The Brew Train is all about supporting local.
Part of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, the weekly Brew Train, which runs from Rockwood to Cascade every Saturday morning, features locally made beer and locally made music as its beverage and entertainment option. The train pulls out of Rockwood, and local breweries, plus one invitational brewery from the region, pass out samples for riders. Once to Cascade, riders hop off the train, where a local band is on stage at Cascade; they play a set, riders eat and enjoy food and more beer, then re-board for the trip back to Rockwood.
The next Brew Train, which will run Saturday, will feature Sunday night Diamond Belle Saloon staples The Blue Moon Ramblers.
Keeping it local with regards to the music is key for the event organizers. With this area boasting more musical talent than many locals may have considered, the list of local bands of varying genres is quite long, with many on that list jumping at the chance to play. With the ongoing concept of “shop local,” shouldn’t that extend to the musicians and artists who live among us?
Shopping local gives a shot in the arm to the local business economy, while supporting local musicians serves as a shot in the arm to the artist economy, and is an act of reinvesting in the creative community.
“Getting the local musicians, that was big for us,” said events manager Luke Prince. “We have all these opportunities to have bands on board, and the first thing we did was work with local partners to get names of all the bands in town. I knew a few, and with word of mouth within this musical community, things filled up really quick.”
Bands playing the events through the rest of the summer are a who’s who from the local bluegrass and rock community.
The Six Dollar String Band, performing on the train June 29, are a traditional old-time string band that digs deep into the genre’s earliest roots while playing at punk-rock tempos.
The July 20 train will feature The Ben Gibson Band; Gibson is a rock ’n’ roll guy doing the Jimi Hendrix thing with his Fender Stratocaster, strung backwards and played upside down to accommodate the left-handed Gibson. The Ben Gibson Band released a new record earlier this year.
Bands like High Country Hustle, who will play the event July 27; Sunny and the Whiskey Machine, who play Aug. 10, People We Know who play the Wine and Rails Event Sept. 1 (same concept, just replace beer with wine), and La La Bones on Sept. 28 all do the roots and bluegrass thing, while the Lawn Chair Kings, playing Aug. 3 can dip into a deep bag of twang while also banging out a set of slacker rock ’n’ roll.
One of the newest local bands will play the event on Aug. 31; Snazzy Licks features saxophonist Sam Kelly and guitar player Brandon Clark, both most notably from local rock and roll outfit Elder Grown.
The remaining bands playing the events are Agave from Bayfield playing July 6, the State 38 Band out of Cortez playing July 13, and Schmooty and the Brick playing the other Wine and Rails event on Sept. 29.
Pulling this off remains a collective contribution from all parties involved, from the bands who also have to take the train in to set up at the remote Cascade location, the breweries and the railroad staff; its something Prince takes great pride in.
“When we do something big or small, it’s a group effort,” said Prince. “And this is just one example of that.”
Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.