Grand Lake: Arts center hosts opening concert, celebration |

Grand Lake: Arts center hosts opening concert, celebration

Cyndi McCoy
Grand Lake, Colorado

Nearing the final phases of an extensive renovation, the Grand Arts Center will host its first concert, featuring Kort McCumber. To celebrate the debut of the center and its amenities (including a good-sized dance floor), the Grand Arts Council is offering free admission for the special performance.

McCumber has played in the Fraser Valley since 2003. He was also a GAC feature during its Concerts in the Park series last summer. Playing with him on bass will be Jim Gilmour, whom McCumber has collaborated with on almost 10 projects.

When McCumber plays music, he likes to test the boundaries of several styles. He focuses on sounds rooted in the traditions of Americana, describing his music as “equal parts folk, country, blues and bluegrass, with a healthy dose of something fresh.”

McCumber, of the Boulder area, moved from Nashville, Tenn., to Evergreen in 2004. Colorado’s mountains and beauty are a huge inspiration to his songwriting, he said. Many of his songs touch on his experiences, including travels around the world, and love gained and lost. He also likes to play a few covers by Colorado friends, and artists such as Gram Parsons, Tim O’Brien and Steve Earle.

The multi-instrumentalist has played music all his life, celebrating a decade since his first major performance. He was classically trained in piano and cello, and once he started playing his first acoustic guitar, he knew he wanted to sing and write songs.

He also honed skills playing guitar, mandolin, banjo, harmonica and Irish bouzouki. Set lists encompass a majority of his own compositions, including many instrumental tunes written especially for the bouzouki (his favorite).

Since his first big show, McCumber estimates he has played more than 1,000 live shows. He said his sixth album, “Lickskillet Road,” is proof that if one stays true to their passion, great things will follow.

His next work, “Live Licks From the Boulder Theatre” came out in November, and “Ain’t the Same As Before” is set for release by May. Musically, he said, it is a bit different than his other works. Showing more of the “rock side of Americana,” it has a little more electric guitar, and has “got a little more grit.” It deals with more serious topics, he said, and is a “nostalgic look” at all the places where he grew up, “as well as a statement about the world … .”

Since 1996, when the GAC purchased the 20,000-square-foot building formerly known as Band Camp, the organization and community (through donations) has invested almost $700,000 to renovate the facility. Proceeds benefit the GAC’s efforts to finish the project.

The evening begins at 6:30 p.m. with facility tours, silent auction, door prizes, and a drawing for two tickets to the Central City Opera. There will also be refreshments for purchase and culinary delights (to include appetizers and desserts from area restaurants).

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