Colorado sure loves its bluegrass festivals—RockyGrass, Winter Wondergrass, Telluride Bluegrass Festival—but none are quite as intimate or isolated as YarmonyGrass. Celebrating its 11th year this past weekend, the festival is nestled on the banks of the Colorado River at Rancho Del Rio surrounded by mountains, including its namesake Mt. Yarmony to the West. It is hard to find a more beautiful setting for a music festival.During the days, the river was filled with swimmers and a laughable fleet of inflatable vessels. Participants relied on anything they could muster to float the winding stretch of flat water connecting Rancho Del Rio and State Bridge four miles downstream–paddle boards, duckies, mattresses, inner tubes, rainbow unicorns, you name it. Back for the first time in five years, a “floating stage” hit the river midday Saturday with the aptly named Whitewater Ramble playing a set on rafts while a long line of festival-goers floated along for the ride. During the nights, a non-stop flow of music poured over the grounds from two stages. The Main Stage faced an open lawn and the intimate Saloon Stage was on a deck that featured half-hour tweener sets from up-in-comers on the bluegrass scene including the Kitchen Dwellers, Caribou Mountain Collective, and Whiskey Tango.The Jeff Austin Band headlined Friday, drawing the largest crowd of the weekend. In his usual quirky nature, Austin announced how excited he was to be “by all the freakers by the river” and continued to play a dark, experimental set with his four-piece band. To the pleasure of many longtime fans of Yonder Mountain String Band, Austin dove into nostalgic material he has been reluctant to play since his departure from the band, including “Dawn’s Early Light” and an encore of “Raleigh and Spencer” with a Roosevelt Collier sit-in. Though Austin’s choppy mandolin certainly led, it was virtuosic banjo player Ryan Cavanaugh that stole the show every time his number was called for a solo. Early Main Stage performances Saturday included an evening set from the Grateful Dead cover specialists Uptown Toodeloo String Band and Andy Hall’s Joint Set, dobro extraordinaire from the Infamous Stringdusters. Hall’s set began with a beautiful rendition of “This Little Light of Mine” with Roosevelt Collier (the two announced they will be releasing an album together) before bringing a full bluegrass band to the stage to work through a handful of unique covers. But Saturday night belonged to the Drunken Hearts. Bringing a welcomed change of pace from the traditional bluegrass prominent for much of the weekend, their Main Stage set opened up into a number of rocking jams (Steve Miller Band’s “Swingtown” may have been the best) that let the chops of lead guitarist Rob Eaton Jr, bassist Jon McCartan, and drummer Alex Johnson truly shine.Even after playing the set of the weekend, or maybe because of it, the Hearts were enlisted as the primary backing band for Roosevelt Collier’s Colorado Get Down. Bringing out almost a dozen guest musicians before he was done, the pedal steel guitar specialist Collier continued on a funkier path that included an extended rendition of Billy Cobham’s fusion classic “Stratus” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”If you were to nominate the MVP of this year’s festival, it would certainly have to be former Leftover Salmon keyboardist Bill McKay. It seemed as though his rig never left the main stage and his signature brand of honky-tonk, rag-tag playing shined on sit-ins in with Coral Creek, the Drunken Hearts, Uptown Toodeloo String Band, Andy Hall, and more.Over a decade after its inception, YarmonyGrass is now one of the state’s premier musical destinations. With breathtaking scenery and tight-knit community of loyal patrons, it sure looks like it’s going to stay that way.Check out more photos from the event, courtesy of Elliot Siff Photography (Facebook)!
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) — Head coach Dennis Lawrence believes Trinidad and Tobago deserved at least a point from their World Cup qualifier against Mexico last Tuesday.The hosts crashed to a narrow 1-0 defeat to the CONCACAF giants after having a goal wrongfully disallowed for off-side in the 32nd minute.And while Lawrence conceded his side had not played well enough to win the contest, he contended a share of the points would have been a more just result.“I didn’t think we did enough to win the game but I also felt we did enough to get something out of the game,” the former national defender said.“I think we were a bit unlucky with the goal that we scored – it was clearly onside from what I saw. I can’t fault the boys for effort. The only thing (as) I said to them is that sometimes we have to believe how good we can be.“We spoke about things before the game (but) we go into the game and we allowed the Mexico team to get too much control of the game. As soon as we won the ball, we gave it back to them …”He added: “In terms of our organisation, our structure defensively … it was difficult to break us down in open play but we didn’t do enough to take the game to the other end, we didn’t test their keeper enough so I felt we fell short in that aspect but in terms of losing the game, I think we did enough to get something out of the game.”T&T thought they were ahead in the first half when Joevin Jones, on the left, picked up Kevin Molino’s pass and burst into the box before unleashing an explosive volley into the back of the nets.The goal was ruled offside by Jamaican referee Valdin Legister even though replays showed Jones was a couple yards behind the last defender when the ball was played.Diego Reyes settled the game in the 58th minute, however, nodding home strongly from the centre of the box following a right-sided corner.Despite the defeat, Lawrence said there were positives to be taken from the game which could help Trinidad in the future.“We are obviously starting to get that belief in ourselves slowly. We played a very, very good Mexican team. They are obviously very confident and capable in their abilities in managing the game and keeping possession of the ball and we matched them in a lot of the aspects of the game.“So in terms of progression, I can take a lot of confidence and faith in our organisation and try to understand the things we wanted to do.”The defeat left Trinidad and Tobago bottom of the CONCACAF qualifying final round, with tough road fixtures against United States and Costa Rica looming in June.