Trout Steak Revival opens 4-week Vail Summer Bluegrass series Wednesday
Vail Summer Bluegrass Schedule
June 26: Trout Steak Revival, with Chain Station
July 3: Jeremy Garrett & Friends (of The Infamous Stringdusters), with Meadow Mountain
July 10: Hackensaw Boys, with Jay Roemer Band
July 17: The Lonesome Boys, The Sweet Lillies and Avenhart
Colorado-based Trout Steak Revival will be touring all over the country this summer, including a stop to open the free Vail Summer Bluegrass four-week series.
The quintet performs songwriter-based bluegrass heavy on the strings, featuring Bevin Foley on fiddle; Steve Foltz on mandolin and guitar; Casey Houlihan on bass; Will Koster on dobro and guitar; and Travis McNamara on banjo — all five chime in on vocals.
Trout Steak Revival has an Emmy Award for music in a PBS series and also won the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition, an award that launched the band from performing regional weekend gigs to full-time touring.
“We started to phase out of working our day jobs and tried to be more flexible so we could commit more time to the band,” Foltz said over the phone.
For Foltz, who lives in Aurora, he left behind a background in architecture. His first job out of college was working at Slifer Designs in Edwards. Like many, he came to Vail to ski for a week in 2005, brought his resume with him and had three job offers within a week. He ended up going back home to the Midwest to pack his stuff.
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“I loved it. It was the first place that I worked and lived out of college,” he said, “the first step in chasing after my dream — getting out of the Midwest and heading to the American West and making a new, exciting life in the mountains.”
The band came up with its name while backpacking near Sylvan Lake. The joke for the weekend was to ask whoever was going fishing to “go get a trout steak,” Foltz said, adding that the fish is too small for a steak. Trout Steak Revival would go on to build roots in Colorado and Eagle County.
“Is Finnegan’s Wake still open in Avon?” Foltz asked with a laugh. “That was one of our first Avon shows, whatever it’s called now — it was called Finnegan’s then. And we’ve played at Agave. To be a headlining band in the Vail series is awesome.”
While living in the valley, Foltz drove shuttles for Beaver Creek and also worked at Coyote Cafe — that establishment is still running.
“That’s a timeless restaurant,” he said.
“We never did play at Sandbar,” he added, asking what it’s called now — it’s the Vail Ale House.
Future of music
Foltz grew up around music, and Trout Steak Revival strives to give young musicians similar opportunities.
His mom played piano, his grandfather would sing and play the ukulele, and his dad’s family was all singers, he said.
“I was lucky to come from a musical family, and I was also in band,” he said.
Starting with guitar and piano in elementary school, Foltz transitioned to tuba in junior high. Foley’s background is in classical violin. Houlihan’s interest in music started with the trombone. McNamara is the son of a music teacher and Koster is a sound engineer. The members of Trout Steak Revival are big supporters of music education and improving the lives of kids.
“We all know that arts and music programs are being cut left and right in public schools, so that’s one of our top priorities as a group,” Foltz said.
The band donates some of its merchandise sales to a music foundation and also visits schools across the country giving away instruments.
Vail Summer Bluegrass returns June 26 with free performances on Wednesdays at Solaris Plaza from 6 to 9 p.m. The four-week series opens with Trout Steak Revival headlining for Chain Station.
Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and email@example.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.