The MountainCity Story, Part Three

This is the story of how a married couple became the singing-songwriting duo known as the MountainCity band. Part 3

(Denver, CO – Jeanie Rhoades)  Where were we?

It was the end of 2015 when Dave and Tara made the big announcement at the annual Christmas show. They were officially forming MountainCity, a band. For all the time they had spent making that decision, the real work was just beginning.

First band photos, by Eldeen Annette Photography


It was a whirlwind from the start. They kicked off the year by singing love songs at shows, a festival, and several house concerts. They were writing more original music, and building a band – which, it turns out, is actually building a business.

The Kickstarter Campaign

They knew to have a band, the successful type they’d set out to have, they would need to record their songs. Their goal was to be able to employ musicians and create jobs. Each song they recorded was going to cost around $2000. They had to get creative.

Dave says, “We decided to create a Kickstarter and just invite our friends and family to invest.” Kickstarter is an online crowd-funding site. The company’s mission statement is to “help bring creative projects to life.”

So Dave and Tara crunched the numbers and came up with a plan to release one song a month, every month for a year, beginning in June. They set a goal to raise $23,000…in 30 days! On Kickstarter, if you don’t raise it all, you don’t get any of it. So Tara felt a little disconcerted about the size of the project, but they courageously took the leap.

Kickstarter video, February 2016

The crowdfunding campaign got off to a strong start when they began sharing the news with everyone they knew. But then it took a dip.

It’s a nail-biter

Seven or eight days before the end of the campaign, Dave and Tara and their sons were taking a drive. Hunter, their pragmatic firstborn, asked, “So, how much are you guys trying to raise?”

“Twenty-three thousand dollars,” his dad told him.

“And how much do you have?” Hunter wondered.


They can laugh now, too, when they recount this story. But at the time, Hunter, from the back seat, laughed, shook his head and said, “You’re not making that!”

They both moaned a little. They were aware that there was a possibility they wouldn’t get funded, but they didn’t want to hear it out loud.

“We were all thinking that,” Tara says. “We were thinking, Ok, we’re not going to get the Kickstarter, so let’s just get ourselves ready. It’s fine. We’ll figure out a way to be able to record.”

About that time a women’s group (WOW, led by Cheryl Jackson) invited them to come and sing at their gathering and allowed them to share about the Kickstarter. The women there ended up contributing generously. It helped reignite the campaign and the hope behind it.

One day left…breathe

They had about $16,000 and only one day left to raise the rest. As Dave and Tara, or MountainCity as they were now known, were setting up for a house concert in Erie, Colorado, Dave kept checking the total. The amount had gone up $1500 in the previous 24 hours, so he hoped that was a good sign. Maybe people who planned to give had just waited until the end?

But still. They needed another $7000 with only hours left to get it.

People started arriving for the house concert. Dave checked the Kickstarter again – wait, what??? He was shocked!


He saw “$23,500,” which was over the amount they were trying to raise. Their hearts started to pound. He checked his email, because Kickstarter always notifies you of a contribution, and there were no notifications amounting to more than $7000. Wide-eyed, they wondered, ‘Should we be rejoicing? Is this for real?’ They were hesitant, fearful it might just be a glitch.

But there it was – live on the Kickstarter site: “$23,500 has been pledged to help bring this project to life!”

Suddenly, a fedora came flying from across the room.  Charles Ciepiel, the band’s keyboardist was screaming with joy as the revelation sunk in.

“We finally figured out that we got fully funded,” Tara explains. “I was screaming and jumping up and down and we were grabbing people saying, ‘We got funded, we got funded’!”

“We all were,” Dave says. “It made that concert so sweet, so joyous.” They say that every song was probably a little faster that night, they were all so giddy.

Over 150 people had made it possible for MountainCity to record their songs, raising almost $27,000!

Dave and Tara are still humbled by the thought of it, that their friends and family would generously sow into their dreams and creativity.

MountainCity Adventures in 2016

The tremendous courage and focus the band had shown made several exciting new ventures possible.


They were able to record and release a song each month since June. Some songs have been released with additional versions, as well. You can stream MountainCity wherever you listen to music, including Spotify. You may also purchase each song here.

Additionally, the band was able to produce a CD of many of their songs, which they sell at live concerts.

Facebook Live

In November, MountainCity kicked off weekly 30-minute live broadcasts via Facebook. The idea is to play their songs, tell some love stories and invite other artists to share theirs.

Their close friends, Tom and Sara Walsh “man the phones” every week while an average of 5000 people watch the broadcast live, or the video at a later date.

Management and Nashville connections

The next logical step, as MountainCity had funded their recording ventures and were doing primarily local concerts, along with a few short road trips, was to get a manager.

A couple of guys from Nashville, who’d been in contact with them since the fall, called to let them know they’d be coming to the Christmas concert. Dave and Tara ended up flying to Nashville the first week of January 2017 to meet with them. Dave says “Mike and Lance are just phenomenal. It’s an honor to have them representing us.”

Thanks to so many people

First, the sons

Tara gets almost choked up when she talks about her 2 boys, ages 12 and 4. “Hunter and Kai are along for the ride on this band journey. They’re with us every step of the way. So I have to thank them first.”

The band

When they look back at this exciting year, Dave and Tara marvel at the talent that has surrounded them. They gush over the exceptional band members. They chose specific musicians to be a part of MountainCity: Charles Ciepiel, Nathan Phillips, Erik Johnson, and Jon Powers before him.

The studios

Most of MountainCity’s recorded music has been at one of two studios, both of which they highly recommend.

MGB Music, Boulder, CO. Mike Binder is a great musician in his own right, so he “gets” MountainCity and Tara says Mike has a peaceful way of helping her get to the emotional side of the song, despite the butterflies that come with recording.

Coalesce Audio, Lafayette, CO. Dave Wilton, whom Dave and Tara consider to be one of the most gracious producers you’ll find. And his studio is breathtakingly beautiful, making the experience richer.

The creatives

Eldeen Annette Photography shot their first official band photos, which can be seen on the website and also is the featured cover-design for the silky-smooth single, “Being With You”, and the emotion-stirring single, “Growing Old With You”.

Alicia Lewin Photography did a couples session with Dave and Tara which is the featured cover-design for their first single, “This is Love”, as well as the country infused single, “Ours Is My Favorite”, and the fun, folky single, “Since You’ve Come Around”.

Each song has its’ own cover-design. Dave, Tara, Charles Ciepiel and Stormie Rhoades have designed those.

It takes a lot of talented people to build a band.

What’s next for MountainCity?

They’ve most recently been working with Tom Jackson, live music producer to some of the  top performers in the world today, developing their live shows. The band has also shot some music videos, currently in post-production.

MountainCity plans to continue recording and releasing a song each month, even after the Kickstarter goals are finished. There is tour in the works for later this year. And they have also announced plans to release a Christmas album in 2017.

As it has been from the first, MountainCity will only be singing songs about love. There won’t be any break-up songs.

“We’re writing songs based on our long, loving relationship. These are stories of the love we have with our children, our parents, our grandparents and family and friends. We want to do music that refreshes and restores you,” Tara tells audiences regularly.

Dave and Tara speak freely about how humbled grateful they feel. “People come to our shows, pay money to buy tickets, they purchase our songs, and watch us on Facebook Live,” which makes Tara emotional.

“Thanks for being on the journey with us,” Dave said to FB Live viewers last week.

Tara sums up what they feel, “We’re humbled. We’re thankful we have been given this gift from God.”

The story of MountainCity? This is just the start…

Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here.


Dave Powers would like to thank his sponsor, Grosh Guitars

Dave says

“Man, I LOVE Grosh Guitars! I’ve had the privilege of being a part of their Family of Artists since 2010, and I’ll tell ya, I haven’t played on a better electric guitar in my life! The action is UNBELIEVABLE, the craftsmanship and quality is untouchable, the hand-wound pickups are like a giant pile of butter…I HIGHLY recommend you checking out their stuff!”

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