Live music in the Vail Valley is finally coming back after quarantine |

Live music in the Vail Valley is finally coming back

Restaurants are opening up for socially-distant dining and patio seating. During après time in the Vail Valley, restaurants and live music are synonymous, and local live performers are finally able to get out from behind the screen of their Facebook Live concerts and onto a stage.

Here’s what’s coming up from favorite performers in the valley.

Andy Cyphert

Cyphert is currently playing private gigs in California, but he will return to the valley soon for his first gig on June 18 at the  Ritz Club Vail. After that date, he will play at the hotel on Thursdays and Sundays from 5 to 8 p.m.

He’s currently in talks with some other venues, but he’s thinking that many hotels won’t open back up until July, so his schedule will solidify in the coming weeks. He posts his weekly schedule on his Facebook page.

Cyphert is a full-time musician, so he feels very grateful for establishments that have reached out to him, even when budgets are tight. But that won’t stop him from using his talents to entertain others.

“I think that as we move through this, people, both local and tourists, will really appreciate live music/entertainment as a relief from what has been going on,” he said. “I’ll be delighted and grateful to be providing music this summer in Vail.”

Kevin Danzig

Kevin Danzig plays at Bully Ranch restaurant in Vail on Mondays.
Special to the Daily

Danzig kept busy by doing “A Song A Day ‘Til May” videos on his Facebook page through April. He continued the series with “A Cover ‘Til June,” and June’s video series is called “Testify ‘Til July,” where he will cover songs of social awareness and protest, given current events.

He also plays virtual happy hour shows on Mondays from 5-7 p.m. Access the streams via his Facebook page.

He’s releasing his tenth album, “10,” which has been three years in the making.

As for live music in the mountains, “I think it will come back, however slowly and with caution,” he said.

Phil Long

Phil Long’s first shows of the summer will start on June 19, and his schedule will ramp up from Fridays-Saturdays to multiple days a week. Keep up with him on Facebook.

Matt Garth

A longtime local, Garth’s current schedule is Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Ritz Club Vail; Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Drunken Goat in Edwards and Fridays from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Westin Riverfront in Avon.

He will also play at the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch and the Grand Hyatt Vail as summer progresses. Keep up with his schedule on Facebook.

Brendan McKinney

Brendan McKinney has been keeping the live music going by staging shows from his truck bed in parking lots.
Special to the Daily

McKinney has been setting up a stage in his truck bed, driving to Eagle trailheads and playing tunes in the parking lot for hikers. He’s also played in the parking lot at Moe’s Original BBQ.

Before quarantine orders started, McKinney was playing seven to eight shows a week.

“I missed performing almost immediately, and I initially thought that there were only limited ways to respond to the shutdown,” he said. “I’ve been playing from my truck bed in spots where people are coming and going but not gathering. I’ve been powering up from my truck battery. The live connection and response feel great.”

He’s also working with a cohort of other Vail Valley musicians to write and record originals. The project, “Six Guns of Production,” features Scott Rednor, Joe Bianchi, Dave Tucker and Johnny Schleper, LA-based “touring road dog” Vince Melamed and his friend from Copenhagen, Brian Armstrong. They record in McKinney’s home, and local musicians Michael Jude, John Michel, Larry Dutmer, Dave Anderson and Terry Armistead are also contributors.

View his truck bed show schedule on his Facebook page.

Dave Tucker

Dave Tucker plays at The Red Lion on Friday, May 29.
Casey Russell |

Dave Tucker played at The Red Lion on Friday, Saturday and Sunday last weekend. His first show after quarantine was on Monday, May 25, Memorial Day. The last show he had played before that was on Friday, March 13.

“That was a weird week,” he said. He also said there was a good-sized crowd on that date.

He had been playing Facebook Live shows and was happy to get back on stage when stay-at-home orders were lifted.

“The most fun was everybody was very attentive, and tipping well, and clapping after every song. Usually, this bar is not that atmosphere,” he said. “I was joking around, ‘If this is the new normal, I’m okay with that.’”

He saw a lot of familiar faces and locals coming in to watch his set.

There is a sneeze guard and a row of tables sectioning the stage off from the dining room in The Red Lion, to protect guests and musicians from potential Covid transmission.

This weekend, Tucker plays at The Red Lion from 3-7 p.m. Saturday and from 1-5 p.m. on Sunday. Keep up with his schedule via Facebook.

Johnny Schleper

Schleper doesn’t usually start his summer gig schedule until mid-June. In the meantime, he’s been spending time with his wife, Ashley; daughter, Remi, and dog, Samson. Check his Facebook page to see when he’s playing.

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