Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers open Beaver Creek series
Editor’s note: Director’s Chair is a weekly column where Kris Sabel, who is in charge of cultural programming for the Vail Valley Foundation, gives his expert take on shows not to be missed.Next Sunday, Sept. 19 we kick off a new music series called Underground Sound. If you have not yet heard about it, we are tagging the series “Love for the Locals,” with a focus on providing those of us around in the off-season the opportunity to experience wonderful musicians at affordable prices. We open the series with Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers. If you haven’t heard of them, don’t worry you will. In following them through fan sites, album and concert reviews, one of the comments that comes up again and again is “this is the greatest band you’ve never heard of.” Why these guys aren’t household names is beyond me, but that’s one of the goals of this series – to introduce our audience to some really great artists who once you’ve heard them, you’ll want to buy their albums, and add them to your favorite playlists. I got to know The Sixers and came to love their music through the album “Glassjaw Boxer.” It’s an album you put on and listen to in its entirety, then you realize it’s meant to be heard this way. Each song melds seamlessly into the next and builds to create an experience that is far greater than any one song. The lyrics are emotional and personal, the melodies are tuneful, Kellogg’s voice is warm and inviting and the backup vocals are harmonious. “Glassjaw Boxer” was honored as one of the top five albums of 2007 by USA Today critic, Brian Mansfield. Their latest release “The Bear” was voted “Best of 2009” by No Depression and JamBase.The band has been together since 2003 and they have been building a very dedicated fan base through an exhausting touring schedule – they celebrated their 1,000th show on April 3 in NYC. I can’t wait to see them perform live. They were named 2009 Entertainers of the Year by Armed Forces Entertainment. This spring they toured military bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Turkey, Portugal, Italy, Germany (with Sugarland) and NATO bases in England and the Netherlands. “We wanted to give back in the way we know how, which is playing music,” Kellogg told CNN. “It was just an honor to get to say hello to those folks.” More recently, The Sixers played for the American Embassy in Israel as part of a July 4 celebration. Local fans may have seen them perform in the past at the Telluride Bluegrass or Mile High Music Festivals. They are only playing two Colorado dates on this tour, so I hope you will join us and help kick off our new series Underground Sound.