Moon Taxi rides on at Belly Up
Special to the Aspen Times
Who: Moon Taxi
Where: Belly Up Aspen
When: Sunday, Aug. 29. 8:30 p.m.
How much: $35-$55
More info: Sparkle City Disco opens; Belly Up now requires proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for entry
It’s hard to define the five-person, Nashville-based band Moon Taxi with just one genre.
“We’re a little bit jam, a little bit rock and a little bit pop,” bassist Tommy Putnam said in a recent phone interview from his home in Nashville.
With various sounds infused into one show, Moon Taxi brings something for everyone. The band returns for their their fifth performance in Aspen on Sunday.
“I’m all over the board,” Putnam said. “I studied classical music in college. I love Beethoven and Tchaikovsky and a whole myriad of other composers. It’s a big mix.”
When asked who the band’s major musical influences were, he said, “If you ask a different member of the band, you’re probably going to get a different answer.”
Putnam explains: “It’s just a little bit of everything really, but not a whole lot of country. We all love Phish and The Grateful Dead. It’s really all across the board. I think you see that in our music because it’s hard to pinpoint a specific genre.”
The band originally got together in 2006 while the members were attending Belmont University in Nashville. Since then, Moon Taxi has released five full-length studio records, their latest of which, “Silver Dream,” came out last spring.
“Our catalog after we released the new record has gotten deep enough to where we can really switch up the sets each night,” Putnam said. “In doing so we can come up with cool ways to transition from one song to another or extend a song at the last minute.”
Putnam notes that they had this record finished before the pandemic began. One new song in particular, “Hometown Heroes,” holds a special place in Putnam’s heart. It was inspired by a Christmas party every year where Putnam grew up in Birmingham called the “Hometown Heroes Party.”
“It’s for all the people who have graduated from Birmingham High School and come back to town to visit their families,” Putnam explained. “They throw a party for everybody who comes back to visit and that is what inspired the song.”
Currently, Moon Taxi is gearing up to embark on their longest run of shows since before the pandemic.
“It’s weird,” Putnam explains. “I was so used to having a suitcase packed pretty much all the time before the pandemic. Then suddenly, it’s like, well I have nothing to do. I’m not going anywhere. I started exercising a lot. I learned how to cook, a bunch of homebody things that I’d never really learned to do in my adult life.”
Things didn’t start to feel “back to normal” for Moon Taxi until they performed a show on the Fourth of July of this year in Charlotte: “It was the first show that felt real. It was excellent.”
Sunday’s show marks the band’s first return here – they’ve been regulars at Belly Up and also played the Aspen Skiing Co.’s one-off festival The Aprés in 2019 – since the pandemic.
“The Belly Up is just that legendary place where everybody goes,” Putnam said. “No matter how big you are, they can get anybody in there. It’s one of the spots that people around the country have all heard of.”
When discussing what’s next for the band, Putnam says that he is excited to be back on the road.
“The mood has been elevated a little bit,” he said. “It’s good for us to have something to look forward to. I can’t wait to get back to Aspen again and be in that beautiful landscape. Having stuff on the books is very good.”
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