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Tuesday, February 23

The Best things in life are free. A night of a thousand stars withRoosevelt Collier and Billy Nershi

The Best things in life are free. A night of a thousand stars.
​    They say the best things in life are free, this was certainly the case on a recent snowy weeknight. Magic was near at the colloquial Barkley Ballroom, in Frisco, Colorado. Bad Roosevelt Collier decided to showcase his adventitious chops. Being a musician’s musician, a few stars are just a phone call away. “The Doctor”,was joined by some favored local artist, on this night of a thousand stars. Billy Nershi of String Cheese fame, joined him on guitar and vocals. Billy being his biggest fan,collaborate often and have developed an alchemy, that is a delight to witness. Joshua Fairman, joined in on bass, from local Colorado band “Analog Sun” Responsible for keeping time behind the drum kit, was Alwyn Robinson, of Leftover Salmon. 

     The intimate venue was filling up early with music enthusiast there capitalizing on the free show, good vibes,  and just itching to start dancing their blues away. The all star band, took the featureless stage with Roosevelt sporting a velour black jacket, with a black Kangol golf hat.He always is dressed to impress, with his wardrobe always matching perfectly, reminiscent of a blues legend. They wasted no time fiddling around, as Roosevelt soulful pedal steel rained notes throughout the cozy atmosphere.​The zealous crowd instantly took advantage of the comfortable crowded dance floor.” The Doctor’s” style of jamming does not require vocals to be effective. which leaves room for Nershi guitar to pick his places and let the jams build organically.The show opened with a deep groove that explored “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad” themes, without ever fully realizing the classic, they often visited this familiar anthem while engrossed in the twenty minute opening number. From there, stopping the energy in this cozy club was not on the agenda. “The Dr.” kept it rolling performing “Play That Funk ", originally by the "Wild Cherries". It set the room on fire as the music played the band. 
      Billy and Colliver utilized playing two slide instruments to manufacture a hypotonic sound. It was reminiscent of Hendrix pure power and they used that gift, go great extinct. Jimi was a recurring theme throughout the night, as Roosevelt led the group into one marathon jam, after another. The musical achievement of this night, was an instrumental cover of Jimi’s, “The Wind Cries Mary”. The first set stretched to ahour and a half, of non-stop funk and jams that displayed characteristics of blues, rock and all points in between. Thefirst stanza came to a close, with a S.C.I. classic in the form of the explosive “Far From Home”. Nershi led the band through an adventurous take on this cheese staple,  as the adoring crowd was electric and made sure the band heard their appreatition, 
     The ​Second half opened with a gilded,  yet powerful cover of another Jimi Hendrix’s number,  “Manic Depression”. Almost every jam cloaked in at over twenty minutes, as the band was having more fun than the raucous crowd. The music was firing on all cylinders as the Rhythm section pushed the jams into uncharted territory,  before bringing the music full circle, with flawless transitions. On this mystical night, no song was safe and this was no more evident than the cover of “The Allman Brothers”, “Whipping Post”, Everyone was in disbelief when the A.B.B classic bleed into “I Wanna Get Away”, by pop-star Lenny Kravitz. Some jaws hit the floor, while others laughed in disbelief. This monumental show ended with the Colorado anthem. Cheese’s “Colorado Bluebird Sky” was performed with more sizzle than the opening number. The second set was bound to be the dtiff of legend. 
       Most of the crowd showed up with little expectations, only expecting to have a fun night dancing with friends. That's the beauty of Grateful music, when you least expect it,  your mind gets blown and your soul cleansed. I suppose Janet Jackson and Luther Vandross got something right, the best things in life are free.

Words: Sam Berenson