Tonight marks the second show of the six-concert homegrown showcase, Vail Rocks. Headed by Jack Snow of the The Schmidt Brothers, Vail Rocks promises to bring an eclectic mix of bluegrass, rock “n’ roll and funky jazz-fusion. The showcase will host 12 other bands over the course of the summer.
“People don’t realize that there is a lot talent around. When I came to Justin Hurley about the project he told me “If you can get that many musicians, go for it’,” Snow said.
And that’s just what Snow did. Tonight’s musical extravaganza features Bad Little Doggie, WherzFloyd and The Schmidt Brothers Band. Each band will play for one hour.
Bad Little Doggie, a band with classic rock close to its heart, will open. Local boys Farrow Hitt (guitar), Ace Essex (base), Norman Celle (guitar) and Carl Lipp (drums) make up the group.
“They are a great blues-based guitar rock band, playing old favorites. They have a great following,” Snow said.
On the heels of the barks and howls from Bad Little Doggie’s infamous fans traditional bluegrass band WherzFloyd steps to the microphone. Members Rich Zimmerman (mandolin, vocals), Charlie Porter (guitar, vocals), Ken Carpenter (banjo, cello), Paul Waitinas (upright bass) and new addition Suzanne Nadeau (fiddle) fashion the Bill Monroe-esque roots music band.
“Now we have a classical five-piece bluegrass ensemble. Without all those instruments you don’t truly have a bluegrass ensemble,” Zimmerman said.
WherzFloyd is excited to finally have the fifth fiddle addition, Nadeau, classical musician from Canada who plays in the Glenwood Orchestra.
“She’s amazing,” Zimmerman said. “Her tone and technique is unbelievable. It’s hard to play fiddle in tune because the instrument has no frets. She’s truly amazing.”
WherzFloyd can be heard plucking strings all over this summer. Friday they will be playing Charter Academy in Eagle for their end-of-school barbeque. Zimmerman hopes to partake in more projects teaching children about American roots music.
“The kids are amazing, the way they take it all in and enjoy the music. Working with kids is a good way we can give back to the community,” Zimmerman said.
The twang of their bluegrass can also be heard at the Yacht Club in Wolcott and the Fitzwilliams Lounge this summer.
Last, but certainly not least, The Schmidt Brothers Band finalizes the homegrown showcase. The Schmidt Brothers Band plays all originals. Their influences run from Medeski, Martain and Wood to Steeley Dan.
“We take our influences and manipulate the sound and it comes out the other end distinctively,” Snow said.
Vail Rocks begins at 10 p.m. at the Half Moon Saloon. Half Moon will offer free beer, while it lasts, from the Dillon Dam Brewery.
There are four more showcases to happen this summer. Featured musicians are Dave Laub and Friends, One Hand Dry, Lunar Navigation System, Terry and Joe with members from Little Hercules and Desmo Red.