Great American Taxi is showing up in clubs and music festivals all over the country. The band will perform at the High Sierra Music Festival in July. - greatamericantaxi.net

Americana without borders

Great American Taxi is a new jam band on the club and festival scene with a big sound that blends rock 'n' roll, down-home Americana and full-flavored country.

Born two years ago out of a one-night benefit show at the Boulder Theater, the group features a talented lineup of Colorado-based musicians that includes Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon on guitar and vocals; Chad Staehly of the John McKay Band and Canine Unit on keyboards and vocals; Jeff Hamer of the Single Malt Band and the Wayfarers on guitar, vocals, mandolin and banjo; Jake Coffin on drums and vocals; and Brian Schey of Dan Bern fame and the group Fraga on bass and vocals.

"We had so much fun playing together at that concert, we decided to team up," says Hamer.

Now, with a seven-song EP titled "Streets of Gold" to its credit, Great American Taxi is on a tour that is sure to earn new fans.

"We're out on the road, and we've played over a hundred dates this year," Hamer says. The band's been showing up at music festivals all over the country, including the Wakarusa Music Festival in Kansas and the Summer Camp Music Festival in Illinois. The band is headed for the High Sierra Music Festival next month.

"Streets of Gold" features songwriting by Herman and Hamer that brings to mind Gram Parsons and the Byrds — melodic country rock tunes and plenty of bass and drumbeats.

"It's mostly original compositions," Hamer says. "There's a few traditional songs that we rearranged to fit our sound. There's 'Lazy John,' an old-time Appalachian dance tune, and Old Crow Medicine Show's 'Wagon Wheel.'

"We (the band members) come from different backgrounds, but our sound is amplified American rock 'n' roll. We sing three-part harmonies, and there's definitely a country bluegrass influence to it.

"I'd say the vocals and harmonies are more bluegrass, and the instrumentation is more rock," he says. "We think it's important to play lively, upbeat material."

The group also plays ballads and folk songs, but if it's that danceable country rock sound that you're yearnin' for, Great American Taxi will deliver it. Check them out at greatamericantaxi.net.

Admission to the show at the Mobius costs $10. Call 488-8894.

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