Up-and-coming bluegrass quintet Lonesome Days to headline Chief Theater Friday | SteamboatToday.com

Up-and-coming bluegrass quintet Lonesome Days to headline Chief Theater Friday

The bluegrass quintet Lonesome Days formed in 2014 with Sam Parks on guitar, Todd Lilienthal on banjo and Bradley Morse on bass.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Jonny Miller found himself a little lost in life in 2011, he picked up the mandolin for the first time at a RockyGrass music festival.

"The mandolin changed my life," said Miller, vocalist and mandolin player for up-and-coming bluegrass quintet Lonesome Days. "I would come home and play for up to eight hours at night. Sometimes, I would forget to eat dinner or shower."

Through a time of loneliness and pain, Miller turned to the bluegrass music to help him overcome his recent divorce. After forming strong relationship with bands like Trout Steak Revival, he learned what it would take to start a group of his own.

Miller quit his full-time job as an electrician to focus more on music, and the Lonesome Days was formed in 2014 with Sam Parks on guitar, Todd Lilienthal on banjo and Bradley Morse on bass.

Following their second place award at the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival and first place award at the 2016 UllrGrass festival, the quintet went on to release their debut album, "The Lonesome Days" in August, with 11 original songs with collaborations from Jeremy Garrett on fiddle from The Infamous Stringdusters and Sally Van Meter on the weisenborn and dobro.

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As part of its Colorado tour, the group will take the stage at 7 p.m. Friday at the Chief Theater. Local musician Jay Roemer will open the show.

"Music is the type of music that grabs you, and if you're waiting for it, it will connect with you instantly," said Miller.

Songwriting was a therapeutic process, Miller said — a relief, an expression and a documentation of the emotions he went through then putting music to those.

"I get to talk through these experiences each time I'm on stage as a place to put those tough feelings and negative emotions," he said.

One of the most powerful songs on the album "Twenty-Five" is about how decisions made can continue to reverberate into the future. For Miller, it was the decision to get married at 22.

The lyrics contain phrases such as, "She's gone but I don't worry, I'm sitting on top of the world," a moment Miller said is about someone whose heart is broken but defiantly saying, "I'm OK and moving on."

Despite the sadness and pain emitted through the songs, he hopes listeners too can find some kind of connection to the upbeat tempos and lyrics that are a part of who he is.

"The fact that you can have those sad or heavy themes tucked away but then hear the uplifting acoustic sound it brings – it's something I took to immediately, and I hope other people can connect to it too with whatever they might be going through," Miller said.

To reach Audrey Dwyer, call 970-871-4229, email adwyer@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter @Audrey_Dwyer1.

If you go:

What: Lonesome Days CD release with Jay Roemer

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8

Where: Chief Theater, 813 Lincoln Ave.

Tickets: $10 in advance and $12 day of show, available online or at All That, 601 Lincoln Ave.

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