2021: “Buttstank of a Year!”
Celebrating NYE in Leadville Today
From COVID to the Great Resignation to a Lake County affordable housing crisis that created a notable exodus of workers from America’s highest city, many have already ripped the remaining pages off the calendar! Riding out changes, navigating tidal waves of uncertainty, and never feeling like your feet touched stable ground these past 52 weeks have left many exhausted and well past their reserves. It’s been a “buttstank” of a year, for many.
But if you’re looking for some musicial potpourri for the final hours of 2021. If you’re wondering where the neon lights will be burning bright to welcome in 2022 in Leadville this Friday for New Year’s Eve, LT has got you covered. Here’s the line-up, so far. Got something to add? As always, email email@example.com and it’ll be thrown in the mix. And please, play it safe, plan ahead, and be very careful crossing the avenue, especially at night! Happy 2022 from Leadville Today!
House Bands in America’s Highest City!
By Kathy Bedell, © Leadville Today
Back in the day, they used to be called house bands. They were the musicians that could hold down creative collaborations and practice sessions long enough to play a gig they booked 6 months in advance. Sometimes it was for a wedding reception at The Elks Lodge, other times it was to fill a Sunday afternoon spot at the Helen and Bill Skala Beer Tent on Boom Days. But mostly, during the late part of the 20th and early 21st century, it was the house bands that held it down at the Leadville bars on a Saturday night.
“Groovespeak, 24 West, The Clam Daddys, Bottoms Up Blues Gang, 12 cents for Marvin, James and the Devil, The Broken Everlys, 5 Deadly Venoms, Leadville Cherokee, Black Lily’s, Jimmy Bluffet, Stonefed, The Dwayne Brothers , The Quick and Easy Boys, Fat Man Little Boy, Puff” recalled Bobbie (Adams) Larsen who owned Bobbie’s, an underground lounge sensation during the first decade of the 21st century.
“There was a lot more, but those are the ones I remember right now,” the service-oriented redhead who now works the bar down at the Twin Lakes Inn.
In the 1990s, Rosewood and CamRon could be regularly counted on for a tight jam session at The Golden Rose, the present-day Chinese Restaurant. Leadville long-timers from the 70s and 80s may remember such get-them-out-on-the-dance-floor rockers such as Persuasion, Frenzy, Myst, Diamond Fire and the infamous Fast, whose Boom Days performance shut down live, flatbed truck performances on the avenue for years to come!
Of course, other former Leadville house bands caught a bit more wind in their sails at 10k feet and drifted up to the bigger venues. For example, Colorado’s premier Grateful Dead tribute band can trace part of its family-of-origin roots back to this pioneer mining community. But more recently, Shakedown Street made the rounds this past summer, including the Fox Theater in Boulder. Nice! Publisher’s Note: Any old Leadville hippies who want to school LT on these facts, please do! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Yes, The Leadville Connection to music runs deep in one of the most historic cities in the state. However, it’s worth stating on-the-record that any performer worth their salt in guitar strings should know how to play the internationally-known tune – especially the Leadville verse – that was penned right here by a group of down-on-their-luck miners, a well-researched fact that made it to the Congressional Record in 1945.
Regardless, even among the highest of hills that are alive with music, things don’t stay the same. So if you’re making the rounds these NYE’s realize that some of the faces may have changed. Some band-of-brothers may have popped-a-wheelie, or two. Perhaps for other, all the feathers won’t look the same in your favorite Leadville headdress. And that’s okay.
Besides, you never know who may make a guest appearance. But for all those who held it down, giving everyone in Leadville Today some live music during this “buttstank of a year,” Thank You!
New Year: New Music – and Musicians!
This Friday, Dec. 31, 2021, the New Year’s Eve big headliner can be found at the historic Silver Dollar Saloon in downtown Leadville. The return of Leadville Cherokee to the local stage should take some of the stank out of the final moments of 2021. According to the group’s Spotify Page, Leadville Cherokee is “a rock band based out of Leadville, Colorado that has been active since 2009. They combine a variety of genres to get their eclectic sound. Rock, bluegrass, metal, folk, and country are combined tastefully to create this musical group’s unique and original music.”
However, for long-time fans of the Cherokee, there will be some new faces to greet the New Year. Only half of the original six members that recorded the group’s first CD back in 2015, “How to Build A Fire,” remain with the foursome just out of the studio and ready to take on the tour scene in Colorado. But like the solid peace sign flashed in the band’s new logo, their musical background and practical prowess backs that up – then and now.
It was the legendary 2015 LT interview that set the stage for another Leadville Connection homegrown right here, on Chicken Hill, no less! The rest of that interview is #inthevault. But even back then, it was clear some deep-rooted commitment of holding it down was present.
And for front men Mark Niernberger (Lead Guitar/Vocal), Peter Albrecht (Violin/Guitar/Vocal) and Brian Carter (Bass) that still holds true as the band re-emerges with new focus and some new music. The band’s newest tune “Going to Colorado” regales the Rocky Mountain way in their typical foot-stomping, dancing with one beer in your hand fashion, however, the local tourism folks may take objection to one of the verses:
“Well in Leadville, you can ski behind a horse, get an STD from intercourse. You’ve got Ski Cooper . .”
Music lovers can enjoy the entire tribute to the band’s Leadville days in the video link below. Or come and hear Leadville Cherokee live this Friday where their musical stylings should get folks up on the dance floor, shaking more a little more of that gold dust back to where it first came from underground! But get there early for the 10 p.m. as seating is somewhat limited is you’re getting together with a group. And be cash-ready, with a $7 cover charge at the door and higher-end cocktail specialties. But fear not, the locals can still find a reasonably priced longneck or two.
The Silver Dollar Saloon is located at 315 Harrison Avenue, directly across from the Leadville opera house. There is a public parking lot directly south of this main street building that reads: Best Wild West Saloon in America.
“Going To Colorado” by Leadville Cherokee
Down On The Corner
Some say that the corner bar is losing its foothold across the country. Gratefully, there are a couple still flipping the switch on those bright neon bee signs, a beacon to your favorite High Altitude Thirst Center. And on the corner of 7th and historic Harrison Avenue, nighttime’s Jasmin-The-Bartender has been holding it down pouring your favorite suds and some form of live entertainment every weekend, especially during the pandemic days.
And this Friday night she’ll be back at it again down at The Manhattan Bar keeping spirits bright through the rest of 2021! Merrymakers can expect some traditional NYE party favors and a midnight toast! Keeping it grooving in the backroom will be the duo of Jon and Lucas, where you can expect some oldies from the days of rock and roll along with some blues thrown in for good #buttstank measure! They usually get things rolling about 9 p.m.
A bit further south at Leadville’s other corner, The Scarlet Bar will be ringing in 2022 a bit different than their standard fanfare. “We’ll be doing our own thing,” they reported to LT via social media. While you never really know what that might mean, Shaggy-The-Bartender (who isn’t so shaggy anymore – what is happening?!) interpreted that to mean: some good sets on the jukebox, several spontaneous dance jams sure to give you a sore neck for the first day of the New Year, and most likely a midnight toast with whatever you gots in your mug! Bye, bye #buttstank 2021!
Taking a Buttstank Pass: Silent, but NOT Deadly
A few FYIs concerning the rest of the usual suspects. Before & After has posted on their website they are currently closed due to a staffing shortage, but it looks like their sister location across the way – Treeline Kitchen – will be offering some NYE plates to layer up those bellies before the revelry begins.
As for the neon glow down in Leadville’s former red-light district, it will be dark for another year. However, the word on the curb is that the recent sale of the historic Pastime Bar has fallen through. But fear not for the last remaining business (?) on old state Street, because it sounds like longtime owner Roy Seme and his daughter Lorinda plan to reopen the place that has been in their family for decades, come this spring. Now there’s something to look forward to in the New Year! Welcome, 2022!
Happy New Year! Here’s hoping that it’s a bit better than the “buttstank” of 2021!
Colorado Journalist Kathy Bedell owns The Great Pumpkin which publishes Leadville Today and Saguache Today. She may be reached at email@example.com.