For those who regularly migrate from Fort Collins during the warm summer months, this upcoming weekend provides a rare opportunity to enjoy two Colorado staples; live bluegrass and music at Mishawaka Inn Amphitheater.
The local string quartet Head For the Hills will be headlining an all-ages show with supporting acts White Water Ramble and Jeff Miller also set to perform.
Head For the Hills, whose members are all CSU students, has been establishing a name for itself while performing locally over the past year. The band, which describes its sound as "grasshop"–a fusion of hip-hop and bluegrass–is beginning to reap the rewards of persistence and has upcoming performances scheduled in Utah, Kansas and Chicago.
The members of Head For the Hills — Adam Kinghorn, Joe Lessard, Mike Chappell and Matt Loewen — originated from diverse backgrounds with eclectic musical styles and abilities before converging together in the CSU residence halls during the 2003-04 school year. The members play a complimentary sound that accentuates their varying styles and vocals while performing a mix of original and cover songs.
Kinghorn and Chappell, playing guitar and mandolin, respectively, are Colorado natives whose relationship goes back to growing up in Golden together. Loewen, easily identifiable with his dreadlocks and beard that beguile his young age, grew up on the north side of Chicago studying the clarinet before turning his attention to the bass. Lessard, who rounds out the sounds with the fiddle, mastered his craft by learning from his grandfather while growing up in Tennessee. Not one to be boxed into any particular musical style, Lessard has also been playing and recording around Colorado with his hip-hop ensemble, Whiskey Blanket.
This weekend's performance (doors open at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, $6,) will give those who have yet to venture up the Poudre Canyon a chance to experience a show unique to Colorado. Mishawaka Inn Amphitheater, virtually overhanging the Cache la Poudre River, has long been renowned for its summer outdoor lineups.
Last year, audiences got to enjoy Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, Robert Randolph, moe. and Galactic, to name a few. Rarely, however, do bands get to perform indoors at the "Inn" because of its limited space. When it does occur, as when String Cheese Incident played the same stage in 1997, it provides the astute music connoisseur a rare opportunity to see artists in such an up-close setting. For the brave and well equipped, there is also plenty of winter camping locations located throughout the canyon.
White Water Ramble, another up-and-coming local act, which performed last weekend at the Aggie Theater, is set to open the show. Scheduled on stage between sets of Head For the Hills is one-man guitar master Jeff Miller. Miller, who provides shades of Keller Williams, Bella Fleck and Tony Furtado, will no doubt eventually move onto bigger and better things. With three acts set to perform, and the Mishawaka Inn's lack of a cut-off time, the entertainment is likely to last well into Sunday morning.