sunday Funday,” then it’s a bonus for musicians and music-lovers alike.
These will have a raw vibe and as Nordstrom said they may not be perfect. That’s okay; performing without a net offers up a realistic dose of charm along with some genuine musical honesty that is coming to your ears unfiltered.
“My vision for the series is to be a blend of planned and spontaneous material,” Nordstrom said. “I might practice one time with a guest to get somewhat used to playing with each other and to preview any unconventional songs. I anticipate the actual performances to have a fresh, raw quality, and a healthy dose of blues and roots material mixed in with original tunes. As a songwriter, I think this series could allow me to showcase new material more regularly. Overall, I’m excited about this opportunity to play with other musicians in the region and to push myself as a musician and songwriter.”
It’s a sincere, true reflection of the ever-growing music scene not only in Durango, but also the artistically fruitful towns around Durango. Both La Plata and Montezuma counties should be recognized as hot musical hubs.
“I hope that this will bring a greater appreciation and awareness of the talented and creative musicians that we have in Southwest Colorado,” said Nordstrom. “In addition to open-mic nights, cover nights, picking circles, music festivals, and band gigs, the Erik & Friends series will be another format to connect musicians with supporters of the local music scene.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. firstname.lastname@example.org.