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Music moves the family

Don Rogers

We discovered Carbon Leaf, an obscure band you’ve never heard of, in Colorado Springs last May. They opened for another band you’ve never heard of, Great Big Sea, at a nightclub in Colorado Springs.We discovered Great Big Sea when they opened at the Ford Amphitheat-er a few years ago for yet another band you’ve never heard of, Seven Nations, and a band that’s actually popular around here, The Young Dubliners.Recently, we made the trek to Boulder to see Carbon Leaf as the headliner at the Fox. Whew. You could say that music moves this family. My wife and I almost flew to Virginia Beach or Seattle last summer just to see the Dave Matthews Band. Dave’s No. 1 with the girls, and I’d say with me, too. I like the jamming, the jazzy touch, the rich vocals. The boy, 17, goes for his Celtic crap, the traditional as well as the contemporary touches that tune the genre up. Seven Nations, proof that bagpipes can indeed rock. Great Big Sea, Newfies who make the accordion sound cool. Gaelic Storm, witty as well as wild. Young Dubliners, Altan, Solas, Boys of the Lough, and others. My anti-Britney, hate-those-boy-bands daughter at 13 has developed a taste for punk and metal, as well as wearing black. She turned me on to Linkin Park, a must for the drive to go play basketball, Evanescence and Maroon 5.It’s a different age from when our parents hollered at us to turn that noise down. Or better, off. Our kids can handle Kansas and the Eagles. Led Zepplin and Steely Dan are pushing it. Alas, my Frank Zappa albums are still not welcome in the house. Some things don’t change. Still, that’s progress. Took me till about 40 to begin to appreciate my parents’ Mozart and Bach. The kids can handle that now, even enjoy it, along with the traditional band music they play at their schools. I mean, I invited my son to hear the Air Force Band at the Vilar, and he was way more fired up than I was. I was going because I promised retired Lt. Col. Buddy Sims I would. If you know Buddy, you learn quickly it’s best to say yes sir and be there. The kid, hair flowing down his back and all, couldn’t wait. The Air Force Band can really play.We can’t get our kids to do their homework. But they each have enough interest in music to play several instruments. The boy plays trombone, saxophone, penny whistle, has the electronic bagpipes down much better than the regular ones, plays around with the guitar, and unabashedly loved getting an accordion for his birthday. The girl plays baritone sax, takes violin lessons and is teaching herself the whistle. Don’t ask me if they have a lick of talent, or where they got their enthusiasm. I couldn’t say. I once fooled around on the guitar when that seemed like a good way to attract girls. Come to think of it, that might be why I had a puppy, too. But neither their mother nor I are particularly musical. Outside of listening, of course.Some of our best family trips have been to concerts – anathema to my parents and me. I hated their stuff, and boy did they hate mine. Music was no meeting ground for these generations. We took the kids to see Dave Matthews, singing and dancing along with tens of thousands of other fans at the Pepsi Center, and exchanging sheepish smirks when our daughter commented disgustedly about how many people were smoking “cigarettes.”That was great fun, of course. But the best is catching the great unknown acts in the small venues – the Fox in Boulder or 32 Blue in Colorado Springs. Like Carbon Leaf, a rock band with roots in Virginia bluegrass, folk and gospel, with a haunting whisper of Celtic influence mainly through the lead singer’s riffs on the whistle. The Zephyr, 97.7 FM, occasionally plays their “Life Less Ordinary” and “What About Everything,” so you might have heard them, too.The kids, with their friends, got the foot-of-the-stage view and we the bannister 30 feet away at the Fox. The place filled up behind us, and it seemed everyone knew all the words to all the songs, all 700-800 of us. Maybe they’re not so obscure.The band came out and chatted with fans in the lobby after the concert. The kids were excited to meet them, and to see they were human. They were delighted when we told them they were on the air in tiny Vail.With luck, someday they will play the bigger houses, and we’ll have to share them with thousands, or tens of thousands. Meantime, we’ll befuddle the neighbors blasting Carbon Leaf while working out in the yard. And the kids will keep practicing their instruments, motivated by favorite musicians they got to meet. It’s all music to my ears. Our parents missed out.Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or editor@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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