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Fraser / Live Music: Three parts fun, seriously

by Cyndi Palmer
Sky-Hi Daily News

The Really Serious String Band is next up to play at Fraser’s Rocky Mountain Roastery tonight as part of its weekly Java Mic Night series.

They are a fairly new band that has just begun to make a name for itself in the Colorado Rockies, offering what frontman Jeremy Dion said is “a bit of folk, some bluegrass, with well-honed acoustic chops and tight three-part vocal harmonies.”

The band features Dion, Sally Tognarelli and Peter Sharpe. All lend vocals for the trio; Dion and Tognarelli play guitar, and Sharpe plays guitar and mandolin. Dion and Sharpe had been playing for Ginseng Sullivan, a bluegrass band out of Boulder.

When they’re not picking out tunes on stage with Tognarelli, Dion and Sharpe, who met in grad school at Naropa in Boulder, are psychotherapists. Dion also has a master’s degree in music therapy.

As a singer and songwriter, Tognarelli has been working on launching a solo career and her CD will be available at the show. She and Sharpe, who live together in the Boulder area, also play quite a bit as a touring duo.

With both parents “wonderful singers,” Dion grew up playing the piano and singing. He taught himself to play the guitar in college, listening to musicians like Jerry Garcia, Neil Young and bluegrass legend Doc Watson. He said that was when he “began dreaming of making a living as a musician,” and began to write his first original compositions.

His influences are too many to count, but the musician said he not only felt an impact from musicians, but that he loves to read (novels mostly) and is inspired by writers like David James Duncan, Tom Robbins and Khaled Hosseini.

The band’s name, he explained, was one of several that members (“jokingly”) discussed after an evening of rehearsal.

“We toyed with several other tongue-in-cheek bluegrassy names like all the others out there – something with ‘creek, mountain, river, canyon’ and ‘string band’ attached to it,” he said. “This one just made us giggle the most, and seemed to stick.”

All three musicians write original pieces for the band. Dion has written several new songs lately, including “Finally” and “Wait Awhile Wintertime” and he is in the process of working on a CD release for sometime in March. He’ll also be launching a new Web site during that time at http://www.jeremydion.com.

His favorite covers are “Long Time Gone” by Darrell Scott, “Whichita” by Gillian Welch, and “Sweet Carolina” by Ryan Adams, which are just three of a long line of influences the band attributes their sound to. Others are David Grier, Patty Griffin, Neil Young, Kelly Joe Phelps, Glen Phillips and Townes Van Zandt. When trying to explain what their music sounds like on their MySpace page, they said it is “string-based music that is really, really, really serious.”

The band, which played at the Roastery last year, said they are looking forward to being there again.

Each night during the ski season, the Fraser Roastery will be hosting a wide selection of musical talent from across the country. Upcoming performers include Gregory Alan Isakov Feb. 1, Yaniv Salzberg and Mike Music Feb. 8, and Carlson Nightly and the Smooth Shifters Feb. 15.


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