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Amphitheatre favorites return

Kimberly Nicoletti

DILLON – Chris Daniels and the Kings were a Lake Dillon Amphitheatre favorite for seven years straight, but they haven’t played the venue for three years because they’ve been touring Europe – or, in last year’s case, headlining at the Roswell, N.M. 55th anniversary of UFO landings.

“It was hilarious watching Trekkies dancing with someone from “The Hobbit,'” Chris Daniels said. “There were a lot of people in bad tinfoil hats.”

Their stint at the UFO gathering characterizes their general outlook on music and life – they approach it with a sense of humor.

“We’re not here to solve the world’s problems,” Daniels said. “We like to poke fun at the world’s problems. We have a lot of fun with our songs. We approach our blues tunes with a sense of humor – making fun of them.”

Like their song, “It Could Have Been Worse,” which they dedicate to anyone having a bad day with a simple reminder: you could be Martha Stewart (or Kobe Bryant).

“The band is always fun to watch,” he said. “You know it’s going to be a party night. But it’s not just the typical – we don’t do 50 Motown covers. It’s original music. It’s also challenging musically. There’s a lot of depth to it. It’s great players having a really good time and getting people involved.”

They have a knack for encouraging people to jump around, join hundreds of people in a conga line or dance like a flame during a fire dance.

The seven-piece band – complete with a full horn section – began playing old-school rhythm-and-blues in 1984. The musicians intended to do a one-time gig at the Blue Note in Boulder, but they had so much fun, it lead to a 19-year run (so far) that has taken them on 10 European tours and countless treks throughout the nation.

The Kings current lineup is: Colin “Bones” Jones on lead guitar, Randy Amen on drums, Kevin “Bro” Lege on bass, Dean LeDoux on keyboards, Darryl “Doody” Abrahamson on trumpet and Jim Waddell on sax and flute.

The band keeps its music fresh by constantly playing around.

“The cool thing about the band is that we keep exploring music,” he said. “Literally, every single night we play, someone comes up with something new.”

The other night, it started raining at a wedding they were playing at, so Abrahamson started the melody line to “Someone Left the Cake Out in the Rain.”

“That kind of thing happens every night, where we just go nuts with something,” Daniels said.

Since its origins in rhythm-and-blues, the band has pushed the blues into an early-Metallica-with-horns sound, explored funk with a Tower of Power feel and jumped on the swing bandwagon.

With the Kings’ latest album, “The Spark,” released last week, Daniels returned to his acoustic roots.

“”The Spark’ is a musical homecoming for me,” he said in a press release. “I started out as an acoustic guitarist. This is the music I played when I met Sam Bush, Steve Conn, Sonny Landreth and my other friends who play on the CD.”

The album differs from previous recordings not only because it’s acoustic, but also because Daniels wrote most of the songs. The lyrics are introspective and revolve around emotion and storytelling.

In addition to playing with musicians including Bonnie Raitt, Little Feat, Bo Diddley, Lyle Lovett, Sheryl Crow and Blues Traveler, the Denver-based band has seen its songs hit the charts in the U.S. and abroad.

Their free show starts at 7 p.m. today at the Lake Dillon Amphitheatre in Dillon.


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