Local Band Spotlight: The Altitones
October 2, 2018
The Vail Valley is a hotbed of local music. From rock to jazz, everyone can find something they like to listen to. Especially when it comes to The Altitones, a band so eclectic, it can't be pinned to one genre.
A six-piece band, The Altitones play an array of "body-shaking" songs, with influences ranging from Memphis, Tennessee, blues to reggae to '80s bops. While the band has a strong repertoire of covers, it havhase a great deal of original music as well, which the band classifies as "predominantly dance" music.
Made up of lead singer and rhythm guitarist Tommy Anderson, lead guitarist Mauricio Cadavid, bassist Sam Bee, drummer Ben Swoke, Brian "Jordy" Jordan on trumpet and Jake Lidard playing the keys, the band largely plays in the Vail Valley's most well-known venues and summer music festivals, but also play corporate events and private parties. The band also has been nominated for best local band for "Best Of" in the past.
The band was started by Anderson, who moved to Vail in 1997. Being from Memphis, Anderson had grown up around music his entire life, so when he moved to the area, he wrote songs, played open mic nights and formed bands.
"As the years went by I started a number of bands with varying degrees of success, but it seemed like everyone that I played with that was any good was in four other bands and was focused on covers," Andserson said. "I wanted develop my original material."
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Anderson noted that while his bands in Memphis, Denver and even Vail were all great, there was always something missing — until it wasn't.
"Then a little over five years ago, I was asked to host an open mic on Wednesdays at Montana's in Avon," Anderson said. "I had the thought that I should use the gig to find some people that just really wanted to play music rather than some that could play every note of the same old covers while reading it off an iPad."
Luckily, it worked.
Week after week, the same people began showing up to that open mic night, and they helped Anderson develop his songs. Since then, the band has exploded.
A local phenomenon
Because of its status as a local band with no music released on streaming or downloading platforms (yet), Anderson and his bandmates are astounded by the fact that people request songs at concerts that he hasn't played in months or even years, and sing along to all of the band's songs.
"I think that this band means so much to me … because it's a real tribe of musical brothers growing together and building something real," Anderson said. "These guys leave it all in the stage every night whether there are 20 people there or 2,000 and I think people feel that."
The Altitones are currently working on recording their first album, the release date is unknown at this time.
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