Musical chairs |

Musical chairs

Tiffany Christopher Trio swaps instruments

Margaret Hair
Tiffany Christopher Trio plays at 9:30 p.m. today at The Tap House. Pictured, front woman Christopher gets excited about playing guitar.
Courtesy Photo

— Hilary Murray is willing to admit she and singer-songwriter Tiffany Christopher base their tour schedules on which Colorado mountain towns they like the most. Actually, she volunteers that fact.

“We like to be on the mountain that day, so we love Steamboat Springs. We think it’s one of the most kickass mountains,” Murray said.

Tonight, Murray will play violin, cello, guitar, bass, drums – anything, really – as part of the Tiffany Christopher Trio, a coffeehouse folk act with a rock edge that pairs Jeff Buckley-style songwriting with smoldering lounge-jazz vocals.

The duo has been coming to Steamboat for about three years, and they will be joined this time by a guitar player. Murray talked to 4 Points about how the group’s dynamic has changed since it last played here in April, trading instruments and taking on plenty of familiar sounds to make something all its own.

4 POINTS: How will this show be different than the last time you guys came through Steamboat?

HILARY MURRAY: We’re changing it up a lot. We’re mixing up our songs. It’ll be very diverse.

All of this stuff is going to be very different from what we used to be able to do.

4 POINTS: What did you used to be able to do, and what can you do now?

HM: Coming out here, we’ve had drums before – have you ever seen (late ’90s coffeehouse folk trio) Maggi, Pierce and E.J. before? – it’s a lot like that. It’s going to be like musical chairs on our instruments.

So, sometimes I’ll be playing violin, sometimes I’ll play cello, sometimes bass or drums. And Tiffany will switch around, too. We’re just going to be rotating through and having a lot of different kinds of sounds.

The duo was great too, but it was really just very different from what we’re going to be doing now. We’re going to be going a lot more through the spectrum of sounds.

4 POINTS: Does that allow you to go through more different types of music?

HM: We won’t lose the songs – what has made us great is that Tiffany’s songwriting is great.

We’re just kind of making it sound a little more full. Honestly, our sound is still going to be a lot more organic; it’ll still be what we are, it will just be a little more elaborate.

4 POINTS: For people who haven’t seen you play here before, what could they expect from the show?

HM: Oh, how was the quote that I used once upon a time – it’s like a salty-sweet mixture of rock, jazz and pop. And at the end of that we always put, ‘songs so good they can make a grown man cry.’

4 POINTS: With a set of influences that includes Jeff Buckley, Stevie Wonder, Ella Fitzgerald, Ani DiFranco and Coldplay, what ties your sound together?

HM: We can play kind of a funky song, and then on top of the funky Tiffany will put some jazz-inflected vocals on top of it, and really make it our own.

And we’ll take a cute little folky song and really impact it and make it more rockin’.

We’ll just combine things to make them a little more fresh and exciting, but still very clever.

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