Great American Taxi brings Americana to Vail |

Great American Taxi brings Americana to Vail

Jonathan Batuello
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

VAIL, Colorado ” VAIL ” Bringing a mix of country, rock and a little bit of twang, the Colorado band Great American Taxi is bringing its self-proclaimed “Americana without borders” sound to Samana Lounge in Vail Thursday night.

The band, highlighted by former Leftover Salmon member Vince Herman, is currently doing concerts throughout the state and California as it prepares to put together its second album.

“Outside of a handful of shows left this year, we will be heading into the studio in December and January,” keyboardist Chad Staehly said.

Great American Taxi got its start in what was supposed to be a one-time performance at a rain forest benefit in Boulder in March of 2005. The original seven-piece band enjoyed playing together so much, though, it continued doing it on the road.

“Vince and I had talked about playing some music together after Leftover Salmon called it quits … ” Staehly said. “The seven of us really enjoyed it and we all kept playing shows together. Eventually, the seven-piece morphed into a five-piece because it wasn’t very realistic to tour with a seven-piece band.”

That group put its first album out in the spring of 2007 called “Streets of Gold.” The band mixed a flavor of country and electric rock to create its “Americana” sound.

“We’ve kind of given it the moniker of Americana with no borders,” Staehly said. “You know, it’s kind of all-encompassing of the kind of roots music that exists in this country … it’s an electric folk band.”

Since the first album, the band has undergone some personnel changes to create its current assortment. Chris Sheldon has taken over the drums, Jim Lewin is on guitar and Edwin Hurwitz is on bass guitar.

The new group has given the band an added dynamic while helping it stick to its original roots, Staehly said.

The slightly new feel isn’t changing the words coming from the band, though. The new album will have close to 90 percent of its songs written by Herman and Staehly.

“I mean, you know, there’s definitely a personal angle in a lot of the songs,” Staehly said. “A lot of the stuff Vince and I write are reflections of what’s happening in this country and our society and kind of making the comment about that, but not trying to force any opinions down anyone’s throats.”

The songs from the first album give the feel of an upbeat drive through country roads, whether in the mountains or swaying wheat fields.

That feel could be related to the band’s continual time of the road, having played in more than 200 shows already. Playing in its home state has always been enjoyable for the group.

“Colorado is home and we always seem to get really good turnout as far as audiences,” Staehly said. “We definitely love playing for all the folks here in the state. They seem to get our music pretty well.”

Jonathan Batuello can be reached at 970-668-4653 or

What: Great American Taxi, featuring Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon

Where: Samana Lounge, Vail

When: Thursday, 10 p.m.

Cost: $10 at the door

More information: Cash prizes will be awarded for best costume. Call Samana at 970-476-3433 for more information.

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