Peace grooves at Half Moon tonight |

Peace grooves at Half Moon tonight

Andrew Harley
Special to the DailyShanti Groove makes its home in Boulder, but members are from all over the United States. The groove-meets-bluegrass group performs today at the Half Moon Saloon in West Vail at 10 p.m.

As the mercury level drops in thermometers around the valley tonight, those of us who don’t enjoy the tap-shoe-toppling cold may want to consider heading over to Half Moon Saloon for the warm vibes of Shanti Groove.

Shanti Groove kicks off its barn-burning meld of groove music and bluegrass at 10 p.m. for its third performance in Vail.

The Boulder-based band, notorious for long, harmonious jams, returns to Vail as part of its sixth tour of the year, which includes shows with Leftover Salmon, Steve Kimock and New Monsoon.

The term Shanti is a Sanskrit word that means peace.

“There’s a lot of freedom in our music. We can take it anywhere we want,” said bassist Juri Freeman. “We’ll play the same song three times in one week, and it’ll sound completely different each time.”

Blues-heavy Jason Scroggins takes care of the guitarwork for the band.

“He’s a great flat picker, but he’s really into the blues and acoustic sounds instead of traditional flat picking,” said Freeman.

Jason Flournoy picks a storm on the banjo.

“He’s probably the most traditional player,” said Freeman. “And, he actually mixes traditional banjo with a more melodic form.”

Mandolinist John Heiland is a master of soundscape, layering solid rhythm riffs upon snappy improvisations.

“John’s really adaept at improvisation. He’s got great chops and backs them up with cool rhythms,” said Freeman.

The band scored a new drummer at the beginning of the year in Chris Carland.

“Chris has done over 100 shows with us. We’ve really been hitting it hard in the past eight months,” said Freeman.

The band recently released its first album, “River’s Mould,” which is a relatively gleeful studio album that bounces through a wide variety of genres.

“We have so much material,” said Freeman. “If we had the money and the means, we’d be in the recording studio right now.”

Freeman, a Baltimore man, and the rest of the band come from all over America, including St. Louis, Chicago, Long Beach and Birmingham.

“It’s cool to have people from so many different backgrounds. We just kind of met, and it’s really working out,” said Freeman. “But, right now, we get to tour everyone’s hometown but mine.”

And, all of those different backgrounds get a say in the songwriting process.

“With a lot of our songs, one person will come to rehearsal with an idea and some words, and we figure the rest out together,” said Freeman.

Shanti Groove plays Half Moon Saloon tonight at 10 in Vail.

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

Peaceful Pickers

Shanti Groove

Today, 10 p.m.

Half Moon Saloon

Support Local Journalism