From all known accounts, it began with a snowstorm. Highway 119 outside of Nederland, Colorado, to be exact. Tom Staton was a solo artist, another songwriter lugging his own equipment, on his way into Boulder for a show at the Nugget Saloon. Staton, feeling drowsy from the long and tortuous ride, pulled into the graveled and mushy parking lot of a church called Woodside Faith with the sign: Come In From The Cold.
Right around the same time, coming down Highway 72 was a local band, House Party, fronted by a guitarist by the name of Christopher House. The snowstorm caught up with his car too. Their gig at the Horse and Buggy bar was still 109 miles down the slushy road, in Colorado Springs. Seeing the same sign, they pulled into the parking lot of Woodside Faith. Sneaking in for some warmth, they saw a scrawny man in a blue-and-red shirt, playing for an audience… of flickering candles. After about twenty minutes, Christopher House walked up to the musician and introduced himself. The two musicians shake each other’s cold hands. Soon they were singing together, a version of the Neil Young song, “Pardon My Heart.” The song bounced through the high-ceilings, warmed up that room with the sound of destiny. House and Staton’s first foray at singing together pierced the hearts of all those listening.
“I knew it that moment,” remembered Danny Tagerson, drummer for House Party. “I listened to those two voices and immediately thought two things. First, was ‘FUCK! I think I just lost my band!’ This was one of those times when music becomes holy, and a living souvenir of a moment… the hair on the back of my neck was tingling with electricity. The second thing I thought was ‘Please let me be a part of whatever these two do together.’ The bond was immediate, the music was that good. It was like those stories you hear when Zeppelin first rehearsed. You just know it.”
Staton never made it to the Nugget Saloon that night, and House Party never appeared at the Horse and Buggy. The roads were closed, and the musicians spent the night jamming and finding refuge from the wicked storm outside. By daylight, a band had formed. They’d written two songs.
So there you have it. We will have more on House Party in a future post.