It's that time of year when many Tucson musicians who have been out on the road decide to head home for some holiday fun and sun.
With so much talent in town, the folks at Club Congress have decided it's the perfect time for a hootenanny—more specifically, the Xmas Eve EVE Holiday Hootenanny. (The extra EVE is thrown in because it's being held two days before Christmas.)
"I looked at some of the artists who are in town right now, and some of the ties some of them had with each other, and I asked, 'Why don't we throw just a big sort of friendly hootenanny?'" said Hotel Congress entertainment director David Slutes. "Traditionally, Congress around this time has always been sort of a place where a lot of old friends and a lot of people come. It's like a homecoming Christmas party."
The hootenanny lineup includes Howe Gelb, Brian Lopez, Acorn Bcorn, Gabriel Sullivan and Make My Baby, featuring Lonna Kelley.
Slutes said the musicians will perform round-robin style. In a regular show, "some have to go on first, and it's too bad, because they're all great," Slutes explained. But in this show, "everyone plays one set early and one set late, so it keeps it rolling around. Whatever time you come in, you'll see something great."
The show is a homecoming of sorts for some globetrotting and nation-crossing Tucson musicians.
Acorn Bcorn had been touring the United States, going as far north as Washington state and as far east as Louisiana, before returning to Tucson in September.
Sullivan and Lopez have been playing together in France for the past two months. While abroad, they met up with Gelb in Switzerland to play with the band Giant Sand, Sullivan said.
Since returning to Tucson, Sullivan and Gelb have been in the recording studio for a project that Gelb calls "Giant Giant Sand." As many as a dozen musicians are participating, Gelb said.
Gelb called the Club Congress show "a convenient spasm of interaction. It's at Congress, for crying out loud. It'll be a nice, cozy cluster, and a way to say 'Hey' to some friends we don't often see."
Sullivan agreed that the show comes at an opportune moment.
"We've been playing so much together; there are a lot of new projects with me and Brian together, and with Howe as well," Sullivan said. "It seems like a good opportunity to kind of close up what we've been doing."
Recently recorded Giant Sand songs are likely on the set list, Gelb and Sullivan agreed, but there's much more to be heard at the show.
"Those guys all have their own bands, too," Gelb said. "We'll just be intermixing and celebrating."
It's likely that the hootenanny performers will get together at the end of the show for a group jam, Slutes said.
Overall, it's going to be a night of artists and fans getting together to share some holiday cheer, he said.
"I thought, two days before Christmas, for people coming (from) out of town to have a great show, it feels sort of warm and fuzzy," he said.
The show is also an opportunity for Tucsonans to find out what some of their favorite musicians have been up to, Sullivan said.
"Nobody in Tucson has seen what we've been doing. This will be kind of an opportunity to do that—an under-the-radar, very merry homecoming," he said.