Hot Sulphur Springs / Live Music: Guess who’s coming to dinner
April 25, 2008
Two long-time locals have reunited as the folk-rock, country-fusion band Tasty Home Cookin’.
Jim Pritchard and Pete “Grizzly” Miles have played music together off and on for more than 20 years but hadn’t played together for the past five. Their last CD, “Half Dead” came out in 2002 and they produced a DVD called “Rope Jam” from their farewell party at the Lariat Saloon in Grand Lake before Pritchard headed to Mexico in 2003.
Now that he’s back in Grand County, he and Miles have revived the old band. They can be found as the regular entertainment for the Stage Coach Bed and Breakfast in Hot Sulphur Springs, playing Saturday nights among other live acts throughout the summer.
Pritchard has been in and out of Grand County his entire life. With the support of his parents, he “fell in love with the guitar” at age 8. His grandparents’ neighbor, Louis Nonay, was an early inspiration.
“He was an awesome jazz musician, played the Denver jazz scene from the 1940s through the ’70s. I’d sit and watch him play for hours and kind of figured out what he was doing to make those incredible sounds.”
Nonay sold Pritchard his first good guitar, a 1963 Fender Jaguar and he “was hooked.” Seeing the passion for music in their son, Pritchard’s parents also signed him up for guitar lessons but he only lasted about two sessions.
“I just wanted to play,” he said. Since then, he’s “had the privilege of playing with a lot of the Grand County greats … too many incredible mountain musicians up here to list.”
Pritchard, who plays acoustic and electric guitars, bass, and a mandolin when he can find one, was recruited to play after he went to the Stage Coach looking for a job as a dishwasher. He said the venue “is one of the best-sounding rooms I’ve ever had the pleasure to play. The acoustics are an accurate amplification of our guitar/vocals and Pete’s jokes carry throughout the building.”
His wife, Becky, and Miles write most of the lyrics for the duo, which Miles then puts to music. Pritchard adds the chords and melodies.
“We’re trying to build a reputation as ‘dinner music’ until after dinner, when you can kick off your shoes, leave your hat on and dance,” Pritchard said.
Miles, who plays acoustic and electric guitar and has started to play electric piano, estimates he’s been making music ” and people smile ” for the last 25 years, starting with a band called the Shadow Mountain Boys and evolving to the current band with Pritchard. The band’s name came to him one night a decade ago.
“Having primarily specialized in entertaining dinner crowds at many local establishments,” and “after many excellent ‘home-cooked’ meals at these various places,” Miles said the name Tasty Home Cookin’ was born and it solidified that night.
His mother was a concert-level pianist and Miles says he holds her responsible for his passion and love for the musical arts. He too began honing a career in music at a young age, starting with piano at age 5 and playing woodwinds.
“Very patient and tolerant parents” allowed him to set up a drum set in his room during his formidable teen years and a guitar and a few other instruments were added to the collection.
His preference is to play for venues like the Stage Coach, with “intimate, attentive audiences for whom I try to play as many of their requested favorites, as well as numerous original numbers,” while trying to maintain a connection.
“Feeding off their energy is my greatest pleasure as a live-performing artist,” he said.
Pritchard said he looks forward to Saturday’s show and every show that he plays, “always.” He and Miles hope audiences come away from a performance of Tasty Home Cookin’ “feeling some of the joy and excitement we derive from making the music.”
Various other talented area musicians are also expected to “sit in” with the band from time to time, creating what Miles says will add a “very spontaneous and improvisational nature” which he hopes audiences will appreciate. Tasty Home Cookin’ has also started playing at several other gigs, including the Parshall Inn, and they’ve talked to Maverick’s about doing a show.
The duo has also talked about possible performances at The Riverside Hotel in Hot Sulphur Springs and “we are looking to fill our summer with new gigs from State Bridge to Winter Park and Grand Lake.” Also, between a friend’s studio and Miles’ home studio, they are confident they’ll have a take-home version of their music by this summer.