I've been on this kick lately where I think we need to change people’s hearts and minds about Santa Fe,” Jamie Lenfestey says. “This is not a town where nothing is going on, and conversations can’t keep beginning with, ‘Well, there’s nothing to do,’ because there is a ton to do.”
The promoter is speaking about his upcoming Railyard Plaza Concert/Railyard Park Movies series, two ongoing summer events that he has put together with SFR's help (y'know, just to put that out there); two ongoing summer events that are going to rule your face; two ongoing events that are totally free!
"When I produced the grand opening for [The Railyard], I fell in love because it was kind of introducing this fresh future for Santa Fe," he says. "One of the things I love about what I do is being able to make Santa Fe not feel like Santa Fe for a night…you can feel like you're living in the same place, but sometimes it feels young and hip."
This young and hip feeling will definitely set the tone for much of the music series. I mean, damn, Lenfestey—you got some fine-ass shows going on with this thing. And what is perhaps the coolest part of all is that just about every show will suit multiple age groups. Oh sure, every last one of these things will be worth someone's time, but let's break down what are (in my opinion) the coolest of all:
Currents New Media Festival Closing Party w/ Storming the Beaches with Logos in Hand and Gry Grdns (June 28)
We've said plenty about Storming the Beaches of late, so we'll instead focus on up-and-coming powerhouse indie-rock duo, Gry Grdns. Comprised of Eliza Lutz of As In We and Miranda Scott of Evarusnik, Gry Grdns saves the energy of including vowels in their name for rocking hard. Haunting guitar and vocal harmonies are high on Lutz and Scott's priority list, and there's a palpable amount of passion that goes into the almost-but-not-quite punk sounds. Y'all are gonna love this.
Says Lenfestey, "Because it's the closing night of Currents, there will be amazing video art that syncs with the bands and music to create one huge art piece."
Bonnie “Prince” Billy (July 13)
If you see one show all summer, make it this one. Will Oldham has built quite the reputation with his indie-folk/Americana sound, and it's almost hard to believe that such a great musician will not only be in Santa Fe, but will play for free. For homework, check out The Letting Go, a simply gorgeous album that perfectly showcases Oldham's whisper-quiet/acoustic guitar-shreddin'/emotionally charged take on songwriting.
According to Lenfestey, "This is the one that, when it came together, I was just like, 'Yes!'"
James McMurtry with Jonny Burke (Aug. 2)
Y'all know and love McMurtry (pictured) for bringing that Austin sound and have proved it time and time again anytime the man has come around. A staple in the rock/Americana scene since the '80s, McMurtry's many Santa Fe appearances have ranged from delightful to downright kick-ass.
"He had the biggest turnout of any Railyard show I've done thus far," Lenfestey says.
Rosie Ledet (Aug. 31)
Zydeco ain't even really my thing, but Ledet brings such skill to the accordion and her songwriting that it's almost impossible not to fall in love. Think about how dang hard that instrument is for just a second and then get pumped on the highly danceable potential of this show. Seriously. Do it. Now. Right now.
This isn't even mentioning awesome movie nights like Raiders of the Lost Ark (June 6), Repo Man (June 20) and The Blues Brothers (Aug. 1). Together, these events, plus others from the likes of bluesmen Jimmie Vaughan and Alex Maryol (June 5), SFR's Best of Party/Concert (July 19) and blueslady Janiva Magness (Aug. 9). Together, it's like some musical version of Voltron blasting through the sky and assembling into a magnificent robot of power!
"Pay attention and participate," Lenfestey suggests. "There's not another city in America of 70,000 residents that has more going on."
Through Aug. 31 Heath Summer Concert & Movie Series Free >> Railyard Plaza & Park