10th Annual High Peaks Music Festival
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Festival Home   Performer Bios   * Ticket Sales  


In 2015, Katie Glassman won the National Swing Fiddle Championship in Weiser, Idaho, took first in both the Bob Wills and Open divisions at the Bob Wills Festival and Fiddle Contest in Greenville, Texas and is the three-time reigning Colorado state fiddle champion.

While success in the contest arena is a testament to Katie’s lifelong dedication to her instrument, her singing and songwriting are increasingly taking center stage. 2011 saw the release of Snapshot, her first album of all original material. Katie has since continued to hone her creative process with the same focus and commitment to excellence that she brings to her fiddling. Her songs explore modern emotional landscapes with sensitivity and wit while still drawing from the deep well of traditional American styles. With the formation of the Western Flyers, Katie has found her ultimate musical home. Guitarist Joey McKenzie and bassist Gavin Kelso are Katie’s counterparts on their instruments; lifelong devotees of western swing and Texas fiddle music who have completely immersed themselves in the style. With performances already logged at the Library of Congress and national and international tours planned, they are a band in full swing. Rooted in a rustic sound as natural as the Rocky Mountains, Monocle Band has embraced an approach to Americana that is as varied and striking as their Colorado home.

Katie Glassman is nothing short of one of history’s most passionate ambassadors of fiddle music. Through her performances and teaching, she is ably upholding a grand tradition and enthusiastically passing it on.


Michael Hearne’s destiny has been tangled in wire and wood since he first laid his hands on a guitar at the age of seven. With a natural ear for harmony and an aptitude for picking, it wasn’t long before a young Michael Hearne was a fixture at parties and local events in his childhood hometown of Dallas. By the age of sixteen he had honed his skills on the guitar and, without a doubt in his mind about his destiny, he hit the road as a touring musician.

Michael’s career over the next few decades took him across the southwest and beyond. In the 1980’s, he toured as a member of Michael Martin Murphey’s band, recording on Murphey’s 1982 self-titled album for Liberty Records.

Making a name for himself in his chosen hometown of Taos, New Mexico –Michael wrote and recorded some of his best work during his years at the feet of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Recording countless albums both with his band South by Southwest and as a solo artist and writing such classic tunes as “New Mexico Rain” and “High Road to Taos,” Michael found endless inspiration in the culture and natural beauty of the area.

Michael officially began his Big Barn Dance Music Festival in 2003. Now a three-day event featuring the best songwriters and performers in Americana, Bluegrass, Country, Singer-Songwriter and everything in between, the event draws music aficionados from across the United States.

Never stopping recording, he continued to released several albums in the early 2000s and then made his way to Nashville, TN. There, he wrote and recorded 2011’s Life in America.

With his new album in hand, Michael headed for the nation’s other country music mecca – Austin, Texas. There, he teamed up with renowned Americana songwriter Shake Russell, touring throughout the year and recording a duo album as well as another solo album, Red River Dreams, in 2016.

It’s 2019 and one thing hasn’t changed for Michael and that is he is sure to be found with a guitar in hand, his destiny intertwined as ever in wire and wood. www.michaelhearne.com


The Rifters put out more music than it seems should be right for three guys on stages, they provide a mesmerizing variety of music from driving blue-grama-grass to ethereal desert beauty. Their years of playing to dance crowds has given their music a toe-tapping rhythm that is engaging and undeniable. With a pedigree of bands like Hired Hands, the Rounders and South by Southwest among them, the Rifters are truly a musical voice of the high desert vistas and mountain majesty. Their choice of moving and powerful material, both original and by others, their impeccable musicianship and their strong three-part vocal arrangements combine to make the Rifters a crowd-pleasing musical experience.

Rod Taylor on guitar, mandolin, and vocals lives in Cimarron, New Mexico and is recently retired from being head of cattle operations at Philmont Ranch. Although Rod is well known for playing traditional western music at cowboy poetry gatherings, his musical influences run from The Beatles to The Allman Brothers to old blues to Willis Alan Ramsey and back again. Rod’s rich lead vocals provide one of the most immediately recognizable elements of The Rifters’ distinctive sound.

Jim Bradley on bass and vocals. Jim is a long-time Taos resident and is a native New Mexican, born in Las Cruces. Jim’s powerful rhythmic and percussive playing provide the pulse for The Rifters’ energetic acoustic rhythms. He has played his Fender bass from Alaska to Manhattan and many places in between, from the mountain bars to the big festival stages with touring national acts. Jim holds down many of the high harmony vocals in the Rifters’ rich vocal arrangements.

Don Richmond on guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, pedal steel guitar, harmonica, accordion, trumpet and vocals. Don was a founding member of the near-legendary Colorado band Tumbleweed (1973 – 1990) and the Colorado-New Mexico band Hired Hands (1992). Don lives in Alamosa, Colorado and also owns and operates Howlin’ Dog Recording, a most respected acoustic-oriented recording studio. He has appeared on dozens of recordings by many of the region’s top artists, as well as numerous projects under his own name and with his former bands. Don’s multi-instrumental skills help provide the variety and excitement audiences enjoy in The Rifters’ performances. He also covers lead and harmony vocals. Rifters.net


HARRY TUFT grew up singing and playing the piano, clarinet, ukulele, baritone and in college a six-string guitar. His album Across the Blue Mountain with Dick Weissman, Jay Ungar and Artie Traum is a classic.

Philadelphia’s lively folk scene provided the setting for Harry’s first ventures into public singing. In 1960 needing a break from studies Harry traveled out to the Rocky Mountains for some skiing. He found a job in Georgetown and sang in a local bar.

Encouraged by friends and Izzy Young (NYC Folklore Center) Harry opened Denver’s Folklore Center in 1962 and it quickly became the gathering place for local and passin’ thru folk musicians such as Pete Seeger, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Judy Collins, Joan Baez, Doc Watson and the Reverend Gary Davis. Jim Morrison and Frank Zappa, legend bluesmen Muddy Waters and Sonny Terry, bluegrass legends Bill Monroe and Flatt and Scruggs and folk-pop stars like the Mamas and Papas all stopped in when in town. It was not uncommon at the time to walk in on one or another jam sessions. This was also the start of today’s Denver’s Swallow Hill Music Association.

In 1972, Harry and friends Steve Abbott and Joe Stanesco formed Grubstake which subsequently resulted in the production of five more albums In 2012 Harry was inducted in Colorado’s Music Hall of Fame and 2016 Denver City Council passed a resolution recognizing Tuft's extraordinary contribution to Denver’s music scene and declaring October 17, 2016 Harry Tuft Day. That year Harry sold his beloved Folklore Center to two long time folk music supporters and friends to follow his original dream of writing, performing and hosting folk music workshops.

Most recently his performing has been as a duo with original Grubstake band member Joe Stanesco. www.HarryTuft.com


DAKOTA BLONDE consists of Mary Huckins, the sunny South Dakota blonde who plays a plethora of instruments and sings lead on most songs, Westcliffe local Don Pinnella, guitarist and lead vocalist and Tony Randell on acoustic bass, backup vocalist and all around funny guy. Huckins’ vocals evoke, on various numbers, Nanci Griffith or Shawn Colvin, but mostly Huckins sounds like herself. Hers is a voice of clarity and singularity. Ernie Martinez, multi-instrumentalist, and singer/songwriter/producer joins them to make this an extra special performance. special performance.

The three band members, Mary, Don and Tony met while working as music therapists at Fort Logan Mental Health Center in Denver, CO. Their authentic camaraderie is evident and their audiences tend to feel better after a dose of Dakota Blonde. Their combination of original tunes and carefully selected covers, along with their endearing stage presence and humor is out of this world! Their musical sound is hard to classify, but best put, they are part folk, part bluegrass, part acoustic rock, part singer/songwriter, and Celtic. A unique blend of heart, authenticity and contagious spirit, their acoustic sound is like no other. Their tightly blended harmonies will have you believing they were born to sing together. Dakota Blonde has received top honors for their song writing, CD projects and performances throughout the world. www.DakotaBlonde.com

• TC Smythe and Gary Taylor - Host Band

TC Smythe and Gary Taylor are known for their tight, symbiotic harmonies, their humorous lyrics and ‘3-D’ brand of guitar playing. Between them they have 10 CD’s. Their craft of songwriting includes a blend of bluegrass, blues, folk, Celtic, pop and Americana music. Performing together for eighteen years, they have completed nine world tours including appearances at the Guildford Music Festival in England eight years running. As one reviewer put it, “Lots of humor, lots of fun, but some really poignant and insightful songs as well.”

Multi award winners, they are the Houston Songwriter’s Association’s Lyric Contest Winners, Songwriter of the Year Winners, Lifetime Achievement Award Winners and Folk Champion Winners. In 2009, they won the Vocal Duo of the Year My Texan Award and in 2013 they won the Popular Cover of the Year, Texas Music Award.

Joining Gary and TC is Kathy Taylor on standup bass and Drew Horton on mandolin. Drew is a 1st Place Mandolin Championship Winner, Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield KA.