Tony Furtado caps off amazing winter

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Tony Furtado cooks the way he plays music.

"There are no set recipes. I go with whatever I'm feeling," Furtado said. "I love just about anything, but I like it spicy."

¤ Tony Furtado concert

¤ 3 p.m. Sunday

¤ Base of Steamboat Ski Area

¤ Free

Furtado will help end Steamboat's ski season Sunday with a free performance in Gondola Square.

Furtado, a renowned guitarist, has spent the past six months working on his next album. He also has been doing a lot of cooking, writing, reading and bike riding.

Furtado began playing the banjo when he was 12 years old. By 19, he was a well-established musician who would go on to become a two-time National Banjo Champion.

Twelve years ago, Furtado switched from banjo to guitar. "Right before I moved to Boulder, I began focusing on the slide guitar and singing and writing," he said. "The actual songwriting thing -- I started delving into in the last five years."

It has been said that his music cannot be defined by any genre. Furtado has a hard time identifying it.

"I tend to just say that it's American roots music -- blues and Appalachian, Celtic music and jazz," he said. "It's all influenced by what we know as popular American music."

He favors old folk tunes, war songs, prison work songs and old time music. "I'm a big history buff," Furtado said.

What he doesn't enjoy is the recording end of the business, which he says saps his creative energy. He recorded a solo live CD, "Bare Bones," during his last major tour.

"I don't like dealing with the do-dads. I learned what I had to," Furtado said. "And I don't like listening to myself.

"I don't hate what I do. It's just not as interesting as listening to someone else."

Furtado constantly listens to new musicians to find new influences, and he continually tries to create new sounds. This task was less challenging when he was a child.

"When I was a little kid, everything was so new and interesting and so easy to just play the instrument," Furtado said. "There were no boundaries because I didn't know any better."

Now that music has become second nature, it is harder to come up with new material, he said.

"I just dream of the day where anywhere I go, I have a good solid turnout," Furtado said. "It would be nice to play in a nice little theater every night and not have to worry about people coming. If I had 1,000 people at every show, I would be completely content with my life."

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