Members of local bluegrass fusion band Mountain Standard Time migrated from around the country before they collected in the beloved Front Range mountain town of Nederland. The group has self-proclaimed their sound as “Rocky Mountain free grass,” avoiding identifying with a specific genre. The five-piece band combines acoustic guitar, mandolin, keyboard, electric bass, drums and vocals for a distinctive sound that comes together effortlessly. No matter where you hear them play, MST will transport you to the band’s Rocky Mountain roots.
“We’re very non-traditional,” explains bassist Otis Lande. “We have originals that are very much in the spirit of traditional bluegrass, but we also have material that takes us into rock, reggae, Latin and even drum-and-bass techno.
“Sometimes we don’t even know where we’re going,” Lande says with an amused smile. “We blend a lot of different styles to cater to our crowds.” This group is fueled by its audience, creating a connection that makes for an energetic show.
“Our style is kind of a call back to old American music, just jazzed up a bit,” says Lande.
“With some dance beats in there,” adds mandolin player and vocalist Nick Dunbar. “We want people to party, have a good time and get down. … I just love seeing people dancing at my shows.”
Mountain Standard Time will be putting on its fourth annual “Mardi Grass” celebration Feb. 28 through March 2, playing at Boulder’s Fox Theatre, The Bluebird in Denver and Hodi’s Half Note in Fort Collins.
“We love The Fox,” says Lande.
“That’s, like, our local stomping grounds, so it’s kind of the biggest party.”
The band is tight-lipped about the covers the band has planned for the show, and he says to expect some hip-hop and ’90s grunge at this year’s celebration.
“I can’t wait. I’m really stoked. You do those covers at the right time and the right place, the kids just go bonkers,” he says.
Mountain Standard Time is excited to include Railroad Earth fiddle player Tim Carbone as the guest performer at this year’s Mardi Grass.
“Railroad Earth is right up our alley,” says Dunbar. “Great songwriters, really cool instrumentation, really good players. They are a band that we definitely respect and look up to. Tim is going to be up on stage for the majority of the show all three nights. Having the violin is such a nice layer, and [Carbone] is nasty for sure.”
“It’s always good to collaborate with other musicians,” Carbone tells Boulder Weekly. “They want me to come in and shred some fiddle, and that’s what I’m excited to do. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Carbone’s band Railroad Earth is currently on tour in support of its new album, The Last of the Outlaws. Their most recent Colorado stop was last month, a two-night run at the Fillmore Auditorium in Denver, where they packed the house, selling out the second night. They will return to Colorado Saturday, Aug. 2, at Red Rocks with Greensky Bluegrass.
“Bluegrass is just one of the colors in my paint box,” says Carbone. “People would be surprised to hear that it’s not the most predominant. I’m a rock violin player.”
Like the members of MST, Carbone is a versatile player. He should fit right in with their experimental “free grass.”
“I’m going to play on intuition — hear it, feel it and flow with it — rather than over-think it,” Carbone says.
Visit https://soundcloud.com/mstband to hear some of the band’s songs.