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Music in every direction

Andrew Harley
Special to the DailyVocalist and rhythm guitarist Paul Cox, bassist Greg Pace, percussionist Andy Clapp and lead guitarist Matt McClain confine their acoustic rock-and-roll, jazzy, bluegrass stylings to Chilly Willy's today in Minturn at 9 p.m.
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With the potential to travel from the front porch to the nearest cloud or furthest star in mind, Three Degrees of Freedom strives to eliminate the boundaries within its music.

Vocalist and rhythm guitarist Paul Cox, bassist Greg Pace, percussionist Andy Clapp and lead guitarist Matt McClain confine their acoustic rock-and-roll, jazzy, bluegrass stylings to Chilly Willy’s today in Minturn at 9 p.m.

“It’s a math and science term. It means that if you have three degrees of freedom, you have the ability to move anywhere in space,” said McClain. “For instance, an airplane has six degrees of freedom.”



The band has escorted its jams around the country for over two and a half years.

“We’ve played so many damn shows, it seems like we’ve been together for a decade,” said Cox, somewhere along the road between St. Louis and Nebraska Thursday. “We’re just off a six-week tour, and it feels like we’ve been on the road for five months … in a good, satisfying way, of course.”

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Pace and Clapp grew up together in Connecticut. Pace graduated from the University of Denver and is the jokester of the band.

“Greg’s the funny guy,” said Cox.

Clapp and Pace collaborate to create the rhythms. Clapp freewheeled around America after he graduated high school. He was in the process of moving to New York when the band scooped him up.



“Andy has his own style, which is pretty much ambidextrous,” said Cox. “He does a lot of work with his left hand, and has a good sense of syncopation. He’s a colorful drummer.”

McClain also graduated from DU, majoring in engineering. He grew up in St. Louis, and was raised on classical piano lessons.

“Matt’s the left brain of the band; the logic side,” said Cox. “He’s very organized and systematic.”

Cox is the only member from Colorado – Colorado Springs. He was playing hockey for DU when he decided that he might get into trouble if he didn’t put his energy and passion into something else.

So, Cox dabbled in writing. He picked up the guitar at age 17, when he moved to Mich., as a way to kill time.

Guitar became an addiction for Cox, and he found himself playing every day.

“One day I realized it was all I wanted to do,” said Cox.

Cox, Pace and McClain got together at DU, and made their humble beginnings at local bars and fraternities.

The story of Cox’s voice has quite a hook.

Many people who’ve become lead vocalists in rock groups started with nervousness, and, perhaps, little experience.

Cox’s singing experience went no further than brief childhood stints in a church choir and the occasional you’re-alone-in-your-car-and-nobody’s-looking song.

Cox had to be utterly drunk to sing his first set of gigs, and it took him a while to break his stage fright.

Tonight will be the band’s first appearance in Minturn.

“We’re excited. We’re not quite sure what’s in store for us, but it should be a fun night,” said McClain.

Three Degrees of Freedom plays Chilly Willy’s today in Minturn at 9 p.m.

Andrew Harley can be contacted at (970) 949-0555 ext. 610 or at aharley@vaildaily.com.

Free-moving Minstrels

Three Degrees of Freedom

Live! in Minturn

Today, 9 p.m.

Chilly Willy’s, Minturn


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