If you go
What: Hot Buttered Rum, Americana; with opening band Mountain Standard Time
When: 9 p.m. today
Where: Ghost Ranch Saloon, 56 Seventh St.
Cost: $14 in advance; $16 on the day of the show
Steamboat Springs Late Tuesday morning, Hot Buttered Rum fiddle player Aaron Redner could not stop talking about the King of Pop.
As Michael Jackson's memorial service stretched into its final hour, Redner joked about throwing covers of "Billie Jean" into his band's sets in the preceding week.
Redner said Hot Buttered Rum, from San Francisco, plans to play only Jackson songs for the rest of its tour - which is not true. He also pointed to a shift toward pop music for the West Coast Americana band, which started out as an acoustic string quintet and recently added a drummer and a definite pop-rock feel. On that part, he wasn't joking.
"Colorado is one of our best places to play in the country, and now we're coming back with something new," Redner said. "It's a different sound; it's definitely more rock 'n' roll than it is string band. : We're as influenced by Jerry Garcia as we are by Bill Monroe."
The band plays at 9 p.m. today at Ghost Ranch Saloon. Colorado-based bluegrass and funk band Mountain Standard Time will open the show. Tickets are $16 and are available at Ghost Ranch Saloon.
Starting out its seven years as an acoustic string band, Hot Buttered Rum recently got a creative boost from new member and drummer Matt Butler. The leader of Portland jam posse The Everyone Orchestra, Butler lends a spontaneous element to Rum's live show, Redner said. With a drummer in the band for the first time, Hot Buttered Rum has the tools it needs to lean into a more rocking sound that still minds its roots.
"We don't want to abandon our bluegrass roots at all. We consider ourselves more an Americana band than anything else," Redner said.
For Hot Buttered Rum, Americana ranges all varieties of American music, from high mountain bluegrass to jazz to dance pop.
"We try to create a show that's accessible to people with all kind of music influences," Redner said.
Completed by Bryan Horne on upright bass, Nat Keefe on guitar, and Erik Yates on banjo and woodwinds, the Hot Buttered Rum that'll come to Steamboat Springs for the first time in a few years will bring a new audience experience, Redner said.
The shift is a testament to the band's ever-changing music tastes and also to its dedication to a grass-roots fan base, Redner said.
"You do that by working your butt off and being willing to travel and getting back to places," he said. "It's a big country, and I think it's important that every time you get back to a place, people can look at you and go, 'Wow, their music has developed a lot.'"