I love the nightlife: Area boasts healthy music scene
CARBONDALE, Colorado – It’s a spirited St. Patrick’s Day celebration on a Sunday night, and the Black Nugget is getting louder.The Goodman Band, a trio of skilled musicians from Grand Junction and Glenwood Springs, is on the old coal mining bar’s stage luring festive partygoers to dance like everyone’s watching. The band – comprising Gerry Goodman, Darin Elwell and John Brown, who also perform jaw-dropping Stevie Ray Vaughan covers as the Texas Flood tribute band – invite local musician friends to come up and join in the fun. Vocalist and guitarist Shanti Gruber, of The Tippetts and Starlettes fame, takes the stage to sing a sultry blues number.If her goal was to melt faces, as she often says, it worked.
Face-melting rock and blues and spur-of-the-moment jam sessions on a Sunday night barely touch the surface of the resurrection of live music, stage arts and entertainment in the area. One look at an event calendar, and there’s not one night where there’s absolutely nothing to do.No one can say “I’m bored” again.The Bayou Restaurant, for example, hosts regional rock, country and blues bands, stand-up comedy, a wildly popular karaoke night, as well as Latin Night on Saturdays.”We have some exciting changes taking place,” said Sherri McClenhan, of the restaurant in downtown Glenwood Springs.She said club and restaurant owners, like her boss Steven Beham, want to see the nightlife scene flourish in the area. Beham has been a vocal proponent of improving nightlife, especially in downtown Glenwood. “Steven is highly engaged in making improvements at the Bayou,” McClenhan said.Glenwood restaurants like the Bayou and a newcomer to Glenwood’s cuisine scene, Kanpai Sushi & Bar, are recognizing the added hospitality free live music offers their clientele. Just this weekend alone, to go with its beautifully presented sushi dishes, Kanpai hosts live guitar and vocals Friday night and foot-tapping music with the Cottonwood Acoustic Bluegrass Band.
All the world’s a stage for local performers, and live music nights in the area are blooming like onions at an Outback. Local musicians and comics are gracing the stages of the Black Nugget, Rivers Restaurant, Carbondale Beer Works, the Cardiff Schoolhouse, the Eagles Club, Steve’s Guitars, 6th Street Bar & Grill and Loyal Brothers Lounge – and that’s just in Carbondale and Glenwood. Venues in New Castle include the Silver Club Saloon and Burning Mountain Bowl.Going out to see live music on a Friday or Saturday night is becoming a habit. The live music scene is so much of a party, local artist and music promoter Rhonda Roberts has decided to mix her birthday with a slew of local musicians at the Nugget tonight. Former Fire in the Asylum frontman Josh Phillips will play with his musical collaboration, Is, with Steve Cook and Frank Botti. Roxy Cox is sent to sing.”Everyone is welcome,” she said. “Birthdays should be celebrated by all. Bring your friends.”
Big Daddy’s Sports Bar in West Glenwood is a fairly new addition to the live music party scene. But word is catching on fast how fun a Friday night at Big Daddy’s can be.Sean Paxson, of the popular Western Slope country and rock band Derringer, expects a fun crowd tonight.”Most recently we have really enjoyed playing Big Daddy’s,” he said. “Great stage, dance floor, food and staff. It really makes it fun when the staff is so great.”Derringer has been playing in the area for the last 20 years, mostly summer festivals such as Strawberry Days and Garfield and Eagle county fairs. Paxson said the band really loves the fans who keep coming out to their shows, year after year.”For myself and Derringer, the Western Slope has been a great area to be a country and rock band,” he said. “Some of my favorite bars from the past were Shabbies Shooting Star Saloon in Rifle, Buffalo Valley in Glenwood, and the Relay Station in Carbondale, all of which are gone now. The Garfield County Fair has always been a favorite of mine.” The band has opened for national acts including the late country music star Criss Ledoux, a gig Paxson said Derringer will always remember. Paxson credited the area’s abundant music scene to support from local venue owners and radio. “Gabe [Chenoweth] at KMTS is a big local music supporter and was instrumental in getting Derringer those opening shows. Over the years we have sold a lot of CDs, played a lot of shows and had a great time playing the Western Slope.”Paxson said there’s no slowing down for Derringer, or the area’s music scene, when they receive such a welcoming response. He said all of the musicians in the area, playing a range of genres, are dedicated to putting the Western Slope of Colorado on the live music radar.”Nothing comes easy,” he said. “You have to keep the music fresh and write new original music every year to get the bookings and keep the people coming to the show.”
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