Chicago jam band Old Shoe to play Thursday in Steamboat |

Chicago jam band Old Shoe to play Thursday in Steamboat

Nicole Inglis

Chicago jam band Old Shoe will play a free show at 9:30 p.m. Thursday at Ghost Ranch in its Steamboat debut.

— Five musicians from Chicago are socked in up in snowy Nederland, staying with fellow musicians and Colorado friends Smooth Money Gesture.

But the Midwesterners knew what to do.

"We got up this morning and went on a hike and bought some dark beer," said Matt Robinson, the bearded guitarist, songwriter and singer of Old Shoe, in an interview with Explore Steamboat on Tuesday.

On its first trip to Colorado, the jam rock quintet seems to be fitting right in, prepared with chains for the van’s tires and a rollicking, mellow-yet-funky Americana rock sound.

The band will travel to Steamboat Springs in the midst of their Colorado tour for a show Thursday at Ghost Ranch.

The free show begins at about 9:30 p.m.

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Formed in 2010, the five came together after Robinson had been writing and playing solo for years.

"I met the guitarist and the bass player, and it seemed like they were people I'd want to share things with as a band. Now that there's five of us, we're all different."

Joe Day, on keyboards and organ, and drummer Greg Fundis have a progressive jazz background while guitarist Paul Priest grew up playing bluegrass. Daniel Whittier Huber, who plays bass, comes from a classical and orchestral background, Robinson said.

But it's not strange to Robinson that their resulting sound recalls the electric but folksy sound of jam legends Phish and the Allman Brothers. When they go see live music, it's the likes of Phish, Wilco and Derek Trucks Band concerts.

"It's a very accepted thing in the jam scene to be eclectic and to combine all these styles. We have all those elements coming in and out in our own music," Robinson said.

Fresh out of the studio for their third effort, the band took a different approach than their first album, which was more time-conscious and stressed, he said.

“This time, we went in there, and we just partied a little bit and kept it loose," he said. "It sounds awesome. We found something there. We're a good times band. We like to have some beers and make people dance."

Creatively, Robinson said all of the members write music. For him, songwriting is a morning activity.

"I love writing songs in the morning," he said. "Having coffee and having nothing to do. Ideas will come by, and you just grab on, and you go with it."

And while the members are reveling in the Colorado Rockies — several even skied Tuesday — it's a variety of environments that feeds the music.

"Sometimes, I need to run up to Wisconsin to be in nature," he said. "But the city is super motivating and inspiring, surrounded by all this stimulus and accomplishment. Both can feed the creative process."

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email