Hot Sulphur Springs: A comfortable place to play
Rik Johnson admits one of his favorite places to play is in his basement.Every now and then, the modest musician said he goes down there to play, lightening up with a glass of Scotch or Bell’s 2Hearted Ale and wishing he had a cigarette, even though he quit years ago.When he is not down there playing, where the carpet is nice, the lighting is great, and there’s plenty of room to jump around, he and his wife, Emily, can be found playing live music at the Stage Coach B&B in Hot Sulphur Springs. There, as a duo at the new venue, the two have found another comfortable place to play, as well as a regular following.Rik said he’s more of a songwriter than a musician. I only play music to get the idea out, he said. In terms of technical ability, I’m kind of a hack. But I can write a good song and therein lies my art. He said his music reflects those musicians who have inspired him in his life – artists he admits he sometimes unintentionally rip(s) off, including Bob Mould, Afghan Whigs, Ryan Adams, Tool and King Crimson.Although she also has violin skills, his wife, Emily, mostly sings when they perform as a duo. She played violin in school growing up in Schaumburg, Ill. and also sang in the choir. Later on, she toured Canada with an orchestra, and even sang the national anthem at a Cubs game at the age of 13.Although Rik has always seen himself as a songwriter and musician ever since he can remember, he said Emily, who still gets nervous before a gig, and could pretty much take it or leave it, which is a shame because she really has a good voice.He really likes having Emily on stage. When we sing together it sounds pretty good and when we’re really hitting things solid it’s very heartwarming to me, he said.His and Emily’s sound could best be described as folk music, he said, or alternative folk, or alt-rock unplugged nonsense, or maybe Sonny and Cher without all the hair – or audience, he jokes. I don’t like country much, but sometimes we sound a bit country.The two have been playing with Mickey Sandora (of local band 3rd Time Lucky) and they plan to put together a recording at his studio within the next month. Rik said he’d like to put out stuff he’s written since moving to Colorado.A friend is helping him put a Web site together. He said it will probably be similar to http://www.medicinegone.com, his old band’s Web site.We like it here, Rik said of the area. The Johnson couple, who moved to Fort Collins from central Ohio last February and eventually found themselves in Grand County, said they have found a home at Joy’s Garden at the Stage Coach Bed & Breakfast. They can be seen playing there almost every Saturday night for dinner guests.
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