Rock with a jazzy twist

The Bus Tapes offer music for the perfect date night


Since 2008, The Bus Tapes have been entertaining crowds with a mix of original songs and covers of everything from the Violent Femmes to Frank Sinatra. What ties it all together is the band’s signature sound, which its members describe as folk rock with a jazzy twist. The Bus Tapes are based in Santa Fe, but they venture to Taos a few times a year, and this is one of those times.

Catch The Bus Tapes live Saturday (June 3) from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in Adobe Bar at the Taos Inn, 125 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. There is no cover charge for the show.

When asked what people can expect from the Taos Inn concert, vocalist Heather Tanner said, “People can expect a great date night. There’ll be love songs and upbeat dancing songs, and it’s really a great place to go to spend an evening with people you enjoy.”

The Bus Tapes have twice won awards at the New Mexico Music Awards. The first time, in 2012, was for “Songs for You.” That was followed in 2013 for “Comfort.” For now, The Bus Tapes are staying busy with live shows and not focused on recording. They do have YouTube videos of their music that will give you a sense of their style. You can find them on Facebook and their website at

Tanner has been writing songs since she was 15 years old. She bases them on her personal experiences.

“I think most people who write music at the end of the day are writing about their own experiences – the only thing we can write about with truth. That’s my case,” she said.

While she’s been a longtime singer-songwriter, Tanner said she had never played with others or in public before The Bus Tapes.

“The Bus Tapes is the first and only band I’ve ever had,” Tanner said. “Everything I’ve learned about how to perform, how to be entertaining, how to work with others has all been done with this band. Before that, I played music just on my own and made some YouTube videos. I never really performed in public, never really played with others. So, this has been such a special thing for me. … I get to travel around with these guys and meet all kinds of people and play music that I love and play songs that I write.”

In addition to playing Tanner’s original songs, The Bus Tapes play a mix of covers. The bandmates choose them from a wide range of genres and select songs for their repertoire based on their own affinity for the music, as well as the response they get from their audiences.

Tanner explained that The Bus Tapes’ name comes from a piece of music trivia, the infamous bus tapes that recorded jazz musician Buddy Rich’s colorful tirades against his band members while on their tour bus. Early on in the band’s history, Tanner and her husband, bassist Case Tanner, were in hysterics while listening to those rants. They were looking for potential band names at the time, and “The Bus Tapes” stuck.

“It’s an insider joke,” explained Heather Tanner.

Other band members include David Gold on guitar and Jim Reid on drums.

In addition to their Taos Inn show, you can catch The Bus Tapes in their home city of Santa Fe at The Cowgirl and at the Santa Fe Plaza this Fourth of July. They also play regularly in Albuquerque. Details of their upcoming shows can be found on their website and Facebook page.

For more information about the band’s Taos appearance, call the Taos Inn at (575) 758-2233.