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Weekend Dish column: You are what you eat, both physically and mentally

Every new year, we face ourselves and ask certain questions. Am I happy? Am I successful? Am I where I want to be in my life?

Many of us find the answers to these questions lacking. So, we resolve to be better, eat healthier, work out more or to take better care of ourselves overall. The dawn of a new year brings us hope that we can change the things we don’t like about ourselves.

Usually, our resolutions center around food, which can be crucial to our overall health. Science also backs this up, and common sense agrees. Healthy diets can lead to healthy minds and strong bodies. They can also help heal broken hearts and brains.

These resolutions become apparent when one goes to the gym, and every machine is taken, or when our friends openly vow to abstain from alcohol or junk food. Sadly, many of these resolutions fall flat by the end of the month. Ironically, it has been said that it takes 30 days to start or break a habit.

We need to hang in there. Maybe this time can be different?

But let’s face it — we live in tumultuous times. It can be challenging to become stable islands unto ourselves when the dark, choppy waters are rising around us. Nearly half of Americans will carry an additional burden at some point in their lives, which makes it difficult to survive, let alone thrive.

This burden is mental illness, and I have a personal history with it. Although many people suffer from mental health issues, there is still a stigma that surrounds it.

I usually keep my struggles private, because I don’t want people to think I’m crazy or maladjusted. But not talking about it is also part of the problem.

So, let’s talk

By publicly “coming out” with my struggles, I hope to add to the growing conversation about mental wellness. My story is another drop in a bucket that is already threatening to overflow. You and I are not alone. I hope this ongoing dialogue changes the way our society treats those with mental illness.

I am not crazy, and neither are you. Instead, our brain chemistry is off-kilter from a combination of genetics and life experiences. This potent combination of nature and nurture change the way we process things.

I struggle with depression and anxiety because my brain has been conditioned to respond to stress with a combined fight and/or flight response. My instincts overpower my rationality, while my lizard brain kicks in with survival instincts to overcome high-stress situations.

Oftentimes, I can keep my anxiety and depression in check with exercise, therapy, and a robust social network. Sometimes, these things are not enough, and I feel like I’m drowning in a lonely ocean. In these times, I seek additional help with prescribed anti-depressants, sleep aids, and anxiety reducers to help keep my head above the waves.

The life-saving anti-depressants I take are somewhat of a mystery. We know they can be useful, but how they work is not completely clear. Even in the year 2020, we have not unraveled the mysteries of the human mind. While I hold out hope we can cure these debilitating conditions during my lifetime, we aren’t there yet.

Gut check

Fortunately, modern science is moving closer toward a better understanding of the human body. It may seem obvious, but we are finally beginning to understand how truly interconnected our internal human systems are. Indeed, several studies have found that our mental health and gut health are intrinsically linked.

A recent study by the Harvard Medical School has found that imbalanced guts are associated with increased risks of mental illnesses.

The gut, or digestive tract, is the largest organ in the human body and plays a critical role in health. The secret sauce that keeps our guts healthy is the billions of organisms known as microbiota. According to Harvard, around 95% of cells in the gut are bacteria, viruses and fungi.

While many people view such microorganisms as germs, the gut microbiota is essential for a functional digestive and immune system. If they are unbalanced, our health can suffer. Factors such as stress, poor diets, antibiotics, and other chemicals can decrease healthy gut microbiota.

The Harvard study found that depressed patients have less diverse and healthy gut microbiota. This can disrupt brain function, immune system regulation, hormones, and neurotransmitter levels.

Of course, neurotransmitter dysfunction is directly related to mental illness, so gut health is necessary for optimal mental health.

Good mental diet

The study mentions probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids as the foundations for healthy gut microbiota. Omega-3 can be found in cold-water fish such as salmon, herring, sardines and mackerel, and can also come from non-animal products like seaweed, flaxseed, walnuts, and supplements.

Omega-3 promotes healthy gut microbiota while reducing inflammation, which, in turn, positively benefits our mental health.

The natural cultures found in yogurt can help keep your digestive system healthy.
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Probiotics help reduce gut inflammation while infusing our digestive tracts with healthy microorganisms that promote gut health. Patients who were given daily probiotics for 30 days had “significantly” reduced symptoms of mental distress. Probiotics can be found in yogurts, fermented foods and drinks, and as health supplements.

Other foods can also improve mental health. These include fatty fish, whole grains, lean protein, leafy greens and yogurt with active cultures.

Whole grains contain brain-boosting complex carbohydrates.
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Fatty fish contain those essential omega-3 fatty acids discussed earlier. Since our bodies can’t really produce these fatty acids, we must get them through the foods we eat.

Whole grains such as whole-wheat, bulgur, oats, wild rice, barley, beans, and soy can fuel the brain with complex carbs. Lean proteins from fish, turkey, chicken, eggs and beans contain the amino acid tryptophan that helps produce the essential neurotransmitter serotonin. Leafy greens such as spinach, mustard greens, and broccoli contain folates and B vitamins. These nutrients can improve depression, fatigue, and insomnia.

Lastly, but not least, yogurt with active cultures improve gut health with good microbiota.

While this is a lot to keep track of, some experts suggest following the Mediterranean diet.

The Mediterranean diet includes a number of healthy foods.
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Another ‘Med’

According to the Mayo Clinic, the Mediterranean diet is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the World Health Organization as a healthy and sustainable diet that promotes overall health and wellbeing. This diet typically encourages eating a lot of vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and olive oil.

If you are thinking of trying a new diet, then be sure to speak with your doctor for personalized recommendations. Even if you don’t want to start a new diet, there are certain foods that you should avoid that are detrimental to optimal health.

These foods are the mainstays of a Western diet. They include processed and fried foods, refined grains (such as white bread), sugary products, and beer. These foods are unhealthy for us in many ways, so they should be avoided if you want to have a healthier mind, gut, or heart. They can also lead to other serious health issues.

Studies show that a combination of diet, exercise, medication, sleep, and social support are all critical in addressing mental health. Individually, we can’t expel the darkness of the world around us, and it can sometimes feel impossible to tread water when we feel like we are drowning. It’s easy to give up and peacefully drift away as we sink beneath the waves.

Hang tough

I say this as someone who has been there: Don’t give up, because you are not alone. Odds are that you or someone you love faces this struggle. Many of us face it silently, but it’s essential to reach out to those around you, so you don’t have to suffer alone.

There is no silver bullet for mental illness presently, but we know what can help. Don’t drown in despair. You’re strong because you’ve made it this far, so throw yourself a life preserver because you’re worth saving. You are what you eat, and the foods outlined above are one of the easiest ways to address your mental health.

They may not cure your illness, but they will promote overall health, which will make you feel better. A healthy body can lead to a sustained mind. You can become an island that rises from the dark waters forever, bathed in sunshine, and hope for a better future. Sometimes even hope is enough to keep us fighting the good fight.

Jordan Callier is an avid foodie and business owner in Glenwood Springs.


If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to 741741. Both work 24/7. Additional resources are available at SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources.

Weekend Planner January 17-19

Friday Afternoon Club: The Low End

5 p.m. Friday — The Low End is the dynamic duo of Jeff Rice and Katie Houchin.

Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs | free with the Friday coupon from the Post Independent for up to four people after 4 p.m.

Meet the Author: Stephen Trimble

6:30 p.m. Friday — Author and photographer Stephen Trimble will share photos and stories from new book “The Capitol Reef Reader,” as well as anecdotes from his detective work.

Glenwood Springs Library, 815 Cooper Ave., Glenwood Springs | www.gcpld.org | free

Chris Bank & Mark Johnson

7 p.m. Friday — Chris Bank (vocals, bass, sax, guitar, blue blowing) performed in the Aspen area for 21. Mark Johnson (sax) has released three recordings of his own on the JVC record label.

Heathers Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, 166 Midland Ave., Basalt | 970-927-0151 | free

Roots & Rhythm

7 p.m. Friday — James Speiser on vocals and Pattie Melt on tenor sax play old school R&B, blues, funk, soul and some jazz.

Black Dog Saloon, 219 W. Main St., New Castle | free

Indigo Mojo

9 p.m. to midnight Friday — Indigo Mojo play rock and roll.

Rivers Restaurant, 2525 S. Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs | no cover charge

Floodgate Operators

9 p.m. Friday — Bluegrass band based in Crested Butte.

Glenwood Springs Brew Garden, 115 6th Street, Glenwood Springs | free

Harry Potter Festival

5 p.m. Saturday — A free festival of games, crafting, prizes, and food. This year will feature face painting for the kids by Michelle Zander, potion making, and the return of Chocolate Frogs. Costumes are most welcome.

Parachute Library, 244 Grand Valley Way, Parachute | 970-285-9870 | free

Josefina Mendez, Mark Johnson & Tim Fox

7 p.m. Saturday — Josefina Mendez has quickly gained recognition for her unique jazz style. She sings in English, Spanish and Portuguese combining swing, bossa nova, samba, tangos and boleros.

Heathers Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, 166 Midland Ave, Basalt. 970-927-0151 Free

Karaoke

9 p.m. Sunday — Karaoke with Sandman every Sunday.

Patina Bar + Grille, 1054 Highway 133, Carbondale | kws.fyi, 970-344-0911 | free

Comedy and country come to Rifle’s Ute Theater this weekend

Whether you’re in the mood to laugh or listen to some great new country music, Rifle’s Ute Theater has you covered this weekend.

The fun begins on Friday night when the Ute welcomes comedian Jerry Garcia to the theater stage.

Garcia is one of the brightest comics to appear in recent years, with star turns on Netflix in Chingo Bling’s “They Can’t Deport Us All” comedy special, and on HBO in his own special, “Not My Weekend” in which he muses on the struggles of being a single father.

Garcia’s penchant for telling stories about his life, relationships, modest upbringings and everyday struggles endear him to audiences who come away from his shows feeling like they’ve met a new “funny friend.”

Also on the ticket Friday is comedian Austin Brinker, a native of Colorado Springs and semi-pro Ju Jitsu fighter who’s been touring comedy clubs all over the state.

The show will open with comedian/producer Louis Beck in his customary role as emcee for the evening.

Royal South

Fans of country-pop and bluegrass are in for a treat on Saturday as The Ute Theater hosts the up-and-coming country group Royal South starting at 8 p.m.

The band is an eclectic combination of big-voiced country singer SaraBeth, British guitar-hero/singer Glen Mitchell, and Kentucky-born bassist/singer Vickie Vaughan. Together the trio brings a high-energy show that mixes country and bluegrass, and features brilliant three-part harmonies.

Mitchell, who has played guitar for the likes of Darius Rucker, Frankie Ballard, Lonestar and Billy Currington, has gained a reputation as one of the most talented and successful British guitarists in country music today.

SaraBeth first made a name for herself in Nashville with her self-titled EP featuring songs like “You Rock My Rodeo” and “I’m Sick Of It.” The tall, blond Texan says she likes “to have a lot of fun on stage, dance and let the audience be a part of a good time.”

Vaughan brings the bluegrass element to the trio with both her bass playing and vocals. The Grand Ole Opry veteran has previously lent her talents to the music of Patty Loveless and Ruthie Collins.

Royal South’s debut album, “Cry, Cry” was released in January 2019, and its title track reached No. 1 on the UK Country iTunes Chart and No. 2 on the U.S. New Country iTunes Chart. Paul Worley, who previously worked with the Dixie Chicks, Lady Antebellum, Martina McBride, and The Band Perry, produced the album.

jbear@postindependent.com

Women’s March and LunaFest film festival bring female focus to Glenwood Springs Saturday

From Washington D.C. to Glenwood Springs, demonstrators will participate in women’s marches across the country Saturday.

In 2017, the Women’s March on Washington saw people from all walks of life come together to advocate for women’s rights.

Approximately 3 million people participated in 653 marches throughout the nation during the Women’s March on Washington three years ago.

This Saturday’s Women’s March in Glenwood Springs will begin at 11 a.m. in Centennial Park at 828 Grand Ave.

The event features four guest speakers, including: immigrant rights activist Sophia Clark, Grand Valley Citizen’s Alliance Chair Leslie Robinson, Glenwood Springs Citizen’s Alliance Vice President Sarah Rankin Gordon, and Roaring Fork School District Board member Jasmin Ramirez.

The Women’s March in Glenwood Springs will proceed down Grand Avenue and across the pedestrian bridge, before heading back to Centennial Park.

“There are so many issues,” said Connie Overton, one of the event’s local organizers. “We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us to make a change.”

Overton anticipated Saturday’s Women’s March in Glenwood Springs to conclude no later than 1 p.m.

LunaFest held in conjunction

“Ballet After Dark,” by B. Monét, will be one of seven films featured at Saturday’s Lunafest in Glenwood Springs.
Publicity photo

Also on Saturday, shortly after the Women’s March, Lunafest — a film festival inspired by women filmmakers and feminist issues — is set to take place at the Hotel Colorado beginning at 2:30 p.m.

The traveling film festival will present three screenings in the hotel’s Devereux Ballroom, at 2:30, 5 and 7:30 p.m.

Each screening will last roughly two hours and will showcase seven short films, including:

Purl — Directed by Pixar Animation Studios’ Kristen Lester and Gillian Libbert-Duncan, in “Purl” a ball of yarn with the same name takes a job at fast-paced company where no one else looks like her.

Ballet After Dark — In “Ballet After Dark,” writer/director Brittany “B. Monét” Fennell tells the story of a young woman who creates an organization to help survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence through dance therapy.

There You Are — Award-winning director Lisa Donato, from Billings, Montana, has earned a following telling stories about the struggles women face. In “There You Are,” a trans woman has to dress like a man in order to say goodbye to her dying grandmother.

Xmas Cake – This American Shelf-Life — In this coming-of-middle-age short film, Chinese and British director May Yams and New York writer/producer Petra Hanson detail a female pop singer’s trials and tribulations and showcases cultures from New York to Tokyo.

Game — As its title suggests, “Game” follows the new kid in town who makes quite the impression at a high school boys’ basketball tryout. Written and directed by award-winning filmmaker Jeannie Donohoe, “Game” has been screened at 200 festivals and received 70 international awards.

Lady Parts — Erin Rye and Jessica Sherif tell the story of an aspiring actress named Liz who gets her big break in a new drama film. However, Liz quickly realizes the setbacks of being a woman on a Hollywood film set in this comedic short film.

How To Swim — Award-winning filmmaker Nao Gusakov, in “How to Swim,” tells the story of a terrified pregnant woman, who – days before her due date – kidnaps a motherly stranger for a mischievous afternoon outing.

Tickets for Lunafest can be purchased online for $20 through lunafest.org or at Treadz in Glenwood Springs, Misty’s Coffee in Silt or Susan’s Flowers in Carbondale.

Attendees may also purchase tickets at the door for $25.

All proceeds from Lunafest in Glenwood Springs will benefit the nonprofit Advocate Safehouse Project, which provides support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

mabennett@postindependent.com

With annual Aspen presentation, 5Point Film launches into 2020

When 5Point Film started hosting an annual Aspen show seven years ago, it was a sort of best-of program with encore presentations of crowd favorite films from the previous year’s flagship festival in Carbondale.

But after consistently selling out its Wheeler Opera House shows and expanding to two nights in 2018, the Aspen event has evolved into a higher profile happening with all new 5Point-curated films about thoughtful adventure with inspirational special guests and a signature 5Point concert-style program.

It’s evolved into the nonprofit’s annual kickoff.

“I’m seeing Aspen as setting the stage for what’s to come,” said 5Point executive director Regna Jones.

The 2020 program runs Friday, Jan. 17, and Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Wheeler.

Friday night’s films, presented in partnership with Challenge Aspen, include three inspirational shorts about adaptive athletes and adventurers: “Out on a Limb” profiles rock climber Kai Lin and his “badass prosthetic foot”; 5Point regular Fitz Cahall’s new film “The Mighty Finn” tells the story of an adventurer with cerebral palsy; “Broken” goes inside skier Jon Wilson’s life after losing a leg to cancer.

Saturday night’s mix of films includes a screening of local hero and Olympic medalist Alex Ferreira’s “The Scenic Route,” a travelogue about the X Games champion’s recent travels in Japan.

Built on its five titular points of purpose, respect, commitment, humility and balance, 5Point is more than a showcase of ski porn for adrenaline junkies.

“It has a power to impact people, especially when you get people in a room watching films as they should be seen at this level of craft,” Jones said. “It does have a power to transform people.”

Both nights in Aspen will be emceed by the inimitable Paddy O’Connell, the skier and sometimes comedian who settled in the valley after a trip to 5Point in Carbondale several years ago.

IF YOU GO …

What: 5Point Aspen

Where: Wheeler Opera House

When: Friday, Jan. 17 & Saturday, Jan. 18, 7 p.m.

How much: $20-$28

More info: Friday’s short films are ‘Night of the Turn,’ ‘The Running Pastor,’ ‘Out on a Limb,’ ‘Camel Finds Water,’ ‘Return to Earth,’ ‘Circle of the Sun,’ ‘The Mighty Finn’ and ‘Broken;’ Saturday’s include ‘Banking on Bailey,’ ‘Gone Tomorrow: The Story of Kentucky Ice Climbing,’ ‘Billder,’ ‘Chasing the Sublime’ and ‘The Scenic Route’ with special guest Alex Ferreira; 5pointfilm.org

Now in its 13th year, 5Point has evolved into more than a once-a-year film festival and gathering of the tribes in Carbondale. It has become a valley nonprofit with a year-round presence and impact as well as a national tastemaker for adventure films and the people who love them. It has established its Aspen event as a pillar of the winter season here along with the vaunted April flagship festival in Carbondale, an ongoing “5Point On the Road” tour (there’s a tour stop in Stratton, Vermont, on Saturday night) and its Dream Project scholarshops funding initiatives by Roaring Fork Valley students.

Jones said 5Point also is in expansion mode as a resource for filmmakers, the brands that produce most adventure films and the natural environment that the 5Point community cherishes.

Jones said she expects 5Point this year to expand its footprint and programs in education, possibly with a college partnership, and with a new master class at the Carbondale festival.

The nonprofit is also taking a leadership role on both the activist and business sides of the outdoor industry, building upon its annual Denver program at the Paramount Theater in partnership with the Outdoor Retailer expo and conference.

For filmmakers, 5Point is growing its established 5Point Film Fund, which helps finance productions that embody its five points. The Jackson Hole-based clothing company Stio recently committed $10,000 for 5Point film funding, which will go to a filmmaker who wins a public movie pitch contest at the festival in April.

All of these initiatives are built upon the 5Point foundation of gathering to honor storytellers and share the experience of watching films.

“I want 5Point to continue pushing the envelope of what the future is for adventure film and storytelling, keeping that spark around how important it is, while also keeping some levity around it,” Jones said. “We need places to go to laugh and cry and cheer and sweat and feel everything together with a bunch of people. And then we go out and stand a little taller.”

atravers@aspentimes.com

#PostSnaps for Jan. 12

New selections every Sunday!

Frida Authentic Mexican Food Restaurant opens in Glenwood Springs

Jose Luis Rico has lived in mountain towns and worked in Mexican restaurants for the better part of his life.

After owning and operating El Pollo Rico in Carbondale for 16 years, the restauranteur and his wife Emma Rico recently opened their second eatery in the Roaring Fork Valley – Frida Authentic Mexican Food.

Located at 1814 Grand Ave., near Sayre Park in Glenwood Springs, Frida welcomes customers for lunch and dinner seven-days-a-week.

Raised in Michoacan, Mexico, it was there that Jose Rico learned the ingredients that go into authentic Mexican recipes while working alongside his mother Argelia and father Alberto in their restaurant, Argelia’s Senaduria.

“Every chef has their own taste and their own dishes,” Jose Rico said. “But, you’re still going to find tacos, carne asada and chile relleno.”

Like the colorful dishes that emerge from Frida’s kitchen, the dining area’s flashy booths, flowers and mariachi figurines make for an equally colorful ambiance.

After all, Jose and Emma Rico named Frida after legendary Mexican painter Frida Kahlo.

“[Frida] is part of our culture,” Jose Rico said. “And, we were looking for a name everyone could pronounce.”

While Frida’s menu offers an assortment of seafood, steak, chicken, pork and vegetarian options, the Ricos – throughout their tenure in restaurants – have never looked past the “easier dishes.”

“If a customer asks for chile relleno, it’s got to be good. If a customer asks for enchiladas, it’s got to be good,” Jose Rico said.

Ironically, the Ricos said chicken enchiladas were the most popular menu item at Frida since the restaurant opened in December.

Other customer favorites included: chile relleno, pork and green chili burritos, fajitas, fish tacos, homemade tamales and fried ice cream.

“We’ve been practicing these dishes for 16 years,” Emma Rico said.

Additionally, Frida’s bar offers frozen and on-the-rocks margaritas made with specialty tequila and fresh limes.

Well aware of the large number of Mexican restaurants already in Glenwood Springs, Rico said he was not looking to compete but instead hoped Frida’s cuisine would complement the city’s already thriving dining culture.

“We have two communities here; we have the Anglo community and the Hispanic community,” Jose Rico said. “We’ve been working so hard over the years trying to make great food for everybody.”

mabennett@postindependent.com

Weekend Planner January 10-12

Skier Appreciation Day

9 a.m. Friday — Sunlight offers $20 lift tickets to show its appreciation to all skiers and snowboarders.

Sunlight Mountain Resort, 10901 County Road 117, Glenwood Springs | $20

Friday Afternoon Club: Charley Wagner

5 p.m. Friday — Charley Wagner is a singer and songwriter from the north woods of Minnesota whose Americana-folk style has been influenced by artists such as Gordon Lightfoot, John Prine and Bob Dylan.

Lookout Grille, Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, 51000 Two Rivers Plaza Road, Glenwood Springs | free for up to four people with the Friday ad in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Second Friday Reception

5-9 p.m. Friday — Celebrating the beautiful winter with the theme Snowtime. Everyone is invited for wine and appetizers.

Cooper Corner Gallery, 315 Eighth St., Glenwood Springs | free

10th Anniversary Party: Legends of the Library

6 p.m. Friday — Family-friendly celebration with music by the Colorado Mesa University Jazz Quartet, food trucks and activities for adults and children.

Basalt Library, 14 Midland Ave., Basalt | free

Enter Dimensional Opening Reception

6-8 p.m. Friday — Enter Dimensional is an exhibition showcasing local favorites John Cohorst and Chris Erickson.

Carbondale Clay Center, 135 Main St., Carbondale | free

Bessie & Friends music jam

6:30 p.m. Friday — Bring an instrument and join in the fun.

First Baptist Church of Garfield County, 602 Grand Ave., Silt | free

LP Herd

7 p.m. Friday — LP Herd is a guitar duo consisting of Larry and Patty Herd formerly of the Austin music scene. Their sound is defined by Patty’s bluesy, sultry voice and Larry’s jazz/blues inspired guitar style, and their song list includes jazz standards to rock, blues and country.

Heather’s Savory Pies and Tapas Bar, 166 Midland Ave., Basalt | 970-927-0151 | free

Leila Sunier

9 p.m. Friday — Leila Sunier plays rock and folk music.

Rivers Restaurant, 2525 S. Grand Ave., Glenwood Springs | no cover charge

Glenwood Springs Ski Movie Night

7 p.m. Saturday — Three movies will be shown: Teton Gravity Research’s “Winterland” and “Ode to the Muir” and Colleen Genteman’s “Dream Job.” Proceeds go to Sunlight Winter Sports Club.

Glenwood Vaudeville, Glenwood Springs | $15 adults, $10 kids younger than 17

Roaring Fork Contra Dance

7:30 p.m. Saturday — Lively community dance for all ages to enjoy. No experience necessary, no partner needed. Contras, squares, round dances, waltzes, polkas all taught by a dance caller. Live Old Time music by Wooden Nickel String Band.

Carbondale Community School, 1505 Satank Road, Carbondale | $5-$10

The Din & Tonics

8:30 p.m. Saturday — The Harvard Din & Tonics are Harvard University’s signature jazz a cappella group, known for their rich tradition of musical and performance excellence. Their repertoire centers around American jazz standards, but also frequently includes pop, disco, and folk music.

Steve’s Guitars, 19 N. Fourth, Carbondale | 970-963-3304

Silver City Saloon plays host to Aspen Comedy Show series

The free Aspen Comedy Show returns to Silver City Saloon in downtown Aspen on Friday.

This monthly comedy show debuted last month and brought laughs to more than 50 locals. The January show will be headlined by Nathan Lund and emceed by comedian Mark Masters, who organizes the event.

“I’m really excited about our January lineup,” Masters said in a news release. “We have an amazing headliner who has been on TV and is 15 years into comedy at this point. He hosts an amazing live wrestling comedy show that is legend in Denver, and he regularly performs at Comedy Works.”

Lund began his comedy career in Las Vegas. From his first appearance onstage, he “felt an intense high” and was “hooked on the pursuit of making people laugh.”

Besides television credits, Lund has appeared at national comedy festivals including Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy Fest, High Plains Comedy Festival, 208 Fest and the Laughing Skull Comedy Festival.

He has performed many times in mountain communities and says that “audiences everywhere are the same, they just want to laugh.” Just another lesson he learned working with some of his favorite comedians like Doug Stanhope, Maria Bamford and Dave Attell.

Feature act Kate Strobel also is based out of Denver. She has been a semi-finalist in the prestigious Comedy Works New Faces contest. She is well-known for her honest and unique voice that hilariously grapples with what it is like to be socially awkward and perpetually anxious.

Strobel has performed in mountain towns Durango and Dolores and loves the community spirit she has encountered and great audiences. She cites Denver favorites Christie Buchele and Janae Burris as influences on her comedy.

“Silver City is excited to have the Aspen Comedy series this winter on a monthly basis,” said Jeremy Lipman, owner of Silver City. “With a great turnout for our first comedy show in December, it’s our hope that these free shows are something the local community can enjoy going forward.”

The Aspen Comedy Show is Friday at 5:30 p.m. at Silver City Saloon in downtown Aspen. It is free, but tips for the performers are welcomed.

On Saturday, Jan. 11, the comedians will continue their tour at Vail Brewing Co. in EagleVail.

More information is available at www.markmasters.co/aspencomedyshow.

Taylor Scott bringing ‘full outfit’ to Steve’s Guitars tonight

When blues icon Otis Taylor asked a 19-year-old Taylor Scott to tour Europe with him as his lead guitarist, Scott freaked out.

“I was like ‘I don’t even know, how is all that even going to work?’” Scott said in a recent phone interview. “But everybody around me was like ‘Dude! Do it! Do it now!’”

Scott, who is from Cheyenne, Wyoming, was already something of a prodigy, having played gigs around Denver and Colorado’s Front Range starting at the age of 16. But the offer from Taylor, who grew up in Denver, still came as a shock.

“I got plucked out of Cheyenne as a 19-year-old and plopped into Paris,” Scott said laughing. “I was in his band for three or four years and we were doing five or six tours a year, so I got to go all over the Western world, and it was such a great experience.

“It was cool playing with somebody who’s the real thing,” he continued. “He really made his own style in that genre, and really, nobody else sounds like him. So, it was an honor getting to be a part of that for a few years. I learned so much, too, especially being on the road at that level, at that age.”

The Taylor Scott band, which is Scott on guitar, Jon Wirtz on keyboards, Larry Compton on drums, and Bob Songster on bass, will play at Steve’s Guitars starting at 8:30 p.m. tonight. It will be Scott’s first time playing anywhere in Carbondale.

“I heard it’s an intimate little room, but we’re going to get rockin’ in there anyway,” he said. “It will be the full outfit.”

Scott said the band will play a number of songs off their new album, “All We Have,” which was released last March.

“We like to break it down and do some mellow, singer-songwriter tunes, and also get funky and improvise a lot as well,” Scott said. “So we kinda do all that through the lens of our original music. We play a little bit of cover stuff too — soul, funk and a little blues.”

“All We Have” is the first collaboration between the Taylor Scott Band and producer Steve Berlin, who is a member of the band Los Lobos. Scott said that the way the collaboration came about was oddly simple, which he said is rare in the music business.

“We were at a Los Lobos show, and my manager at the time gave some of those guys our record,” Scott said. “Steve loved it, so he gave me a call and we started talking about working together right away.

“He was into the style and all the themes, so as soon as we got in touch I sent him pretty much everything I had written up to that point, and we whittled down to about a dozen songs for the album and recorded it just a few months later.”

Scott said the band’s music melds elements of funk, soul, rock and R&B, and his primary influences include the Allman Brothers Band, early New Orleans funk like The Meters, singer-songwriters like Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, and classic bluesmen like B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf and Freddie King.

“All those things and more come out,” he said. “So I feel like there’s something for everybody.

“We improvise a lot, and each live show is a little different.”

jbear@postindependent.com