Get to know Vail Valley musicians; who they are and when they play
Meet your musicians is a weekly series profiling local musicians
Editor’s note: This is the most up-to-date story featuring a compilation of a Weekly series profiling local musicians. Contact Entertainment & Outdoors editor Ross Leonhart at firstname.lastname@example.org to be included.
From piano bars to acoustic guitars, there’s live music around every corner here in the Vail Valley.
Musicians usually start performing around apres and often go late into the night. Here’s a little more information about our local musicians, including when and where they perform.
Musician Matt Garth went to high school in the Vail Valley — go Devils — where he first started playing music “through the band.”
He credits his teacher Pat Sheey, his dad and the one guitar lesson he took at Colorado Mountain College for his musical prowess.
His performances will take you from Jack Johnson to The Eagles to Steve Miller to Van Morrison to Bob Marley and beyond.
“I like people to be engaged and I like to engage them,” said Garth, aka Matty G. “I want them to have fun, be relaxed and comfortable.”
The 2017-18 winter season is Garth’s first performing full-time.
Who: Matt Garth
Where/when: Mondays at The Westin in Avon, 4-6:30 p.m.; Tuesdays 7-10 p.m.; Wednesdays 4-6:30 p.m.; Thursdays 7-10 p.m.; Fridays at The Ritz in Bachelors Gulch, 5:30-9:30 p.m.; and Saturdays at Hotel Talisa in Vail, 5:30-9:30 p.m.
More information: Follow Matt Garth Music on Facebook.
Johnny Schleper was born and raised in the Vail Valley and got into music at age 15 when his dad got him a guitar.
On top of his solo acts, Schleper also helps create a buzz in the Vail music scene joining other musicians and bands. His regular shows are at The Red Lion, but he also performs at Vail Ale House with Schlep N Wolf once a month and at Shakedown with Town Cavalry.
His band MTHDS is celebrating 11 years in 2018 — a group that doubles as a Beastie Boys cover band, mixing live music with rap.
“I think what really motivates me is to see people singing along,” he said. “I like to mix it up — classic rock, reggae, blues, county and all that good stuff.”
Who: Johnny Schleper
Where/When: Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays at The Red Lion in Vail, 4-6 p.m. and 9-11 p.m.; among performances along other bands.
More information: Follow Johnny Schleper Music on Facebook.
He’s still going.
Local apres legend Phil Long has been performing in the valley for more than 30 years — now setting up shop at the Vail Chophouse.
Phil entertains by singing, playing piano and the guitar — and always the classics.
“My goal is to make sure people are having a good time and feel like they’re in my living room,” said Phil, also owner of the slopeside establishment.
You haven’t experience Vail apres until you’ve enjoyed an afternoon with Phil Long.
Who: Phil Long
Where/When: Vail Chophouse on Wednesdays through Saturdays, 3-6 p.m.; late night show on Saturdays from 9-11 p.m.
More information: Visit http://www.VailChophouse.com.
VAIL VALLEY BAND
The Vail Valley Band puts on a high-energy performance to a variety of music at the spacious Route 6 Cafe in Eagle-Vail on Sundays.
The band covers everything from pop, classic rock, country, jazz as well as some originals and even a few Broadway show tunes.
“It really is Aretha Franklin to Adele, and everything in between,” said Route 6 owner Ollie Holdstock. “It is a good space with a great dance floor.”
The Vail Valley Band — featuring Don Watson, Beth Swearingen Kuntz, David Andersen, Peter Fontanese and Bobby Hyams — has been performing in Vail and around the country for more than 20 years.
Who: The Vail Valley Band
Where/When: Sundays at Route 6 Cafe in Eagle-Vail
More information: Follow the Vail Valley Band and Route 6 Cafe on Facebook.
Helmut Fricker is from the Black Forest in Germany and has been playing music in the Vail Valley since 1970.
“It’s mostly Bavarian or alpine music,” he said. “It’s very entertaining. I do a lot of sing-alongs, specially yodeling. I teach people how to yodel, and play the button accordion and the alpine horn — alphorn for short.”
Fricker said while he was growing up, he always wanted music lessons but could never afford them.
In 2006, the Helmut Fricker Scholarship was established through the Vail Valley Foundation with hopes that the scholarship will give opportunities to aspiring musicians.
Who: Helmut Fricker
Where/when: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays in the Beaver Creek Plaza from 1 to 3 p.m.; Fridays apres-ski at the Christiania At Vail. Also available to book for private parties, weddings, birthdays, apres-ski events and more.
More information: http://www.helmutfricker.com
Bob Finnie has been “in and out of town since 1992,” playing various gigs at piano bars. He was born and raised near Cleveland, Ohio.
Finnie took traditional piano lessons from the age of 8, and he developed the skills to sing from the piano growing up in church. He said he honed his skills and developed his style during his years as an arranger and studio producer. Finnie said his favorite style of gig to play is a room full of people gathered with their friends and loved ones, singing along and enjoying their time together.
“It’s never been about performing or ‘putting on a show’ for me,” he said. “Musical evenings with me are something that we do together; it’s much more fun and interesting that way.”
Who: Bob Finnie
Where/when: Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 7 to 11 p.m. at Splendido Restaurant in Beaver Creek, through March 26.
The day Taylor Cornilles graduated from high school, she moved to Nashville to become a star. Tim Gore also had his sights set on Nashville at an early age.
The two met in the Music City in 2014 and have been making music together ever since, signing with a label in 2017.
The country music duo perform all over Vail, often with apres shows and evening shows on the weekends. Catch them this winter before they hit the road to tour extensively this summer.
Who: Austin’s Rose
Where/when: Austin’s Rose has performances at White Bison, 10th Mountain Whiskey, The Sebastian, Sonnenalp and Four Seasons Vail
More information: Visit http://www.Austin sRose.com
BAHR B Q MIKE
Get down with some drums with Bahr B Q Mike, normally playing with friends. Bahr B Q Mike is originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Looking to ski the Minturn Mile? Stop by Turntable in Minturn on the weekends to celebrate with live music by Bahr B Q Mike and Friends after 3 p.m.
Or keep it jazzy at The Remedy in Vail on Monday evenings when he joins jazz greats Sam Bee and Peter Fontanese.
Who: Bahr B Q Mike
Where/When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at the Turntable in Minturn, 3 p.m.; Mondays at The Remedy Bar in Vail with Sam Bee and Peter Fontanese, 6 p.m.; Tuesdays at The Red Lion with Jonny Schleper, 4 p.m.
More information: Follow Bahr B Q Mike on Facebook.
Peter Vavra has been playing piano in the Vail Valley for 35 years. He grew up in Lakewood, New Jersey, and moved to Vail in 1983 to play at the “new” Westin Hotel in Vail.
He played there in the lobby for 17 years.
“My music covers a large variety of music including classical, pop and semi classical,” Vavra said. “My style is sophisticated and more classical than anything else. I play with very strong attention to detail in every way with tight arrangements of all pieces in my repertoire.”
Vavra said he has studied with many good teachers along the way, including one great artist teacher, Dr. Antonia Brico of Denver.
“I still challenge myself and practice three hours every day,” Vavra said. “I have a bachelor’s of music degree from Marymount College of Kansas in piano performance.”
Who: Peter Vavra
Where/when: Weekly at Splendido restaurant at The Chateau in Beaver Creek and at The Timber Hearth Grill at The Club At Cordillera.
Tony G. has been playing in the Vail Valley for 25 years, and 24 of those years he’s been a staple at Grouse Mountain Grill in Beaver Creek.
“And 10 years with drummer Brian Loftus — we are known as ‘BLT’ — at the Westin Riverfront,” he said. “We have a Facebook page: “BLT.”
Gulizia grew up in Nebraska and started playing at age 10 with his dad and brother, Joey, who now tours with the Mannheim Steamroller. The piano man moved to Colorado in 1992 with his wife, Liane, and sons TJ, Nicholas and Marc.
“My music is best described as the very best of jazz, old and new, bop to swing, and plenty of groovy tunes in between,” Gulizia said.
Gulizia has also been on the local radio station KZYR for 15 years with his show “Jazz At Its Peak,” and he’s celebrating 20 years of his program Vail Jazz Goes To School, which has worked with over 15,000 fourth- and fifth-graders.
Who: Tony Gulizia — “Tony G”
Where/when: Solo piano and vocals at Grouse Mountain Grill on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 6:30 to 10 p.m.; Westin lobby with BLT on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 4 to 6 p.m.; and BLT at The Remedy at the Four Seasons on Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m.
Stennor Dahlen has been DJing professionally in the Vail Valley since 2010. He mixes a fun variety of the classic songs of all time.
“I got my first set of turntables in 2006, but I grew up listening to records and would mess around with the equalizer and volume and pitch adjustment as a kid in the 80s,” he said. “When I started, I thought I wanted to be a club/performance DJ. Lately, I have been enjoying all the different ways that I can DJ.”
DJ Stennor provides music for events like weddings, fashion shows, fundraisers, private parties, drunk spelling bees and grand openings.
“And I’ve been having a blast doing it all,” he said. “I try my best to use the tools that I have to present the songs in a fresh and tasteful way that is appropriate to the setting.”
Who: Stennor Dahlen — “DJ Stennor”
Where/when: DJ Bol on Saturdays and Root & Flower on Sundays — 10 p.m. both nights.
More information: Reach him at Stennorlive@gmail.com.
Kevin Danzig is originally from Thousand Oaks, California, and at the age of 18 he relocated to Houston, Texas, because he was old enough to play in the bars.
Years later and after many years of playing music in many locations, Danzing landed in Avon in 2008 and has lived in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado ever since, now based in Dillon.
“I can play many styles and I incorporate them into my overall performance,” he said. “I like to say that ‘If Joni Mitchell and Jackson Browne would have had that baby, it could have been me. I call myself a singer-songwriter because I defy categorization. I always memorize my lyrics and everything you hear is being played by me — no loopers, no recorded background music. I’m a bit of a purest like that. I have around 400 songs in my head, give or take.”
Danzig’s grandfather bought him his first guitar.
“I was always singing with the radio, so he enrolled me in a guitar class and later gave me some private lessons,” he said. “I quickly took the reins and bought a Beatle’s songbook. I learned every song in the book and then moved on to other artists like Cat Stevens and Paul Simon. I was always writing songs, too.”
Who: Kevin Danzig
Where/when: Most frequently in The Sonnenalp Hotel (In The King’s Club), with a special guest featured every Saturday night. Also, The Arrabelle (Tavern on the Square) in Lionshead Village on occasion, including April 1, Easter Sunday afternoon. He is half of the duo “Kevin & Faith,” and also the lead singer and songwriter for the rock ’n’ roll band Buzz Drivers — playing for the Carpenter’s Ball at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek on Saturday, March 10.
More information: http://www.kevindanzig.com
Originally, from Lincoln, Nebraska, Kathy Morrow has lived in a variety of cities and countries due to the traveling nature of music. She’s been in the Vail Valley playing music for 25 years.
“The music I play is a huge mix of jazz, R&B, pop, Americana and boogie-woogie,” she said. “When you play piano bar, you serve up a variety of any of these genres every night.”
Morrow started to play piano as a 5-year-old. She came from a large family and was greatly influenced by her older sisters and mom who all played. She said she also loves to play with her quartet (bass, drums, alto sax and her on keyboard).
“We get an incredibly sophisticated and diverse audience from all over the USA and the world,” Morrow said of Vail and Beaver Creek. “There is an amazing pool of talented musicians that live here. And, I’ve been fortunate to work with a majority of them throughout the years. The mountains are my home. There’s nothing better than to take a ski run or two on our ‘bluebird’ days and perform at night.”
Who: Kathy Morrow
Where/when: Tuesday evenings from 7 to 11 p.m. at Splendido at the Chateau in Beaver Creek.
More information: http://www.katsjazzmusic.com
Taylor Kundolf doesn’t play “gigs,” but he has kept to a series of devoted performances that have created a “rare and fortunate career.”
“I most enjoy an evening that becomes an intimate give and take with the audience,” he said. “I don’t mean ‘quiet,’ intimate but rather an evening where I get as much from the audience as I give to them. Special evenings like that leave you with a tingling sensation.”
Kundolf said The Chateau Residence Club brought him from Indian Wells, California, to the Vail Valley for the summer of 1993 to play for the restaurant, then known as Chadwick’s. Shortly after, he became full time.
“I am an all-request piano bar entertainer. I love what I do,” he said. “The longer I play, the more I come to realize that there is beautiful music to be found from all around the world and across many genres. One comment I hear regularly is ‘I never expected to hear that being played on a piano.’”
Who: Taylor Kundolf
Where/when: Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings at Splendido at The Chateau in Beaver Creek through the end of ski season.
DJ AUSTIN GAVLAK
From Dallas, Texas, Austin Gavlak has been working in the music scene for going on a decade, but only started DJing a couple of years ago. His style highlights disco and house music that samples heavily from jazz, funk and international.
“I am in love with anything that has French female vocals,” he said.
Gavlak moved to Los Angeles for a couple of years with another long-time valley local Brennan Schloo, aka Beschloo, who Gavlak said is still one of his favorite DJs on the planet.
“We had a DJ rig in the house that got a lot of use,” he said. “I am working on putting together some larger scale events in Vail to breathe new life into a scene that, in my opinion, has become a little bit stale.”
Who: DJ Austin Gavlak
Where/when: Root & Flower on Thursdays starting around 9 p.m.
More information: http://www.toptaptech.com.
When Shannon Tanner first started performing at the Park Hyatt, there were only three buildings at Beaver Creek and the cost of gas was $1.12.
Now, more than 25 years later, Tanner is still performing his high-energy, crowd participation shows outside of the Park Hyatt and Powder 8 at the base of the mountain.
“I’m incredibly blessed to have been somewhere this long,” he said. “When you’ve been somewhere as long as I have, you become ingrained in the resort as a whole.”
Along the way, Tanner has welcomed some great musicians to his small stage near the Centennial Express lift. From Toby Keith standing in for a song to Dan Fogelberg joining in, Tanner is honored to be part of the entertainment scene at Beaver Creek.
“It becomes a party atmosphere every day,” he said.
Who: Shannon Tanner
When/where: Mondays through Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m.; Saturdays and Sundays from 4 to 8 p.m.; all performances outside of Powder 8 at Beaver Creek.
More information: Follow Tanner on Twitter @mrshannontanner
A Colorado native and CSU alum — go Rams — Reid Tynan has called the Vail Valley home since 2015.
When he’s not busy playing Justin Bieber cover songs, he enjoys hitting the slopes, traveling and hiking.
Tynan performs at both the Vail and Beaver Creek Chophouses throughout the course of a week — both slopeside.
Who: Reid Tynan
When/where: Fridays and Saturdays at Beaver Creek Chophouse from 3 to 6 p.m.
More information: Follow Reid Tynan Music on Facebook.
Musician Dave Tucker grew up in New Jersey, about 40 minutes west of New York City in a town called Berkeley Heights.
“The first time I really played in front of people was junior year talent show to like 800 people,” he said. “In college, I played in the worship band at Hope College in Michigan. I dropped out, started bartending and playing random shows.”
After a trip to Los Angeles to record his music, Tucker came out with a full length EP, “In Kind,” which was released in 2012.
“I toured nationally on a 9,000-mile solo tour the spring before I moved to Vail,” he said. “I’ve been performing in the valley since November of 2013 when I took over headlining at Pepi’s, where I stayed for three years until I took a break and went down to Vegas to perform.”
Music is in Tucker’s blood. His great grandmother was a concert pianist, and all five of his sisters were required to take piano. Tucker started on saxophone when he was 10 and then got a second-hand guitar when he was 12 after hearing an uncle play southern blues.
“My father also played guitar on Saturday nights after dinner, as he was from that generation of “folkies” in the early ’60s with Josh White, Dave Van Ronk, Peter Paul & Mary and the Kingston Trio,” Tucker said. “He says he taught me a C Chord and I taught myself the rest.”
Who: Dave Tucker
Where/when: The Red Lion from 4 to 6 p.m. and 9 to 11 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays until the end of the winter season. He may be there the same nights this summer, times to be announced.
More information: Visit http://www.DaveTucker Music.com.
Roy Bloomfield has been playing music in the Vail Valley for 31 years. He’s from Miami and spent seven years in California before moving to Colorado in 1979.
“My music might be considered acoustic blues based, but I cover anything from The Beatles to Green Day to Coldplay to Muddy Waters to Antonio Carlos Jobim to Johnny Cash,” Bloomfield said.
He took lessons at the age of 10, but he mostly developed his music by ear.
“And by playing with people who were (and are) better than me,” he added.
Over the past 20 years, Bloomfield transitioned from playing about 95 percent of his gigs on electric lead guitar to now playing at least 95 percent of his gigs on acoustic guitar.
He most enjoys playing on a warm evening in the desert by a fire, preferably with a few other like-minded musicians.
Who: Roy Bloomfield
Where/when: Beano’s Cabin in Beaver Creek, Wednesdays through Saturdays (winter and summer). Bloomfield also plays in the Bob Finnie Band (electric lead guitar).
Country rock musician Scott Munns is originally from Mauldin, South Carolina. He lived in the Vail Valley from 1995 to 2002, and he makes his way back here often to play music.
Munns took guitar lessons when he was 12 years old and has always enjoyed playing gigs that highlight his singer-songwriter style.
“I love playing in this valley and I miss the people when I’m gone,” Munns said.
Who: Scott Munns
Where/when: Bridge Street Bar throughout the winter.
BRITT HERRINGTON & GRAHAM OLSON
Britt Herrington plays both solo and as a duo with Graham Olson as The Fade Outs. These talented musicians light up The Sonnenalp in Vail with their talents. Herrington is from Texas and Olson is from Minnesota.
“We have both played professionally in the valley for many years,” Herrington said. “Before becoming exclusive to The Sonnenalp about 10 years ago, I also played regularly at Splendido in Beaver Creek, the Lodge at Cordillera and Manor Vail.”
Herrington specializes in classically infused pop, from Bach to Radiohead, arranged for solo piano, and The Fade Outs are known for an eclectic piano and cello repertoire, from psychedelic rock to Broadway, with a classical twist.
“We both relish the chance to perform music we love for a live audience,” Herrington said. “In the King’s Club, the Sonnenalp offers perhaps the finest small-room, public performance space in the valley to enjoy live music — it’s like an old-world salon.”
The Fade Outs perform original piano/cello arrangements of a variety of music, from Pink Floyd to Andrew Lloyd Webber, to Leonard Cohen and Radiohead.
“We are grateful to Johannes and Rosana Faessler, proprietors at The Sonnenalp), for having the vision to expand the options for music in the valley,” Herrington said.
Who: Britt Herrington & Graham Olson
Where/when: Britt Herrington performs Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays apres ski from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Sonnenalp; Britt & Graham — The Fade Outs — perform Sunday evenings 8 to 11 p.m. at The Sonnenalp.
Known as the Vail Valley’s “Piano Man,” Micky Poage has been entertaining locals and visitors with his remarkable musical talents for over three decades. He has a diverse and loyal following, and since he established himself playing at The Lodge at Vail for 36 years, people from all over the area drive to Vista to enjoy his music.
Request just about anything and he’ll be able to bring it to life with the piano. Some of his most requested songs include his signature composition “The Last Run Of The Day,” and his arrangement of Les Miserable — the long, intense version. Also, The Beatles and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” and anything Lloyd Weber, he says.
When Poage is not playing piano at Vista, he takes time for sunset moments, and also will compose, practice and write arrangements that challenge his technique.
“Have a nice dinner with my wife. Ski with my son, friends or even by myself while cranking a great play list in my helmet,” he said. “Golf, even though I’m not very good at it. Travel and spend time with friends. Many other things that don’t involve shopping.”
Who: Micky Poage
Where/when: Nightly at Vista at Arrowhead in Edwards.
Located in Colorado, musician Ben Hammond also frequents New England and Florida — as well as appearances in Asia and New Zealand.
His funky, guitar-looping, soul-singing style can be heard at Bridge Street Bar in Vail.
Hammond has a degree in music technology and jazz voice from McGill University and has appeared as a guest performer in the Montreal Jazz Festival.
The musician has also produced three full length albums, multiple videos and a live concert DVD.
Who: Ben Hammond
Where/when: Bridge Street Bar throughout the winter.
More information: Visit http://www.benhammondmusic.com.
A local music teacher, Laura Miller has been in the valley for two years and gigs around with Tony Gulizia.
She also freelances private voice lessons to children and adults, as well as works with local children’s theater company Vail Performing Arts Academy.
Originally from Oklahoma, Miller studied vocal music education with an emphasis in vocal jazz and attributes her love of jazz to her college professor Dr. Jim Graves, whom she first met in high school.
Miller’s style is most influenced by jazz, folk and contemporary music.
Who: Laura Miller
Where/when: You can find her regularly sitting in with local jazz favorite Tony G. at The Westin and The Four Seasons year-round, and at Monkshood Winery in the summer. She also is looking to partner with local businesses to expand the jazz scene in the valley.
More information: Follow Laura Miller Music on Facebook and @lauramiller91 on Instagram.
JONNY MOGAMBO BAND
The Jonny Mogambo Band has been performing throughout Colorado, nationally and internationally for more than 20 years.
You can find the band throughout the club scene in various forms, from its three-piece power trio to the full nine-piece funk rock rhythm and groove band.
Over the years, the band has played in venues such as the House of Blues, Fox Theater, BB Kings in Memphis and the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. Some of the members have played at Red Rocks, sitting in with other bands.
Catch the Jonny Mogambo Band at clubs and bars in Vail, and the group has been a regular staple performing at Pink Vail, atop Eagle’s Nest.
Who: Jonny Mogambo Band
Where/when: Mondays through Wednesdays at Hotel Talisa, as well as Fridays and Saturday’s at Bridge Street Bar from 6 to 10 p.m.
More information: Visit http://www.jmoband.com.