By Jeffrey V. Smith
Forget about leaving home for an intimate music experience, some of the best locally-crafted music can be heard live right in your own living room weekly. KYGT, the all-volunteer, locally-owned, non-commercial community radio station in Idaho Springs, every Tuesday presents “A Night at the Goat,” an open mic-like show featuring area musicians performing original material live on the air.
The show began about four months ago “with no plan” as a jam led by Suzie and Gary Solomon, owners of the Miner Pickin’ store in Idaho Springs at the time, the “Night at the Goat” quickly became a popular place for musicians to present their work and local music fans to easily listen in. The show has become more of a “song circle” allowing each participant to play two or three songs as it moves around the group. Songs are generally played solo with a few others joining in when appropriate.
KYGT Programming Director and DJ Dave Harvey runs the show from the behind the board, as he has since shortly after the first live Miner Pickin’ jam took the air. “I was listening at home, and it went off the air,” he said. “I ran down there and they were all still playing, but no one was at the board. I got them back up, ended up staying through the show and have never left. I’ve made it my thing.”
Each week, 10-18 performers show up at the tiny KYGT studios to perform. This has grown from the five people that showed up the first time. “It’s been an organic growth,” Harvey said, “and it’s just evolved.” At this point, the show attracts all types. “We have people from every walk of life that come. There are folks with no money, but like to write music, to professionals. It runs the gamut of who comes. Everyone is welcome and everybody is a performer, but you don’t have to be great.” Also, the music is very diverse.
“We have punk to gospel, and might even have some gospel punk,” Harvey said. “This jam is also not limited to one genre of music. We have heard bluegrass, folk, country, gospel and even a little rock and roll. A lot of original music is played, too, and it is a good place to showcase new songs.”
Suzie Soloman enjoys the diversity. “It is always interesting to see who will show up. Usually the musicians are from the surrounding counties, but there have been nights that folks show up from a distance or they may be traveling through Colorado from out of state,” she said.
Being able to play new songs in a welcoming environment is one of the draws for those who participate. “It’s a great place to sing songs you don’t get to sing other places,” Suzie said. Being on the radio also help elevate the music. “I think everyone tries much harder to do a good job of their song knowing that it is aired live.” For Idaho Springs Chamber of Commerce President Jason Siegel, who misses performing in bands as he did in Nashville, it’s “a little slice of sanity” to be able to go “let loose” for a little bit. “It’s very laid back and nobody’s judging you or anything,” he said. “I can write songs again and try them out there and not be so worried about it.”
According to Siegel, “people really like it and enjoy hearing the locals doing their thing. Everybody’s having fun, and that’s what matters. It’s fun, it’s a good vibe—that’s the main thing—and that’s what people hear when they tune in. It’s a down home kind of thing and it’s really cool that this really quaint radio station is doing that kind of thing.”
The show continues to evolve and will expand in the future, according to Harvey. There are plans to do a “best of” album of music created on the show. Any interested musician is welcome and invited to come early to meet people, work on tunes and learn how everything works.
KYGT, affectionately known as “The Goat,” is about music, rhythms “and the Clear Creek County attitude: laid back and in tune with our community.” Originally founded in 1995 as a cable broadcast, KYGT was granted a low-power FM license in 2002. In addition to keeping the Clear Creek Valley communities educated, informed, entertained and alerted, KYGT provides a format for residents to express creative talents and an opportunity for volunteerism. KYGT is community-owned, funded wholly through business sponsors, fundraising activities and an Intergovernmental Agreement with all the towns and districts within Clear Creek County.
Listen to “A Night at the Goat” on Tuesday’s from 7-9 p.m. at 102.7 FM and 103.9 FM or stream it online at http://www.clearcreekradio.com.
©MMAC Monthly – Published in September 2014 issue of the MMAC Monhtly