The Latest: August 10, 2014
Black Forest Community Center
12530 Black Forest Rd. Black Forest, Colorado (map)
Front Range and Black Rose favorite Dakota Blonde performs with a unique blend of heart, humor, authenticity and spirit. They offer tasty covers of Americana favorites as well as original songs rooted in personal experience. Don Pinnella’s soulful guitar and vocals along with Tony Raddell’s mellow bass lines and vocal harmonies set the musical foundation for the band’s namesake. She’s a sunny-blonde vocalist named Mary Huckins. (Can you guess where she might hail from?) Huckins fronts the band, adding her own guitar, mandolin, keyboards, flute, harmonica, and hand-rhythms to the mix. Mary’s voice is certainly her own, but in it you’ll hear overtones of Nancy Griffith, Sandy Denny, and maybe even a little Cosy Sheridan for that Rocky-Mountain flavor. Her soft sound combines the sweetness of a young girl with a maturity that only life experience can nurture. Vocal harmony is a big part of the trio’s music. It’s a real treat when all three voices intertwine.
Dakota Blonde is the happy intersection of three talented people who once had parallel day jobs. The band came together while Mary, Don, and Tony worked at a Front Range mental-health clinic that employed music for therapy. “I think live music can be healing beyond words; motivating, energizing, and unifying in a way nothing else is,” Huckins says. You can tell that their camaraderie isn’t just for the stage. These are folks with a common history. It’s obvious that they genuinely like each other.
The group has received top honors for its songwriting and performances across our country and many others. They won the Walnut Valley Festival New Song Showcase in Winfield, Kansas. They were finalists in both the Independent Record Label Awards and the Merlefest Songwriting Contest in North Carolina. They’ve performed with Nickel Creek, Nanci Griffith, Bruce Cockburn, Tony Furtado, Firefall, Tish Hinojosa, Tim OBrien, and many, many others.
We’ve had Dakota Blonde on our stage a number of times, and each has been a special evening. It’s been said that Mary Huckins’ blue-eyed smile lights up a room. Come and see Mary and the boys light up our little Black Forest hall on Friday, August 8th. I hope to see you there.www.dakotablonde.com