By

Photo of the bluegrass band Finnders and Youngberg

Finnders & Youngberg will perform three free concerts at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville on Feb. 25, Rifle on Feb. 26 and Steamboat Springs on Feb. 27.

Fort Collins-based FY5 plays three free CMC concerts

It probably helps to write a song about plowing snow off Red Mountain Pass in southwestern Colorado if you’ve actually driven the snowplow.

Just like, when writing a song about the flood of the St. Vrain River through Lyons, it helps to have known someone who suffered and lost when those floodwaters washed away homes in northern Colorado in 2013.

Not all the songs written and performed by the Fort Collins-based FY5 – Finnders & Youngberg are about places or events in Colorado. But the band’s founder, lead singer and guitarist said they definitely consider themselves – and their music – influenced by the state and its people.

“We’re proud to be a Colorado band,” said Mike Finders (pronounced FIN-ders, like on a fish. Mispronouncements of his last name led to the addition of the second “n” in the band’s name.) “We like to think our music is centered on a Colorado beat. It’s a good bluegrass state, which probably a lot of people don’t think about when they think of Colorado.”

FY5 – Finnders & Youngberg will perform three free concerts, at Colorado Mountain College campuses in Leadville, Rifle and Steamboat Springs Feb. 25-27.

Precision picking, soaring harmonies, joyful choreography

Finders and banjo player Aaron Youngberg met in 2005 and started playing together. Vocalist and bass player Erin Youngberg (who is married to Aaron Youngberg), mandolin picker Rich Zimmerman and fiddler Ryan Drickey round out the five-piece band, which formed in 2009. The size of the band led to the “FY5” that precedes Finnders & Youngberg.

Finders said he was captivated after hearing legendary banjo player Earl Scruggs, who was the first to master and refine a three-finger picking method. “His style was a little bit of an anomaly and it just knocked me out,” he said. “His banjo playing made me want to play bluegrass.”

FY5 – Finnders & Youngberg have performed at summer festivals outside Colorado, including in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, N. Mex.; Spokane, Wash.; and a few times in Wyoming. They’ve also been to the Midwest – Iowa, Nebraska, Chicago and Madison, Wisc.

“We had offers to go to California, but it wasn’t enough to make it worthwhile for a five-piece band,” Finders said. “We teach a bluegrass camp for adults each year in New Mexico and we always perform at the bluegrass festival in Pagosa Springs each summer. We try to tour as much as we can, but we want to keep our lives in balance, too. Touring all the time can lead to strains on relationships and breakups, and we definitely don’t want that.”

FY5 – Finnders & Youngberg is sometimes described as a 21st century bluegrass band, he said. Their performances feature precision picking, soaring harmonies and joyful, energetic choreography centered on an old-school, single microphone setup.

“We don’t think of ourselves as a true, old-time bluegrass band, but people think of our music as definitely bluegrass,” Finders said. “Every once in a while we’ll cover a song by somebody like Earl Scruggs or Hank Thompson, but we focus on our own art, our own music. I like to think of us as more of a folk band, really. We’re singing about honest folks doing honest folks’ work, usually our own stories.”

The free concert in Leadville, presented by KW Construction and Restoration and CMC Art Share, will be held at the Colorado Mountain College campus, Climax Molybdenum Leadership Center, 901 South Highway 24, at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25.

The other two free concerts, presented by CMC ArtShare, will be held at Colorado Mountain College in Rifle, Clough Auditorium, 3695 Airport Road, at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26, and at

Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat Springs, Allbright Family Auditorium, 1275 Crawford Ave., at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.

For more information about the FY5 – Finnders & Youngberg concerts, call 970-947-8367. Find more about the band at fy5band.com.