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home : see & do : see & do May 22, 2015


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8/19/2013 2:11:00 PM
Tickets available for Rhythm on the Rails
The Arizona-based folk/Americana band The Senators returns to Rhythm on the Rails. Photo courtesy Verde Canyon Railroad
The Arizona-based folk/Americana band The Senators returns to Rhythm on the Rails. Photo courtesy Verde Canyon Railroad

Hans Olson ... Photo courtesy Verde Canyon Railroad
Hans Olson ... Photo courtesy Verde Canyon Railroad


The American railroad is the stuff of legend and folklore inspiring poems, novels, film and song.  On Saturday, Aug. 31, Verde Canyon Railroad's Rhythm on the Rails serves passengers a special blend of trains and tunes with this onboard concert in the Canyon. The brilliant scenery serenaded by the clickety-clack of steel wheels along the rails is an American lullaby.

This summer's musical line-up will equal the thrills of the Canyon's rare riparian wilderness for an audio-visual sensation hard to find elsewhere.

As the train covers a wide range of scenic highlights, seven musical acts cover a wide range of genres from jazz to blues, rock to country, spoken word to instrumental. The passenger cars each provide an intimate concert venue as the acts travel the length of the train, performing a set of songs in each coach.

Bands will arrive early to sign autographs and pose for photos at the depot prior to the train's 1 p.m. departure.

Folk and Americana The Senators, fan favorites aboard the February 2013 Rhythm on the Rails train, are already receiving national attention. Rooted in years of collaborative songwriting between brothers Jesse and Rooster Teer, the band came together in the summer of 2012; new and fresh faces on the Arizona music scene. The Senators have fashioned a sound that harkens back to early folk, Americana and back-beat country while maintaining a spirited and relevant edge.

Gypsy jazz duo Vibrato is a stunning ensemble with an astonishing blend of gypsy jazz and classical chamber music with a Mediterranean flair. Tucson dwellers Joshua and Miray Rhoads first met in 2005, discovering one another on the small Mediterranean island of Cyprus. They now perform together as husband and wife, captivating audiences with their charismatic presentation and impressive talent, continuing to charm their way into the hearts of music lovers everywhere.

Rock 'n' roll Hans Olson has been touring the world as a performing musician since 1972, but he is best known along the highways of Arizona as an amazing solo act that can rock any nightclub all night long. His amplified acoustic guitar and harmonica have made him one of the world's most well-respected harp-in-a-rack players. Hans manages to deliver a delicate blend of the grim boogie blues of John Lee Hooker, the wistful introspection of Bob Seger and the raw urgency of early Bob Dylan.

Dixieland Jazz Devon Bridgewater's Nuance Jazz Trio entertains audiences with brassy big band melodies. At only 14 years of age, Devon began performing professionally, most notably with the Harvard University Jazz Band and at clubs in Massachusetts and New York. One of the best mandolin players in Arizona, Billy Parker specializes in blue grass, folk and jazz. Saxophonist Stephen Vail has played with many famous artists and is now working on his Master's Degree in Music at ASU.

Sultry Blues Music in Motion's Rosemary Chavez was a featured vocalist at the 12th annual Prescott Jazz Festival. Her range covers swing, big band, jazz, dreamy ballads, soft rock and soulful R&B. Classically-trained on violin, Allen Ames has been playing guitar since high school, with new and ever-expanding guitar styles. Bryan Sinclair began his musical career as a youngster in Scotland. At 16 he recorded an album with the famous Irish folk trio, The Bachelors for the BBC, and later his jazz fusion band, Solaris, received airplay on Scottish radio.

Local storytelling Ken and Lyn Mikell are local musical storytellers from Jerome. Using a wide range of instruments, Ken and Lyn illuminate the music and poetry that capture the West, from Old West trail songs to the golden era of radio and the silver screen cowboy. As residents of the Verde Valley since 1975, they have been making music together for over 30 years. Ken was the railroad balladeer during the early days of Verde Canyon Railroad and the ghostly voice at the Jerome Museum.

Fan favorites Penny Anty is a songwriting project that has been 10 years in the makings. The Phoenix-based pair includes Rhonda Hitchcock, co-founder of AZ Chicks with Picks and board member of the Arizona Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame, and Shawn Royer who plays at a variety of venues around the Valley. As a duo, Penny Anty entertains with many original songs, as well as favorites from the Beatles, Sheryl Crow, Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift, Gretchen Wilson and more.

Passengers may opt for fist-class or coach seating for this special four-hour concert in the Canyon. First-class, $125 per person, features comfortable living room-style seating with overstuffed chairs and loveseats, service at your seat, hot and cold appetizers, Champagne toast upon departure and full bar service throughout the trip. Coach pricing is $75 per person with classic Pullman-style seating. Both classes are climate-controlled and access open-air viewing cars.

  Why are there so many songs written about trains? Because music and railroads both keep a steady beat. Fads and fashions may change from year to year but true classics never go out of style. Become part of the musical history of railroading.

  Comfortable first-class accommodations lavish passengers with luxurious living-room style, including an abundant selection of appetizers and attentive beverage service right to your seat. Coach-class is redolent of vintage-style passenger car charm with a well-stocked snack bar. Both classes have access to open-air viewing cars, a favorite aspect to this rail journey immersing passengers into the sights, sounds and scents of this wild western canyon.

Trains depart at 1 p.m. daily. Reservations are accepted at (800) 293-7245 or online at verdecanyonrr.com.

All bands will be performing onboard Verde Canyon Railroad Saturday, Aug. 31, 1-5 p.m.

Call 1-877-800-7313 to make reservations.


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