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The Long Run brings a crowd to Rock & Rails

A warm summer night, a tribute to Eagles founding member Randy Meisner who died the day before, and a record night for tips and alcohol sales highlighted the July 27 edition of Rock & Rails.

The Strangebyrds, comprised of Cari Minor and Ray Smith, were Thursday's opening Rock & Rails act. No "strangers" to the Rock & Rails stage, the duo has been around since 2011, and have released five albums to date, with a musical style they describe as "blue collar folk Americana."

The quality of Rock & Rails' bands continues to impress. The Strangebyrds have four award-winning releases, recognized by both the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Songwriting Competitions. Additionally, The Strangebyrds won best original song at the Arrow International Film Festival in Paris for "The World Needs Mercy," a song written for the documentary film "Common Thread."

The duo records at their home studio, Byrd Nest Recording. They played well known hits for the crowd in two-part harmony. They can next be seen at the St. Julien in Boulder and the Cooper Creek Concert Series in Winter Park.

The headliner for the night was one of every summer's most popular bands, The Long Run – Colorado's Tribute to the Eagles. The band is always a crowd favorite, and their performance at Rock & Rails was no exception. The band has played venues such as Denver's Paramount Theater and Red Rocks, which is rare for a cover band.

Made up of six members, The Long Run has been together since 2009. Some of the band's members are famous on their own. Steve Thomas, vocals and guitar, was previously lead vocalist/guitarist for the 70s and 80s Boulder band Firefall (think "Just Remember I Love You" and "You Are the Woman"). The Long Run founder Mark Trippensee, on vocals, drums and percussion, is also a founding member of Last Men on Earth, also a local favorite that performed at Rock & Rails this July.

Of course, the band played singalong Eagles hits such as "Hotel California", "Desperado" and "Take it Easy." The tribute to Meisner, a Scottsbluff, Nebraska native who died a day earlier in California, took the form of a rendition of "Take It To The Limit," which Meisner sang with the Eagles. As is always the case with The Long Run, the dance floor was packed, and the dancing never stopped.

The night's tip jar totaled over $3,300, a new high for the summer, and went to the Niwot Scouts, Troop 161, which includes both boys and girls. The Troop is often visible around town, serving as the color guard for parades and Veteran's Day celebrations, marching in the 4th of July parade, and working on cleanup projects. The Scouts meet weekly and provide camping opportunities for members and participate in the Pinewood Derby and rocket launches.

Next up Aug. 3: Two bands new to Rock & Rails, The Beloved Invaders opens for Guerilla Fanfare. For a full schedule and more information visit


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