Fraser / Live Music: One Mile Down " ‘As if the mountain air was singing’ |

Fraser / Live Music: One Mile Down " ‘As if the mountain air was singing’

Retta Yarbrough and band One Mile Down is headed over the Divide for a special performance of folk and blues for Rocky Mountain Roastery audiences in Fraser tonight.

Yarbrough, the lead singer for the quartet, said she’s always loved playing and performing. She also plays guitar for the band, which consists of Henry Lokay on drums and vocals, Kip Kuepper on bass and vocals, and Erik Thomas on mandolin, guitar and vocals.

Yarbrough met Lokay for the first time “in search of a unique and natural musical expression” at a barn event. The barn, located on a country road at the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, had been home to dozens of benefits, social gatherings, and jam sessions. The structure “proved to be more than just a place for artistic solitude,” Yarbrough said. “It became a magical place where the music took on a life of its own; as if the mountain air was singing songs waiting to be transposed to a guitar. The result was a down-home blend of Americana and funk sounds with pondering lyrics and the natural feel of a magical country barn.”

She has been playing music since she was a child and attended college at Oklahoma State University. While there, she earned a music and teaching degree, with a concentration on vocal music.

“I sang opera during the week and made money singing rock ‘n’ roll on the weekends,” she said of those college days.

The college band she played in traveled quite a bit, including in and around Houston, Texas and Colorado during the ski and summer season.

“We had a good little business of playing fraternity and sorority parties at a number of different universities,” Yarbrough said. “The money was good, but the parties got a little crazy.” Yarbrough also recalls a two-week gig at the Slope, which was located in Old Town Winter Park.

One of her instruments used to be an older ’76 guitar made by a man who had split off from Martin-Stuart Mossman. However, after having it worked on for many years Yarbrough finally broke down, sold it, and bought herself a Larrivee. She also plays a Taylor.

The singer/songwriter has been writing consistently for quite sometime. She said One Mile Down’s Lokay and Kuepper were a huge part of her first CD and that she plans to start on her first CD in four years early this upcoming summer. Her inspiration comes from many female musicians – Bonnie Raitt, Karla Bonoff, Linda Ronstadt and Emmy Lou Harris.

She doesn’t know how she originally got into folk and blues, but “I just remember that when I started singing ‘out’ that those were the styles that I really connected with and could sing well. I feel the same today – partly because they’re ‘classic’ styles.”

This is an encore performance for Yarbrough at the Roastery and she said she and One Mile Down would love to play more venues in Grand County as well. Their sound is a mixture of folk and blues and is comprised mostly of original compositions.

Yarbrough and the band hope audiences come down this Friday to Fraser for some fun at Rocky Mountain Roastery and said the show will include a lot of new tunes, for a very different performance from the one in 2007.

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