by Mikaela Antonelli
With a name with multiple meanings, Rich With Friends has taken the Fort Collins bluegrass scene by storm. Rich With Friends is a four-piece band out of Fort Collins consisting of Richard Center who plays acoustic guitar, Emily Bassarear who plays the mandolin, Kenny Jones who plays upright bass and Brian Kittrell who plays electric guitar.
The lineup has changed through the years, but Carter continues to pursue his music. The current lineup of the band was formed back in 2012. “Rich, Kenny and I were playing together for a while and then Brian sat in on a gig and it was explosive,” said Bassarear.
They keep their “creative chemistry”, as explained by Bassarear, going by getting together as often as they can to workshop each other’s songs. They have only written one song together, but they collaborate on every song they produce to create a unique sound that captures each other’s background. “I will bring a song in and relinquish control to make it work in the group and make it flow in the group,” said Bassarear. The band works more as a group of old friends or brothers and a sister, rather than a band that formed two years ago. Being around them for more than a minute, you can see the chemistry between them that makes their music so different.
Being a bluegrass band in the saturated market of Fort Collins has not phased them at all. They bring something unique to the table. “We are unique because we are not a typical traditional bluegrass band,” said Bassarear. They bring a little more of a rock feel to the scene. Kittrell has a background in rock guitar. “I had no intentions of being in a bluegrass band,” said Kittrell, but he has found himself in one and he loves it.
The band has been playing small venues and private parties trying to get their name out in Fort Collins. Last month they officially played at every venue in town, playing the Aggie, Hodi’s Half Note and The Mishawaka within two weeks. “Anyone can get a gig in this town if you are trying and put the effort into it,” said Center of the music scene. When they play they definitely know how to work a crowd. “People say they have a good time at our shows,” said Jones. “They are always dancing and enjoying themselves.” Everyone is having a good time in Fort Fun and Rich With Friends is providing the music to our party. “People call it Fort Fun and I think it is true,” said Kittrell. “Everyone here is always having a good time.”