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TMD didn’t come out of thin air. Regular gigs around town, openers at the Fox or late-night shows at the Lazy Dog have earned the band a growing following in town. The five-piece outfit formed in Vail around a high-school acoustic duo between mandolinist Heuga and guitarist MJ Ouimette. In a natural fit for the Boulder scene, heavy influences of the Grateful Dead and other classic rock bands like Little Feat course through the band’s original repertoire.

If the band’s musical DNA resonates with the Boulder club scene, it should come as no surprise: Ouimette also points to another local outfit as a prime inspiration, a band that got its start years before TMD’s members drew their first breath. “Leftover Salmon is definitely one of our biggest influences,” he says. “All of us, as individuals and as a group, we all grew up listening to their music. It’s like, these guys are just having so much fun with it, but they’re also incredibly proficient musicians.”

Respectfully borrowing the name of the famed Army unit that once trained virtually in their backyard, Boulder’s Tenth Mountain Division is out to prove that songcraft and a good time need not be mutually exclusive.

In a year of milestones, including their first headlining gig in late August at Boulder’s musical altar, The Fox, TMD not only scored their first out-of-state festival, but also released their first album, Cracks in the Sky, in March. The first instinct for any young band is to capture the energy and sticky-floor vibe of their live show on a record—a common trap and often a waste of expensive studio time—as many of their fans already hold digital downloads of the live shows anyway.