I recently watched a documentary on Kurt Cobain, and afterwards I thought, “It’s a damn shame he didn’t stick around long enough to make a country album. I bet it would have been great.”

As a member of the 27 club (together with Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison and Amy Winehouse), Kurt didn’t live to see the ripple effects of his artistry. He basically lit the fuse that was grunge music, smashed his guitar and left the garage party before he could watch it all burn to the ground. But I ask you, what’s more country/punk than sticking around to drink with the roadies?

My favorite Nirvana album is Live Through This. Sure, this album was put out by the band Hole, but I suspect Kurt is responsible for most of the lyrics, which were written in late 1993. At that time in my life, the angst of the writing mixed with Courtney’s baby-girl-who-smokes-a-pack-a-day voice really resonated with me. In the early 1990s, I was living in Boulder and working at Wax Trax Records on the hill; all my jeans were baggy with holes in the knees, and my Thursday nights were just getting started at 10 p.m.

Nowadays, after virtually attending the meeting on Carbondale’s comprehensive plan update, I settled into bed at 10:00 p.m. — listening to Eddie Spaghetti — just trying to keep my eyes open. It’s inevitable; if we stick around, the angst fades, our jeans fit and we reach a plateau of punk and country.

Carbondale is about to see a teen-spirit-sized growth spurt. Get ready for “Presenting the Lofts @ NoDo CarBo!” North Downtown Carbondale will be THE hotspot for diners and shoppers and look-at-me-I’m-loitering hipsters. Right now, the area is mostly ignored (much like Carbondale as a whole used to be). But mark my words, that area will be transformed into something hawt and expensive. And Industry Place (the road next to Roaring Fork Coop) will take you right there. But I expect they’ll change the name to something more gentrified, something more fashion-over-function. The town will have to scratch RFTA’s back to get permission to cross The Bike Path That Could Always Magically Morph Back Into Train Tracks, and there’s a small house on 8th Street that will probably need to be demolished, but the Town of Carbondale already owns that. Voila!

The reason Carbondale stayed inconspicuous for so long is because the traffic stayed on the highways: 82 if you were hanging out with “The Beautiful People,” and 133 if you were looking to get a little break from them. The only people driving down Main Street were on the clock, either taking back roads to the jobsite or bringing the cows home. And the only parking issue was figuring out which way to face the car so the sun would melt the ice on the windshield while in “a meeting” at the Pour House.

Aah, the good ole days. We should’ve seen it coming; nothing gold can stay… 

We can do our future residents a solid favor though. We could steer Carbondale towards sustainability with incentives that show we were thinking about more than our next bit-o-honey. For example, a limited amount of gas-powered vehicle permits issued for use inside the town limits each year. Just think how exclusive that would be! It could probably create a black market in RVR… 

Not to mention how peaceful and quiet SoDo CarBo (South Downtown Carbondale) will be with only electric vehicles and bicycles cruising around. And if all these new buildings were required to include infrastructure for clean energy utilities, at least we would know we saved the future residents some time and money with retrofitting projects.

Not knowing what the future will bring for our town is tough but, while we’re still here, we might as well join in and smash a few traditional instruments. Carbondale has hit the charts, for sure, but if we play it right, I reckon we’ve got a few more good albums in us… and then we can always go back to our roots and enjoy success with a country release. 

Join the conversation!

Following Cushing Terrell’s community meetings on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28, the next phase for public input on Carbondale’s comprehensive plan update is to join the online discussion at: 


There, you’ll find nine topics for discussion: social equity; housing and jobs; multi-modal mobility; climate action; aging in community; residential focus areas; downtown north; downtown; and “Carbondale Vision.”

You’ll also find draft recommendations, slides from virtual meetings and a calendar highlighting upcoming engagement opportunities.