It's been awhile since Mountain Standard Time performed in Eagle County, but the memory is still fresh. The last time the Front Range band trekked 100 miles west was two winters ago, when the quintet performed a show at Samana Lounge in Vail.
"I remember it was a pretty rockin' night, a crazy winter break mix of tourists, college kids and locals," said Nicholas Dunbar, the band's guitar and mandolin player. "We were playing all sorts of Rocky Mountain freegrass. That's what is exciting about these mountain shows: diversity. If you can appeal to a crowd as diverse as the one on the mountain, you know you are doing something right."
The very nontraditional bluegrass band - think the usual guitar and mandolin combined with keyboards, electric bass, drums and electronic effects - took a bit of a break recently and in the interim, added two new members: Otis Lande on bass and Ryan Ebarb (formerly of Yamn) on keyboards.
"Adding two very experienced and professional musicians with fresh ears really helped solidify the material," Dunbar said. "As we have tightened up the material, our sound has really become established. Our music has always been very free; bouncing around from genre to genre, which if not executed well can be a bit chaotic. We are honing in on each style of music and trying to fully commit to these styles while gracefully moving throughout them. We are really excited to have them on board and we know you will like them too."
The five-piece performs at Agave in Avon Thursday night. Doors open at 9 p.m.
"These guys are one of the best bluegrass bands around, and they were on hiatus," said Crawford Byers, promoter for Agave in Avon. "(I'm) glad they're back together, we needed to get a good bluegrass show through the club this month."
The band will release a new seven-song EP, called "Sunny," on Feb. 5. It was recorded at Scanhope Studios in Littleton. Aside from a few overdubs of solos and vocals, it was mostly recorded live, Dunbar said.
"We really feel the album captures the essence and energy that Mountain Standard Time brings to performances," he said. "The album is very grassy but still showcases some of the more progressive stuff that we do. During our Mardi Grass run the EP will be available to download for whatever you want. We want our music to get out there so pay what you can/want and nothing is fine, too."
The band is also printing a limited number of hard copies, which they'll sell at the "Mardi Grass" shows slated for February.
"We really hope you enjoy it and please stay up to date because the free download will only be up for a short period of time before it goes up on iTunes," he said.
At tonight's show at Agave, attendees will hear some new material.
"Let's call it the unofficial pre-party for Mardi Grass," Dunbar said.