Get on the Sol Train on Friday at Main St. Grill in Edwards |

Get on the Sol Train on Friday at Main St. Grill in Edwards

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado

Crafting new descriptions to describe Sol Driven Train’s sound is an ever-present job for guitarist Joel Timmons and the four other band members.

“We struggle with that, and constantly are trying to come up with new descriptions that fit our sound,” Timmons said. “Sol Driven Train is like a mixed tape, a musical journey from the old south of Charleston and New Orleans to the Afro-Carribean rhythms of the islands.

While the Southern-funk rockers have performed around Colorado over the past few years, this is their first visit to the Vail Valley. They will play a free show Friday at Main St. Grill in Edwards.

Russell Clarke does double duty on vocals and sax while Ward Buckheister works the trombone and guitar and also sings. Along with playing guitar, Timmons shares vocal duties, Rusty Cole slaps the bass and Wes Powers beats the drums. All this ads up to a very big sound that feels more like a complete marching band than a five-piece.

“We’re excited to have them,” said Lynne Krnacik, booking manager for Main St. Grill. “They’re from Charleston, South Carolina and they’ve never played here before.”

1. Vail Daily: You guys are celebrating 10 years together. When you first started did you think you’d make the decade mark?

Joel Timmons: When we started writing songs and playing together as Sol Driven Train in 2000, we didn’t have any grander ambitions other than having a good time and maybe entertaining a few of our friends at a house party. Ten years later, I think our intentions are the about the same, though our friends are spread across the country now and the parties have moved from apartment bedrooms to festivals and bars.

2. VD: Tell me about your new album “Believe.” When did you release it? How has it been received?

JT: We released “Believe” in May of this year. This is our eighth independent release, and I think it’s our best sounding album to date. The 14-song collection has been described as “musically schizophrenic,” and it weaves stories of love and loss into strands of Americana and world beat sounds. We are excited to be getting airplay on independent radio across the country.

3. VD: Where/when did your 1,000th show take place? Tell me about it.

JT: We played our 1,000th show in our home town of Charleston, SC at one of our favorite venues, The Pour House. It was a really fun night, with a ton of musical guests. The joint was jumping, and the sweat was pouring on the stage and the dance floor.

4. VD: Where is this current tour taking you?

JT: This tour covers the country from coast to coast, with shows in the Rocky Mountains, California coast, and finishing back home in the deep south with shows on the Gulf coast and in the Carolinas.

5. VD: Describe your perfect audience.

JT: I love the exchange of energy that can happen between a band an an engaged audience. I love it when folks respond to what we are doing in any way that they feel, but one of my favorites things to see is a crowd of folks smiling and moving their bodies to the music.

6. VD: You’ve shared the stage and bill with a wide variety of performers – everyone from-Micheal Franti, Richie Havens and Keller Williams to The Samples, Blueground Undergrass, and Arlo Guthrie. Who stands out? And who is left on your list that you would love to perform with?

JT: Some favorites of mine that we’ve played with are Ryan Montbleau Band, Cary Ann Hearst, Snake Oil Medicine Show, and The Squirrel Nut Zippers. I’d love to play with Willie Nelson or John Prine. Little Feat or Phish would also be fun!

7. VD: Tell me about your band name. How did you come up with it?

JT: Originally we called ourselves “Brrrdddtt” (a sound made by rolling the tongue against the roof of the mouth), but the inherent marketing difficulty forced us to change it. “Soul Driven Train” was a lyric that saxophonist Russell Clarke penned in an early tune of ours, and we dropped the “u” in tribute to our sunny roots (sol means “sun” in Spanish).

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