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Martin Gilmore Music - July 2023


Often, when I’m traveling around the country, I always greet people by saying "howdy." It’s part of who I am as a child of the west, but I put a little extra drawl on it when I’m in other regions of the U.S. I’ve had a lot of opportunities to do that in June.

I traveled to Wisconsin to visit my wife’s family at the beginning of June, and we took my four-year-old son to see his favorite band “Nickel Creek” play at the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee. They played all of his favorite songs, and watching him experience concerts gives me a renewed appreciation for what music means, and the effect it has on people. Often I find myself over-analyzing music, thinking about what I could do better, or what I could do differently, but seeing his joy during that concert was so inspiring to me. Of course they were great, but it was especially refreshing to experience a band I have seen dozens of times through new eyes.

We drove to Wisconsin, and then drove back to Colorado so I could play with my friends John and Julie Pennell in Bayfield, and Carbondale, Colorado. They were great shows, and it’s always fun to get together with them to play their wonderful songs. Pennell’s are from Nashville, and I will be heading out there in November to play with them at the legendary Station Inn. If you have never been to Nashville, this might be the perfect excuse to head that way. Come see us, and then go to the Grand ol’ Opry. More details on that to come so stay tuned.

After Pennell’s left to head back east I went back to the Midwest to tour with my new friend Jackson Emmer. We played a great house concert in Rochester, Minnesota then headed to Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin to play at Cafe Carpe. Then we played in Chicago, Illinois for a member event at WFMT radio. Then on to the Indianapolis area to play a couple of shows before heading home. Jackson is a great songwriter and super cool travel buddy. We saw a lot of the Midwest together and had a lot of conversations about songwriting, gigging, friends, and heroes. I’m jealous that he got to see Merle Haggard live, and I learned a lot about song craft. He won the 2023 Telluride Troubadour songwriting competition. You should definitely check him out.

After all those days on the road, I have been playing catch up and getting ready for a busy July. I have quite a few shows around Colorado, as well as in Nebraska and Wyoming this month.

July 4th, the Martin Gilmore Trio will be playing at the Gold Hill Inn for their annual holiday celebration. We will start around 12:30pm after the town’s parade. There are several bands that afternoon so if you don’t have any plans come up the mountain for a great day of music, festivities, and food.

July 7th-9th I will be playing with my bluegrass band Long Road Home at the High Mountain Hay Fever festival in Westcliffe, Colorado. This long running festival is in one of the most beautiful settings I have ever been to. Westcliffe is a picturesque little town west of Pueblo, Colorado, framed by the beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It’s a great camping festival featuring great traditional bluegrass bands.

July 21st, I will be returning to Scotts Bluff National Monument in Gering, Nebraska for a concert and lecture on the history of cowboy music starting around 7pm. The program is free to the community and features stories about life as a cowboy as well as songs from the cowboy era. There is a direct line from the culture of the trail drivers to what became western music in the 20th century.

On July 23rd, I will present a similar program in the afternoon at Fort Laramie National Historic Site in Fort Laramie, Wyoming. I was a seasonal park ranger at Fort Laramie from 1996-2006 and it has always held a special place in my heart. The history there is complex and nuanced, but the site still looks very similar to how it looked in the historic era. It’s a place to emerge yourself in that history and to start to understand what happened in the west and what has resulted from those events. This program will cover that history with music. I will play songs from the era, and songs about the era interspersed with stories and histories about the west.

July 27th, I will be playing bluegrass at the Mainstage Brewing Company in Lyons, Colorado with an assortment of great bluegrass pickers. These gigs are fun. Dylan McCarthy, of the great band Jake Leg, puts together makeshift ensembles for a stage jam every Thursday. We don’t always know who we will be playing with, but it’s always really fun and demonstrates how bluegrass music can bring people together. I have played this gig before with people I didn’t meet until we were on stage. We just let the depth of the bluegrass repertoire guide us and follow it to make a show. So far every show like this that I have played at MainStage has been very fun. This one happens to be the same week as the Rockygrass festival. If you’re headed to that, drop by early and see me (and whoever else is playing) on stage.

July 29th the Martin Gilmore Trio will be playing at the Elevation Celebration in Conifer, Colorado. We will be playing our brand of honky-tonk and country music for the good people up there. If you’re looking for a reason to head to the mountains for the day, come on up. There will be music all day.

July 30th I will be playing as part of the gospel set at Rockygrass. It’s always so inspiring to play the main stage at Planet Bluegrass. These gospel sets have a special place in my heart. I grew up singing bluegrass gospel songs in church, and it remains some of my favorite music. It’s so much fun to sing those harmonies, and the songs are so often uplifting, rather than the dark and lonesome songs about heartache and death that are traditional hallmarks of bluegrass music. I’m looking forward to singing and playing with my friends during this set.

I have lots of songwriting stuff going on as well. Every Thursday night I lead the songwriter’s circle at Swallow Hill Music Association in Denver, CO. It runs from 7pm-8pm and we have space for five writers each week to come and workshop songs and meet other writers. Please come if you are a songwriter, or if you want to be a songwriter.

Finally, the Songwriting Santa Fe songwriter’s retreat continues to get better. My friend and acclaimed poet Jovan Mays will be joining us as part of the faculty for the weekend. Jovan was part of the national slam poet champion team “Slam Nuba'' and has served as the Poet Laureate of Aurora, Colorado. You can also watch his TedTalk here. He’s a very inspiring person, and a great writer. I think he can help any songwriter expand their creativity and writing. Melody Walker will also be teaching. She co-wrote the title track for Molly Tuttle’s Grammy Winning album “Crooked Tree'' and has written countless other great songs. She has great insight into the business of songwriting and what it’s like to write songs in Nashville. You can sign up now through Queen Bee Music Association in Santa Fe.

We have had so much rain in Denver. Good for the garden, but unusual for those of us used to the dry and dusty western summers. Everything is still green instead of the prairie amber we are usually so used to. I’m not complaining, but it’s as green here as it was in Wisconsin. Everything keeps blending together as a result. Oh well…Hope to see you this month.


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