Keep the meter running

Great American Taxi is here to stay

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The rotating cast of Great American Taxi keeps their wheels spinning, and there is no red light in sight.

The band formed last year for a one-time benefit concert and now has solidified into a permanent band of five members. They sometimes have as many as 25 musicians on stage at their shows. Most of this is attributable to guitarist and vocalist Vince Herman, the former frontman of Leftover Salmon.

"With Vince's world and the carrying over from the Leftover world, anytime we are in Colorado there will be friends and colleagues that we will play with," said keyboardist and vocalist Chad Staehly. "We love to have that extra energy on stage."

Although Great Ameri-can Taxi has a jam-band base, they now are labeling their music as "high country rock 'n' roll." "But we will still play the slam grass stuff from the Leftover Salmon world," Staehly said. "The audiences like to shake their butts to that stuff."

It is important to the band that it creates and plays well-structured songs, which Staehly says is lost in the jam band. But Herman still makes up songs as he plays. "He's such a character, and he has an uncanny way to write relative lyrics right on the spot," Staehly said. "The lyrics are about what happened to us on the way to the gig or what fits that day or night."

On the way home from the band's last gig, the members put a song list together for their first CD, which they plan to record in August.

They will be performing in many festivals this summer including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. "Our kind of Americana sound is the epitome of the Telluride stuff," Staehly said. "From the beginning, Telluride has been an Americana festival, celebrating all the root forms of American music, and we encapsulate all of those sounds."

The last time the band was in Steamboat Springs, it played on the four-year anniversary of the death of Mark Vann, the banjo player from Leftover Salmon. Vann's death contributed to Leftover's split.

"It was an important night for us. Herman and I and the other guys in the band know what he meant for the Colorado music scene," Staehly said. "It was a great way to celebrate his life and the new life of this Taxi band."

Great American Taxi

10 p.m. Saturday

Mahogany Ridge Brewery & Grill

$10

879-3773

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