Longtime Colorado musician brings bluegrass project to Steamboat | SteamboatToday.com

Longtime Colorado musician brings bluegrass project to Steamboat

Nicole Inglis

Bluegrass Delta Force is a new band formed by longtime Colorado musician Pete Kartsounes. The band plays Carl's Tavern on Friday night and YarmonyGrass at State Bridge on Saturday.

— In the 18 years he's lived in Colorado, Pete Kartsounes has learned that it's more than a state made up of small towns. He thinks of it as one community with a web of musicians scattered across the state who intertwine their careers and their passions on stages and around campfires.

It is through that web that Kartsounes' new band, Bluegrass Delta Force, took shape.

It's a simple story, Kartsounes said.

"We're just a bunch of friends that have been playing music together over the years in bands, sometimes in the same band, and they're just a bunch of great pickers," he said in an interview with ExploreSteamboat.com on Thursday. "We were finding ourselves getting together and playing out on the Pearl Street Mall (in Boulder) just for fun. Bluegrass is something we all love playing."

Traveling to Northwest Colorado this weekend, the five-piece string band plays Carl's Tavern on Friday night for free and the YarmonyGrass festival at State Bridge on Saturday afternoon.

The band comprises Kartsounes on guitar, Adam Galblum on fiddle, Kyle Ussery on banjo, Sam Parks on mandolin and Kevin Malone on upright bass.

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Kartsounes, now based in Boulder, has played with the Drew Emmitt Band and fronted his own group, the Pete Kartsounes Band, for years. He's played acoustic and electric, and he's picked with the best on the planet.

He said the band focuses on playing original, tight bluegrass material. He emphasized that it’s not a jam-grass band, though many of its members have played in projects of that sort. Although they've only officially been a band since May, the group members already have recorded a homemade album, and all five of them write songs.

"A lot of times, traditional bluegrass is a very cover-bandy kind of music," he said. "A lot of bands are playing a lot of traditional bluegrass. We're trying to keep our sound original."

Originally from Flint, Mich., Kartsounes spent his later teen years following the Grateful Dead on tour. He moved to Pagosa Springs in 1994 and has been playing music professionally ever since. He said he's played probably every après ski venue in Steamboat, but it's been years since his last trip to the Yampa Valley.

"We're going to tear it up," he said. "We're a band that will put some spice in your life."

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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