A Magical Duality: I Draw Slow & The Gold Hill Inn

By: Sierra Voss

It was a beautiful afternoon this past Sunday, when band I Draw Slow took the stage at the quiet and quaint Gold Hill Inn. The parlor room buzzed with good ole neighborly vibes, while the Inn’s dining hall was packed with both dinner guests and children.

The night began with opening act and Colorado local, Billy Shaddox. Shaddox gracefully blended American folk instrumentation with pop harmonies. His most recent full-length album, I Melt, I Howl, was released last June, and was produced by Sam Kassirer and recorded at the Great North Sound Society studio in Maine. Billy Shaddox is definitely an artist worth trying to catch live, and lucky for Colorado kids, he is playing all across the state throughout the summer.  I recommend making your way to The Gold Hill Inn to see him play in September and October.

The sun went down behind the mountains and stars began to fill the sky. That’s right, stars! -and a lot of them. The Gold Hill Inn has this way of slowing down time. I found myself forgetting about the daily grind, and instead, settled into the simplicity and sweet vibes of this small mountain town. By the time I Draw Slow took the stage, the Inn was lit by dozens of ceiling lanterns and audience members had pulled up chairs around the stage.

I Draw Slow is a five-piece band made up of Dave Holden (guitar/vocals), Louise Holden (vocals), Konrad Liddy (upright bass), Colin Derham (banjo), and Adrian Hart (fiddle). The band originally hails from Dublin, Ireland, but has been touring internationally for the last ten years. I Draw Slow was admired sensationally in Ireland after their 2012 album Redhills made its way to the top ten in numerous international album reviews, and the band was signed by the legendary US label Pinecastle Records. The band most recent release is their album titled, White Wave Chapel in 2014.

I couldn’t imagine a more suited band for this venue. The band seemed to feel similarly, as lead singer Louise, commented, “We wrote the majority of our music in rainy Dublin, but we were clearly meant to be in Gold Hill all along”. The band started their set with the song “Mama Don’t Cry”, followed by “Valentine”. They played songs from all three of their albums, as well as some newly written songs including my personal favorite of the night, “Carolina”. The band effortlessly blended deep Appalachian Mountain, traditional Irish, and modern Americana music vibes together throughout their performance.

Equally as impressive as their ability to create gorgeous music was I Draw Slow’s lyrical skills and ability to tell stories. Their set was like a musical short story book. Each song had rich characters, creative plots, and relatable emotional expression. Before each song, Louise would set the scene, introduce the characters, and capture the hearts of each audience member. By the time the band announced their last song, I was completely swept away by the ambiance of the night. Was it really 11PM on a Sunday? Did I have to leave and face the reality that tomorrow was the start of my work week? Should I just stay… forever?   

The band ended their set with a foot stompin’ hoedown to their tune “Bread and Butter”, followed by announcing that they had, “A bucket of fun!” They thanked the audience and stepped offstage. I left Sunday’s show with a smile on my face, and amazing melodies and stories in my head. The combination of I Draw Slow at The Gold Hill Inn was truly one of the most fulfilling concerts experiences I have had yet.

-Sierra

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

David at the Desk: Billy Shaddox's Transformation from "Working Class Hero" to Americana Artist

By: David Landry

Billy Shaddox has had quite the journey to get to where he is now, which is in Colorado making great Americana music.

The first time I heard Billy Shaddox was live at Birdhouse Concert Series, a once a month DIY concert series with local music, food, and beer. I’d been wandering around the event finding people to talk to, and after bumping into Billy, I learned he was one of the night’s performers. Billy’s songs were strong and short, leaving everyone in the audience wanting more. I was pumped to hear his new music, and he killed his performance. I was curious to learn more about this Colorado transplant by way of California, so we met up at Mountain Sun for a brew.

Ol' Billy Boy.

Ol' Billy Boy.

Shaddox has this attitude that makes you want to get to know him. And the more you talk to him, the more you realize he embodies a “working class hero”. Years before moving to Colorado, he was an everyday man, working as a civil engineer in San Diego to support his family. His job required moving around often, and spending time away from his wife and two kids. So one day, after discussing his fears about playing music for a living, his wife was actually the one to tell him to make the jump.  And so began Billy Shaddox’s musical career.

Billy Shaddox.

Billy Shaddox.

Shaddox recorded at Great North Sound Society in Maine with Sam Kassirer (Elephant Revival, Langhorne Slim, Josh Ritter). This is where Shaddox’s record, I Melt, I Howl was born, an Americana album filled with love and relief about life. The theme of change can be heard throughout the 11-song record. His songwriting has this timelessness to it that makes you remember past feelings and gets you excited for what's to come.  

There is also a visual element to Shaddox’s work. His songs remind me of being in the mountains and seeing every shade of green that exists. Billy’s music has this great country-Americana vibe to it that is perfect for a beautiful summer in Colorado. I can honestly say that I will be listening to it all summer, and hoping for more to come.

Though Billy has been touring for almost two years, he hasn’t played Colorado much. I get the sense that part of that is because that when he gets home from traveling, there’s probably an element of not wanting to do anything but be in the mountains with his family and write new songs. But, for the next few months, Shaddox has a number of shows around the state, including performances in Boulder, Longmont, Lyons. Make sure to catch one and check out Billy’s music.

Listen to I Melt, I Howl, and I have a feeling you’ll be happy Billy made the jump too:

-David at the desk

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