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Head for the Hills headlines WinterWonderGrass kickoff show Thursday

Head for the Hills plays Thursday at Gondola Square and includes, from left, Sam Parks, Joe Lessard, Matt Loewen and Adam Kinghorn.

Head for the Hills plays Thursday at Gondola Square and includes, from left, Sam Parks, Joe Lessard, Matt Loewen and Adam Kinghorn.

— Progressive bluegrass band Head for the Hills is eager to head to Mount Werner Thursday for a WinterWonderGrass kickoff concert in Gondola Square.

The four-piece bluegrass group will headline the free Western Welcome Pick concert from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursday, along with folk group Gipsy Moon.

“We love Steamboat, and we’re excited to get to do this festival,” said Matt Loewen, upright bassist and vocalist for Head for the Hills.

Loewen said the Fort Collins-based group has played shows in Steamboat regularly for the last several years. In 2011, the group closed out the Strings Music Festival season, and in 2013, the group opened for Leftover Salmon on closing day at Steamboat Ski Area.

Loewen said the group struggles to describe its music succinctly but said concert-goers can expect a mix of traditional bluegrass and lots of original material, with jazz, indie rock and soul mixed in.

“It’s definitely a high energy show, with original materials, select traditional sounds and cool covers as well,” Loewen said. “We’re looking forward to putting on a fun show.”

The group will play some fan favorite songs from its previous albums, the most recent of which was released in 2014, and new songs from an upcoming album, expected to come out in May.

The Western Welcome Pick is one of the few opportunities for those without a festival ticket or without a ticket to a late night WinterWonderGrass show to get involved with the weekend festivities, and Loewen said he sees the free show as a way to say "thank you: to Steamboat for welcoming the festival to town.

“This event is a thank you and a way to give back to the community,” Loewen said.

"Never does" by Head for the Hills

Opening for Head for the Hills is Nederland-based innovative folk band Gipsy Moon, a five-piece group that mixes original material and old-world traditional songs.

Gipsy Moon vocalist MacKenzie Page said attendees can expect the band's set to also be a high energy experience.

“We provide a spectrum of music ranging from folk melodies, to jazz improv, to gypsy rhythms all played on acoustic folk instruments,” Page said. “We are currently gearing up to release an album of traditional songs from all parts of the world, and listeners are sure to recognize a few.”

Thursday’s show is free and open to the public.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow

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