Santa Fe Talent: A Spectacular Spectacular

- December 28, 2011

"...I’m going to rave (not rant) about the over-abundance of talent in the City Different, and how a bunch of musicians came together to make the holiday season just a bit more cheery..."

As you know, part of what I do around here (Hutton Broadcasting) to earn my keep is put down in writing my words of wisdom and cast them before my readers. Assigned articles, photographs, (along with an occasional air-shift on KBAC) are what put money in my pocket. For as short a time period as it stays there, anyway. So when El Jefe tells me to write about something, I sit my ass down at the keyboard and write. If not, I get a ruler across the knuckles, just like in grade school.

But every once in a while I get to rant (blog) about something that moves me. And that’s what this is about. On a snowy Santa Fe day, I’m going to rave (not rant) about the over-abundance of talent in the City Different, and how a bunch of musicians came together to make the holiday season just a bit more cheery.

If you read my articles (and shame on you if you don’t), you’ll know that I did a preview of the Joe West Christmas Spectacular. After sitting down with Joe and his producers (Arne and Kim Bey), I feel that I came up with a nice piece about what was expected during the show, and included a lot of nice words about Joe and the performers.

I was wrong by about half. After witnessing the opening night’s extravaganza, I was left speechless. Joe took a bunch of his Alt. Country musings, threw in a dash of Will Rogers and Mark Twain, added a jigger of the "Prairie Home Companion," a twist of Santa Fe weirdness and a healthy dollop of holiday cheer – and put on a show that was bigger and better than I thought this town could produce. It was a night of celebration, good times, great entertainment and Christmas magic.

From the opening song to the curtain calls at the finale, Joe and his cohorts shared a family-friendly, highly-entertaining Christmas production that enthralled and amused the audience. Tales of holiday fun and traditional Christmas material mixed with time-traveling banjo players and general Santa Fe eclectics came together in an audience-pleasing show like no other I’ve seen in my 10 years here. Besides Joe’s fabulous guitar playing, singing and story-telling, other performers of note in this sensational production included his back-up band of Cozy Ralston, Margaret Burke and Ben Wright along with cellist Michael Kott; Felecia Ford and her Snow Angel Choir; Bonnie Hearne singing “Amazing Grace” as only she can; cowboy poet Archie West; and the too-young-to-be-this-good fiddler Phoenix Avalon.

Joe and his gang are already making plans to repeat this wonderful show in 2012, hopefully in a bigger venue. I wish them nothing but the best – and encourage all of you to make the Joe West & The Santa Fe Revue Christmas Spectacular part of your holiday plans for next year.

All photos by Anne Staveley

(L to R) Ben Wright, Joe West, Cozy Ralston











L to R: Bonnie Hearne, Michael Kott (in elf hat), Margaret Burke

The Snow Angel Choir

Archie West

Phoenix Avalon

3856: Frank Rolla

How the Angel got on top of the Christmas Tree: Christmas was really rough that year. There were problems on the toy productions line, issues with the reindeer, Santa’s elves were on strike, Santa himself had the flu, and Mrs. Claus’ entire family was in town, staying at their house…it was one of those years when everything that could go wrong did. In the middle of one of the worst of “those kind” of days, Santa hears the doorbell ring. Upon opening the door, he was greeted with the sight of a beautiful angel standing there with the most awesome Christmas trees that Santa had ever seen. The angel, with a beatific smile on her face, asked in heavenly dulcet tones: “Santa, where should I put this?”



Next time: Meet the New Year, same as the old year…