Meet Your Local Musicians: Morningside String Band
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Morningside String Band is a Steamboat Springs-based trio, featuring guitarist and vocalist Craig Thornhill, guitarist, mandolinist and vocalist Paul Geppert and bassist Tim Cunningham. The band can often be found playing an eclectic mix of genres around town at local businesses and events, including a season-opening party Saturday at Brau Haus, which Thornhill and Geppert will play as a duo.
Explore Steamboat chatted with Thornhill and Geppert to learn more about the band.
Interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Explore Steamboat: How did Morningside String Band form?
Paul Geppert: This is sort of a melting pot of a few other bands that Craig and I played with over the past five or so years.
Craig Thornhill: It’s worth noting that Tim joined the band this winter, full-time. We were playing with another long-time local and great bass player Bob Shaffer prior to that. We use the larger family extension band, if you will, for some bigger gigs. We tend to grow and shrink the band, depending on what we’re doing.
ES: Tell us about your backgrounds in music.
CT: I’ve been playing guitar since I was 15, and my influences range from reggae to bluegrass. I’ve been playing around (Steamboat) for about 10 years.
PG: Similarly to Craig, I’ve been into music since I was a teenager and have been playing in the Yampa Valley for 20 years or so. I play mandolin and guitar and sing. Music’s just always been a part of what I do and who I am. No formal training for me.
CT: Paul will play multiple instruments in the same show; Tim has more of a formal classical background.
ES: How would you describe Morningside String Band’s sound?
CT: We’re rooted in acoustic, but you might hear anything from Willie Nelson to The Ramones. A lot of classic rock, Americana with a twist, reggae, bluegrass, funk, jazz — we use that as a launching point for a lot of different genres. We try to mix it up, keep it fresh and interesting. A lot of the covers we do are off the beaten path. We try to find a synergy among all of that.
PG: We’re also starting to accumulate some original music.
ES: Where do you usually play local shows?
CT: I’m not sure we have a favorite. We used to play at Hahn’s Peak Roadhouse a lot, and we’ve been having a lot of fun at the Barley — Brau Haus and The Press, too, and a lot of après stuff during the winter. We like to play in the back of Taco Cabo over the summer.
ES: What’s a piece of advice to share with aspiring musicians, or something you would have liked to know when you were younger?
CT: Stick to it. Play, play, play, play, play. Another is, the best magic comes from not only the music itself, but the people. We all ski together; we’ll go an excursion across the state; we’re all friends outside of the music.
PG: Be true to yourself; be true to the music you’re playing.
CT: And don’t be afraid to play originals — no one can tell you you’re doing it wrong.
What: Morningside String Duo’s season-opening party
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 23
Where: Brau Haus, 2500 Village Drive
What: Morningside String Band at The Barley
When: 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 20
Where: The Barley, 635 Lincoln Ave.
Julia Ben-Asher is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.
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