On a roll from Colorado to France

Courtesy of The High Rollers

Stony Pass served as a high country backdrop for several scenes in The High Rollers’ “Colorado Girl” video. “Gunnar (Conrad) said we needed somewhere we could get to in a truck that doesn’t look like you can get there in a truck and it was perfect,” said frontman Andy Janowsky.

By Ted Holteen Herald staff writer

The High Rollers are taking to the rock star lifestyle like seasoned pros.

Two years ago, the Durango country-rock quartet lucked into a micro-world tour when they were invited to play in Pontivy, France, for the village’s annual Mayfest. They made hundreds, if not thousands, of fans on that trip. They will return in early May – not as unknowns but as bona fide stars – riding the popularity of the new music video for their single “Colorado Girl.”

“People like this song, and the video is helping it along,” said High Rollers frontman Andy Janowsky, who wrote the budding hit.

As of Thursday, the video had received more than 7,500 views on YouTube. Janowsky said a separate video made by a couple in France demonstrating the “Country Girl” dance has been viewed 10,000 times.

“Our show went so well they invited us back, but a lot of it was on the strength of the song and subsequent video. The song’s one of the main reasons we’re going back,” Janowsky said.

The video also plays like a promotional reel for Durango and the Southwest. It’s not the band’s first; they hired a Chicago team about three years ago to shoot them in action. But when Janowsky was on a mountain bike ride with friend and professional photographer Gunnar Conrad and told him the Rollers were planning to bring the Chicago crew back for “Colorado Girl,” Conrad played the local card.

“I said ‘There’s no way anyone from Chicago could do it as well as we could,’” Conrad told his friend, though he didn’t have a plan in mind at the time.

Conrad knows local videographer Carl Geers, who did have a plan. The two men shot all footage for the video on location at some of the iconic spots in our corner of Colorado. The band plays on a pontoon boat at Navajo Reservoir while Colorado girls – friends and relatives of the band – wakeboard and frolic in the sun. Other scenes, deftly sequenced through the editing skills of Geers and Conrad, show action at Durango Mountain Resort, snowmobiling on Molas Pass and random scenes on Stony Pass, Cunningham Gulch, the Wild Horse Saloon, Horse Gulch and several local ranches. Filming took place between August and January to capture the multiseasonal activities.

“The video brings the song to life,” Janowsky said. “Imagine being from a foreign country and seeing this footage. Many of them, especially in France, like music from Texas or the Southern lifestyle in Nashville, but not much of our Rocky Mountain region. I wanted a heavy dosage of the lifestyle that’s here.”

Janowsky said by the time it was over, the band had heard the song so many times it was second nature. At each “performance” location, the band lip-synched while the song was played over a portable Bose music system.

“We run through it multiple times so they have good cuts to pick from,” Janowsky said. “It was fun sitting there listening to them argue.”

The High Rollers will play for local fans tonight at the inaugural Fridays on the Floor event at Sky Ute Casino Resort in Ignacio. The concerts are specifically intended to get people on the dance floor, which has never been a problem for the High Rollers.


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