Fraser/Live Music: String band takes the stage, seriously |

Fraser/Live Music: String band takes the stage, seriously

Cyndi McCoy
Fraser, Colorado

Jeremy Dion, Sally Tognarelli and Peter Sharpe are really serious about music. It’s what brought the musicians, who make up the appropriately named Really Serious String Band, together.

They toyed with several tongue-in-cheek “bluegrassy” names similar to others out there with creek, mountain, river, canyon and string band attached to it.

“This one,” Dion said, ” just made us giggle the most.” And it stuck.

In between other projects, the band returns to the Fraser Valley for its third Java Mic

Night feature performance at Fraser’s Rocky Mountain Roastery.

They offer a bit of folk and bluegrass, all lending vocals for the trio, with Dion and

Tognarelli on guitar, and Sharpe on guitar and mandolin. All songwriters and players “steeped in those roots-music traditions,” Dion said, the music speaks to them “on some ineffably deep level.” They attribute their sound, Dion affirmed, to David Grier, Patty Griffin, Neil Young, Kelly Joe Phelps, Glen Phillips, Townes Van Zandt, Tim O’Brien and Gillian Welch.

Dion and Sharpe, psychotherapists (in Frisco and Longmont respectively), have been writing progressive folk/folk pop since their last performance in Fraser. (Dion, who has been working on a solo career, also has a master’s degree in music therapy).

Tognarelli has been playing in a punk band as well as working on launching a solo career (she released a CD recently).

Dion’s album “Finally” was released July 2008 and he said material for his next album is nearly complete. A highlight at a Granby Farmer’s Market First Friday Frenzy this past summer, he said playing in Grand County is “absolutely blissful” and that the Roastery is one of the band’s “favorite places to play.”

He was named one of the “artists to watch in 2008” by award-winning engineer David McGuinness (who worked with U2 and Pearl Jam). “Finally” was released this past summer and includes poetic vocal harmonies, as well as Grammy winner David Grier. With the album, Dion, Vail music critic Charlie Owen said, “gets right to the heart of being human.”

He taught himself to play the guitar in college (U.C. Berkeley), listening to the likes of favorite songwriters Jerry Garcia, Neil Young, Paul Simon and bluegrass legend Doc Watson. He has been performing since, combining inspirations (which include daughter Avery) with a twist of bluegrass.

Both Dion and Tognarelli have new songs to play for Friday night’s audience, who will be the first to hear them performed with this lineup. Dion said they are some of his favorites to play, “about what life is like right now (as a musician, therapist, and father of a three-year-old.)”

Every Friday night through the winter season, the Roastery is hosting diverse talent from throughout the Grand County area and Colorado region. Future performances for the event’s fifth year include a collaborative jam Feb. 13, Jasco Jazz Feb. 20, Brad Pregeant Feb. 27, Open Mic March 6, open events March 13 and 20, Haas ‘n’ Friends March 27, and Ali ‘n’ Friends April 3.

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