Born in the fertile breeding grounds of the mountains of Colorado, Tenth Mountain Division is continuing the musical legacy set down by their forefathers in Colorado. Like those that came before, Tenth Mountain Division is pushing the sound found in the mountains into bold, new directions with their exploratory take on Americana that dips freely in the well of all their diverse influences, classic Southern Rock, the progressive bluegrass that was born in their backyard in Colorado, the adventurous spirit of sixties psychedelic blues, and straight ahead driving rock ‘n’ roll. Much like their Colorado predecessors, Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, and Yonder Mountain String Band, they defy simple categorization; instead they reference their musical history with their high-energy shows as they blaze new musical paths every night. As they do so they have become the new voice of the Colorado music scene, taking their Ski-party sound around the country and making every show feel like a night in the mountains.
Tenth Mountain Division was first born in 2010 when high-school classmates, Winston Heuga (mandolin) and MJ Ouimette (guitar) first met when they discovered a shared musical interest. The two young musicians started penning songs together that were inspired by the lore of the 10th Mountain Division military infantry and the natural beauty that surrounded their hometown in the Rocky Mountains. They ended up at the University Colorado Boulder where they briefly played as an acoustic trio with upright bassist, Connor Dunn before meeting drummer Tyler Gwynn and keyboardist Campbell Thomas. The addition of drums and keys to Heuga and Ouimette’s deep musical bond, widened their musical palette, taking the band in new directions and pointing to bold, uncharted, musical horizons. They released their first album, Cracks in the Sky, in 2016 and followed it up with a national tour that saw them packing shows across the country. The band’s lineup was solidified soon after with the addition of Andrew Cooney and immediate success followed. Since then they have become a regular presence on the festival circuit including stops at Summer Camp, Aiken Bluegrass Festival, Winter Wondergrass, Yarmony, ARISE, and Leftover Salmon’s Boogie at the Broadmoor. They released their second album, In Good Company, in 2018. It was an album that Live for Live Music declared was, “chock full of raw rock and roll, with a savory listening experience guaranteed for all.” The band is currently in the studio with Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone working on their next album and continuing their non-stop touring. - Tim Newby: Author of 'Bluegrass in Baltimore' & 'Leftover Salmon: Thirty Years of Festival'
Boulder, CO native Campbell Thomas is the keystone powerhouse of TMD that anchors the group musically while stretching the reach of the chain. Classically trained on the piano and percussion throughout the duration of his childhood, Thomas merged the two disciplines to create a uniquely rhythmic style of playing that is the pillar’s on the foundation. Above all, his vocals are equally captivating if not more so and truly rattle the senses when on the mic. Thomas joined TMD in a soft autumn morning when he saw the silhouettes of four out-of-shape yet distinguished individuals approaching; it was at that moment that a lifetime friendship and musical bond was born!
Andrew Cooney began his musical voyage in his hometown of Chicago, Il. His musical interest was sparked at a young age from his grandparents who were jazz musicians in their time. During his teen and college years, he played with multiple bands ranging from rock to jazz to doo-wop ensembles. After getting his undergraduate in music management at Indiana University, he made his way to Los Angeles to pursue his musical career. There he went through the grit and the grind of the L.A. music industry. He wrote and produced songs, played with other bands and played guitar for a Motown singer-songwriter at Motown Records. After a few years building his musical repertoire in the west coast, he flew out to Denver where he met the Tenth Mountain Division guys and instantly a relationship was kindled. His musical expertise in both the business and theory has helped augment TMD's sound, especially in his slick bass lines and caramel-smooth vocals.
Tyler Gwynn, a Cape Cod, MA native, started playing the drums at the age of 5 when his parents bought him his first drum set. He started playing live at the age of 8. This continued through high school where he played shows locally and throughout New England. Tyler moved to Boulder in 2012 to study at CU Boulder and joined TMD in the winter of 2013, almost getting them all a noise violation at their first practice together. Gwynn’s unique drumming style sparked the bands transformation from a bluegrass trio into an electric rock band. Although the band still holds deep roots with bluegrass music the addition of Gwynn’s drums added and remains the driving force behind TMD’s music and continues to push the band to new and unique sounds.
As long as he can remember MJ Ouimette has been drawn to music as a fan, musician and writer. Although he began his music training on drums at age 10, the guitar became his dominant and favored instrument shortly thereafter. After years of playing with multiple friends and his father he honed in his attacking yet measured lead guitar sound that fuses bluegrass flatpicking and chromatic improvisation. From ages 12-17 he hosted his own radio program on the local community radio station in his hometown of Vail, CO, Radio Free Minturn. In high school Ouimette met band mate and co-founder of TMD Winston Heuga and began penning what would become the first TMD originals. Ouimette has been an integral orchestrator of the group’s distinct elements into the cohesive whole that you hear today. Ouimette says the band is his life’s passion for music realized and wouldn’t be possible without the members of the band that he considers his best friends.
Hailing from Edwards, Colorado, self-taught mandolinist Winston Heuga began playing when he was sixteen, learning to play by way of jamming with friends and experimenting with progressive bluegrass music. Although he and his future collaborator Ouimette didn’t hit it off immediately, the two struck a chord when they began playing together in high school. Ouimette recalls thinking that he was “too pretty for rock’n’roll.” Their musical relationship formed from performing covers as a bluegrass duo at open mics and coffee shops in the area until they began writing their own songs. When Heuga’s talent for writing lyrics and Ouimette’s ear for musical arrangements intersected the birth of TMD was imminent. Since the development of the bands electrified sound Heuga has taken a less traditional approach to his instrument, unifying an acoustic instrument with the bands classic rock sound. Throughout the progression of TMD, the mandolin has taken the role of the rhythm guitar and helped morph the bands evolving genre.