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Steamboat Magazine

WinterWonderGrass Artist Spotlight - Kitchen Dwellers

02/09/2023 08:00AM ● By Ski Town Media
(Photo: The members of Kitchen Dwellers, (from left to right) Max Davies [acoustic guitar], Torrin Daniels [banjo], Shawn Swain [Mandolin], and Joe Funk [upright bass])

This year, WinterWonderGrass will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in Colorado, set to take place right here in Steamboat Springs on March 3-5. Each week, we will be featuring artists who are performing at this year's festival. Get an inside look at what this weekend is like for the artists and bands, and find out what goes into creating an iconic festival. 

Coming fresh off a year with their third studio album release - Wise River - and a jam-packed nationwide tour schedule, Kitchen Dwellers return to Steamboat Springs for their fifth WinterWonderGrass Colorado appearance. This Montana based quartet that blurs the lines between rock and bluegrass has amassed 5 million-plus online streams and has received acclaim from publications like The Huffington PostRelix and American Songwriter. We got the opportunity to sit down with Max Davies, acoustic guitar player for Kitchen Dwellers, to talk about the upcoming 10-year anniversary of WinterWonderGrass Colorado and what 2023 holds for the band.

Ski Town Media: How did you guys first get involved with WinterWonderGrass, and how many WinterWonderGrass festivals have you performed at since your first?

Max Davies: I was thinking, ‘How many of these have we played and what was our first year?’ We’ve known about WonderGrass since the first year, when they were doing it in Avon. It always had a sweet line up and we always wanted to go. A bunch of our friends have gone since the very first year. The first time we got invited to do it was kind of a big deal for us. That was 2016 or 2017, and I think we’ve played around five. We’ve done Steamboat a few times, we’ve done Tahoe twice, and we even did some of the ones out east that Scotty [Stoughton] kind of started. We’ve done a lot of them.

STM: In your opinion, what is it that makes WinterWonderGrass so special and why do you think that the four of you, along with the other artists, all try to return each year?

MD: The thing that sets WinterWonderGrass apart is how Scotty and the WinterWonderGrass crew of people treat the artists and the festival goers. You can just tell that when you’re there they put such an importance on the comfortability of the artists in the backstage area. There’s pictures of previous years everywhere and they really make a strong effort to take care of the bands and I think it shows with how much fun people have. It’s always a huge party. And he likes to throw a huge party for the bands too, which definitely relates to how much fun the band is.

STM: From an artist’s perspective, what is the WinterWonderGrass weekend in Steamboat Springs like for you? 

MD: We’re coordinating with everyone at WonderGrass months in advance. They’re really good about communicating everything and helping us out. They tell us where we should be getting hotels, when we should be getting hotels because they fill up so fast and get more and more expensive. When we get to WonderGrass there’s always a check-in area. There’s usually somebody there that has bags of gear and lift tickets.

Then we’re getting all the gear and merch in and also figuring out which bands you want to see for the weekend. Usually there’s so many friends and really good bands playing. If we’re playing during the day or during late night, we try to figure out when to rest, when to ski – it’s an action packed weekend of figuring out your schedule.

Torrin Daniels [banjo] of Kitchen Dwellers gets-down during a sunset performance at the 2022 WinterWonderGrass Festival. Photo courtesy of WinterWonderGrass Festival / Megan Dujardin.


STM: Which other artists are you most looking forward to seeing perform at this year’s WinterWonderGrass? Are there any other artists that you’re hoping you’ll get a chance to play with? 

MD: Totally. This year, always a favorite, The Stringdusters – they’re one that we just never can miss. [Big Richard] is someone we saw in Telluride, who I really, really want to see again, and even play with. We’re actually about to go down to Mexico today. A lot of these same bands will be there. Some people from Big Richard would be really fun to collaborate with.Buffalo Commons; those guys are always a treat. Kind of some local-ish heroes.

STM: You guys have been on tour all of 2022, you released a new studio album earlier this year – Wise River - and 2023 will likely be an even busier year for you all. What motivates you all to continue writing music and growing as a band while managing your fast-paced schedule? 

MD: From a band perspective, it’s just always a sense of wanting to improve, whether that’s song writing or craftsmanship of your instrument or even just figuring out how to be a band. It’s a never-ending road to constantly improve and figure out. That keeps it very interesting and keeps us going. From a larger perspective, playing for people all over the country and meeting so many amazing and interesting people and getting to work with so many interesting people – it’s like every time we’ve gone on a tour or worked on an album, we’re given a chance to work with some really amazing people, whether that’s our crew or someone that we’re going to write an album with. It’s been this never-ending, evolving ball of creativity.

STM: What are some of Kitchen Dwellers’ goals for 2023?

MD: It’s probably cliché to say, but work/life balance. We’ve been on the road so much; it’s really been a serious commitment. We’re going to stay committed to it, but families are growing, life happens. Staying healthy. Record another album. Write more music. Another album is in the works. And kick ass at WonderGrass. 

STM: Anything else you’d like to add?

MD: We really love coming to Steamboat. It was the first place I ever skied as a kid, so a lot of good memories there.

To learn more about the upcoming Colorado 10-year anniversary of WinterWonderGrass, visit: 

To learn more about Kitchen Dwellers, visit:

WinterWonderGrass 2022, Steamboat Springs, CO. Courtesy of WinterWonderGrass Festival / Molly McCormick.