Cloud City music scene offers plenty of choices

Leadville’s musicians are making their rounds in some of the smaller venues that host live music. While some names are new, (Jessie Lee Thetford, Gabby the Fabulous, Treeline Kitchen), and some quite old (Ski Cooper, Carey Nall, Sam Galey), it’s still the same kind of vibe you’d expect out of Leadville. Real, casual and unassuming. This is the time of year that audiences can get up close and personal with some of these performers, when crowds are thin and made up of locals young and old. This is what’s going on around town in the next couple weeks and what might interest lovers of all types of music.

The house musician at the Treeline Kitchen, Leadville’s new fine-dining experience at the old Sayer-McKee property, is Jessie Lee Thetford. The Santa Maria-born Air Force brat, now living in Leadville, is a multitalented musician and visual artist. Thetford’s original songwriting ranges from gentle to biting, but all complimented by her soft, lilting vocals. Just her and her acoustic guitar, Thetford creates an atmosphere perfect for a date night, or just a mid-winter cocktail hour when the sun goes down and the temperature drops.

Most recently, Thetford performed at the Victorian Homes Tour in December and at the Singer-Songwriter Showcase at the Tabor Opera House. Learn about Thetford’s talents at, where her 2014 album AWAKE is available for streaming or purchase. She’s working on the second studio album, but in the meantime, preview her latest creations at the Treeline Kitchen between 5 and 8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 19, or Wednesday, Jan. 24. Treeline Kitchen is located at 615a Harrison Ave., and takes reservations over the phone at 719-293-2200.

Also recently added to the regular schedule of live music is Wilde’s Green Hour, a.k.a. La Resistance on Harrison Avenue. The coffee shop/speakeasy with an artsy and exclusive vibe offers coffee and brunch daily, and cocktails nightly. But each week in the back of house, expect great performances from some of Leadville’s up and coming musicians.

Every Wednesday, Groovespeak’s frontman Carey Nall hosts open mic, where passers-by and weekly regulars alike come by to collaborate and perform all kinds of music from a cappella to piano, spoken word and full-fledged band performances. If the crowd is feeling shy, count on Nall to occupy the mic with his acoustic guitar, sometimes joined by pianist Ryan Ruegg, who together perform favorite deep cuts or Groovespeak originals. But more often than not, a surprise or two waits in the booths.

Also at Wilde’s, regular live music is scheduled every Saturday night and Sunday morning. This and next week it’s Gabby the Fabulous performing acoustic solo music on the piano. She sings, she plays, she’s fabulous. Stop by to see her from 7 to 9 p.m. on Saturday night and from 10 a.m. to noon during brunch on Sunday. Wilde’s Green Hour is located at 313 Harrison Ave. in Leadville.

The other Lake County locale regularly hosting live music is Ski Cooper/Chicago Ridge. In the lodge at the base of the mountain, Katie O’Rourke’s Irish Pub is the hangout and restaurant where, after the lifts close, musicians come to perform for the sore and tired skiers and snowboarders. Apres Ski is every Thursday and Saturday, and this week, Jan. 20 from 3 to 5 p.m. it’s rootsy rock ’n’ roll band from Lyons, Colo., Nine Dollar Shawl. Next week, on Thursday, Jan. 26, it’s Todd Johnson, who’s known for “a bluesy combination of modern and classic folk rock and reggae, including the country classics everyone knows and loves,” followed by Groovespeak’s George Finnell and 24 West’s Sam Galey performing together on Saturday, Jan. 27.

Ski Cooper is Lake County’s one and only ski resort. It’s laid-back, wide open and affordable; the only resort where you can get in plenty of runs through untracked snow before and after work. The locals’ pick, Ski Cooper is located at Tennessee Pass on U.S. Hwy. 24 headed west toward Vail and Avon, just 10 miles outside of Leadville. Visit Ski Cooper online at or call 719-486-2277 for ticketing information and directions. Lay back and have a drink after a day on the slopes with some good tunes.

And Leadville keeps watching the wheels go round and round. It’s a growing scene that thrives off support from private business and avid music lovers. Get out and meet some of these musicians, and if you play yourself, then make a connection and start collaborating. Up in Leadville, it’s the spirit that counts.