High Desert Rangers in concert

By Jon Sievert, photo by Buzz Holland

The High Desert Rangers, an acoustic string band featuring bluegrass instrumentation, presents its first full concert next Friday, October 4, at the Shelter Theater.

High Desert Rangers
Fri, Oct 4, 7pm
Shelter Theater
Vincente Guerrero 4
San Rafael
120 pesos; reservations: 154-7524

The band was initially formed in January of this year by banjoist Rob Long, singer/guitarist Wade Ashley, and mandolinist Jon Sievert after a long search by each to find compatible musicians to play the kind of American roots-based music they favor. After several practices, they were joined by bassist Ron Incontro, fiddler Steve Singer, and, most recently, singer/guitarist Joan Elena Goldberg. All are full-time residents of San Miguel.

Despite the band’s classic bluegrass instrumentation, its repertoire extends well beyond the idiom into what has become known as Americana, a roots-oriented music and radio format that emerged in the 1990s largely as a reaction to the slick commercial sounds that dominated mainstream country music. However, its makeup extends well beyond the boundaries of country. The Americana Music Association (AMA) defines Americana as “contemporary music that incorporates elements of various American roots music styles, including country, roots-rock, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive roots-oriented sound that lives in a world apart from the pure forms of the genres upon which it may draw.”

In that spirit, the High Desert Rangers repertoire includes music by Woody Guthrie, the Texas Tornados, Merle Haggard, the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Leadbelly, Linda Ronstadt, Hank Williams, the Carter Family, Eric Clapton, Dan Hicks, the Stanley Brothers, Richard and Mimi Fariña, the Old Crow Medicine Show, and Neil Young.

Tickets are 120 pesos and are available at the Biblioteca or by reservation at the Shelter Theater.

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