B.D. Howes returns to the arts festival
Salt Lake-based singer and songwriter B. D. Howes is no stranger to Park City.
He spent many hours in the now-closed Cisero’s Ristorante and plays regularly at the Park Silly Sunday Market.
He is also a Park City Kimball Arts Festival veteran and has performed those shows as a solo artist.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, Howes will play this year’s festival with his full band on the Main Stage at 11 a.m.
“I love the festival and I love playing solo, however, having the band to interact with is so much more fun,” Howes told The Park Record. “As with all festivals, people will stop and listen for a bit and then go off and enjoy the rest of the offerings, but with the band, there’s a constant, and you can work off of them. Also, the music is more full and fun as well.”
The band — Howes, lead guitarist Chris Hamilton, bassist Chris Schell and drummer Wes Ferguson — will play a set of originals with a dash of covers.
“I have one song called ‘I Don’t Like Sunshine,’ which I wrote for a friend of mine,” Howes said. “He has told me for years that he’s a vampire, and challenged me to write a song that had something to do with his lifestyle. I thought it would be quite appropriate, even thought I started it out as a joke.”
After a while, Howes got serious and made it into a rock song.
“My friend really liked it and the band really liked it, too, and that surprised me,” he said.
Howes handpicked his band members over the past few years, even though his first album “P.A.M.L. (Playing All My Life)” was released nearly 20 years ago.
The band originally featured Jay Thomas on the drums.
“Jay isn’t with the band anymore, because he wanted to concentrate on his family,” Howes said. “So, we have Wes, whom I met nearly two years ago.”
Howes also works with another drummer, Larry Burton.
“Since Wes works on the Magna City Council and couldn’t do all the gigs, I found Larry,” he said.
Howes met Schell many years ago after placing an ad in the City Weekly.
“I needed a bass player and asked Chris to play a fraternity gig with me,” Howes said. “That was it. I liked what he did.”
Hamilton came into the fold after some prodding from Schell.
“Chris kept telling me about this guitarist and I kept putting it off because I didn’t want to add anyone else, but I finally asked him to play and he was phenomenal,” Howes said. “He also fit right in, which was and still is very important.”
When Howes prepares for any given performance, he reflects back on his catalog of music.
“However, I decide pretty much when I’m at the venue what I’m going to play,” he said. “Even though I have tried in the past and the band would love me to have a song list, I just kind of go with the mood.
“It works for me and I haven’t had any complaints,” Howes said with a laugh. “Now, watch, this will be the one gig where we’ll have our first complaint.”
The band is known to play anywhere at any time, including the Gallivan Utah Center, Park City Mountain, Deer Valley, Canyons, Jordan Landing, the Hard Rock Cafe, La Caille and numerous private parties.
“I love what I do and I do what I love and that is music,” Howes said. “I’ve been an entertainer since I was a little kid and the guitar just fit naturally and fit in any situation. I can put it on my lap. I can hang it over my shoulder and stand out in front of a crowd and sing.”
Not one to sit back content with his career, Howes continually challenges himself.
“I like to learn and practice songs that are really hard for me to play,” he said. “I’ll work on those pieces, even if I won’t put them in the list.
“I find myself perplexed at how people put music and words together,” he said. “So, I’ll spend a lot of time dissecting the songs. It’s important for me to analyze the songs from my point of view.”
Howes also likes learning songs he doesn’t enjoy hearing.
“I keep at them and keep at them until I can understand what these songs are about musically and lyrically,” he said. “Although I may not like it, I have to understand it.
“If you play a certain style of music and only listen to that style, you have a tendency to get stuck,” he said. “I believe if you play other styles and listen to other styles, you’re more open to different influences.”
A welcome byproduct of the live performances is meeting people and developing friendships, according to Howes.
“I also like the stimulation to my mind and enjoy the different atmospheres of the places I have played,” he said. “I have to admit that nine times out of 10, I have a perception of what a place is going to be like before I play, but when I get there, it’s not anything close to what I thought.
“Even places that I’ve played before are different,” Howes said. “The crowds are different, and because of that, the night, day or morning is never the same.”
That’s why he is looking for a new experience at this year’s Arts Festival.
“I enjoy Park City very much and I want to say thanks to Mountain Town Music for all their effort of getting the sound out,” he said. “You don’t just show up and play. There is an awful lot of time and effort that goes into putting on the festival and the music.”
B.D. Howes Band will play the 47th Annual Park City Kimball Arts Festival Main Stage at 11 a.m. For more information about the band, visit http://bit.ly/2bhm0BU
For more information about the festival, visit http://www.parkcitykimballartsfestival.org.
Rockwell Room is a versatile venue that can be used as a concert venue, reception center and more.