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Steamboat Magazine

Cultivating WinterWonderGrass: Jon Stickley Trio

01/04/2018 09:28AM ● By Alesha Damerville

Image from Heather Hambor Photography

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – “We’re trying to make enough money to buy organic,” Jon Stickley jokes about the future of his band, the Jon Stickley Trio. “We are so happy to be doing this. I feel, at least personally, I am already living the dream.”

Violinist Lyndsay Pruett and drummer Patrick Armitage join Stickley in shaping the aberrant sounds of the Jon Stickley Trio. Instrumentals with elements of “jitzy jazz,” hip hop and punk have formed one extremely progressive bluegrass band.

The Jon Stickley Trio is heavily influenced by bluegrass bigwigs such as the David Grisman quintet and Tony Rice. But the influences don’t end there: sounds from rock and punk bands like NOFX have resonated with Stickley throughout the years and have directly impacted the composition of his music.

“The festival scene, events like WinterWonderGrass, have a huge impact on the sound of our music and they kind of guide our music to where we want it to be as far as the crowds we play for,” Stickley says.

Stickley’s elation for WWG doesn’t end with the crowds. 

“The festival scene in general has become as much our social scene as our work scene,” he says. “Just getting to be around those other bands and to hang out with them is kind of a reunion experience. The Lil Smokies and Fruition are at the top of our lists to see.”

The trio kicks off their winter 2018 tour on Thursday, January 18. “It’s a hustle, especially while you’re working your way up,” Stickley says. “You really have to get around to those places where people don’t know who you are. Even bands you consider household names in Colorado aren’t necessarily that well known everywhere. You find yourself in the middle of Ohio or North Carolina and you have to work just as hard as everyone else to get people out to shows. It takes a lot of work, but it’s very fun.”

“When we are out on the road, the in-between time is when new musical ideas pop up, whether it’s at sound check or sitting around drinking coffee while getting a chance to diddle around on my guitar a little bit,” Stickley says. “I try to capture little ideas; a lot of the time I just capture a few notes on my iPhone. Later, when I get more time, I sit down and go through those notes and pick out all of my favorites. I flesh those out into more of a fully formed song idea and then I present that slightly more fully formed song to the band and we come up with an arrangement we feel is exciting.”

“Out of all our songs that we play, my current favorite is one of our newer songs called ‘Cecil,’” Stickley says. “It’s kind of a progressive melody that has a low, John Bonham-type drum groove and some weird juxtaposition between hardcore punk and a soft, relaxed vibe. It goes back and forth between the two – it’s really fun.”

Having once played a pub gig in Steamboat Springs, the Jon Stickley Trio looks forward to returning the mountains. “We are thrilled to be included in such a wonderful festival as WWG Steamboat,” Stickley says. “We think the world of that organization; they do an amazing job. To be included in that lineup is an honor for us and we are really looking forward to it.”

You can catch the unique melodies of the Jon Stickley Trio at the WinterWonderGrass Festival this February.

For more information on the festival, "Grass After Dark" late night shows, lodging and ski passes, visit

For more information on the Jon Stickley Trio visit

Images from httpwwwhhgmusiccom

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