Rockin’ Jake Band plays Sundance Saloon |

Rockin’ Jake Band plays Sundance Saloon

Wren Wertin
Special to the DailyThe Rockin' Jake Band brings its New Orleans flavor to Sundance Saloon.

The Rockin’ Jake Band comes to Vail tonight, bringing with them the New Orleans sound Vail residents can’t seem to resist. Like most of today’s musicians, Jake has blended several genres to create his own sound.

“We take swamp, blues, zydeco; it sounds like the street beats of New Orleans,” he said.

The Rockin’ Jake Band played their first gig in a former brothel on Bourbon Street in a club known as the House of the Rising Sun. It’s no accident that the New Orleans kids (give or take a few miles) are spending so much winter time in the Rockies.

“As treacherous as the driving, I love the people and gigs of Colorado,” said Jake. “The mountains – they can get hairy, but there’s a lot of people up here, and they’re ready. They love New Orleans music, and they’re ready to boogie. … What really keeps us going is our passion and love for the music. The fire, baby, inside. It’s what keeps me going.”

Jake discovered Motown as a young kid in the ’60s, courtesy of his older sisters. (He also waxes poetical about radio of the time, crediting it with diversity and quality.) He initially picked up the harmonica in high school.

“It looked so easy – just a little harmonica,” he said. “So now, 27 years later, I’m just starting to get the hang of it. There’s so much further for me to go. I feel pretty good where I’m at, but I feel there’s a lot more to do, too.”

He was named “Best Harmonica Player in New Orleans” by the Offbeat Awards in 1996, 1999, 2000 and 2001. The last award was met by a vehement ovation by the crowd.

The Rockin’ Jake band is touring in promotion of their latest album, “Full-Time Work.” A hard rocking album, it uses the talents of such New Orleans notables as John Gros (Papa Grows Funk), Ron Johnson (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe) and Brian Stoltz (Funky Meters). It’s a dynamic album with lots of smoky meat – no coincidence, as Jake is also known as the Brisket King, and has even launched his own hot sauce, Badmouth.

“We’re going to rock the Sundance Saloon,” exhorted Jake.

The Rockin’ Jake Band performs tonight at 9:30 at Sundance Saloon in Lionshead.

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

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