Cousin Curtiss to headline Steamboat Springs OktoberWest
The Steamboat Pilot & Today
Cool temperatures and spectacular autumn scenery will be the backdrop for the Steamboat Springs OktoberWest, which will be celebrating its 14th year in the Yampa Valley this weekend.
The annual event will be hosted this year at Gondola Square at the base of Steamboat Resort on Saturday. The event will feature 30 brewers from around the state in a celebration of fall, craft beer, food, community and music.
Festivities will begin at 2 p.m. and will conclude around 6 p.m. Events will include an ax-throwing competition as well as a stein-holding contest at 4:15 p.m. Skull Creek Greek, as well as Styria Bakery, will be on-site offering food to attendees.
Cousin Curtiss, who is no stranger to the Steamboat Springs music scene, will be headlining the event with a free concert starting at 3:15 p.m. Chamberlin Birch will open for Curtiss from 2-3 p.m.
Curtiss O’Rorke Stedman, who goes by “Cousin Curtiss,” began his music career in Michigan in his early teens when his parents brought him to the Hiawatha Music Festival. Sitting around a fire late at night, he decided that he wanted into “that scene” for the rest of his life.
“I was hooked and started playing guitar right around then and just stuck with it all through college,” Curtiss said.
In the beginning of his career he balanced his job, which at the time was teaching in Alaska, with his developing love of music. His passion for playing the guitar, and music in general, was a balance for the intensity of the classroom.
As time wore on, Curtiss increasingly used weekends and summers to nurture his deep admiration for music as he played small towns around Alaska. His skills as a musician blossomed and he began writing his own songs as his local fan base grew.
In June 2015, Curtiss decided to leave the classroom and pursue his passion for music full time. Since then, he has built on his inspirations that included artists such as Dispatch, Xavier Rudd, Blues Traveler, Led Zeppelin, Metallica and many others.
“It was a wild time in my life regarding what I was listening to and what I was trying to sound like,” Curtiss said as he reflected on his musical progression.
On Saturday, he will be joined on stage by Harrison B, who he met in Alaska in 2020. The two musicians have been touring together “borderline nonstop” for the last two years. Harrison B brings a completely different style and tone of music to the group.
“He sees and hears music in a completely different way than I do, and we come from totally different backgrounds of songwriting, style and tone,” Curtiss explained. Further, Harrison B is a balance for the duo, as he creatively challenges approaches to songs and performances.
Their style of music is self-characterized as “root stomp,” which is a blend of bluegrass and the blues. Essentially, the group performs blues music at a speed and tempo that is reminiscent of bluegrass.
“It’s like bluegrass and the blues had a baby together,” Curtiss said.
He also gives a massive amount of credit for his rise in the music industry to local resident Pat Waters, who operates Schmiggity’s in Steamboat Springs. Waters provided a venue for the budding artist to bring his music to the area.
“He gave me a chance when a lot of people would not have,” Curtiss said.
Waters will be performing with the group at OctoberWest this weekend as well. Tickets are available at SteamboatOktoberwest.com/.
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