AHWAHNEE — Robin and the crew at Coolwater Ranch are kicking off their 2017 concert series with guitarist extraordinaire Mike Dowling, on Saturday, Jan. 21.
When the late, great Vassar Clements heard Mike Dowling play guitar back in 1975 he did the sensible thing. He hired him.
Mike was the guitarist in Vassar’s first touring band and can be heard on his Grammy-nominated “Nashville Jam.” Clements called him simply, “One of the finest guitarists there is, anywhere.”
Echoing that sentiment is an ever-growing chorus of music critics, guitar students, and acoustic music fans from throughout the world.
Mike digs deep into the musical bag of American roots guitar, favoring the melodic Piedmont style of acoustic blues masters like Mississippi John Hurt and slide great Tampa Red.
But Mike can’t be pigeonholed as a blues player, or even as a fingerstylist. He’s far too versatile for that. From bottleneck blues to vintage jazz and much more in between, Mike’s musicality, depth, and mastery of the instrument translates fluently to flattop, archtop, and resonator guitars alike.
In 1995, after years of playing in various ensembles, including seven years in a Chicago-based rock ‘n roll band and more than a decade in Nashville playing sessions, fronting his own band, and writing songs for artists that included Del McCoury, Kathy Mattea, and Emmylou Harris, Mike launched a solo performance career.
Armed with an engaging voice, self-deprecating wit, and an arsenal of elegant interpretations of old blues, swing, ragtime, and original tunes it didn’t take long for Mike to capture the hearts of acoustic music fans, and with the release of his first solo album, the critically acclaimed “Swamp Dog Blues,” he began headlining at concerts and festivals throughout the world.
In 1996, buoyed by his success as a soloist, he packed up his guitars and his fishing gear and moved from Nashville, Tenn., to a little mountain town in northwestern Wyoming where he and his wife opened Wind River Guitar and launched the Greater Yellowstone Music Camp in the beautiful Grand Teton Mountains.
Mike will be sharing his extraordinary talent with the Central Sierra community on Saturday, Jan. 21, from 7 to 10 p.m.
Passes for this show are available now at Oakhurst Feed and Mountain Feed and Nursery in Coarsegold, or you can contact host Robin Ralston at 559-760-1134 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to have a reservation at the door. Suggested donation for the artist is $20 in advance, $25 at the door.
Concerts at the ranch are small not for profit (an understatement, says Robin!) social events attended by about 40 friends, neighbors and family. About 20 additional seats are available by arrangement to interested listeners.
The ranch is located in Ahwahnee, just ten minutes from Oakhurst at 45680 Forest Ridge Drive.
Just a few house rules attendees are asked to follow please: no alcohol, drugs or smoking and no children under 16. The Coolwater Concert Series is sponsored in part by Tenaya Lodge.
As always, there will be a variety of foods and non-alcoholic beverages available at no extra cost.