“Cowboys Dead are as authentic as it comes when honoring the music of the Grateful Dead. They dig deep into the roots of the band and take the audience back to where the magic began.” - Michael Emmanuel, Backstage Flash
About the band
The Cowboys Dead experience is a spicy hot cauldron of Americana stew, an intoxicating blend of folk, gospel, rock, blues, R&B, country and jazz, with plenty of surprises and a healthy dose of twang thrown in for good measure. An electric 5-piece band out of Northern Colorado, Cowboys Dead tips their hat to the psychedelic jams of the Grateful Dead while staying rooted in traditional dance hall music.
Cowboys Dead first formed in 2007 to explore the music of Marty Robbins, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Jimmy Reed, Don Nix, Merle Haggard, New Riders, Rolling Stones, Stonewall Jackson and more...like the Grateful Dead were doing back in the late 60's, early 70's.
If you think, after listening to the band, that they don't sound like a Grateful Dead cover band, then you are right. Bands replicating the late 80's/early 90's Dead sound are everywhere. Cowboys Dead takes the backroads, bringing the music back to its Americana roots, and using that platform as a springboard into their own explorations. Their sound is clean, un-processed and uniquely their own. Because of the depth of their music catalog, Cowboys Dead is able to adapt to different audiences to always deliver top notch, danceable and eminently listenable music.
Cowboys Dead founder and lead guitarist, Dave Dardine, came up with the name from a bootleg Grateful Dead LP. The Cowboy's Dead LP was recorded live at Harpur College, May 2, 1970. The set list from that show became a loose road map for the band.
Cowboys Dead is also a tip of the hat to the late, great "Cowboy" Neal Cassady, the larger-than-life man who infamously was at the wheel and whose ineffable spirit lives on in the writings of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg and Ken Kesey, and certainly in the music of the Grateful Dead.
A five-piece band out of Northern Colorado, the band consists of Dave Dardine on lead guitar and vocals, Ken Duran on rhythm guitar and vocals, Doug Salmon on bass guitar and vocals, Ed Anderson on vocals and harp, and Oscar DeSoto on drums.
Dave Dardine leads Cowboys Dead with a New York City native's drive and passion for excellence in live music. Never satisfied with the surface, Dave has spent a lifetime digging deep into the roots of the Grateful Dead sound, especially the music that influenced Jerry Garcia - from bluegrass to blues to R&B to jazz and reggae. Dave is a seasoned musician and has had the honor of opening shows for Phish, George Thorogood, Winona Ryder, Merle Saunders, Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya.
Ken Duran brings a mid-western twang to Cowboys Dead, having grown up in eastern Nebraska before driving his 1970's Chevelle to Colorado in the late 80's. He still has that car.
Doug Salmon grew up in the SLC area, and provides the bass for us. He also plays saxophone and has been known to blow notes through a flute. A jazz enthusiast, Doug can often be found in Denver hanging around Dazzle Night Club, watching out for his nemesis, Boone. He also plays with Bad CO.
Ed Anderson cut his harp playing teeth at local Blues Jams. His vocals have been compared to the great Willy Nelson, and he plays his harp with his whole heart and soul. Ed is a Colorado native and he brings to Cowboys Dead a real-ness and authenticity that can best be described by the immortal words of Popeye, "I yam what I yam". Ed loves camping and hanging out with his family.
A Montana native, dental floss tycoon and our newest bandmate, Oscar DeZoto completes the Cowboys Dead lineup on drums. A longtime fixture in the Colorado music scene, Oscar brings extensive experience playing jazz, country, rock, salsa and blues, and probably genres that we're missing here for more years than he'd care to admit. Currently Oscar also plays for The Poudre River Irregulars, Widespread Hispanic and The Twirling Zucchinis.