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Lawn Chair Kings, Erik Nordstrom and writing

They’ve been a band for over 20 years. They’ve played hundreds of shows regionally and banged out half a dozen albums, the majority of those songs of the alternative country and cow-punk variety. It’s a sound that if you know the band well enough is uniquely their own, a sound that one former member penned as “Western Garage.”

That band is the region’s own Lawn Chair Kings, and with the exception of a short set played back in June, they’ve been on a forced hiatus. A year ago, Nordstrom was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer; the set they played was at a fundraiser for Nordstrom, where numerous bands celebrated his healthy song catalog. Other than that set, they’ve been quiet.

If you go

WHAT: Live music with Lawn Chair Kings.

WHEN: 4 p.m. Saturday.

WHERE: Mancos Brewing Co., 484 W. Frontage Road, Mancos.

TICKETS: $10 at the door.

MORE INFORMATION: Call 533-9761.

That quiet, and their hiatus, will end soon, as Lawn Chair Kings will perform Saturday at the Mancos Brewing Co.

Those aforementioned songs heard on their records come from the pen of Nordstrom, who despite his health issues has kept songwriting front and center. Writing songs is just something that’s in the man’s DNA, and as a result he’s written scores of great songs, left even more unfinished on the writing table and likely has even more in his back pocket ready to see the light of day.

“That’s always been part of me, I feel like life has been busy, you make excuses for not writing songs. I’ve been doing my best to get out of that mentality,” Nordstrom said. “This is a great time for me to get back into writing and to make sure that’s part of what I do.”

While Nordstrom is the man writing the tune, they often become collaborative projects – he comes up with the words and melody, then brings them to the band so they can add touches. As of late, those songs have started in the woods, where Nordstrom has found some solace, and songwriting inspiration while camping, alone. It’s a process therapeutic for a man with a major health crisis, and beneficial for all of the fans of Nordstrom who dig on his songs about dive bars and broken love, monster trucks and altercations at buffet restaurants.

“Often what I do is camp on my own and write a few songs when I’m just out in the woods – that helps me out just to be away from the house I’m discovering more and more because at home there’s tons of distractions,” he said. “If I can be out in the woods, my mind can be free in more of a writing mode. We’ve got so much wilderness around us, the beauty of Southwest Colorado for sure.”

Nordstrom is a performing musician through and through, someone who will play music on stage, in a backyard, or basement, in front of one or hundreds of people. His health issue has sidelined both of his bands since last fall, so as of now, he’s more than eager to play, and longtime fans are more than eager to hear him play. It’s win-win for everyone.

“When I was going though chemo we couldn’t practice during that time with my immune system shot. We had a couple of Zoom calls and tried to figure out what the heck we were going to do. So, we took a few months off, and in the midst of all of this I called Mancos Brewing and scheduled this show, talked to the band, and of course they are excited to do it. That allowed me to go through chemo therapy, we went on a vacation, and we were able to come back and practice and get ready for this,” Nordstrom said. “It’s great playing with those guys, it’s been so much fun, I can’t wait to get back and play a full show.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at liggett_b@fortlewis.edu.