Musician finds the impossible in Central Colorado during pandemic

Patsy O’Brien, Irish guitarist, is performing May 16 at the Coaldale Schoolhouse.


Like many musicians Patsy O’Brien, Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been challenged by COVID-19. A little over a year ago the almost impossible happened. Musicians were limited to virtual appearances or faced with wearing masks and drastically limiting the size of audiences.

“I hated the idea of not playing live for awhile,” O’Brien, a singer/songwriter and Irish guitarist, said. “As the lockdown wore on I decided to reach out to the venue bookers in the Salida area and say how do you feel about trying some socially distanced shows? If it doesn’t work we can put it behind us and chalk it up to experience.”

The bookers decided to give it a shot and last October O’Brien flew out to do a couple of socially distanced, masked shows.

“We met all the criteria we needed and the attendance proved that we all needed this,” he said. “Everyone did what they needed to do to stay safe and I got to do what I need to do to stay sane, so now I have a special place in my heart for this area. You could say I feel as though we’ve been through it together. This area has such a love and feel for music, it’s a joy to come here.”

He now has a show booked at LaVeta Mercantile in LaVeta on May 14. Former Salidan, Emile Dubia, owns that venue.

Another show is booked two days later at 5 p.m. Sunday, May 16 at the Coaldale Schoolhouse. Cost is $15 and reservations are necessary. To reserve a spot call 719-530-0838 or email

“I’m lucky,” O’Brien said. “I have some recording duties to keep me busy and at this point the live shows are starting to trickle back onto the picture. Who knows what tomorrow brings? But for now I’m happy to be here.”

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