Want to hone your chops as a young bluegrass band?
Take a month long gig as the bluegrass house band on a cruise ship. Nothing like baptism by fire on the fair seas.
Meadow Mountain, hailing from the Vail Valley in Colorado, did just that. With roots traced back to high school friendship, Meadow Mountain is evolving into a band that will soon gain mention in the lineage of groups that has established the Rocky Mountain State as fertile bluegrass ground.
After turning the heads of Colorado bluegrass fans for the last couple years and winning the 2017 Rockygrass band competition, the band released its eponymous debut record last month.
I recently caught up with Meadow Mountain to chat Colorado bluegrass, gigging on a cruise ship, and recording with Chris Pandolfi of The Infamous Stringdusters.
BRO – Finish this statement in five words or less: The best part about spending a month as the house band on a cruise ship is . . . .
MM – . . . . endless buffets after every set.
BRO – How did working with Chris Pandolfi in the studio push you as a band?
MM – Chris has a fine tuned musical mind, and it was really beneficial for us to witness what he listens for in each recording. We definitely came into the studio with the goal of laying down the most technically proficient tracks that we could. Chris pulled us back from that mindset and helped us listen for what he called “the bigger picture.” His main interest was in capturing the recordings that he thought had honest energy. We now aim for that in our playing at every show.
BRO – Meadow Mountain stands to take its place among a long line of great Colorado bluegrass bands. What does that mean to you guys?
MM – We are consistently humbled and inspired by the Colorado bluegrass scene. It is a surreal thing to stand on stage in front of 400 people to play bluegrass after so many years of standing in the audience at shows and dreaming of what it would be like to stand on the stage. We don’t take it for granted.
BRO – We are featuring “Caught Out On The Line” on this month’s Trail Mix. What’s the story behind the song?
MM – This tune was inspired by Jack’s romantic misadventures. It is a dramatized version of real events, and that feeling of being on the hook for someone is something that many of us are familiar with. An inside joke with the band came with the other guys picking on Jack on stage, all in good fun. When the title was misinterpreted to be about fishing, the guys suggested it was in fact about fishing for love.
BRO – 2019 is nearly upon us. What plans does the band have for the new year?
MM – We are going to be touring on the east coast in February, which includes a stop at the Folk Alliance International Conference in Montreal. In March, we are playing at a large theater in Denver – which we can’t announce yet!!! – and we will be playing on the festival circuit all summer. In May, we are going to put together the second annual Colorado Music Summit, which has musicians from all over the country coming to Twin Lakes, Colorado, to record and collaborate. It looks like an exciting year to say the least.
Meadow Mountain will be joining bluegrass mates The Infamous Stringdusters next weekend at The 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco, Colorado. After that, it’s off to 2019 for the band and what does appear to be a watershed year for Meadow Mountain.
For more information on Meadow Mountain, tour dates, and how you can get a copy of the new record, be sure to check out the band’s website.
And be sure to check out “Caught Out On The Line,” along with new tracks from Rhett Miller, Donna The Buffalo, Jay Psaros, and many more on this month’s Trail Mix.