Clay Kirkland and Al Chesis & the Delta Sonics
«Amazing!» «Beautiful». «I never knew harmonica could sound like that.» Even, «I never liked harmonica until I heard Clay Kirkland play.» These are comments heard every time Kirkland performs. Though he has played and studied several instruments, he has a habit of hoisting the humble harmonica to heavenly heights. His «Wintertime», written with the late Richard Reed, is considered by many to be the most beautiful composition ever heard. Born in Macon, Georgia, son of a Baptist minister father and pianist/choir director mother, he came into the world with serious blues credentials. He began performing and studying music at the age of six. He celebrates the big «seven-oh» and 47 years in the music business with his annual celebration of life, his eleventh annual «Beat the Reaper» concert.
His band, Key on a Kite, features fellow Swallow Hill faculty Stef Kull, Chris «Citrus» Sauthoff, Paul Trunko, former Breakaway band member Steve DiSciullo, and Queen City Jazz Band drummer Tony Pantelis. Guests include former Swallow Hill CEO Chris Daniels, and fiddle teacher Johnny Neill, with soul legend Freddie Gowdy, and blues chanteuse Erica Brown.
Al has played in Colorado since the mid-1980's after moving to Denver from Washington, D.C. There he played in the Mojo-Matics for five years, opening shows for Albert Collins, Elvin Bishop, and others. Al has shared the stage with Canned Heat, Tommy Castro, and Homesick James.
He has also done studio work for two PBS movie soundtracks and Denver area radio stations, including KBCO, KUVO and the FOX. Al has toured locally and nationally with Muddy Waters' son Big Bill Morganfield, appearing at venues in Colorado, Utah, and Wisconsin, as well as at the prestigious Chicago Blues Festival in 2002.
Recently, Al has toured regionally with Pinetop Perkins, Steadyrollin' Bob Margolin, and Willie «Big Eyes» Smith. Al has been endorsed by Hohner Harmonicas since 1992.
The Delta Sonics
The Delta Sonics music takes a Chicago Blues base and seasons it with Swing, Delta, N'awlins R&B and some early Rock n'Roll. They were Westword's best blues band in Denver the last five years (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) and have seven straight nominations. The band made the semi-finals in Memphis (International Blues Challenge) in 2012, after defeating 30 other Colorado bands. The band has also played in Kansas City, St. Louis and New Orleans among other cities.
Al Chesis supplies vocals & foot stomping showmanship but it's his harmonica playing that grabsyou. He has been a Hohner endorser since 1992. Bob Pellegrino supplies the dazzling, sliding guitar and a smooth as silk voice. Bob was the Colorado Blues Society's best slide guitar player in 2013 and 2014. John Butler on bass and Willie Panker from New Orleans on drums 'drive the bus' with over 60 years of R&B between them! The rhythm section also sings.
The Sonics have been THE Mile Hi 'go-to' band for touring Blues national acts for nearly 15 yrs. The band has backed national blues acts like Big Bill Morganfield, Steadyrollin Bob Margolin, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Lurie Bell, the late Pinetop Perkins, & the late Bo Diddley. The Delta Sonics were picked to open for BB King in 2012 and 2014.
Shady Grove Picnic Series
Join us this summer as we enjoy great live music in the fresh Colorado air at the Shady Grove Picnic Series at Four Mile Historic Park. Bring a picnic and your family and take part in this summer tradition that's been happening for almost two decades. Doors open at 6:00 pm. Shows begin at 6:30.
Em's Ice Cream Truck will also be at each of the concerts. Em's Ice Cream is Colorado's only all certified organic ice cream company is based in Denver.
What time do the concerts start?
Doors open at 6:00 pm. Music starts at 6:30.
Can I buy tickets in advance?
YES! Tickets are now available in advance. Click here to purchase.
Can I bring own alcohol?
Can I bring my own food?
Can I bring my dog?
Can I bring a chair?
Yes. Bring a chair or blanket!
Is Four Mile Historic Park handicap accessible?
Are there restrooms available?
Yes, the restrooms are located in a building behind the stage area.
Is there a discount for members?
Yes, both Swallow Hill Music and Four Mile Historic Park members receive a $4 discount.
What if it rains?
It is a rain or shine venue, and the show goes on until we determine there is a threat to anyone's safety. Feel free to bring an umbrella just in case!