In 1971, Brian Lappin and Nell Levin were trekking around the country going to bluegrass festivals in a 1958 Chevy Suburban. Bob Lucas was living in the hippie commune of Needmore, Indiana. We were all just scraping by. Bob did not want to spend another winter chopping wood and hauling water so we decided to try our luck in Colorado.
We piled into the Suburban -- Bob, his wife Bonnie and baby Noah, Brian and Nell -- and drove to Aspen where Nell’s Digger friends, Chuck and Destiny, invited us to live with them in a cavernous house up Conundrum Creek outside Aspen. We auditioned and secured a 6-day-a-week gig at a ski resort that allowed us to make steady money, hone our sound and join Aspen’s stellar musical community.
Tim Wilson and Ken Thomas were part of Goldrush during our Aspen days. When Bob, Brian and Nell moved back to Bloomington Indiana in 1973, young mandolin whiz Tim Duran and the best bassist in town, Orie Stith, joined the band. This new Goldrush won the prestigious bluegrass band contest at Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in 1974 and Brian Lappin won the banjo contest in 1975. Although the band was ostensibly a “bluegrass band,” it was always pushing the envelope, as this 1974 tape reveals.
A remarkable new photo of the first version of Goldrush has emerged. Pictured in this 1972 photo are band members Bob Lucas, Tim Wilson, Nell Levin, Brian Lappin and the late, great Ken Thomas. You can see the photo at the Goldrush 1974 Facebook page.
Reissuing this previously unreleased recording provides an eye-opening look at the fertile musical terrain we inhabited back then. Order the CD here.