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Crested Butte hosts heavy hitters in blues, rock, bluegrass and reggae

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Kyle Hollingsworth

The Center for the Arts Crested Butte announces its winter season with a heavy-hitting roster in a wide-sweeping variety of genres. Blues, rock, bluegrass, reggae, indie-folk, jam and Americana will be featured on the Center Stage with established legends, Grammy-winning masters, and some of the festival circuit's hottest acts.

Grammy-winning R&B pianist George Winston kicked off the season New Year's Eve. Hot on the heels of George Winston is long-anticipated New Orleans' blues man Anders Osborne (Jan. 12). Ranging from electric mayhem to acoustic melodicism, hard-hitting rock to tender ballads, Anders' emotionally explosive lyrics and raw guitar work embrace the full spirit of the blues.

Then, String Cheese Incident fans rejoice, because the formidable keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth (Jan. 21) flaunts his fearless improvisation and versatility through his independent venturings into electronic dance music, vintage funk and shades of 1980s sythnpop.

For the first time since Bob Marley's death, the musicians who comprised The Wailers (Jan. 27) have reunited. This legendary alchemy of artists provided the backbone behind Bob Marley to become one of the most significant musical contributions of our era. Now stacked with the original players from the '70s, The Wailers bring their revolutionary reggae to the Center Stage.

And Chris Robinson Brotherhood (Feb. 3 and 4) returns after a record sold-out Crested Butte debut to perform for two nights of freewheeling improvisational blues rock. Armed with two new albums this promises to be another "good ole' Saturday night boogie" of trippy psychedelia and roof-raising dancing.

Lovers of roots music have two fantastic opportunities to quench their thirst, first with Grammy-winning bluegrass aficionado and strings master of the guitar, fiddle, mandolin and banjo -- Tim O'Brien (Feb. 18). Awarded multiple International Bluegrass Music Association honors, O'Brien's newest endeavors stay true to Appalachian and Celtic traditionals, while bringing in new flavors of old-school rock 'n roll, traditional jazz, mandolin blues and James Brownian funk. Then, multi-instrumentalist quintet Elephant Revival (March 3) rides in with its earthy rhythms, eclectic influences, and rich brews of rootsy Americana, Celtic, gypsy and folk. Recent endeavors evoke a haunting, evocative and mysterious sound.

Not only that, experience the golden era of rock and roll legends Led Zeppelin with acclaimed tribute band Zoso (Jan. 18); side-splitting live stand-up comedy (Feb. 14); boot-stompin' bluegrass with The Brothers Comatose (Feb. 27); local musician and writer's night with Syllables & Sound (March 17); soul poet, folkie and rocker Martin Sexton (March 9); and raw, loud and unapologetic rock and roll with Strange Americans (March 25).

As wide as our array of musical genres is the variety of ticket prices to fit every pocketbook -- from completely free to $45, with over half $30 and under, and several hovering in the $15 range.

For comprehensive event information and tickets visit www.crestedbuttearts.org; call 970-349-7487; or stop by the Center's box office at 606 Sixth Street in Crested Butte from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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