Named Artist of the Year at the 2017 International Folk Music Awards, Ordinary Elephant is set to perform at the Grand Mesa Arts and Events Center in Cedaredge 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22. Local artist Shelley Rae will also be featured as a special guest. A husband and wife team, Pete and Crystal Damore met nine years ago at an open mic while pursuing non-music careers. Now they’re married and full-time musicians having lived on the road for the last four years — with four dogs. Crystal used to work as a veterinary cardiologist but left her job five years ago. They lived in Houston, Texas, and started travelling full-time while Pete worked as a computer programmer remotely. “We didn’t think it was obtainable to do full-time music, mostly just travelling,” said Crystal. But as they started gaining more recognition and playing, more dreams started to become reality. Pete went part-time, then finally quit two years ago. Crystal is more the writer of the two. Pete uses melodies to bring the songs forward. She’s on guitar/lead vocals and he fills in with harmony and banjo. “Together we complete parts the other isn’t strong at,” said Crystal. “We compliment each other.” The duo describes its Americana-style music as being open to what needs to be told, what they’ve experienced or showcasing something else someone needs to be told. Music, and writing, they said, gives them a voice and a way to connect with people who would be difficult to accomplish any other way. One song, titled “Scars We Keep,” is a testimony to this power of connection and the way a story can change people. When at a Kerrville Folk Festival in 2018, a man came up to them and thanked them for their song, saying they had changed his point of view on racism. Pete described “Scars We Keep” as “just coming out” during a retreat in Texas. “We didn’t know whose story it was but felt it wanted to be told,” he said. Ordinary Elephant aims to keep its music focused, with an emphasis on the lyrics. As they put it, “If the story isn’t there then we’re not done.” Songs on the latest album, “Honest,” are a good example, showcasing being true to self, sharing a legacy and a story. The Associated Press called it “one of the best Americana albums of the year.” At its show Sept. 22, Ordinary Elephant plans to play primarily from this latest album, which was recorded in Nashville under producer Neilson Hubbard. “Honest” was completely funded through Kickstarter. To bring the album to life 363 backers pledged $27,956 through crowd-funding. “It’s cool to get people on board at that stage of the process,” said Pete. In supporting the campaign backers received a variety of packages ranging from the album on digital download to handwritten lyrics and a soft cover poetry book. Crystal enjoyed seeing fans want something different than they expected by simply coming to a music show. “I loved seeing the connection with people and having them appreciate the music. Feels like it’s making the big world smaller,” she said. Tickets for the Sept. 22 concert are still available and can be purchased online at grand mesaartscenter.com/events or by calling Starr’s guitars at 970-856-2331. General admission is $20 and the show starts at 7 p.m. More information on the group is available by visiting ordinaryelephant.net/. The show, what can people expect? People come up after shows saying they weren’t necessarily planning on feeling that night. Love that people become open to feeling. Why do you enjoy doing music and performing? We make a good team. I’ve always been a writer. And Pete has always had melodies making their way to his fingertips. But it took us a while to realize it’s what we’re here to do.

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