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Gouda roots

Wren Wertin

In order to remember where they1ve come from, String Cheese Incident isn1t just writing it down: they1re catching it on film.Crested Butte1s beloved musical group, poised on the cusp of national fame and fortune, is working with Warren Miller Films to produce a documentary con queso.3We1re creating a documentary that revolves around their winter tour, an all-Colorado tour that begins in Denver, said Gary Hines, director and executive in charge of production for the film. 3The way we1re looking at this story, String Cheese is at a point where they1re enjoying increasing success and an increasing fan base, but they don1t want to lose track of where they came from and what they1re all about. A big part of that is enjoying the natural beauty of Colorado. They came out of Crested Butte<actually they all came from different places, but they met there<and most of the members love to ski.The documentary is going to be as much about skiing, a focal point for the band, as it is about music. It1s also going to delve into the friendships they had prior to success, how they got started and more.3In the early days they1d play for lift tickets, said Hines. 3They1re incredibly talented musicians, but they also love the outdoors, and as they continue to grow they don1t want to lose that. This documentary is a way for them to tell their story in their very own words by going back to old towns, old haunts, old friends, in and around the concerts themselves.The folk rock jam act that now sells out arena concerts began as a bar band with a group of guys who admit their initial strength wasn1t their musicianship. That1s changed over the years<playing literally thousands of shows will do that to a group. Their sound is now tighter, as seen in their studio album 3Inside Outside, but their concerts are still jam-fests. According to the band, they strive to inspire freedom and creativity within their listeners through their music.3This is almost a time of retrospection for them, said Hines. 3I always look at any film as a collaborative effort. Essentially, the themes evolve with discuss between myself and the band members. As a good filmmaker, you listen to what these people are telling you.They1ve only begun the filming, which will include some of the footage they recently shot on Vail mountain with local boy Chris Anthony. According to Hines, Warren Miller Films was a natural choice for the venture. Not only are both groups Boulder-based, with much shared audience, but the snowplay shots are of course best handled by a group that1s built their reputation on ski movies.3I think that although there1s an awful lot of celebration and skiing in this movie, it1s a departure from normal Warren Miller in that it1s a documentary of a group of people and where they1re going, said Hines.Hines himself isn1t limited to adventure films, though his roster includes many: 3Inside Avalanches for the Discovery Channel, 3Destination Mars for The Learning Channel, and several pieces that served as National Geographic Specials. Additionally, he1s also worked with 3Mister Roger1s Neighborhood, and 3Health in America.In other words, he doesn1t come to the project green, or with a skiing-only focus. He first met String Cheese at a Fourth of July celebration in Steamboat Springs and fell in love with their music.3Quite honestly, their music is very complex, with so many different influences, and they1re great guys, he said. 3I pre-interviewed everybody, and it was very clear to me that we were all thinking the same thing, that it was an important time to look back at their roots, and embrace and appreciate why they came to be as a group. As they get bigger and bigger, they don1t want to lose that. That1s how the things started to develop.Before he1s a music fan, though, Hines describes himself as a journalist with a solid reputation to uphold. He cites the importance of letting people tell their own story, as well as identifying when they1re being the most honest.3What delights me is what terrific human beings they are, he said. 3I1ve worked with a lot of musicians in my life, and they run the spectrum like everybody else. These guys are great.3These guys are Kyle Hollingsworth (piano, organ, Rhodes, accordion), Michael Kang (five-string electric and acoustic mandolin, violin), Keith Moseley (five-string electric bass, four-string acoustic bass), Bill Nershi (six-string acoustic guitar) and Michael Travis (drums, congas, timbales, djembe, percussion). They play two concerts in Vail, today and Tuesday, at Dobson Arena. Tonight they take the stage with surfer-turned-musician Jack Johnson, and tomorrow with Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The concert has been sold out for weeks.Wren Wertin can be reached by calling (970) 949-0555 extension 618, or via e-mail at wrenw@vaildaily.com


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