Winter Park / Live Music: & Fraser / Live Music: Pushing the envelope while rooted in tradition
March 7, 2008
Kort McCumber said you can play golf and music all your life and considers himself lucky to have learned both at an early age.To me, I think they both mirror life as well, he said. It’s not just about one hole or one song, it’s about the entire journey, or as they say in New Zealand, ‘the walk.’Audiences are in for a treat as multi-instrumentalist and avid golfer Kort McCumber puts on two performances in the Fraser Valley this weekend.He classically trained in piano and cello, learning from his mom who played for the Jacksonville Symphony for over 20 years, and has also honed skills playing guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica and Irish bouzouki (his favorite).He played in the youth orchestra, in a classical quartet, and when he graduated high school his mom bought him his first acoustic guitar. Once he started playing it, he said he knew he wanted to sing and write songs. He writes, plays and sings what is categorized as Americana and what McCumber said is equal parts folk, country, blues and bluegrass, with a healthy dose of something fresh.I believe it is rooted in the traditions, but pushes the envelope and boundaries of all the styles.The musician moved to the Boulder area in 2004 and the transition inspired him to dig deeper into his Scotch-Irish heritage and his music took on more of a country/bluegrass sound. He said his roots are also apparent in his golf game (McCumber played collegiate golf at the University of Virginia and Florida), a passion that he also shares with his sister, who played collegiate golf. (Their dad owns McCumber Golf, their brother plays on the Nationwide Tour and an uncle spent almost 30 years on the PGA Tour.)Sister Beth (Wilberger) takes care of the business side of things for her brother. She also plays fiddle and sings harmonies with McCumber and is set to play at both local shows. Kort’s good friend Tom Larson of Nashville, Tenn. joins them this weekend to play percussion.On Jan. 31 this year McCumber celebrated the decade anniversary of his first real gig.For the past decade, he’s played more than 1,000 live shows throughout the states and Europe. His first CD came out in 1999 and he released his sixth album, Lickskillet Road last October, named after the steep road where he lives with his wife and his dogs.The project features appearances from Vince Gill, Sally Van Meter, Don Conoscenti and several other well-known musicians and his writing partner Kevin DeForrest said it is proof that if one stays true to their passion, great things will follow.Colorado is a huge inspiration to McCumber and he said his new CD makes references to it on about half of the songs. The mountains and the beauty is very inspiring to me, that is why I have made it home, he said. He also writes about things he has experienced, including travels around the world, and love gained and lost.He loves to perform in Grand County and hopes audiences have a great time at this weekend’s show, leaving with the feeling that they got to know him a little bit through his music.McCumber has been playing in the Fraser Valley since 2003. His set list contains a lot of his own compositions and he said he’s been writing a lot of instrumental tunes on the bouzouki. He also likes to play songs by some of his friends in Colorado, as well as some old traditional songs, some Gram Parsons, Tim O’Brien and some Steve Earle. McCumber is also working on a live DVD and CD from a show at the Boulder Theatre, set for release this summer.