Old Dillon Inn reunion at Murphy’s in Silverthorne features four bands
If you go
What: Murphy’s Friends of the Old Dillon Inn 2015 Reunion & Music Festival
When: Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27
Where: Murphy’s Irish Pub, 501 Blue River Parkway, Silverthorne
Cost: $10 cover each day
More information: Call (970) 468-2457
Friday, June 26
3 p.m. — Tennessee Hat Band
6 p.m. — Tumbleweed
Saturday, June 27
1 p.m. — Richmond Brothers
2:30 p.m. — The Rifters
4:30 p.m. — Tumbleweed
7 p.m. — Tennessee Hat Band
On Friday, June 26, and Saturday, June 27, the good ol’ days will come alive at Murphy’s Irish Pub in Silverthorne with the return of the Friends of the Old Dillon Inn Reunion & Music Festival, featuring sets from the Tennessee Hat Band, Tumbleweed, the Richmond Brothers and The Rifters.
The biannual festival, first hosted in 2011 by Bernie Murphy, owner of Murphy’s, celebrates the life and legacy of former Old Dillon Inn owner Bud Nicholson, who died in a motorcycle accident in 2010.
“We had formulated this reunion and music festival in his honor, but also to bring back a couple of the incredible bands that played at the Old Dillon Inn over the years,” said Murphy, who worked at the Inn from 1977 to 1998. “There’s still lots of friends left in the county and employees. It was an incredible place to work and hang out. We developed incredible relationships with lots and lots of people over the years.”
The “ODI,” as friends and former employees fondly refer to it, was a special place to all who frequented it, a family that included staff, visiting bands and regulars.
“It did what a bar is suppose to do and more,” said Don Richmond, who will perform with three of the four bands at the festival. “There was a lot of love passed around there, and also people worked very hard there. They wanted to do right by Bud, and the place ran very well. There was the sort of generosity of spirit there that made people want to come back, whether they be customers or bands.”
Don’s band Tumbleweed performed at ODI every six weeks from about 1977 to 1990, he said, followed by occasional visits as the band evolved and began performing more gigs in New Mexico. He said the establishment ran on a foundation of hard work and taking care of business, but it’s most remembered as a monument to openhandedness.
“Their feeling there was just wonderful,” said Diamond Jim Richmond, Don’s brother, whose Tennessee Hat Band formed at ODI in the 1970s. “So many places that we would play, we’d play there once and it’s OK, and, the next time we come back, everybody’s moved on. The ODI had a continuity to it; the people were there all the time, they loved each other and that showed in the feeling that that place had. It was very special.”
Both men have continued friendships to this day that began at the Old Dillon Inn 30 years ago. It was just that kind of place, Jim said.
“A lot of that came from the character of the owner, Bud Nicholson,” he said. “He would come in and help out doing anything. Everybody pitched in, everybody helped everyone and it just was a wonderful place, and I think that’s worth celebrating.”
Gang’s all here
The Tennessee Hat Band played alongside David Allan Coe in the early years of the ODI and continued to return a few times a year after the band split from Coe, Jim said.
“We’d spend the week there, the weekend plus a couple of days to recover from the fun we had,” he said with a laugh. “It was really great for us. We got treated like royalty and just welcomed right into the family. We got this great response. For some reason, our style of music really hit it off with the patrons and the help; we were a good fit.”
Jim and his main musical partner, Fred “Mad Dog” Spears, will return this weekend with the Tennessee Hat Band to play their old haunt, bringing along a mix of country and blues, with a hint of electric bluegrass and a bit of Cajun influence. Although Jim and Spears live not too far apart in Texas, they no longer actively work together, so taking the stage with a few of the old bandmates will be a treat, Jim said.
Rounding out the roster are Don’s bands, Tumbleweed and The Rifters, as well as the Richmond Brothers, a trio composed of Jim, Don and their brother Ed.
“It’s really special that me and my brother Don get to play together,” Jim said. “We’ve been both of us in the music world for all of our adult lives, but it’s only occasionally that we get to play together. About three years ago, we thought, why don’t we do something together? Our brother Ed is a good singer — he never did perform music, but he always liked to sing — so we thought, well, we’ve got everything that we need.”
Seeing old friends
With musicians coming from as far away as Nashville and Texas, the Old Dillon Inn Reunion & Music Festival provides a coveted chance to catch up with old friends.
“I’m in three out of four bands, so I’m going to be working fairly hard, but I hope to be able to socialize,” Don said. “It’ll be fun; it’ll be remembering an important period in our lives and seeing old friends. There’ll be a bunch of great music there — everybody, whether they remember the ODI or not, can come out and listen to some great music.”
Jim said it’s always a thrill to be onstage with musicians that he doesn’t see often, to perform with his brothers and play a few throwbacks with the Tennessee Hat Band.
“It’s a way for all of us old buddies to get together and rehash old times and listen to the best music the Old Dillon Inn ever had,” Murphy said. “On the patio under the big tent, we’ll do a barbecue and we’ll have an outside bar going and Murphy’s will be busy and a really fun place to be.”
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