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Gary Stoddard returning to Park City

For multi-instrumentalist Gary Stoddard, music is a fulfilling and meditative experience.

"Some people get that through yoga and some get it though dance," Stoddard said during an interview with The Park Record. "It’s that concentrated focus where you tap into that river of consciousness and creativity and things basically download, and you come up with something that hasn’t existed before."

That said, Stoddard, who will play O’Shucks at the The Quarry with his band the Usual Suspects tonight, May 7, knows when he writes a song, he will never truly finish it.

"It won’t become an absolute piece of music, because there will always be a desire to add, change and look at it from a different perspective," he said. "While the song will always have its basic structure, it will be open to adding a horn here, a guitar here, vocals here, and that’s when it really becomes intriguing."

Stoddard’s fascination for music came at an early age while growing up in a large family. He was one of eight children.

"My father was interested in music," Stoddard said. "He did the barbershop thing with his brothers when he was younger and did musical theater. He got us started early in performing, learning to sing in parts."

The kids performed at Christmas and company parties. the time Stoddard reached his teens, he and his twin brother started performing around the region as a duo.

"We created different local bands and did mini tours into Idaho and southern Utah," he said. "A lot of my influences back then came from Crosby Stills and Nash, the Eagles, Loggins & Messina, because vocals were the emphasis for those artists, but we also played rock."

The songwriting bug bit Stoddard while he was in college.

"My brother wanted to continue to do the cover tunes and I wanted to do my own thing," he said. "So we split."

Stoddard, who regularly plays shows in Park City, formed the Slickrock Gypsies with former high school- and college-mate Kevin Flynn.

"We got the group together and performed some of his songs and some of mine," Stoddard said.

While Flynn and Stoddard still perform with the Slickrock Gypsies, Stoddard organized the Usual Suspects as another outlet for his music.

"Lately, because of our different schedules and demands, it became more difficult to get the Gypsies together for shows," Stoddard said, "So I went ahead and booked gigs and played my original stuff with whatever musicians I could gather."

The Usual Suspects is like a pick-up band, he said

"Sometimes Kevin can be there and sometimes he can’t," Stoddard said. "Sometimes our bassist can be there, sometimes he can’t and sometimes it’s a different drummer or a different guitarist. So, really, the Usual Suspects are whoever can play at a certain time, and that gives the music a certain freshness."

As it has been all his life, music is the ultimate enjoyment for Stoddard.

"There is nothing like performing live and feeling that circle of energy that goes from me to the crowd and back to me," he said. "It’s a great feeling because the people are engaged and they understand the message and are moved by it."

That’s one of the reasons why Stoddard, who lives in Sandy, likes playing in Summit County.

"They love live music up there," he said. "They’d rather listen to live music than canned music, which I’ve noticed happens in a lot of places in Salt Lake County. There’s a different vibe in Park City. Live music is more embraced and the people are more prone to become engaged in the music, have fun, enjoy life and tip back a drink up there."

Gary Stoddard and the Usual Suspects will perform at O’Shucks, 8178 Gorgoza Pines Dr., in the Quarry Village, tonight, May 7, at 8 p.m. For more information call (435) 658-1144 or visit http://www.garystoddard.com.


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