Freddy Jones back in Steamboat for free concert |

Freddy Jones back in Steamboat for free concert

Free Summer Concert Series on Friday has fundraising twist

Nicole Inglis

The Freddy Jones Band returns to the Free Summer Concert Series stage at tonight’s show at Howelsen Hill. Opening band Interstate Stash Express goes on at 6 p.m.

The Freddy Jones Band returns to the Free Summer Concert Series stage at tonight's show at Howelsen Hill. Opening band Interstate Stash Express goes on at 6 p.m.

— The first time the Freddy Jones Band played in Steamboat Springs, the roots rock quintet was fresh out of college and pulled up to the Old Town Pub in a station wagon. It was 1990, and local concert promoter Jon Waldman remembers having a snowball fight on the Routt County Courthouse lawn.

Twenty years later, the Americana rockers return to play the Free Summer Concert Series on Friday, an event that has drawn 5,000 people at the two previous shows this year.

After returning from a four-year hiatus in 2005, guitarist and lead vocalist Wayne Healy said the band is hitting its stride as if it still were the 1990s.

"Every time we play, we don't get a lot of time to rehearse," he said about the band's 15 to 20 shows per year. "We've been doing it for so many years together, it's just very comfortable on stage. There's that unspoken communication that magically happens."

The band played during the concert series two years ago, but it rained about 20 minutes before their set. Still, Healy said it was a great show, if not a little "soupy."

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Now, capitalizing on their long relationship with Waldman and Steamboat Springs, Healy said the band is looking forward to returning with that same original lineup in one of their now-rare shows scheduled around the band's family and day jobs.

With Healy, childhood friend Marty Lloyd and Rob Bonaccorsi on guitars, Jim Bonaccorsi on bass and Simon Horrocks on drums, their rootsy and harmony-rich style draws a lot of comparisons to the Eagles and the Allman Brothers, a sound that was regaining popularity across the nation in the early '90s.

"I just think it was the musicianship and the songwriting," Waldman said. "They wrote really recognizable, hooky songs.

"The timing was good, but more than that was really good musicianship. You heard them or you saw them, and it was there."

The band scored a big radio hit with "In a Daydream," and several studio albums rose high on the charts.

Now, Healy said releasing the album "Time Well Wasted" in 2009 was a different beast because of the digital music revolution that had occurred since the band's 1999 release.

But keeping a loyal fan base and continually making a statement in the recording world comes down to a simple formula.

"It's all in the songs," Healy said. "If you write great songs, people love your songs. It comes down to a legal pad and your guitar and your lyrics. I think people will always be attracted to music that they like."

Tonight's concert has an extra twist, with a partnership with Casting 4 A Cure, a nonprofit aimed at raising funds and awareness for Rett Syndrome, a childhood neurological disorder.

The organization travels to Steamboat every year for a fly-fishing fundraiser, and will have a booth at tonight's concert with opportunities to win prizes like a 42-inch TV and a set of Nike golf clubs.

Freddy Jones Band members also are close friends with the organization's co-founder, Bill Farnum, whose daughter suffers from the disease.

"It just made sense to tie the two together," Waldman said.

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email

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