The beat goes on at Steve’s Guitars
CARBONDALE, Colorado – Considered a rare event, today’s blue moon is a lunar effect that doesn’t always occur on a Friday night. One event that’s a constant on Fridays is music at Steve’s Guitars, which opened in 1993. “We are heading toward 600 Fridays in a row,” said owner Steve Standiford. “And the odds are good that we will continue the streak.”Intimate has always been the word to best describe the music room at Steve’s. Guitars in all colors, types and sizes hang from the walls and the ceiling like candy canes from a Christmas tree. Once, former Aspen comic Brooks Werner took a guitar from the ceiling and worked it into a punchline for one of his signature deadpan jokes.”See that empty spot over there,” he said, sadly pointing to the ceiling. “I’m really bummed. Someone bought the air guitar I wanted.”The joke killed, as they often do at Steve’s. That’s because Steve’s is like a comfortable living room. Instead of a TV, there’s a stage in the corner. And people are clapping or laughing, maybe even tapping their feet and swinging their partner. The color in the darkened room bounces off the guitars and mandolins, depending on the time of day, or night. Steve’s Guitars is a venue that believes in community. The venue is host to comedy coat drives and community radio fundraisers. Open mics and live music. Nationally touring acts visit the valley to play this beloved room. Steve’s is well heralded as the room to play in many music circles, as well as the valley’s comedy circuit.On Sept. 8, singer-songwriter Jami Lunde of Lyons will have the opportunity to play Steve’s famous room that’s quietly tucked in the mountain town of Carbondale. Lunde is touring nationally to promote her latest album, “Big Black Birds,” that features Chris Funk of The Decemberists. “This is my first time playing at Steve’s,” she said. “I would love to let everyone know.”A simple look back at Steve’s lineup of music in the last nine years, and it’s obvious Lunde is good company. Reed Waddle, the winner of the 2012 Troubador contest at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, has played Steve’s multiple times, including a set with celebrated singer-songwriter John Oates, of Hall and Oates fame. Carbondale Mountain Fair band Diego’s Umbrella, a favorite at this year’s music fest from California, brought much musical fervor to the small, 50-60-seat venue in July. The band is known for its high-energy shows, and Steve’s proved to be a perfect setting.Leading up to Mountain Fair, Steve’s showed no signs of slowing down.”We had a great week of live music in the shop with six straight nights leading up to an epic Saturday night dance party with Diego’s Umbrella,” Standiford said. “We had a wonderful time listening to all the musicians that came to town that week.”In a matter of minutes, the atmosphere in Steve’s can go from quiet, with the audience seated, to a clearing of chairs as music fans rise to their feet to dance. The bring-your-own-beverage policy is popular among guests, and the bands always appreciate the quaint setting with the friendly locals.”We have never needed a bouncer yet,” Standiford said. “It’s like throwing a good party with your friends and neighbors, every week.”This week is no exception. For today’s Blue Moon Open Mic Night, Standiford invited those in Carbondale who take part in the monthly Full Moon Cruiser Ride, as well as valley musicians, to perform or listen in after the ride.”It is a rare blue moon and the bikes will be out in full force,” he said. “I am also planning on inviting some local songwriters to jump up on the stage with short notice, so expect some beautiful music to be made.”
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