Signal Path headlines Tap House on Friday in Steamboat |

Signal Path headlines Tap House on Friday in Steamboat

Audrey Dwyer for Explore Steamboat

Front Range jam-tronic band Signal Path poses with a rescued grizzly bear named Brutus. The band returns to Steamboat to headline a show Friday at The Tap House Sports Grill. The cost is $7.

— A way of life, an art form, a blend of individuality: For Front Range-based band Signal Path, music is more than just playing for an audience; it's a lifestyle.

Originally from Montana, the jazz-funk inspired jam-tronic group is returning to its newfound home for a Colorado tour, including a show Friday at The Tap House Sports Grill. With friends and local band String Board Theory opening the show, be ready for immersion into the groovy tempo of flowing electro beats with a mix of new and old tracks from live electro bands.

The show is at 10 p.m. and the cost is $7 at the door.

Recently relocated to Denver, Signal Path is playing its second show in Steamboat Springs with its blend of organic instrumentation and electronic effects.

"There is always something about playing music close to home; it brings about a familiar vibe," said Denver native and guitarist for the group Ryan Burnett. "It just feels natural. There are great fans and an amazing scene. Colorado is the mecca for electronic music."

Other members include, Damon Metzner, of New Orleans, on the drums; Matt Schumacher, who lays down the dance-oriented bass lines; and the newest member on the keyboards, Cody Wille, of Aspen.

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The electronic art composed by the four diverse members is created by the blending of driving tempos with a flowing groove, incorporating the glitchy effects of electronic styles.

"We create a balance from each member. We are able to anticipate what the other is thinking either on or off the stage. We blend ideas and concepts to create something that is greater than we could have created on our own," Burnett said.

For Burnett, music is more than just sound.

"For me, I really feel like music is a higher form of communication," he said. "Basically, living life and having a way to connect with other people. It's all about expression and connection; it's a full circle for me."

Originating in Missoula, Mont., in 2001, the group has strong ties with the state's picturesque landscape as well as the remarkable wildlife. The outdoor connection of the state is what brought the members together and always has been part of their music.

Burnett always will remember helping with a wolf-reintroduction program at Yellowstone National Park while he was a student at the University of Montana.

"I watched wolves howl and run around the park in the moonlight. When you see something like that, it's life changing. It never gets old or boring," he said.

They've come a long way from the back woods, and now have seven full-length albums available. They've toured across the nation and abroad in Japan and Canada.

"We have always kept it simple," Burnett said. "That's why we have been able to do this for so long. Our intention was to play music, have fun, make people happy and travel around the country. As long as we do that, it keeps us fueled to continue. We take one thing at a time and remember why we are doing it. It's not a means to an end; it's an end in and of itself."

The current music of the group is more electronic and has exceeded the expectations the group had when it began. Its sound is more developed after experimenting with new technology and authentic sounds.

"To maintain an organic, live-band sound, the pendulum swings toward electronic-sounding stuff on one side and a live, groovy sound on the other," Burnett said. "We try to use different configurations of how we use hardware to synch the live music and the electronic music."

As far as the production of the group's style of music, Burnett described the members as artists looking at a blank canvas.

"We approach the music with a creative vision or emotion and try to capture that," he said. "With the guitar, drums, banjo, synthesizer, keyboard, etc., we use those as paint colors and outlines to create our image. It's a creative process of using different ideas and experimenting."

When Burnett and his fellow members feel weary of traveling away from friends and family, feelings of homesickness become apparent. To him, the fans and music is what makes it all worthwhile.

"When we talk to fans who feel connected to the music, it refuels me because I know it's bringing people together in a positive way," Burnett said. "I just like to step back and be thankful that I'm playing music and doing what I love. It’s important not to take the show and music for granted but to remember it's a gift."

Audrey Dwyer is a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and mass communication and is working as an intern for Explore Steamboat during school break.