B.D. Howes enjoys performing in Park City during Film Festival week
Musician loves the craft of the song
Singer, songwriter and guitarist B.D. Howes loves Park City.
Many Parkites know the Salt Lake City-based solo artist and band leader from his performances at the Park Silly Sunday Market, the Park City Kimball Arts Festival, the Apres Ski afternoons at Deer Valley and the Producers Lounge series during last year’s film festival week.
This year, Howes will perform at the EBS Lounge at Deer Valley the first weekend of film festival week from 3-6 p.m. and then in Salt Lake City at the Salt Lake City Festival Cafe, located at Sicilia Pizza Kitchen, 35 W. Broadway on Jan. 27 at 8:30 p.m.
Playing during film festival week is an honor, Howes told The Park Record.
“I have performed at least five or six film festival weeks thought the years,” Howes said. “Some of them have been at the more private situations and some have been public. I tend to do the not-so-highly-advertised shows.”
Performing for a film-festival audience is different than playing for an average winter or summer crowd.
“Generally speaking, Park City gets a lot of people from all over the world during the winter and summer, but I think during the film festivals, the reach extends and there are many more people from farther away,” Howes said. “But when you get down to it, playing live is always enjoyable for me.”
Howes approaches every performance the same.
“I just play what I want to play,” he said. “I don’t really have a set list when I go. So, if things seem to want to go in different directions, I can adjust and play songs that come to mind. I go with the flow and kind of custom make the show.”
Howes knows the challenges of connecting with an apres-ski crowd.
“The audiences are transient during these shows,” he said. “People come in and sit down and enjoy the music and then after a while go back skiing.
“Some stay longer, or come back after a little later and sometimes I won’t see the same people until the next time I play,” he said. “So, it’s next to impossible to know what your audience is going to be like in those situations.”
The way people in the audience watch his shows is why Howes enjoys playing the three-hour time slots.
“It’s a long time to be on stage, but I love it because it gives me a chance to really play,” he said.
The singer doesn’t lack material, either.
“While I don’t try to count how many songs I have in my rep, I think I have more than 300 cover tunes and at least 100 of my own songs,” Howes said. “I switch songs out during each performance. I also try to add songs when I get repeated requests.”
He also listens to his fans.
“Sometimes they tell me that I should do a song and if I don’t know it, I’ll learn it,” he said.
While Howes loves a good groove, he is also mindful of lyrics.
“This past election has made me think more about the words,” he said. “Maybe not knowingly, I think I tend to play songs that say what I really feel inside my heart. It’s not about me laying down the rules or something like that. I just find sometimes a song’s lyrics will hit the spot with me.”
With lyrics on his mind, Howes was happy to hear about Bob Dylan receiving the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature last year.
“He went all the way to the top and it was about time a songwriter got credit for his lyrics,” Howes said.
In fact, Howes does cover Dylan’s “The Times They Are a Changin’.”
“He did that song in 1964, but if you really look at that song and listen to and read the lyrics, that song could have easily been written today,” Howes said. “What an awesome writer.”
In addition to lyrics, there are other elements of a song that piques Howes’ interest.
“When I choose to learn a cover song, I sometimes think it’s the difficulty of the music, or it may be something like the chord structure,” he said. “Sometimes I will finally learn how to play a song that I wasn’t able to do in the past because something else attracts me to it.”
Usually, the first thing that draws Howes into a song is the melody.
“If a song, for whatever reason, is being continually played on the radio or hummed by a bunch of people, it gets in front of my face,” he said.
Also, styles don’t matter to Howes because he puts his own spin on the songs.
“I’ve covered songs and people will tell me that they never thought that song could be played that way, and, occasionally, my friends or family members will say, ‘You know, that song doesn’t go that way,’” he said with a laugh. “My comment to them is, ‘It does now.’”
When he says that, Howes isn’t being flippant.
“I’m not trying to be mean or anything, but if they want to be negative about something, they should go and listen to the original song,” he said.
With three albums under his belt and a long list of of live performances as experience, Howes is ready for the next level.
“I’d love to do some bigger concert venues, both solo and with my band,” he said. “The band is tight and ready, and they must like what we’re doing to stay with me, because I’m not that good looking.”
B.D. Howes will play during film festival week from 3-6 p.m. at the EBS Lounge at Deer Valley on Saturday, Jan. 20, and at 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 27 at the Salt Lake City Festival Cafe, 35 W. Broadway. For more information, visit http://www.facebook.com/bdhowesband?fref=ts.
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