Dragondeer returns to the Arkansas Valley Sunday at River Runners in Nathrop for a 5-7 p.m., show on the shore of the Arkansas River.

Hard rocking, Dragondeer, the group with a sharp bluesy edge, returns to the Arkansas Valley Sunday, in a free concert at River Runners Browns Canyon, U.S. 285 in Nathrop.

Dragondeer arrives in the valley after playing the Electric Forest festival in Michigan and the Firefly Music Festival in Delaware.

Those craving something different, music with a hard-driving kick and intense passion, will enjoy Dragondeer. Their sound has been called reminiscent of early Led Zeppelin and described as an electrified version of Mississippi Delta blues mixed with 1960s psychedelic rock.

One thing to not expect from the group is soft, sweet, gentle tunes.

“Blues has a nastiness,” said Cole Rudy of the band. “Our music can be rough…with a fiery desperation to it.”

Dragondeer has shared the stage with icons such as Tedeschi Truck, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Jerry Joseph, J.J. Gray and Mofro and Leon Russell.

The Sunday show on River Runners’ outdoor stage, set next to the river, is one the band is eagerly anticipating.

Lead vocalist Eric Halborg leads the group with a musical growl and soulful harmonica that meshes with Rudy’s pedal steel play, the bass licks of Casey Sidwell, and the innovative percussion of Carl Sorensen.

“We’re grateful that everything is where it’s at,” said Rudy about Dragondeer’s national recognition. “To be compared to groups like Zeppelin, wow, that holds a high place in any rocker’s heart.”

Dragondeer isn’t a tribute band, though, and they didn’t set out to sound like anyone. “We said we’d play blues tunes and it grew into this thing, so we said let’s get weirder. Our music keeps getting funkier, dancier, while retaining the blues stuff and the rock vibe.”

The group is writing and recording their second album which they intend to use to fuel live performances for the next few years. “We have a lot of new sounds coming out.”

Dragondeer brings a level of music that is uncommon in small towns and small venues.

Sunday, the Arkansas Valley will again join nationally-known venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheater and renowned festivals like Telluride Blues & Brews Festival, SXSW in Austin, The Grolsch Blues Festival in Schöppingen, Germany – and The Lariat in Buena Vista – when hosting Dragondeer.

Rudy says prepare to have your mind blown.

“It feels good to be playing the electric, louder than hell blues thing. When we’re up there, and it’s going full tilt, I truly am happy in that moment. I get to go do something that’s going to result in a few people whose minds get blown.”

Dragondeer brings their hard-driving brand of blues-rock to River Runners Browns Canyon from 5-7 p.m.

There is a silent disco afterward. Parking is limited. Food and adult drinks can be purchased at the grill, and a limited number of paid camping sites are available for $5. Boaters can float to the site for the concert, but cannot stay overnight.

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