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Cowboy music and poetry at Switchgrass artists co-op
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Aspen Black, left, and Kerry Grombacher will perform March 15 at Lucas.

LUCAS — Two hard-traveling troubadours are riding into Lucas for an afternoon of contemporary western music and poetry at the Switchgrass artists co-op. Kerry Grombacher and Aspen Black will present “Songs & Stories of the American West” at 2 p.m. on March 15, at Switchgrass, 205 South Main, in Lucas. Their work draws vivid portraits and tells fascinating stories that are set in a Western landscape that’s populated by cowboys and Indians, ranchers and rodeo riders, outfitters and chuck wagon cooks, and lawmen and lawbreakers. 

“This will be our first concert in Lucas,” said Kerry Grombacher. “We visited last October, and met Jean Stramel, at the Grassroots Arts Center, who showed us the new Switchgrass artists cooperative space while it was still being built out. We talked then about holding a concert there, and are really happy that we could work out a date on Aspen’s and my concert tour in Kansas this year. We were fascinated by the wide array of homegrown art that we saw, and are proud to add our story songs to the mix this spring.”

Aspen Black added, “As an artist – a songwriter, a poet, and a painter – I’m moved by the same forces that led all the artists in and around Lucas to respond to the world around them using the materials they had at hand. And, I’m really looking forward to performing in Lucas. I’m a Virginia-based barrel racer and horse trainer, and it’s awe-inspiring for me to spend time on the Great Plains, with the big sky and long horizons that signify the West in our imaginations.”

Grombacher and Black, both successful solo artists, have worked together as a duo since 2014, performing nationwide for arts councils, house concerts, festivals, museums and libraries. Their songs are influenced by the English ballad tradition, the string-band music of Aspen’s Appalachian home, and the corridos of the desert Southwest, where Grombacher has lived and worked. 

Grombacher plays guitar and mandolin. His songs have been featured on the ABC-TV adventure travel show, “Born to Explore,” and on the Putumayo World Records CD “Cowboy Playground,” which was released in over 60 countries. He has released five albums of original songs, and his songs have been recorded by a list of artists that includes Jim Jones, Belinda Gail, The Texas Trailhands, Gary Prescott, and Trails & Rails. He notes, proudly, that there is a room named for him at the Sands Motel in Grants, New Mexico, on Historic Route 66. 

Black plays guitar and bass. She received the 2019 Will Rogers Medallion Award for Cowboy Poetry, following the release of a new CD of Cowboy Poetry, “Tales from the Road,” in 2018. Black’s “Lovin’ the West” won the Rural Roots Music Commission’s 2017 Classic Western CD of the Year award, and her “Eastern-Western Cowgirl” was the 2015 Female Country-Western CD of the Year. She was a Top Five finalist for the International Western Music Association’s Female Poet of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2017, and her poetry CD, “Invisibility,” was a Top Five finalist for Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. 

Admission is $10 at the door, and doors will open to the public at 1:30 p.m. For information, email Switchgrass at switchgrass.lucas@gmail.com, or visit the website switchgrassart.com, or their Facebook page at https://tinyurl.com/utvfb5l.