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Bring Your Dancin' Boots 

Bend’s Dry Canyon Stampede fills the void where a country western dance band had been missing

Two years ago Kurt Silva was playing solo gigs around town. Venues in the area were looking to book a country western band and asked Silva if he could recommend one. At that time, a country western dance band couldn’t be found in Central Oregon. Silva, a seasoned guitarist and vocalist, took it upon himself to start one.

“When I was thinking about the possible pieces of it, I thought God, it’d be so cool if we had a fiddle player and a female vocalist,” Silva says. “Matt (Engle) told me about Lilli Worona.
So, I messaged her. She was on summer break and said when she got back she’d contact me. We’ve been together almost two years now.”

The connection between Silva and Worona became the catalyst for what is now Dry Canyon Stampede. The seven-piece country band combines the talents of veteran players including Engle, Mark Gillem, Mike Biggers, Jim Goodwin and David Lee Holmes. Worona, a former member of Broken Down Guitars, stepped back from that band when they decided to do more touring.

As a school teacher, being in a touring band became tough. “It was difficult to be on the road
grading papers on the way to Boise,” Worona says. “I didn’t want to hold them back from doing that. I was actually going to take that time off and write my own music, play guitar. I really
thought it’d be nice to jam with someone. I hadn’t played with anyone in a couple months and my heart was aching.

I thought we were going to jam, but we hit it off and it snowballed from there."

Over the past two years, Dry Canyon Stampede has focused on perfecting country classics such as “Crazy” by Patsy Cline and modern songs by Miranda Lambert, throwing in original songs by Worona, as well. The band felt the absence of this style of band in the Central

Oregon music scene and felt they could fill that void. “It’s been invaluable for me because I never really listened to country before this band,” Worona says. “Learning the fiddle and the vocals taught me how to play country. We have the pieces of the classic country band and now we’re bringing in originals, but we wouldn’t have that same background if we didn’t
start with the classics.”

“People want to know what they’re going to hear,” Silva adds. “It’s important to do those covers. We’ll throw originals in as we develop them." Dry Canyon Stampede’s next gig brings professional country dance instructors to The Belfry. The band has partnered with a husband-wife duo and Jenny Cooper, a local dance instructor, to offer country dance lessons ahead of the band’s performance. This will be the first of an ongoing series of country western dance gatherings.

“Whether they like rock or country, people will get up and dance, that’s what we’re hired to do,” Silva says. “That’s why people seek us out. The cool thing about this band is that we all love each other, there’re no egos. I love my bandmates to death.”

About The Author

Anne Pick

Music Writer | The Source Weekly
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