Local musicians come together for featured performance Saturday night
If You Go...
What: Chamberlin Birch, Pat Waters and Tim Cunningham
When: 8 p.m. Saturday, May 16
Where: Schmiggity's, 821 Lincoln Ave.
Steamboat Springs — Sharing a close-knit, familial bond, the local duo known as Chamberlin Birch has developed a harmonious blend of music from two distinct personalities and backgrounds.
In 2012, Jody Feeley and Brad Rasmussen created what is now Chamberlin Birch after each had experienced solo careers and discovered their mutual understanding for songwriting.
Creating an unlikely partnership — the two met through a mutual friend years ago — Rasmussen was taken in by Feeley’s family. He is known to her daughters as “Uncle B.”
Performing covers and composing music as singer-songwriters, the two play anything from contemporary folk and indie pop to Americana or country at a number of local venues, including like Aurum Food and Wine, Rex’s American Grill and Bar and Carl’s Tavern, to name a few.
Explore Steamboat spoke with Rasmussen about Chamberlin Birch’s musical background and inspirations, in addition to their upcoming performance this weekend with Pat Waters on drums and Tim Cunningham on bass. The performers will take the stage at 8 p.m. on Saturday at Schmiggity’s for a free show.
Explore Steamboat: What’s changed for Chamberlin Birch in the past few years?
Brad Rasmussen: We are performing a lot more especially at Après-ski and church events. I like playing at both venues because you have to create two different atmospheres with the music.
ES: How is your close friendship apparent through the music?
BR: It’s definitely like a brother and sister type of thing. We get along really well, but we also argue, just like a brother and sister. We know each other and trust each other, just like family. Because we have that family-like trust when we create music, it allows us to try things outside of our comfort zones and not have to worry about failing. We also balance each other out with songwriting.
ES: You have released an EP before and are in the middle of songwriting for new material now. Where do you get inspiration for the music you write? Musical influences?
BR: A lot of the inspiration comes from our musical influences. It’s what we listen to and the people we know who are also musicians. Jody has two daughters, and I think they influence her music quite a bit. She is drawn to popper music, while I am drawn to the more 90s grunge influences because that’s what I grew up listening to.
ES: Tell me about your musical backgrounds and where the love for music came from.
BR: I got my first guitar in sixth grade, which was in the 90s, so I learned how to play the songs on the radio, and that was 90s grunge. For me, music was an escape. Jody grew up as an entertainer; she loves people, the interaction of people and music. For her, I think music was about a connection.
ES: What kind of music do you guys like to play and does the venue influence your set list?
BR: We play a little bit of everything, and I think we have a strong influence from the duo The Civil Wars (Joy Williams and John Paul White). But if we hear a song that we both like, like Alt-J’s “Breezeblocks,” we will figure out a way to play that. I think the venue does influence some of the music because, in a church, the music setting needs to create a certain atmosphere for that place, and if we are playing at a bar, the music will be completely different.
ES: What is it like performing in a small town, and what are some of the challenges you have experienced?
BR: Like anything, there are always challenges, but one of the biggest ones is booking gigs. You may try to get friends and new faces to come out and support you, but that talent has to keep them interested as well. Sometimes, you feel like you’re in this cycle of playing the same stuff over and over again, but you can’t do that. You have to keep things interesting for not only yourself, but audiences. You have to be able to push yourself and your limits, because in a small town, it’s easy to hit cruise control.
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