Newcomers entertain with folk-rock at Backcountry Ball |

Newcomers entertain with folk-rock at Backcountry Ball

BRECKENRIDGE – You may have donated that large-knit ski hat from the 1970s – you know, the one with the big gold, green or red pom-pom that bobbed back and forth over the top of your head as you schussed down the mountain with those narrow boards.

But if you’re one of the lucky few who still own such vintage clothing as pom-pom hats, tight black stirrup pants that aren’t good for anything but showing off your butt in the ski lodge or neon-yellow and black ski parkas that came in handy if you ever lost your way in the backcountry, you’re in luck.

The Backcountry Ball is the perfect event at which to wear your vintage ski attire. Along with a costume contest, the ball features a casual dinner, dance and silent auction to benefit the Summit Huts Association’s scholarship fund, which provides wilderness hut experiences for school and youth groups throughout the state.

This year, Newcomers Home performs its blend of folk, bluegrass and rock music at the ball.

Newcomers Home began in Boulder when three college sophomores at the University of Colorado invited a handful of friends to sit on the stairs of their dormitory to hear their musical experimentation. They didn’t intend on becoming black sheep, but, that’s exactly what happened.

The band has become the beloved black sheep at Celtic festivals, with its blend of Irish, Latin and American folk-rock music. Though the outfit doesn’t play traditional Irish music, it has become a wildcard favorite at Celtic festivals throughout Colorado and has shared the stage with such Irish acts as Solas, the Waterboys and 7 Nations.

Yet, the same band packs the house at the Blue Bar, a well-known San Francisco jazz club, as well as Boulder’s trendy Fox Theatre.

Katie Herzig fronts the band with her alluring lead vocals, backed by guitarist Andrew Jed and multi-instrumentalist Tim Thornton (on mandolin, harmonica and banjo).

Herzig’s strong, mature singing voice runs in her family; her sister is an opera singer. The spunky blonde uses percussion – breaking out her spoons – and acoustic guitar to lend a folk-rock sound. Jed gives the music a Latin flair and a big sound, while Thornton brings in the Irish influences. All three harmonize.

“Different things excite us about the music,” Herzig said. “It makes our music unique. When we first met, we felt like we had extremes (of Irish, Latin and some African rhythms). The more we play, the more it’s unified.

“It’s American folk-rock with world influences. What I think makes us a unique combination is a lot of times a band will be a rock band and not lyric-based, or a singer-songwriter band where it’s all lyric-based. We tend to combine both, where you could be rocking out to a song and get a lot out of it.

“You’re taken on a journey with the different kinds of music. For people who want to dance, it’s there. For people who want to sit and listen to lyrics, it’s there.”

Tickets to the Backcountry Ball are $20 for adults and $10 for children. They are available at the door or in advance by calling Summit Huts at (970) 453-8583.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or by e-mail at

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