LA's Balto Making Two Stops in Colorado This Week

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Balto is a brave Americana-rock band hailing from the City of Angels who will grace us with their presence right here in our own Denver, Colorado this week. They are playing in Loveland at 5030 Local this Friday, April 12th, and then coming to Denver on Saturday, April 13th to play at the Black Buzzard. Oskar Blues’ Denver bar is the perfect setting for this band, and for you to go enjoy local brews while lubricating your ears with the boozy, swaggering style of American music rooted at the intersection of Motown, Big Star, Plastic Ono Band-era Lennon, and Jackson Browne. When you’re listening to Balto’s music, it paints an open-road landscape of nostalgia. Basically, they make you feel like a character from one of Jack Kerouac's novels.  

Balto.

Balto.

And these guys are going places. They’re already on their way, actually. Balto’s newly released single “Black Snake, Mojave Blues was featured in Rolling Stone’s 10 New Americana and Country Songs. They have over 3 million listeners on Spotify, and have supported nationally touring bands including The Revivalists, Blind Pilot, David Nail, and Current Swell.

Balto is also on the “Top 20 Sessions”of 2018’s Jam in the Van. You can check out their video above, or watch their new live video from BalconyTV. Make sure to catch their Colorado shows this week and keep up with Balto here.

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Premiere: Andy Sydow Releases New Single "Hearts Go On" From Upcoming Record

Colorado’s Andy Sydow has released his newest single today, “Hearts Go On.” The track, which feels Tom Petty-inspired with Americana and rock influences, will be on Sydow’s upcoming record Reasons For Departure.

Sydow actually began his music career at the University of Colorado in Boulder where he studied jazz piano performance. From there, he worked a short stint at Howl At The Moon as a dueling piano performer until he realized he wanted to pursue a life as a solo artist.

After releasing his works Trailhead (2015) and A Little Messed Up (2016), Sydow took to the road with the Andy Sydow band across the U.S. and Canada. Reasons For Departure, which will be released in May of this year, is Sydow’s most current project. He has worked on the album with Grammy-nominated and Colorado Music Hall of Fame inductee Chris Daniels.

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Said Sydow about the debut single from the record, “The song teases the innocence of young love, while the character in the story is so wrapped up in it, he can't see beyond the pain of the situation. I hope the listener can relate to and see the other side of a situation that pretty much everyone has experienced.”

Make sure to give “Hearts Go On” a listen and keep up with Andy here.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

This Is Why Every Fruition Show Feels Like Home

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Fruition, a five-piece band from Portland, Oregon, have been playing around Colorado for around ten years, accumulating big love from their fans and innocent first-time observers alike. I proudly consider myself a part of the Fruity Freaks Family, as we Fruition fans like to call ourselves. I have been following Fruition for over eight years now, seeing them play in bars like Oskar Blues in Lyons and at day sets at Ned Fest. They’ve come a long way since then and their newest album, Watching It All Fall Apart, which dropped earlier this month, is a testament to that growth.

Fruition.

Fruition.

For someone like me, who has seen Fruition turn from a green seedling into a blossoming tree, experiencing them rock Denver’s Ogden this past weekend was heartwarming. Their Saturday night performance was nothing short of awesome. The set was filled with music off the new record with soulful songs like “Northern Town” and “I Should Be (On Top Of The World),” rock’n’roll tunes like “I’ll Never Sing Your Name,” “Stuck On You,” “There She Was,” and finally sprinkled throughout were old school Fruition barn-stompers like “Never Again and Boil Over.”  As the band got onstage and the lights turned red and blue, the energy was stoked and by the third song in, the room was electric. People were dancing and singing and catching up with old friends. Taking it all in was a blast.

The thing about a band like Fruition is their family, good-time, sing-and-stomp-along vibe beckons to be experienced on multiple occasions. Going to their shows is like coming back home to catch up with old friends and family and share in the common thread that is their amazing musical talent and performance. And although their latest record is a departure from their grassroots foundation toward an experiment in rock‘n’roll and soul, the essence of Fruition still remains. Any band that plays together and stays together for ten years or more is bound to search and experiment new ways of expressing themselves, and these five members just keep exploring ways to harmonize and express themselves individually and simultaneously cohesively. Morphing into maturity through depth and curiosity, all the while staying grounded and kind, is something that I have always admired about Fruition and why I always believed that they were a powerhouse of musicians worthy of everyone’s attention. After seeing them play this past weekend, my admiration of them is only stronger and my anticipation of their next Colorado visit only higher.   

Check out Fruition at Winter Wondergrass this month, February 24th in Steamboat Springs and later this summer at Red Rocks Amphitheater on August 18th. You can follow them on Facebook for more events and cool videos, like behind the making of their latest album.

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Chewy&Bach's Debut Single "Potion" Is Hypnotizing Electro-Americana

By: Elizabeth Lee

In a world of music and a sea of artists, it is always refreshing to find a track that showcases a fresh take on multiple genres and creates a sound of its own. 

Chewy&Bach.

Chewy&Bach.

Electro-Americana production duo Chewy&Bach do just that with the release of their new single “Potion.” Justin Long (guitar/vocals) and Elliot Olbright (production/sound design) started collaborating as a business venture in 2016, both coming from very different artistic backgrounds. The two found a kind of harmony in music, complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Their style is described as “a love of the roots perfected through electronic music.”

Listen to "Potion":

“Potion” is a superb example of their admirable talent, drawing you in with smooth melodies and hypnotizing the listener with its ambience. The track features the soulful R&B vocals of Tucker Riley, whose voice is layered with psychedelic guitar and keyboard harmonies drenched in dreamy reverb. This unique track is a perfect debut for the duo, as it showcases their ability to combine modern electronic production techniques with their passion for blues, funk, and soul.

Keep up with the latest on Chewy&Bach here.

-Elizabeth

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado Americana Outfit The Railsplitters To Drop New Record 'Jump In'

By: Trevor Ryan

Colorado bred “masters of folk” and award-winning bluegrass group The Railsplitters are back with their third full length record Jump In, due out this Friday, November 10th. The band, who have been on the Colorado bluegrass circuit for a while now, first debuted in 2013 with a self-titled release. The record featured 12 tracks of heavily intricate stand-alone banjo riffs atop some very impressive mandolin, guitar, and string work in tracks like “Spray.” Along with this, the record showcased the effortlessly sweet vocals of Lauren Stovel, accompanied by the Harmonic Pete Sharpe, who shine in songs like “Boarding Pass,” “My World,” and “Where You Are.”

The Railsplitters.

The Railsplitters.

This record was followed by the band’s 2015 release The Faster It Goes, which was an exciting follow-up for both the listener, as well as the band, who developed their strong, progressive sound. The album gave us craaaaazy gems like “Goosetown,” which gives a real sense of where The Railsplitters’ talent truly lies as far as instrumentalists are concerned. Along with this, the band implemented a gypsy folk vibe that proved to be an upbeat surprise from their previous bluegrass leanings. Pair all of this with the outright most beautifully melodic stuff to come out of new age folk since City & Colours’ “Bring Me Your Love,” and there you'll find The Railsplitters with tracks like “You,” “Met That Day,” and “It's a Little Late.

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Needless to say, the anticipation for Jump In is HIGH, and is rumored to be the band's most Americana-leaning record yet.

Keep up with The Railsplitters on Facebook, and of course look out for Jump In, dropping on November 10th.

-Trevor

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

I Traded Bison Bone Some Mangoes For A Great Conversation & Some Heartfelt Tunes

By: Joliene Adams

I arrived with two mangoes and departed empty handed, heart full, reeking of campfire at the next morning’s unrelated 8AM professional meeting for my day job. I blame and thank two fifths of Denver’s cosmic country band Bison Bone: Brianna Straut (vocals, harmonica, tambourine) and Courtney Whitehead (vocals, guitar, songwriting). Both are singer-songwriters in their own right, currently on tour performing both as individuals but also as a stripped down Bison Bone duo. Brianna is also a member of Denver’s Americana folk group Tomahawk Fox, where she handles vocals and rhythm guitar.

Brianna & Courtney.

Brianna & Courtney.

They stopped off at Patterson Alley in Eugene to play the outdoor backyard alley house venue; the backyard that pulls a lot of shows and knows how to host food and drinks with fancy strung up lights and all. Denver’s own King Cardinal has also played here within the last year.

The Beer Pairing

Naturally, the first thing I wanted to know was: What kind of beer best pairs with your music? Brianna infectiously belly laughs, endearing her to anyone in earshot.

She explains: “That’s really funny. We talked about that on the way up here and about making a little flyer for all the shows, and saying with each song of mine, or his, or us together, which beer goes with it.”

Courtney chimes in that as for the band’s sound overall? “Probably some kind of sour.”

More laughter from Brianna, then from Courtney and myself reflexively as a doctor’s knee-hammer at just the right spot on the patella. That the two are sardonically earnest comes through in interview as much as it does in their lyrical content.

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Brianna swiftly recovers, reflecting on her own personal singers-songwriter musician sound: “Probably some kind of pale ale.” She specifies: “an Oskar Blues [pale ale but consumed] at a tasting room in Austin, Texas.” Brianna grew up in east Texas and last lived in Austin before her move to Denver. “So a little bit Texas, a little bit Colorado,” she explains. Courtney hails from Oklahoma.

Silence lingers in the air for a moment. “Yeah, sour.” he chimes. More laughter from all.

The Good, the Bad, & the Ass-Busting

It’s a fine line between surviving and surthriving in this world. Musicians often endure this reality acutely. Bless their darn hearts. Brianna and Courtney opened up about it.

Courtney first: “You know, whether you’re creating new music or rotating band members, people don’t realize [the hard work it takes]. They show up in their town and they’re ready to party.”

Yet Courtney and Brianna’s own appreciation for their encountered gains is as blatant as it is poignant.

“This tour has been really incredible and I think it’s always like such an amazing way to see how people respond to this travelling circus we have… The way that they like welcome you with open arms… the last place we were in we were staying at this girl’s house for two days. She hosted us for a night of music. We have some friends that live there that took us out, they bought us drinks, they spent a lot of money on merch… [and this girl] was just constantly leaving little notes out for us and it was just that kind of stuff is like what really helps move us on to the next place. Not only monetarily but just like…”

Courtney pipes in, “... soulfully.”

I sat there thinking, "They brought music and all I brought were two mangoes. At least I brought mangoes? At least I brought mangoes."

Brianna continues, “It keeps our spirits up because it’s really hard whenever you go back you’ve got, you know, we’ve got our bills to pay, we’ve got everything else… you know we have life and society telling us we are doing something that’s so bizarre. But it’s really nice to see what it ignites in people… it opens our eyes up to really great times of people just being really wonderful in a time that’s really hard to see the good in people.”

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Brianna and Courtney take their music and that appreciative attitude on the road. I can only hope they see that they themselves embody showing the good, being the uplifting and relatable in the tough times.

Songs like Courtney’s solo performance of Bison Bone’s "Walls,” which is about coming home for the first time after your dog’s died but is relatable in terms of other loss, may not be happy sunshine feel-good uplifting, but people need the real and relatable so hard sometimes and particularly in hard times all the more. We all need the keep-it-realers and these two are expert at it.

Nine times out of ten, someone will appreciate your saying, “sometimes life gives you lemons and makes you eat them rinds and all” far more than “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade” on a bad day. I’m not suggesting negative is good, but that real and raw, empathy and emotional insight matter a hell of a lot; Brianna and Courtney are capable of bringing that and it rings loud and true in what they do together and apart. They touch you right where your wounds are in a way that might hurt, but simultaneously cleanses and heals like castille soap on a newly scraped knuckle.

The Band Description

Bison Bone’s band description is that of  “a working class cosmic country band from Denver, CO.” Previously, Daniel Mescher of Colorado Public Radio (CPR) and Tom Murphy of Westword both asked Courtney what puts the “cosmic” in the “cosmic country.” Much of it comes down to the psychedelic influences of the 60s and 70s that blend with the country at the roots. I probed the “working class” element.

Courtney explains, “I would say that mostly when we talk about that [the working class element], obviously any band now can say that with regards to the way they work: loading their own shit, buying their own van, running around doing everything, that kind of do-it-your-own. Even if you are playing a thousand-person venue in any city, you know, you’re still doing a lot of that on your own. Creating your own art, creating your own merch… But when I describe it that way [as a working-class band], I’m mostly talking about it lyrically, and somewhat sonically. We write about the stories we know- where we come from, the people we know, and we come from a working-class background.”

The Road Test

Even when it isn’t raining everything is wet, always, in Oregon Octobers; dampness, cold from the inside to the brim of your bones. It lent itself to habitual bouts of guitar tuning this eve. But tuning guitars in different environments is ultimately the first step to tweaking perspective and being self–reflective for these two.

Brianna reflects, “You can only play so much in your hometown. But when you’re playing a different place each night [on the road], to a different crowd, you really get to test out and see new stuff.”

Courtney adds, “Yeah, I like to use the word road tested or lived in… it is different to drive somewhere, show up, load your stuff up, set up, and then you may play a song that you’ve played thousands of times before but it’s going to feel different in that place if it’s your first time being in that venue or geographical location.”

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The road, currently, is a way to help the pair try out new tunes. I naively assumed it was about promoting Bison Bone’s History of Falling album, out this past April. The 10-song, approximately 47-minute album is no longer the primary focus. It was initially recorded around a year ago but now, the band is learning from what it was and moving on towards what they want to be(come).

The Artistic Process

Bison Bone’s History of Falling was by and large a live, in-studio recording. Research tells me this is partly a function of preference, partly a function of time and expense. Research, listening, and an interview also tell me the band is highly process and discovery-oriented. They are at once intuitive, attentive, attuned, and insightful.

Courtney resonates, “[A] lot of it, you know, as any artist from any medium- a lot of what you’re doing is taking stuff and throwing it against the wall and seeing if it sticks and adjusting after that, you know.”

As for the storytelling that at least partly drew Courtney to country, it often first comes with a melody. If “it’s a happier melody,” you’re more liable to think of a happy story you know from real life, “but if it’s something sadder, like in a minor key, you’re probably going to write something mad or sad,” Courtney clarifies, the latter being much more of what Bison Bone naturally leans into. But again, Courtney pins down the whole statement by reflecting on the process, and how the melody “kind of does the job itself if you allow it to get out of the way.” It’s a touch and go of inception and discovery.

Note to self: throw the pizza against the wall and see what happens, but don’t stand in the path of the pizza’s trajectory. That’s where art comes from. End essay.

The Relationship Business And Next Big Thing

In an AXS interview “Get to Know a Denver Band” with Alli Andress, Courtney reflected on learning that “it’s not the music business, it’s the relationship business.” That’s a good chunk of what being on the road is about for these two. It’s about the relationship with the people and places they encounter, the relationship to their music, and the relationship between the two and the three back in Colorado.

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“Next we’ve got a lot of shows,” Brianna informs, adding, “We’re looking forward to getting a new album out and working on that with the band, coming back with what we’ve learned from tour.” As for the pair, “The biggest impact I’ve seen [on the road] is the way we communicate. Bring tired, being hungry, and working every day, and uncomfortable… that will strengthen us as two friends in our friendship and in our relationship professionally.”  

Courtney resonates, “You just learn so much [on the road] and you’re excited to put whatever you learned into practice.” He reflects that since History of Falling, Bison Bone had a great year that followed, playing a lot of great Colorado shows, festivals, and playing in New Mexico.

“Doors were opened and it’s allowed us to keep moving forward... I think that’s what we’re always excited about is when we do something new. When we come back to something a little more normal or routine, we’re going to come back and be way beyond the levels that we were at in most normal situations before. Just more professional, more sonically in tune, just better at all aspects of it; more efficient with all of it and getting a better ear and growing patience and figuring it out. It’s just all problem solving, you know.”

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As for what radio stations the band’s encountered on the road and recommends listening to? Podcasts. Particularly, Dan Savage Lovecast, Sword and Scale: A True Crime Podcast, The New Yorker podcast, and KCRW’s Left, Right, & Center podcast.

“Don’t listen to music!” Courtney fervently quipped when asked about radio stations. This time, the laughter was sufficient to garner glances from the gathering crowd at the stage. Really, it was Courtney’s way of saying we all need a break to produce our best when your passion is otherwise your every waking moment. Heed the intelligence.

Thank you Brianna and Courtney for your hard work and stout hearts. Everyone in Colorado check out Brianna at The Jamestown Mercantile this Friday, October 20th at 6PM. She masterfully blends crooning and lullaby, tinged with grace, humor, and aplomb. I can’t say enough about these guys and how much you’ll enjoy them live no matter what mood you are or aren’t in, or your feelings towards and preconceived notions about country generally.

Keep up with Bison Bone here.

-Joliene

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Mary Chapin Carpenter & Emily Barker Bring Foot-Stompin' Good Times To Chautauqua Auditorium

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Two powerful ladies took over Chautauqua Auditorium this past Monday for a night of sweet acapella tunes, country foot-stompin’ jams, and a collective reminiscence on the passing of time.

Emily Barker.

Emily Barker.

Australia’s Emily Barker opened the evening. Barker, who entered the music realm after connecting with guitarist Rob Jackson in the UK in 2002, has been touring internationally on her latest solo record Sweet Kind of Blue (2017). The Americana singer/songwriter, who is fresh off of her 2017 Glastonbury performance, played a stripped-down solo set at Chautauqua, jumping between the piano onstage and her guitar and harmonica. While some artists may have a hard time keeping a crowd’s interest without a backing band, Barker sure isn’t one of them. Her voice is the true instrument of interest in her music, and she definitely proved that at this performance. There wasn’t a sound outside of her vocals throughout the entire auditorium when she sang her tune “Precious Memories” entirely acapella with a few finger snaps thrown in for good measure. With the crowd’s full attention, Barker really showcased the raw, jazzy vibrato sound of her vocals, shortly thereafter ending her 30-minute set with the swampy harmonica and delta vibes of her newer single “Sunrise.”

Country darling Mary Chapin Carpenter entered next, with a four-piece band backing her for a set of tunes spread across her 30-year catalogue. Her Chautauqua show was her second in Colorado for the week, and in support of her 2016 release The Things That We Are Made Of, which is her 14th record release. The crowd was especially taken with her newer, emotive track “Livingston,” which Carpenter shared was inspired by a road trip she took with friends to “say farewell to a friend.”  

Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Mary Chapin Carpenter.

The four-time Grammy winner played plenty of her classics as well. The crowd cheered for her “Passionate Kisses” cover, which harkens back to her 1992 record Come On Come On and was originally written by Lucinda Williams (who ironically plays Chautauqua next week).

“I think that one is a perfect example of songcraft, whether stripped down and acoustic or with a full band! It speaks to the most human desire to love and be loved, which we all deserve.” she remarked afterward, to a vibrant applause.

Carpenter made several reflections on her career throughout the night, saying at one point, “You know a lot of us will say we’re just happy to be anywhere, but I’m especially happy to be here.” And with “here” being a sold-out 1500-capacity auditorium nestled in Boulder’s Foothills, one thing’s clear: Carpenter has strongly accomplished what many artists only dream to do- she’s spent a 30-year music career establishing lifelong fans.

“This next one’s old,” she smiled toward the end of her set, “But aren’t they all? This one’s from the last century.” The crowd cheered.

Though her tunes may be dated in years, they’re established country classics; timeless, though the performer and her loyal fans have aged since her first release.

Carpenter’s next show is in Kansas City tonight with Sarah Jarosz, but Barker will rejoin Carpenter in Iowa this weekend for another leg of this tour. Keep up with Carpenter here and with Barker on her website.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat. 

Politics, Protest, & Authentic Art: Conor Oberst At The Boulder Theater

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Conor Oberst had a three-show stint in Colorado over the weekend before his official Ruminations and Salutations tour kicks off later this July. His Saturday Boulder spot was sandwiched between a performance at Denver’s The Ogden Friday and a Mishawaka Amphitheatre set Sunday. Having become known to the masses for his work in Bright Eyes in the late 90s and early 2000s, Oberst has also had a successful solo career and spent time playing in projects like Desaparecidos, Monsters of Folk, and Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band.

Conor Oberst.

Conor Oberst.

But beyond his talent instrumentally and vocally, Oberst has an appeal on a much more honest level: he writes at times of the working man’s experience and in protest of conservative politics, and let’s face it- in a time where excess is often flaunted in popular music and Instagram celebrities promote music festivals more than the performers themselves, it’s refreshing to have an artist speaking to the working class hero. It’s hard not to speculate Oberst’s Midwest roots attribute to this storytelling (his father worked for Omaha’s Union Pacific Railroad), and it says something that Oberst remains based in The Good Life of Nebraska, a place he has arguably curated a music scene within through his label Saddle Creek Records. Either way, Oberst is one of those artists who, at times, speaks for the middle class of society, whether it’s in his protest songs or in his storytelling. And this theme from some of Oberst’s work hit hard at his show in Boulder last Saturday.

Oberst and his band.

Oberst and his band.

Oberst opened the show with his recent hit “Barbary Coast (Later)” from Ruminations, then threw it back to Bright Eyes’ “Four Winds.” His backing band was excellent- James Felice held down piano/accordion, Parker Taylor Wesley Hollingsworth rocked out on guitar, Billy Lawrence was on drums, Chris Felice licked bass, and Gregory Farley smashed on violin. Oberst’s set also included a Monsters of Folk cover (“Map of the World”), a couple of tracks from his Mystic Valley project (“Ten Women” and final closer “Roosevelt Room”), and several other Bright Eyes tunes. Oberst even shared a new, unrecorded track as the first song of three in his encore, “No One Is Going To Change.”

But throughout his set, current politics entered the scene, most often in Oberst’s musings with the crowd. He discussed the recent New Jersey government shutdown, “sending out” his song “Empty Hotel By The Sea” to Chris Christie himself, rather fittingly some might say, as Christie is spending the Fourth of July in his private beach house near Island Beach State Park, which will be closed from the public for the holiday this year thanks to the shutdown.  

Later, Oberst went on a couple of anti-Trump rants, calling Trump “an orange bloated f*cked up rat” and a “racist, misogynistic piece of sh*t” while simultaneously “sending out” songs for Trump as well, including the evening’s closer from his Mystic Valley Band days, “Roosevelt Room.” The lines, “And I’d like to write my congressman/But I can’t afford the stamp” and “Cause the working poor you’ve been pissing on/Are doing double shifts tonight” were emphasized, and some might argue they felt rather appropriately weighted in some ways, given several of Trump’s recently signed executive orders and the pending Senate healthcare bill.

Still, the mood of the show wasn’t entirely set on Oberst’s protest and politics.

Said Oberst about their short Colorado stint, “I talked to these guys- the band- and they all wanted to come out here and eat gummy bears, and go on hikes, and take pictures of bugs, so it’s been great.”

Comments like these garnered a lot of laughter from the crowd. Oberst and his band had incredible energy, and there was a rock’n’roll flare true to Desaparecidos mixed with Oberst’s more singer/songwriter Americana vibes. It was honest art- there were no large-scale production elements and Conor clearly didn’t care where anyone else’s politics stood- he just spoke his truths and shared the stage with some incredible instrumentalists telling stories that ranged in theme from love to protest to Middle America with a couple of harangues. And it’s that sort of authenticity that makes his current tour worth putting on your radar.

Keep up with Conor Oberst here. And see our full photo gallery from this show at this link.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: The Fremonts' 'We Don't Live There' Is A Fresh Take On Classic Americana Sounds

By: Trevor Ryan

Americana blues rock band The Fremonts dropped their first full-length album We Don't Live There last Friday, June 9th. I recently had the pleasure of giving it a listen and I’m here to tell yah: it’s a fresh take on the classic Colorado Americana folk/blues sound. Because let’s be honest- the Colorado music scene has welcomed a number of Americana folk performers to its various stages over the years, and continues to do so, even in the popular music realm. So what sets The Fremonts apart? This definitely isn't a short answer, so buckle up:

The band, founded in New York City, relocated to Boulder just a couple of years ago to find their niche, which some would argue they did find instrumentally in folk-heavy Colorado. But they (Stephanie Dodd and Justin Badger) did so pretty organically, and with more than just their instrumentation. What really sets this husband and wife duo apart is their storytelling and the inspiration behind their stories. On We Don’t Live There, The Fremonts combine what sometimes feel like ghost stories of old with what they say is “the heartache of leaving our past in a distant skyline and walking into fresh, open spaces with hope for the future.” You'll hear what I mean in the ballad track “Olivia.” It’s a tune with a progressive interlude (which you don’t always find in classic Americana) that also beckons the roots of the genre in an original way with a story that leaves you a bit haunted.

Listen to The Fremonts' We Don't Live There:

There are a lot of emotions that surround this album, and they show in the songwriting and composition of the record. Starting with the whimsical, somewhat mellow opening and title track “We Don't Live There,” the record then levels out with classic, upbeat Americana tracks such as “Back To The Mountain,” “Holding Place,” and “Tell My Mother.” It also offers a darker, more emotionally haunting feel with “Tillman's Wall,” and with the violin in “Joanne.” “Tillman’s Wall” is such a treat that I can say I’d love to see more of the darker, grittier production on this tune in more of The Fremonts’ future recordings.

The Fremonts.

The Fremonts.

My only real criticism of this record is that though both Dodd and Badger front the project strong vocally, and each have notable leading tunes throughout the record, their harmonies can sometimes feel as though they’re battling for that lead sound. Other than that, I really find this record a refreshing take on classic sounds that you should definitely listen to. 

When it comes to We Don’t Live There, The Fremonts have a new take on the Americana sound that I’ve been told is even more of a fun ride live. So be sure to catch them while they're still in Colorado at Denver's Squire Lounge on June 16th. And if you're traveling this summer, crash a couple of shows on their summer tour, or support them on the road with their tour Kickstarter campaign. Get their full list of dates on the road here

-Trevor

 All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Mitchel Evan & Co Bring Uplifting Americana to Denver's Larimer Lounge

By: Allan Tellis 

The Larimer Lounge is a venue that never has a shortage of talent, even on a Wednesday night. Last week brought out four distinctly talented bands that covered a vast array of styles, and although each band had a unique approach, overall they complemented each other, which made for one appetizing show.  

Morning Bear. Photo Credit: Joe Friend

Morning Bear. Photo Credit: Joe Friend

The first act, Morning Bear, performed with a very minimalist stage presence with singer/songwriter John Runnels on acoustic guitar and a guest sit-in playing a small keyboard with a drum pad. The duo had a powerful performance despite their low-key setup due Runnels’ strong vocals and a focus on deep-feeling, heavy indie folk music that kept the crowd captivated for their entire set.

Band of Lovers. Photo Credit:  Keating DiRisio

Band of Lovers. Photo Credit: Keating DiRisio

The following act, Band of Lovers, brought one more person onstage and a completely different energy, as they specialize in up-tempo, Americana chamber pop. Band of Lovers is a rarity in that they tour constantly throughout the country and have been doing so for four years now. They have found Denver to be a consistent refuge in their nomadic existence, even dedicating a downtempo, rhythmically infectious song aptly titled “Back to Colorado” to our great state. One particularly enjoyable aspect of the band was the percussion- the drummer was absolutely spectacular and awesome to watch. This trio recently released an album named American Tour, which is definitely worth listening to.  

Up next was Foxfeather, a full Americana ensemble whose blues-heavy jam style created a sultry and emotional listening experience. Although the band ventures from heavy blues to hard rock style solos, they stayed true to their Boulder roots with a heavy dose of Americana infused into every song. They are currently working on a new project, which has me intrigued on what’s next.

Mitchel Evan. 

Mitchel Evan. 

The final act of the night was the extremely talented Mitchel Evan and The Makeshift Band. Their performance was pleasantly easy to listen to and brought a diverse range of sounds, ranging from jam-heavy folk tunes to Bob Dylan-style acoustic guitar ballads. Evan even joked at one point, “This is the part where I make you all sad.” His deep watery vocals cascaded over The Makeshift Band, as the group executed songs diverging from grunge-influenced rock tracks to country-laced dance numbers that kept the crowd thoroughly engaged. All of their music at its core was uplifting, providing a ray of sunshine in a musical landscape that is becoming almost increasingly bleak in some ways. Mitchel Evan is currently working on a new record as well, and is touring the Southwest. Make sure to catch Evan on his next Colorado stop and give his newest music a listen below.

-Allan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: TMULE Releases New Alt-Folk Solo EP, 'Wordless Lullabies'

By: Norman Hittle

Singer and guitar player for the alt-country/rock band The Longest Day of the Year, TMULE is set to release his first solo EP since 2006 this month. The Ft. Collins, CO alt-folk/singer-songwriter will be releasing a folk-rock EP of four new songs called Wordless Lullabies, alongside his first book of poetry, Book of Dawn / I, the Iceberg.

TMULE.

TMULE.

Yet, alternative folk doesn’t sum up the full experience of this EP. With nods to Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and George Harrison, TMULE's songs are soulful and heart-wrenching with their fingers reaching into blues and Americana. 

Raised in suburban Detroit with an alcoholic father, teenage TMULE would plug in his guitar and embrace the catharsis of singing his lungs out to “Release” by Pearl Jam. That feeling drew him to songwriting early in life. Worldless Lullabies and Book of Dawn / I, The Iceberg examine struggles through his father’s substance abuse, the weight of co-dependence, emotional abandonment, and the fortitude of love. The complications of growing up affected by alcoholism is a theme of many TMULE songs, but this package is the culmination of years of biographical writing; stories of hungry ghosts, fear, love and reconciliation to bring solace to those struggling in their own darkness, whatever it may be.

The EP’s dark aesthetic is the shining of a spotlight through his past while the poetry book explores the wide range of emotions surrounding dependence issues and it's complicated effect on personal relationships.

Check out TMULE's EP release show this Friday, May 26th at 730 PM at Downtown Artery in Fort Collins. Tickets here. TMule will also have a CD/Poetry Book release Tuesday, June 6th at 6PM at Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Cafe in Boulder.

'Wordless Lullabies' EP credits: Produced by Justin Roth of Fort Collins. Guest musicians Mark Lavengood (Lindsay Lou & the Flatbelly’s), Ben Zito and Dan Rickabus (The Crane Wives), and Paul Maley (Equally Challenged). Mastered by Ian Gorman of Kalamazoo’s La Luna Recording & Sound.

-Norman Hittle

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Great American Taxi's Latest Record Is Colorado Rugged

By: Allan Tellis

Recently re-formed band, Great American Taxi dropped an album earlier this year: Dr. Feel Good’s Traveling Medicine Show. The record is both refreshingly eclectic and simultaneously reminiscent of classic American sounds. The album covers a full range of styles from Americana, to country-rock and classic rock, all the way to R&B. Although there is a diversity of genres within, the album stays true to the tradition of Colorado bands that have preceded GAT. The record contains plenty of dance-inducing country roadhouse bounces with songs like “We Can Run” and “Out On the Town,” yet it still has down-tempo classic rock-style songs like “Sunshiny Day,” which make this an album with a song for every type of fan.

The album art.

The album art.

Well-produced and a polished project due to the hard work of Chad Staehly (keyboard/vocals), Jim Lewin (guitar/vocals), Brian Adams (bass/vocals) and Arthur Lee Land (guitar/banjo/vocals), and featuring guest drummer Duane Trucks (Hard Working Americans, Widespread Panic), this record plays as a rugged, feel-good ode to the Colorado lifestyle. With the production of Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone at Silo Sound Studios in Denver, CO, Dr. Feel Good’s Traveling Medicine Show is definitely worth a spin.

Great American Taxi are currently on a national tour in support of the new record, with an upcoming can’t-miss-it show at Red Rocks this Thursday, May 25th, where they will be covering some good ol’ Grateful Dead tracks before Film On The Rocks' Long Strange Trip. For more information on tour details and purchasing tickets to their upcoming shows, head to their website.

-Allan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Premiere: Bo DePeña's Toe-Tappin' Track & Video "If I Let You Go Again"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Last time we checked in with Americana singer/songwriter Bo DePeña, he had just released the single and music video for his intoxicating love ballad “The Weed and The Wine.” Since then, Bo has cast the finishing touches on his upcoming EP Long Road to Denver and been on the road for an astounding five-month 40+ show tour throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Bo DePeña. Photo Credit: Chris Bohlin

Bo DePeña. Photo Credit: Chris Bohlin

Even while on tour, the work never stops, and the hits just keep on coming. While traveling from Boerne, TX to Austin, TX, Bo stopped in to Austin Signal recording studio to film the live recording of yet another new track, “If I Let You Go Again.” The song, which was written two weeks before the final wrap-up of Long Road to Denver, was recorded with the help of Grammy Award winning recording/mixing engineer Charlie Kramsky and featured Sean Giddings (piano), Pat Harris (standup bass), and Josh Rodgers (drums).

Listening to “If I Let You Go Again,” influences of western swing, country, and jazz can all be heard. At first listen, the song has a simple, bare bones feel, like a piano bar in backroads country. However, the simplicity really comes from how smoothly each instrument- the guitar, piano, standup bass, and drums- all intertwine.

The song pulls from artists like Willie Nelson (circa 1960’s), Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, and Lefty Frizzell. It touches on heartbreak and the “what if's?” strung between the moments of clarity. True to many of Bo’s musical numbers, “If I Let You Go Again” carries a sweet somberness within its toe-tapping rhythms, a combination that makes his music ever so easy to listen to.

Watch “If I Let You Go Again:”

“If I Let You Go Again” is the perfect release to precede Bo's upcoming EP, which will be released on May 26th. Listeners who just can’t get enough can also pre-order the EP at Bo’s upcoming show this Saturday, May 13th at The Walnut Room. Event details can be found here, and tickets can be purchased at this link- get ‘em while they’re hot!

Connect with Bo on FacebookInstagramSoundcloud, and Twitter,.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Carry Me Ohio's 'Stonewall' Will Take You Back To Simpler Times

By: Trevor Ryan

When you think of Americana, you might conjure the classics like Bob Dylan, or Robert Earl Keen. Today, the genre has been reinvented by the indie scene, giving us artists with varied sounds in the genre including The Alabama Shakes, Iron and Wine, and Colorado’s Carry Me Ohio.

Fronted and founded by vocalist/guitarist Evan Crouch, Carry Me Ohio is leaving an obvious impression in the midst of the recent renovation of the genre. With classic rock and folk elements, the Boulder four-piece are achieving their own brand of Americana with gems like their 2010 debut Oak and Iron Bound, as well as their most recent record Stonewall.

From beginning to end, Stonewall is a concrete and very comfortable listen. Emotional at times, yes, but comfortable. It's easy to get lost in this record in self-reflection. But what really makes this release stand out is Carry Me Ohio's ability to take on several well-established genres and truly mesh them all together while letting them shine individually. Taking bits from obvious indie sounds, as well as newer country feels, the group also ties in a lot of rock influence. Yet, it doesn't feel over-produced to force these elements, but rather like what kind of fell into place with the album. If you really dive into Stonewall, it's a “take you back to warm, simpler times” type of listen with a very clever sound.

11930963_10153573389422432_3691021322176893169_o.jpg

It should be safe to assume that CMO, who are signed with Round Barn Recordings, have created high expectations for their fanbase as to what may come next. The world’s take on music these days is such a beautiful scene if you just listen to the right people, and Carry Me Ohio are definitely in my rotation after Stonewall.

Be sure to keep up with Carry Me Ohio on Facebook, and catch them on their official site for tour dates.

-Trevor

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Denver's The Dirty Circuits Release Debut EP 'Transplants'

By: Norman Hittle

Denver-based artists The Dirty Circuits are elevating their brand of American folk rock with nods to The Lumineers, The Traveling Wilburys, and an almost uncharacteristic, and dare I say non-traditional, edge and attitude that you won't find common in similarly genred bands.

The Dirty Circuits. 

The Dirty Circuits. 

Their debut EP Transplants defines itself with four enjoyably diverse songs starting out with a cover of “Love Makes You Feel.” The song may be an homage to Lou Reed, but the style is so much more reminiscent of Tom Petty with good feeling rock vibes.

Listen to Transplants:

Along with “Love Makes You Feel,” the second track “One Last Drink” continues the good old Americana rock vibe, while “Spin” brings us closer to the band with a personal feel of calming, acoustic guitar and melodic lead lines. The final track “Wanderlost” leaves us with a bright, feeling tale of leaving home behind for adventurous horizons. What I like about Transplants overall is how it reminds me of good times: fishing with my dad, long road trips, and playing music around the campfire. Sometimes it doesn't get much better than that!

Watch a live performance video of The Dirty Circuits at Francisco Studios:

The Dirty Circuits were formed in 2015, combining members from Michigan, California, Tennessee, Virginia, and Illinois, hence their tip of the hat to their origins in their EP title. They ride the line between sophistication and glorious power chord ignorance to make music in the grand American songwriter tradition, with well arranged multi-part harmonies.

Catch the Dirty Circuits April 29th as they headline their debut EP release at Lost Lake Lounge. Supporting them will be The Eldridge Band and Trashcan Jackson. Doors open at 8PM and tickets are available for $10 here.

-Norman

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Bo DePeña Drops New Country Tune "The Weed and the Wine"

By: Allan Tellis

Hailing from Laredo, TX, singer/songwriter Bo DePeña recently relocated to Denver, CO, though this is a musician who has arguably lived in many a music city. After having spent time in Austin, NYC, and San Antonio, the mountains called and DePeña found himself in Colorado. After the release of his record There’s No Way Out of Here last November, DePeña has been gigging hard throughout the region to showcase his Americana and folk country sounds. Most recently, he released his single and music video for his track “The Weed and The Wine.”

Watch DePeña’s music video for “The Weed and The Wine”:

With a very classic country twang, Bo DePeña describes an all too familiar feeling of love and intoxication in this tune. “The Weed and the Wine” is a laid back soundtrack for anyone who may have experienced strong emotions for a potential partner, but can’t quite make out the cause after a night out. The song describes that feeling of every moment and touch seeming perfect, though it may just be those Mile High vices blurring the lines between love and reality.

Bo DePeña.

Bo DePeña.

The song itself is warm and hazy, and conjures up tones of affection and confusion, which fit the lyrical content spectacularly. The video is equally charming, simple, and familiar, with Bo and a lady friend imbibing in a living room interspersed with shots of DePeña singing. This song is definitely worth checking out, and might hit even more of a sweet spot if you indulge in such “grown up” activities.

Make sure to give this playful tune a listen and keep up with Bo and his massive tour schedule here.

-Allan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Review: Colorado's TAARKA Drop New Record 'Fading Mystery'

By: Trevor Ryan

Every band has the dream of the perfect album: that one project that resonates with fans immediately. This may not be a far off concept for acoustic/folk band TAARKA of Lyons, CO. With their unique, fresh take on Americana, as well as their seventh album Fading Mystery dropping this Friday, March 10th, it’s safe to say this hardworking supergroup/husband and wife duo aren't going anywhere anytime soon except straight to your ears.

TAARKA.

TAARKA.

Combining a number of sounds including swing, folk, jazz, and even a dash of bluegrass, TAARKA produce a truly unique style sure to appease listeners of a variety of genres. Founded by vocalist/mandolin/guitarist David Tiller and five string violinist/vocalist Enion Pelta-Tiller, TAARKA’s current members also include bassist Troy Robey. TAARKA released their debut album TAARKA: Live In The Studio with Omniverse Records in 2001.

David & Enion.

David & Enion.

Breaking all sorts of new barriers with its folk sounds, Fading Mystery features everything from rugged, bluesy riffs to fun melodic, folksy vibes. This record really takes an imaginative approach to acoustic music. TARRKA give us raw and emotional vocals with full and inspiring instrumentals that honestly bring you chills at certain times. With every track flawlessly transitioning to the next, you never lose the overall “still” vibes within this moving piece of work.

“Polyamorous Polly Ann” comes out as the MVP on the Fading Mystery. Illustrating the honest beauty in acoustic music with such a mellow feel and powerful lyrics, this track proves the raw nature of the record. You can, at times, hear the real emotion in every musician at their own respective moments. In fact, there are times that you forget you're listening to an album and almost feel like you’re standing in the studio with them during their creative process. This is a record you can imagine yourself in.

With its experimental approach, listeners from every walk of life can groove to this innovative and melodically stunning record. Fading Mystery will absolutely leave you needing more, and wondering how 10 tracks flew by so quickly.

So make sure to catch TAARKA this Saturday, March 11th at Shine in Boulder for their CD Release Show, where they will play Fading Mystery live. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door. And be sure to follow TAARKA on the road and in the studio here.

-Trevor

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Bluegrass Outfit Mipso Hit Colorado With Four Shows & A New Record

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Mipso, the modern-day bluegrass band hailing from Chapel Hill, NC, have only been playing music together for five years, yet they’ve made a major splash in the world of indie Americana bluegrass. They’ve become a Colorado touring mainstay; this week they have shows in Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins, and Nederland. In other words, people really dig them.

Mipso. Photo Credit: Sasha Israel Photography

Mipso. Photo Credit: Sasha Israel Photography

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jacob Sharp, the mandolin player and vocalist of the band, so here’s the lowdown on Mipso:

Your last album, 'Old Time Reverie' (2015), climbed to #1 on the Billboard Charts. How do you feel about the amount of success Mipso has been receiving since then?

It feels really natural. We became a band five years ago, after meeting in college at Chapel Hill. We realized our harmonies and music tastes aligned, so we went for it, and it’s worked out really well so far.

Your next album, 'Coming Down the Mountain' (2017), really demonstrates a new direction for Mipso sonically. Although you have roots in bluegrass, drums are incorporated and even electric guitar, along with the traditional string instrumentation you’ve been known for. Where do you guys draw your sonic inspirations from?

We’re a group of musicians with different backgrounds in music, and what we listen to, man, you should hear all the stuff we play on the bus when we’re on the road, but we’re all open-minded and can relate really well as musicians [to different types of music]. I’d say our music is very much influenced by the people around us and the stories and journeys we experience on the road.

Watch Mipso's new video for their cover of "Colorado Girl":

Mipso has so many Colorado gigs lined up for the week, that it’s clear you have a loving Colorado following. Are you excited to be back here?

We love Colorado! The crowds are always super warm and welcoming. People like to chill there and we really like to play there because we know it will be a great time every time.

So what should us Coloradoans expect when we head to a Mipso show this week?

It’s going to be fun, at least I really hope so. I know it will be for us, because Colorado really is one of our favorite places to play. We have a new drummer, and Joseph [Terrell] will play some electric guitar, and I’ll play guitar for the first time [live] too.

Make sure to catch one of Mipso’s upcoming shows this week; Gipsy Moon will share the stage! Tickets here.

-Mirna

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood Are Bringing The Love to Denver This Thursday

By: Will Baumgartner

A consciousness shift is happening around the Chris Robinson Brotherhood. A handful of years ago, the most common response to hearing the band name might have been, “Oh, you mean the guy from The Black Crowes?” But today when I say, “Chris Robinson Brotherhood is coming to The Ogden this Thursday, February 2nd, and of course I’ll be going to the show,” I’ve been met with responses like, “I love that band! Can I go with?” or “I’ve heard their shows are great, I should get tickets to that too.”

Yes you should. CRB, as they’re affectionately known by fans, consistently deliver rousing and inspiring performances rich with not only high-level musicianship and song-craft, but also a sense of family, belonging, and welcome with every show. This spirit of openness and warmth is reflected in the titles of their two nearly back-to-back 2016 releases, 'Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel' and its companion EP from the same recording sessions, 'If You Lived Here, You Would Be Home by Now.' Released on July 29th and November 4th of last year respectively, CRB painted a two-paneled picture of a group of musicians and songwriters who manage to be hard-grooving, thoughtful, and fun all at once using a varied palette of musical styles and influences. Who wouldn't want to be in on one of their concert experiences and feel like they’re a part of that family?

Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

Chris Robinson Brotherhood.

CRB have been around since 2011, but the feel of their most current records, their first self-produced releases recorded on the side of Mount Tamalpais near San Francisco, are of a family that have grown together through extensive touring, collaborative songwriting, and endless conversations around meals cooked by band members. They visit record stores everywhere they go and stack their newly-purchased vinyl on their tour bus turntable every night. The group’s core: Chris Robinson on vocals and guitar, lead guitarist Neal Casal, and keyboardist Adam McDougal (who stepped over from The Black Crowes) have been together since the beginning, and are now all involved in the songwriting process. Drummer Tony Leone (Ollabelle) brings a touch of his jazz background to the grooves, and has also joined in on the songwriting, and bassist Jeff Hill holds it all together with a deeply soulful pocket.

Watch CRB play "Narcissus Soaking Wet" live:

The band’s latest recordings also show a group that has grown beyond its former identification as a Deadhead-type act into something richer and more difficult to pigeonhole into any simple genre classification. The cosmic funk of 'Anyway You Love...'’s opening track, “Narcissus Soaking Wet,” lets us know right away that the vistas have widened for CRB with echoes of Sly and The Family Stone and early Funkadelic wafting through the grooves. The lyrics, too, are far from simplistic, revealing a sociological awareness, an artful use of stream-of-consciousness imagery, and a sly humor that outstrips most jam-band lyrics by miles. Listening all the way through 'Anyway You Love' is a trip that takes you through a mid-60s-Dylan-esque time (think Highway 61 Revisited / Blonde On Blonde) with a stint into The Band-style Americana on “Ain’t It Hard But Fair,” more groovy and variegated scenery on “Give Us Back Our Eleven Days,” “Some Gardens Green,” “Leave My Guitar Alone,” and “Oak Apple Day,” (which is actually a song about CRB). The record then ends with the heartfelt, Gospel-soaked “California Hymn,” and as any good trip should always stop with near-religious feeling of wholeness and peace, this one certainly does.

If 'Anyway You Love' is an extended trek, 'If You Lived Here...' is a day trip into side roads and lesser-known destinations, some of them practically off the map. “New Cannonball Rag” has a swinging, rolling feel again reminiscent of some of The Band’s best stuff, “Roan County Banjo” goes from country-ish to almost discordant craziness at the end, and the jaunt continues through a few more changes in scenery to end on the gentle empathic kindness of “Sweet, Sweet Lullaby.”

Neal Casal. 

Neal Casal. 

In anticipation for this Thursday’s Ogden show, I recently got the chance to ask CRB guitarist Neal Casal some questions about the band, life on the road, and music in general. His answers shed more light on CRB’s latest sounds, and the inspirations behind their newest music:

It’s easy to see why the word “brotherhood” is part of your band name; there’s a clear feeling of love and community in your music. Do you feel that’s been growing the longer you’ve played together? 

The sense of community that The CRB promotes is definitely growing the longer we play together. We’re entering our seventh year as a band, and the seeds we planted back in 2011 are definitely showing flowers now, and it’s a nice thing to see. We have a great group of fan/friends/family across the country and we’re looking forward to another year of touring and visiting everyone. 

How do you feel that the in-studio writing process of 'Anyway You Love, We Know How You Feel' affected the way the songs on the album turned out? 

It brought more immediacy to our process and applied some pressure to us, which turned out to be a good thing. Everyone hates deadlines but sometimes they can be good; they can force you to do things that maybe you wouldn’t have otherwise. 

I’d imagine that working with the relatively new rhythm section of Tony and Jeff has brought about some changes in the band’s overall feel. Has that felt like a pretty organic process? What do you think these guys have brought to CRB’s sound and vibe? 

Tony and Jeff have changed the sound of our band dramatically and brought so much musicality, fluidity, and versatility to our sound. I can’t say enough great things about these guys and how important they are to the sound, but also to the vibe of the band. With them, we can explore any kind of music we like, and there’s a sustainability to our future that we had never felt previously. 

I’ve seen some hopeful signs among the music community that people seem to be rediscovering a respect and appreciation for the album as an art form unto itself, and there’s definitely a feeling of intention in the way 'Anyway You Love' and 'If You Lived Here' are put together. Did the band spend a lot of time just looking at these releases as whole documents and shaping them accordingly, or was that more of a quick, intuitive thing? 

We’ve always approached records as complete documents because that’s how we grew up thinking of them, and that’s how we’ve always worked and always will work. There’s no rediscovering anything for us: this is our way of life.

I hear so many different possible influences in your playing that I’m not even going to bother speculating- so who have some of your biggest influences been on guitar? 

Malcolm Young, Magic Sam, Dickey Betts, Blind Owl Wilson, Robert Nighthawk, Mick Taylor, Ry Cooder, Clarence White, Nic Jones, Ollie Halsall, John Renbourn, Doc Watson, Scott Gorham, Julian Bream, Baden Powell, Leo Nocentelli, Randy RhoadsFreddie King, Mississippi John Hurt, Jim Hall, Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and of course, the great Gabor Szabo.

On an average afternoon, or an evening off, what might be a handful of albums you’d be listening to? 

Incredible String Band - The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter
Magic Sam - Black Magic 
Charlie Rich- The Essential Charlie Rich
Ronnie Lane - Anymore For Anymore
Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
Bobby Hutchinson - Components
Kacy And Clayton - Strange Country
Eddie Bo - Hook And Sling
Kimono My House - Sparks

CRB. Photo Credit: Stuart Levine

CRB. Photo Credit: Stuart Levine

Your songwriting relationship with Chris has clearly grown over the years. When you first joined, was it more of a thing where he brought in the songs and you just played leads, or have you worked together on songs since the beginning? 

We worked on songs together from day one and have always cultivated our writing partnership. He had some songs he’d written on his own and will always do that, but we really enjoy writing songs together and it’s a big part of our work flow. 

There’s a quote from Chris I read recently, “These are our services when we play our music.” I love that because it evokes a church-like atmosphere, and while I’ve never been “religious,” there’s an undeniable power in church services- a sense of people collectively reaching for some power bigger than themselves, and a joyousness in that collective effort. How does The CRB engage and work with the audience to get that feel?

Human beings are made of music; it’s as ancient and innate in us as anything can be. So we’re just taking part in this time-honored ritual of invoking it, and stirring it in people. We’re just a reminder to let you know that’s it’s there inside, and needs to be related to. The muse is not something to be ignored, in anyone, ever. It needs expression in the form of dancing, singing, or just hanging out and listening and being a greater part of your community. So we’re just here to help that process along. 

Any special treats or surprises planned for this Thursday? Have have you guys ever played The Ogden before? 

We’ve never played The Ogden, so we’re really excited about that. Denver was one of the first cities that really took us in during our earlier years, so it’s always a special place for us. 

After you wrap up your current tour in New Orleans on March 31st, what’s next?

More touring throughout the year, and we’re releasing a new record later this year as well. Looking forward to it all!

CRB tour often and are well into their latest journey, so this Thursday is a great time to catch them live and join the party! They hit The Ogden Theater in Denver this Thursday, February 2nd (I’ll be there!), and continue on to The Center for the Arts in Crested Butte this weekend, The State Room in Salt Lake City next week, Sheridan Opera House in Telluride 2/10-2/11, and The Belly Up in Aspen on 02/12. Their tour will continue through New Mexico, Alabama, California, Nevada, and West Virginia, wrapping up at one of their favorite gatherings, Hogs For The Cause, in New Orleans on March 31st. Stay tuned because CRB are already recording a new album, and I, for one, can’t wait to hear it.  

-Will

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Drive-By Truckers Told Denver Some of the American Stories That Need to Be Heard

By: Sierra Voss

Drive-By Truckers graced Denver’s Ogden Theatre stage this past weekend, performing a double show Friday and Saturday nights. And for those of you who don’t know Drive-By Truckers, it's time you become acquainted. The band has been making waves in the national music scene this past year, and rightfully so.

Drive-By Truckers have taken on the difficult, but needed duty of being a mirror for America. This band crafts the stories the country needs to hear. They speak to citizen’s frustrations with our government's treatment of its peoples by pairing their storytelling with incredible musical talent in a dynamic showcase of song structure and blending of popular genres. Their approach packages a much needed expression and interpretation of the world around us in a digestible sound for audience members. The band blends rock, folk and Americana flares in various combinations throughout their discography. They have truly made a record representative of this moment in history.

Drive-By Truckers are celebrating their twentieth year as a band. This epic group of Alabama and Georgia natives is made up of band members Patterson Hood (lead vocals/guitar), Mike Cooley (lead vocals/guitar), Brad Morgan (drums), Jay Gonzalez (keys/guitar/backing vocals), and Matt Patton (bass guitar/backing vocals). Their most recent album, American Band is their eleventh record, stacked with one heroic song after the next, including fan favorites; “What It Means,” “Ramon Casiano,” and “Guns Of Umpqua.” The album is no doubt a powerful one. Many, if not all, of its stories grab your heart with haunting lyrics and descriptions of our society at large:

He was running down the street/when they shot him in his tracks. About the only thing agreed upon/is he ain't coming back. There won't be any trial/so the air it won't be cleared.”

Drive-By Truckers will be touring the US for the remainder of January and February, followed by a European tour in March. If you have a chance to catch them live, do it! Their album is worth a deep exploration; listen here now.

-Sierra

All photos per the author. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.