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Cracker playing in Beaver Creek on Thursday

Charlie OwenVail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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BEAVER CREEK, COLORADO In a bid to bring the 2013 World Alpine Ski Championships to Beaver Creek, the mountains management is pulling out all of the stops. A massive party is being held Thursday evening in Beaver Creek Village to usher in the Birds of Prey Race Week and hopefully capture the eye of the International Ski Federation Council as a serious contender for the 2013 races. Featured events like free ice-skating and photos with Santa for the kids should help draw families from around the valley.

Headlining the event is rock band Cracker, whose 17 year music career has spawned such massive radio hits as Low and Teen Angst (What the World Needs Now). The band will be playing a free concert tonight with two sets, one at 5 p.m and the second at 6:30 p.m.

Cracker has been described as many things over their lengthy career, everything from roots-rock to traditional-rock, but as frontman and guitarist David Lowery said, I really sort of just considered ourselves a rock band.Lowery had achieved moderate success through his time with former band Camper Van Beethoven, probably best known for their song Take the Skinheads Bowling. But when that band broke up in the late 80s Lowery founded Cracker with longtime friend Johnny Hickman (lead guitar), and the band soon found mainstream success with heavy rotation on radio and video channels. Although quickly labeled as alternative-rock and lumped in with much of popular music in the early 90s, Cracker has always stood apart from the common band by weaving many layers into their sound.We were considered alternative when we were closer to what alternative radio played, said Lowery of Crackers early years. We are not very close to what alternative radio plays now a days, but it has less to do with how we sound than what the definition says.In other words, the industry has changed not the band.And hes right. Monumental changes have taken place in the music world, and the term alternative no longer means what it used to. Even the term rock n roll has different connotations then it did in the 60s and 70s. One reason for the Crackers long-term success is their refusal to bend to the fads and trends of modern music, and their ability to evolve their sound to constantly rise above the mounting pillars of mediocrity.We just consider ourselves a rock band in the truest sense of the word. We dont need hyphens or anything like that, Lowery said.

Its their eclectic sound that Lowery said makes them so hard to dismiss, even today. Just when you think you have the band pegged, Cracker will completely shift its tone and surprise you again. Considering that some of the bands biggest inspirations are Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Clash bands that changed the face of music its no wonder they stay ahead of the musical curve.I think as a band weve pretty much recorded the kind of record that we wanted to make at the time, Lowery said.Their latest album, Greenland, which came out last year, is somewhat of a departure from the normal guitar rock sound that most are familiar with. The collection offers more lyrically and has a wider instrumentation to broaden the bands sound. Listeners constantly shifting taste makes the music industry in general an uphill battle, Lowery said, but his number one concern is to make an album that he feels needs to be made, regardless of popular opinion.As if playing, touring and recording with Cracker isnt enough of a challenge, Lowery and drummer Frank Funaro have been playing with their original band Camper Van Beethoven again. When asked about life on the road and playing so many shows Lowery responded with: I think anybodys kind of lying if they say they prefer life on the road. We enjoy the shows … but Im sure once Im home for three or four months Ill be like damn, I gotta get on the road again. That always happens, Lowery said.So what does the future hold for Cracker? According to Lowery, the band will continue to tour and theyve been writing songs for a new album, which he said should be out sometime in 2008. Thanks to the bands maturity and years of experience, nobody can really know what to expect with Cracker.Thats what happens after you play together for 17 years you definitely can stretch out stylistically, Lowery said.Arts & Entertainment writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 748-2939 or cowen@vaildaily.com.


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