Pickin' Productions has brought a lot of big acts to the North Fork Valley since Yonder Mountain String Band performed at the Paradise Theatre in December of 2000. The Paradise and Pickin' Productions are once again collaborating to bring to the theatre the Pickin' N Paradise Winter Concert Series.
The lineup provides a mix of styles -- something for those wanting to sit and pay attention to the lyrics and the music, and music to get up and dance to, said Rob Miller with Pickin' Productions.
The five-concert series kicks off Feb. 9 with two Colorado solo musicians, guitarist/vocalist Corey Harris and singer/songwriter Mike Finders.
Miller said he's been looking to bring Harris to the North Fork area for years. An extraordinary guitar picker, Harris represents one of those acts that people will want to listen to. Finders, whom Miller called one of his favorite songwriters, "in the world, let alone Colorado," will open the show.
This show is one of two in the series that are solo acts, and one to pay attention to. "It's very rare that I consider that a solo performer is worthy of two hours of my attention. But both of these soloists are at the top of their game," said Miller.
Singer/songwriter Steve Poltz performs March 1. Poltz has done it all in his three decades in music. While he's not a household name, he's released 12 solo albums and is perhaps best known for co-writing Jewel's multi-platinum hit, "You Were Meant for Me."
Poltz doesn't go by a set list, so every show is different. "He gets to know his audience, sometimes on a very personal level." A "folk musician at his core, he is the least boring folk musician in existence," said Miller of Poltz. "Once he plays a festival venue, he becomes the most sought-after act to bring back."
Local singer-songwriter Gabrielle Louise opens for Poltz. Miller has known Gabrielle Louise since she was a teenager opening at the Paradise for Paonia's own Sweet Sunny South band. As a songwriter and performer, in the past few years, "She's definitely come into her own," said Miller. Not only are her songs relevant to what's happening in today's culture, "She just knows how to own a crowd."
On March 22, the seven-piece Sugarray Rayford Band takes the stage, combining funk, southern rock, blues and jam band sounds. Of all the concerts in the series, "He's our big dance band," said Miller.
On April 5, Colorado tribute band Dead Floyd celebrates the music of Pink Floyd and the Grateful Dead. There are a lot of cover bands in the world paying tribute to this style of music, "I'm just thrilled that, in my opinion, we have one of the best in the country right here in Colorado."
Colorado vocalist/guitarist Tiffany Christopher opens for Dead Floyd. Both artists have performed in the valley in the past, but never on the same night. The opportunity to hear them both at the Paradise on the same night, said Miller, "is extremely exciting."
A kick-off to summer, or a farewell to spring, Jenny and the Mexicats return to the North Fork Valley. A multi-cultural, bilingual band, Jenny and her six-piece band are really big in Spain, throughout Europe, and in Mexico. It's not uncommon for them to play for crowds numbering in the hundreds of thousands. "They're groovy, they're sexy, and they write great songs," said Miller. To have them play at a 200-seat theatre "is going to be great."
Since forming in 2008, one single Youtube video has received more than 75 million hits, and several more have received several million hits. The reason, said Miller, "is that they're just fantastic."
Miller thanked the Paradise board of directors and general manager Sunshine Knight and their strong relationship with the Pickin' N Paradise for making the series possible. Knight reaches out to all the different threads in this community and works to bring everyone together, and Pickin' Productions "is just one of those threads," said Miller.
Debbie Kimball and Patti Kaech with Premier Partners Needlerock Mountain Realty and an anonymous individual are sponsoring the series. Tickets for the first four shows are $20 in advance at the Paradise, The Cirque, Lizzy's Market, and online through Brown Paper Tickets, and $25 at the door; tickets to Jenny and the Mexicats, which will sell out fast, are $25/$30.