Small, crunchy, mountain towns throughout the Rocky Mountain west are going through a moment right now. There are countlessthink pieces about the nature of development that is sweeping through small ski towns and the stratification of wealth playing out in the housing market throughout WY, ID, CO, UT, and the last remaining “frontiers” in the American west.
It’s very real, it's why everyone who works service in Aspen lives in a trailer park 20 miles away. It’s an ongoing dynamic that is reshaping socio-political economics in an area long untouched by tech money, real estate bonanzas, and the proliferation of wealth.
But is it? We’ve been here before.
This is the heart of the gold and silver booms, where the entire landscape was shaped by greed, with railroad lines going up to obscure mining outposts like St. Elmo, CO (well above 10k feet) to take the ore from the sluice box to the smelter.
Today, that Great Migration to the Rocky Mountain west looks different - less prospecting for precious metals and more prospecting for precious tourism dollars.
There is a love-hate relationship between small-town communities and tourism, whether it be here, the Eastern Sierras, coastal Maine, or NC. You need the tourism dollars but want to preserve a sense of community, heritage, and history, just ask Winthrop, WA.
So the California Honeydrops coming to town is only fitting - a steady mix of neo-soul from the Bay Area that holds onto a sense of traditional 2nd line arrangements from New Orleans that blends the old and the new into a sound that is wholly in the now. Washboards may not have modern applications, but fitting for a group bridging genres and eras.
Lech Wierzynski on lead vocals, trumpet, and guitar - Ben Malament on drums, washboard, and percussion - Johnny Bones on tenor and clarinet, Lorenzon Loera covering melodica and keys, and Beau Bradbury on bass and percussion, compromise the California Honeydrops sound.
With rapids rushing down the Arkansas River along the outdoor stage, the group effortlessly flowed from new hits like (it’s) “A Silicon World,” to old-time favorites like “Brokedown Parts 1 & 2,” generating a familiar and familial feeling - bridging this sentiment of the old and new in a community going through transformational socio-economic change.
For a moment in time though, we were transfixed and taken back to a different point in time in our community, where the dregs of socio-economics fade away, and we can remember that we all moved this far up, away from everything, for a reason - and if that reason is to groove to some NOLA funk vibes - so be it.
The tapestry of the American west is as vivid, diverse, and intricate as a horn solo from Lech, a washboard freakout from Ben, or any of the random chaotic elements that shape life in the high Rockies.
But that’s why a community adapts. And why we adapt music to your taste at Adaptr. It’s not just a plug, it is a way of life for us here