Fair entertainment features Yampa Valley band Old River Road
What is a bluegrass band without a name that reflects not just the music, but the lifestyle of banjos, guitars and harmonicas, along with witty banter directed at the audience.
The Old River Road band takes its name from the road in Steamboat Springs where the band would practice in a member’s garage, and their style of bluegrass and mountain music will be featured at this year’s Moffat County Fair.
Scott Kirton, featured on banjo, vocals and harmonica, says he fell in love with the instrument 25 years ago when comedian Steve Martin inspired him with the movie line, “there are no sad notes on a banjo.”
Finding music the perfect relief from his day job as a probation officer, Kirton says playing their “Earl Scruggs” type of bluegrass helps the band members unwind.
“It’s a healthy hobby to help balance out a stressful career,” he said.
Old River Road also includes Kirton’s wife, Ann, on fiddle and vocals, Paul Geppert on mandolin, guitar and vocals, Craig Thornhill on guitar and vocals and Carol Ives on bass and vocals.
Playing together since early in 2011, the band keeps audiences on their toes by mixing in original songs with modern covers and old standards.
Living and working in the Yampa Valley united the five band members from very diverse backgrounds and careers, for evenings filled with music and camaraderie.
It’s hard to be more of a valley local than Ives, a 30-year ski instructor on Mt. Warner, or to imagine a better day job than Geppert’s warehouse manager for Big Agnes, the outdoor adventure company.
Guitar playing vocalist Craig Thornhill works in Craig and will have a short commute to the Moffat County Fairgrounds for his first show at noon on Friday.
The band may sound familiar to fans of the Steamboat Rodeos where they play three or four times a year.
“We play traditional bluegrass,” Kirton said. “But we throw in Elvis and Bob Dylan too.”