Whether guiding a raft through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, or writing songs and singing about the majesty of the American west, Melissa Crabtree’s heartfelt love for the natural world transports her listeners to the wild places she knows best. ALMA presents Crabtree for our member appreciation concert, Wed., June 22, 7:30pm, at the Bistro Rialto , 716 Main St. on the south side between San Juan Ave. and Edison Ave. in Alamosa, Co. The show is free for ALMA members, and attendees can join at the show for the free admission. For those who don’t want to join, tickets are $10, $5 for students, seniors, full-time volunteers and active duty military.
“This is one bad ass who knows how to weave a soulful tune,” is how renowned roots banjo player and slide guitarist Tony Furtado described Crabtree. “A road-wise folkie with a bluesy soul reminiscent of early Michelle Shocked…an original storyteller and performer not to be missed,” is what respected singer-songwriter Catie Curtis had to say about her, “I’m glad she’s on the planet,”Patty Larkin, who has been featured in Rolling Stone and Entertainment Weekly, said about Crabtree.
Crabtree lives two lives; one as a wilderness guide and the other as a working musician, and at this intersection of nature and music, like a contemporary, female Woody Guthrie, she conjures songs that amuse, inspire and entertain. In performance, she delivers her poignant stories in a distinctly husky alto, with a pleasingly twangy guitar.
In the last several years, she has played notable venues like the High Sierra Music Festival, Moab Folk Festival, Oregon Country Fair and Taos Solar Music Festival. The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, Tucson Folk Festival and Kerrville Folk Festival have all given Crabtree songwriting awards. She has also been among ten finalists in the Songwriter’s Showcase at both the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest and at the Tucson Folk Festival.
Crabtree has been among the top five finalists in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s “Troubadour Contest.” In 2006 her song “Message from a Soldier” got the attention of Noel “Paul” Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) who invited her to perform at the Kerrville Folk Festival, where she was a finalist in its “Music to Life” Public Domain Foundation songwriting contest.
Crabtree has shared the stage with leading performers including Joan Osborne, Greg Brown, Ani DiFranco, Michelle Shocked, John Prine, Dar Williams, David Wilcox, Kris Delmhorst, Larkin, Curtis, and Furtado. After she released her first CD in 2002, Crabtree toured the country in a vegetable oil powered van. Winner of the best documentary award at the Sundance Film Festival “Fields of Fuel,” featured her song “Biodiesel Van.”
Crabtree also produced a compilation CD of songs and spoken word about alternatives to fossil fuels that includes Julia Butterfly Hill, Julie Wolf (of DiFranco’s band) and Furtado.
More information about the upcoming summer Sundays @ Six series of free admission shows starting June 26 in Alamosa’s Cole Park, is available at http://www.almaonline.org/sundays-six/.