You’ve heard them while dining in a restaurant, or even just while strolling through Vail or Beaver Creek on a sunny evening. Locals are so accustomed to listening to the nightly music wafting through the streets, many don’t give it a second thought. But what motivates a musician to take up a weekly gig playing for the dinner crowd? For singer and guitarist Scotty Kabel, it was the chance to settle down and play “in my own backyard,” he said.
Kabel toured the country with the band Little Hercules before he began performing at The Fitz at Manor Vail Lodge four years ago.
“I started getting into playing solo gigs,” Kabel said in an interview last year. “Once I started I really enjoyed doing it. I’m playing all the tunes I like to do and other folks are liking it as well. The best part is that I get to do what I love for a living.”
Scott Rednor is another musician who loves performing for the local crowd. Rednor formed My Brother’s Keeper last summer with Michael Jude and John Michel, both of whom comprise the rhythm section for John Oats of Hall and Oats. The band plays weekly at the Shakedown Bar. In a November 2012 interview Rednor said the group is “vocal harmony driven,” which helps it stand out from other rock and roll bands.
“People walk in thinking they’re going to have a good time, “ Rednor said. “But I’ve heard people say, ‘I knew it was going to be good, but I never thought it was going to be that good.”
Here’s a roundup of the nightly music scene happenings until Labor Day:
The Fitz at Manor Vail Lodge
Scotty Kabel sings and plays guitar every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 5 to 7 p.m. Kabel likes summers in Vail because people have a more laid-back attitude.
“It’s a relaxed atmosphere over all,” Kabel said. “(People are) able to be outside but they’re not bumming about the lack of snow.” Call 970-476-4353.
BLT, a jazz keyboard and percussion ensemble made up of Brian Loftus on drums and Tony Gulizia on bass, piano and vocals, perform at Kelly Liken every Sunday from 8:30 to 11 p.m. Call 970-479-0175.
King’s Club at Sonnenalp Resort
King’s Club has music every Wednesday through Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m. Acoustic guitarist Donny Z plays Wednesdays and Thursdays. Friday features the musical stylings of pianist and vocalist Kathy Morrow. Saturday showcases folk rock musician Kevin Danzig. Call 970-476-5656.
Pepi’s Bar and Restaurant
Nightly music has been happening at Pepi’s long before people even knew the meaning of the term ‘apres’. The warm weather brings musicians out on the deck to serenade patrons. Bartender Sean Mcree said Rod Powell plays everything from “folk, John Denver, Bob Dylan, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, and many more”. Powell will play Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday and Brendan McKinney will play Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Both perform from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Call 970-476-5626.
You can’t call yourself a local if you’ve never heard Phil Long play at the Red Lion. Co-owner of the bar and restaurant, Long has been jamming out for the evening crowd for over 20 years. Long plays Wednesday through Saturday 7:30 to 11 p.m. Fellow Red Lion staple Brendan McKinney plays Saturdays and Sundays 2 to 5 p.m. and Tuesdays 7:30 to 11 p.m. Call 970-476-7676.
Minturn-based duo Turntable Review plays every Wednesday through Aug. 21. My Brother’s Keeper rocks out every Tuesday through Aug. 20 and every Saturday through Sept. 21. Shakedown also has the Scott Rednor Band, specializing in rock, funk, and soul, and variety of touring bands performing Thursdays and Fridays until the end of August. All shows start at 10 p.m. Call 970-479-0556.
Bart & Yeti’s
Rock and pop musician Steve Karambay plays most nights at local favorite Bart & Yeti’s during the summer from 5 to 8 p.m. Call 970-476-2754.
Tavern on the Square at Arrabelle
Jazz @ Vail Square outside the Arrabelle is every Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. through Aug. 29.
Dennis LaHart, assistant manager at the Tavern, likes the combination of jazz crooners and cocktails.
“Come out and get a little jazz culture on Thursday night,” LaHart said. “It’s nice because you can sit outside, have a cocktail, and have a good time.” Call 970-754-7777.
Bearfish Bar & Grill
Bearfish has live music Wednesday through Saturday starting at 10 p.m. Bluegrass and jam-band inspired musician Texas Brandon plays Wednesdays and Fridays, while George Hilliard and Dave “Skip Dog” Anderson perform Thursdays and Saturdays. Call 970-476-7596.
Vail Ale House
If you didn’t get a chance to try the large number of beers on tap at the new Vail Ale House this past winter, stop by for a pint on Thursdays and hear some free live music. Jake Wolf and Friends perform weekly starting at 10 p.m. “Friends” of Jake Wolf can include everyone from Bill McKay of Leftover Salmon to Rob Eaton Jr. Thursday’s specials include $3 Colorado Natives and $3 Colorado Fireside Whiskey. Call 970-476-4314.
Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch
The Ritz-Carlton will have acoustic music out on their Mountainside Terrace or in the Great Room every Wednesday from 4-9 p.m., Friday from 3-7 p.m., Saturday from 6-9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Call 970-748-6200.
Maya at the Westin Riverfront Resort
Formerly known as Cima, Maya’s Friday Afternoon Club brings in a crowd with live music on the deck from 6 to 10 p.m. On Thursdays local radio station Ski Country KSKE-FM sponsors a different live band every week from 8 to 10 p.m. Come after the Beaver Creek Rodeo to enjoy their $2 tacos and $5 margaritas. Call 970-790-5500.
Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek
Best known as “Tony G”, Tony Guiliza’s smooth tunes jive with the Grouse Mountain Grill’s lively atmosphere. Guilizia plays “the very best of jazz, old and new, bop to swing with some groovy stuff in between”, he said. Tony G plays solo every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. and with Brian Loftus as BLT on Wednesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Call 970-949-0600.
Splendido at the Chateau in Beaver Creek
At Splendido, classical pianist Peter Vavra plays every Wednesday through Friday and Kathy Morrow performs every Saturday, Sunday, and Tuesday, both from 7 to 11 p.m. Call 970-845-8808.
Vista at Arrowhead
Still with his Yamaha grand piano, Mickey Poage continues to do what he does best by being a class-act nightly entertainer. Poage performs seven days a week from 6 to 9 p.m. Call 970-926-2111.