Ex-breakdancer breaks it down
The last time Dain Estes and his band, Shaking Tree, were in Steamboat Springs, he had a dance off with a waitress.
“I killed her, because I can break dance really well,” said Estes, a vocalist, guitarist and mandolin player for the band.
Estes learned to break dance as a young boy, but at 30 years old, he’s now officially retired. He said he had to quit because his body hurt too much the day after he danced and because his wife got tired of him complaining about it.
“I can run three miles a day, but my break-dancing skills are going downhill,” he said. “I can’t spin on my head anymore, and my robot skills aren’t working that well.”
Estes now uses his energy to write songs that blend musical genres including alternative country and cool pop. And he gets his inspiration from old dive bars.
“If it looks like the building has been standing for 70 years and the average age of the patrons is 60, then we’re probably going in,” Estes said. “They always have the same three choices of beer: Miller Light, Budweiser and Schlitz or Blatz.”
Estes and his band members go to those bars to hear stories from the barflies.
“If you drink Blatz, people just open their mouths,” Estes said. “You hear interesting stories from hilarious, really interesting people who might as well drink for a living.”
As a songwriter, Estes writes about whatever is in front of him and whatever is in front of everybody else. He then mixes it all together, he said.
“Not every song can be about you. If we lived that kind of life, we would never get laundry done or have time to write songs.”
Estes shies away from songs that rhyme perfectly and sound almost too contrived.
“I don’t think you have a whole lot of control (over the lyrics),” Estes said. “When you write, you don’t wake up and say, ‘Today I’m going to write about bunnies.’ If you do that, it sounds really forced.”
But Estes and Shaking Tree must be doing something right. Just this week, they began getting airplay in Greece, Australia, Portugal, Germany and Holland.
“We’re not big in Belgium yet,” Estes said. “We’re just starting to get international play, and we are hoping to do some touring over there.”
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