Arts, Dining & Entertainment, Column, Rockin' The Region

Rockin’ the Region with Pam and Dan

By DJ Dave Hoffenberg

Come to McGrath’s Irish Pub, Sunday, Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. for the first ever Killington appearance of Pam and Dan. Hailing from Carbondale, Colorado, they are embarking on their Ikon ski and music tour. They plan to play music at all of the Ikon pass resorts in North America to celebrate their passion for skiing, music, and to promote climate action.

Most of the venues on this tour, like McGrath’s, they’ve never been to. They’re both ski instructors, so skiing is a big passion of theirs. Pam said, “I’ve never skied on the East Coast and I’ve never been to Canada, so that’s all new to me.” Dan said, “There’s 38 resorts on the Ikon pass and the plan is to hit all 38 of them.” They won’t make the international ones. Pam said they count it differently than Ikon because some resorts have multiple mountains like SkiBig3 in Alberta. There’s one non-Ikon mountain on the tour: Magic Mountain in Londonderry. Dan said, “I grew up skiing in Vermont, so Magic has some really great memories for me.” Dan grew up in Richmond, New York, but his family had a cabin at Mt. Snow, so he’s skied all over Vermont. Pam grew up in Arkansas. Musically, Dan grew up on Crosby, Stills & Nash; Keb Mo; and the Allman Brothers, and Pam was raised on Southern Rock.

Dan’s been a ski instructor for 40 years. “I took the Killington School for Instructors. I don’t know if they still have that, but then I moved out west and started teaching there. This was back in 1978, so it’s been 40 years since I’ve skied in the east.”

This tour came about with them cold-calling venues. Pam said, “Killington was a tougher nut to crack. They weren’t accepting new artists, so I had to keep searching, but as soon as I got Murray [McGrath] on the phone, we had a great chat. He’s a really sweet guy. He liked what we were up to, so he added us on a night he doesn’t normally do music.” Dan added, “He’s a really nice guy.”

Pam and Dan are a folk/country duo. Pam plays the standup bass and sings and Dan plays acoustic guitar/percussion and sings. They do 1970s folk rock and 80s country with some newer country, too. They also have originals which Dan calls “mountain type music.” It’s music that’s important to them. Pam said, “We have a lot of songs about the environment. One of our focuses for the tour is to bring awareness to the need for climate action. Our website has some links to organizations that we believe in. We like to try and have some good content but also understand people don’t want to be brought down when they’re at a fun pub. We keep it light, we keep it lively. I like to say we mix in the old hippie tunes, songs that every generation loves. We try and put a message out there as well.” Since they’re playing McGrath’s, they knew they needed some Irish for Murray, so they’ll play “Whiskey on a Sunday” and the “Irish Rover.”

Back in Colorado they play in a Rolling Stones tribute band and other fun bar cover bands. Pam said, “We decided to go this folk duo route to broaden our pallet, musically. Dan is the main songwriter and we wanted to get his songs out in a way we couldn’t do with the band. They’re really great, well written tunes. It’s fun and we’re having a great time together.”

Dan said, “We’re doing what we love to do: skiing and playing music.” They’ve only been playing in this duo for three and a half years, but for 18 as a rhythm section. They just celebrated their 29th wedding anniversary in September.

Dan explained the ironic way they met. “We were living in Breckenridge. I was doing the hiring for new instructors and Pam was trying out. She got hired, but I only saw her once before the end of the season. The next time we saw each other was in New Zealand, halfway around the world. We both got hired in a restaurant, but neither of us knew the other would be in New Zealand. We started dating out there.”

Pam added, “Move halfway around the world to date a guy from a place I was already living in.”  Pam likes the connection she gets with people. “There’s no other way I’ve found to feel the same connection with people that I feel when we’re performing and that’s whether we’re rocking out in a rock band or doing the acoustic thing. When things start really happening musically, you feel a certain energetic connection with people you’re involved with and that’s both musicians and the audience. I really love it.”

Dan said, “You’ll see people mouthing the words and then you know you have that connection…That’s the reason we’re doing this. Finding little places where we feel the love…It’s like in skiing when you find a narrow little run. It’s finding that special place.”

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