Divided Sky | Making music in Meyers

DJ Gift and DJ Berkmon

Along the flats of the Upper Truckee River between Echo Summit and Lake Tahoe lies the tiny hamlet of Meyers. And there was once upon a time when this sleepy town with a tightknit community had no public house.

“Our intent at that time was to create a space where people could get together because there wasn’t too much out here except for a couple of restaurants and gas stations,” says owner Brian Levy. “This has always been a cool community and Divided Sky took shape as the needs of the community became apparent. The vision for it all certainly wasn’t stuck to anything too particular until it became what it became.”

“We are lucky to have great musicians from around the country who love coming through and playing the small spots in Tahoe.”
–Brian Levy

Divided Sky opened on Valentine’s Day 2002. It is called a bar, restaurant, café and music venue — but, most of all, a gathering place for the people of Meyers.

“There is no particular reason we opened on that date except that the timing was right and we just went for it,” says Levy. “We weren’t really planning to be a live music venue, but once you start, people begin to hear about it and network from there.”

For the past 15 years, Levy has enjoyed serving locals and visitors alike at the second floor space along U.S. Route 50. He is now beginning to raise a family in this beautiful mountain town.

“The cool thing about Meyers is it’s situated away from the more touristy-feeling South Lake proper, even though everyone drives through and it’s only 5 miles from Tahoe,” he says. “For the people who live here, this is the access point to so much mountain biking, climbing and skiing. You can walk out your backyard on a trail into the Desolation Wilderness and just disappear. As much as people would like to see more businesses open up here, the charm is that it’s so small.”

Divided Sky hosts live music around once a week during the winter and twice a month throughout the rest of the year. This past summer it hosted the fifth annual Tahoe Mountain Bike & Brew Festival as a fundraiser for Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association. Riders use the venue as a staging point for classic trails, such as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, Sidewinder Corral and Armstrong Pass, before enjoying some beer tasting and live music afterwards.

Over the years, there has been a wide spectrum of bands that have graced the stage at Divided Sky including jam, bluegrass, Latin jazz, steel drums and straight-up rock ‘n’ roll. Some, including AOL, Dead Winter Carpenters and DJ Z-Trip, have gone on to become popular acts.

“Some of the best shows have been played to only 15 people,” says Levy. “We are lucky to have great musicians from around the country who love coming through and playing the small spots in Tahoe. Our dream is to have someone like Neil Young play in Stateline and then come pop in at our bar after the show to share a beer and play an acoustic set.”

When Levy opened the establishment, he decided to name it Divided Sky for two reasons.

“It’s true I was a big Phish fan when I opened the bar and I liked the song,” admits Levy. “But I also thought it applied to being at the base of Echo Summit where you constantly get this dark and light sky that is sort of split. A lot of people traveling through come expecting to see all this Phish memorabilia around the bar, but we don’t really have that. I think the occasional concert poster has popped up and we still sometimes listen to them at 2 a.m., but I think 75 percent of the people who work here have no interest in listening to Phish. That’s just the changing times, I guess.”

But with the legend of Phish’s 37-minute “Tahoe Tweezer” performance at Stateline, Nev., in 2013 firmly in stone, Phish heads from around the land will most likely continue to make pilgrimage to Divided Sky — only to find a bunch of Meyers locals hanging out and possibly listening to the most awesome band you’ve never heard of.

For more information, visit thedividedsky.com or look for upcoming shows on Facebook.


 

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Sean McAlindin
Sean McAlindin is a writer, musician and educator based in Truckee. When he's not drafting new story ideas, he can be found jamming with his Celtic bluegrass band, Lost Whiskey Engine, hiking for a local back-country powder stash or hanging out with his daughter, Penelope.