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Colorado musician ‘from a different era’ swings into Rifle

Kristin Carlson
Colorado Mountain College
Katie Glassman and Snapshot – from left, Charlie Mertens, Greg Schochet, Glassman and Eric Moon – will bring their unique take on Western swing to Colorado Mountain College in Rifle in a free concert Friday, Nov. 22.
Contributed Photo |

Katie Glassman fuses soulful fiddling with a sparkling voice to span a range of genres from Western swing to vintage jazz and bluegrass.

She and her band, Snapshot, will perform in the Clough Auditorium at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle, 3695 Airport Road, at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22.

“I think of myself as being from a different era,” said Glassman of her mixed Americana musical style. “I’ve always loved music with a nostalgic edge.”

The Denver native began playing fiddle at the age of 9. Inspired by old-time Texas music, she learned by ear and honed her skills at late-night jam sessions and countless competitions across the country. Her most recent honors include the Walnut Valley old-time fiddle national championship in Winfield, Kan., and the Rocky Grass competition in Lyons, Colo.

Throughout her career, Glassman has traveled far and wide to study with her heroes, including legendary fiddle players Darol Anger, Jimmie Don Bates, Stuart Duncan, Paul Anastasio and Joey McKenzie. In 2007, she became only the second American to attend the Centre Musique Didier Lockwood in France, where she earned a Certificate Avec Mention Bien after a year of jazz studies.

“I didn’t speak a word of French when I moved there,” said Glassman. “I was in a little town where no one spoke English, and I had to learn fast – culturally, linguistically and musically.”

She credits her teacher, Didier Lockwood, for helping her find an original style, rooted in tradition.

“He taught me how to play jazz on a violin, how to make it tasteful and melodic. And he taught me how to swing,” Glassman laughed.

It was also Glassman’s time in France that nudged her toward doing vocals. Prompted by 10 months of cloudy weather, she started singing to lift her spirits.

“I’ve loved singing ever since I was a kid,” she said. “I never thought I would be any good at it, or that I’d be song writing. It’s been an exciting surprise.”

Glassman and her band’s debut CD as a quartet will be released in February 2014. Titled “Dream a Little Dream,” it includes covers, instrumentals and five original songs that pay homage to Western swing with contemporary song writing.

The quartet includes Glassman playing fiddle and singing; Eric Moon adding piano, accordion and vocals; Charlie Mertens laying down some old-time slapping bass and vocal harmonies; and Greg Schochet playing guitar and providing comic relief.

The Rifle performance is the second in a free concert series coordinated by CMC ArtShare and sponsored by Chevron and Grand River Health. The final concert in the series will feature the J. Miller Band on Jan. 17, 2014. For more information, call 625-1871.

Every member of the band hails from the Rocky Mountain region. Glassman attended the Denver School of the Arts with bass player Mertens, and met Moon and Schochet through mutual musical friends.

“I’ve been looking my whole life for people to play Western swing with,” said Glassman. “I’m so lucky to have found these guys. They’re my heroes.”

The Rifle concert will feature crowd favorites and fun covers, including a few Elvis Presley songs from his Sun Studio days, as well as newly minted songs from the group’s soon-to-be-released CD.

“For me, music is a mutual exchange with the crowd,” said Glassman. “It’s such a spontaneous experience, and I love making a crowd laugh.”


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