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Yves Giraud throws down roots

When musician Yves Giraud moved to Montezuma County, he found the musician pool deeper and packed with more musicians than anticipated. It was not as deep as in his former homes of Los Angeles, Miami or Nashville, but for a small town in Southwest Colorado and surrounding areas, it had plenty of people knee-deep in music lessons, anticipating the next open mic night or ready to join a band.

The France-born Giraud ended up in Southwest Colorado because of the coronavirus. He had been touring around the area on an extended road trip when the pandemic kicked into high gear. Mancos seemed a safer place than Nashville to ride out the virus, so he said goodbye to Music City, and hello to The Gateway to Mesa Verde, throwing down roots in the Southwest. That was late winter 2020.

The throwing down of roots included keeping his art of songwriting and playing going, which he’s been doing now for close to 40 years. Since settling into Colorado, Giraud’s formed two bands to get his musical kicks and to serve as a vehicle for his songwriting: HORIZON is a more roots-based, electric folk, jazz and soul trio, and ZARFHA is a larger rock and funk band. With at least 200 songs to his credit, there’s plenty of new material to dig into, which HORIZON does. They’ll debut at least two new songs a performance.

HORIZON will perform tonight at WildEdge Brewing Collective in Cortez, and in January, they’ll begin playing the first Friday of every month at Mancos Brewing Co.

If You Go

WHAT: HORIZON plays electric folk-jazz.

WHEN: 6-8:30 p.m. today (Dec. 2).

WHERE: WildEdge Brewing Collective, 111 N. Market St, Cortez.

TICKETS: No cover.

MORE INFORMATION: Visit www.yvesgiraud.com/horizon.

“I’m a lead singer and songwriter in two bands, what more can I ask for?” Giraud said. “Because they’re so different, they don’t step on each other. HORIZON I can do small things, ZARFHA is much louder.”

In addition to finding bandmates, he found non-musicians willing to support a scene.

“I thought I was going to have to take a step back on music while I’m here. It’s the opposite. I’ve met so many great musicians, and people come out from the community. That’s the one thing that surprised me the most; not only do you have a lot of music going on everywhere all the time, but on top of it the community comes out and supports a band. I have met so many fans already, and I’ve only been here two and a half or three years,” he said. “How is that possible? I’m impressed by that. I’ve been in L.A., New York and in all kinds of clubs. Mancos is small, and we’ll have 50 to 100 people at every show.”

Self-taught, he figured out guitar, piano and songwriting all on his own, the latter of which he describes as “his thing.”

“By the age of 15 or 16, I knew that was it, man, this is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life,” Giraud said.

In addition to leading two bands, he digs on the fostering of a music scene. He does so by hosting and organizing the Mancos Open-Mic night, which happens the afternoon of the second and fourth Sunday of every month at the Mancos Brewing Co. It not only gives him another chance to play, it also lets him organize a live music setting while mentoring other musicians eager to play. It’s an important cog in the mechanics that make up a healthy and productive music scene.

“Its super rewarding, the joy and feedback I get from people,” Giraud said. “It’s not like we’re reinventing anything, and I don’t know if I’m making a difference at all, but I love seeing people come out and play. It’s amazing. Everyone applauds, everyone is into it. People just want to see real, live music. Especially people that write their own songs. It’s awesome.”

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