Live at Loaded Joe’s |

Live at Loaded Joe’s

Laura A. Ball
AE Loaded Joe's1 SM 2-4

AVON- They serve coffee early, cocktails late. No matter what time of day it is, you can crawl into one of their couches and find yourself at home away from home with all the strange comforts of a rainy day.Perhaps you meet a friend or make an unlikely one, or maybe you’re content being alone among familiar faces.There was this coffeehouse in Cincinnati, Buzz’s, that I used to go to. A drive, but totally worth it. When you walked in, your anxiety just started to melt away, freshening your perspective. If you did bring your troubles in, you embraced them, as if spooning a few drops of honey into your tea to make it sweet. No matter the company, the exchanged was always intimate and armorless. They always kept it unusually warm, and the longer you stayed, the more comfortable you sat in your skin.It reminds me a lot of Loaded Joe’s, an environment that simultaneously adds to Vail’s hip factor and makes you wonder why the valley never had a venue of its kind before. Then again, the valley started from scratch, neither as an urban dwelling nor a real town.Kent Beidel knew there was a niche for such a lounge, and no one worked harder to find it than him. As if costumers needed convincing, it’s taken Beidel some time to find a steady flow of business.

And now that he has, the young entrepreneur has decided to pursue his vision of the place being a real live music venue further – and add a stage.Of course Joe’s hosted great music before, but the space just didn’t seem conducive to the flow of the act with room for the crowd. Now there’s a permanent stage in the far corner closest to the entrance, which Beidel built himself. He even poured two tons of sand into it so the musicians sound crisper. The new state-of-the-art sound system allows any artist to essentially plug in and play.Beidel had to get the word out. Here he had an intimate haven where an audience could get up close and personal with the musicians and where an acoustic musician of any fame would really have the opportunity to be heard and engage with listeners. When he talked to his friends at the radio station, KZYR, The Zephyr came up with an idea to sponsor the Musician’s Spotlight at Joe’s and host a Thursday afternoon program with VJ John Edwards featuring whomever Beidel had playing that night.”My promise back to the Zephyr is I will always book a really quality musician on Thursday night,” Beidel said. “You’ll get to hear them on the radio play some songs, talk about themselves and then you’ll have an opportunity to get to see them that night at Loaded Joe’s. We’re really focusing on the musician.” Edwards says Musician’s Spotlight is a metaphor for the reasons locals chose to settle in the valley. Because of the small market (read lack of competition and esteemed ratings) and the high volume of intelligent, active listeners, the radio station is able to feature live programs with musicians and not only connect with them but with the audience, too.”We’re not a jukebox,” Edwards said. “As far as I know we’re not broadcasting to robots, we’re still broadcasting to people with a pulse and who care. We’re doing what we think is in the public interest, and we’ve gotten great feedback that it is what the public wants.”

Edwards sees the spotlight as a metaphor for how the valley operates.”We’re talking about radio and music, but what this is really about in this valley is more than just selling tickets or selling radio spots,” Edwards said. “We’re here because we chose this lifestyle.” Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached at 748-2939 or

Darrin Kobetich hopes to someday trade in his day job as a commercial artist for the Star-Telegram in Forth Worth and pursue his music full-time.The 40-year-old guitarist first picked up the stringed instrument when he was 10 and never wanted to put it down. He loved the Beatles hard and fast and when he burnt out on them he turned tobands like Zeppelin and like Sabbath, “anything loud and heavy, that’s what I wanted to play,” Kobetich recalls.He played in a metal band for 20 years before the day came that they broke up, and Kobetich traded in his Gibson Flying B for Taylor acoustic 310.He still sports his metal image but his heavy sound has been replaced with original instrumental ballads in the genre of Leo Kotke meets Jimmy Page meets Michael Hedges.When Kobetich isn’t touring solo, he plays with the Electric Mountain Rotten Apple Gang, a bluegrass band he founded with his brother Adam a year ago. Kobetich also writes original songs for the Gang, infused with the sounds of his metal background. He calls it mountain/bluegrass/progressive.In a world of music where there’s not many arenas for his sound, Kobetich cares not. “One or two people who see me play in a night will really appreciate what I’m doing, who really just get it. My music is for people who are looking for something different, people who are tired of the same old stuff,” the musician said Tuesday from his sister’s house in Denver. “I don’t want to fit in with what people think is acceptable. I’m glad that I can do what I want musically and not have to compromise. I have friends in cover bands and they tell me, ‘This sure is great money.’ And I say, ‘I hope you’re happy.’ I don’t want to be told what to play and what to do, that’s not what music is for me.”

Staff Writer Laura A. Ball can be reached 748-2939 or, Colorado

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