Rockygrass 2019 Had Attendees Debating the Identity Politics of Bluegrass

By: Riley Ann 

Another sold-out Rockygrass Festival went down in the books last weekend, culminating with Punch Brothers’ much-anticipated Sunday night headlining set: “Punch Brothers Play & Sing Bluegrass.” However, festivarians left with differing attitudes - some in awe, some confused, some disappointed, and some even downright angry who claim, “That wasn’t bluegrass,” which begs the question: What is bluegrass?

The Punch Brothers.

The Punch Brothers.

Planet Bluegrass continues a track record at their bluegrass festivals of booking acts that represent the different generations of bluegrass. This year’s first-generation legends include the Del McCoury Band and Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers, second-generation folks including Jerry Douglas, Peter Rowan, and Tim O’Brien, and bands from the more progressive era of Bluegrass (and arguably beyond), including Sam Bush (while considered to be second-generation, the “Father of Newgrass”), I’m With Her, Hawktail, and, of course, Punch Brothers.

Bluegrass, a hybridization of various styles, is historically attributed to Bill Monroe, the “Father of Bluegrass,” and his music remains the standard for comparison of the genre much like Robert Johnson’s music defines the origins of blues. When people read “Punch Brothers Play & Sing Bluegrass” on the program, the crowd generally assumed the set would showcase tunes from the canon of traditional bluegrass (i.e. first generation). However, the band played Tony Rice’s 1983 album Church Street Blues in its entirety. The album, which Chris Thile (Punch Brothers) proclaimed is “...the best Bluegrass album ever made,” is noted for its creative songwriting and Rice’s iconic progressive guitar playing, remarkably different from Monroe’s prototype of bluegrass. The band accentuated the album with their own flavor.

I’m With Her.

I’m With Her.

Punch Brothers wasn’t the only band playing a different kind of Bluegrass. Noted fiddler Brittany Haas’ supergroup Hawktail performed an entire set of instrumental compositions. While the group describes their sound rooted in old-time Scandinavian fiddle, their intricate arrangements and virtuosic solos indicated neoclassical and jazz elements. Kevin Slick, President of the Colorado Bluegrass Music Society (CMBS), comments, “Hawktail is Americana chamber music, and Punch Brothers have always been a more urban, more sophisticated band. Some people seem to think ‘Bluegrass’ has to come from the rural South and feature simple song structures.”

While some could argue that Punch Brothers and Hawktail have deviated “too far” from the origins of bluegrass, Slick suggests a different perspective, saying, “Bill Monroe played music that nobody else was playing, at least not in that style. He incorporated jazz and blues into country music and created bluegrass. Nobody was taking extended improvised solos in country music at the time or extending harmonies like that, and it was incredibly inventive. The music that Hawktail and the Punch Brothers are making is probably closer to the original spirit of bluegrass because it’s continuing to be inventive and doing something new, just like Monroe was doing.”

Sam Bush.

Sam Bush.

Though Sam Bush is unquestionably accepted as a pillar of bluegrass today, he also battled his own trials and tribulations when launching the New Grass Revival in 1971, and heard similar complaints in the early days. Regardless of his bands’ initial reception decades ago, he has indisputably become a major player of the bluegrass realm, and his headlining Saturday night set at Rockygrass was met with open arms of the crowd despite having a full drum set and electric bass, a very different feel than Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys

Slick asserts, “Any musical genre that survives will diversify; at one point in time, jazz music was only what they played in New Orleans. There was no Miles Davis or Coltrane. Rock’n’roll was Chuck Berry and Little Richard, but now those genres are incredibly diverse- we can have Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones. So if bluegrass is a genre- within that genre, it’s probably going to be pretty diverse.”

Certainly people have different reasons for resisting new developments in the genre. A common one is rooted in the fear of cultural extinction. Slick counters this, saying, “New music won’t sound like Bill Monroe, and that’s fine. The music won’t ever go away. You can still pull up Bill Monroe’s music online and listen to it. A million different artists play the blues and people do all kinds of different things with it- B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan. In Kendrick Lamar’s music, you might not hear Robert Johnson anymore, but people still respond to it. I just see it as we’re expanding the buffet.”

With change often comes resistance, whether that’s in our sociopolitical climate or a genre of music. The question is not how we divide ourselves, but how we maintain the discourse of our differences. 

The Earls of Leicester featuring Jerry Douglas.

The Earls of Leicester featuring Jerry Douglas.

Planet Bluegrass still has one more festival this year, and tickets and volunteer opportunities to Folks Fest are still available. The lineup includes Ani Difranco, Ben Folds, Violent Femmes, Josh Ritter, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, and more. More information is available on the Planet Bluegrass website here.

See more photos from Rockygrass at this link.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

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

Durango’s Liver Down the River Keeps the Jams Alive After an Evening with The String Cheese Incident

By: Moriel O’Connor

Ain't no party like a cheesy hotel after party.

Following The String Cheese Incident Saturday show New Year’s Eve weekend, Liver Down the River and Evanoff performed at the unofficial after party at the Aloft Hotel in Broomfield, Colorado. Liver Down the River, known as “Liver” to their fanbase, who themselves are known as “liverfolk,” made me want to spin until I fell down in a mountain meadow. Their style brings bluegrass to a new level sometimes called “funkideligrass.” Step into their set, and you will find heartfelt vocals, marvelous fiddle playing, psychedelic melodies, and funky bass lines growing from bluegrass roots.They capture the essence of Colorado funk and blues in a truly unique way.

Akin to String Cheese, Liver bring individuals together through joyful sounds. Bliss filled the room last weekend and in the midst of a night of euphoric motion, I learned a valuable lesson: If an “officer” in a red lace dress hands you a citation for “killer dance moves,” you should probably make it to the court date.

Liver Down the River.

Liver Down the River.

Fellow BolderBeat contributor Cy Fontenot plays the drums for Liver Down the River, and he keeps the tempo up to the fast paced wanderlust of the west. I asked Cy a few questions to pick his rhythmic and wise mind. Read more below:

What river does your liver go down?

The river of life, love, and psychedelic space grass.

Do you have plans to bring Liver Down the River’s Colorado sound around the world. If so, where will you go?

Definitely, I think west coast is our next move but I would personally love to make it to Japan, Amsterdam, Germany, Columbia, Brazil, all corners of the planet.

What are some of your favorite Colorado venues?

We love playing at the Lariat, the Vic, Cervantes, and Schmiggity’s, but most of all our hometown Animas City Theatre.

Cy Fontenot.

Cy Fontenot.

What do you love about playing the drums?

Personally, I love the drums because you don't have to think about notes, chords, modes… it's all rhythm, so it frees up space in my mind to connect to what the moment wants, enabling my intuition to take over.

Besides playing in Liver and contributing for BolderBeat, what brings you joy?

Honestly I love adventuring, love the mountains, love playing music and love the connection that music allows me to have with my bandmates as well as the audience.

Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Just go for it, play with everyone you can, wherever you can and you'll be surprised how quickly you'll learn.

Sound advice Cy.

With hearts of gold and bold measures of adventure, Liver Down the River is certain to kindle a damn good time. Based in Durango, Liver frequently travels through the Rockies to the Front Range with their jams. They recently signed with Ever Upward Entertainment and have high mountain ambitions for 2019. During the last summer spent touring, they recorded a live album to be released this spring. They also have plans for a brand new studio album. Catch them if you can at their next hoedown on January 25th at Ullrgrass in Golden, Colorado.

-Moriel

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

#SheShreds: Rockygrass Celebrates Breaking Through the "Grass Ceiling"

By: Riley Ann

In light of of the #MeToo movement and “The Future is Female” shirts, this year’s Rockygrass certainly took some cues from the times. In addition to the staples of the Planet Bluegrass stages (including Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Peter Rowan, and more), a spotlight shone brightly on the women who have become pillars of the “who’s who of bluegrass.”

The First Ladies of Bluegrass. 

The First Ladies of Bluegrass. 

 

One of the crowd favorites of the weekend was the Friday set featuring Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines, and Molly Tuttle, each the first woman to earn International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards on their instruments. They’ve been dubbed “The First Ladies of Bluegrass” for this achievement.

In the set, Sierra Hull acknowledged Alison Brown, who was the first woman to ever earn an IBMA nearly three decades ago in 1991, which happened to be the same year Hull was born. Brown also earned the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2015, which IBMA states is the “highest honor IBMA bestows outside of induction into the Hall of Fame, recognizing forerunners and ambassadors for bluegrass music.” Hull, who is 26, shared that when she was a little girl, she loved Brown’s album Fair Weather and still does, saying, “It’s such an honor to share the stage with Alison- and all of these incredible trailblazing ladies!” The set oscillated from sweet harmonies to rip-roaring bluegrass breakdowns, and between tunes the musicians gave frequent props to each other for what they’ve contributed to the modern history of bluegrass, like in regards to Missy Raines, who has earned an IBMA for Instrumental Performer of the Year on bass seven times. “We like to say that in bluegrass, Missy reigns!” they said.

The weekend featured a variety of women outstanding in their field, including Della Mae, an all-female band that earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Bluegrass Album” for their record I Built This Heart in 2015. During their set on Saturday, Celia Woodsmith, current frontwoman for the band, also gave a shout-out to the “First Women of Bluegrass,” noting the two consecutive days of all-female bands in the lineup. She hollered, “Rockygrass, you’re doin’ somethin’ right!” and the crowd roared.

Sunday’s spotlight included the Lyons Bluegrass Collective, featuring local powerhouses KC Groves (of Uncle Earl), Bonnie Sims (of Bonnie & the Clydes), Natalie Padilla (of Masontown), and Sarah Cole (of Follow the Fox), among others, male and female.

These women were not celebrated because they are women; they are celebrated because they’re good, and despite the odds. While bluegrass music grew from the roots of Black music (even the banjo is actually an African instrument that’s been morphed through industrialization), it has been culturally appropriated by white men who have kept a patriarchal stronghold on it for generations, causing a great deal of sexism, racism, and classism within the genre. I discussed some of this in last year’s coverage of Rockygrass, “The Changing Face of Bluegrass,” and more in-depth information about the history of the banjo and bluegrass music is available via two great documentaries: The Librarian and the Banjo and Bela Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart.

Although you’ll have to wait until next summer for the next Rockygrass, Folks Fest at Planet Bluegrass is still to come and includes Regina Spektor, Indigo Girls, Los Lobos, Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco), and more. You can learn more about Folks Fest at the Planet Bluegrass website here.

See our full gallery from the fest here

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos provided to BolderBeat by the artist. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado Music Festivals 2018: Your Official Guide To Fest Season

Festival season is the biggest time of the year for the music world. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are:

May Play Music Festival May 11th

Downtown Greeley is hosting their fourth annual May Play fest with artists like The Burroughs, Brent Cowles, Slow Caves, Silver & Gold, and Post Paradise on the bill. There are a ton of other great local artists to check out, so swoop details and tickets here.

Spread The Word Music Festival May 11th-13th

Taking place at Denver’s Fox Street Compound, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Jeff Austin Band (formerly of Yonder Mountain String Band), Everyone Orchestra (conducted by Matt Butler), A-Mac & The Height, and Bass Physics. Full lineup here.

303 Music Festival May 17th

Hosted by Ru Johnson at Denver's The Church, 303 Magazine is bringing you one awesome night of local music. Trev Rich, CITRA, Eldren, and The Other Black are just some of the bands on the lineup. Full details and tickets here

Five Points Jazz Festival May 19th

This FREE annual festival is back this year in Denver's Five Points neighborhood and will feature artists like Jakarta, The King Stan Band, Impulse, The Hendersons, Patrick McDevitt Nation, and more. You can bounce between venues or just walk around and take in all the good sounds. Full lineup and details here.

Mountain Games June 7th-10th

GoPro is putting on a festival in Vail with headliners like Chris Robinson Brotherhood, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, Bonfire Dub, and The Wood Brothers. The weekend will also feature a slew of athletic events, including competitions for your dog, a silent disco, and art exhibits. You can grab tickets to Mountain Games here.

Greeley Blues Jam June 8th-9th

The Greeley Blues Jam keeps the blues scene alive and this year, their lineup includes The Devon Allman Project, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters, and Danielle Nicole. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.

Taste of Fort Collins June 8th-10th

The 22nd annual Taste of Fort Collins headliners include William Michael Morgan, Eddie Money, Everlast, and Judah & the Lion. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Grab more info on their website.

Country Jam June 14th-17th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 27th annual four-day fest this year. Florida Georgia Line, Miranda Lambert, Brantley Gilbert, Brett Eldredge, and Big & Rich top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music. More info at this link.

Sonic Bloom Festival June 14th-17th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Shpongle, Keys N Krates, Nightmares On Wax, Liquid Stranger, EOTO and a huge array of other beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.

Telluride Bluegrass Festival June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 45th year this summer! Tedeschi Trucks Band, Greensky Bluegrass, and Leftover Salmon top the fest’s 2018 list. We can tell you from past experience that this fest is magical and we’ve even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.

Cover Rock Festival June 22nd-23rd

Looking for tunes from tribute bands? This festival is all about it. Hosted in Avon, Cover Rock Festival will feature tributes to artists like Simon & Garfunkel, Bruce Springsteen, The Doors, the late Tom Petty (RIP!!), and others. More info and tickets here.

Westword Music Showcase June 23rd

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host their annual summer celebration this year. With Galantis, Bonobo, The Front Bottoms, Joywave, and a ton of local artists, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. More info and tickets on their website.

Van’s Warped Tour July 1st

Warped Tour recently announced that 2018 will be the last year for the traveling festival. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), we’re still sad to see it go. Give these bands a proper send-off- locals 30H!3 are top-billed with acts like All Time Low, Asking Alexandria, and more. Tickets here.

Colorado Rocky Mountain Old Time Music Association (CROMA) July 11th-15th

CROMA's annual Parrish Ranch festival features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. The festival manages to keep old traditions alive while also bringing a modern twist to some elements. Artists at this year's fest will include Bryant and Brown, The Onlies, Betse & Clarke, The Barn Owls, Patt and Possum, Caroline Oakley, Chris Kemiet, and Larry Edelman. Get full details and tickets here.

The Ride Festival July 14th-15th

The String Cheese Incident, Sheryl Crow, and Grace Potter will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Big Something, and others will keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.

Global Dance Festival July 20th-21st

If you’re ready to dance, Global’s got a crazy mix of electronic and hip-hop artists like Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, Future, and Machine Gun Kelly topping their list. The event is at Sports Authority Field this year and you can snag tickets here.

The Underground Music Showcase July 27th-29th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. In news this year, Two Parts has taken over the event. This year's lineup is stellar with headliners like Alvvays, BJ the Chicago Kid, Classixx, Deerhunter, Digable Planets and over 100 local artists who we absolutely adore. Tickets and full details here

Rockygrass Festival July 27th-29th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Last year, the festival showed us the changing face of the genre. This year, Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, David Grisman and Peter Rowan, and Hot Rize are already confirmed for this pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More info and tickets at this link.

ARISE Music Festival August 3rd-5th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its sixth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Slightly Stoopid, Thievery Corporation, and Trevor Hall. Get more details here.

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest August 10th-12th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. Bohemian Nights headliners this year include The Motet, Blondie, and The Decemberists. The festival also hosts a number of local bands on their stages- get the full schedule and details for the weekend here.

Local Jam Grand Junction August 10th-12th

Known for its "creativity, passion, dedication, style,  [and] massive talent," Grand Junction's three-day festival Local Jam is a celebration of Western Slope bands ranging from metal to bluegrass. Stray Grass, Jack + Jill, Suckafish, Tim + Richard, and others have been announced for the year. Full details and lineup here.

Mountain Town Music Festival August 17th-18th

Back for its fifth year, Keystone’s Mountain Town Music Festival features a mix of rock and grass bands like Ages & Ages, Mipso, Strange Americans, and Shovels & Rope. The fest is a celebration of “all things Colorado” so you can expect some good brews along with the shows. More info and tickets here.

Velorama Colorado August 17th-19th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Velorama is returning to Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood for its second year this summer. Cold War Kids, Matt & Kim, Rainbow Kitten Surprise, and The Kills are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party. Plus local acts Brent Cowles, Wildermiss, and Slow Caves are on the bill! More about this new fest here.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival August 17th-19th

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival showcased artists who brought current politics into their tunes last year, bringing people together in solidarity. Along with its songwriting workshops, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that managed to showcase great national acts too. Indigo Girls, Jeff Tweedy, and Los Lobos have been announced for this year’s fest. Tickets here.

Compound Sound Festival August 24th-26th

Boogie Groove Entertainment is producing this year's first annual Compound Sound. What started as friends performing at a private ranch in 2009 has officially launched into a major music festival. Along with headliners like Cycles, Lucid Vision, Tnertle, and Spectacle, the fest will also have food trucks and vendors, yoga and flow workshops, a healing village and "many more shenanigans." Details and tickets here

Four Corners Folk Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Pagosa Springs 23rd annual Four Corners Folks Fest is ready for a campout with bands like Nahko And Medicine For The People, Amy Helm, We Banjo 3, and Jon Stickley Trio. The weekend will also feature jam camps for kids and adults, and lots of tasty local vendors. See more for yourself and grab camping info and tickets here.

Jazz Aspen Snowmass August 31st-September 2nd

Lionel Richie, Jack Johnson, Zac Brown Band, Michael Franti & Spearhead, Fitz and the Tantrums, Gary Clark Jr., Bahamas, and The Record Company are the big acts at Jazz Aspen’s Labor Day event this year. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature Lizz Wright, Leslie Odom Jr., Lyle Lovett and His Large Band, Josh Kagler and Harmonistic Praise Crusade, and Georgia On My Mind: A Tribute To Ray Charles. Details on both events here.

Seven Peaks Music Festival August 31st-September 2nd

Dierks Bentley is throwing a three-day music festival in Chaffee County this year with headliners like Miranda Lambert, Brothers Osborne, Elle King, Lanco, Del McCoury, Sam Bush and The Cadillac Three. The new fest is a real treat for country lovers and the scenery of Buena Vista sure won't hurt! Get details and tickets here.

Denver Jazz Festival September 14th-16th

With a mix of local and international jazz acts, Denver Jazz Festival promises over 600 dancers and listeners for their three-day fest. Hal Smith's Swing Central, Jonathan Doyle Swingtet, Red Hot Rhythm Rocket, and many others are on the lineup. Check out news and get tickets here.

Grandoozy September 14th-16th

Superfly, the geniuses behind Bonnaroo, are bringing Grandoozy to Denver this year! In what could possibly be the biggest festival production the state has seen, headliners have already been announced and include Kendrick Lamar, Florence + The Machine, and Stevie Wonder. Sturgill Simpson, Miguel, and St. Vincent have also made the list; Denver-based acts Tennis, Dragondeer, Gasoline Lollipops, and Flaural will perform as well. This fest is our most highly anticipated of 2018 so don’t snoozy- Tier 1 tickets are already sold-out so grab your passes here.

Telluride Blues & Brews September 14th-16th

As regular festivalgoers of Blues & Brews say, “It's not the altitude that'll take your breath away. It's the views.” That, and of course, the music. This year, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Govt Mule, Booker T’s Stax Revue, JJ Grey & Mofro, and Anders Osborne will headline. Early bird tickets are already sold-out, so grab passes while you can here.

Festivals of The Past

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Project Pabst dissipated into the PBR-fueled mountain air with no Denver announcement this year (but Superfly who put it on is the force behind Grandoozy). Bass Center is now in Virginia after the fest was first moved from Colorado to New Jersey last year; Divide Music Festival, who were rumored to return this year, has now been postponed until 2019 stating, “greater forces are working against us;” Groove Festival’s web presence is still replaced by this Japanese site making us still question everything; Mad Decent Block Party appears to have officially gone off the radar; Riot Fest has again only listed its Chicago date in 2018 after the fest cancelled its Denver show last year; and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) appears to be a distant dream after it was cancelled in 2017.

Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all summer on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

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

Keys Maestro Erik Duetsch on Leftover Salmon’s New Album 'Something Higher'

By: Cy Fontenot

For 28 years, Colorado’s bluegrass scene has been graced with the eclectic sounds of Leftover Salmon, one of the most considerable pioneers of the genre. Descendants of a lineage of impactful bands such as New Grass Revival, The Band, and The Grateful Dead, Leftover Salmon’s coined genre of “Poly-ethnic Cajun Slamgrass” has had a marked influence on the bluegrass scene as we know it.

Leftover Salmon.

Leftover Salmon.

I recently had the pleasure of exchanging a few words with Salmon’s keys player Erik Duetsch in reference to Leftover Salmon’s upcoming album 'Something Higher.'

Leftover Salmon has been at this for a while and have helped pioneer the bluegrass scene. How do you feel about how the community and how newer headlining acts have progressed?

Well I’m the newest guy to the scene, and pretty much one of the only keyboardists, so I’ve got a unique, if not slightly less-informed perspective: What I’ve seen from the new acts is a lot of energy, talent, and good youthful musicality. Billy Strings, the Kitchen Dwellers, and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades have really impressed me, and I wouldn’t doubt if all of their stock continues to rise rapidly.

What are some of your influences? Did any of them inspire the new record?

I’m literally influenced by all genres of good music new and old- classical, jazz, rock, funk, country- and I think our new album draws from all of this, at least from my personal keyboard input. In the end, I think we found a nice, artistic, pop-rock-folk album that feels modern and classic all at the same time.

If you had only one day on earth, what album would you listen to?

It would have to be Reach Out by Burt Bacharach.

Leftover Salmon at Winter Wondergrass 2018.

Leftover Salmon at Winter Wondergrass 2018.

Erik, who kills it hardest on the Hammond B3?

I think I Gotta go with Dr. Lonnie Smith. Shout out to Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGrith, and Shirley Scott too.

What territory does this new album explore?

[grinning widely] All of it! And more.

Pre-order Leftover Salmon’s new album ‘Something Higher’ and catch their upcoming tour dates on their website. Their new record drops May 4th so don’t miss them at Red Rocks later that month with Phil Lesh And The Terrapin Family Band; tickets here.

-Cy

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

Winter Wondergrass 2018 Proved That Snow, Mountains, & Bluegrass Are The Perfect Festival Combo

By: Cy Fontenot

From frozen phalanges, to crashing on the floor like sardines, to uncontrollable laughter with some of the best friends you’ll ever make, Winter Wondergrass festival sure does attract a certain type of person, the ones who are willing to battle the cold and rally in the name of live music. If I learned anything at the fest, it’s that the combination of snow, mountains, and bluegrass create the best situational cocktail for bringing people together. As if the snowy mountains of Steamboat, Colorado didn’t do that already, add a little bluegrass and some Dale’s Pale Ale to the mix and there you have it: a wonderful freakin’ time.

Greensky Bluegrass.

Greensky Bluegrass.

The festival kicked off beautifully with Liver Down the River, who played just one note before and snow began! After being thoroughly pumped up by their funkadeligrass music, the crowd was serenaded by Trout Steak Revival who kept the music flowing into the evening, when Liver played yet another rockin’ set. The Wooks kept the energy alive for the Brad Parsons Band to wrap up the Wondergrass pre-party. As the night wound to a close, festies retreated to a set downtown by Colorado jamtronica up-and-comers Evanoff, who delivered a high energy dance party to cap the night off right.

John Stickley Trio.

John Stickley Trio.

Friday immediately started off with party vibes as we festival-goers made our way downtown for a delicious breakfast at Johnny B Good’s Diner, followed by smooth liquors at Steamboat Whiskey Company. After getting properly buzzed up, we made our way into the festival grounds where we were greeted by the Jon Stickley Trio, who had been joined on stage by some all-star special guests.

After a beautiful Steamboat sunset, Elephant Revival took the stage for an emotionally evocative set, playing whilst fireworks were shot from the ski hill above. For me, this remains one of the most perfect and beautiful moments of the weekend, and since the band are going on hiatus in just a few short months, it was even more special.

Grantful Dead Revue.

Grantful Dead Revue.

Just when it seemed the night couldn’t get more beautiful, Yonder Mountain took the stage, and so did the snow! After their heartfelt set, I made my way to the the gondolas and took a ride up to the top with some beautiful humans to catch the Grantful Dead Revue, where Tyler Grant had more than a few things to say with his fretboard. I think everyone agreed there was no better way to finish off the night than gettin’ down to some Dead tunes.

Fruition.

Fruition.

Saturday began with the infamous Bacon Jam, which took place in an absolutely gorgeous house on top of a mountain. Upon arrival guests were greeted by snowballs drunkenly lobbed from a hot tub. After entering the house I found great vibes, unlimited bacon, and WonderGrass all-stars pickin’ up a storm! After the Bacon Jam and a much needed nap, I made my way to the festival to see The Lil Smokies kick the afternoon into high gear. The Smokies were followed by Fruition, who had a perfect sunset set that sent the crowds partying into the night.

Next to the stage was the amazing Greensky Bluegrass, who played one of the most captivating sets of the weekend. As they plucked their last notes, I headed over to the Grand Ballroom, where Leftover Salmon, who were warming up for their killer Sunday night set. Paul Hoffman joined in midway through the set and the night went on ‘til morning.

Billy Strings.

Billy Strings.

Quick-trigger new kid on the block Billy Strings kicked off the mainstage Sunday afternoon with something to say. With outstanding vocals and masterfully edgy guitar skills, Billy brought the energy the crowd needed to power through the last day of this incredible festival.

As day turned to night, the people of Wondergrass reached a new level of love, intoxication, and anticipation as Leftover Salmon geared up to close out the fest. I have to give it to Leftover Salmon- out of all the amazing music I had the pleasure of experiencing this weekend, their capstone performance takes the cake as my most enjoyed set of Winter Wondergrass.

Leftover Salmon.

Leftover Salmon.

WWG was sold-out this year, proving people seem to really love Bluegrass in the winter. If you’re ready for round two, get your tickets to Winter WonderGrass in Squaw Valley, CA happening April 6th-8th here!

Check out our festival gallery from this event here!

-Cy

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.

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.

Colorado Bluegrass Outfit Thunder And Rain To Debut New Record At The Buffalo Rose (11/11)

By: Trevor Ryan

Bluegrass and folk hitmakers Thunder and Rain just dropped their new record Start Believing, and they’re rocking The Buffalo Rose tomorrow night with jazzy folk slingers Masontown. Formed after a summer of the busking life in Seattle in 2011, mandolinist Peter Weber, and vocalist Erin Peet-Lukes would soon become Colorado’s Thunder and Rain, releasing their debut album Hollar Out, and establishing themselves successfully among the Colorado bluegrass scene.

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Start Believing marks a first for Thunder and Rain, as it’s their debut full-length record as a collective band. The title track, “Start Believing,” is a powerfully emotional track with smooth open-sounding instrumentals of piercing fiddle riffs and awe-inspiring finger picking. These sounds are accompanied by the lyrical wit and incredibly melodic vocals of Peet-Lukes, who proclaims catchy one liners like, “Soul is the coal that keeps us burnin’.”

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Make sure to catch this bluegrass outfit tomorrow, November 11th at The Buffalo Rose with Masontown. Tickets can be found right 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.

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.

Recapping RockyGrass: The Changing Face of Bluegrass

By: Riley Ann

Festivarians flocked to the 45th annual RockyGrass Festival this past weekend at Planet Bluegrass, and it celebrated the evolution of bluegrass in all of its facets. In the era of the folk renaissance in America, the first RockyGrass was held in 1973 and featured first-generation bluegrassers like Bill Monroe (the “father of bluegrass”) and Lester Flatt in addition to acts like Country Gazette that were part of the budding newgrass movement. A lot has changed since 1973, when 3-day tickets were only $12 and Bill Monroe himself was involved in starting the first RockyGrass (more about the history here). And yet, in the spirit of blending first-generation traditional bluegrass alongside newgrass of the time, this year’s RockyGrass held true to their own tradition.

Sam Bush.

Sam Bush.

What is notable at this year’s festival was the striking number of young faces on stage. In fact, eldest of all the instrument contest winners is only 21 years old. And yet Sam Bush was only 21 when he took the stage with The Bluegrass Alliance for the very first RockyGrass in 1973, which is evidence of young blood continually being drawn into the scene and sustaining the tradition through the decades.

Odessa Settles.

Odessa Settles.

What is notably different about more recent Rockygrasses, especially this year’s, is the growing representation of women on stage. Friday’s lineup included Colorado native Bevin Foley of Trout Steak Revival, Laurie Lewis with her band including renowned fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves along with special guest and Colorado native Courtney Hartman of Della Mae. Saturday featured powerhouse band leaders Melody Walker (winner the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Vocalist Momentum Award) with her band Front Country (nominated by IBMA as 2017’s Emerging Artist of the Year award) and followed by Becky Buller (nominated by IBMA at 2017’s Fiddler of the Year and by The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America as 2017’s Songwriter of the Year award) as well as Odessa Settles performing with Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer. Sunday featured clawhammer banjoist Allison de Groot alongside Bruce Molsky in the Molsky Mountain Drifters as well as the all-female band and 2016 nominee for the IBMA Emerging Artist award Sister Sadie. Aside from the main stage, Denver-based Ginny Mules left the crowd roaring in a standing ovation during the band contest at the Wildflower Pavilion, and they won third place in the finals.

Tatiana Hargreaves with Laurie Lewis.

Tatiana Hargreaves with Laurie Lewis.

Although female representation is far from being equal, the bluegrass scene has come a long way despite its sexist reputation, like Alison Kraus being angrily told, “Girls can’t play bluegrass,” as she disclosed in the documentary High Lonesome: The Story of Bluegrass Music, one among countless other similar anecdotes of female bluegrass musicians in the book Pretty Good for a Girl.

Del McCoury.

Del McCoury.

While so many new faces are entering the scene, some have become iconic staples, and the return of Del McCoury, Sam Bush, and Peter Rowan along with newgrass favorites like The Infamous Stringdusters rounded out the festival to mix in the old with the new, giving something in the realm of bluegrass for everyone to enjoy.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

The Infamous Stringdusters.

Although this year’s RockyGrass has passed, you can still get your festival on for Folks Fest, which is happening in just a couple weeks from August 18th-20th. This year’s lineup includes Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Street Dive, The Revivalists, Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops), The Wailin’ Jennys, Josh Ritter, Elephant Revival, Dave Rawlings Machine, and more. You can still get single-day and three-day tickets here.

View our full photo gallery from RockyGrass 2017 here.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

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

Decatur Unleashed Their Dynamic Debut EP at The Walnut Room

By: Jura Daubenspeck

 Last Friday, June 9th, Denver’s Walnut Room was filled with a plethora of drinks, tasty pizza, and a unique lineup of music. The energy was high, and people were movin’ and groovin’ in any way they knew how. The evening celebrated the release of Decatur ’s debut EP, Before The Bulb’s album, and Whimsically Macabre Music’s general impressiveness.  

Stacy Fahrion.

Stacy Fahrion.

Stacy Fahrion of Whimsically Macabre Music took to the stage first, blowing everyone away with her lightning fast piano compositions and unusual twists to well-known nursery rhymes. Starting off the evening with dark and edgy alt-classical music was as fitting as it was eye-opening.

Colorado’s experimental alternative rock group Decatur took to the stage second, and gave a performance that was dynamic and exciting. The five-piece band, consisting of Sean Decrescenzo (frontman/guitar), Tay Hamilton (lead guitar/backing vocals), Quinn Cox (lead studio engineer/backing vocals/guitar/keys), Chris Howard (drums/backing vocals), and Chris Rybitski (bass) were clearly feeling good, as this performance honored the release of their debut, self-titled EP.  

Decatur’s newest EP has a brooding, edgy feel to it, yet the band delivered the music in a way that was clear they were having a great time. Decrescenzo’s moody lead vocals were well-suited for songs such as “Don’t Talk,” “Cold,” and “New Way To Love,” and were paired perfectly with Hamilton’s electrifying guitar-work. The band also played a previous single of theirs, “My Desire,” which absolutely got the crowd up and moving, if they weren’t already.  

Decatur is proving themselves to be a band to look out for, as they’ve already attracted the attention of award-winning producers such as Lance Bendiksen. Their raw, atmospheric energy and fine-tuned attention to detail leaves listeners wanting more even after they’ve left the stage. They also manage to pull off looking generally cool, without the inflated egos. Their EP is available to stream and download.  

Before the Bulb.

Before the Bulb.

Before the Bulb closed out the night with a vibe that was quite different than the previous performers, but still kept the tempo high. The six-piece band, which blended violin, piano, upright bass, drums, and guitar, came together to create the sounds of “gypsy-rock-bluegrass-punk.” It was a stellar combination, to say the least. The band was also celebrating their release of their album, “Opera in the Whale” which is available now.

Overall, the evening catered to many different musical palates, ranging from dark horse indie-classical sounds of Whimsical Macabre Music, to Decatur’s experimental/atmospheric rock, to, as Before the Bulb puts it, “some form of rock.” It was an exquisite evening filled with talented musicians celebrating their months of hard work.

Be sure to check out Decatur’s newest EP (free to download!) on their website, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and iTunes. And don’t be shy- connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the conversation going!

-Jura

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

Jump Into Summer With Our 'Pickin' On CO Summers' Spotify Playlist

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Just in time for summer and the many folk & bluegrass festivals that come with it in Colorado thanks to Planet Bluegrass, here’s our ‘Pickin’ On Colorado Summers’ Spotify Playlist:

Tastemaker Sierra Voss has put some serious tuneage together for your summer soundtrack. Trout Steak Revival classically opens our pickin’ playlist, with tracks by Caribou Mountain Collective, Fruition, The Haunted Windchimes, Elephant Revival, Punch Brothers, The Infamous Stringdusters, Blitzen Trapper, Railroad Earth, Sarah Jarosz, and others. Several of these artists play the upcoming 2017 Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

Make sure to follow us on Spotify to check out our many playlists, and if you’re an artist looking to submit your song for playlist consideration, roll to our Contact page and do it!

Happy Summer.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Reinventing the String Band: Darol Anger Forges A New Tradition

By: Riley Ann

String players in the Front Range had a real treat this past weekend. Living legend Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings, which features violinist Enion Pelta-Tiller of TAARKAand Joy Adams of Half Pelican on cello, hosted a workshop at Naropa before performing a concert in the evening on Sunday, April 23rd as the conclusion of their most recent Front Range tour. The full ensemble, which included Emy Phelps on guitar and vocals, Mike Robinson on guitar, and Eric Thorin on bass, played an evening concert the same day.

Darol Anger. 

Darol Anger. 

Darol Anger has made an indelible impact on the evolution of the fiddle. From his early days with David Grisman to the Turtle Island String Quartet, and his 2012 release of Chops & Grooves with Rushad Eggleston and Casey Driessen, Anger is no stranger to stretching possibilities and breaking rules through innovative techniques. His Fiddle-ology workshops are aimed at sharing these techniques that Anger helped developed in contemporary styles, techniques which transcend any particular genre. “I’m a failed classical player,” Anger laughed, “but that’s why I teach: to be the teacher that I wish I had.”

Nearly 50 string players attended the workshop, including fiddlers, cellists, mandolin players, and a harpist. Ages and experiences ranged as well, from kids under 12 who have played most of their lives, to touring professionals who make their living performing music, and adults who have recently picked up their instrument for the first time in decades, or recently picked it up for the very first time. Each participant shared their journey with music. “I played violin as a girl and put it down for a few years, but I just picked it up again after retirement,” said one fiddler, smiling. Another shared, “I’ve played professionally in symphonies for years, but you don’t get much exposure to music like this in Miami.” Despite their differing paths, all of the participants were looking to expand their musical vocabulary, whether it was getting out of habitual solos, diversifying their backup techniques, or even learning to break away from classical training to freely improvise.

Phelps, Thorin, & Robinson.

Phelps, Thorin, & Robinson.

The Republic of Strings are the perfect performers to share these techniques. Philosophically, the ensemble disregards limitations and borders. As articulated in their bio, “Our shared Republic Of Strings’ imaginary borders extend through all geographical or other imaginary borders, and we accept no unsightly cultural boundaries. We revel in variety and seek to deeply understand.” Such is true musically as they blend the folk music spanning the world, including Scandinavia, Africa, South America, urban America, Appalachia, and more with neo-classical, blues, jazz, hip-hop, bluegrass, and postmodern influences, ultimately weaving together a new tapestry of music that defies compartmentalization in any genre or style.

Pelta-Tiller & Anger.

Pelta-Tiller & Anger.

The partnership between Pelta-Tiller and Anger is also unique and longstanding. “Darol and I have been friends for a very long time,” said Pelta-Tiller. “I grew up listening to him in the Bay area and would go see him with my parents when I was really little. After college I was staying at my parents, and I took some lessons with him,” she said. Since then, they have taught at some of the same fiddle camps and see each other at festivals. “We’ve been friends for a long time, and I’m really excited to be able to bring him out here,” she said.

Joy Adams.

Joy Adams.

Although this was the first workshop of its kind at Naropa, Anger and Pelta-Tiller are considering the possibility of doing more area workshops in the future and even expanding what those workshops offer. The full calendar of events can be found on Naropa’s website, including this summer’s Creative Music Workshop, which focuses on improvisation. Pelta-Tiller and Adams are also both teaching at the Rustic Roots campfire jamming camp in Moffat, Colorado this August.

-Riley

Find out more about me on my blog.

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

Breaking Up With Bluegrass: The Railsplitters’ Upcoming Album Pushes New Boundaries

By: Riley Ann

The Railsplitters return to the Fox Theatre for a homecoming show in Boulder this Wednesday, and it’s an opportunity you don’t want to miss. This homegrown Colorado band continues to explore the depths of bluegrass and isn’t afraid to cross the boundaries of people’s expectations. They’re sharing the bill with Front Country and Caribou Mountain Collective.

The Railsplitters. 

The Railsplitters. 

The Railsplitters gained national and international attention with their first two albums, which launched them on cross-country and international tours, including two tours through the UK and Germany. While their last album had pre-production support from Gabe Witcher, (fiddler of Punch Brothers) the current album is being produced by Kai Welch, a renowned Nashville producer who has worked with Abigail Washburn, the Molly Tuttle Band, and Front Country. Working with Welch was the next logical step for the band in their music careers. The attention they’re getting for their songwriting and performances warrants professionally produced albums, and they’re ready for the next big leap upward.

While their new album continues to cross-pollinate genres to their ever-evolving sound, the band keeps stretching its legs in performance environments, especially since touring with Yonder Mountain String Band. Lauren Stovall, guitarist and lead vocalist for The Railsplitters, described that experience saying, “Watching a band like that every night for two weeks straight was a huge influence. Seeing how they connected with their audience, we started experimenting with some of their approaches, like giving more time for breaks and jamming them out more. It really moved us out of our arrangements and into something more loose, giving us more time to riff off melodies and giving our listeners something to connect to better in a live setting.”

Watch The Railsplitters' live video for their song "Lessons I've Learned":

Aside from a new dimension of their live shows, the band has fresh tunes from their forthcoming record to share on Wednesday. Their third album still maintains their catchy pop-centric melodies and intricate instrumental lines. However, there’s an even greater interplay of soul, jazz, and pop music within their bluegrass roots on their upcoming release. Furthermore, the songs are steeped in social commentary about contemporary issues.

“It was sort of a subconscious thing, but we recorded the album, and when we listened back, we realized that several of the songs have political and feminist themes,” said Stovall. “Every album we’ve come out with has been different from the last, and this one has evolved even further. When we went into the studio this time, we came home at the end of the week saying, ‘What just happened- did we just break up with bluegrass?”’

The band is no stranger to breaking the rules of traditional bluegrass. While many people have specific expectations of bluegrass, newgrass, progressive bluegrass, and jamgrass also create expectations for listeners that don’t quite convey the sound of The Railsplitters, especially in their new album.

“Anybody that knows us and our music knows that we’ve been heading in this direction for a while. We still think of our band as a bluegrass band at heart, but we’ve always struggled with that title and know that other people struggle with that title for us as well.” said Lauren.

The band currently identifies as “unconventional bluegrass,” which they claim represents their hybridization of Coloradograss with their influences by bands from Boston and New York like the Punch Brothers, Lake Street Dive, and Joy Kills Sorrow.

Come out to The Fox on Wednesday and get a taste of their new tunes and their new vibe. You can find more information about The Railsplitters’ new album and upcoming tour dates on their website, and you can get tickets for Wednesday’s show here.

-Riley

Find out more about me on my blog.

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

If You Like Soulful Melodies & Tight Folk Instrumentation, Avenhart May Be Your Next Favorite Band

By: Sierra Voss

Denver’s Avenhart have become known for their unique blend of soulful vocals, folky instrumentation, and harmonies. Just last month, they dropped their debut self-titled EP and a live music video. The group is comprised of Andrea Pares (lead vocals), Phil Heifferon (vocals/banjo), Olivia Shaw (vocals/fiddle), Payden Widner (guitar), Alex Drapela (mandolin) and Alex Goldberg (bass). This Saturday, you can catch them at Lakewood Heritage Center's Earth Day Celebration. But before they launch into full summer show mode, I wanted to chat with the crew about their formation, their new music, and their plans for the season. Read on:

How did Avenhart come together?

We formed Avenhart after meeting in Greg Garrison's Bluegrass Ensemble at CU Denver. We loved making music together and got along well, so we decided to pursue something more outside of school. We've been playing and performing together since the spring of 2014, so [we’ve been together] about three years now.

Avenhart. 

Avenhart. 

You guys have a lot going on with a six member band! What does your songwriting process look like?

It really varies from song to song. Sometimes, one of us will write a full song and bring it to the band for arranging. Other times, we craft the whole thing together. Both processes are utterly unique and impossible to compare, but I love that every song eventually finds its way to the group to be fused in a way that is meaningful to all of us. Really bonding with the song through deep arrangement work is a challenge, but it's so worthwhile. It's a little bit like going on a road trip, except that the destination is not a place, but an emotion or well-told story and the road that you take to get there is one of notes and poetry.

Listen to Avenhart’s debut self-titled EP:

What inspirations do you pull from in terms of musical influence?

Our inspirations are amorphous and constantly developing, but we ultimately just want to sound authentic to who we are as people and musicians. Our musical tastes are varied, which really helps us draw on different styles to craft the sound that feels right to us. We love creating intricate arrangements of songs that could be played with much more sparse instrumentation. There's always an element of trying to balance strong, bold grooves with more ethereal and floating melodies.

Without getting too abstract, I think that we try to find the beauty of balance through exploring how we can utilize our instrumentation to communicate something meaningful. Our lead singer Andrea Pares has an amazingly soulful strength to her voice, and we support her distinctive tone through a blend of folky arrangements with gritty grooves and intentional melodies.

Tell me more about your debut EP. What were you trying to achieve with the selected songs? How did it all come together? What do you want people to take away?

Our EP is comprised of four songs that were born from experiences in our everyday lives, or emotions that drive the way we live. I think that we were trying to translate our memories into music that is honest and real. Regardless of what people take from it, we made something that helped us explore our relationship with the world, music, and each other.

If you could have everyone who reads this article listen to one of your songs, which song would you pick?

One of our favorites from the EP is "If I Go." It's a song that represents the paradox between longing to explore the possibilities of a path not yet traveled and the beauty of opportunities that arise through growing roots in one place.

Watch Avenhart’s live video for “The Path”:

Any tours planned for the future?

Although we don't have any tours planned for the near future, we're looking forward to exploring our region more expansively this summer. We're hoping to play in Boulder, Durango, Colorado Springs, Golden, and more.

So make sure to get down with Avenhart’s folky soulful sounds at Lakewood Heritage Center's Earth Day Celebration this Saturday, April 22 at 11:00AM. Keep up with the band here.

-Sierra

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

John Craigie's 'No Rain, No Rose' a Reflection of Life on the Road & Finding Home

By: Zach Dahmen

Singer/songwriter John Craigie has been everywhere, but his latest record takes him back to his new home base in Portland, Oregon. His affable character and quick wit make his live shows true entertainment, as I saw over a year ago. Each performance deftly moves from engaging story to poignant song. Seriously- spend ten minutes with this guy and you feel like you have somehow known each other for years. And that’s what’s so genuine about Craigie: He draws people in as a performer and as a person. Needless to say, I was excited about his new record, No Rain, No Rose.

John Craigie.

John Craigie.

Some of John’s storytelling skills have undoubtedly been honed by the road, and John spends over half his year on the road. He’s been traversing The States (and beyond) for years, picking up loyal listeners with his earnest music and endearing personality. Hailing from California originally, Craigie set out as a true troubadour years ago, touring and living on the road for an extended time playing gigs and even festivals like Burning Man. His touring eventually brought him through Portland, which cultivated his eventual move and settling into that community. This move is well-reflected in Craigie’s latest record, which was released this past January.

No Rain, No Rose is an album that feels like it is taking root. For Craigie that means a much more fleshed out sound compared to his previous, more stripped-down recordings. Beyond this, No Rain, No Rose is also packed with friends including members of Fruition, The Shook Twins, Gregory Alan Isakov, Brad Parsons, Bevin Foley (of Trout Steak Revival), Kat Fountain, Bart Budwig, Justin Landis, John Nuhn, and Niko Daoussis. From his old Victorian home’s kitchen, Craigie told me in a recent chat that he would call out players to jump in on tracks.

“We recorded inside the house I live in. All my housemates were there cooking dinner between takes, we set up in the living room, and people came by when they could and sat in on songs.”

These living room vibes fit Craigie well, and with the extended audio, the album has a sense of an intimate house party. It’s like your friends set down their glasses, picked up an instrument and created something so good it feels like it’s somehow yours as well. This style also gives the album some of Craigie’s classic levity.

The heart of No Rain, No Rose comes from the title track. Maybe the most personal song of the album, it’s a fully realized lament and celebration of embracing what is hard: “We need the bad things to make the good things, I know/And I hear them singing, ‘No rain. No rose.’”

"I really wanted to write a response to Portland after living here for a couple of years. All the songs that had been written in my time here.” Craigie told me.

Themes of the road, relationships, and aimlessness show an artist processing his past and looking forward to what is ahead. This record is a true reflection of community, with each song feeling like it has a life of its own while still feeling like a cohesive part of the record. Drawn out vocals and haunting melodies are captured in songs like “I Am California” and “Savannah,” with the the former including some lovely harmonies with Boulder’s own Isakov. Other songs like “Bucket List Grandmas” and “Michael Collins” are filled with strings, and give the feeling of a packed bluegrass jam. The whole vibe of the 13-song record takes real life and makes it just a little more pretty.

You can see John Craigie in Denver TONIGHT Thursday, March 23rd with Holly Lovell at The Walnut Room at 8PM. He has another Colorado gig in Pueblo at Songbird Cellars this Friday the 24th at 730PM. Make sure to keep up with Craigie’s continuing life on the road here.

-Zach

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

Colorado Music Festivals 2017: Your Official Guide To All The Goodness

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Festival season is arguably the best time of year in music. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are.


FoCoMX- April 28th-29th

Fort Collins' premiere music festival has announced its lineup, which features hundreds of Colorado artists. Some of our favorites include Antonio Lopez, The Alcapones, BANDITS, Bethel Steele, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Edison, Foxfeather, Gasoline Lollipops, and The Velveteers. Full lineup here


Spread The Word Music Festival- May 5th-8th

Taking place at several Denver and Boulder venues, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Euforquestra, A-Mac and the Hight, & Analog Sun. Full lineup on our announcement link.


Denver’s Project Pabst- May 20th

“Project Pabst was a wild success,” contributor Zach Dahmen wrote in retrospect of the 2016 festival that took over Denver’s Larimer Street last year. This year, the PBR-fueled lineup includes Ice Cube, Phantogram, Danny Brown, Kurt Vile, STRFKR, No Name, & more. We’re pumped for this. Details here


Greeley Blues Jam- June 9th-10th

The Greeley Blues Jam seeks to keep the blues alive, and this year, they’re doing just that with a lineup including Walter Trout, Samantha Fish, Honey Island Swamp Band, and Colorado favorite The Burroughs. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.


Taste of Fort Collins- June 9th-11th

The 21st annual Taste of Fort Collins includes headliners St. Lucia, Gin Blossoms, Plain White T's, & Waterloo Revival this year. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Get out and get down! More info on their website.


Country Jam- June 15th-18th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 26th annual four-day fest this year. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, and Thomas Rhett top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music, and clearly this year is no different. More info at this link.


Sonic Bloom Festival- June 15th-18th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Gigantic Cheese Biscuits, The Polish Ambassador, The Floozies, and a huge array of electronic beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.


Telluride Bluegrass Festival- June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 44th year this summer. Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Dierks Bentley with The Travelin' McCourys, and Brandi Carlile top the fest’s 2017 list. We can tell you from experience that last year was magical and we even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.


Van’s Warped Tour- June 25th

Believe it or not, we attended this event back in 2015 after not having been since high school. Yes. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), this is a fest that still has a cult following and still makes its way around the US. Attila, Bowling for Soup, CKY, & Futuristic top this year's bill- grab the full listing here.


Westword Music Showcase- June 25th

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host more than 100 live acts at their annual summer celebration this year. With Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, Cut Copy, Bob Moses, COIN, Arizona, and a long list of local acts, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. Don’t miss out on Westword’s fantastic Friday night. Local artists should be announced soon; voting is open. More info on their website.


Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) Festival-

July 5th-9th

CROMA's 2017 festival at Parrish Ranch features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. Artists at this year's fest will include Eddie Bond and the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, The Ozark Highballers, Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller, and The Musky Dimes and Lansford and McAlister. Get full details and tickets here


The Ride Festival- July 8th-9th

Beck will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Ben Harper, Kaleo, The John Butler Trio, and Colorado favorite Rose Hill Drive will all keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.


The Underground Music Showcase- July 27th-30th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esme Patterson are headlining this year, but we're more stoked on this massive list of local artists (a crazy amount of which we've covered in the last year). Get tickets here. More deets on our announcement link.


Rockygrass Festival- July 28th-30th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, The Del McCoury Band, and The Infamous Stringdusters are already confirmed for this year’s pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More artists at this link.


ARISE Music Festival- August 4th-6th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its fifth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Atmosphere, Tipper, and Ani Difranco. Get more details at our announcement link.


Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest- August 11th-13th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. CAKE has been announced as one of the headliners with more TBA- keep up with the full lineup here.


Velorama Colorado- August 11th-13th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Colorado’s newest festival Velorama will take place in Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood this summer. Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, The New Pornographers, Saint Motel, and La Santa Cecilia are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party! Tickets for this new fest here.


Rocky Mountain Folks Festival- August 18th-20th

Last year, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival proved to be much more than a music festival. Bringing together local artists for songwriting workshops and more, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that still managed to showcase great national acts too. Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Street Dive, and Rhiannon Giddens have already been announced for this year’s fest; full schedule and list of acts here.


Jazz Aspen Snowmass- September 1st-3rd

We don’t know how Maroon 5 is jazz, but they are headlining the JAS Labor Day Weekend festival this year. Colorado favorite Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Lake Street Dive, and Keith Urban will also have performances at the Snowmass event. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature John Batiste & Stay Human, Michael McDonald, and Earth Wind & Fire. Details on both events here.


Telluride Blues & Brews Festival 

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Telluride Blues & Brews Fest has Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, TajMo at the top of their bill this year. You can get your grand brew tasting on for three days with these artists and more, plus there is a lot of availability in ticket options, so you can schedule your own fest experience. Get more info here


Festivals of The Past

We'll miss you Vertex.

We'll miss you Vertex.

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Bass Center moved to New Jersey this year, Divide Music Festival has been postponed until 2018, Groove Festival’s web presence has been replaced by this Japanese site making us question everything, Mad Decent Block Party went to India (yes really), Riot Fest Denver will not return due to Sean McKeough's death, and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) was sadly cancelled, but we’re praying it comes back to life with full zombie mayhem next year. Fingers crossed fellow festheads.


Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all season on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

If The Cold Don't Kill Ya, The Music Will Save Ya: My Winter Wondergrass 2017 Experience

By: Mirna Tufekcic

If you didn’t know, Winter Wondergrass took place in Steamboat Springs this year. I don’t know about you, but I don’t necessarily think, “Oh fun!” when I think of February nights outside on a mountain freezing my ass off just to hear some live music. But I sucked it up and ventured out this year to see what the hype was all about. As it turns out, WWG is absolutely fun and yeah, you are pretty much freezing cold the whole time. But there was a lot of string picking, a lot of banjo bangin’ and mandolin shredding, and a lot of beer and whiskey drinkin’ people having a blast.  

On the first night of the festival, people seemed a bit unsure and disoriented, as though they too were wondering what compelled them to come to an outdoor music festival in the middle of winter with temperatures dropping down to, yeah, just about zero degrees. I eased into it by heading for one of the three heated tents on the festival grounds. Gipsy Moon was scheduled to play at the Soapbox Tent, so I prepared myself for a musical journey around the globe while standing in three layers of clothing. They played two sets, so I stuck around for both and kept warm. For the final stretch of the first night I made my way to the main stage for Leftover Salmon. It was my first time seeing them live and I gotta say these dudes are a lot of fun to watch as they made sure to keep people moving.

I couldn’t feel my fingers after taking a few pictures in the photo pit during their set, so I went looking for heat. Right by the SmartWool Tent, there were a couple of propane fire pits, so I posted myself there, still able to see the main stage. You know what’s really cool about a freezing winter music festival? You’ll make room around the fire for your fellow freezing music lovers, meet their acquaintances, and realize you all probably met somewhere in a past life.

Saturday was freezing. It snowed the entire day and night, making for a very winter wondergrass- I mean wonderland- vibe. I got to the festival in time for happy hour beer tastings and Grant Farm on the main stage. I hung out sippin’ some Oskar Blues watching the main stage from the sidelines when my old friend Taj walked by. We chatted for a bit and he told me to check out The Deer, who were playing at the SoapBox Tent in a few minutes. He manages the band, as it turns out. Desperately wanting to find warmth again, I made my way there. The Deer started to play and I wasn’t disappointed. They call their music “transcendental Texas folk.” They’re from Austin, TX and though their lead vocalist Grace Park could front an indie band with her style, she was sandwiched between a mandolin player, Noah Jeffreys, and an upright bassist, Jesse Dalton, which brought the bigger picture back into focus. And that picture was of course bluegrass.      

Mimi Naja. 

Mimi Naja. 

Fruition played the main stage in the afternoon that day, by which time the snowfall gained momentum, crowding the space with fat snowflakes all around. It made for a cozy Fruition set, and by cozy I mean really cold but magical. My girl Mimi Naja (vocals/mandolin/guitars), greeted us on the mic, “What’s up Colorado! You guys are crazy!” And the band proceeded to rock out with all of us freezing fruity freaks.

After Fruition’s set, it was time to warm up a little. The Lil’ Smokies played a short set at the Soapbox Tent, so I hurried over there. Their mando was loud and clear. The crowd could barely move from all the bodies packed in, but I think everyone was in need of heat. Andy Dunnigan, the band’s main vocalist and dobro player, got the crowd going, and people swayed, heating up the tent even more.

Saturday evening rolled around quickly, and it was time for a short interview with Ben Morrison of The Brothers Comatose. They played two consecutive sets at the Pickin’ Perch Tent and I got to chat with him between them.

“We love to see the crowd get comfortable enough to get down and have a great time. It’s more fun that way,” said Ben, after I acknowledged that The Brothers Comatose are known for putting together sets resembling house shows. He went on, “My brother Alex, who’s the banjo player in our band, and I grew up with our mom and her band rehearsing in our living room. We would sit and watch, enamored at the beautiful harmonies they produced. That’s where we got our inspiration to play.”  

Ben Morrison.

Ben Morrison.

Alex and Ben didn’t really listen to bluegrass until later in life. In fact, they played punk rock when they started a band as teenagers. So what changed?

“It’s easier when you don’t have to carry a huge amp and drums and shit. There’s no room for that,” Ben laughed, and then added more seriously, “But really what I realized was that I liked to play the acoustic guitar anytime I was writing a song. And my parents always said I needed to learn to play a song on an acoustic guitar before playing it on an electric.”

We ended our chat with an update on the band- The Brothers Comatose are releasing a bunch of new videos and a mini documentary on the recent Horseback Tour they did back in September, and they’re working on some new music with yet to be revealed big names in the bluegrass music world.

Fruition.

Fruition.

The rest of my Saturday night involved finding the fire pit, chatting with the friends from another life, and then heading back to the condo for a hot tub session to defrost. Most of my crew, however, went to the late night afterparty shows that featured some of the main acts at the festival. I attended one of those on Sunday night.

Sunday was a bluebird, clear skies, mimosas-all-day kind of day, for me anyway, since I didn’t have a ski pass. I got to the festival right in time for The California Honeydrops, who played the main stage as the sun warmed up everyone’s spirit. It was beautiful and hopeful. Then the sun set and it turned back to freezing cold again. But it was ok because we had music to warm us up. Oh, and whiskey, lots of whiskey. I think next year (if I dare go) I’ll dress up as a St. Bernard and carry a barrel of whiskey around my neck.     

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Ungloved hands are risky at WW.

Elephant Revival hit the main stage next. The thing about the elephants is that they’re magical and they’ll suck you right into their fairytale. Their music is so airy and spiritual that you can’t help but stop and listen. The only problem with stopping at an outdoor music festival in freezing temperatures is that you get get- you guessed it- cold. By the end of Elephant Revival’s set, I found myself in the Jamboree Tent with Dead Horses hoarding the heat vent. It was the coldest night yet.

Railroad Earth closed the final evening of Winter Wondergrass on the main stage, but I was too scared of losing my recently warmed body heat to make it out there. Instead, my friends and I rode the gondola to Thunderhead to check out The Infamous Stringdusters’ afterparty. We were met with a warm, crowded room of festive folk. Feet were stomping, music was grassy and people were jolly. It was a great way to end the festival. The final songs of the night at Thunderhead had the Stringdusters playing with Mimi and Jay from Fruition, Andy Dunnigan from Lil’ Smokies and a few others. It was a celebration: we had all made it through yet another wonderful Winter Wondergrass, snow and all.

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

The author, prior to adding more layers. 

PS: Did I mention the festival was sold out this year? Yeah- people seem to really love bluegrass in the winter.  

Get tickets to Winter Wondergrass in Tahoe, which happens March 31st-April 2nd 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.

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.