Charles Hildreth / Courtesy
Katey Laurel, formerly Katie Smith, is a singer-songerwriter in Denver and a graduate of Soroco High School. She returns to her hometown of Yampa this weekend for a show Sunday benefitting Crossan’s M&A Market, a historic building.
- Sunday, May 27, 2012, 3 p.m.
- Antlers Cafe and Bar, 40 Moffat Avenue, Yampa, CO
Steamboat Springs Growing up on a ranch in the shadow of the Flat Tops, a young Katie Smith found a certain mystery surrounding an old boarded-up building on Yampa’s Main Street.
“There was Montgomery’s (general store) then there was this old building that nobody had ever been in,” she said. “It creates curiosity. It has really kind of been a secret until now, to me. I just learned a little more history about it.”
The 110-year-old building, known as Crossan’s M&A Market, now is an important topic in the South Routt town as Friends of Crossan’s, a team of residents, works to restore the building into a museum.
Smith now goes by the name Katey Laurel, and she’s seven years into an independent recording career in country pop music. Based out of Denver, Laurel returns to the Yampa Valley every so often.
This Sunday, she’ll perform in honor of that old, boarded-up building.
The fundraiser for Friends of Crossan’s begins at 3 p.m. at Antlers Cafe & Bar in Yampa.
Laurel will perform her warm and soulful original music, including songs from her two studio albums. She also has music available on iTunes from albums recorded in an Oak Creek apartment at the beginning of her career.
She said she looks forward to returning to the place where her love of music was cultivated.
“I’m just looking forward to reconnecting with and seeing so many people. It’s been a long time since I’ve played a show in the valley, and I’m looking forward to sharing with people what I’m doing,” she said. “And mostly help raising funds for a community and giving back to a community that gave me so much of who I am.”
Laurel graduated from Soroco High School in 1999 with aspirations to continue playing French horn and ultimately record scores for movie soundtracks.
Her high school band director, Steamboat Springs resident Mike Lewis, said he remembers Laurel as a “bright kid.”
“I don’t know if she ever got a B,” Lewis recalled. “And she just really excelled in music, and I know she was always selected to the honor groups within our northwest district.”
Although she was a mainstay in all-state band, Lewis said he knew Laurel sang as a hobby. He first saw her perform with her country pop group a few weeks ago when she happened to play at a hotel where he was staying.
“She does good stuff,” he said. “I think (the fundraiser) will be fun; I think everybody will enjoy it.”
Laurel said she loved to play the horn but found her voice in creating music of her own.
“I feel very blessed and fortunate to do it and impact somebody’s experience or help them feel something or process an emotion,” she said. “That’s the true purpose of music, is therapy.”
And even though she’s moved to the big city, there are some qualities of small-town living that never have left her.
“I am and forever will be a small-town girl,” she said. “I think that the quality of relationships and being a person that can kind of fit in anywhere, that’s something you learn when you grow up in a small town.”
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com