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From water to waves

Daily Staff Report

AVON – When local river guide/musician Mike Mather takes the stage at Loaded Joe’s in Avon on tonight at 9, his performance promises to be anything but the typical Jimmy Buffet sing-along.

While Mather does play guitar and sing songs at a local bar, the similarities to Vail’s other long-time acts ends there. First of all, Mather doesn’t take requests. Not because he doesn’t want to, mostly because he doesn’t know them. Mather relies on three guitar chords to last the three hours he is expected to play. Playing at one chord an hour, Mather’s sense of humor is the real entertainment in his performance. Drawing on his varied life experiences as a raft guide, ski-boot fitter, high-steel welder, carpenter, teacher, truck driver and more, Mather’s original songs are the real crowd-pleasers. Songs like “River Guide Blues,” “I Drive, You Ride,” and the “Love Song” are anthems for the common man or woman living in Vail.

“I play alternative music, that is, an alternative to music,” said Mather with a grin when asked what kind of music he likes to play. Mather describes his craft as “blues on meth.”Mather’s questionable music career began at the age of 19 when he moved to Thurmond, W. Va., to become a whitewater raft guide. Sitting bored around a nightly campfire without any entertainment, it was only a matter of time before Mather picked up a guitar. After years of entertaining – and sometimes torturing – raft guide audiences from Colorado to New Zealand, Mather was finally cajoled into playing on stage a few years ago. With many successful shows under his belt, Mather has developed a loyal and varied band of followers.

Take it from Mather’s mom who had this to say of her son’s performance: “Mike may not be talented, but he’s entertaining.”For more information about Mather, call (806)438-4396.


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