If you haven't been going to the Monday night open mic nights for the past month and a half, you missed out.
For six weeks, Patrick Ross has been on a whirlwind tour through town, playing Celtic and Quebecois fiddle music, sitting in with bands whenever asked and, in general, enlivening the local music scene.
But now his bags are packed, and he's on the road to California to surf and write more music. In many senses, Ross lives the life of the minstrel. He wanders from town to town, offering his music in exchange for a place to live, food and friendship.
As a final bow before leaving town, Ross visited Hayden High School on Thursday and gave a workshop to Marin Campbell's freshman and junior English classes and her sophomore speech class.
At 23, despite more than a decade of performing on stage, Ross has a youthful presence that allows him to connect with a school-age audience.
He walked the students through the journey of Celtic music from Ireland to Nova Scotia and down into northern New England, where Ross grew up.
Ross is a fifth-generation fiddle player from Canaan, Vt. He and his father used to sit in the bathroom -- so they wouldn't annoy his mother -- and play music for hours.
"I never had a teacher other than my father," he said. Ross vividly remembers playing the Westfalia waltz in that same bathroom and his father snapping at him.
"If you're going to play it, play it right," his father said.
"That was back when I was trying to experiment and my dad told me to never forget the melody," Ross said. "It's always good to state what the original composer had in mind."
Before he graduated from high school, the wheels of Ross' musical career were turning. Three months before graduation, he sat in with a bluegrass band in Burlington, Vt., called Smoking Grass. They waited patiently for him to graduate and then invited him on the road.
"Two weeks after high school graduation, I was on stage at the High Sierra Music Festival playing to a thousand people," he said. When he arrived at the festival, the members of Leftover Salmon recognized him.
"I sat in with Leftover Salmon in Vermont when I was 14," Ross said. They invited him on stage again.
He toured with Smoking Grass for a couple of years until, at 20, he decided to move to Nashville, where he hoped to become a better fiddle player. He immediately was offered an open position with the touring band Ceili Rain.
Ross ended up in Steamboat Springs, following his deceased father's unfulfilled dream of living in the mountains. He was a lift operator at Pony Express during the 2003-04 ski season and returned this winter to visit his former work mates and to write music.
"I wore out three bows while I was here, I played so much," he said.