Well, 2020 was stacked up to be our best year ever, with gigs lined up from February through November. Our Feb. gig with All Night Train, a fun near capacity show on a Sunday afternoon at Avos had us all pumped up for the future. And then COVID hit, and one show after another was canceled. We were luckier than many bands, in that we were able to play outdoors at Avos in July, September and October, and a street show in Loveland in September (during the huge fires that consumed so much of Rocky Mountain National Park and dropped ash on us all night long.)
But when the going gets tough...the tough still practice and learn new songs and make some personnel changes. We are really happy to have James Paul laying down his funky beats on bass guitar. Fresh out of Chicago, James was running a Blues Jam in Fort Collins when we first met him in January of 2019. We were surprised when he whipped out a raucous version of Love Light - it's not too often you hear someone playing Dead at a Blues Jam! So when Doug Salmon left in January to pursue other musical interests, our rhythm guitar player, Ken Duran, saved the day and filled in on bass, while Jeff Bassler temporarily took over on rhythm. But we knew we needed a new bass player...
James was by this time playing bass for the Buzz Brothers, but he was keen to play more Grateful Dead music. By late Spring he was practicing regularly with us, and played his first gig as a member of Cowboys Dead on July 24, 2020. With James on board, we've been exploring a wider repertoire of music, adding in some R&B and funk overtones, as well as expanding our vocals to include James and more of drummer Dave White.
We've also been incorporating more blues and traditional songs, creating new arrangements and really finding our own voice while staying true to the vintage Grateful Dead sound that we've become known for. So we're pretty excited to roll all this out for you on April 25 at our first gig of 2021 on the patio at Avo's, 1-4PM.