Steamboat Springs In April, musician Holden Young had to travel across international borders to prepare for his upcoming Cinco de Mayo show in Steamboat Springs.
After diligent research in margarita drinking and the selling of cheap sunglasses on the beaches of Mexico, Young returned to the United States, prepared to take the Ghost Ranch Saloon stage tonight in celebration of the Mexican holiday.
“Hopefully we’ll attract some sombreros throughout the night,” Young said.
The free show marks a return to Steamboat for Young, a former local who plays frequently and records in the area. He has also played twice previously on Cinco de Mayo in Steamboat and wants to continue the tradition. But he has an extra treat up his sleeve this time around.
This year, the trio will become a quartet as guest percussionist John Bunting joins the lineup of Young on guitar, Cody Wales on drums and Rob Garland on bass.
“It’s really tasty, professional Afro-Cuban percussion,” Young said about Bunting. “It just adds to our rhythmic levels. It almost makes my job as a guitar player easier. I can have the percussion be the rhythm guitar in some ways.”
Bunting, a full-time musician and sound engineer based in Denver, plays hand drums, toys such as shakers and wood blocks as well as a tambourine hooked up to a foot pedal. With that setup, he can play three instruments at the same time.
At age 12, Bunting said, he started on a drum kit but found the hand drums much more liberating.
“I enjoyed the hand drumming a lot more because it gave me freedom and the ability to improvise,” Bunting said. “The percussion is going to add another layer and that worldly sound. It’s going to accent that idea (Young is) going for musically. It’s more complementary than anything.”
Bunting said he’s used to playing shows on Cinco de Mayo for music-hungry revelers.
“There’s a lot of unity going on on these days for sure,” he said about the holiday, which is the traditional celebration of a Mexican victory over French forces in the 1862 Battle of Puebla. “Music is definitely a major part of pretty much every culture, and on Cinco de Mayo, people really gravitate toward wanting to see music the whole day.”
Young said that in Steamboat, there is the added celebration of mud season coming to a close and the return of many locals from their shoulder season hideaways.
“I hope it becomes a good, festive, ‘Hey, it’s good to see you again at the end of mud season’ kind of dance party,” he said.
— To reach Nicole Inglis, Call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@SteamboatToday.com