The Alamosa Live Music Association (ALMA) presents an evening of Americana music by Waverly Road at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company in downtown Alamosa Fri., Dec. 17. Waverly Road is a group of well-seasoned valley musicians who are known for their work in other bands, including Tumbleweed, Lucky La Rue, Deep Creek and Celtic Cross. Scott Russell, Don Soapes, Frank Scott, Cathy McNeil and Deb Nichols have now joined forces to share their talent with local audiences.
Alamosa native Scott Russell honed his chops as a guitarist for many years with the legendary Tumbleweed band, led by Don Richmond. Besides guitar, Russell plays keyboards, mandolin and fiddle. After Tumbleweed, he went on to form Deep Creek with bassist Cathy McNeil.
McNeil married into one of the oldest ranching families in the San Luis Valley. A founding member of the Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust, she lives and raises grass fed beef on a “Centennial Ranch” in the Rock Creek meadows south of Monte Vista. Another multi-instrumentalist, she plays bass, guitar and piano, after the cattle are taken care of. In 2003, Cathy released a CD of her original songs, Back from Venus, which was produced by Don Richmond.
Soapes grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, where he studied brass instruments by day in high school, and played drums after dark in the nightclubs of “Music City.” He arrived in the San Luis Valley as a member of the Tennessee Hat Band, who were touring at the time with David Allen Coe. After his stint with the Hat Band, Soapes also joined Tumbleweed as their drummer. Since then he has performed with numerous groups, finding his way out from behind the drum kit to play guitar, bass and now mandolin.
Born in New York City, Scott moved to the San Luis Valley in 1972. He was a founding member of the Lucky La Rue band, a popular local group for a dozen years. Scott is also the alleged leader of Celtic Cross, who specialize in Celtic and other folk-based music. Besides playing rhythm guitar, Scott is often called on to support other musicians with his accordion and harmonica.
Nichols is best known locally for her 18 years with KRZA community radio. A native of Center, she is one of eight siblings whose mother actively encouraged them to perform music in public. For years she was a fixture at Alamosa open mic nights, singing harmony with Tom Dessain, Roger Dawson, Don Soapes, Don Richmond, Lucky La Rue and anyone else who needed another vocal part. Nichols took up the guitar when she was 12 years old. She and Scott played together informally for ten years before “going public” as members of Celtic Cross.
The members of Waverly Road bring their diverse backgrounds to a repertoire of folk rock, blues, country and other genres. Because all the band members write, their performances are liberally spiced with original compositions. Another point of interest is their array of instruments: guitar, bass, mandolin, fiddle, harmonica, accordion and pedal percussion. Anyone who appreciates versatile, professional musicianship is bound to enjoy Waverly Road. After their Dec.17 appearance, sponsored by ALMA, they are invited back to the San Luis Valley Brewing Company on New Year’s Eve, to play with Don Richmond.
For more information, call (719) 589-3253.