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Rock ’n’ roll brotherhood

Colo.’s Brothers Keeper to kick off tour on NYE in Durango
Colorado rock trio Brothers Keeper will play a New Year’s Eve Show with John Popper and Jono Manson at the Animas City Theatre.

As the unofficial house band at the Shakedown Bar in Vail, rock trio Brothers Keeper have a long-running tradition of inviting guest musicians to sit in for some jamming.

It was through that series that the band was joined one night by Blues Traveler frontman John Popper and seasoned producer and musician Jono Manson. From the first note, the five musicians hit on something special.

“It just clicked like crazy,” said Michael Jude, who plays bass for Brothers Keeper. “It was just such a brotherhood, right off the bat.”

They decided not to stop with just one show. That first performance led to more shows, an ever-growing musical bond and an album, “Todd Meadows,” which was released last summer. The album features a dozen tracks of bluesy, rootsy Americana rock that rides on the strength of guitar licks, Popper’s distinct vocals and a collaborative song-writing approach.

Brothers Keeper with Popper and Manson will kick off a 14-city tour in support of the new album on Wednesday with a special New Year’s Eve show at the Animas City Theatre.

The band is looking forward to returning to Durango, Jude said, which has consistently delivered a receptive, wild and energetic audience.

“We can’t wait to come down,” Jude said.

The trio at the core of Brothers Keeper is comprised of three musicians with East Coast roots who fled to the mountains of Colorado years ago: Jude, John Michel on drums and Scott Rednor on guitar.

Jude and Michel go way back; the two moved to Colorado with a band called Little Blue and have played with The John Oates Band in the Roaring Fork Valley for about 15 years. One night, they were playing their regular Friday night gig in Eagle, when Rednor – a brash guy with a Jersey accent – showed up and informed them that he was their new guitar player. They were skeptical, but they let him sit in.

“Sure enough, he killed it,” Jude said. “Here we are, three and a half years later. It was one of those things that was meant to be.”

The band started playing regularly at Shakedown, which Rednor owns, and the collaboration with Popper and Manson followed. Brothers Keeper didn’t go into it expecting to cut an album with the two big-name musicians, Jude said; instead, it was something that unfolded naturally.

“We were all sitting in the green room together, and Popper said, ‘We should do an album together,’” Jude said.

The five traveled to Santa Fe and spent two weeks in a song-writing flurry before recording “Todd Meadows” in Memphis’ famed Ardent Studios.

Jude said the band’s approach was to create pure, unadulterated rock ’n’ roll. All five take turns on lead vocals on “Todd Meadows,” and the album features guest spots by musicians like Jason Crosby, Glenn McClelland, DJ Logic, Joel Guzman and Rob Eaton Jr.

“It’s just basically very organic. There’s not a lot of bells and whistles to it,” Jude said. “It’s just kind of real people making real music. It’s very much a collaborative brotherhood.”

Jude said Brothers Keeper will be playing many of the cuts off the new album, along with covers from the canon of classic rock.

Playing live, he said, is where the group is at its best – dynamic, improvisational and riffing off the energy of the songs and the audience.

“Everyone goes on their own, takes the risk, knows that everybody’s got you,” he said. “It’s almost like a jazz tune, exploring where this tune can go outside of the structure of the recording.”


NYE parties, performances and parades

Straight-ahead rock and roll, a musical tribute to the neon ‘90s, a swinging country show and head-bopping beats – there are plenty of offerings this New Year’s Eve for Durangoans looking to take in some music.

Local band Hello Dollface, with help from Oregon session man Tim McLaughlin, will offer up a heaping serving of ‘90s nostalgia at the Henry Strater Theatre. The “Party Like it’s 1999” NYE event will feature covers of songs by ‘90s staples like Nirvana, En Vogue, No Doubt and The Cardigans. Black Velvet and Lacey Black will be entertaining the ski crowds at Durango Mountain Resort. And the Diabolical Sound Platoon will be joined by The Chava People for a party at the Balcony Backstage.

Here’s a rundown of some NYE events:

New Year’s Eve at Durango Mountain Resort, 2 p.m.-1 a.m., featuring live music by Black Velvet and Lacey Black, a torchlight parade and fireworks, 1 Skier Place, www.durangomountainresort.com.

Black & White New Year’s Eve Party with The High Rollers, 8:30 p.m., Wild Horse Saloon, $10 for people 21 and over, with food, party favors and door prizes, 601 East Second Ave., 375-2568.

NYE ’90s Neon Dance Party with Hello Dollface, 9 p.m., Henry Strater Theatre, 699 Main Ave., a tribute to ’90s music from bands like Sublime, Nirvana and The Cardigans, $12 at the door, www.henrystratertheatre.com.

Carbon Red, 9 p.m., Billy Goat Saloon, 39848 Highway 160, Gem Village, 884-9155.

Diabolical Sound Platoon with The Chava People, 10 p.m., Balcony Backstage, 600 Main Ave., 764-4083.

Brothers Keeper, with John Popper and Jono Manson, 10 p.m., Animas City Theatre, 128 E. College Drive, $35-$50, www.animascitytheatre.com.

New Year’s Eve Bash with DJ Steele, 10 p.m., Pongas, 121 W. 8th St., 382-8554.

Katie Klingsporn

If you go

Brothers Keeper with John Popper and Jono Manson will play a New Year’s Eve show at 10 p.m. Wednesday at the Animas City Theatre, 128 E. College Drive. Tickets are $35 and are available at www.animascitytheatre.com.

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