Vail: Topaz and Mudphonic make music in the moment |

Vail: Topaz and Mudphonic make music in the moment

Charlie Owen
Vail, CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily/Dave Mead

Topaz McGarrigle said he’s learned many lessons during his musical evolution from a jazz sax player to the frontman of his own Southern rock-blues band. Probably the biggest lesson he’s learned though, he said, was remembering to have fun.

“You don’t want to get too caught up in the business. I would say that’s the main thing. I’m still trying to learn it, but that’s the main lesson I would like to learn is that it’s just about being in the moment and enjoying the music,” McGarrigle said during a phone interview while on the road in Colorado.

After gigging in New York for a decade or so as a jazz musician, he decided it was time for a change and headed back to his hometown of Austin, Texas, in 2005 to seek a new musical direction, new challenges and “a different way of expressing myself,” he said. McGarrigle picked up a mic and started singing, playing the harmonica and guitar and set out on the path towards swampy blues and grungy funk tunes. After meeting the rest of his bandmates ” bassist Bobby Perkins, drummer Alex Marrero and guitarist John Branch ” Topaz and Mudphonic formed in 2006.

They released their first album, “Music For Dorothy,” in 2008.

Topaz and Mudphonic are playing Thursday night at the Samana Lounge in Vail and McGarrigle promised “a raging party” for those in attendance.

“So far the gigs we’ve done in Colorado have been awesome … It’s definitely a party atmosphere and a dancing and drinking atmosphere,” he said.

Samana’s promoter and house DJ, Peter Blick, decided to bring McGarrigle to town for a show.

“I brought Topaz to Whiskey Jacques in Sun Valley, Idaho about seven years ago and the show went off,” Blick said. “The live music heads there went nuts and talked about the show for a couple years after … He is very talented and diverse in musical styles. It should be a treat.”

According to McGarrigle, changing musical styles didn’t necessarily come with a guarantee of success or save him from having to battle his own fears.

“Definitely it was scary. It took some balls,” he said.

But the move paid off.

Topaz and Mudphonic just started recording their follow up to “Music For Dorothy” a couple weeks ago, he said.

“We’re real excited. We’re going to take a slightly different approach to this album … We recorded ‘Music For Dorothy’ a while back. We’d only been together a short time and we really we’re going for a live feel and we recorded it all in a big barn,” McGarrigle said.

On their new album, he said they’re going for a more modern approach and plan to experiment more in the studio with sounds, arrangements and production.

McGarriglewrote much of the material on the first album himself but this time there will be more collaboration between band members with the songwriting.

“Some of the songs will be more of a full-on collaboration …. (For) a lot of them, one of us will have the idea and the rest of us will flesh it out,” McGarrigle said.

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

What: Topaz and Mudphonic.

When: Thursday night at 10:30 p.m.

Where: Samana Lounge in Vail.

Cost: $5.

More information: 970-476-3433.

Support Local Journalism

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User