Daphne Willis Is Bringing the Freak to Boulder's e-Town Hall This Week

By: Julia Talen

To classify Daphne Willis as one type of musical artist is a difficult feat. She’s been immersed in the music scene for over ten years, having released several records, her most recent being 'Freaks Like Me.' On it you’ll find gorgeous ballads like “Somebody’s Someone” mixed with pop dance tunes like “Out of the Black” and “Just a Little Bit.” Her music gives listeners a glimpse into Willis’ personal experiences which she’s honest and open about.

Daphne Willis. 

Daphne Willis. 

Her latest single, “Do It Like This” (which includes a sweet music video shot on the Queensboro Bridge in NYC featuring dancer Shereen Jenkins), is the perfect upbeat track to blast and sing to in your car with your windows rolled down this summer. Not only that, but she’ll be in Boulder Friday, May 18th bring her vibrant spunk and rich voice to e-Town Hall. We spoke with Willis to hear more about the evolution of her multifaceted musical career and what to expect at her upcoming show.

When did you start playing music and how has your career evolved?

Sure. Well I grew up in a musical family. Both my parents went to UT Austin; my mom was a vocal major and my dad was an engineering major so I grew up singing in a musical family. We always used to listen to music and sing. My parents had me taking piano lessons when I was little. I did that for a while. Played a little bit of saxophone. And then I ended up getting really into poetry when I was in sixth grade. I learned how to play the guitar when I was in high school. I originally started playing cover songs, and once I kind of got more comfortable with the guitar I started writing my own songs.

And then did you study music in college?

No, I’m completely self-taught. I started writing songs in school, and then I went to DePaul University -I’m from Chicago originally- and I started playing out at open mics in the blues clubs and stuff like that. I had written a handful of songs and got a band together and we would play the bars in Chicago, and then we started touring around in the Midwest.

I had this little acoustic EP I had made, and I submitted it to some sub-licensing companies, like you know when you’re in P.F. Changs and you hear music playing? I had my song playing in a catalogue like that. And it was playing on American Airlines flights. The president of this record label was on the flight, and his iPod died, so he plugged his headphones into the armrest and my song was playing. It was crazy. I was eighteen/nineteen at the time and they flew me out to L.A. and the whole thing. The A&R guy that actually signed me, he’s based in Nashville so he was having me go to Nashville for co-writing and to work on the record that I was going to do with them.

So basically I signed a deal and dropped out of school. I took the opportunity and started doing co-writing in Nashville. I did a couple of records with Vanguard Records and then left the label. Now I’m independent as an artist, but I’ve signed a publishing deal with Sony ATV so I’m now a song writer. I write pop music for Sony ATV, and I’ve been with them for three years.

Cool. Speaking of songwriting, what does your process look like?

Well, I write all the time. I write four to five songs a week, and I co-write a lot which is pretty standard in the music industry. A lot of my writing is done in New York, L.A., and Nashville. And I collaborate.

Sometimes we start with the melody. Sometimes with lyrics. Sometimes someone already has like a track made so we write to a track. I often kind of categorize the writing sessions. So if I’m writing for somebody else, it’ll go a little differently than if I’m writing for me. Or, you know I do a lot of film and T.V. writing so the film and T.V. writing is always a little different too.

It all kind of just depends. For me I try and draw inspiration from things I know. I like to write what I know, things from my friends and family’s experiences, kind of just what I see in the world and experience in the world.

That’s awesome. You have kind of a range of different sounds. You’ve got some dancey pop songs and more mellow ballads, like “Somebody’s Someone.” I’m curious, what are some of your musical influences?

I grew up with The Beatles and Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder. And I grew up with a lot of jazz and blues influence being in Chicago. I also grew up with a lot of you know the R&B of the nineties- Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey. And with all the hip-hop so I have kind of like a hip-hop influence too. I don’t know. It’s kind of all over the place, but it’s fun to be able to blend the genres by just weaving a message and theme throughout the music.

Nice. With your upcoming show at e-Town together, I have to ask. Have you and Dave Tamkin ever played together before, or how are you two connected?

Oh my gosh, it’s so fun because we go so far back! I’ve known Dave for ten years. He’s from Chicago too and we used to play the same clubs and were in the same circles in Chicago. Then we finally played a show and hung out and really hit it off. We stayed in touch though both of us moving away, and he’s just the best. He’s my homie.

That’s great. What should audiences expect at your Boulder show?

I like to talk about the song and give people a little bit of insight into my world and how I wrote it. I’m super open about my personal experiences, and the show is going to be heavily revolving around mental health. That’s the theme of the show. I’ve been in recovery for two years and have a lot of experiences, like pretty much everyone else on the planet with the mental health stuff. So I think it’s just gonna be a nice, open atmosphere. It’s going to be really fun.

Get your tickets to Daphne Willis and Dave Tamkin’s e-Town show here.

-Julia

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

Making Movies' Music Powerfully Explores The Modern Day Immigrant Experience

By: Julia Talen

Latin-indie-rock band Making Movies serendipitously forged when singer/guitarist Enrique Chi played music at a “Day of the Dead” street festival in Kansas City. Upon hearing him play, Maria Charaund, the leader of a folkloric Mexican dance group for children, encouraged Chi to play at her restaurant up the street and to meet her sons. Turns out Maria just so happened to be the mother of Juan Carlos and Andres Chaurand (now Making Movies’ percussionists).

Chi connected with Juan Carlos, who’d grown up playing Latin and salsa music and dancing to Mexican folklorico. Chi shared all along that his musical vision was “always to grab those Caribbean rhythms, those Latino rhythms, and re-link them to rock’n’roll. At the time I didn’t know how linked they already were to rock’n’roll. I just had like this gut instinct that they were. And once we started playing with Juan it was just like it instantly it all made sense.”

Making Movies.

Making Movies.

The bilingual band evolved into a group of four; two sets of brothers: Enrique and Diego Chi alongside Juan Carlo and Andres Charand. Their Latin cultural backgrounds pulse through their music, charging their songs with important messages and themes critically relevant to the country’s current political climate. We spoke more with Enrique Chi about the band’s cultural background, ideology, and their upcoming show May 14th at e-Town Hall in Boulder.

You spoke a bit about the band members familial roots in the music. I’m also wondering, were there any sort of influences from Kansas and growing up in the Midwest that have shaped your music?

I have a lot of thoughts on this. I feel lucky as an artist to be so introspective all the time, because I’m always forced to answer those sort of questions you know, ‘How did you get here?’ and it’s good for humans in general. On one hand, you have Juan Carlos and Andres who have Mexican-American roots, and you have the disconnect from Mexico, which inspires you to get more folkloric. It was something that happened with me too. Like their mother started that dance group in order to keep their roots.

One thing about being in the Midwest, when you feel so disconnected from people that are like you, you can find small pockets, but you’re always the small minority. So you cherish the things about your cultural identity at a heightened level. I think a lot of people try to like shed their parents’ culture, like, “Ah my parents, they were like this or that. I’m different.” But when you’re an immigrant from an immigrant family those things about the old versions of your culture, they become super, like you romanticize them. And so everybody in the band loves old, old Latino music. We don’t really listen to contemporary Latino artists very much. We listen to the classic stuff that we remember hearing at our grandparents’ house or grandmother’s house or with our mothers or whatever because of that longing. Because it brings us back home. So that’s one weird influence.

The other thing is that by being in the Midwest, in Kansas City specifically, Kansas City has a vibrant jazz scene. And it has come back up in the last few years. There’s a ton of history there. Like Charlie Parker is from there. And I think the first time I saw Juan Carlos perform I didn’t even know him but he was playing at the jazz museum in a Latin jazz band of sorts. Because the Latino bands, like salsa bands, almost have to play in the jazz environments. Juan Carlos has that… so the improvisational components and those things have kind of stuck with us.

And then Kansas City doesn’t have a really successful music scene. When I was growing up there was like one band that had broken through, that I knew of. It was the Get Up Kids. But outside of that there was hardly anything. And their path was the same path. The scene was all about you rent a van and you play basements or punk-rock venues or you play art spaces. There’s no other tools to a musical career. Which is not totally true, but it is kind of true because in Kansas City, their network runs out pretty quickly if you’re trying to build a real national or international career. So you kind of have to leave one way or another. And if you’re a broke artist you have to buy a crappy van and do whatever you have to do to be playing in New York or Chicago or L.A. and be building connections and experiences. So that thing really stuck with us.

Growing up, I looked up to this band called Shiner. And Shiner’s like this really angular rock’n’roll band. But they became fairly successful through that kind of path. Sometimes the guitarist can be kind of dissonant and angular and that actually comes from the Kansas City indie rock scene or punk rock scene.

Whatever the underground scene may be [that angularity is] almost a necessity. Because you’re playing oftentimes when you’re touring like that with no resources for people that didn’t want to see you. They’re just randomly at the bar, or they’re there because the other band is a local band and they’re not that good but they have friends and the friends came. You’re friends are there because it’s a night out. And you’re the opener and you’ve just drove like seven hours for your one shot in Indianapolis. And you’re gonna make it you know? And you’re opening up to these people and they’re not really there to see you so you almost have to be noisy. You almost have to like yell at them. Like, ‘Hey hey hey! Pay attention over here!’ And it’s almost a gimmick to attract attention and be like, ‘Okay so now that I have your attention, here’s the music we make.’ And so there’s some of that in the Kansas City scene and I think that we have a little bit of that… a little angular.

I’ve seen the photograph of you guys with “DACA” written in permanent marker on your skin, and I’m curious, has the band’s message or political stance shifted since the election?

It’s shifted. It’s kind of both you know. We made the first record about an immigrant neighborhood and the kids who grew up disenfranchised. And even before we made that record we’d put out a video about undocumented kids. ‘Cause I remember, to bring it all full circle, that day I met Juan Carlos and his mother, I also asked this guy who looked like he was in charge, I was like, “Hey this is really cool. A lot of young people they’ve made stuff and they’re selling it. And he was like, “Yeah we have an after-school program for kids in the neighborhood,” and so I was like, “Oh I’d love to volunteer and we can give some guitar lessons.”

And I resonated with, like, I can tell when a kid just moved here from another country. Like I remember that feeling of feeling a little disconnected… And so I’ve been writing about those experiences- about how these kids when they become aware of the fact that they’re not suppose to be here. They’re “illegal” or whatever the words are and how much that shifts their psychology, and so I would write about it because it was on the top of my head. And I remember we used to say, “Oh you know we’re not a political band, we just write about social topics. We write about what we’ve seen and what we’ve lived.”

We already had for four years put up the “We are all immigrants” flag at shows because to me that’s like the story of all music… how do you make any kind of music? It is a mix of all these people’s culture… without human migration nothing is anything. Everything comes from this beautiful mix of what people do. And so you can take pride in your own heritage, but you should do that with this education that human beings have been moving and mixing cultures and language since the dawn of time. We’re just some small part of that huge conversation.

And then we had this opportunity at the Folk Alliance Conference [in February 2017]. We did a musical piece right before the keynote speech by Billy Bragg. A lot of things he said in the speech that day really resonated with me and he told me, ”You know it’s your turn now. Pete Seeger once told me it was my turn now, [that he couldn’t] write songs for your people, your generation… [And] just like that it’s your turn now,” and he looked at me and pointed at me.

After hearing Billy Bragg, I was like, you know, we can be political because the reality is that when you pull out an ideology like that, like a crazy idea like, “All humans should have the same rights as you and I have” and you pull that out of an ideological discussion and you try to implement it into the world in any capacity,  it becomes political. I can’t just say, “Hey these kids who are undocumented, we need to do something” and pretend that that’s not a political decision that needs to be had. For me it’s my life. I know this kid. He is undocumented, and I wish he could go to college and he doesn’t have any other options. He grew up here. But to solve that very human personal problem, it’s a policy, and we don’t claim to know the political answers, you know, but we can raise awareness and ask people to engage. I think if people really look inside themselves they know the answers. Even people who are judgemental, you know, if they meet someone from a different culture and then build a bond that opens their minds, they’re like, “Oh shit maybe I was looking at this all wrong.”

Making Movies at their NPR "tiny desk" performance. photo courtesy npr. 

Making Movies at their NPR "tiny desk" performance. photo courtesy npr. 

And what about the name of the band, Making Movies? How did that come to be?

My dad loved rock’n’roll. He was almost like an outcast in small town Panama, small town Central America, and he would dig for rock’n’roll records. So during my childhood musical experience, I was always going through his vinyls and he really loved Dire Straits. And I loved them as a kid too. I would sing their music. Even before I spoke English, I would sing this song called “The Walk of Life.” And one of their albums is called Making Movies.That’s where I lifted it from. I always thought that’s a cool meaning you know. I loved that music before I knew the language. And so I loved it for the other languages that music carries. And here I’m in a bilingual band. It kind of represents that fearlessness of you know- our music can communicate the story to them through some other mechanism. ‘Cause I still remember the feeling of being elated by that song and I didn’t know words. It just moved me.

Anything our readers should expect at your upcoming e-Town show on Monday, May 14th?

I would just say that the opening act, Alex Cuba, he’s from Canada and he’s like a legend. He has multiple Juno Awards and is really respected, but he hasn’t toured the U.S. very much. So it’ll be a real treat to have him with us, and he’s also won Latin Grammy Awards and stuff like that too, so definitely come out early and don’t miss Alex Cuba.

And be prepared to move a little bit! It’s kind of hard to be at a Making Movies show and not move your hips a little.

Get tickets for Making Movies e-Town show here.

-Julia

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

Teen Group Eighty Percent Human Cut Their Teeth On Familiar Radio Rock Covers

By: Pete Laffin

In terms of raw talent and potential, new Boulder pop-rock outfit Eighty Percent Human can go toe-to-toe with anyone on the Front Range. Comprised of siblings Carly and Coby Mandell, Jed Alpert, and Ty Schwarzer, these kids (and by kids I mean kids- two of them aren’t in high school yet) have begun cutting their teeth on familiar radio rock covers, but with unfamiliar energy and candor. For now, this is their calling card: infusing what is “played out” to the older set with a vibrancy only the recently familiar can generate. At their most recent gig at Jamestown Mercantile, they managed to make “Smells Like Teen Spirit” smell fresh with singer/keyboard player Carly howling Cobain’s lyrics about teenage alienation with authority and authenticity. You can feel that these kids feel it. It’s damn cool.

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And here’s the fun part. Front man Coby can write an original rock song that sticks to the ribs at his ripe young age. His maiden voyage into the craft didn’t just succeed in a generic sense; it won the eTown “Handmade Songs” competition in 2017. Other original work I’ve been privileged to hear shows similar promise.

That’s the word that defines them now. Their raw talent nearly ensures that they will bud into something special. But into what exactly? Brother Mandell’s songwriting will determine that. For now, though, you won’t want to miss these kids should they come to a venue close by. The coolest part of the storm is its gathering. And that’s just what Eighty Percent Human is up to: kicking up dust and howling through the trees.

-Pete

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

Chuck Prophet Returns To eTown With 'Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins'

By: Claire Woodcock

Thursday marks California roots rocker Chuck Prophet’s return to eTown Hall. This San Francisco-based artist has been steadily cranking out folk albums since the ’80s, while collaborating with musicians like Cake and Alejandro Escovedo.

Chuck Prophet. Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

Chuck Prophet. Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

In February, Prophet released his latest full length Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins. He recalled writing a cluster of songs with a co-conspirator who was lacking direction.

“I ended up putting on a Bobby Fuller record,” he said, “And I heard the record crackle, the needle skip and jump.”

To which his collaborator shot back, “Bobby Fuller died for your sins!”

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle.

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle.

At first, he didn’t think much of it. But for Prophet, Robert Gaston “Bobby” Fuller was an icon. A greaser-rocker type from Texas, he and his band The Bobby Fuller Four moved from El Paso to Los Angeles in search of the American dream.

“He was an inventive guy and he was completely out of time,” mused Prophet. “By the time Bobby Fuller got to Los Angeles, he had entered a world that worshipped The Beach Boys and The Beatles."

In 1996, the group released I Fought The Law, and within weeks of that record climbing the charts, Fuller was found dead under mysterious circumstances.

“I guess I kind of relate to that… I feel like I’ve always been out of step with the times,” said Prophet. “I’ve been making home records for a while. I mean [Fuller] made records in El Paso in his parents’ living room. And they built a reverb chamber in their parents’ backyard. I’d been making home records for awhile and I got my first big record deal at the height of grunge music.”

Prophet released Brother Aldo, his first full length LP in 1990 and said that at the time, roots rock wasn’t what record labels were looking for. “Later bands took that sound places,” he reflects. But on Bobby Fuller, Prophet recorded in real time to tape.

“I just wanted to slow us down,” he said, “And let the limitations to make us turn in a record with a little more emphasis on the performances and a little less emphasis on making it right.”

Bobby Fuller’s influence let Prophet slow down the process, which makes the album’s complexity play for itself. In Fuller’s fashion, Prophet describes what he calls the “California Noir” thematics at work on his new record.

Listen to Prophet's new record:

“We’re living in kind of a distorted place out here in California,” he said. “The money came to town and the latest tech wave is a little different from the last tech wave… young techies have come and it's like living in a science fiction movie.”

Boulder audiences can relate to the singer-songwriter’s message with songs like “Coming Out in Code,” in lieu of a tech boom that’s brought Microsoft, Uber, Twitterand Google to a city that was once seen as a gathering place for hippies, much like San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

Photo Credit: Karen Doolittle

One song off Prophet’s new record, “Bad Year for Rock and Roll,” is often seen as a tribute to the rock stars the world lost in 2016. While Prophet acknowledged the song was written last year, he added, “it’s about losing our heroes and losing our faith.”

“We live in a time of cultural exhaustion and people are exhausted. They’re overstimulated. I don't care what you believe in or who you believe in. I think everybody's faith was put to the test and I think the election year itself is really in the DNA of the whole album, if I think about it. A lot of the stuff on the record is about death and celebrity and dissolution of the California dream…”

Catch Chuck’s return to eTown Hall May 4th for a live radio show taping with rapper and activist Brother Ali at 7PM. For more information and tickets, visit etown.org.

-Claire

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

Wilson Harwood Returns to Colorado For Boulder-In-The-Round & More

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Last year, singer/songwriter Wilson Harwood made the move from Boulder to Nashville after the release of his EP Roll Away The Day. Since then, he’s worked on recording new music and continued touring the US with his solo work.

Wilson Harwood. 

Wilson Harwood. 

This week, Harwood returns to the Colorado music scene on a six show tour, with a stop in Boulder this Wednesday, March 1st for Boulder-In-The-Round at eTown Hall. He will share the stage with Hunter Stone, AJ Fullerton, and Michael Howard. This will be an extra special performance for Harwood at BITR’s new location, as he helped create the event (formerly hosted at Vapor Distillery) with Stone and Theresa Peterson back in 2015.

Said Harwood of the upcoming BITR show, “I’m excited to continue the tradition of performing original music where the focus is on the song without a backing band or stage production.”

Wilson will also be releasing a single on his Colorado run at his Longmont show March 8th at Still Cellars. The new track is called “Rose Petal” and Harwood is stoked to debut it live in his old stomping grounds of Colorado. It’s got a more bluesy vibe at the start than the tunes you may have heard on Harwood’s last record, but it keeps the easy-listening vibes that Harwood has previously been known for.

So make sure to catch this talented singer/songwriter over the next week Colorado! You can peep Harwood’s full tour schedule here, and stay tuned for more music from Wilson on his website.

-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.

Boulder In-The-Round Moves to eTown

By: Claire Woodcock

If you’re in Boulder and find yourself in the music scene circle, you’ve probably already come across Boulder In-The-Round. What began as workshopping sessions for founders Hunter Stone and Theresa Peterson soon morphed into into a monthly concert series hosted by Vapor Distillery.

Boulder In-The-Round at its previous location, Vapor Distillery.

Boulder In-The-Round at its previous location, Vapor Distillery.

This year, Boulder In-The-Round has a new home. eTown Hall will host the concert series that features local artists the first Wednesday of every month. The program showcases four songwriters who take turns performing one song at a time, one after the other.

“We’re bringing a different group to eTown that doesn’t go there regularly,” says Stone, also a singer/songwriter in the community. “Our show has its own following of young music lovers and musicians that we’re going to be able to bring to this really cool venue.”

Hunter Stone.

Hunter Stone.

Boulder In-The-Round’s community presence will be amplified by eTown’s state of the art sound equipment engineered by sound technicians at eTown. Local singer/songwriters will set up in eTown’s cafe for an intimate listening room experience.

“If you enjoy this kind of thing, you’re entering a world where everybody there is interested in music too,” says Theresa Peterson, co-founder of Boulder In-The-Round, and a singer/songwriter herself.

Theresa Peterson.

Theresa Peterson.

eTown syndicates its programming nationally, which means the venue often brings in bigger artists. The folks behind Boulder In-The-Round are providing local artists with access and opportunity to state of the art equipment and a larger listening base.

“Having Boulder In-The-Round at eTown opens up the community to who’s coming through, who’s playing when; shows that should be on their radar,” says Stone. “It’s bridging the gap between local and national artists, giving us all a space to grow.”

eTown Cafe, the new home of BITR.

eTown Cafe, the new home of BITR.

Also moving to eTown are the live paintings that Boulder In-The-Round exhibited when they were at the Vapor. Visual artists begin with a blank canvas and the artists create to the beat of the songs. At the end of the night, artists are left with a tangible piece of art from the evening that is sometimes auctioned off to the crowd.

“Art shouldn’t be segregated. Adding that visual aspect to the auditory: seeing someone painting live and seeing what they’re creating in the moment it kind of regulates the growth of the show,” says Stone.  

Mike Tresemer painting at a Boulder In-The-Round.

Mike Tresemer painting at a Boulder In-The-Round.

Boulder In-The-Round’s first night at eTown is tomorrow, January 4 at 7PM in the eTown cafe. On the bill are singer/songwriters Dechen Hawk, Megan Burtt, Monica Marie and Dusty Stray. Live paintings will be produced by local artists Mick Tresemer and Ellen Moershel

Check out a live video performance from a previous Boulder In-The-Round:

“It’s all original music,” says Peterson. “There’s a lot of collaboration that happens too on the spot. A lot of times we’ll have people that just met or have only met a couple times before just playing on each other’s songs all night.”

“The idea of that being recognized by an outside source and [eTown] giving us a chance to brow our show into a different space, that could potentially help us grow a lot,” says Stone. “It feels really good to have that kind of validation. Theresa and I started this with the mentality that if you build it, it will come.”

And Boulder In-The-Round is well on its way. More on this month’s lineup herekeep up with BITR on their Facebook.

-Claire

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

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 04/15 & 04/16

By: Hannah Oreskovich

TGIF! Another Six for the books:

Today (Friday 04/15):

David Sheingold and Sam Rae at Boulder House in Boulder 730PM-Close

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Boulder’s own singer/songwriter David Sheingold released his new album this week, Aquarian Dream. We’ll have a review up for you next week, but in the meantime, check out one of his last live local performances tonight at Boulder House. Sheingold is soon heading off on his Aquarian Dream Spring Tour but tonight, he’s promised an evening of “intimate sounds amongst great folks with a mix of live cello, acoustic guitars, and vocals; music intricately planned and freely improvised”. We can’t wait! Tickets here.

Watch David Sheingold perform his song “Wishing Well” at eTown Hall:

Soulful Songwriter Night at The Laughing Goat in Boulder 8PM-Close

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Dechen Hawk. Colin Robinson. Jarrad Menard. Andrew Sturtz. What a lineup! These four talented gentleman will all be under one roof tonight at The Laughing Goat, sharing the stage and croonin’ all of your favorite tunes for Soulful Songwriter Night. Sip on a latte or some wine and let their soulful sounds carry you into a smooth weekend. It’s gonna get hot in there ladies. See you there!

Watch Dechen Hawk perform his track “Conversations”:

Mipso, Augustus, & Ginny Mules at The Lost Lake Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

We spent one hell of a weekend at The Lost Lake recently, and this lineup has us itching to get back there already. North Carolina’s string band Mipso is currently touring on their most recent release, Old Time Reverie. Tonight, they’re headlining the show at LLL, sharing the stage with Boulder’s rockin’ Augustus and Denver’s rootsy bluegrass band Ginny Mules. Sounds like a great time! Come hang out and get your tickets here!

Watch Mipso’s official video for “Marianne”:

Silent Bear Trio at License No. 1 in Boulder 9PM-Close

With Silent Bear on guitar and vocals, Bill Brennan on drums, and Sam Fuqua on bass, the Silent Bear trio united. And tonight, their groovin’ sounds will be taking over License No. 1. They play this joint somewhat regularly, and there are always people dancing when they hit the stage! So grab yourself a handmade specialty cocktail and get movin’.

Listen to the Silent Bear Trio:

Hunter Stone at Taco Junky in Boulder 10PM-Close

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Tonight you can listen to a man of blues, Mr. Hunter Stone himself. Stone will be belting out a set of fine originals and covers for you this evening at Taco Junky. And since it’s Friday Flight Night at TJ’s, you can get 3 infused tequilas and 3 classic tacos for $10. Yeah- you read that right. It’s gonna get fun fast. Make sure to drop by!

Check out Stone’s “Not Alone”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 04/16):

Moontang featuring Amoramora at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

Boulder’s future-soul group Moontang are headlining a show at The Lazy Dog tomorrow night! They want to “make you do the dirty moonwalk right on your mama’s clean kitchen floor” kids, so that’s sayin’ somethin’. Funk four-piece Amoramora will start things off for the evening, and they always know how to show you a good time. So go get funky with this whole crew!

Watch Moontang’s live performance of “Do What You Do” at The Fox Theatre:

PRESS

We now actively cover press at shows, and we do our best to promote those. This Saturday, 04/16, we will be covering  Snakehips' bangin' set at The Fox. Details here; full recap feature and photos drop on our site Monday! And next Tuesday, 04/19, Boatclub Music Collective is throwing a fresh festival party at Denver’s The Church Nightclub and we’ll be there, snapping away and checking it out! Get all the details from Annie here.

BCFM

Boulder County Farmers Market is every Saturday from 10AM-2PM. We’re working closely with BCFM to promote the music at the market, and this week, Boulder’s Foggy Tops Bluegrass Band will be under the red top tent. Stop by to hear their strings and grab some tasty treats.

GREEN LIGHT RADIO

This week, our Sunday partnership with Green Light Radio and Streetside Productions will feature a track by Boulder’s Ben Hanna. Hanna just finished recording his second studio album, which will drop sometime later this year. Tune in to any of the Colorado Community Network Radio Stations here (95.3 or 95.5 Boulder) or stream Green Light between 9-10PM to catch his track “It’s Just You & Me Tonight”.

See you out there this weekend!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 09/25 & 09/26

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s the weekend! Get out and jam with these bands:

Today (Friday, 09/25)

An illustration of Ben Hanna.

An illustration of Ben Hanna.

Ben Hanna Band at Still Cellars 630PM-Close

Rumor has it that Ben Hanna has been working on a followup album to his 2013 debut “We Were All Like Whatever” with local producer Robbie Stiefel. We’re hoping to hear some of those new tracks at this show! So come grab a brew and hang out!

Community Music Night at eTown Hall 7PM-9PM

What cooler way to support Boulder’s music community than to head to eTown for a night of “every-day folk: scientists, educators, engineers and more” playing music? It’s a bunch of Boulderites with a passion for “full band soul, folk/bluegrass, pop, classical, and even on-the-spot comedic originals.” It’s only $10 so check it out!

Grupo Chegando Lá at The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse 8PM-Close

Last week, we mentioned Sambadende’s awesome show at the St. Julien. Tonight, some of the members of that group will be bringing samba sounds to The Laughing Goat under the name Grupo Chegando Lá. It’s definitely a show worth checking out, so go boogie!

Tomorrow (Saturday, 09/26)

Whiskey Autumn AT THE MERC. Photo credit   per the author.

Whiskey Autumn AT THE MERC. Photo credit per the author.

Whiskey Autumn at The Merc 8PM-Close

Pardon me for my selfish ways, but TOMORROW IS MY BIRTHDAY! And I’ll be spending it at one of my all-time favorite Colorado joints, The Merc, with one of my all-time favorite Boulder bands, Whiskey Autumn! I’ll be snapping photos, dancing on tables with Matteo, and generally having an awesome night, so come join us all!

The Growlers at The Fox Theatre 830PM-Close

“Take five SoCal guys, mix in some surf, stone, and psychedelic, and throw them in a haunted mansion in West Ho Chi Minster and with a little luck, you might get a band like The Growlers.” Sounds like a good time to me! Check it out for less than $25 at the Fox tomorrow night.

PDMF.

PDMF.

Punch Drunk Munkey Funk at Conor O’Neill’s 10PM-Close

Punch Drunk Munkey Funk are making the drive from Fort Collins to dance with us tomorrow night at Conor’s. They’re a five piece who blend “funk, jazz, hip hop, R&B, rock, & soul.” Sounds like they got a jam for just about everyone, so go groove with these cool cats.

See you around! Xoxo

-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.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 09/11 & 09/12

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Another weekend is upon us Boulderites. And there’s a lot of great music happening. Here are our picks:

Today (Friday, 09/11)

arleigh kincheloe, lead singer of sister sparrow and the dirty birds.  

arleigh kincheloe, lead singer of sister sparrow and the dirty birds.
 

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds at The Fox Theatre 830PM-Close

Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds are a seven-piece rock outfit from NYC. Though they’ve been making music since 2008, their self-titled debut album wasn’t released until a couple of years later. But from there, the band blewwww up. Since 2011, they’ve been playing 150+ shows a year, and this summer alone they hit 15 festivals, including Loveland’s Arise. They’ll rock your bones and the show is less than $20 so hit the Fox tonight.

jebediah almond of the almond butters. photo credit:   Hannah oreskovich    

jebediah almond of the almond butters. photo credit: Hannah oreskovich
 

The Almond Butters at The No Name Bar 10PM-Close

We have mad love for the Butter boys. After months on hiatus, they played a show back in July that we wrote about here. They have several fall performances on the books and some new material planned for their show tonight. It’s finally your chance to put on your best britches and party down with the Butters. Don’t miss it y’all.

Tomorrow (Saturday, 09/12)

shafer.  

shafer.
 

Danny Shafer CD Release with special guest Paul Kimbiris at eTown Hall 7PM-930PM

Shafer is a Boulder-based musician who plays 200+ shows a year, and as Marquee Magazine said, "Rarely has one singer songwriter caused such a stir.” Not only is he a talented performer, but he books music for a lot of local venues, and he runs Conor O’Neill’s open mic night. He’s an essential part of the Boulder music scene. And tomorrow is Shafer’s CD release show for his latest album, “Weddings, Floods, and Funerals.” Paul Kimbiris, who we wrote about just yesterday, will be opening the show. To see both of these musicians for only $15 is a steal. Get your tickets here. Now.

forrest lotterhos, cody hart, and matty schelling of asalott.  

forrest lotterhos, cody hart, and matty schelling of asalott.
 

Asalott at The No Name Bar 10PM-Close

It’s been a minute since Asalott has had a show and we are thrilled they’re back at it! We first featured Asalott in a July article here. They have a Middle Eastern trance sound with a hip-hop pulse and they’ll be bumping things around behind the big brown door tomorrow night. It’s impossible to sit still during their performances, so go sway to Lotterhos’ sick hammered dulcimer skills.

polaroid of pettine from misfire. photo credit:   becky guidera    

polaroid of pettine from misfire. photo credit: becky guidera
 

Misfire with Realtalk at Owsley’s Gold Road 7PM-Close

Misfire is a supergroup of sorts consisting of Aaron Pettine of Booster (keys), Ara Verbano of Realtalk (bass), Cameron Heitmeier (guitar), and Peter Wills formerly of Shane Tully and the Rain (drums). After watching the Booster/Realtalk show at the Lazy Dog a few weeks ago, we have a feeling the energy at this show will be insane since various members of both groups are involved. Pettine told us Misfire has no set list planned for tomorrow- it’s all improv- so get ready to groove! Anddd we’re planning a Realtalk feature later this month, courtesy of Nikki Steele, so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, hit this show and dance all night.

bhat,


bhat,

Valerie Bhat at Johnny’s Cigar Bar 9PM-Close

Bhat is a local singer/songwriter who plays a mixture of folk, rock, and blues covers, along with some original tunes. She’s played a number of venues this summer and hosts the Open Mic Night at the Eclectic Cafe in Louisville. Go check out her rich vocals and skilled guitar playing at good ‘ol Johnny’s.

So many great sounds. See you out there, Boulder!

-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.

Album Review: Paul Kimbiris' "The Dark Side of Pearl"

By: Pete Laffin

Paul Kimbiris' newest release is his best work yet. 

Ever wonder what Bob Dylan would sound like if he could sing?

First off, I entirely reject the notion that Bob Dylan actually can sing, or that he is an “interesting” or “unique” singer, as people like to say at parties. The man can’t sing.  What’s more, claiming he can only diminishes his genius. The genre known as “singer/songwriter” seemingly requires the capacity to perform two specific functions. And yet, Bob Dylan became the greatest ever without being able to do one of them. Consider Michael Jordan becoming the greatest basketball player without being able to dribble, or Churchill becoming the greatest orator with a stutter. This is what Bob Dylan somehow pulled off. There’s no need to make excuses for him. His accomplishment is otherworldly, akin to Beethoven composing the Ninth Symphony while deaf.

paul kimbiris.

paul kimbiris.

Another qualification: In no way am I equating Dylan to the subject of this review, Paul Kimbiris. Dylan didn’t just write some of the greatest songs you’ve ever heard, he wrote most of them. When a song plays in a bar or a coffee shop and someone asks “who wrote that?” the answer is usually Dylan. In hundreds of years, skeptics will question whether or not any human could be so prolific in a given craft, the same way they question Shakespeare: Was there an enslaved coterie of writers he stole from? Was Satan in on it?

But back to the initial question: What would Dylan sound like with a decent set of pipes? This writer’s contention is that it might sound a lot like Boulder’s own Paul Kimbiris, especially on his latest album, “The Dark Side of Pearl.” His vocals are rich and deep with a timbre that occasionally rattles the ground. And yet, he retains the frantic dips and leaps that define the Dylan aesthetic. His songwriting is pretty darn good, too.

The title track “The Dark Side of Pearl” is where my Dylan musings find their strongest foothold. On the iconic downtown strip of Boulder known as Pearl, one strata of society buys $900 table napkins from knick-knack shops, while another earns its keep juggling flaming swords, or slinging coffee, or washing dishes, or working retail, as Kimbiris himself did years ago. From behind a counter he watched the crowds march down the red brick walking mall with plump shopping bags and blissful expressions. This track is a whimsical meditation on those days. It’s not the biting social commentary familiar to Dylan fans, but simply one man’s recollection of a less-than-stellar sitch: “All your confidence has left you/And you feel no one respects you/A simple hello would make all the difference in the world,” he wails at the chorus with his Dylan-esque vocal abandon. The perky rhythm and melody stand in contrast to the subject of the piece, which provides a satisfying dissonance. The essence of this track is that of the proverbial madman laughing at the rain, and you’ll find yourself laughing and clapping along too.

“Heavy Things” is another tune colored with the markings of Dylan. “Heavy things always come down/Get used to it/Deal with it,” is the bluntly sung chorus, a modern echo to A Hard Rain is Gonna Fall.” Even more than on “The Dark Side of Pearl,” Kimbiris takes the vocal aesthetic of Dylan and infuses it with his own signature opulence. The instrumentation on this track is simply beautiful: the winding electric guitar notes in the deep background, the skillfully placed keyboard notes, and the resonant cello bows (played powerfully by Philip Parker of Denver’s Glowing House; also the record’s producer). The sound is more early-era alternative rock than it is folk, and the combination is damn cool. And more importantly, when he laments the heavier happenings of life, it rings with authority. The qualitative feel of the song is a great match for the message it hopes to convey. This song sounds like the hard-fought acceptance of life’s tragedies.

When Kimbiris first handed me the disc and I saw a track entitled “Sitting Home Alone with Your Guitar” I recoiled. Listening to artists talk about their art to other artists is something I’m just plain sick of. Having played stages for the past eighteen years, I’ve had my fill of listening to this kind of thing. (I’ve similarly been unable to attend a writer’s “talk” since grad school.) At this point it all just seems so (sorry, Mom, I can’t avoid the word)… masturbatory. And worse, the attempt to do so within a singular piece of art is loaded with landmines. It’s just so easy to come off trite or self-involved, or worse, miles off the mark. But after listening to the track dozens of times, I find myself experiencing two of life’s greatest feelings: being surprised, and being wrong. Kimbiris’ secret for pulling off the dreaded artist-explaining-art-in-a-piece-of-art is remaining a few feet off the ground throughout the piece, never committing to maxims, but sticking to abstractions. In this way, he is able to convey his experience without sounding preachy or clichéd. “When you’re sitting home alone with your guitar/The universe expanding, a union torn apart/Counting constellations from the rooftop of your car,” is the line recurring at the chorus, accented by some of the highest and truest vocal notes on the record. The description rings true: The art we make, we don’t really make, but access, from a place somewhere above our heads, and we pull it down and filter it through our souls. What’s more, the song itself is a clinic on quality songwriting. The airy and wispy vocal harmonies are a modern take on Simon and Garfunkel, but not as sleepy as what you might hear on a Fleet Foxes record. The cascading finger-picking gives a nod to the virtue of minimalism in acoustic music, and the nearly imperceptible shifts in volume dynamics keep it interesting till the end. The successful execution of this track is an accomplishment acoustic players from coast-to-coast would like to have under their belts.  

My highest expectation for the record was a song of Kimbiris’ I’ve been familiar with for some time. “Bring Out Your Dead” is a straight up modern folk classic. If you love soulful acoustic music and are a fan of Monty Python (and man, are there a lot of people who fit this description), this might be your favorite song ever. It’s also another track where my Dylan-on-steroids vocal comparison finds a home. While “Dark Side of Pearl” recalls early Dylan protest songs, “Bring Out Your Dead” is more of the 70s Dylan love jam variety. While Kimbiris dips and climbs the length of his range with startling immediacy, the timbre of his tenor sustains. The elegant melody derived from a chord progression familiar to every guitar novice (you can figure out most of these songs in a single sitting, I even covered one at a show last weekend), the bittersweet beat, the lyrics that raise more questions than they answer: It all adds up to some seriously satisfying song-smithing.

Which is why I have to sadly conclude this track an opportunity missed. The magic is in there somewhere, but you have to strain to hear it due to overproduction. There is simply too much going on in the instrumentation, and the elaborate harmonies seem unnecessary, especially if you’ve seen this video on YouTube. The production is too smart by half, and the vocals are sterile in comparison to what Kimbiris achieves elsewhere on the record. Word is he will be re-recording this track for an upcoming project, and I can’t wait to hear how it turns out anew.

the album art from "The Dark Side of Pearl".

the album art from "The Dark Side of Pearl".

I’ll end with the real gem of the album: “Home Soon.” This track more than any reflects modern rock sensibilities; it could stand out in any of Ryan Adams recent releases. It’s got an infectious hook at the bridge, but it doesn’t rely on endless repetition (think “Let Her Go” by Passenger). The vocals are revelatory in their scruffy authenticity and the instrumentation is pristine, yet soulful, especially at the transitions, which are aided by rich cello bows. Local luminary Gregory Alan Isakov aided Kimbiris in the studio on this one (he also has co-writing credit for the track). Kimbiris was emphatic on the following point in the run-up to this review: If you want to make a great record, find great musicians to help you pull it off. He raved about the contributions of Patrick Meese, Ben Gallagher, Jeb Bows, and Philip Parker, each accomplished music makers from various musical outfits.

Though I can’t go into each track in-depth due to space/time restrictions, that’s not to say they aren’t worth some deep listening. If you want to hear how a single major-to-minor note dip can alter the complexion of an entire composition, take a listen to “Mexico.” If you revel in being stabbed in the heart by a single lyric (“Don’t know what I’m going to do/There’s a light in the tunnel and I hope it’s you”) listen to the “Ballad of Alex and Victoria.” And so on. Just buy the record, if only to give me a good old-fashioned bullshit check. You’ll thank me for it.

And if you see Kimbiris’ name on a local lineup, get your ass to that show. (Hint: There's one this weekend.) It’s rare that any local scene should harbor such a talent. Chances are, he won’t be part of it for long.       

-Pete

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