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Breakdown of champions: Gary Sisco

Star-Tribune staff writer

The sequence of words could make you seasick: "Head down to the Upland
Breakdown." It's solid advice, though, as the Centennial music
festival brings in acts from across the country for its annual
afternoon of music and merriment.

Organized by Joe Carducci, former co-owner of legendary punk-rock
label SST Records and now a resident of Centennial, the Upland
Breakdown features old friends and new, with an ear toward
20th-century American music -- bluegrass, folk, blues and more.

"Upland Records was a label and it's sort of defunct," said Carducci.
"It was based in Fort Collins and done by the guys in (former SST
band) The Descendents. We started doing this when we had just started
the label. This worked out, so it survived the label."

This is the Breakdown's seventh installment, and familiar faces are
once again on the roster, including The Stop & Listen Boys and Michael
Hurwitz and the Aimless Drifters.

"Dave (Lightbourne, of the Stop & Listen Boys) is almost always on the
bill," said Carducci, "and then Mike Hurwitz ... He's local going back
into the '70s.

Michael Hurwitz and the Aimless Drifters are still a draw in his
former home of Centennial. Photo by Michael Hurwitz, courtesy

"A lot of us have been in the music business for 20 or 30 years, so
mostly we ask who we know," he said. "If they're out on the road and
they want to do it and would like to see each other play ... They
really are world-class examples of this kind of folk and blues."

The show is hosted by the Beartree Tavern, with both indoor and
outdoor areas in case of any weather contingency. Carducci also
managed to snag a nationally recognized sponsor this year in Arthur
Magazine, a Los Angeles-based title that's well suited to the day's
musical line-up.

"They're musically involved in the neo-folk scene and also the
underground psych rock scene," said Carducci. "They're kind of like an
early-Rolling Stone music and culture magazine."

It's part of the plan to make the Breakdown a big blip on the
summer-concert radar, according to Carducci.

"I'd like to make it a national-destinatio n festival," he said. "It's
building up and people recognize that it'll be the last Saturday in
August every year."

For right now, though, it's still small. A trip to Centennial just
might be worth the future bragging rights, to be able to say that you
were there at the beginning of something big.

Staff writer Kathleen St. John can be reached at 266-0586 or
Kathleen.Stjohn@ casperstartribun e.net.

Bands slated to appear:

* 2:30 p.m. -- Kelly Trujillo and John Martz: A "quasi-reunion, "
according to Carducci, of old bluegrass friends.

* 3 p.m. -- Gary Sisco: A solo guitar set by a member of the Sensitivos.

* 3:40 p.m. -- Spot: A former producer for SST Records, Spot worked
with '80s punk and hard-core giants like the Minutemen, the
Descendents, the Misfits, Black Flag and Husker Du. Nowadays he's
based in Austin, Texas, and roams the earth playing Celtic music,
classic vaudeville, blues, folk or whatever else he feels like.

* 4:30 p.m. -- Michael Hurwitz and the Aimless Drifters: Alta resident
Hurwitz used to be a Centennial local, and he's still a draw around
town. "A lot of mountain hippies come out of the woods when he shows
up," said Carducci. "He's got a pedal steel and a real nice
western-swing version of blues music."

* 5:30 p.m. -- The Stop & Listen Boys: Carducci's old friend from SST
Records, David Lightbourne, fronts this quirky group that includes
Martz and Shaun Kelley. Lightbourne has described the Boys' sound as
"acoustic dance music": the earliest roots of rock 'n' roll from the
1910s into the '30s. The Upland Breakdown show is the band's first
since a performance at the Knitting Factory in New York City more than
two years ago.

* 6:30 p.m. -- Michael Hurley & The Sensitivos: A grandfather to the
current freak-folk movement that includes Devendra Banhart and Joanna
Newsom, Hurley's roots lie in the fertile soil of '60s folk. "(He
goes) back to what was kind of the '60s folk underground, which was
before the hippies even," said Carducci. "(Like) the folk scene right
after Dylan, but they weren't purists, so they kind of went with the
new psychedelic underground that was developing ... Hurley is the
subtlest of those people. He writes his own songs and has created kind
of a menagerie of characters."

* 7:45 p.m. -- The Places: Amy Annelle is the woman behind the Places,
a wandering music project that's currently kind-of-based in Denver.
Annelle's melancholy songs are spare and haunting, tied together by
her delicate voice.

If you go...

*what: The seventh Annual Upland Breakdown

*when: Saturday, 2:30 p.m.

*where: The Beartree Tavern, 2760 Hwy. 130, Centennial

*admission: $10. Kids are free in the outdoor area, weather
permitting. It's age 21-and-older inside the Tavern.

This is a annual event...it is never too soon to start planning for next year.