Longtime Summit County locals debut new musical project
IF YOU GO
What: Zuma Road
When: Saturday, Nov. 28; 9:30 p.m.
Where: Lake Dillon Tavern
The longer you’ve lived in Summit County, the more likely it is you have a story from Montezuma Road. It might begin with, “This one time, when we were camping …” or, “We were driving up Montezuma Road when …”
Dan Brewer has plenty of those stories. The bass player has lived in the county for 17 years, and recently rounded up a few other locals to create their newest musical project Zuma Road.
“I came up with Zuma Road because everyone has a story about something that happened up on Zuma,” he said. “It’s a long and windy road with lots of curves — kind of like life.”
Brewer, along with Ryan Emmett on guitar, Molly Brown on vocals, Pat Fitzgerald on drums and Max Parson on piano, began playing together as a group in September. They played their first show at the Snake River Saloon last week, and play a second round at Lake Dillon Tavern on Saturday, Nov. 28.
Brewer describes their music as funky, danceable songs that keep people moving on the dance floor. It’s a mix of cool blues and soul, with a little bit of rock. Brewer said the band draws influence from Tedeschi Trucks Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers and some jam bands. Emmett added Slightly Stoopid, a little bit of Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers and B.B. King. He said the band likes to mix fan favorites like Rolling Stones with a Sound Tribe Sector 9 vibe, a “free jamming kind of deal.”
They currently play a mix of originals and covers, but both Brewer and Emmett said they hope to get to where they are playing mostly originals as they progress as a band.
Zuma Road started with Brewer and Ryan, and the pieces were added with locals the two knew through the music scene. Their drummer, Fitzgerald, has lived in Summit since ’95, and Parson and Brown have lived in the county for about a year. Brewer said it was important to him to have a female vocalist, and Parson added a unique element to the group as a trained classical pianist.
“The first time we heard Max — we didn’t know he was a classical pianist — the first time we heard him, he started ripping a Mozart … piano line in practice,” Brewer said. “We all kind of looked at each other and were totally amazed. We didn’t know he did that, we just thought he was a piano player. That kind of blew our minds, and then we were like, ‘Wow, let’s use that to our advantage.’”
Brewer also plays with the bands Damnation and local favorites Funky Johnson, along with working as a ski patroller at Keystone Resort.
“It’s a fine balance of life and a wife,” he laughed. “And keeping everyone happy — I’m pretty good at that.”
He says that all three bands he plays in are very different, each satisfying a certain passion for the music. Emmett used to play with a local group called Garcia Van Johnson, and still plays with Homegrown Mountain Jams.
Zuma Road played the Snake last week to a packed house, Brewer said. As the group is made up of longtime locals, they have a decent following already, and hope the band can branch out to attract more of the tourist crowd. Both Brewer and Emmett said their future goals include playing a tour circuit through the Colorado resort towns.
Brewer said the most important thing to him when it comes to playing music is making people happy and getting them out on the dance floor. Each member of the band has a passion for the music that keeps them going with all of their projects, jobs and lives in general.
“How cool it is to make music with so many different people from so many different places,” Brewer said. “And feeling and seeing everyone’s take on what type of influences or bands have influenced them over the years.
“It’s my passion — it’s what I love to do. The bands are spread out enough where I’m able to be able to do all this and blessed to do all this.”
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