Venues downtown are all looking to host live music, but there are only a few local bands available to fill all the empty stages. Mahogany Ridge always has hosted live music, but now the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant has music every weekend. Braun's has thrown its musical hat in the ring with live DJs and the occasional band, and even Beau Jo's Pizza has opened up a corner of its restaurant for acoustic music.
To be a local band in Steamboat these days is to be a sought-after commodity, which means bands such as 3 Wire are busy.
Rarely a weekend passes when 3 Wire doesn't have something lined up.
As the Steamboat music scene shifts, the band that was a stage newcomer a couple of years ago is now a veteran act, and 3 Wire is hitting its stride.
Bass player Bob Shaffer, who rarely sang when he first joined the band, now sings with the group on almost every song, allowing 3 Wire to incorporate three-part harmonies into its arrangements.
Dave Hanley calls the band a "five-piece trio," describing the way he and Paul Geppert switch off between guitar, mandolin and banjo -- something they do more frequently as the musicians get better on each instrument.
"This band has really evolved on its own. It's just unfolded," Geppert said.
When the group formed more than three years ago, it was mostly an acoustic cover band -- Grateful Dead, The Beatles, David Bowie. The group still plays a long list of Dead tunes and Neil Young covers, but as the musicians become more comfortable behind their instruments, the list of originals has started to grow.
"It's great to do the Grateful Dead stuff, but I don't want to be known as a Dead cover band," Hanley said.
Geppert recently added a mandolin instrumental titled "Wildflower Pickin'." The tune has only one line. "I've been out in the meadow pickin' wildflowers. Pickin' them for you." The word "pickin'" has a double meaning in this song.
Hanley has added a tune of his own, titled "Seasons," to the set list.
"The song begins with fall in Colorado, when winter's on its way," Hanley said.
Writing songs is a new adventure for Hanley. He owns a small guitar shop in downtown Hayden and wrote "Seasons" sitting at the window of his shop looking out at the changing leaves.
"I sat down at my desk and wrote that first line," he said. "I don't know how I got from there to the Seven Wonders of the World.
"For me, the saying about inspiration versus perspiration is really true. I have to work at it. My goal is to write 1,000 songs. I've written three. The longest journey begins with the first step."