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This time last week I was in the middle of my vacation within a vacation. If you know how much I’ve traveled over the last year in Europe then you probably wouldn’t be surprised to know that I couldn’t just stay in one place during my three week trip to the US. Not only is it nice to hop on that jet plane every now and again, but with friends scattered across these 50 states sometimes you just have to meet in a central place. Especially when your favorite musicians also happen to have two nights of shows scheduled.

A couple of months ago a few of us started throwing around the idea of meeting in Denver as an early Christmas present to ourselves. In no time flat plans were booked and I was counting down to a fun-filled trip. Two nights of friends, laughter, music, and memories.

I arrived in Denver last Thursday morning about an hour delayed due to weather. A little snow wasn’t going to keep me away and seeing as none had fallen in Amsterdam or Reno, I was happy to be seeing some white stuff on the ground for the holidays. Once our clan was together at the airport, we picked up the rental car and headed to a friend’s apartment. After some time catching up and checking out her new diggs, we headed to downtown Denver for show number one – El Rancho Vegas, a four piece band of local Denver musicians who wanted to challenge themselves so they decided to play “big band, jazzy, swing music in the style of the Rat Pack, Nat King Cole, and Bobby Darin”. I thoroughly enjoyed this show as I got to spend time catching up with friends I hadn’t seen in a year as well as listening to music that brought back memories of summers in upstate New York with my grandparents.

El Rancho Vegas @ The Cheeky Monk

Friday our little group spent most of the day lounging around the hotel continuing our catching up and resting for the main event later that night – the Railbenders and Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers (RCPM) show. It was a good thing we took it easy during the day, because the show didn’t disappoint. In years past I’ve typically seen RCPM multiple times in a year between Reno, Northern California, and an annual pilgrimage with a couple thousand other people down to Mexico. Having gone a full year between shows, I was more than ready for the night. And the fact that the Railbenders opened was a treat. The 3+ hours of music was fantastic and I felt right at home in that crowd. I can hear the word “groupie” knocking around in your head, but until you’ve met Peacemaker fans and until you’ve been to a show it’s nearly impossible for me to explain what it’s really all about. It’s more than the band, the music, it’s a community, an experience, a lifestyle and being back in that world, even just for a night, filled me with so much joy and happiness.

Jim Dalton & Roger Clyne (Photo: Kristie Gripp)


Jim Dalton, Roger Clyne, Nick Scropos (Photo: Kristie Gripp)

As usual with the best of times, that night and the weekend were over far to quickly. Fortunately the short trip was full of great memories which I’ve replayed over in my mind already and am sure I will continue to do so until I’m back with my RCPM friends and family again some time in 2012. In the meantime, these guys are constantly touring the US so if they come to a city near you be sure to check them out. They put on one of the best live shows you’ll ever see.