WhiteWater Ramble on the rocks
WEST VAIL – What do Fort Collins-based band WhiteWater Ramble and sex blogs have in common? Both believe it’s not the size of the wave, but the motion of the ocean.According to fiddle player Joe Turman, it’s not the size of the crowd, but the movement of its feet.”Everyone judges a band by the size of its audience,” Turman said. “We judge it by what the people watching are doing. We call our music ‘dancegrass’ because we like to make people get off their butts and dance. That’s our yardstick on measuring a good show.”WhiteWater Ramble performs at the Sandbar in West Vail Thursday night at 10. Although its musicians play classic bluegrass instruments – fiddle, upright bass, mandolin, guitar and drums – WhiteWater Ramble is not a traditional bluegrass band.
“We really don’t like to tie ourselves down to one genre,” Turman said. “Our originals reflect that because our originals are very hard to categorize.”The band’s sound has been described in just about every way from bluegrass crossed with Southern rock to high-tech ballad groove. Turman names “Drawing Straws” and “Pack Mule Blues” as two originals which shows the group’s diversity. “Drawing Straws,” Turman said, is bluegrass with a Southern rock twist, while “Pat Mule Blues” is full on rockabilly. The players’ different influences shape WhiteWater Ramble’s sound.Alex Jacobson, who plays drums, percussion, congas, washboard and spoons, is heavily influenced by bands like Rush, Phish and the Allman Brothers. Brian Coddington, who is lead vocalist and plays acoustic guitar, traveled with the Grateful Dead for a couple of years and has a penchant for the jam band scene, yet Coddington has classically trained his voice. Bassist Howard Montgomery is a jazz addict, Turman said. Patrick Sites on mandolin, along with Turman, add the bluegrass flavor to the group. Turman, although classically trained in violin, always wanted to be a bluegrass fiddler, and he said he often sneaks traditional licks into unexpected rock songs like “Whipping Post” by the Allman Brothers.”Our influences have steered us where we are now and where we have gone with the band,” Turman said.But above all else, Turman said, the audience dictates what’s played on stage. WhiteWater Ramble’s biggest concern is creating a party, where dancing is unavoidable.
“We love to support people in have a good time,” Turman said. “We take it seriously, like professionals, so people can be fully entertained.”Water danceWhiteWater Ramble10 p.m. today
Sandbar in West VailFor more information, call 476-4314Arts and Entertainment Editor Cassie Pence can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14640, or firstname.lastname@example.org.Vail, Colorado