Summit County string band Local Folk plays Keystone, Frisco, Steamboat
If you go
What: Local Folk
When and where:
3:30 p.m. Friday, July 4 — FAC, Keystone Summit House
Noon Saturday, July 12 — SeasonFive Summit Games, Frisco Marina
7 p.m. Saturday, July 19 — Steamboat Rodeo (paid admission required)
9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 19 — Carl’s Tavern, Steamboat
5 p.m. Saturday, Aug 2, and Sunday, Aug. 3 — Kickapoo Tavern, Keystone
3:30 p.m. Friday, Aug 22 — FAC, Keystone Summit House
1 p.m. Saturday, Aug 23 — Estes Park Bluegrass Festival (paid admission required)
Cost: Free unless otherwise noted
More information: Visit the individual venues’ websites for more information about the shows, or to learn more about Local Folk, visit http://www.localfolkband.com
For the musicians, the best part of a bluegrass show often happens long after the stage lights have winked out and the curtain has fallen. Bluegrass, after all, is a genre rooted in campfire circles and late-night bar picks, perfectly suited for Colorado culture.
“People get together at those shows,” said Dru Griffin, of Dillon, mandolin player for the band Local Folk. “It’s a common occurrence that everyone shows up afterward at the parking lot or campsite and little circles form and everyone starts playing their music.”
The fans are drawn to the talent of the musicians, the musicians are drawn to the deep pool of players with which to collaborate, and the result is a vibrant Colorado bluegrass scene, a mecca for festivals from one side of the state to the other.
“People in Colorado appreciate good music and it lends itself to the community,” said Dan Smallwood, of Silverthorne, Local Folk’s upright bass player. “Music in general, but a lot of these bluegrass venues and things, everyone brings their instruments, and after the show, everyone hangs out and plays their music until the sun comes up. It’s a big community that enjoys the music and plays the music.”
Local Folk, a string band collective composed of players from Summit County, has become a microcosm of the bigger bluegrass community.
“The key to Local Folk is the local movement, not necessarily trying to travel far and abroad, just keep it local and do what we do,” Griffin said. “We appreciate the people who come out and listen to it and enjoy it, and we love playing for them and we’re going to keep doing it, hopefully for a long time to come.
“I feel pretty blessed that way. In only a matter of a couple of years, we’ve gone from the guys who hang out in a living room to playing these great places like Keystone and Estes Park and playing the Frisco (SeasonFive Summit) Games.”
Local Folk’s next gig takes the band to Friday Afternoon Club at Keystone on Friday, July 4, followed by shows in Frisco and Steamboat and then back to Keystone to play the Kickapoo Tavern. The band has been touring the High Country circuit since it formed three years ago after meeting at a pick in Frisco.
“There used to be a Friday night jam at the Holiday Inn,” Griffin said. “Dan and I played in a band called the High Country Healers together, and the other band members moved out of the county, so we started Local Folk.”
Angie Janzen, of Dillon, on fiddle, and Mike Huberman, of Frisco, on dobro, joined forces with Griffin and Smallwood from another Summit band, Rojos Calientes. Local Folk then picked up guitarist Loren Zyniecki, of Eldora, to round out its personnel.
“We all kind of share a common interest in traditional folk and bluegrass music and swing music and string band music, so we just kind of rolled with that,” Smallwood said.
Sharing in the tradition
With the musicians sharing various backgrounds from orchestra to the backwoods, Local Folk plays a mixture of bluegrass, old-time, Western swing and fiddle tunes. Griffin said he was drawn to string music because of its traditions and the roots aspect of sharing music among friends.
“I like the intricacies of some of the instrumentations, the way that some of the melody parts come together,” Smallwood said. “We come together and do a good harmony on the singing aspect of it, and the drive, I guess you could put it, the groove.”
The band plays a variety of string music, rolling in and out of typical bluegrass and diving into elements of other genres.
“We like to do swing music, as well, so a lot of the traditional bluegrass bands don’t do that,” Smallwood said. “We also like to take tunes that aren’t traditional bluegrass bands and grass them up.”
The musicians in Local Folk are drawn together by everything associated with the mountain lifestyle, from their music to outdoor pursuits such as skiing, biking and boating. At their core, they try to typify what it means to be “local.”
“Local Folk is different because of what it is,” Griffin said. “It’s a local compilation of local musicians playing string band music. We share that common interest and that grassroots movement.”
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