Head to Deerhammer Distilling Company in Buena Vista this Friday night to sip a little whiskey while sitting back to enjoy the sounds of the Indie-folk-bluegrass-rock duo Morgan Williams and Deborah Colley.
The husband-and-wife duo met in 2004 at Adventure Unlimited camps just north of Buena Vista. At first, Colley, a vocalist, would not play music with Williams, a guitarist, songwriter and banjo player, because his voice was “so bad,” he joked.
Williams fondly described Colley as a “triple threat” because of her talents as a singer, contemporary dancer and theater actor. Although she has a beautiful voice, she had not performed live vocals for years, until recently.
Williams reflected back to a time in high school when he told a girlfriend he hoped he’d have more time on his hands someday so he could learn guitar. “She asked, ‘What are you waiting for?’ So I started teaching myself and I’ve been playing ever since.”
Primarily Roaring Fork Valley-based performers, Williams and Colley will be presenting their first concert at Deerhammer. “My buddy told me it’s a nice little spot to come play music. We’re just popping over the hill to play for the day,” Williams said. He and Colley, Buena Vista locals nine years ago, are also looking forward to travelling over the pass from Carbondale to enjoy the spring skiing in the backcountry on a few fourteeners if the weather allows. “Otherwise, we’ll go boating.”
Last November, the couple officially joined forces with banjo player and singer-songwriter Sunny Morehouse and percussionist Eric Baumheier to form the band Raccoon Fight. Williams and Morehouse had previously played music together for five years. “We just started this project. It’s kind of nice to do three-part harmonies; there’s a different sound and it’s sort of vocally driven.”
The band’s varied influences include Modest Mouse, Woody Guthrie, John Prine, Bruce Springsteen, Gillian Welch and Ryan Adams. “This is not quite the music we’ll be playing (at Deerhammer), but I’m just starting to incorporate the loop pedal. So we’ll be bringing some of that stuff.
“As a band we just love gardening, hanging out together, playing music together; we are all kind of on the same page. It’s fun to work the harmonies out, but we have no particular future vision, other than to keep honing in our aesthetic,” Williams said. “You may see us one year, and we’ll be playing a different set the next year. Rather than keep on working on the same tunes, we keep expanding.”
Colley is currently working on a dance project with a performance group in Carbondale that will incorporate some of the band’s music and might be recorded. Follow Raccoon Fight via Facebook to watch for the release of Colley’s project.
There aren’t any online recordings of either the band or the Williams and Colley duo, which is all the more reason to mark your calendar for the free show at Deerhammer at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 12.