Photos and Text by Tim Van Schmidt

Eric Johnson: Definitive work

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Eric Johnson, Lincoln Center, Fort Collins, February 8, 2018.

The trend of touring by featuring the performance of a full album usually marks an artist’s most popular work. In the case of guitarist Eric Johnson, reuniting with original band members drummer Tommy Taylor and bassist Kyle Brock, his “Ah Via Musicom” album tour not only highlights perhaps his most popular work, but also a definitive artistic statement. It’s all there- Johnson’s unique combination of silvery polished tone and swirling execution- and the tunes are carefully measured to highlight different moods. What Johnson poured into this single album covers the breadth and depth of a distinctive and creative guitarist’s work and while Johnson wields much more career material, this music continues to reflect the best of his musical skills and taste. His is ultimately a positive and even uplifting music, but still very much capable of blasting through the night.

Angela Davis: Looking deeper

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Black History Month Keynote Speaker, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, February 6, 2018.

Listening to this longtime activist reveals that racism- and sexism and classism- is not one thing, it is many. With each layer that gets peeled back, more layers become obvious- layers of rhetoric, thought, understanding, habits, actions and history. Such is the process of the analytic mind that refuses to stay within accepted boundaries.

Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue: Partying by example



Grand Opening for Washington’s. Fort Collins, February 3, 2018.

It was an energetic romp on stage for Trombone Shorty and band. This is where the stage movement is just as important as the super-funky, horn-punctuated music, the yelps and posturing of the group inciting the same from the seriously partying fans. They were just showing them how to have fun and their style is to just get into the heart-pumping groove and don’t stop. Of course, it helps that the band is capable of stop-on-a-dime musical changes while working on their crazy crowd-rousing moves.