Bonfire Dub’s CD release party is Thursday in Vail |

Bonfire Dub’s CD release party is Thursday in Vail

HL Bonfire dub 1 KA 12-12-10

VAIL, Colorado – It’s only a search if you know what you’re looking for.

Take Bonfire Dub’s new album, “Search.” Scotty Stoughton took some time away from touring and the music business. He opened a nightclub, started a band, traveled the world, found a girl who makes him smile when he talks about her, and wrote a bunch of really good songs about it.

The album release party is Thursday night at Samana.

Bridget Law from Elephant Revival plays on the CD and she’ll join them. Other special guests will sit in. Stoughton can’t say who they are just yet, but you’ll be impressed.

They’re also doing a canned drive to donate food to local food banks. If you bring a can before Thursday’s Street Beat concert, they’ll give you a coupon for a free beer.

“We just want to remind people how lucky we are to live here and how easy it is to grab some cans on your way out the door,” Stoughton said.

Bonfire Dub is rising on the local music radar screen.

They opened for Weezer in last weekend’s Snow Daze event, and for Leftover Salmon at that band’s Snow Daze show at Dobson Ice Arena not so long ago.

They’ll be on Avon’s Nottingham Park stage March 4-6 for the newly announced Avon Snow Ball, opening for Pretty Lights and Bassnectar, two of the biggest artists in the rising world of electronic music.

“Search” is 12 tracks that range from basic awareness about the human condition, to nature, to reasons to get your bohiney off the bar stool and boogie. It’s a mixture of reggae, dub, down tempo and electronic music.

On “Search,” the songs tend to reflect what Stoughton experienced on his quest. “Sarajevo Rose,” for example, talks about potholes in that city’s roads, patched with a red substance.

“It looks like roses,” Stoughton said, adding that most of those potholes were created by bombs and artillery shells.

Stoughton wrote songs about Nicaragua, Haiti, Chile, Bosnia, the United States … But don’t get the impression that “Search” is political or strident. It’s not. The band encourages awareness and involvement, and does it with a beat.

“I wasn’t trying to write a record to impress a record company,” Stoughton said. “It was always a personal expression.”

Rodney Coquia and Stoughton played together in the band Sucker.

Stoughton and keyboard player/singer Jeff Armistead have been friends and collaborators for a decade.

“He’s from Detroit and he brings such a musical ability to the band from such a wide variety of influences,” Stoughton said. “It fits well with the vision.”

They added a player at a time, including the lovely and talented Katlyn Dawn. She plays ukulele and sings.

Stoughton met her at the Realm Music Festival while he was working, and it turned out she was camping next to him. He headed back to camp one night and she was sipping some wine, playing, singing and engaging in general fun-having. They were impressed enough with each other that she left Kauai and moved here.

Stoughton had not recorded since 2000, since his days with Sucker and Short Term Memory.

“I was nudged by our producer to lay down some tracks, so I had to learn to play the guitar, ” Stoughton said. “Other musicians had always played the guitar and I wrote the lyrics. But I figured there are a million two-chord hits, so I learned to play it.”

Bonfire Dub is as much a labor of love as anything else.

“I wasn’t looking to do a ton of shows. We worked at developing the sound we wanted,” he said.

Stoughton helped create Campout for the Cause to support local and national non-profits.

“It’s an opportunity for artists to give back,” he said. “We are so blessed because we get to play music. It doesn’t matter if it’s for 10 people or for 10,000.”

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