- Wednesday, February 11, 2009, 3 p.m.
- Bear River Bar & Grill, Steamboat Springs
Steamboat Springs "If you don't sing at the end of this song, I sound really funny," Becky Alter said, warning an aprÃs ski crowd at Bear River Bar & Grill about the possible consequences of staying silent during her rendition of "Hey Jude."
Perched on a bar stool, Alter ran through a set of classic rock covers and original songs Tuesday afternoon, relishing the opportunity to play some shows and sell some CDs during a few weeks back in Steamboat Springs.
The former local threw out tunes by the Eagles, Jimmy Buffett, The Rolling Stones and Otis Redding in her three-hour gig, belting other people's lyrics with as much grit and spirit as she belts her own.
Alter has described her songwriting style as "Dolly Parton getting slapped by Melissa Etheridge," and she ascribes to a travel-heavy lifestyle inspired by "Jesus, Buddha and whiskey." She'll play two more Bear River shows Wednesday and Thursday before heading out of the country.
Sitting outside the Gondola Square bar after her last set, Alter smoked an American Spirit, sipped a beer, held a cup of whiskey and talked about her past and future musical travels through the Caribbean.
If Steamboat Springs is home to Alter's heart and her family, the outside world - from Amsterdam to Antigua - is where she has a chance to see her music consumed by a different audience. Back from the Caribbean for a couple of weeks of relaxing and snowboarding, Alter just finished a tour of the islands, playing small gigs in Curacao and one big show in Bonaire.
She used laidback restaurant and bar performances to hone her set, putting the finishing touches on a new single, "Drink It Up"; the song now is playing exclusively on Caribbean airwaves. Outside of shows, Alter spent her days on tour writing and revising her songs, and she took 10 to 12 hours a day to go through the business of getting her music to the public.
For her aprÃs ski sets, Alter said she's happy to have the chance to play in one of her many hometowns.
"I get to be in Steamboat, which is the most amazing town in the world," Alter said, careful to point out that Steamboat is not the most amazing city in the world - Alter reserves that honor for Amsterdam. "Steamboat is home to me, and that's why I came back."
After a few weeks in Steamboat, Alter will return to the Caribbean for a 1 1/2 month long tour, hitting Bonaire, Curacao, St. Martin, St. Barts and Antigua. That run will begin and end with two major benefit concerts, with all the proceeds going to the Hand to Hand Foundation. The organization takes donations of money, food and clothing directly to Haiti to communities that need relief, Alter said. She'll cover her own travel expenses during the tour to make sure the money goes to the right places.
To follow Alter's tour dates, go to www.myspace.com/beckyalter.