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My Aspen: John Oates

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (and local) John Oates shares his in-town faves.

Richly Inspired

I come up with song ideas when I’m just zoning out. I was riding up Buttermilk with a friend, and this gal who looked very L.A. was hiking down. I thought of the line ‘trophy bride on a trophy ride.’ It spurred the whole idea for the song ‘Color of Love’ on my album Phunk Shui.

You’re as apt to find Woody Creek resident John Oates—one half of music duo Hall & Oates—on one of the local trails as you are onstage. Living here full time since 1988, Oates is an avid outdoors person, though these days he’s dialing it back. On Aspen’s hardcore fitness culture, he says. “I bought into it lock, stock and barrel. But I don’t have to push myself anymore to feel like I’ve accomplished something.” Along with Daryl Hall, Oates was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April. He just released his fifth solo album, Good Road to Follow, a three-disc set of collaborations that honors his folk and blues musical roots while adding a contemporary spin. Oates and his wife, Aimee, now split their time between their ranch here and Nashville, Tenn., but a permanent move south is unlikely. Says Oates, “There’s no place on Earth like Aspen, and I’ll never give that up.” Here, some of his favorites.