This band still has the fresh enthusiasm of four guys new to the stage, combined with the bluegrass chops of a band passionate about its chosen genre.
The members of Head for the Hills are sophomores at Colorado State University who started playing together in dorm rooms, but as soon as they played that first tune for other ears to hear, it seemed the world had been waiting for them.
"People heard us, and they said, 'Wow, you have something here.' And that's how we felt, too," bass player Matt Loewen said.
The band's first gig was in February 2004 at a coffee shop. They didn't play out again until November, when they "decided to get serious about the band," Loewen said. They played at the Cheba Hut restaurant in Fort Collins.
Then, through a friend who worked there, they landed a show at the Mishawaka Amphitheatre.
"We sold out the place with 222 tickets," Loewen said. "It was the largest indoor crowd they've had since they opened. "It was so cool to see something come out of this."
Head for the Hills will play at Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill tonight and then return for another show at Mishawaka on Saturday.
Banjo player Adam Kinghorn was the band member to get everyone else playing bluegrass. Loewen was a classically trained clarinet player before picking up the bass and joining a rock band, and Kinghorn had been in a punk band before Head for the Hills formed.
The band is working out its set list. They chose a few bluegrass standards such as "Blackberry Blossom" and "Cripple Creek," but they also use bluegrass as a vehicle to explore other kinds of music, including covers of Johnny Cash tunes or "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival.