970-926-ROCK (7625) garys@kzyr.com

One of Vail’s favorite bands returns to town for a free show on July 18. Karl Denson will replace Drew Holcomb and the neighbors who had to cacle for unknown reasons.

“I love Vail, and have great friends there, too,” said Denson who will perform at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater as part of the Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights free concert series. “Playing in the summer is not nearly as memorable as playing in the winter. I’ve played some very cold shows in Vail.”

No matter the temperature outside, Denson and his cohorts are sure to put the “hot” in Hot Summer Nights. Denson got his break in Lenny Kravitz’s band, and over the years he’s performed with some of the best — Steve Winwood, Phil Lesh, Stanton Moore, Blind Boys of Alabama, Blackalicious and more. Now along with heading up Tiny Universe, Denson travels the world with The Rolling Stones, playing his saxophone to record crowds everywhere from South America to New Zealand.

“The Rolling Stones situation is just surreal,” he said. “Super fun, super plush and I get to hang out with the Rolling Stones. Pinch me.”

At the upcoming Hot Summer Nights show, fans can expect to hear some new Tiny Universe material from a forthcoming studio album slated for 2017.

“We’re busy writing now so new songs are popping up, as well as new covers,” said Denson who has been known to cover Prince, The White Stripes and Beastie Boys among others.
Recently the band covered “Gossip” by Cyril Neville, as well as, “Just Got Paid” by ZZ Top in the same show, he said.

“I think it’s pretty fun to be able to make those two songs work in the same set,” Denson said. “The response has been great.”

Along with the new songs and fun covers, expect classic Tiny Universe material from “The Bridge” (2002), “Brother’s Keeper” (2009), and “New Ammo” (2014) as well.

The current band touring lineup is comprised of Richmond guitarist DJ Williams, Soulive drummer Alan Evans, The Greyboy Allstars’ bassist Chris Stillwell, Crush Effects’ keyboardist David Veith, Seattle trumpeter Chris Littlefield and ace slide and lap steel guitarist Seth Freeman. Along with these familiar faces, there will be a few surprises, too, Denson said.

“We will have Sput from Snarky Puppy playing drums as well as Kenneth Crouch of the legendary Andre Crouch gospel family playing keyboards,” he said. 

Getting there
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is located east of Golden Peak at Ford Park in Vail. Concert attendees are asked to park at the main Vail Village parking structure, with overflow parking at the Lionshead parking structure. Catch a free town of Vail shuttle to the show.

Once in Ford Park, golf cart shuttle service is available. Once inside the concert venue (a non-smoking venue), picnics with commercially-sealed non-alcoholic beverages are permitted, as are legless lawn chairs, blankets and umbrellas. Bikes, skateboards and dogs are prohibited at the amphitheater.

To view the entire free concert series lineup, visit www.vvf.org and follow Vail Free Concerts on Facebook. The Vail Valley Foundation produces year-round free concerts from Vail to Eagle enriching our community with various music genres from rock to country and everything in between.

Along with free concerts and summer programming at the Vilar Performing Arts Center, the valley’s pop-music concert lineup will also include the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater 30th Anniversary Concerts featuring Rodrigo y Gabriela and Third Eye Blind Aug. 18-19. Those concerts will be paid events – tickets are on sale now at www.grfavail.com.

Crazy Mountain Brewery Hot Summer Nights
Concerts take place at the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater June – August. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and music begins at 6:30 p.m. For more information visit www.grfavail.com.

July 18 Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
July 25 Shooter Jennings Band
Aug. 15 JoJo’s Slim Wednesday
Aug. 22 Super Diamond