Mountain Standard Time | Fox Theater | 2/28/14 | Review & Photos
Loyal fans of Nederland, Colorado’s Mountain Standard Time must be thrilled at the feats accomplished since their recalibration and return to touring in 2012. Long time members Nick Dunbar (mandolin), Stan Sutton (guitar) and Zach Scott (drums) welcomed Otis Lande on bass and Ryan Ebarb on keys. Since they resumed full time touring, it’s not only apparent that they are playing well together but reaching a true career height as a sought after jamgrass act. Since tour titan legends like Leftover Salmon and String Cheese Incident have aged and become vintage (in the nicest way possible,) it was certainly time for new blood to step up and do something new when the folks wanted something fresh to boogie with. MST has since brought so much more than that. With strong support from Boulder and statewide community, the band has seen become a festival and theatre stronghold, performing mostly original songs and playing fluidly as a unit. It’s no wonder than they have been sought after by some grass-veterans as a fun group of fellas to jam out with.
After a solid year and a half back of performing at home and on the road, the boys billed their now traditional Marti Gras show at the Fox Theatre with featured fiddle-master Tim Carbone who is best known as a member of Railroad Earth. It’s hard to say who and what particularly brought Carbone to the guys of Mountain Standard Time. He certainly saw potential in their style of performing and wanted to collaborate with his sense of improvisational yet roots guided jam-grass. Nothing more fitting for the quintet whose playing keeps getting tighter. And indeed last Friday night’s Fox Theatre performance was more than a treat for those in attendance. Opening act Euforquestra set the mood right for an evening of groove hard boogey-down tunes. String Cheese Incident’s Kyle Hollingsworth even made an unannounced sit in with the opener, in some senses using his veteranship to show support to a semi-local project. It was a cool surprise for those who made it to see Euforquestra’s set.
When Mountain Standard Time took the stage, they brought out Carbone with them right away, launching into a set of all original tunes. “Think Again” saw Carbone and Dunbar exchanging musical ideas. Right away it was apparent that Sutton and Dunbar were linked in, ready to welcome Carbone’s souring fiddle leads. The playing felt fluid and less rehearsed. Naturally the collaboration gelled from the get go. MST originals like “Fairy Meadows” and “Back In Front of Me” revealed the band as strong songwriters, not riding on the coattails of the common-cover train. It was a proud moment for the guys. It’s been great watching the band develop over the years, growing through personnel changes and withstanding a sense of originality. It’s hard to not over emphasize how impressive it was that the guys didn’t break out any covers and totally played a night of original material. I’m a fan of Flatt, Scruggs, Monroe, or whoever as much as the next bluegrass lover, but when a band takes the instrumentation to their original music alone, it’s a bold move. And in MST’s case it’s the move that’s continuing to pivot them toward the top of their craft.