Matt Rouch

Matt Rouch, dressed in a white T-shirt for a calm, pleasant outdoor gig in the sunny banana belt of the Rockies in early August last year, prepares for an acoustic set at the Rodeo Grounds as the stage he was supposed to be playing on is nearly destroyed by freezing winds.

Two popular Denver bands return to The Lariat in Buena Vista this weekend.

Chain Station takes the stage Saturday. The name of the four-piece suggests a familiarity with the hazards of travel in snowy weather and steep grades.

The Denver band has been cranking out high-energy mountain bluegrass since 2006, when founding members Alex Thoele and John Pickett decided to take their campfire guitar picking sessions on the road, recruiting mandolinist Jarett Mason and banjoist Chris Elliot.

Describing itself as a “get ‘em out on the dance floor string band,” the quartet has gained traction in the Colorado bluegrass scene over three studio albums and one live record, and has performed in support of the likes of The Del McCoury Band, The Devil Makes Three, Trout Steak Revival, the Lil’ Smokies, Sierra Hull and more.

Their most recent release, “Backwoods,” came out in May of this year.

They were originally known as Glentucky Funkdown, Pickett’s less-than-flattering nickname for his home in the evidently less-than-cosmopolitan Glen Haven Canyon near Estes Park.

The band transformed into Chain Station once Pickett and Thoele met Mason and former member James Weatherly.

On Friday, The Lariat brings some much-needed lefty representation to the stage with Matt Rouch and the Noise Upstairs.

Rouch, a southpaw singer-songwriter from northern Virginia whose country-rock has earned plaudits from Front Range media like Westword and 5280 Magazine, last blew through BV in 2018 for a show that was very abbreviated through no fault of his own.

Rouch was on a double-bill for a benefit concert in early August for Chaffee County fire crews who had more than earned it after a year of landmark low precipitation and several large wildfires including the Weston Pass fire near Fairplay.

Precipitation did come, however, on the day of the open-air event at the Buena Vista Rodeo Grounds, along with whipping winds that threatened to blow the impromptu stage off its flatbed truck base.

Rouch gamely attempted to play a solo acoustic show in the weathered wooden grandstand for a hunkered-down audience and made it into the second song before nervous sound engineers pulled the plug.

Within the warm, inviting environs of The Lariat Friday, though, audiences will be able to hear the alt-country of his four-piece band, flavored with a mutual love of indie-folk.

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