Local in top 10 songwriter at at Lyons

strangebyrd smile

Local in top 10 songwriter at at Lyons

Barbara Lawlor

  • Nederland

Last Friday night, July 5, 2016, Salto’s First Friday entertainment featured the Strangebyrds, Cari Minor and Ray Smith, of Rollinsville, long time area residents who have been steadily making a name for themselves beyond our mountain community. The evening crowd enjoyed $2 tacos while they listened to the talented, attractive couple.

Their tight harmony and uplifting crescendos hold the audience with their naked yearning and joyous love of the life they are living. With a third album recently released, the Strangebyrds are moving on up and taking their talent on cross country tours.

During their performance at Salto, Cari announced that she has been named as one of the top ten songwriters who will perform at the 26th Annual Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Songwriter Showcase in Lyons. They will perform on the main stage on August 19th, and during the in-the-round sessions at the Wildflower Pavilion throughout the festival.

Cari is one of two finalists from Colorado, with other contestants coming from California, Idaho, Texas, Tennessee and Oregon. Over 400 singer-songwriters from all around the world entered the contest.

“Being in the Top Ten is a really wonderful accomplishment in and of itself,” says Cari.

The song she entered for the contest, “Willy” is about a young woman who dresses as a man to join her new husband in the Civil War battle. Research shows that over 400 women fought in the Civil War dressed as men and there are five known cases of women who gave birth in the camps next to the battlefields.”

The contest is meant to introduce emerging and independent performing songwriters. The top 10 finalists were notified on July 8, 2016. Each finalist will play two original songs on the Festival Main Stage.

After meeting at the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Song School in 1999, Ray and Cari clicked and have been performing together ever since. Cari says that in the process of performing and hanging out together, they fell head over heels in love. They formed the band “Phat Chants” which led to the couple dropping the band and becoming the Strangebyrds.

Both Cari and Ray have been honored several times by Planet Bluegrass for their songwriting at the Rocky Mountain Festival and at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Ray has written and performed the original score for Muscle Shoals Music Documentary which was picked up by Magnolia Pictures and distributed worldwide.

The Strangebyrds will be performing locally at the Gold Hill Inn on Aug. 14, at 7:30 p.m.


Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.

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