Back in the Dark Ages of urban life in Denver, I often thought there had to be a productive use of time commuting in stop-and-go traffic. I never hit upon the answer, but Dragondeer founding member Eric Halborg did.
“I played harmonica while driving around Denver after my stereo got stolen. I started leaving harmonicas in the car, and I played for 3 years in the car.”
The effort paid big dividends when Halborg met Cole Rudy, the other founding member of Dragondeer. “We started hanging out and realized we both loved the blues. I mentioned that I played harmonica but had never played with anyone. So we got together and realized I could play along to guitar. That’s how we started playing together. We focused on traditional blues forms but with our own twist – improv and different effects, delay pedals, wah wah, distortion, etc.
The two eventually brought in Carl Sorensen on drums, and Casey Sidwell on bass, both of whom have jazz music degrees to their credit. The result is a band that recently recorded 12 new songs with producer Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Tom Waits, Anders Osborne) in California’s storied Topanga Canyon. Halborg said the band just released 3 of those Tunes. The release is digital as well as on 7-inch vinyl.
The band has performed all over the United States and abroad with performance slots at festivals like Telluride Blues & Brews Festival; Nacarubi Music Festival in Big Sur, Calif.; Tour De Fat; South Park Music Festival; South by Southwest; The Denver Post Underground Music Showcase; the Jazz Aspen Snowmass Festival; T-Bois Blues Festival in Louisiana; Arise Music Festival; and the 24th annual Grolsch Blues Festival in Germany.
The band has also performed at Red Rocks Amphitheater and just returned from an East Coast tour to perform at the Dead and Co. pre-party in Boulder last weekend.
Dragondeer will take the stage at 9 p.m. Saturday, June 17, at The Lariat, 206 E. Main St.
Buena Vista’s growing live music scene includes plenty of other offerings into next week, beginning with Melody Pond at 7 p.m. tonight, June 15, at Deerhammer Distilling Co., 321 E Main St. The two songwriters from Fayetteville, Ark., formerly known as The Sisters Sweet, just performed at The Lariat and The Asian Palate, so you may have already heard about their divine vocal harmonies But don’t procrastinate; this is their last BV performance for awhile.
Next up, Chrispy will perform at 3 p.m. Friday, June 16, at Deerhammer Distilling Co. Chrispy is a one-man band and river rat who will pair his original tunes with Deerhammer’s one-of-a-kind whiskey.
Ryan Flores will follow Chrispy at 7 p.m. at Deerhammer. Returning to BV with a heavy dose of flamenco-inspired wizardry, Flores’ Czech-influenced music conjures images of Tom Waits and Gogol Bordello doing cannonballs into Django Reinhardt’s pool.
At 10 p.m. Friday, Matt Rouch and the Noise Upstairs will bring alt-country and folk music to The Lariat Based in Denver, Rouch and his band are making waves in the Colorado music scene as one of Denver’s fastest up- and-coming bands “We all came together because we love bands like the Avett Brothers, Elephant Revival, The Decemberists, etc., so it made sense for most of us. We do have one Phish Head who loves jam bands, but he’s also a classically-trained violinist, so it works out.”
Local alt-country favorites Pint and A Half will open for Dragondeer at 6 p.m. Saturday at The Lariat. The Salida duo is gaining momentum nationally after releasing a groundbreaking new album this spring.
Also at 6 p.m. Saturday Pickin’ Pear, a spin-off from Canyon Collected, will perform at Eddyline Taproom, 102 Linderman Ave. Thirsty for summer bluegrass and murder ballads to start your evening? Another up-and-coming group of talented pickers and songwriters from Fort Collins is here to quench that.
At 7 p.m. Saturday, Chrispy will play a second gig at Deerhammer.
As already noted, Dragondeer takes the Lariat stage at 9 p.m. Saturday.
At 1 p.m. Sunday, Pickin’ Pear performs again at Eddyline Taproom.
At 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, Buena Vista Recreation presents Crestone band Blue Rooster in McPhelemy Park, U.S. Hwy. 24 at West Main St. Blue Rooster plays blues, rock and funk so groove on down to the park for this community concert in the park.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, The Lariat hosts its weekly open mic night, where you can see and hear amazing local talent.