Holidays bring to town Brothers Keeper & Friends, Trout Steak Revival

In the words immortalized by crooner Andy Williams, “It’s the holiday season …” and the Ark Valley scene has lots of treats in store “for every good girl and good little boy,” especially music fans. Like last year, The Lariat will host the biggest music events of the holidays with concerts New Year’s Eve by Brothers Keeper and Friends, Dec. 30 by Trout Steak Revival and Dec. 22 and 23 by Rapidgrass.

We caught up with Scott Rednor of Brothers Keeper just before the band headed to Santa Fe to record a new album at Jono Manson’s The Kitchen Sink studio. Manson and Blues Traveler front man John Popper joined Brothers Keeper for last year’s New Year’s Eve show at The Lariat, and the upcoming New Year’s Eve concert promises to be just as big.

Rednor listed notable musicians who will perform with the band this year, including Jeff Pevar, “one of the greatest guitar players in the world;” Martin Guigui, “who produced the last Billy Gibbons record;” and Rob Eaton Jr., “my guitar partner here in Vail. … We’ll have a couple of female vocalists with us too.”

In addition to being a great guitar player, Pevar is also a composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who has performed with musicians like Crosby Stills and Nash, Ray Charles, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Kenny Loggins, Joe Cocker, Jefferson Starship, Phil Lesh and Friends, Marc Cohn, Rickie Lee Jones and many others. In early December, Pevar wrapped up a tour with David Crosby and Friends.

Guigui is an award-winning filmmaker and Grammy-nominated music producer and engineer. Guigui has directed 10 feature films, written 16 screenplays, composed music for over 20 films and produced more than 40 albums, all while touring extensively. A music prodigy, Guigui was playing violin at the age of 4 and made his performance debut with the Puerto Rico Symphony at age 12. In addition to Billy Gibbons, Guigui has worked with musicians like Daryl Hall, Steve Earle, James Cotton, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Warren Haynes, Lucinda Williams, Lyle Lovett, John Popper, Phish, Jose Feliciano, Smokey Robinson, David Byrne, Lemmy Kilmister, etc. Guigui will play keys for the New Year’s Eve show.

If Eaton’s name sounds familiar, it might be because his father, Rob Eaton Sr., has been performing with Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra since 2001. As Rednor indicated, the younger Eaton is no slouch on guitar, and performs with “pretty much every local band in Vail.” He also recently performed at the 13th Annual Last Waltz Revisited shows in Boulder and Denver.

Given the level of talent among the “friends” who perform with Brothers Keeper, it’s obvious the three core members are well-respected in the music industry. In addition to Rednor on guitar, Michael Jude plays bass, John Michel plays drums and all three are accomplished vocalists. They transplanted from the East Coast to the Vail and Roaring Fork valleys. Rednor has been involved in recording and touring projects on a national level for more than 20 years and now owns Shakedown Bar in Vail.

Jude and Michel served as the rhythm section for the John Oates band for 15 years and have played with many renowned musicians. Rednor met Popper at a Horde Festival in the ’90s and later toured with him, and after his first show with Brothers Keeper, Popper suggested doing a project together, which led to the band’s debut album, Todd Meadows, which also features Eaton.

The members of Trout Steak Revival are no strangers to the Ark Valley, having recorded a music video in Buena Vista and performed at Elevation Beer Co., The Lariat and Campout for the Cause in 2017. Currently touring to promote their new album, Spirit to the Sea, the popular Colorado bluegrass band will return to The Lariat Saturday, Dec. 30.

The band won an Emmy Award for a soundtrack they contributed to a Rocky Mountain PBS documentary, they’ve collaborated with school children in mentoring programs in Denver and Steamboat Springs, and their music is featured on Bank of Colorado’s radio and television advertisements. Most recently, Westword named them Denver’s Best Bluegrass Band, and they were nominated as a Momentum Band of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Though labeled as a bluegrass band, Trout Steak Revival blends various elements of folk, indie, bluegrass and roots music, crafting memorable tunes and delivering energetic live performances.

While the band has already earned impressive honors, it continues to improve. “I think the longer we are together and the more we get to know each other, it becomes easier and easier to play as a group and communicate musically,” said violinist Bevin Foley. “We have been focusing a lot on our songwriting and harmony singing over the last couple years, really pushing ourselves to keep getting better and better. I think that the most exciting part is that we keep discovering things we can get better at, and we really try to put in the effort to improve. It is a constant challenge as a band to get along, be creative together, travel and live with each other, and improve musically.”

One of the more popular bands among Ark Valley locals, Trout Steak, it turns out, owes at least some of that popularity to beer. The band’s first Ark Valley gig was at Salida’s former music venue, Salida Cafe. Elevation Beer Co. in Poncha Springs was in the early stages of development, and the owners all attended that show.

“They really liked our music. We hung out after the show,” said bassist Casey Houlihan. The relationship that developed from that first Ark Valley show led to the band playing at the brewery’s grand opening and has brought Trout Steak back to Poncha Springs each year to celebrate Elevation’s anniversaries.

Colorado bluegrass band Rapidgrass also enjoys a helathy local following. For more about the band and their Rapidgrass Christmas Party performances Dec. 22 and 23, read Melody Buschur’s article on page 8.

Other musical holiday highlights in the Ark Valley include The Groove Farmers on New Year’s Eve at The Victoria Tavern in Salida, Roundhouse Assembly featuring Bruce Hayes and Chris Nasca Dec. 22 at Soulcraft Brewing Co. and Ragged Mountain Dec. 28 at Soulcraft. For a thorough list of Ark Valley music through Jan. 1, check out our online event calendar.