Entertaining the apres masses in Vail | VailDaily.com

Entertaining the apres masses in Vail

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Dominique Taylor/Vail Daily file photoRed Lion owner and singer Phil Long plays apres favorites four nights a week in Vail Village. Long has a dedicated following of fans who come year after year to see their favorite songs

VAIL, Colorado –There are plenty of apres musicians in Vail, Colorado, but few have been playing at the same venue for more than 20 years, and fewer yet receive hair products as gifts from fans each season. That’s right, more than a few visitors have bequethed Long with their favorite hair gel or expensive pomade. It’s a bit of a long-running, inside joke.

Long, the owner of the Red Lion, recently took the time to talk to the Vail Daily about the years he’s spent in front of the mic, how he keeps his apres show fresh and his thoughts on the valley’s music scene.

Vail Daily: Tell me about something funny that happened at one of your apres gigs.

Phil Long: Apres ski has been fun for 20 some years and lots goes on during that show …. One thing I find funny is that people bring me new hair products all the time. It is kind of a running joke I play on myself about my hair care and-with that, people spend time in their lives-adding a hair care product into their tight suitcase and sharing with me the products that work for them … pretty funny. A little embarrassing for Jenn and the kids, but funny.-

VD: How long have you been performing in Eagle County?

PL: I have been performing in the valley and nearly exclusively for The Red Lion for nearly 23 years now.

VD: How do you keep your music/show fresh?

PL: Keeping my show fresh in includes many little things. First I try to learn 20 to 30 new songs a year. Some of the new songs are classic old stuff and some are new radio hits. I try to make the show different year to year with new guest players that sit in and play with me. My key ingredient is that my audience is a fresh group of tourists each week for the most part, and they are excited to hear many of the songs and gimmicks from the past … I definitely feed off their energy and happiness of being in Vail at The Red Lion and on vacation and it makes me excited to perform everyday.

VD: What’s new in your world?

PL: This has been a great year for my kids, Jessica-and John. This year they have had such a great experience in Eagle with school, sports and friends. Along with my wife Jennifer, we have had the opportunity to get them to all their activities and watch them really start to excel at some of the activites that will probably take them through high school and in some cases, the rest of their lives.

VD: What is your most requested song?

PL: I have to say that in the old days it was something like “American Pie” or “Brown Eyed Girl.” These days listeners are so much more saavy with songs they know and want because of Itunes etc. “American Girl,” “Tiny Dancer,” and “Sweet Home Alabama” are popular requests, but every night is different these days as requests are very eclectic.

VD: What do you think of the valley’s music scene?

PL: The music scene here continues to stand tall amongst the best in the country. I still have not gone to another resort or city and heard any better players than we have here as a group. I think we are even better than places like Austin, Tex. in request solo entertainment. Austin and places similiar have an edge with bands and original music. We are the best I’ve seen and heard in solo, cover entertainment. I hope to see some younger players emerge, as some of us may need to retire in the next 10 years or so!

Support Local Journalism