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Walsenburg rocks out: better than bowling down the main drag

by Bill Knowles

WALSENBURG — Walsenburg, once again is seeing a developing music scene that will bring an eclectic sound to the city as different groups and individuals of various styles and genres make their appearance at Sarti’s.

Last Thursday evening was the inaugural event that some hope will fire up the music and cultural scene in the city. “We need to keep this eclectic,” said Tom Nye, owner and operator of Sarti’s bar. “We just need the talent to come in.”

And there is talent not only in the city but in the county as well, according to Jessy Polk, who’s been working with the band Planet O, who helped organize the open mic. “There’s a lot of hidden talent that needs a venue to play in,” she noted. Nye has stepped forward to offer his establishment as that venue.

“Sarti’s has crowds all the time. We will have some cowboys in here this weekend. There are a lot of talented cowboys. At one time we had a cowboy come in from Valentine, Neb. He told some stories and recited some poems.”

Thursday’s open mic ran from 7 pm to 9 pm, with a full bar and nonstop music by several local musicians and two vocalists from Denver who dropped by just for the music. Another talent was Jana. Her own form of blues presentation ignited the crowd as she sang standards such as “Turtle Blues” and “House of the Rising Sun.”

But one of the show stoppers was a local Be-Bop artist, Devo. It was his first time to perform in front of a crowd. Devo showed skill and enthusiasm, causing Planet O, to ask him back even though he was underage.

“I would like to see more kids take advantage of this. They can’t drink, but I’ll give the a place to perform,” Nye said. “I would also like to see a poetry slam. I think that would be great. Maybe even have a story night.

“It’s sad to see nothing going on in town,” Nye noted. “On Saturday night a person could go bowling down Main Street.” This is an observation others have made, and Nye wants to do something about it, so he is bringing in the music.

Thursday night’s event packed the bar, and neighbors who wanted to hear the music had to stand outside just to listen.

“As for food, all I serve is pizza, but if someone wants to put a kitchen in here, I can do that. They would have to make the investment because the bar sits in a flood plain so banks won’t lend financing for expansion.” Nye said.

The open mic may go all summer long if it is successful. Nye also has plans to bring music groups in from around the country. One group he has booked for October is Jacob’s Fairy Stragglers, who hail from New York.

“I’m all for anything that brings excitement to town,” Nye said.

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