Colorado Springs has gained another weekly live music series: Country on the Courtyard at ViewHouse Eatery.
The series, a longstanding summer tradition at other ViewHouse locations, kicked off here in early June.
And it’s found a staple act in the Jeffrey Alan Band, the popular Colorado Springs-based group known for playing venues such as the Mill Hill Saloon, The Whiskey Baron and Cowboy’s Night Club.
The band will return to the massive bar/restaurant’s outdoor space for the third time on Thursday and has two more Country on the Courtyard gigs planned this summer.
Frontman Jeffrey Alan says it’s a fitting gig for the country cover band, especially as indoor shows are limited because of restrictions surrounding COVID-19 concerns.
He’s just happy there are places to play again.
“We were jumping out of our skin,” Alan said. “Playing music is our release.”
He works by day in IT “to support my band habit,” he says.
The habit has done pretty well for him.
The Air Force veteran formed the band 15 years ago and has since locked in spots at the Colorado State Fair and the Grizzly Rose in Denver and, along the way, opened for stars including Kelsea Ballerini and Cody Johnson.
For Alan, who started playing music as a teenager with his dad, rubbing shoulders with some of the country’s biggest names is a dream.
But he doesn’t just belt out George Strait and Garth Brooks songs. He throws in everything from Michael Jackson to Tom Petty to ACDC.
“We like to mix it up, we like to have that kind of diversity,” Alan said. “In Colorado, believe it or not, you can’t entertain with one genre of music.”
Despite the range of tunes up his sleeves, Alan never makes a set list.
“I think that is kind of rare,” he said. “I like to get a feel from the crowd. I want people to feel part of the show, so I’ll ask them what they want to hear.”
As an example, he can tell when to play a Chris Stapleton song when people want to slow dance.
Not that dancing is an option right now.
The “dance floor,” or space in front of the stage at the Viewhouse, is off limits to follow safety regulations. During the Country on the Courtyard series, staff and attendees wear masks and the crowd social distances.
It’s “very low key” compared to usual Jeffrey Alan Band shows, he says.
“Usually, it’s pretty rowdy,” he said. “Without the restrictions, people would be partying like it’s 1999.”
Even though the party is tamer, people are still showing up.
“People want to go out and live,” Alan said. “They want to listen to live music and be normal and socially interact with humans.”