Sweet Jebus | SteamboatToday.com

Sweet Jebus

Steamboat jam band keeps a loose blues frame

Margaret Hair

"Jebus" band members, from left, Russell Funke, Kevin Williams, David Willis and Brett Johnson, are photographed in the library at Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs on Wednesday.

— If they were 20 years old, the members of Steamboat blues-rock jam band Jebus are pretty sure they would own a van. They’d drive around Colorado and play bars every night.

“Unfortunately, we’re not 20 years old. We’re 25 years old,” said drummer Brett Johnson, slightly exaggerating the youth of all five of Jebus’ members.

“My amp is 20 years old,” said keyboardist Kevin Williams, still exaggerating, but probably telling a much closer version of the truth.

So, instead of hopping into a work van and playing shows from Boulder to Grand Junction, Jebus plays semi-regularly at Bear River Bar & Grill and The Tap House Sports Grill. The next full band gigs are at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 15 and 16, during happy hour at Bear River.

The set is mostly original songs, built on a jam frame with a definite alternative blues streak. Four of the band’s five members work at Colorado Mountain College (two in the library, one in political science and one in food service), and one works in the resort business. They come primarily from Illinois and Missouri, and their musical influences are all over the place.

Jebus has its individual quirks, but its members are tied together by a need to play shows, even when local venues are in short supply.

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“I think all of us take music pretty seriously. It’s not just a hobby,” said lead guitarist Russell Funke. In the next month, the band hopes to record its first CD in Funke’s home studio. For this summer, Jebus is eyeing music festivals across Colorado and Utah.

“We plan to be here for a while, and we plan to be playing this music for a while,” Funke said.