Carbondale’s Let Them Roar plays Music on the Mountain |

Carbondale’s Let Them Roar plays Music on the Mountain

Carbondale band Let Them Roar, pictured here at Marble Fest in 2013, will open for U2 tribute band Under a Blood Red Sky at the July 1 Summer of Music concert in Two Rivers Park.
Bill Fisher / Courtesy of Let Them Roar |

Carbondale’s Let Them Roar plays Music on the Mountain

Let Them Roar might not exist today if it weren’t for a dream guitarist Mateo Sandate had about seven years ago.

“I had this dream, and it was this awesome music—like, I’m still searching for it,” said Sandate. “And Olivia was a part of that dream, and out of the blue she just called me up.”

Singer Olivia Pevec knew Sandate through a former band, The Hideouts, but her itch to make new music corresponded exactly with his dream. After a Bob Dylan phase (“We just learned all kinds of Bob tunes,” Sandate said), the two began writing original songs together. With the help of some serious serendipity, the rest of the current lineup found Pevec and Sandate and formed one of the region’s most popular local bands. In fact, just last year, Let Them Roar (formerly All the Pretty Horses) won the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Locals Choice Band Award.

Let Them Roar will perform at 6 p.m. on Saturday for Music on the Mountain at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park. Free tram rides up and down the mountain in exchange for a canned food donation to benefit the LIFT-UP food pantry begin at 4 p.m.

Now, about that serendipity.

Drummer Aaron Taylor first met bassist Ashton Taufer when the two were in the same jazz program at Colorado State University.

Taylor became Let Them Roar’s drummer after Sandate saw him playing on a bucket at an open mic night in Aspen.

Frank Martin, who plays guitar, mandolin and lap steel and sings in Let Them Roar, joined the band when he invited himself on stage with them during a gig at Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale.

Singer Sophia Clark started performing with the band after she called Sandate about an internship at the Forest Service where he works—an internship that wasn’t even advertised.

To say all of these encounters that brought the group together was fate might be a stretch, but it’s clear to anyone who sees the band perform that the chemistry between its members is something special.

So special, in fact, that other musicians find it hard to resist jumping on stage with them.

“We’ve always had people jumping in at the last minute,” said Pevec. “That’s definitely been a really consistent thing about this group. You never know who’s actually going to be in the band. It’s led me to have this sense of musicians being able to just do that, and it always blows me away when I meet people who are like, ‘No, we haven’t rehearsed,’ or, ‘No, we can’t. We can’t play tonight; we haven’t played together before ever.’ Like, what are you talking about? We do this all the time.”

This performance philosophy has led the band to play a variety of styles of music and take on a creative and adventurous reputation.

“We’ve played in so many different ensemble settings; it’s been unbelievable,” said Sandate. “We’ve played in everything from the rock and roll setting with guitars, drums and bass, to string quartets, to brass bands, to African percussionists. It’s awesome.”

But at the band’s core is a special brand of classic country that Sandate says began with Pevec’s twangy voice. The group writes country songs because the music is honest and has a way of connecting to a variety of listeners.

“There’s such a simple, strong connection to the audience for me,” said Martin. “What is personal is universal. So you have these little classic country songs that are super personal, but they’re really relevant and universal. And I love it when we can connect to people. We can play for our peers, but we can still go down and play songs that some old guy with a cowboy hat on a porch is totally going to connect to. It’s really rich, and I love that.”

One of the ways Let Them Roar creates a personal connection to audiences is by capturing the spirit of the valley. Even the band’s name hearkens to the Roaring Fork River.

“I can talk about this for a long time, as far as just the meaningful music and its relationship to the land and the inspiration that comes from where we live, right here,” said Sandate. “I think a lot of the threads of what we all do, the land is really intently a part of that.”

But for Pevec, who writes lyrics and melodies for the group, any representation of the region is purely accidental.

“For me, it has a lot more to do with just being here,” said Pevec. “It’s definitely not something where I have a concept of what it sounds like to be here. It’s much more just like, when I write, I write about what I’m seeing and what I’m doing and what I’m feeling. It hasn’t been an intentional thing, just that’s how it is for me.”

Regardless of intention or lack thereof, the music that comes out of Let Them Roar captures the spirit of the valley and, therefore, really shines when it’s played at an outdoor venue. This is the second year in a row that the band will perform for Music on the Mountain, and the consensus among the members is the environment takes their show to the next level.

“I like the view up there,” said Taufer. “That was my favorite part, just seeing that view of the river winding through. It’s beautiful.”

The members of Let Them Roar found each other by some strange luck at least, or by fate, to hear them tell it. The blend of personalities and backgrounds, and everyone’s devotion to the valley, results in what Taylor calls “Colorado Country.”

“It sounds like the river,” said Sandate, “with a little touch of laughter.”

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