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BlindDog Smokin' to perform Friday

Aug 23, 2012 - By Emily Etheredge, Staff Writer

Carl Gustafson, lead vocalist for the Los Angeles band BlindDog Smokin,' is looking forward to his Riverton performance.

The band, which is originally from Wyoming, is touring the state throughout August and will give a free concert at 6 p.m. Aug. 24 at the band shell in Riverton City Park.

"Our music propels people to get up and start moving," Gustafson said. "It is rhythmic, funky and will make you glad to be alive."

The band has been performing for 20 years and has played more than 3,000 times in 24 countries.

"We have played in every state except Alaska and Hawaii," Gustafson said. "We have had the opportunity to play at the King Biscuit Blues Festival's main stage three times, which is the largest blues festival in the country."

Gustafson said the nine-member band likes to move around the stage to create a show that is as fun to watch as it is to hear.

"We have a lot of interaction with the crowd," Gustafson said. "The band can be humorous, intense and dramatic all at the same time."

The band was brought to Riverton by Labyrinth Productions owner Chris Amend who has been friends with some of the band members for more than 30 years. Chris Amend's son, Rex, plays saxophone in the band.

Amend said he thought he would ask small businesses to sponsor the concert, and in return, the sponsors could advertise at the event and enjoy a free show.

"I have been established in Riverton for over 16 years," Amend said. "I went around to a lot of my friends in the community asking them if they would be interested in sponsoring a free concert. I thought it would be neat to bring some recognition to small businesses and in return get some really cool music out of it."

The First Annual Free Market, Free Concert will open with Riverton singer Chelsea Eckley.

Eckley, 16, will perform original songs she has recorded with Labyrinth Productions.

"Since I know a lot of people in my hometown, I think I am more nervous than I would be performing in front of a crowd I don't know," Eckley said. "I am really excited about the opportunity to perform in the community. I think it will be a great performance."

Amend said the event will celebrate music's ability to bring people together.

"It is not the musicians doing something for the audience, we need the audience to share and exchange the joy," Amend said. "Those who attend will receive joy from the music and in return the musicians will enjoy sharing with the community."

The concert is sponsored by 23 businesses, several of which have offered food services the night of the concert.

"We have a great area that is very supportive, and I am excited to see Riverton have a good time," Amend said.

Gustafson and his bandmates have never performed in Riverton, and he said they are eager to discover what the town has to offer.

"We realized we have toured in almost every town in Wyoming," Gustafson said. "We have performed in some areas with only 25 people making up the town, but for some reason we have never been able to make it to Riverton. We are excited about discovering who makes up Riverton just like people in Riverton will be figuring out what our band is made of."

Gustafson said BlindDog Smokin' band members have always had a spirit of adventure and discovery.

"I think that is what makes our band exciting," Gustafson said. "We thrive on adventure and exploring a new place."

For more information on BlindDog Smokin,' visit www.blinddogsmokin.com.

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