Fraser: Java Mic Night pours another eye-opener |

Fraser: Java Mic Night pours another eye-opener

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

Audiences are set for a treat as Rocky Mountain Roastery continues its fourth season of Java Mic Nights and introduces Grand County to guitarist Rob Drabkin.

Drabkin had to cancel the last two performances at the Roastery. Hopefully, this third attempt will be the charm. His incredible voice range and rapid fingerpicking are sure to open the eyes of anyone who hasn’t had the pleasure to hear him before. He said he puts his all into his music every day, and it shows.

The Denver musician began playing at a young age, receiving inspiration from bands like Metallica and Guns ‘N’ Roses and said he used to dream “about having long hair and head-banging away,” going as far as to drape a shirt over his head so he could simulate the effect.

“I have long hair now,” he said. “So, it seems natural. You won’t hear much of it on stage though. It’s kind of an in-the-closet thing.”

That metal edge began to smooth after playing in his high school’s jazz ensemble. During those following formative years, he was exposed to new artists, rhythms, chords and improvisation. That was when guitar virtuoso Ted Reece took notice and embraced Drabkin as a private student. With Reece cheering him on, Drabkin’s unique voice, incredible guitar style, and original tunes began to expand.

He has opened for many national acts (such as Wendy Woo and Nina Storey) at large venues, like the Cherry Creek Arts Festival. In March of this year, Drabkin was asked to be the main support for the sold-out John Butler Trio show at the Fox Theatre.

He said many people choose music, but for him it was the other way around. He describes his music as “upbeat” and “groovy” with “mellow, soulful vocals. I play the guitar very rhythmically, kind of like it’s a percussion instrument in itself. It has a jam feel.”

The gifted musician said he heard about the Rocky Mountain Roastery and its venue through his manager. She walked into the Roastery one day and passed along his name and CD to Ali Grayson who is in charge of setting up the music there.

For the Friday-night show, Drabkin said he’ll have his typical set, and will be performing on his Martin D-28. He said he always reaches a point in his set list where it says, “funny ” gauge audience,” when he’ll throw in three to four “pretty ridiculous songs that people get a kick out of. Choosing the right one is the trick.”

The Fraser Rocky Mountain Roastery is warming up the county with several other performances throughout the season, so be sure to check future issues of All Access for listings. Performers scheduled to follow Drabkin at future shows include Ali Grayson and Friends on Dec. 21 and John-Alex Mason on Dec. 28. Cover charge each Friday night is $2.

This year’s sponsors include the Changes thrift store, title sponsor for the third year in a row, Grand Mountain Bank, Grand County Counseling, and Grand Futures. The Java Mic Nights also feature regular Grand County Blues Society show ticket giveaways. The Blues Society has given the Roastery several tickets to raffle off almost every Friday night.

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