Vail mourns the loss of beloved musician to COVID-19

Every local musician has their song. For Rod Powell it was the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” said friend and musician Shannon Tanner.

Armed with old classics like that and others by Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Jimmy Buffett and Crosby, Stills & Young, Powell pioneered Vail’s music scene, building a community in the process.

When Powell died Saturday Of COVID-19 — one of Colorado’s 26 reported casualties of the coronavirus sweeping the country — he left a hole in the local aprés-ski scene, Tanner and fellow musician Scott Rednor agreed.

“Aprés-ski, that’s the social part,” Rednor said. “That’s ‘after ski,’ you drink your beers, you take your shots, and you listen to music.”

Video of Rod Powell and Shannon Tanner

Powell was king of the crowd pleasers, the consummate entertainer, the two musicians agreed. And if you heard music walking down Bridge Street 30 years ago, there was a high probability it was Powell.

“He became very, very good friends with thousands of people. He had an innate ability to remember people and their names,” Tanner said. “He was like my brother. We were hooked at the hip every day.”

Tanner learned March 10 that Powell had been hospitalized with pneumonia.

“The moment he went in, they intubated him immediately,” Tanner said. “He never spoke another word after that. He never ever, ever spoke another word.”