Warren Floyd brings Rocky Mountain vibe to Edgefield
If you go
What: Colorado-based singer/songwriter/guitarist Warren Floyd
When: 7-9 p.m. Saturday, June 15
Where: Winery Tasting Room at McMenamins Edgefield, 2126 S.W. Halsey St., Troutdale
Website: https://www.mcmenamins.com/edgefield; or https://www.warrenfloyd.com/index_schedule.htm
In 1978, when Texas musician Warren Floyd visited friends in Colorado, it wasn't long before he started seeing certain faces he recognized from concert stages and covers of popular albums.
"After a couple of weeks I was here, I was running around here and there. I was sitting in my car at the bank and my friend said, 'Oh, there's Larry Sims from ('70s band) Loggins & Messina, there's so and so," he recalls. "I ran into Jimmy Buffet on the streets of Aspen and talked with him ... I thought, 'I don't run into these people walking the streets of Dallas.'"
Floyd was dazzled enough by the sightings, along with Colorado's stunning scenery and laid-back vibes, to make the Rocky Mountain state his home.
"I thought, 'I can come up here and play five nights a week, not work on the loading dock, have all the ski opportunities' — all this was presented to me," he says. "I thought, 'this is a no-brainer.'"
Quitting his loading dock job in Dallas, Floyd moved to Littleton, Colorado, a suburb of Denver, in 1979, and other than yearly visits to Texas, hasn't looked back since. Through gigs around Denver and regular jaunts to Oregon, Arkansas and various locales, the guitarist makes a solid living — along with a lot of friends, including some of his famous heroes — as a solo performer.
Floyd, 66, who mixes in his own compositions with finely curated covers by the likes of Beatles, Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Simon & Garfunkel, Poco and others, will make one of his regular Oregon visits to perform at McMenamins Edgefield Winery Tasting Room in Troutdale 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 15.
Floyd became acquainted with the Portland-area music scene in 2006 through the late Lisa Lepine, a beloved and well-connected music consultant and booker who lost a battle with cancer about three years ago.
"The people who were doing bookings for McMenamins farmed out some jobs for her, and I got my foot in the door there," he says of the regional resort and music venue chain. "(Now) I book McMenamins gigs and put (other shows) together around them. Edgefield's been a regular stop for me for a long time."
On his first visit to the cave-like environs of the Winery Tasting Room, Floyd didn't see it as an ideal place to play, but it grew on him after he started performing there.
"It's such a long, narrow room, and the bar's kinda in the back around the corner," he says, "but when people start coming in, they fight over the couch and want to sit up front. They just want to listen."
Floyd works with a band occasionally for his Colorado gigs, but the smooth-voiced performer and solid acoustic guitar picker prefers to go it alone when he hits the road.
"When someone else is on stage, I'm talking to the person on stage," he explains. "I like to give the audience my undivided attention."
He often stays with friends near the venues he plays in places like Wilsonville, Oregon City and Molalla.
"I fly to Portland about three times a year. My friends give me a place to stay," he says. "I have my music gear here so I don't have to travel back and forth."
After settling near Denver, Floyd gradually fell in with the country rock-oriented musicians that gravitated to Colorado in the early and mid-1970s, including the likes of Poco, Joe Walsh, Dan Fogelberg and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who he worked for and befriended. Aside from the beauty of the landscape, famous musicians flocked to the Rockies to live and record at Caribou Ranch, built by Jim Guercio, producer of the band Chicago and others.
"A lot of the music just kinda ended up happening here," Floyd says. "Caribou was an interesting place. It was a great recording studio. People came out to take advantage of it, but found they couldn't sing because of the altitude. They would do their basic tracks there, then go back to L.A. to sing at (sea level) altitude. It kind of lost its magic and ran its course."
While still mixing — but not forcing — his originals in sets of material better known to most audiences, Floyd admits his relationship to songwriting is complex these days.
"I haven't written anything in a long time," he says. "I used to take notes and get 'em all out and see if something fits with something else. I don't make myself do that anymore."
Part of that is psychological, he admits, relating specifically to "This Old House," a poignant ballad about his family and the home they grew up in, on which John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band plays mandolin.
"It's 100% accurate. I did not take any poetic license," he says. Trouble is, "I know I will never write a better song. It's become a stumbling block, like 'Oh, I'm never gonna beat this.'"
With his decades of experience writing, singing, playing and touring, however, Floyd realizes his desire to create and carry his calling forward will never leave him alone.
"I have had some ideas for songs lately," he says, adding sheepishly, "I shouldn't be competing with myself."