Playing Bearfoot in Beaver Creek |

Playing Bearfoot in Beaver Creek

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily

BEAVER CREEK ” The guys and gals in the bluegrass band Bearfoot play 120 shows a year to packed audiences, have released three albums with a fourth on the way and have been signed to Compass records. Bearfoot hit the 10-year mark as a band this year, just one more accomplishment for the five former band camp attendees who grew up together in Alaska.

But this is the first year that all the members of the band are done with college and are actually focusing on Bearfoot as a full-time career instead of a summer gig to pay tuition, said Kate Hamre, who plays acoustic bass.

“Now it’s actually starting to feel like a real job instead of just a summer college thing,” she said.

Despite the fact that it’s actually a job now, Hamre said it’s a great job to have.

“It’s pretty cool that we actually get to do this for a living,” she said.

Bearfoot ” Hamre, Mike Mickelson on guitar, Jason Norris on mandolin, Angela Oudean on fiddle and Odessa Jorgensen on fiddle ” will perform at the Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek on Wednesday.

“This is truly one of those experiences that you’ll look back on, and say ‘I saw that band way back when,'” said Sarah Dixon, marketing director for the Vail Performing Arts Center. “They’re one of the most promising new forces on the bluegrass scene, and all we hear from people who have seen them live, and presented them before, is that they have tremendous talent.”

Hamre was only 14 when Bearfoot first started playing and during their 10 years together, she said they’ve all learned some valuable lessons as musicians and friends.

“We learned a lot of patience and how to work well together, all those things that make a band work … It’s almost like a family. I think we also learned a lot about our music, I could probably go on and on about that,” Hamre said.

Though they started out as a traditional bluegrass band, Hamre said the sound of Bearfoot has evolved over the years to include more Americana and folk influences.

People used to be confused by the lack of a banjo player in the band and would ask how they could call themselves a traditional bluegrass band ” so they changed their name from Bearfoot Bluegrass to plain old Bearfoot.

But what sets Bearfoot apart from other bands in the same genre?

“Everybody sings, which you don’t see very often … We have very distinct lady’s three-part harmonies. Just the fact that we have three girls in our band also kind of sets us apart,” Hamre said.

They’re also not afraid to mix genres. Hamre said they often throw some swing, funk, jazz and blues into the mix.

“There’s a lot of different stuff going on,” she said.

Hamre said the audience in Beaver Creek can expect that and more Wednesday night.

“I think it will be really fun, it’s pretty lively … We’re really all excited to play,” Hamre said.

High Life Writer Charlie Owen can be reached at 970-748-2939 or

What: Bluegrass and Americana band Bearfoot.

When: Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Vilar Performing Arts Center in Beaver Creek.

Cost: $20.

More information: Call 888-920-2787 or visit

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