Musician Kevin Heinz brings his band of eclectic blues-rock to local venues.
By Karen Jarchow
The ever-evolving band Kevin Heinz and Friends rings a familiar tune throughout the Vail Valley, with its message of celebrating life’s friendships, love and wonder.
Frontman Heinz can be found playing at various venues around town, with his soulful mix of acoustic and electronic blues-rock. SneakPEAK caught up with Heinz to discuss how he has created the band, how they have gotten to where they are today, and what helpful hints he has for other aspiring artists.
Heinz’s infatuation with music started at a young age, and he has never been one to shy away from the stage. He dates the beginning of his performance days all the way back to the crib. From diapers he progressed to school and church performances. This aspiring musician was then soon provoked and encouraged to share his talent through backyard cameos for family and neighborhood friends. On and off stage, Heinz would always grab at the chance to sing or play guitar, both solo or with a group. Throughout his upbringing, he says his talents and passion for music were recognized and encouraged daily by his family.
Heinz’s lifelong love of music has lead to him becoming the backbone behind Kevin Heinz and Friends. Heinz describes his band as, “an ever evolving entity, a rotating cast of fellow musicians that come together to perform my original songs, favorite covers and old standards.”
The band is often in the form of a trio, featuring bass, drums, and guitar. However, they’ve been known to incorporate a variety of instruments including keys, saxophone, trombone, banjo, harmonica and washboard. As you can imagine, this combination and plethora of sounds can create quite an original tune.
The Vail Valley community has always encouraged cultural endeavors, and that includes the world of music. Through weekend festivals, markets, Friday afternoon club events as well as the free Hot Summer Nights concert series, there is usually no shortage of music to sample. Kevin Heinz and Friends has been no stranger to any of the above opportunities. Their long line of appearances around the valley has made them a neighborhood favorite. The band has also hit the road throughout the state with gigs in Aspen, Telluride and Boulder.
Heinz says one of his favorite places to perform has been at the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival in both 2009 and 2011. This festival is based at the Telluride Town Park that located at the heart of a breathtaking kaleidoscope of vast mountain views and has had a long history of impressive line ups, such as B.B. King’s performance in 2004.
“Out of the 90 different countries I’ve been to, I’ve never seen anything more beautiful than what you have here,” King once told the crowd from the venue’s wooden stage.
It is no question that with a statement like that from such an iconic performer of the world of blues, that Heinz was in good company at a world-class stage while in Telluride. It is no doubt that Heinz is a great example of what can come from following your passion. As most know, following the path of a professional musician cannot be easy. Often the journey up the ranks in the music industry can lead to many frustrations. Heinz is no stranger to this.
“My advice to aspiring artists would be to recognize small successes like playing a gig, seeing people in the crowd dance, finishing a new song, playing new music, and not getting discouraged at the music industry while climbing the ladder in attempts to making it big,” says Heinz.
All that being said, Heinz does not work as a full-time performing musician. And surprisingly, he isn’t a waiter, bartender, bellman, or any other typical Vail Valley cash job employee. Heinz maintains both his musical passion and career going while keeping his creative juices flowing through his “real job” as a videographer and creative consultant. He also teaches guitar lessons at Minturn Music.
“I find joy in the balance between creative gigs,” says Heinz.
This balance most definitely transcends into his music, and is a great example of living your life through your passion.
You can catch Kevin Heinz and Friends at upcoming shows including the Vail Mountain FAC on Aug. 3, at the Minturn Market on Sept. 1 and at the Blues and Brews Festival in Telluride on Sept. 15. You can find his work online at kevinheinzmusic.bandcamp.com, and on facebook.com/kevinheinzmusic. Check out Heinz’s work and be sure to say hello to this friendly musician at his upcoming shows.