Percussive pop fusion band at the Saloon |

Percussive pop fusion band at the Saloon

Wren Wertin

grounded in classic world traditions. They play the Saloon in Minturn today at 9 p.m.

The Denver-based five-piece is a study of roots influences, beginning with lead singer-lyricist Kristi VanDeWalker’s folksy upbringing. With a voice by turns sweet and driving, her phrasing is an integral part of the songs. She rendezvoused with the flute in high school, and has recently returned to the instrument in an effort to bring more texture to Zeut’s sound. When her voice isn’t driving home a song, her flute weaves in and out.

Though Zeut is VanDeWalker’s first project, spirited guitarist Rob Eldridge has been in and out of bands since high school. Country, jazz, jam rock, acoustic duets and hard-core punk bands are a few of the projects he’s been involved with. He names Zeut as his favorite thus far, and a good vehicle for his original tunes.

“Kris and I started the band in ’96,” he said. “A lot of people always have those initial visions of making it big. But we’re both just lovers of music, and we created this so we could feel good about it. We just wanted to make good music.”

“We began as a group that would focus on original music, play it and have fun,” said VanDeWalker. “We would have these practices that would last three and four hours, and suddenly realized that we had a pretty strong repertoire of music.”

Eldridge doesn’t turn a deaf ear to any type of music, and is influenced by such varied musicians as Metallica, Diana Krall, Chet Atkins and the Gregorian Chants.

During the past six years of band-hood, Zeut has seen many changes. What started out as folk-pop is now edgier, with world music overtones. Because of their rhythm section, they spend a lot of time on Afro-pop music, playing with the different beats and hand-held drums that characterize that genre. Likewise, Eldridge’s early classical training on the guitar can be heard in several tunes, especially the Spanish-flavored instrumentals.

VanDeWalker writes most of the group’s lyrics, but the music is written primarily by Eldridge. Each musician helps in the arrangement of his or her part, making the songwriting process a true group effort.

In addition to VanDeWalker and Eldridge, Zeut is also Mark Serratoni (drums, vocals), Allen Burki (bass) and Justin Peacock (congas, percussion). They’re currently working on their third album, a follow-up to “Inaday” and “Lion in a Bucket.” Despite being nominated for best pop and rock band in Denver, Eldridge considers Zeut to be continually growing.

“It’s a dynamic entity,” he said. “Especially when you play live and receive feedback from people. It’s still coming together.”

Being based in Denver is a blessing and a curse, he said. Despite being a sports-centric place, the city is making a name for itself with innovative music.

“It’s not like Austin or Seattle, which are more music-focused,” he said “But a lot of good bands are here, and a lot come through.”

Fore more information visit Zeut’s percussive pop can be heard at the Saloon in Minturn tonight at 9. It’s part of the Live! in Minturn concert series.

Wren Wertin can be reached via e-mail at or phone at 949-0555 ext. 618.

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