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5:14 AM Fri, Oct. 19th

Growing by funks and jams: Spafford is on the rise

Patrick Whitehurst/The Daily Courier<br>
Spafford rocks the crowd at Cinco de Gumbo May 4.

Patrick Whitehurst/The Daily Courier<br> Spafford rocks the crowd at Cinco de Gumbo May 4.

Spafford's recognition is growing, not by leaps and bounds, but by funks and jams.

The locally based jam band has become a groovy fixture to the Prescott scene over the last few years and, more recently, their tunes have been heard outside the area as well, particularly in Las Vegas, where they played their first away-show in 2011.

"In 2012, we hit a lot of different places, like Albuquerque, New Mexico, Denver, Boulder, Durango and more Vegas shows. We've been starting to fill up Flagstaff and Phoenix," said Spafford's Brian Moss. "We're picking up new dates. We're doing a string of three live shows in July following the band Widespread Panic."

Spafford, featuring Moss, Jordan Fairless, Nick Tkachyk and Andrew "Red" Johnson, will play two nights of after parties for Widespread Panic in Las Vegas, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, on July 12 and 13. On July 14, the four-member band will entertain crowds at the Green Room for another Widespread Panic after party.

Last year, Spafford played an after party for the band Furthur - featuring the remaining members of the Grateful Dead.

"That was an amazing show. Since we've been frequent in Vegas, that show really took off. We're getting a fan base out there," Moss said. "The venue we played in was literally right next to the 3,000-person arena they were playing in, so people just walked out and heard our music and funneled in. The place filled as soon as their show ended."

Following the release of their first studio album in the summer of 2012, the band focused on live shows, but may get in the studio by the end of the year for another release.

"We archive every single show we do. The fans get invested in downloading all the shows. They're all free online at archive.org. If you want to listen to the band, you just go there," Moss said. "We've come out with a whole slew of new material since we released that album. We're going to be looking at the winter of 2013 to head back into the studio and come out with something else, and also release an actual live album."

The band will get local July 26 and 27 at the newly reopened Bird Cage in downtown Prescott. They last played in town for the Cinco de Gumbo event May 4.

Live shows and a loyal fan base isn't enough, however. Moss and other members of the band are currently enrolled in Yavapai College to study music.

"We play for the various jazz bands that are in the schools and such, recitals and we're all trying to finish up our associate's. We mostly all got a late start on college, which is perfect timing for as busy as we are with Spafford right now, but we're definitely trying to finish that up. The importance of music to us is not just a raw ability to perform or create music, but to also have the work ethic of school behind it, learning the knowledge of theory in musical composition," Moss said.

Schooling has taken the band in different directions as well, he said.

"We've been thinking on different terms than we have ever been able to do before," he said.

More information on the band can be found online at spafford.net.

"This whole thing really just started with two guys who had a vision," Moss said.