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Cosmic Free Way to be unplugged and reunited

Tim Parsons

It’s still possible to catch the Cosmic Free Way.

Original members Joe Atkinson and Katie Freeman (formerly Schuch) will play an acoustic show Saturday, Dec. 29, at Rojo’s. Another former member, R.J. Purple, is expected to sit in.

“When we get back together in Tahoe it’s like a big family reunion,” said Atkinson, who lives in Reno and has two other musical projects. “In the 1990s, Tahoe was really happening. We were one of the first jam bands on the West Coast.”

Cosmic Free Way toured from Los Angeles to Maine to Florida, opening for bands such as Blues Traveler, Los Lobos, Canned Heat, String Cheese Incident and the Byrds, Atkinson said. The band had a self-released, self-titled debut album and followed up with “Red Flowers” on Good Noise Records in 1998, he said. It disbanded in 2000.

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Atkinson has a Reno jam band called Left on Fourth Street and also plays in an acoustic duo called Choppin’ Wood, which visits the Silver Legacy in January. Freeman now has two children and lives in Petaluma.

All the remaining members of Cosmic Free Way will play New Year’s Eve at the Zephyr Lounge, 1074 S. Virginia St., Reno, the venue where the band first became popular.

“They put on an amazing and surreal and catatonic vibe when they get out there and play,” said KOZZ radio DJ Max Volume. “They are hypnotic with their able craftsmanship. Just incredible musicians. I would urge people not to miss that show.”

The remaining members include Chris Carletto, who plays with Cool Black Kettle, Joe Grissino of Uncle Funkle and Fletch, formerly of Frame of Mind.

The band’s most recent reunion show was in July at the Tahoe Underground.


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