The Daily Brewsletter - Day 1 Recap

As rock 'n' roll legend Joe Walsh traded guitar licks with Jason Isbell to encore his highly anticipated headlining set at the 23rd Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, the accompanying lyrics of "Rocky Mountain Way" seemed to perfectly capture the moment and the day for those in attendance. Earlier, beautiful weather in the aesthetically charged box canyon was the setting for Con Brio's explosive frontman-funk to kick off the festival, and an impressive showing by rising indie rock artist Israel Nash was made better by the guest appearance of Telluride Blues & Brews Festival veteran Jack O'Brien of The Bright Light Social Hour on bass.

While the brand new main stage is a far cry from the front porch you can easily picture the familial duo picking away at on in Kansas City, Madisen Ward and the Mama Bear seemed equally laid back while filling the valley with infectious folk singing. Like mother, like son, guitar strumming by the two was completely in sync in ways that seemed telekinetic, and their ability to harmonize and finish each other's lyrical phrases was a powerful asset to their performance. A highlight was a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" that they made their own, and gave foreshadow to the Mick Fleetwood’s set coming up on Sunday.

Austin’s Shakey Graves returned to the Main Stage for the first time since 2014, and brought with him an expanded lineup of accompanying musicians, new songs and a ton of range. Yet he still made it clear that he can stand alone with just his guitar and custom suitcase drum to win hearts with classic, well written tunes like "Dearly Departed."

Jason Isbell made his first Telluride Blues & Brews Festival appearance in five years with a refined mix of his beautiful songwriting-centric approach, but also made many hints to his more rip-and-shred history with Southern rock band The Drive-By Truckers.

Joe Walsh was last to take main stage and was in noticeably good spirits and top form, affirming his history of overt love for Colorado discussed during our recent "Born To Play" interview with the five time Grammy winner.

Coming out strong with opener "Walk Away," Walsh and his band were full sounding and complete with the help of four stunning back up vocalist. It was easy to see why he praised them as "the best band I have ever played with." From there the set was a true hit parade, with "Everyday People, "Take It To The Limit" and "Funk #49" as highlights. Walsh thoughtfully expanded the fan favorites on his terms, taking liberty with solos and showing no fear about diving into ambient and explosive directions, all while flexing his fret dexterity.

After dark the music kept rolling with intimate, reprised performances by Israel Nash, Con Brio, Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers, Reverend Deadeye and Eagle Eye Williams. Fan favorite Shakey Graves also took over the Blues Stage with Colin Lake, and comedians Troy Walker, Sarah Tiana, Eddit Ifft and Sam Tallent took up residence at Arroyo Wine Bar & Gallery.


With stunning music as the soundtrack to cold pours, the House of Brews is serving up craft beers from Sierra Nevada, Big B’s Hard Cider, Bonfire Brewing, Durango Brewing Company, Ska Brewing Company and Telluride Brewing Company all weekend. Be sure to stop by the tent at the North East corner of the festival grounds to pick up your collectible Telluride Brews & Blues Festival glass that provides a discount on refills all weekend.

From Noon to 3:00 PM today is the annual Grand Tasting featuring 170 beers from 56 craft brewers! Grab a commemorative tasting glass and hit the tents in the back of Telluride Town Park to sample some of the best beers in the country. For a complete list of brewers and beers that will be available click here.

A special VIP Tasting will also happen during the Grand Tasting in the VIP area that will feature 20 select microbrewers.


VIP 3-Day Passes, 3-Day Passes, Friday Passes, Saturday Passes and Fais Do-Do have sold out.

Sunday Passes are still available for purchase here.

Ready to keep the party going into the night? Tickets are still available for the Saturday Juke Joints featuring North Mississippi Allstars and Anders Osborne present N.M.O., Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, The California Honeydrops, The Delgado Brothers, Reverend Deadeye, Moreland & Arbuckle, The Rusty Wright Band and comedians Troy Walker, Sarah Tiana, Eddie Ifft and Sam Tallent. Click here to purchase.

Steve Gumble2016