Young Dubliners return to Steamboat base area |

Young Dubliners return to Steamboat base area

Nicole Inglis

The Young Dubliners, an Irish rock band based in California, will return to the base of Steamboat Ski Area with a free show at 3 p.m. Saturday in Gondola Square.

— It's a love-hate bond between Keith Roberts and the state of Colorado. On the one hand, he's traveled here with his famed Celtic rock band, the Young Dubliners, on countless occasions in their 20-plus-year history.

For years they played the base of Steamboat Ski Area every winter, where Roberts fits right in as a self-proclaimed "Olympian après-skier."

But then there's the great outdoors.

On a health kick during last year's Colorado tour, Roberts decided he would take a hike in Crested Butte. It will be the last time he leaves his hotel room in Colorado, he said.

"I sat on a rock and some unidentified creature bit me in the ass," he said in his Irish inflection.

Whatever this unidentified creature was sent him to the emergency room.

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But this week, the band returns to Colorado and to Steamboat to perform at 3 p.m. Saturday in Gondola Square as a part of the Bud light Rocks the Boat free concert series.

"So this is Colorado's chance … if you're going to bite me, at least buy me dinner first," he joked.

This particular two-week stint on the road is the band's annual St. Patrick's Day tour. They'll play in Colorado and Utah before making their way back to Southern California, where the band is based, for the holiday itself.

Though it has its roots in Ireland where Roberts was born, St. Patty's in America means all work and no play for the Celtic rock quintet.

"It's always been a bigger deal here than anywhere else," Roberts said. "It's a treat though, it gives us a nice big weekend. Besides having legendary gigs, I never said, 'Oh, I've had a great St. Patrick's Day,’ but I love that America gets a great kick out of it."

The band will go right back into the studio when it returns, however, to finish up an album it's been working on for a little over a year.

This is no ordinary album, however. After two decades with major record labels, the band finally broke free and crowd-sourced the funding for its first-ever indie effort.

"So many people have been amazing supporters," he said. "A band like us is only in existence because the fans decide to keep us going. We've been doing this 20 years. We realize that's why were here."

Roberts said there were well-off types who wanted to pay for the entire thing, and there were kids donating $10 of their allowance toward the effort. The Dubliners responded by offering perks like videos of them writing songs, special edition albums and even a trip to Ireland for supporters.

It's the future of recording music, he thinks.

"If I owned a record company operating in the old-school design, I'd be nervous right now," Roberts said. "I don't know anyone who wants to give up 85 percent of an album."

But it's not easy. With its fundraising campaign paying only for the production costs, the band has been hitting the road off and on all year to make a living.

Still, Roberts is looking forward to adding a few more of the new songs into this weekend's sets and returning to the base of Steamboat Ski Area for a pre-St. Patrick's Day affair.

"We're delighted to be returning to Steamboat and we'll be playing early, so people should be planning parties now and let us know where they are."

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

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