Years at Winfield: 

This group got its start in 1972, some twenty-seven years ago, at the height of the "folk boom." According to them, "Us" is, and has been from the beginning, Steve Abbott, Jack Stanesco and Harry Tuft. It all began with an invitation to play at a "Free U" coffee house on Logan St. in Capitol Hill area of Denver. Abbott and Stanesco had met in the Peace Corps and Abbott happened to be on his way through town. Fortunately for them, he decided to stay in Denver, and they began to "jam" together. After their debut at "Free U," they decided to play together as a group. They called themselves "This Band Is Starving." Soon after, they thought they should have a more permanent name, and they've been "Grubstake" ever since.

Playing guitars and singing traditional and contemporary songs is how Grubstake started. But as time went on the music itinerary changed. Jack Stanesco found and recorded a number of chanties from the island of St. Vincent, where he and Steve Abbott were in the Peace Corps together and these were added to their repertoire. Steve Abbott grew up in the Chicago area, so blues was a natural to bring to the group. Harry Tuft always loved ballads and enjoyed adding harmony to songs. So, it seems that between the three of them, they've been able to blend their interests and abilities to bring a variety of material to their audiences.

Over the years, each member of the group has added an instrument to enhance the dynamics of the group. Jack added the banjo, Steve the mandolin and Harry the bass. This has allowed them to add more range and depth to their repertoire. It now includes traditional ballads and old-time tunes, as well as contemporary songs from writers such as Bob Dylan, Greg Brown, John McCutcheon, and Ian Tyson.

What about their "day jobs?" Well, Steve formed Abbott Equipment with his brother some fifteen plus years ago. Jack Stanesco is a geology professor at Red Rocks Community College and also chairs the Science Department. Harry Tuft has opened, closed and re-opened the Denver Folklore Center. And isn't ironic that each has two children (Steve has boys, Harry has girls and Jack has one of each). They do not envision a "Grubstake Family Concert" anytime in the near or distant future, but they are pleased that all the children enjoy music, even if it's not theirs.

They perform less frequently now than in past years. Somehow schedules become more complicated, but they do love to sing together. As stated earlier, they are "Us" and as long as there are folks who will listen, there will be "Us" ... er... Grubstake to sing and play for them.

Other Walnut Valley artists: