Steve’s Guitars usually offers one act and starts at 8:30 p.m. on Friday. Their 25th anniversary show on Saturday, Nov. 17 featured five acts and began at 7 p.m. Appropriately, the performers were all locals with strong ties to the venue.
Valle Musica, a well-known valley Latin jazz group, was there. Guitarist Pat Winger was Standiford’s roommate 25 years ago. When Standiford moved into the Dinkel Building on Fourth Street, Winger rented the room upstairs for his tailoring and wood artist business.
It was luthier Louie Hayes who suggested Standiford move out of his tiny venue on Main Street and in with him in the Dinkel Building. Standiford did and the rest is history. Steve’s Guitars no longer sells guitars, but has a plethora of them hanging from the ceiling and walls.
Standiford’s first singer/songwriter in the new location was Matt Johnson, so it was fitting he led off the anniversary show. The local band Let Them Roar, who has performed at Steve’s so many times they’re considered the house band, finished off the night.
A favorite of mine was longtime valley performer Dan Sheridan, who’s song “Big Money” decries what’s happened to Aspen since the billionaires have chased out the millionaires and the ordinary people who work there can’t afford to live there anymore. The story goes Sheridan got fired when he performed that tune at a Skico function.
The beautiful acoustic string stylings of the Leonard Curry Trio completed the bill at the anniversary show. Marking how special the occasion was, Standiford’s wife, Mary Margaret O’Gara was there. Like myself, O’Gara isn’t much of a night owl and the 8:30 starts are little late for her.
Steve’s Guitars is definitely a Carbondale icon. It may be larger than Standiford’s original venue, but it’s not Carnegie Hall, either. The room is cozy and the acoustics are remarkably good. Theater seats and a couch line the walls for the comfort of the audience.
What I like the most about the acts Standiford books is you hear a lotta original music. A duo called the Good Time Travelers did a set of music they composed to the boisterous approval of the crowd and came back and said they were gonna do a cover version. They were shouted down. “Do your own stuff,” was the acclamation. Like all of Steve’s Guitars performers, they didn’t disappoint.
Fred Malo Jr.