Bearfoot, Back at Avo’s

Bearfoot at Avo's

Who says you can’t go home again?

It’s been almost a decade since I had the pleasure of dining at Avogadro’s Number in Old Town, Fort Collins.  But when I walked back in the door the other night it was just like yesterday.  Local free “newspapers” still line the wall. The staff behind the counter are still friendly and appropriately counter-cultural.  And the burgers are still to die for.

Avo’s is not just another Northern Colorado college-town sandwich shop. Avo’s is the center of the Northern Colorado small venue live music universe. Avo’s is a sandwich shop connected to a stage connected to a bar. Avo’s has been a great friend to KRFC-FM live local radio.  Avo’s is simply acoustic music nirvana.

Avo’s is also good in the kitchen, and I had the good fortune the end of January to catch the Bearfoot Bluegrass Band at Avo’s.  Bearfoot’s set list started strong and never let up, from straight-up bluegrass to Hank Williams classic country to high-energy original string band magic.  The Bearfoot Band came out of Alaska about 14 years ago and won honors at Telluride a few years back.  Members have come and gone over the years, and the sound has matured into a comfortable “newgrass” vibe with fiddle-player Angela Oudean of Anchorage at the center of this little acoustic universe.  At her side now is guitarist Todd Grebe (Todd Grebe & Cold Country).  Co-founder Jason Norris picks a mean mandolin and newcomer Megan McCormick takes the rhythm guitar acoustic or electric.  Non-Alaskan vocalist Nora Jane Struthers (of whom I’ve said “can melt butter with one sultry glance”) has since moved on for a solo project.

Bearfoot’s latest album, American Story, came out in 2011 on Compass Records.  They play in Scottsbluff on Valentine’s Day, and at the beautiful historic Ellen Theater in Bozeman on 16 Feb.  Old time, folk, western swing, roots music of all sorts. Catch ‘em if you can.

Bearfoot also sounds like they have friends all over, they’re just that sort of friendly folks.  Local artists Mike Finnders (Finnders & Youngberg) and Alex Johnstone (Spring Creek) opened with a fun-filled romp on guitar and mandolin.  Mike even had what I would nominate as the best anti-Blake Shelton Traditional Country song of the month: “I don’t want the love you won’t give until I cry”. Hehehehe.

Good golly how I have missed live music. Live music is the one thing that can take each of us home again.

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