We just wrapped up our first tour, and man, was it an unforgettable trip!
After securing our Ford E-350, currently dubbed the “Wook Mobile”, CJ, Arthur, and Galen hauled it out West two Wednesday’s ago and met up with our good friends in Longmont, Colorado. Roddy and Jesse flew in the next day, and after a relaxing day at the nearby lake, we headed up to Gold Hill Inn outside Boulder on Friday for our first ever gig outside of Kentucky with local band Thunder and Rain. This is a one of a kind place, if you haven’t been. We’re talking no stop signs and a dirt road main street nestled up in the Rockies. The food was amazing, and the locals got downright rowdy to some Wookery. We couldn’t have asked for a more wooked out first gig in Colorado.
The next day we rolled down to Colorado Springs and played at Front Range Barbecue to another great crowd, then stayed with some old friends. We caught Garden of the Gods on the way out like good ole American tourists, and visited a friend who let Arthur play his prewar Gibson banjo for a spell. The van didn’t smell too bad at this point…
We rolled up to Evergreen on Sunday to see our friends from Icelantic Skis (www.icelanticskis.com) and enjoy the mountains. At this point, we still had not secured a slot in the fully-booked RockyGrass Band Contest, and with the competition being less than a week away, we figured we would just enjoy the ride, because it probably wouldn’t happen. So we played some music for our friends in Evergreen, and the next day we rolled down to visit Red Rocks and dreamed of big shows down the line.
After Red Rocks we headed towards Golden to check out the Icelantic Skis world headquarters. On the way, Galen decided to give RockyGrass a phone call for the umpteenth time asking if there were any cancellations in the band contest. We all figured it would be the routine “no”, but we tried to put as many wook vibes out there as we could, crossed our fingers, all that jazz… And to our surprise, there was a cancellation, and we were in!
We celebrated in Golden by swimming through the rapids in town(we have GoPro footage to prove this) and eating some pizza with our friends at Icelantic. We couldn’t have been more stoked!
A friend managed to catch our set in the Springs and asked us to play their house concert in Denver on Monday, so we did just that after parting ways with our buddies. It was awesome to meet so many new folks in Denver who appreciated our kind of music, and spend some time with some old friends who heard about the concert and stopped by. We continue to be amazed by how easily and organically music can bring people together.
From here it was up to Longmont to rest up for the festival. One night before the festival we went and busked in Boulder on the Pearl St. Mall, then tried to catch our friends Caribou Mountain Collective(www.cariboumountaincollective.com) but were turned away at the door because they had the place packed, and finally rolled back to Longmont.
On Wednesday before RockyGrass, Roddy, Arthur, and Jesse went up to Estes Park and got after some gnar in the mountains while CJ and Galen stayed at basecamp and nerded out on laptops and mandolins. The following day we played a fundraiser for Oskar Blues Can’d Aid (www.candaid.org) with the Steep Canyon Rangers (www.steepcanyon.com) outside of Boulder. We had an awesome time pickin with these guys and helping to support the Can’d Aid cause!
ROCKYGRASS began the following day, as did the instrument contests. Jesse and Galen both competed and made it to the finals which were to be held on the main stage the following day. We got settled in with our friends at Coleman Square, who hooked us up with “Fun Meters” that stayed at least in the high yellow if not the deep red all weekend. Great food, local brews, great jams, friendly festivarians everywhere, and the St. Vrain River to boot. What more could you want in a festival?
Saturday held the instrument contest finals and the band contest prelims. We were very proud of Jesse and Galen for taking second place in their categories, and impressed by the high level of play brought on by all contestants. During the band contest prelims, we played White Lines and Neon Signs, County Girl, and Turtle in the Creek for the audience and judges. We were very humbled to receive a warm reception from the crowd and make it into the finals. The competition was high, and there were an unprecedented 4 bands in the finals instead of the usual 3.
Sam Bush brought down the house later that night and sent Galen off with enough homework for at least a year, then we spent the night jamming with friends in Coleman Square and making new friends around the festival.
On Sunday, we woke up and headed to the St. Vrain for a swim before making our way to the Wildflower Pavilion for the band contest finals. We played Little Circles, Night Bird, and Wookie Foot Shuffle, and we were again humbled and overwhelmed by the RockyGrass crowd, who this time gave us a rowdy standing ovation. After all bands were finished, the judges deliberated for a while, and we were awarded 1st Place!
We spent the rest of the evening celebrating with our friends at Coleman Square, and jammed a few tunes with our new friend and neighbor Keith Moseley from String Cheese Incident (www.stringcheeseincident.com).
We couldn’t be more thankful for how well the RockyGrass wooks treated us, and we can’t wait to come back and play for RockyGrass again next summer on the main stage! Wook!
As if all of this wasn’t enough, we wrapped up our trip by heading north to Jackson Hole on Monday, where Roddy, Jesse, and CJ got to see the Tetons for the first time. After a solid hang with Ben from Benyaro (www.benyaro.com), we got some killer breakfast at Nora’s Fish Creek Inn. Following JH, we rolled up to Ennis, Montana to link up with our buddies Joe & Nick from Montana Trout Stalkers (www.montanatrout.com) to chase some Trout on the Madison River, and then play our last gig at the rowdy Gravel Bar (gravelbarmt.com) for our buddy Scott and the Ennis crew. This was the inaugural Trout Rodeo, and we plan on making an annual tradition out of it.
A BIG thanks to all who helped us out along the way, let us crash your couches, fed us eggs and bacon, and put up with us in general. Without the hospitality of so many friends, we wouldn’t have been able to make this happen.
Until next time,