Steamboat a ‘good, soulful place’ for musician Jed Clampit
July 12, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Editor’s note: This story has been updated from its original version to reflect a $10 cover for each Jed Fest show.
When he can't be home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, musician Jed Clampit's second choice is what he calls the "Fayetteville of the West," otherwise known as Steamboat Springs.
"It's a good, soulful place," he said. "Good stuff happens here. I'll get to see a lot of good souls this weekend."
The white-bearded, kind-eyed troubadour has been bound to the road life of a musician since he quit his suit-and-tie job at Sears in the 1970s. He first came through Steamboat in 1985 to visit a friend and played a gig at Old Town Pub.
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Right off the bat, he developed lifelong friends and lasting connections in the valley, returning year after year to play shows from the Western BBQ at Steamboat Ski Area all the way up to the Glen Eden Resort in North Routt County.
For Clampit's return this weekend, North Routt music promoter Larry McCoy has organized the first ever Jed Fest, a two-day concert event at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse.
Clampit will play two very different shows at 8:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights at Hahn's Peak Roadhouse.
On Friday, he'll be backed by members of the Worried Men. Clampit has been playing with the musicians — including Randy Kelley and Willie Samuelson — since the 1980s.
"He's fortunate that he has a long-term relationship with the guys from Worried Men. That's really fortunate they're going to do that," McCoy said. "It'll be a six-piece band and they're focusing more on country music and country swing."
Saturday night, Clampit will play under his alter ego, bluesman Frank Bluebonnet. Both shows are $10.
Blues or country, Clampit is known for sounding a lot like Willie Nelson. But Clampit said Willie Nelson actually sounds like his dad, Nerbin.
He recalls sitting at his father's feet listening to him play as a young boy.
"He could make time stand still," Clampit said. "He had that edge to his voice and a quality that was just crystal clear."
Music to Clampit is still all in the family. He usually tours with his brother Bil on bass, but with Bil at home recovering from surgery, Clampit is driving across the country in his van — his third touring van in his 40 years on the road — on his own this time.
But here in the Yampa Valley, he's never alone.
There's a group of local Steamboat fans that call themselves "Jed Heads," and they'll be traveling in groups up to North Routt for the weekend.
McCoy said that Hahn's Peak Roadhouse will be running shuttles to and from the local campground, because many of the Jed Heads plan to stay overnight there to see their old friend perform both nights.
Clampit said that earlier this week, he met up with the Pauley family, whom he met in Steamboat Springs in the 1980s. Even though the Pauleys moved to Ohio, they chose this weekend to travel the 1,500 miles to visit Steamboat and see Clampit play.
"Music sets people free, and it's free," Clampit said. "I always feel better at the end of a show."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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