New Orleans Suspects set to play Steamboat |

New Orleans Suspects set to play Steamboat

Luke Graham

— New Orleans Suspects bassist Reggie Scanlan gets the question every time.

He's just never quite sure of the answer.

There is a relationship between New Orleans music and Colorado, and Scanlan isn't sure if it's the people, but there is a kindred soul between the two places.

"When all my friends play there, they say they get the same question," Scanlan said. "No one can figure it out. It's just natural."

Scanlan and the Suspects return to Steamboat on Saturday as part of the Bud Light Rocks the Boat music series. The band plays at 3 p.m. in Gondola Square.

"Colorado seems to have a pretty overall big music scene," Scanlan said. "Places where music is like that, the scene is more open. But it's not like Chicago, St. Louis or Minneapolis where you can tell. It's there in Colorado, I'm just not sure how it happened."

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The five-piece band includes Scanlan, drummer "Mean" Willie Green, keyboard player CR Gruver, saxophonist Kevin Harris and guitarist Jake Eckert.

All five have musical styles that place them among elite company in New Orleans circles.

Their sound is New Orleans but has a more big band sound to it.

The band recently mastered the tracks on its third studio album. This one, set for release later this year, is composed of all new music.

It's also the best one, Scanlan said, adding that the band started to find its sound after quickly forming one night in 2010 after getting a call from local New Orleans club Maple Leaf. The club's owners were looking for someone to fill in on short notice and brought together the band.

A couple of the band members had played together, but largely it was a classic New Orleans jam session.

After the show, they agreed to make it a side project. But because Green already was playing with the Neville Brothers and Scanlan was playing with The Radiators, the five members eventually decided to put it all into the Suspects.

"When people look at it from the outside, it looks like it happened pretty fast," Scanlan said. "From the inside (trying to improve on the sound) never seems to end. No matter how far you can get, no matter what you if you can anticipate what somebody is going to play, it always could have been a little better. It's always spiraling into the center of something and it's like you're never going to get there."

The New Orleans big band sound fits perfectly into the series at Steamboat Ski Area.

Scanlan said part of New Orleans music is playing to a crowd, and in Colorado, it's the same thing.

"You read the crowd and go where they want to go," he said. "If they go nuts, then you have to do that. I guess we usually go nuts, so they don't really have a choice."

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229, email or follow him on Twitter @LukeGraham

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