Xavier Rudd and Gov’t Mule ready to play free concerts in Vail | VailDaily.com

Xavier Rudd and Gov’t Mule ready to play free concerts in Vail

Spring Back to Vail headliners to perform at Ford Park

The 2020 version of Spring Back to Vail will be a ticketed concert featuring top-tier musical talent.
Zach Mahone | Vail Resorts |

Spring Back to Vail is an annual celebration at the end of each winter season, featuring free concerts, the spectator-friendly pond skimming championships and on-mountain festivities through April 14 this year.

The lineup of free music features Xavier Rudd from Australia with opener Steel Pulse, a roots reggae band from England, as well as Gov’t Mule returning with local opener Austin’s Rose.

Shows are at Ford Park in Vail at 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13. For more information, visit http://www.vail.com.

Here’s a look at the two headliners coming to Vail for Spring Back.

Gov’t Mule

Gov’t Mule’s opening stop on its spring tour celebrating 25 years will be at Spring Back to Vail. The free show at Ford Park is Friday, April 12. (Photo by Jacob Blickenstaff)

The band that started as a side project for guitarist Warren Hayes during his time with the Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule is celebrating 25 years with a spring tour across the U.S. and Europe.

The band’s Spring Back to Vail performance will be the first stop on the tour.

“It’s an exciting time right now and we’re all chomping at the bit to get back on the road,” Grammy Award winner Hayes said over the phone from New York.

Gov’t Mule performs a free show at Ford Park on Friday, April 12, with opener Austin’s Rose at 6 p.m.

Gov’t Mule started in 1994 as something Hayes and legendary bassist Allen Woody “wanted to do for fun” in their “downtime” from the Allman Brothers.

They wanted to do something for fun then return to their “day jobs,” Hayes said. However, a record soon followed in 1995.

“It sort of caught fire and became its own thing,” Hayes said, “and we were forced to make the decision to continue or not — and the decision was obvious. We would have never thought that 25 years later Gov’t Mule would still be touring.”

Celebrating 25 years, Gov’t Mule is set to release a double DVD from a live set at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, in addition to touring across the world.

For Hayes, who performed with the Allman Brothers from 1989-1997 and 2000-2014, Gov’t Mule does its part in keeping the music from the iconic rock band alive.

“That was such a huge part of my life for 25 years,” he said. “It’s been a tough few years with losing Butch [Trucks] and Gregg [Allman] back to back. I’m sure we all miss the music in a way that has obviously left a void in live music. But Gov’t Mule these days incorporates a couple of those tunes into our shows. We kind of do our part to keep that stuff alive, but it’s not like that music needs our help.”

Hayes and Gov’t Mule have performed in Vail before, with some of the four-piece band’s earliest shows in Colorado.

“We’ve always loved to play in Colorado,” Hayes said.

With decades of experience in the music industry, Hayes says live music is the “life blood” for bands like Gov’t Mule.

“Going on stage is kind of the payoff for the whole concept of being on tour. We’re out there away from our families, eating crappy food, staying in hotels and driving thousands of miles,” he said. “Walking on stage is what makes all of that worth it.”

Gov’t Mule is sure to put on a show in Vail — a performance celebrating 25 years, the start of its spring tour and, of course, a little tribute to the Allman Brothers.

Xavier Rudd

Xavier Rudd will be in the U.S. for one week performing two shows — one in Vail and one in Aspen. (Photo Special to the Daily)

Musician Xavier Rudd spends his days on the Sunshine Coast in Australia writing music about his heritage, hitting the surf and spending time with his family.

But for a brief time at the start of his career, Rudd said he was living out of a van in Whistler, Canada, snowboarding a “fair amount” and performing.

With 1.1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Rudd will be performing a rare solo act at Spring Back to Vail, also a rare stop in the U.S. for the performer who frequents Europe as well as Australia with his band.

“I haven’t snowboarded much these days, but I’m definitely going to hand around Vail for a couple of days and snowboard with my wife and kid,” Rudd said over the phone from Queensland before heading to Colorado.

Rudd will the in the states for one week, performing shows in Vail and Aspen, before heading back to Australia for surgery on his spine. Then, it’s a couple of months off and then to Europe for a “pretty big” tour, with talks of maybe coming back to the U.S.

“It seems these days it’s pretty rare that I get to the U.S., and whenever we get there, we only have a few weeks to do a few places — and it’s a big country,” he said. “So I’m stoked that I’m coming to Vail, one of the most beautiful parts of the country. I’m looking forward to it and hope people dig it.”

Growing up on the South Coast of Australia, Rudd spent a lot of his time outside alone with his dog camping and surfing.

“I wrote a lot of music inspired by country, nature and by culture,” he said. “It was always where my music came from and still is today.”

And everywhere he performs — the cliffs of Bali, amphitheaters in Italy or Ford Park in Vail — Rudd brings his Yidaki, also known as a didgeridoo for the noise it makes.

“We’re talking about an instrument that’s around 60,000 years old,” he said. “It’s a cultural ceremonial tool more so than an instrument traditionally, but I use it with contemporary sounds. It carries a lot of spirit with it. I don’t look at it like my other instruments — it’s more of a tool that can bring a lot of energy and emotion.”

Rudd said his favorite shows are the ones outdoors and that his fans have been asking for some solo shows away from his band.

“It’s going to be nice to play there in Colorado,” he said.

Spring Back to Vail Schedule

The World Pond Skimming Championships in Vail is a tradition that draws hundreds of spectators. The event is Sunday, April 14, at Golden Peak in Vail. (Daily file photo)
Chris Dillmann | cdillmann@vaildaily.com |

Friday, April 12

Free concert at Ford Park

Gov’t Mule with opener Austin’s Rose, 6 p.m.

Saturday, April 13

Free concert at Ford Park

Steel Pulse and Xavier Rudd, 6 p.m.

Tikis & Tunes Luau at Mid-Vail

Celebrate spring with a mountaintop party featuring live music, food specials, games and more, noon to 3 p.m.

Sunday, April 14

World Pond Skimming Championships at Golden Peak

The top male and female participants in the contest will each be awarded the grand prize of a 2019-20 Epic Pass, 3-5 p.m. Register online.

Spring Back Bags Tournament at Golden Peak

Show ’em how you toss ’em. Free registration, noon to 2 p.m.

Daily events

Savor Vail

Shop, sip and save. Enjoy local late season specials during Spring Back to Vail.

Spring Back Live

Live music in town and on the mountain.

Festival Village

Check out Mountain Plaza and the Festival Village throughout the weekend.

For more information, visit http://www.vail.com

About opener Austin’s Rose

photo - Austin's Rose
Austin’s Rose
Special to the Daily |

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood, Johnny Cash and June Carter … and now joining the ranks of country music couples: Tim Gore and Taylor Cornilles.

A country music duo, Gore and Cornilles — who have been working on careers in country music since their childhoods — make up Austin’s Rose. At nearly every gig, according to Gore, the two are asked one of two questions: “are you a couple,” or “are you siblings?” They are, in fact, a couple.

After meeting in Nashville, the two began dating and eventually dove into music together.

“The beginning of our music goal was writing,” Cornilles said. “We would write a lot and then we eventually started playing together.”

Cornilles would tag along to Gore’s gigs, accompanying him on the fiddle, and their chemistry tied them together for a new musical act.

“We sounded really good together,” Gore recalled. “I think there’s a bit more of an ‘it factor’ with both of us playing. Part of the reason people think we’re siblings is that we have this (sibling-like) harmony … We write and play the whole song together, and I think that’s pretty rare.”

Gore and Cornilles consider themselves traditional country artists, performing music that hasn’t really been seen since the 1990s from musicians like the Dixie Chicks and Brooks & Dunn. Gore appreciates the “monster fiddle songs” produced by such groups, songs that make the crowd “explode.”

Cornilles explains that the band’s music isn’t overproduced like some of what we see in country music today, but instead, they pride themselves on “pulling from traditional music.”

The band plays part of the year here in Vail and the other part in Nashville, and though its sound stands out, it hasn’t been easy going.

“Honestly it’s been tough for us to make that next step and break in and get a record deal,” Cornilles noted. “Everyone is so saturated by that modern sound, and we don’t ever want to fold and just go with it. We want to stick to our guns.”

Assistant editor Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2984 and rleonhart@vaildaily.com. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.

Support Local Journalism