Cultivation: The Seeds of Colorado Music

Sep 9, 2010 by

Fried Grease
Dillon, Colorado

There is a time and a place for almost any song or genre of music. Nowhere is that more applicable than when you hear Fried Grease. They bring together many different influences and styles. Even in the music industry’s genre name game the guys say, “We would like to think that our original music is a blend of many different styles, as we all bring many different influences to the table. It’s a bit old school rock and roll with funk and progressive tendencies. I guess we’ll leave it up to the powers that be to decide where we fit in.” So it’s up to you to decide what you hear.

I personally hear jazz, I hear funk, and I hear horns- so I ultimately hear FUN! Saxophone driven with sexy melodies, funky undertones and a solid rock foundation, Fried Grease will surely get you up and moving. As Fried Grease, the band is relatively new to the Colorado music scene. But don’t let that prejudice you or make you think that these artists have little experience. Dave Laub (Saxophone), Matthew Cheek (Lead Guitar), Matthew Bauerle (Lead Singer/Rhythm Guitar), Jim Koenig (Bass Guitar), Christopher Zaragoza (Percussion), Bryan Farmer (Drum Kit) come together from multiple former bands such as Flux 5 and Summit based Big Richard. These men have the cheek to rock your night away and I’m not just talking about their guitarist. Fried Grease is heading into the studio in the next couple months with an array of original music to record. The band also says that once those songs are completed they will be available at no cost to everyone. I’m always up for free music!

For now new fans are going to have to settle for getting their Fried fix at their local shows. Starting Friday August 6th Fried Grease will be playing Avon’s “see-and-be-seen” Friday Afternoon Club at the Avondale Restaurant. Go to to see a list of all current and local shows.

Laughing Bones
The Vail Valley, Colorado

If you spend any amount of time in Eagle County Colorado, you will  probably hear the name Laughing Bones once, or twice. The group which is a solid quartet with a rotation of drummers that have inconsistently consistently backed up the band never fails to draw a robust audience. Playing since 2002, the Laughing Bones have garnered themselves a consistent draw and a decent fan base everywhere they go. Put together an Alabama boy on the banjo (Patrick Padgett), a front man and rhythm guitarist with Johnny Cash like vocals (Dave Perron), the silent but deadly lead guitarist (Bob Masters), and the good time bassist who plays funk on the side (Dave Donahue), and  you have the Laughing Bones. Perron says about their music, “Ours is a mishmash of American Roots, Progressive Bluegrass, Outlaw, Southern, and Jam-rock. If we were on SIRIUS Radio we’d probably be played on Jam-on or Outlaw Country.”

In the 8 years the Bones have been together they have never gone long between consistent weekly gigs. The most rocking of these is when I became first acquainted with the Bones in the summer of 2007 at a local bar called Woody’s. On any given Thursday night in the small town Edwards, Colorado, the Laughing Bones never failed to pack out the small bar. Nestled in the lobby of a hotel, Woody’s and the Thursday night show became so popular that it  began to draw complaints from customers who had the unfortunate task of residing in the rooms over and near the Pub.

Not to be perturbed, Laughing Bones have soldiered on, booking weekly gigs around Eagle County as well as the local festival scene and bringing that rowdy good time crowd with them wherever they  go.The Bones have secured a spot on Realm Fest’s Camp out for a Cause stage for the past 2 years and are looking forward to a spot at YarmonyGrass Fest at Rancho del Rio this August. Look for Laughing Bones at the Bearfish Saloon in West Vail the next time you travel through the Colorado High Country. It’s a guaranteed  good time!

Michael Garfield
Boulder, Colorado

I looked Michael Garfield up a few months ago and after listening to a few snippets of his music I was curious to learn more about his art. Esoteric and intricate, I found myself struggling to describe his sound and style. So this time around I am changing my column format and letting the artist describe the art himself.

Jenna Stecker: How would you describe your music?

Michael Garfield: There are two very different directions that my music takes, based on where I happen to be playing.  One is a very intricate acoustic singer-songwriter set, highly intellectual and emotionally evocative at the same time, and rooted in complex fingerstyle techniques and vocal prowess.  The other is an improvised instrumental live electronica set, where I use live looping to turn the acoustic guitar into an electronic music control interface.

JS: As a solo singer/songwriter what are the main themes or topics for most of your songs?

MG: Older songs were mostly about troubled communication, longing, and the moment before the love is actually consummated.  Newer songs are about recognizing the divinity in even the most suffering moments of human existence, in finding the deeper patterns that connect us, in celebrating a lucid experience of embodied spirituality that sees through above/below, inner/outer, self/other, work/play distinctions.  The goal is liberating, perspective shifting, challenging music.

JS: Do you cover any songs?

MG: Very few.  Joseph Arthur, Peter Gabriel, Yeasayer, Fiona Apple, and a few others have worked their way into my sets over the years, but for the most part I’d rather just steer around that one because I feel like what I have to say deserves the limited stage time I am able to secure for myself and thus it’s only worth it to cover someone else’s piece if I can say something new with it.

JS: What can someone expect when they come to one of  your shows?

MG: To have their heart broken in the most surprisingly pleasurable fashion, by their own inspired mind.  To be puzzled and embarrassed and absorbed by the raw display and the vulnerability and the technique all living in one place.  To be drawn onward and outward to broader horizons – and, fundamentally, challenged to give the music the attention it demands.  I’m pretty fucking intense, I’ve learned.  Sometimes it’s the most moving thing they’ve ever seen, and sometimes they want to turn me off and play the jukebox so they can stop thinking and dance.

If you are interested in some surprisingly pleasurable heartbreak from Michael Garfield he will be most notably rocking out in the Entheon Village at this year’s Burning Man. If you are not planning to Burn this year you can find him online at

Denver, Colorado

I finally had a Friday night off last month and my girlfriend wanted to go see a band that was playing in Edwards. I agreed; eager to have a night out with the girls. I wasn’t expecting to find my next Cultivation band. Standing on the side of the room I anticipated the first few chords and then got distracted by a woman who was so drunk already she fell back onto some guitar cases. When no one moved right away to help her up, guitarist and singer Jonathan Meadows stepped out from behind his mike and extended his hand to help the woman up. “That’s nice,” I thought as the woman stood up and immediately pitched forward and fell on her head. I thought the entire night might be upstaged by this woman but the music from The Congress is hard to let fall by the wayside.

Jonathan Meadows (guitar/lead vocals), Scott Lane (guitar), Dwight Thompson (upright and electric bass/ backup vocals), and Damon Scott (drums/percussion) create a blended sound rooted in Americana Rock. Watching them live they certainly have a Jam oriented feel. However the songs off of their first self titled album have a distinct singer songwriter’s touch. When you listen to the album you can picture the songwriter sitting with their acoustic guitar and notepad; cup of coffee and cigarettes not far from reach. This isn’t saying you can’t dance to the music. Before the end of the first set, the drunk woman aside with ice on her head, half of the bar was up on their feet dancing away.

For a band formed less than a year ago, members of The Congress have wasted no time recording and distributing their first album and setting up a couple tours. “We just got done with our first tour in the southeast last month, and we are about to leave for our first west coast tour in July. Really looking forward to that and heading back to the Southeast for our second run in September and October. And we are of course highly anticipating playing mountain towns in Colorado this winter!” says guitarist Lane. Mountain folks really like to get down!”

As he’s talking to a magazine based in the mountains all I can think is, “Know your audience, right?” The Congress knows what they are doing. At press time the band is touring through the West Coast, but look for them back in Colorado in the middle of August. To purchase a copy of The Congress’ debut album or to find a tour date near you go to

IIf you would like to see a band featured in Cultivation please feel free to email

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