AGAVE returns to the Arkansas Valley for two shows this weekend.

The valley veterans play at Deerhammer Distilling on East Main Street in Buena Vista Friday evening and the free River Rhythms Music Series at River Runners Browns Canyon location on U.S. 285 in Nathrop.

Hailing from Durango, the group plays a mixture of covers and original songs, including rock, country, bluegrass and folk.

Ryan Blundell of the band thinks the spread in ages of the players, along with varied musical backgrounds, contribute to their range of influences.

“I grew up listening to Jim Croce, Fleetwood Mac. We all enjoy the Grateful Dead. And Karl (Herr) was a pastor’s son, so he grew up singing in a church.”

For Blundell, returning to the riverfront stage is a homecoming of sorts. “I worked for them (River Runners) for 18 years as a raft guide.” Because of the local roots, Blundell and the members of AGAVE play the venue each season.

When not sharing the stage, band members share another passion —teaching. All of the group are educators.

“We’re all involved with teaching,” said Blundell, who plays guitar, banjo and dobro. “I teach fifth grade, Dave Foster (percussion) teaches sixth grade and husband/wife team Karl and Mary Lynne Herr are administrators.

On stage, AGAVE follows their mutual and individual passions. “Our originals are pretty diverse. So are our covers. We’ll go from the Dead to reggae, then some blues and Tom Petty,” Blundell said.

AGAVE plays River Runners Brown Canyon from 5-9 p.m. Parking is limited. Food and adult beverages are available for purchase at the grill, and a limited number of paid camping sites are available for $5.

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