Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

On the Road – Josh Ritter in Denver and Targhee

We’re back on the road with Josh Ritter and he’s still hanging around the mountains. This time around, he’s on the festival trail with stories and pictures from the Mile High Festival and the Grand Targhee Festival involving beer, Tom …

Fri, Jul 25, 2008, 12:50


We’re back on the road with Josh Ritter and he’s still hanging around the mountains. This time around, he’s on the festival trail with stories and pictures from the Mile High Festival and the Grand Targhee Festival involving beer, Tom Petty and Abraham Lincoln. Also below is a live video of “Overnite”. You’ll find this on the Irish edition of the “Live At The 9.30 Club” album, which is released here on September 5. “Overnite” is one of a number of bonus tracks and videos on the Irish release.

The ride down from Telluride must have been beautiful, but by the time we packed up and had a beer at the saloon next door to the opera house, it was 1am and we piled into the bus and settled in for the seven hour trip across the mountains to Denver. This has been, hands down, the most scenic tour I’ve ever been treated to. Every morning has opened on mountains, deserts, or some combination of the two.
We awoke in Denver on a soccer field, surrounded by tents, big rigs, beer stands, golf carts, wrist bands, Birkenstocks, walkie-talkies and all-access passes. The mountains were still there in the background, but the sun was on the move and we had to get set up for our show at the Mile High Festival.

First things first at any festival: raid the catering area for food and coffee. Mile High had great stuff for breakfast and lunch and we had both at the same time. Then, while the gear was being loaded onto our stage, I went and checked out my friend Stephen Kellogg’s show on another stage. Steve and I have been friends since the down and dirty days when we would play in camera shops, abandoned churches and community-stigmatized pizza houses, and it was a pleasure to see him and his band kicking ass up there in front of such a big crowd. It is such a pleasure to see someone who loves what they do so much get such a measure of success.
I watched them for as long as I could and then headed over to my tent where Newton Faulkner was just finishing. Our gear was loaded on to stage and then about half and hour later we jumped up and played. We were lucky to be under a tent as the sun outside was baking upwards of 30,000 people at a temperature of one hundred degrees Fahrenheit. The show was terrific and it was great to see so many familiar faces from all over the country under one tent. We got to play for 75 minutes and when we were done I hung around and talked to people for an hour or so and then headed over to see Spoon and Lupe Fiasco, both big favorites of mine.

The main event, though, came at 8.30pm, when Tom Petty, looking like a cross between Tom Petty and Don Quixote, came to the main stage. None of us had ever seen him play, so it was a great couple of hours. Great festival.


The next day we found ourselves in northwestern Wyoming at the Grand Targhee Festival with Tony Furtado, Carrie Rodriguez and Lyle Lovett. Yes, Lyle Lovett. What’s better than playing a set in the sun on a mountain side and then sitting on a chairlift drinking beer while Lyle Lovett, looking like a cross between Lyle Lovett and Abraham Lincoln, plays a concert? Very little. The crowd was great and happy and his show was terrific. Great band and cool songs.

The mountain roads – while beautiful – are somewhat terrifying by bus by night, and yet our undaunted bus driver, Marty Robinson, has had his eyes squarely on the road and inspires confidence with each new hairpin turn. Boise and The Knitting Factory are coming up.

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