Drunken Hearts to headline Rondezvous Craft Beer Festival in Snowmass Village
The Aspen Times
IF YOU GO …
What: The Drunken Hearts
Where: Rondezvous Craft Beer Festival, Fanny Hill, Snowmass Village
When: Saturday, June 9, 6 p.m.
How much: The concert is free; the beer tasting from 3-6 p.m. is $35
SUMMER 2018 SNOWMASS VILLAGE FREE CONCERT LINEUP
Sturday, June 9, 6 p.m.: The Drunken Hearts
June 14, 6:30 p.m.: Elektric Voodoo
June 21, 6:30 p.m.: Brothers Keeper featuring Jeff Pevar
June 28, 6:30 p.m.: Harris James
July 5, 6:30 p.m.: Glen David Andrews
July 12, 6:30 p.m.: Bono Bros. Band
July 19, 6:30 p.m.: Southern Drawl Band
Saturday, July 21, 4 p.m.: Mandy Harvey & The Spin Doctors
July 26, 6:30 p.m.: WE DREAM DAWN
Aug. 2, 6:30 p.m.: Musketeer Gripweed
Aug. 9, 6:30 p.m.: The Movement
Aug. 16, 6:30 p.m.: Gasoline Lollipops
The appropriately named Drunken Hearts will take the Fanny Hill stage in Snowmass Village on this evening, capping a day of tastings at the Rondezvous Craft Beer Festival and kicking off a summer-long series of free concerts on Fanny Hill.
The show is one of two concerts at the annual series taking place on a Saturday. The rest will run on the standard Thursday evenings.
Known for its open-minded take on bluegrass and Americana, the Boulder-based electric five-piece is touring in support of its recently released third album, “The Prize.”
The band took four years between its first and second records — a hard-touring stretch from 2012’s “Live For Today” to 2016 as they barnstormed around Colorado and beyond attempting to win over a fan base. As a result, singer and guitarist Andrew McConathy said, by the time they recorded “Love & Thirst” in 2016 they’d been playing the songs live for years, had figured them out and didn’t need to work on them much for the record.
“They were already built for the live show and they were arranged for the live set,” McConathy explained in a recent phone interview from the Avery Brewing Co. in Boulder. “We didn’t put a ton of effort into getting them ready for the studio because they were already these living, breathing things.”
The new album was another story. For “The Prize,” produced by Todd Divel — who works with prominent Colorado bands like Hard Working Americans and Whitewater Ramble — at Denver’s Silo Sound Studios, they made a true studio record through a democratic songwriting process that was new for the Drunken Hearts.
“It can be difficult sometimes to let your guard down and not be so tied up in your own ideas,” McConathy said. “But we wanted it to be an open, creative flow.”
With McConathy’s Eddie Vedder-esque growl and an upbeat Americana bent that brings in elements of bluegrass, blues, harder rock and folk, the Drunken Hearts’ latest is unpredictable. “The Prize” is the kind of album where an ostentatious electric guitar solo on the hard rock track “Black Snake” can sit comfortably beside the singalong-friendly folk diddy “Wilderness.”
The new process opened up some new and fertile ground to the band. The Drunken Hearts released “The Prize” on March 31 and on April 1 they were back in the studio with Tim Carbone — best known as Railroad Earth’s fiddle player — producing yet more new songs.
“To further the conceptual approach, we decided to pretty much write these songs and arrange them on the spot in the studio every morning,” McConathy explained. “So we tried to get each song done in one day and the next day we moved on to a new song.”
They finished three new songs that way before heading out on the current tour, and expect to have another full album ready to release by next year.
Before the Drunken Hearts started taking off, McConathy was best known as the man behind YarmonyGrass. The Vail native founded the annual outdoor festival that started in State Bridge in 2006. It has since migrated to Rancho Del Rio, with a focus on indie and progressive bluegrass acts from the high country (this year’s headliners include Billy Strings, Trout Steak Revival and Coral Creek along with the Drunken Hearts).
The Drunken Hearts, in fact, started in 2011 as an informal live act, fronted by McConathy and backed by friends from other bands at YarmonyGrass.
“We’ve seen a lot of bands come and go and a lot of bands grow over the 13 years,” he said of his festival.
As live music has continued to boom in Colorado — Gov. Hickenlooper often brags that the state has more live music venues than any other — McConathy believes it also has grown in quality.
“The Colorado music culture is really unique,” he said. “There’s so many different kinds of music — reggae, hip-hop, bluegrass, jam, punk — and there are so many shows every night and the scene continues to nurture it. Somehow it doesn’t get oversaturated.”
Local fans may have noticed an uptick in the Drunken Hearts’ local appearances in the past year, including shows at Belly Up Aspen, the Temporary at Willits and Steve’s Guitars in Carbondale. The explanation is simple: They have a place to crash here now, as McConathy’s parents have settled in Missouri Heights.
As long as they don’t wear out their welcome, fans will be seeing a lot of the Drunken Hearts around here.
“We’re all doing some bonding with the family,” McConathy said with a laugh.