We had the good fortune of connecting with High Mountain Duet and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi High Mountain Duet, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
We are both born and raised in the Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs area respectively. James grew up in a musical family with both his father and older brother being in successful bands around the Colorado area. James’ father was founder of the long running Grateful Dead based band “Shakedown Street” while his brother was a member of “Creating a Newsense”. James’ upbringing was very influential on him personally as well as impactful in our influences and aspirations. Samantha’s father was also musical in his younger years playing drums with numerous bands.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
We like to have a wide range of musical material that we draw from. From original music, to traditional folk songs, to more contemporary folk/country/Americana music, our biggest influences are people like John Prine, Loretta Lynn, David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, just to name a few. We are most proud and excited to be releasing some original music this next year. It has been very challenging during the last two years, but we have managed to stay busy with shows in safe environments. We have learned countless lessons along the way, but what stands out most to us is how lucky we are as a married couple to be able to travel and play music together. It takes a ton of work and commitment but we wouldn’t change it for anything. If there’s anything we’d like the world to know about us it would be that it’s never to late or early to follow your dreams and aspirations.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would definitely recommend any of the numerous hiking trails in the hills of our town Manitou Springs, or Garden of The Gods park which is also full of many walking and hiking trails. Maybe we’d follow with brunch on a Sunday at Mother Muffs for their Sunday brunch jam open to all local musicians. We’d also recommend Front Range BBQ which always has quality music and amazing food. If we really felt like an adventure we’d go up into the mountains for some camping in one of the many beautiful places colorful Colorado has to offer.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
We would love to shoutout a few local friends who are also musicians who have helped pave the way in our area as well as been helpful and impactful in supporting and influencing us. The first is Joe Johnson, who is our favorite local songwriter who has been a huge inspiration and help in more ways than the one. The second shoutout goes to David Jeffrey mandolinist for Grass It Up, David saw us perform a couple songs at one of our first performances, he saw something in us and invited us to open for his band at a near sold out show at The Western Jubilee which was a huge milestone for us which we will always be grateful for, it really helped us believe in ourselves. Lastly we would like to shoutout Jeff Daugherty mandolinist for The Red Mountain Boys who has been gracious enough to help us record our debut album which we plan to release in 2022.
All images by Dennis Nejtek