Alternative Southern music comes to Vail
VAIL – The Codetalkers, featuring Col. Bruce Hampton, perform a double header of blazing jazz with hints of southern roots rock today at the top of Vail Mountain from 6-9 p.m. and then at Vail’s hottest new venue for live music, the Sandbar Sports Grill in West Vail, at 10 p.m.”We write a lot of music with lots of improvisational sections branching off the original idea of the song,” said electric banjo extraordinaire Bobby Lee Rodgers in a past Vail Daily interview. “All of our music begins with the discussion of ideas. It’s like in conversation, we don’t just begin with ‘Let’s jam.’ Instead, we concentrate on beginning with a good song/idea, and we discuss it from there.”Rodgers also plays guitar and writes and produces the majority of the Codetalkers’ material, and he’s joined by drummer Tyler “the Falcon” Greenwell, The Lone Wolf on bass and Col. Hampton playing any stringed instrument he feels like.Hampton, often deemed “the Godfather of alternative Southern music,” has been at it since 1967, and has shared the stage with most of the musical legends of the past 40 years, including B.B. King, Bill Monroe and Frank Zappa, along with many of the most influential bands from the past decade like Phish, Widespread Panic and Blues Traveler.”He (Col. Hampton) played with everyone you could ever possibly play with, so being on stage with him’s like playing alongside all those other incredible musicians,” said Rodgers. “He’s been doing it for over 40 years, and he’s been an incredible influence on me.”The Lone Wolf is the bassist’s actual name. Rumor has it, he was raised among a pack of wolves as he grew up in Trinidad. And, jamming from an intimidating 6 feet, 8 inches off the ground, he plays the stand-up bass with speed and ferocity.”I don’t know how much of the story’s true, but when you meet him, you’ll think it’s true,” said Rodgers. “When we met him, he was building a pyramid-shaped structure in Spartanburg, S.C. We asked him what he was doing, and he said, ‘I play the bass, mon.'”The Falcon has made an impressive start, considering the Codetalkers is his first gig. He was born in New Zealand, moved to Hawaii and then to the lower 48 states.Rodgers has his own nickname, “Nature Boy,” which he was given by the Colonel. Rodgers worked as a professor at the Berklee College of Music for nine years before teaming up with Col. Hampton.”We’re a tight family, we all get along and we all feel blessed to be able to do this for a living,” said Rodgers.