Gasoline Lollipops Brought A Storm Of Sound To Debut Red Rocks Performance

By: Hannah Oreskovich

There's a certain feeling of pride you get when you see local artists accomplish something big, like when The Yawpers were signed with Bloodshot Records or when Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats got their first Jimmy Fallon gig and blasted into the international spotlight. This week, that same heartwarming feeling was much aglow as fans watched Colorado’s Gasoline Lollipops take the stage at the state’s best, Red Rocks Amphitheatre.

Clay Rose.

Clay Rose.

The GasPops, as the band is more affectionately known to fans, first started back in 2009. Founding and original member Clay Rose, who is also the project’s frontman, grew up between Boulder & Nashville’s music markets. Piecing together sounds from each city’s scene, along with other influences, GasPops music combines punk, alternative, folk, country, and rock’n’roll. The Boulder band have been called everything from gypsy punk to “dirt floor folk” and played just about every venue in the state to date over the last six years.

Except for The Rocks. And that's why Monday’s show was just so special.

As the opening entertainment for the film Twister, the last “Film On The Rocks” of the summer for Denver Film Society’s series, Gasoline Lollipops brought a real storm of sound to the stage. There was a boot-stompin’ thunder of drums and standup bass (courtesy of Adam Perry and Brad Morse respectively), tempestuous, warm crackles of sound from Rose’s harmonica mic and Jeb Bows’ (Gregory Alan Isakov) violin solos, and a whirlwind of tight, raining vocal harmonies between Alexandra Schwan and Rose. Donny Ambory’s electric guitar playing also added a swirl of heated rebelliousness to the mix, an element the Gasoline Lollipops are well-known to evoke in their live shows.

GasPops on the Rocks.

GasPops on the Rocks.

The band opened their hour set with “Smoke and Steam” and played songs from several of their records, including “Death,” “Longest Night,” “Love Is Free,” “The Wire,” and “White Trash.” The six-piece also introduced us to some new tunes from their upcoming record Soul Mine, “Leaving Alone” and “Burns.” And the crowd, who sat for the film, were on their feet for the entirety of the GasPops’ set. There were hollers, cheers, and a lot of dancing happening between the night’s glowing rocks, which seem to be common sights and sounds at the punk rock hoedown that is a Gasoline Lollipops show.

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Overall, Gasoline Lollipops played a very Red Rocks-worthy performance for their debut at the venue. After the show, several crowd members voiced that they hoped for a GasPops storm to hit the rocks again next year. I'm hoping for it too but until then, catch them at the Fox Theatre this December for their Soul Mine vinyl release show, or drop everything and roll with them on their upcoming overseas tour this fall, where the GasPops storm of sound will be raging on.

Keep up with Gasoline Lollipops here.

-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.

Rocky Mountain Folks Festival Resounded With Resistance Of Current Political Happenings

By: Riley Ann

Woody Guthrie would have rolled in his grave this weekend, not in disdain, but in delight had he heard the music at this year’s Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in the hills of Lyons, Colorado. In the spirit of Woody, along with Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, and so many others, the music of Folks Fest was charged with political messages, the call for solidarity, and the stand for social justice.

The crowd at Ramy Essam's set.

The crowd at Ramy Essam's set.

The festival opened with the Songwriter Showcase, and Heather Mae stole the show with two of her original songs truly about the times, one she introduced as, “my kind of love,” and for the other, she addressed the significance of what happened in Charlottesville. After winning, she shared on her music Facebook page, “I performed ‘Wanderer,’ my song about being queer. I performed ‘Stand Up,’ my song about fighting discrimination. I asked the audience to stand with me and join the cause.” And stand they did. She had the festival grounds filled with people standing and singing along, many with tear-filled eyes. You can watch her chilling music video for “Stand Up” here.

Heather Mae.

Heather Mae.

Heather Mae offered more insights into her performance, saying, “With everything that’s going on right now, what a waste it would be if I didn’t say something and use this opportunity to show that we can’t stay silent anymore. I chose my songs that weren’t necessarily the best for competition, but they were perfect for this platform. The mission I’m on right now is to make music that matters and that makes people think, and I feel like it was really heard, and that’s the most validation I’ve ever felt. It’s like the universe is saying, ‘Good job, kid, keep writing the music you’re writing’ and I feel a lot of gratitude for that.” With her winning performance, Heather Mae earned a one-hour slot on the main stage at next year’s Folks Festival. In the meantime, you can keep an eye on her tour schedule via her website.

Rhiannon Giddens.

Rhiannon Giddens.

Later that evening, Rhiannon Giddens lit the stage on fire with her performance, ignited with the stories of despair, fury, and hope in her latest album Freedom Highway. She opened with a rock version of “Spanish Mary,” a tune she co-wrote with Bob Dylan that’s dripping in satire about imperialism in the name of the Catholic Church. She left the audience on the verge of tears with “At the Purchaser’s Option,” a song she wrote after finding a 19th-century ad about a 22-year-old slave woman’s baby for sale. She left listeners breathless with her tune “We Could Fly,” a song based on the African-American folktale about the people stolen from their homelands as slaves who lost their wings. Rhiannon is a force of nature onstage, and her music has earned its rankings as modern classics, songs that will be forever immortalized in the canon of folk music. You can hear more of her first-hand insights in her NPR interview here.

Ramy Essam.

Ramy Essam.

In the tradition of Sunday morning spiritual sets at Planet Bluegrass festivals, Ramy Essam, the unassuming singer/songwriter who became the voice of the Egyptian Revolution, opened the day with a riveting set. Though he sang mostly in his native Egyptian-Arabic dialect, he introduced his songs in English. The subject matter spanned from honoring the strength of women and girls who fought in the revolution, many of whom were jailed and tortured, to making fun of the police, an agency Ramy described as being corrupt and dangerous in Egypt, and many of his songs challenged tyrant leaders and their wrongdoings. Despite singing in a language very few attendees knew, people began joining his refrains by the end of almost every song. The crowd also sang along with his cover of John Lennon’s “I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier.” At one point, Ramy proclaimed to the audience, “Music is the most powerful peaceful weapon we have.” His set concluded with a chant-like refrain begging for peace “for just one day.” Instinctively, the audience sang along, linking arms as they stood together in unity.

Dave Rawlings.

Dave Rawlings.

While the main stage was filled with outstanding performances, spanning the high-energy acts like The Revivalists and Lake Street Dive, the introspective meditations of Elephant Revival and Gregory Alan Isakov, the down-home tunes of Dave Rawlings Machine, and everything in between, the through line of the festival resonated with resistance. Nearly every performer mentioned the need for solidarity, peace, acceptance, resistance, attention to social justice issues, or, in the lighthearted case of Korby Lenker, putting politics aside momentarily with family in “Let’s Just Have Supper.” In the spirit of the folk music tradition, this year’s Folks Festival was truly of and for the people.

Gregory Alan Isakov.

Gregory Alan Isakov.

You can stay tuned for next year’s Folks Festival lineup at the Planet Bluegrass website here. If it is anything like this year’s lineup, it’s one you won’t want to miss.

View our full photo gallery from Folks Fest 2017 here

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos per the author. All videos and embedded tracks per the artist 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.

Boulder's rt60.co Curates Magical Shows At The Starhouse

By: Hannah Oreskovich 

Just above Boulder, after a short ride up Sunshine Canyon, sits a magical space: The Starhouse. Surround by 200 acres of open space, pine forests, and a killer view of Boulder, The Starhouse was constructed in 1990 as a living temple for trans-denominational spirituality. It was built by souls dedicated to sacred geometry and astronomy, so its entrance sits aligned with Polaris, and its acoustics are out of this world. The space regularly hosts Solar celebrations and Lunar events, but recently, I went for another reason: an intimate concert series curated by Daniel Herman of rt60.co and Mineral Sound.

The Starhouse.  Photo per The Starhouse.

The Starhouse. Photo per The Starhouse.

Herman has hosted a few shows recently at The Starhouse, all of which have featured local singer/songwriters unplugged in the natural acoustics of The Starhouse’s main wooden room. There’s a sort of sacredness to entering the place beyond the geometry- patrons are asked to remove their shoes, and meditation floor chairs and blankets are provided. There are candles along each windowsill, and after taking a seat, The Keepers of The Starhouse instruct you to turn off your phones and tune in to the present. That’s when rt60.co’s performers take the stage- the recent Starhouse lineup consisted of Megan Burtt, Paul Kimbiris, and Julian Peterson.

Julian Peterson.

Julian Peterson.

Julian Peterson opened the evening just as the sun set, playing a few tracks from his last record Get On This Train, along with his tune “Broken Man.” Though he’s played Red Rocks and The Boulder Theater in the past year, he admitted there is something different about playing The Starhouse.  

“This is so crazy up here! I feel naked.” he smiled, as the crowd laughed.

Julian’s sound is bluesy, soulful, and honest. He has a strong storytelling ability in his songwriting, and with an audience as silent as The Starhouse, it was easy to hear every intonation in Peterson’s range vocally. He ended his set playing a tune on his resonator guitar, which left us draped in delta vibes.

Paul Kimbiris.

Paul Kimbiris.

Paul Kimbiris was next, opening his set playing guitar and a kick drum, which he’s newly added to his live shows. He then brought up Philip Parker (Gregory Alan Isakov), who accompanied him on cello for the remainder of the set. With Parker's deep and swift cello sounds backing Paul’s bold vocals and guitar playing, it was impossible to be anything but present in their beautiful tunes. They played several tracks from The Dark Side of Pearl, and though Paul remarked that the two hadn’t shared the stage in quite some time, you’d have thought they’d just come off the road together with the touring chemistry of a string of shows just behind them.

Near the end of his set, as he looked around The Starhouse and into the crowd, Kimbiris smiled and said, “You know- I was thinking, and this- this is so Colorado.”

The Starhouse indeed felt almost like a cozy cabin at that point, with the sun gone, the moon hidden by clouds, and only soft lighting and the glow of candles illuminating the space.  

Megan Burtt. 

Megan Burtt. 

Megan Burtt closed out the intimate Starhouse evening; I had actually caught her set just the day before at Strings & WoodsWestword Music Showcase performance. Burtt has been a touring musician for years now, and this year is one of the first she hasn’t spent either constantly on the road or in the studio. Having played overseas, with symphonies, and at numerous local digs, Burtt agreed there is something different from anywhere else about The Starhouse.

“This is so vibey!” she smiled after taking her place at the front of the room.

Burtt played a couple of tunes from her record The Bargain, including a powerful rendition of her song “Anchor.” The room was exceptionally still for Burtt’s silky vocals- she transitioned between high and low tones with smooth and exceptional ease. She was accompanied only by her guitar playing, which, thanks to sacred geometry, all sounded as crisp and clear as if she were plugged in without her actually having been.

Daniel Herman at The Starhouse.

Daniel Herman at The Starhouse.

When the show came to a close, rt60’s Daniel Herman thanked the crowd as he remarked, “As someone who works in sound, having these artists play without amplification or anything is a sort of a therapy for me.”

I’d argue The Starhouse is a dose of therapy for anyone who has the chance to inhabit the space. Chakras aside, there’s really nothing like it, so make sure to attend rt60’s next curated performance in August.

Keep up with rt60 and check out more videos from this show here. And learn more about the mystical experiences that happen at The Starhouse on their 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.

Kyle James Hauser's Music Featured In New Judd Apatow Film 'The Big Sick'

By: Hannah Oreskovich

If you’ve had the chance to check out Judd Apatow’s newest film The Big Sick, you may have noticed a familiar sound in some of the film’s scenes: Colorado’s Kyle James Hauser’s music is featured in the major motion picture.

Kyle James Hauser. Photo Credit: Lindsay Giles McWilliams

Kyle James Hauser. Photo Credit: Lindsay Giles McWilliams

Hauser has been involved in the Colorado music realm in some capacity since he was a teen in Golden, CO and his brother was playing Denver’s punk rock scene in Pinhead Circus. He’s toured with Gregory Alan Isakov, played as a member of Rapidgrass, and released a number of solo neo-folk recordings through Louisville, Kentucky’s sonaBLAST! Records. His first record Oh Oh debuted in 2012, and saw its songs featured in two MTV shows and several movies. Hauser’s last record, You A Thousand Times, was released in 2014 and actually held the #1 spot on Colorado Public Radio during that year. In total, Hauser’s music has been featured in over 12 films, and The Big Sick is the second movie his music can be heard in that has had a nationwide release.

Hauser expressed his excitement about his most recent feature saying, “It’s an incredible honor to have my songs included in such a moving story. For [the film] to be receiving the accolades it has is a dream come true, and is quickly becoming one of the highlights of my career. I can only hope to be a part of something this powerful again in the future and to help continue representing music made in our wonderful state!"

Currently, Hauser is the Colorado Music Strategy Coordinator at The Music District in Fort Collins. He also works with Sean King (Trout Steak Revival) on licensing deals for Colorado artists, manages the Detour Program at The Music District, and teaches songwriting at Berklee College of Music. Needless to say, Hauser is one awesomely accomplished Colorado artist & we’re stoked he garnered such a big opportunity with his tunes!

Photo Credit: Scott McCormick

Photo Credit: Scott McCormick

Ironically Hauser told us that he has no idea what the context of the scenes are in which his featured tracks will play in the film.

“I often don’t see the movies my music is in until the dust has settled,” he chuckled, adding, “But I am a big Judd Apatow fan.”

Listen to Kyle James Hauser:

The Big Sick premiered in LA on June 23rd and has a wide release on July 14th. Some Colorado theaters have showings slated as early as this week, so get yourself tickets!

In the meantime, make sure to check out Hauser’s music and keep up with all he’s involved in with Fort Collins’ The Music District. There are some big things happening there, and Hauser is passionate about sharing them and getting local artists involved.

Keep up with Kyle James Hauser 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.

Review: Steady Dreamin' with Sam Rae's 'Bring Us To New Islands'

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Dive into the sweet, moody sounds of Denver’s soul-folk artist Sam Rae. She’s about to drop her new album Bring Us To New Islands this Friday, April 21st and, oh yes, it’s just what the doctor ordered.

Sam Rae. Photo Credit:  Art Heffron

Sam Rae. Photo Credit: Art Heffron

Performing on the cello for nearly 17 years and composing for six years, this Midwest native has made waves with her eccentric, euphoric, and explorative music. She’s traveled throughout the country touring and accompanying folk artists artists like Gregory Alan Isakov, Brandi Carlile, and pop duo The Posiesyet she’s established her own sonic blend of looped cello, dreamy vocals, and folk/electric guitar.

Sam Rae’s 2014 album Stories from the Marrow left much to be anticipated for future releases, and Bring Us To New Islands has definitely delivered. It is a bewitching 8-track album that is just as sensual as it is disembodied. With songs like “The Let Go” and “Dragons,” Sam Rae’s music bares resemblance to the visual qualities of a Miyazaki film, while others like “Don’t Forget The Spaceship” have a slightly heavier cello and electric guitar-influenced sound. With constant incorporation of cooing vocals and rhythmic looping, Bring Us To New Islands is a meal that can be sampled one morsel at a time, but is best served whole. With each song comes a new energy shift that will float you on to your happy place, in whatever realm it may be in.

It’s time to harness the power of badass women like Sam Rae and join her on her exploration of music as a universal language. Check out her shadowy music video for “It’s Alright, It’s OK” here:

Connect with Sam Rae on Facebook and Soundcloud and be sure to give her new album Bring Us To New Islands a prompt listen when it’s released this Friday on all music platforms. The album will be a precursor to her upcoming spring tour, so keep your eyes and ears peeled.

-Jura

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artist 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.

From Death to Dawn Comes 'Resurrection': Catch The Gasoline Lollipops at The Fox Theatre This Valentine's Day

By: Mirna Tufekcic

There’s a reason why a band gains momentum. Sometimes people connect through the language of music, and what comes of it, well, it’s undeniable. That’s kind of the story of Gasoline Lollipops, a band escaping genre confinement as they set every show ablaze with heart-forward, stomping, growling tunes.

Jeb Bows, an exceptional fiddler from the tiny town of Ward, CO, talked about this language of music with me recently, in an interview about his role in the Gas Pops.

“I was four years old when my eye caught a violin posted on the wall of the cabin I was born in.” Jeb told me, taking me back to the start of his music career.

Jeb Bows.

Jeb Bows.

“I learned to play music as someone would learn to speak their native language.” Jeb said, “It’s called the Suzuki Method, invented by Shinichi Suzuki, a Japanese violinist. The premise of the method is listening to sounds and figuring out how to produce the sounds you’re hearing, not unlike a baby learns to speak from watching and mimicking its parents… Music’s been my life path since.”

Jeb plays the fiddle with the Gas Pops, but he also dabbles in other music projects.  

As he says, “I stay really busy, but rarely do I say no,” when it comes to playing with other musicians and singer-songwriters. You’ll see him playing a sold out Red Rocks shows with Gregory Alan Isakov or in a local coffee shop swooning a small crowd with his violin alongside other, lesser known, but no less talented musicians. Bows has a keen ability to sync with anybody he plays with, a gift and a privilege he is very well aware of having.  

The Gasoline Lollipops. 

The Gasoline Lollipops. 

But not all of Jeb’s life was as smooth as the vibrations he creates on that fiddle of his. He spent a chunk of time in Los Angeles walking down a dark, dead-end road and lost himself in the process. He stopped playing music for a while. It took a few years of meandering in the dark for fate to finally come knocking. And she gave him a choice, “What’s it gonna be, Jeb Bows, music or death?”  

Right around the time Jeb was figuring out his way back to sobriety, Clay Rose, the frontman of the Gas Pops was fighting his own demons and self-destructive behavior. Clay grew up in the South, always an outsider bullied by other kids for being different. He was a rebel without a cause, maybe, but he was definitely someone who wanted to make himself stand tall… but not before hitting rock bottom first. As fate would have it, when Jeb moved from L.A. back to Boulder, and Clay moved to Boulder from Nashville, Clay started the Gas Pops and Jeb joined very shortly afterward, the two having met through a mutual friend.

Clay Rose (left) and Brad Morse of Gasoline Lollipops.

Clay Rose (left) and Brad Morse of Gasoline Lollipops.

When I asked Clay about his inspiration for Gas Pops he told me, “If you put a tin can over my chest and listen you would hear this… The [Gas Pops] songs are extremely personal. It’s where I come to play, to confess, for redemption, and where I flog myself.”   

Music for Clay is a way of coping with feelings that have no place in this world; it’s what saved him and gave him a purpose. Though his start in the language of music was admittedly a little different. One of his earliest musical influences was a random cassette tape he found in his mother’s closet with Leonard Cohen on one side, and Tim Buckley on the other.

“That’s when I started writing poetry, because I realized Cohen was writing about things I didn’t know you could talk about. I didn’t know there was language for it. He validated that these things exist and that they can be expressed.”

Clay went on, “There’s a lot of songs I write that I won't play for anyone for months, because I think, man, I can’t be that transparent. But, eventually, I’ll present it to the band and they’ll urge me to play it at our shows. So, I’ll play it and cringe for months.Then the people from the crowd will come up to me and affirm that that song means alot to them, and I start to feel better about it. And that’s when I remember the reason I’m doing this in the first place. My function, my validation as a musician, is to validate the lonely and suffering.”

And Jeb’s musical mission isn’t far from Clay’s.

“I’ve dedicated my life to sharing in the light and love and connecting with everyone who wants to play and listen, because, in the end, we’re all better for it.” Bows smiled.

The truth is, if you get the Gas Pops in a room, the whole crowd will undoubtedly perk their ears and pay attention. The band taps into something others can relate to, whether through the language of hardship or love, and they prove time and again that their music is something to get down and dance to no matter your life experiences.

Gasoline Lollipops’ music has been called alt country, gypsy folk, and punk rock among others. Even the guys themselves can’t quite tell you what genre they sound like. But really, who cares? If we can connect through the language of music itself without having to confine it to genre, then I think times are ripe with progress. These days you’re a good musician if you can pluck from the tree of knowledge and make it into something totally your own. Sometimes it takes a group of people to create a special work of art, and sometimes trials and tribulations to show you the way. That’s the Gas Pops.  

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The Gasoline Lollipops just finished their new album Resurrection, the final piece of their Lucky 7 Trilogy, and are celebrating this Valentine’s Day with a CD Release Party at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. Foxfeather and Kid Reverie will share the stage. Explore the Gas Pops’ language of music for yourself on a night where we could all use light and love- get your 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.

An Evening with Paul Kimbiris & Other Singer/Songwriters at Denver's Walnut Room

By: Mirna Tufekcic

There are a lot of singer/songwriters. Let me rephrase that: there are a lot of singer/songwriters just within the radius of Boulder-Denver, Colorado.  

If  you’re not into the singer/songwriter thing, you can stop reading now. Otherwise, please continue:

Me, well, I have a visceral experience listening to singer/songwriters tell stories and pour their hearts out in black and blue. But, there’s a fine line demarcating a good singer/songwriter. Don’t worry! I’m not about to criticize or bash anyone. That line is for you to draw, depending on what you prefer; what makes your ears perk and your soul vibrate. As for me, I like to keep a wide periphery and experience the journey a musician or a band will take you on. So, naturally, two weekends ago when I went to The Walnut Room in Denver with singer/songwriter Paul Kimbiris to hear him and five other musicians play for an attentive audience, I was very pleased by the variety of sounds and experiences each artist brought onstage. The event, titled “Under the Radar: Singer/Songwriters You Should be Listening To,” was put together by HomeVibe, a production company specializing in high quality intimate shows that take on a living room feel.  And let me tell yah, that it did.    

Paul Kimbiris.

Paul Kimbiris.

I hitched a ride with Paul down to The Walnut Room, since we both live in Boulder, and used it as an opportunity to mine his brain for an inside scoop of a singer/songwriter. It wasn’t the easiest task.    

“I think about a lot of dark stuff,”  Paul said.

His last album The Dark Side of Pearl was released in 2014. It is dark; rather melancholy at times but definitely heartfelt. If you want to read a review on it, you can here, but you really should just listen to it and judge for yourself. The latest Kimbiris news is, however, that Paul has an upcoming EP to be released this spring/summer. And it’s going to be different than his last work.

“I don’t wanna be a downer. It feels good to make people dance.” he told me.

This EP will be more upbeat and rock and roll. Paul likened it to Bob Dylan’s song “Like a Rolling Stone,” saying, “it’s a lively tune with a rather dark message.” 

Life in the green room.

Life in the green room.

Immersed in conversation, Paul missed our exit off Hwy 36 that was to take us straight to the venue.  

“We’re actually going to Mexico. I know I told you we’d be going to see some music, but really, we’re just flying out to Mexico. You got your passport, right?” he joked. I wish.

Paul’s been living in Boulder for several years now. He is originally from Greece but grew up in Philly. He has a home in Greece, and he plans to take advantage of that this summer by flying there and playing some music.  

“I feel like I’m missing out on life. I keep saying I want to do this and that, but then I just sit around and watch it all pass by. I should do more. I think I will.”  

Paul mentions he’s also interested in setting up a tour, though he fears being on the road all by himself would send him too far down the rabbit hole. So, for now, Paul writes songs for TV shows and flies out to California to do the recordings, and that’s mainly how he gets his name out besides doing shows like the one at The Walnut Room.    

Jacob Russo.

Jacob Russo.

Once we arrived at the venue, we were greeted with friendly, excited faces. In the green room, the energy was chill and supportive as performers warmed up with guitars in hand. Shortly after our arrival the first artist was up.

Jacob Russo was a bit of a version of Gregory Alan Isakov. I don’t really know what that means. That’s just the vibe I got. You know, the one that takes you to secret fairy gardens of magic and sparks…

Andy Palmer.

Andy Palmer.

Andy Palmer followed with a strong, powerful presence. My favorite part about his performance was when he laid down his guitar, picked up two copper mugs (Moscow Mules, anyone?), and sang poetry as he banged them together. This guy is rad.   

Wes Cichosz closed the first set by wooing the crowd with his guitar skills, shredding the blues all over the place. He broke the pattern of the typical singer/songwriter by opening his set with fast-paced, finger-picking blues rock, which raised the vibe in the room a few notches. He is definitely a very talented artist, who also plays the sax.  

It was time for a set break, so I continued to chat with Paul. He was opening the second set. I asked him if he gets nervous before he has to go up. He shook his head no, but I wasn’t convinced. He kept pacing around and seemed a bit restless. So I asked him a few questions about his history as a musician.  

“I’ve been playing music for a long time. My first gigs were in college with a band I was the lead singer of. It was a great way to meet girls.”  

But, according to Paul, he’s only become good enough to do his solo thing over the past few years. He got his affirmation to roll solo when some fellow respected singer/songwriters invited him to jam and open up for their gigs after seeing him play one of his early shows at Boulder’s Shine.  

“I remember back when Shine first opened and I asked the managers to play a solo gig there, unsure if anyone was even going to listen. Then Gregory Isakov and friends showed up and liked my set enough to come up and tell me I got my pulse on something good.”  

When I asked him where he gets inspiration to write, he responded with, “So many things inspire me to want to write music. Some are just everyday scenes of life, you know, like when you see the sun and sky reflected on a steel casket at a funeral. Happy things like that.” His dry humor is quite endearing.

Paul & Nina.

Paul & Nina.

Paul was up. He captivated the audience, accompanied onstage by Nina Fronjian on the violin and as backup vocals. She’s toured with Gregory Alan Isakov as part of the Ghost Orchestra, and Paul met her at one of Gregory’s shows backstage awhile back. As I listened to Paul’s raspy voice with his old Martin guitar in hand, the image of The Old Guitarist from Picasso’s blue period came to mind. That was the vibe and the experience of Paul’s set at The Walnut Room.

Dave Tamkin came up next, painting beautiful imagery with his guitar, while his voice projected passion and honesty. He’s originally from Chicago, but these days he lives in Boulder and is quite a prolific artist. He brought Wes onstage for one of the songs to play the sax and it was lovely.     

Larry Nix, Denver’s recent import from Alabama, closed the evening with some pretty hardy country tunes. I think his intention was to transport you somewhere deep in the swamp lands of the South; he is quite the southern gentleman.    

Overall, “Under the Radar” was a well-curated event, though they should have featured female singer/songwriters too. Other than that, the experience was enjoyable and satiating. So humble readers, if you’re into singer/songwriters and want to delight in some local artists, then you should keep an eye out for these fellas playing around town. They’re totally worth your trip.

Paul’s next show is in Boulder at the Bohemian Biergarten on Friday, January 27th. Details 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.

Denver's Coexistence Trio Release Debut Album 'Momentum Forward' + Details On Their CD Release Show

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Founded this year, Coexistence Trio is a Denver-based jazz group consisting of three musicians who have been well-known in the scene for years. Peter John Stoltzman, who has toured and recorded with Steve Gadd and Eddie Gomez, is on keys. John Grisby, on bass, plays currently in Gregory Alan Isakov’s band. And drummer Andreas Schmid plays in Delta Sonics, Spherio, and Motek. The trio took their talents to the studio together this year after a number of monthly jam sessions turned into an album, and their debut release Momentum Forward drops tomorrow.

When asked about how Momentum Forward came together sonically, the group told us, “The third time we got together, we decided to improvise freely and see where it led. What emerged was more than a flame; it was magic. Over the course of two hours, we composed an epic  eight-minute piece we named “Deep Space”. And that became our new M.O.: Every time we got together, we would compose a new song. It could originate from a drum groove, or from a chord progression, or a semi-formed idea. For a trio of veteran musicians pushing forty to discover this kind of magic, it really has rekindled our youthful enthusiasm.”

Listen to the title track from Coexistence Trio’s new release, Momentum Forward:

The band stripped things down for the record, wanting fans to hear everything they do in their headphones live at any Coexistence Trio show.

“The record is great to have, but the thing that’s always magic for us is the live show because this is hybrid jazz-rock-soul-jam, but it’s still jazz, and there’s something different every time. The energy of live improvisation over structured song form is compelling; it’s risky, exciting, expression that is true to the moment, feeding off the energy of an audience, cascading through peaks and valleys. Well-executed and emotionally vibrant live jazz makes for a great concert, both for the audience and the performers.” the band told us.

Which is why we’re stoked that Coexistence Trio have a live performance on the books the same day as their album release! You can snag tickets to their CD Release Show tomorrow at Denver’s DazzleJazz for just $12 in advance here.

“We’re not only excited to perform in the best listening-room jazz venue in Colorado, and to release the CD to the public, but also to play with world-class percussionist Rich Stein and Brazilian guitar master Gabriel Santiago. Peter has collaborated with both of them in the past, and their additions will add new layers to the sound that we don’t even know yet, we just know it’s going to be really cool." said the band.

Cool indeed. Keep up with Coexistence Trio on their website. And make sure to check them out tomorrow night at Denver’s DazzleJazz for their CD Release Show for Momentum Forward.

-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.

Katherine Homes Releases New Album 'Speak' & Creates First SeedCD™

By: Sierra Voss

Katherine Homes, a longtime Colorado resident, released her new solo album Speak last month. The album features Homes on vocals and guitar, Jeb Bows (Gregory Alan Isakov) on violin, Chris Newton (Mayhem Gulch) on banjo, and Ari Levi on cello. Speak is a beautiful and dynamic eight track album worth the listen.

Katherine Homes.

Katherine Homes.

As if creating this kickass album wasn’t enough, Katherine also created a sustainable way to distribute her music in a physical form to her fans. Maybe I am too nostalgic but, I love CDs. There is something so gratifying about walking away from a show with something physical from a newly discovered artist you sought out or stumbled into, or simply from an artist you know and love. That personal, physical transaction between artist and listener is special.

In July of 2016, Homes created the first SeedCD™. It’s a coaster-like 4”x4” piece of handmade recycled paper that has non-GMO seeds embedded into it. The ink is water soluble and environmentally safe, and once you purchase the SeedCD™, you gain access to a unique code that you later plug into Homes’ website. Once entered, you can download the album. The most incredible part is that once you are done with the download, you can literally walk outside and go plant your SeedCD™. Rad.

Homes is truly a creative force. She has created a lifestyle that embodies her passion for music, painting, and her love for nature. Her authenticity and good vibes can be felt throughout everything she does, and is the foundation for her album Speak.

Check out Katherine Homes’ brilliant creation SeedCD™ here! And take a listen to my favorite track from the record, “Put Down Your Gun.

-Sierra

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

Behind the 777 Album Set, an LSD Trip, & 'Resurrection': Our Interview with Clay Rose, Frontman of Gasoline Lollipops

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Recently, I had the chance to talk with Clay Rose, the frontman of Colorado's alternative country/folk-punk group Gasoline Lollipops. With the help of producer John McVey and Gregory Alan Isakov violinist Jeb Bows, the GasPops have been putting the finishing touches on their upcoming album Resurrection, thus tying together their 777 album set. Clay and I discussed the band name, the intersection of life and death, and how their music speaks to the evolution of the human soul. Read on:

You’re settled in Boulder now, but where are you all from?

All over the map: I grew up between Boulder and Nashville, our guitar player Donny comes from Chicago, and our bass player Brad is from Niceville, FL. Brad’s the nicest guy you’ve ever met. Adam’s from Pittsburgh, and our fiddle player, Jeb, is from Ward, CO.

Gasoline Lollipops has been a functioning musical machine since 2009. How did you all come to be what you are now?

I’m the last original member of the band; Jeb is another original member, but he’s generally on the road a lot with Gregory Alan Isakov or Brandi Carlile. So whenever he’s not on the road, he’s playing with us.

Boulder has an incredibly eclectic music scene, how did you all come to settle there?

There was no conscious decision to do that. Although, when I moved back here from Nashville in 2002, the music scene was pretty happening, with lots of smaller venues and a wide array of musical styles being played. But, like its architecture, Boulder's music scene has become more homogenized. So now I drive a lot, playing in places like Fort Collins and Denver.

Gasoline Lollipops. Photo Credit:   WeTubers  .

Gasoline Lollipops. Photo Credit: WeTubers.

You’ve got quite a diverse string lineup, with one of my favorites, the stand up bass. How did you come to choose this lineup?

It’s a very natural process. If you don’t try to sound like anything, you’re going to end up sounding like like what you listen to. It’s an extremely diverse collection, and I never try to control how any of the players of the band sound. If I like their style and what I’m hearing, I bring them into the band. Donny has a country/rockabilly background, Brad is from classical jazz, Adam is very punk rock, and Jeb has bluegrass-gypsy feel. I like all those kinds of music, and I listen to all of it. So when you put it together, you get something vaguely familiar and extremely real.

You’re classified as “dirt floor folk with the energy of rebelliousness of punk”. That’s a very colorful description of your music. Is that a description that you guy came up with?

The “dirt floor” saying comes from the style of playing where the musicians would stomp through the floor down into the dirt. Our sound sets us up for that kind of genre.

If you could categorize Gasoline Lollipops' sound by a meal or type of food, what meal would it be?

Holy crap, well it wouldn’t be anything I’d want to eat. Maybe Tex Mex with a scoop of ice cream and cinnamon schnapps poured all over it. We also came up with an acronym for our genre called PAFC*R (punk alternative folk country rock). So that’s a good way to describe us.

Speaking of food, your band name, Gasoline Lollipops, elicits a very visceral reaction, if you ask me. Where does the name Gasoline Lollipops come from?

It comes from LSD, to be honest with you. Actually, the name came way before the band. It came from eating LSD with a friend back in high school, sitting around coming up with band names. I don’t even think I played guitar at the time. The name came up and it stuck with me, like, “Man, if I ever come up with a band, I’m going to name it Gasoline Lollipops”. I think the band kind of ended up growing into our name. We play things that are sweet and sincere, on one hand, and explosive on the other. It really is lyrical folk punk.

Clay Rose.

Clay Rose.

I hear you guys are a fairly superstitious group who dabble in the supernatural from time to time. For example, your “777” album mantra. Would you mind talking more about that?

Yes, superstition rock, which more stems from a gambling addiction. 777 will save your life, you know, when you pawn off the last penny of your chipped college fund. So 777 in that regard, is the same kinda deal as Jesus. Or Elvis, if you’re in Vegas. In Vegas, Elvis and Jesus are the same person. So that’s where all lines intersect, in Vegas.

You guys have two albums released already; 'Dawn' and 'Death'. And your upcoming album is 'Resurrection'. Will you continue your 777 theme after that last release?

No, so the 777 deal is that there are 7 songs on each of the 3 albums. So we’re hoping that once Resurrection is released, that will spark the second coming of Jesus or Elvis… or both.

And when will 'Resurrection' be released?

Nothing is set in stone yet. We keep vacillating between Halloween and Valentine’s Day.

Kickin' it live. Photo Credit:   Joshua Elioseff

Kickin' it live. Photo Credit: Joshua Elioseff

How else does your belief in the supernatural play into your music? What other themes pop up in your music?

I definitely sing about damnation a lot. I sing about gambling, devils, angels, and resurrection, but I always have to believe in resurrection, even in the darkest songs. I gotta put in at least a little peppering of that into each song.

Would you consider yourself a religious group at all?

(Laughs) [We’re] absolutely not religious; we’re the most hedonistic band you can think of. It’s just writing about life experiences, but I have to put it in the context the masses can relate to. Many people in this culture think in a dualistic nature. They want to know if you’re talking about light or dark, black or white. So you have to use that language, but I’m really just talking about the evolution of the human soul.

Are there any songs in particular that you would recommend for somebody who is interested in these themes?

Definitely- listen to the songs “Resurrection,” “Devil's in the Ace”, and “Cannonball”.

Do each of these albums tie-in together, concept wise? Or are they completely different?

Not completely different. Like I said, I try to speak in dualities in practice, but I tried to make Dawn the more idealistic album, and Death the more jaded "falling into darkness" album. Resurrection will kick off where Death left off, but will redeem itself back into the light… hopefully.

Are you working on any new music?

Yeah, we are definitely bringing a lot of new music into our live shows that are not even in Resurrection. We’ve probably got half of our next album already written. We can’t stay in one genre for too long, so it’ll be something new.

You just played at Underground Music Showcase this summer, and at an erotic novel convention in Las Vegas. Any other upcoming performances?

We’re playing one huge show at Caribou Room on September 23, and we’re really excited about that. It’s a fairly new venue and they’re really going all out for it.

If you could pick one of your creative idols to sit down with, alive or deceased, who would you choose?

It would be Leonard Cohen. I wouldn’t want to say a word. I would just want to sit in silence and look at him.

Great answer. So lastly, any final sentiments? Anything you’d like the world to know?

Just that the Gasoline Lollipops love you.

Be sure to catch the GasPops next at their Caribou Room (9/23) show in Nederland, Colorado. Other shows they’ve got on the books include Swing Station (10/14) in Fort Collins, Denver’s Hi-Dive (11/10), and the historic Gold Hill Inn in Boulder on New Year’s Eve. And keep up with them on their Facebook.

-Jura

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

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See This Labor Day Weekend

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s a three-day weekend, so spend it at some shows Colorado:

Today (Friday 09/02):

A Shadow of Jaguar with The Red Petals at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

A Shadow of Jaguar.

A Shadow of Jaguar.

Colorado’s A Shadow of Jaguar officially announced this week that tonight’s show at The LD will be their last in CO for a while, as the delta rock’n’roll duo are moving to New York. We’ve enjoyed a number of live shows from ASOJ over the years, and they’ve promised they’ll still be playing Colorado on tour as regularly as their busy show schedule allows. But it will be a minute until they make their way back to our mountains, so make sure to stop in at their show tonight and say your goodbyes! They’ll be joined onstage by The Red Petals, a Colorado trio of the blues rock variety who we first covered here. We’ll be here tonight, and so should you.

Watch ASOJ’s music video for their track “Mama Needs The Bottle”:

R Michael Rhodes’ EP Release Party at Meadows Golf Club in Littleton 6PM-10PM

R Michael Rhodes.

R Michael Rhodes.

Just last week, we brought you the lowdown on R Michael Rhodes’ upcoming EP Release Party. Rhodes will be playing his new tunes tonight from After All These Years, as well as some of his older hits. Amy Kress will be making an appearance at the show as well, bringing her pop songs to the mix. So dress to the nines and head over to Meadows Golf Club to celebrate with these Colorado artists! Ticket packages here.

Check out R Michael Rhodes’ latest music video for his tune, “The Only Song”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 09/03):

Booster Pre-Phish Show at Vine Street Pub in Denver 1PM-4PM

Booster.

Booster.

Colorado’s funk fusion four-piece Booster recently switched up their lineup and added some new tunes to their repertoire. We sat down with them recently to learn all about it, so catch those details before you roll to their set tomorrow afternoon. The band blasts off before Phish’s show, so roll to Vine Street Pub for this funky pre-party. You can peep Booster’s new tunes, and get ready to groove to Phish. Now that’s a good combo.

Read our recent interview with Booster.

Jeremy Mohney’s EP Release Party at The No Name Bar in Boulder 4PM-7PM

Jeremy Mohney.

Jeremy Mohney.

Yesterday we brought you a whole feature on Jeremy Mohney’s new EP release, On The Mellowside. It’s a crooning, jazzy set of songs that really showcase all of the talented local musicians on it. And tomorrow, those artists will be performing the EP live at The No Name Bar. Head over for this special afternoon dance party and groove out. It’s gonna be sweet! The EP will also be available for purchase tomorrow here.

Read our review of Jeremy Mohney’s new EP On The Mellowside.

The Next Day (Sunday 09/04):

Gregory Alan Isakov with Ani DiFranco and Shook Twins at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison 7PM-Close

Gregory Alan Isakov.

Gregory Alan Isakov.

Boulder-based singer/songwriter Gregory Alan Isakov is making his return to Red Rocks this weekend, this time as a headliner. Sunday’s show is Isakov’s last in the US for quite some time, as he’s jetting overseas in September for the remainder of his tour. Ani DiFranco shares this bill, and Shook Twins will open the evening. Plus, you don’t work Monday, so you’ve got no excuse not to be at the best venue in the world Sunday night. Get your tickets now.

Watch Isakov’s new video of “Stable Song” with the Colorado Symphony:

All Weekend (09/02-09/04):

Riot Fest & Rodeo in Denver- Various Sets and Times

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Denver’s Riot Fest & Rodeo is happening this weekend, and we’ll be on the scene bringing you awesome coverage courtesy of our contributor Sierra Voss. With a lineup that includes Jane’s Addiction, Death Cab for Cutie, Deftones, Ween, Sleater-Kinney, Julian Marley, The Original Misfits, this is going to be one fest for the books. Some tickets are still available, so get yours here!

Check out the full lineup for the weekend on Riot Fest’s website.

Head out for the holiday weekend Colorado!

-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 08/19, 08/20, & 08/21

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Weekend! Weekend! Here are our shows to see:

Today (Friday 08/19):

Hi-Fi Gentry, Whiskey Autumn, and CITRA at Tennyson’s Tap in Denver 8PM-Close

Hi-Fi Gentry.

Hi-Fi Gentry.

It’s been a busy summer for these three Colorado rock bands: Denver’s Hi-Fi Gentry dropped their latest release and have been playing throughout the state, Boulder’s Whiskey Autumn just finished a Fox Theatre gig and tours in the Midwest and Southwest, and Denver’s CITRA have been shredding the city with their EP, Ocean, which is why tonight’s show at Tennyson’s Tap is one to see! Three killer Colorado bands under one roof; $10 cover. Get to it!

Check out Hi-Fi Gentry’s EP Film Noir:

Sugar Skulls & Marigolds 7” EP Release Party at the Hi-Dive in Denver 8PM-Close

Sugar Skulls & Marigolds.

Sugar Skulls & Marigolds.

Self-described as “the gateway drug to metal”, Denver’s Sugar Skulls & Marigolds just dropped their latest EP, Blood Moon, and are throwing their vinyl release party tonight at the Hi-DiveBlood Moon, which was produced, mixed, and mastered by Dave Otero at Flatline Audio, is the band’s followup to their 2014 EP, The Coked Out Bunnies. Their new release features spacey artwork by Andy Putnam and the group’s three latest tunes. Check it out and take a metal trip with this band tonight!

Listen to Blood Moon:

Eminence Ensemble with The Hawthorne Roots at Quixote’s True Blue in Denver 9PM-Close

Eminence Ensemble. 

Eminence Ensemble. 

Boulder’s progressive rock/fusion quintet Eminence Ensemble play Quixote’s tonight, supported by “revved-up Montana soul outfit” The Hawthorne Roots. EE actually play tomorrow’s show at Quixote’s as well, making for a jammin’ weekend down in Denver. And tomorrow, sister-led band The Hawthorne Roots will make their way to Boulder’s Owsley’s Golden Road for their second Colorado show. Make sure to catch both of these bands sometime this weekend!

Watch The Hawthorne Roots’ video for their track “This One’s For You”:

Tomorrow (Saturday 08/20):

Geoffrey Louis Koch at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

Indie acoustic/folk artist Geoffrey Louis Koch has made his way from Nashville to Boulder for a show at The No Name Bar tomorrow. Koch’s most recent release, Follow The Voices, has been described as “symphony meets indie folk”. Geoffrey has shared the stage with some big names in the singer/songwriter world, including one of our favorite locals, Gregory Alan Isakov. So make sure to head over to the big brown door tomorrow night and take a listen!

Listen to Koch’s tune “Burn It Down”:

Steve Itterly and The Blind Spots at The Laughing Goat in Boulder 8PM-Close

The Blind Spots. 

The Blind Spots. 

New York’s female-fronted five-piece rock band The Blind Spots are opening things up at the LG tomorrow evening. The group is best known for their “eclectic library of vintage keyboard sounds” and frontwoman Maddy Walsh’s electric vocals. Following their set, Boulder folk and blues artist Steve Itterly will take the stage, making for quite the lineup mix. Itterly comes from a country/delta background, so you can count on those sounds too! This should be a fun show.

Listen to Steve Itterly’s song “Depot Blues”:

The Next Day (Sunday 08/21)

Sunday BBQ Series featuring Strange Americans, Automatic Iris, U.S. Tygers, Wire Faces, and Poet’s Row at Larimer Lounge in Denver 2PM-Close

Strange Americans. Photo Credit:   Sierra Voss

Strange Americans. Photo Credit: Sierra Voss

We can’t think of a better way to spend one of the last Sundays of summer than barbequing at the Larimer with an awesome lineup of local music. Denver is reppin’ hard at this show, which features rock outfit Automatic Iris, cosmic Americana band U.S. Tygers, experimental rock trio Wire Faces, folk band Poet’s Row, and rock’n’roll headliner, and one of our 2016 UMS favorites, Strange Americans. Tickets are only $10 in advance for sweet lineup, so snag ‘em now here.

Check out Strange Americans’ track “Places”:

All Weekend (08/19-08/21):

Planet Bluegrass’ Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Lyons- Various Sets & Times

Earlier this week, we brought you a feature on Planet Bluegrass’ awesome Song School, which ends today in anticipation for the 26th annual Rocky Mountain Folks Fest in Lyons. Some of the national talent on this year’s bill includes Andrew Bird, Conor Oberst, and The Decemberists. The festival opens tonight with the Folks Songwriter Showcase, where talented artists from around the globe compete for a spot in the weekend’s lineup. We’ll be covering the fest, so make sure to say hello and stay tuned for our recap coverage next week!

Get your Folks Fest tickets here.

See you in the shade, Colorado!

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

Sheingold Shines on New Record "Aquarian Dream"

By: Zach Dahmen

David Sheingold’s anticipated album Aquarian Dream was released last Friday to the masses. Sheingold, who has spent the last decade or so performing around Boulder and the Front Range, has been playing music most of his life. Still, it wasn’t until the past few years that Sheingold really found his voice as a delicate and powerful instrument all its own. Watching him live, you immediately understand that the songs he plays mean much more than a few chords and some lyrics. Sheingold is a veritable performer; an artist who embodies all that he sings.

David Sheingold.

David Sheingold.

Sheingold’s soft and expansive folk is brought to life throughout the twelve song LP, and is done so with a group of local, prominent players: Jeb Bows of (Gregory Alan Isakov), Philip Parker (Gregory Alan Isakov & The Paper Stars), and Ben Berry (Marty O'Reilly and the Old Soul Orchestera). Sheingold lets his voice take the lead on the album, allowing broad arrangements to be filled, and to overflow with the talent surrounding him. The album wanders blissfully like a tumbleweed down the Front Range expanse; a low-fi sound of soft melodies only broken by Sheingold’s Jeff Buckley-esque falsetto. The album takes a talented songwriter and fleshes out his vocal production to a full, and yet perfectly understated sound. Aquarian Dream is a well-produced and artist-centric piece of music.

Highlights on the album include “Morning Star”, with its building crescendo of horns, and “Mandolin Song”, which is a welcome change of pace on the album with its skillful string playing and lyrical earnesty. The track “Grace” is another favorite, and one with Sheingold’s soaring falsetto at center stage.

Aquarian Dream is an impressive debut for an emerging artist, taking some of the best talents of Boulder and creating a unique, original sound that lingers with you.

Preview and download Aquarian Dream for yourself on Apple Music.

-Zach

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

A Holiday Thank You!

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Happy holidays music lovers. 

Headliner John Craigie with Special Guest Gregory Alan Isakov. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Headliner John Craigie with Special Guest Gregory Alan Isakov. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

Hey Boulder and Denver! Thank you so much for your support of The 9th Annual HomeVibe for the Holidays Concert on Saturday! We had an amazing turnout and had a blast as HomeVibe’s media partner for the event. Special thanks to The Walnut Room for hosting an awesome evening of music! John Craigie, Taylor Carson, Augustus, and Danielle Ate The Sandwich all packed powerful sets and it was a magical mixture of local and touring talent onstage.

We’re excited to bring you more shows with HomeVibe Presents after the new year, so keep up with our site and social media to learn about the next one!

We will be posting more photos from the HomeVibe Holiday Concert soon and we’ll update you with a link to that when it becomes available.

And if you dig what we’re doing, tell a friend.

Connect with us:

Like Us On Facebook Here

Follow Us On Instagram Here  

Follow Us On Twitter Here

Learn More About HomeVibe Presents Here

-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.

BLVD: The 90s Rock'n'Roll You Know You've Been Missing.

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Paul Kimbiris has a new project and we dig it. 

BLVD. Four letters, three guys. And their first show under the new name is happening this Friday at The Fall Showcase. So who are they?

Well, we’ve brought you info on Paul Kimbiris before. You might remember him headlining the Fox back in May with backing band The Paper Stars. Or maybe you saw him at Augustus’ CD Release show at The Lazy Dog in June, where again, he was referenced as a solo artist with a backing band. Well guess what kids. Paul’s got a new gig in this town. And he wants you to know it’s “a little less sad bastard and a little more punk rock”. F*ck yes.

BLVD is composed of Leor Manelis (drums), Danny Rankin (bass), and Kimbiris (guitar, vocals). When I met up with Paul to learn a little more about his new project, he told me he’s played with these guys forever. They were with him for the Fox show last May. And practicing for that is actually where BLVD kind of kicked off.

“We were practicing for the Fox show and- you know we were practicing pretty stuff- melodies, a waltz. And just joking around, I played one of my old songs and [the guys] were like ‘Hey what else do you have like that? That’s the best song I’ve heard you play.’ I mean I wrote these songs like late 90s. I’d put them to bed. But when you play songs with really good musicians- you can play two chords and it can be fucking awesome. And so that’s what we’re playing. These old songs I wrote and we’re rock and roll, you know?”

I told him I didn’t- BLVD hasn't put anything out yet (though they will be this winter). And they haven’t exactly performed live yet with their new material and under the name BLVD. So Kimbiris explained the sound to me like this:

“70% of what BLVD plays are songs I wrote late 90s- so they’re influenced by things happening then. The Pixies; British rock bands like Blur. You’ll hear it; you’ll hear it. Like right around the time OK Computer came out- I mean that record was huge for me as I’m sure it was for a lot of people. Minor keys, delayed pedals, that atmospheric sound. That’s what we’re doing with these songs. And no acoustic- this is all electric. But these are songs from another life.”

And what other life are they from?

“Well they sound like they’re about a guy who was living in Philly. Because that’s what I was doing at the time and they’re all about my experiences.”

And is the name somehow from that other life too? Why BLVD?

“Back in Philly, there’s this street called Roosevelt Boulevard. It’s where we used to buy drugs and it’s, you know, ‘one of the most dangerous streets in America.’ Bad traffic, pushers, everything. And I used to hang out there. So I felt like it fit this. And I liked the name- it looks good on a t-shirt or a hat.”

I laugh. So what is BLVD most looking forward to about playing The Fall Showcase?

“I’m looking forward to playing louder and to an audience that’s a little bit younger than me. And for the folks that are coming to see Whiskey Autumn and Ben Hanna [and the Knighthawks]. Ben was one of the first people I met when I moved to Boulder and we lived together. I met him at a Conor’s open mic.”

Boulder’s crazy that way.

“You know, I had no plans to play music here when I first got here. I came from Austin and met some folks like Philip Parker and Gregory Alan Isakov and they heard me a couple times. And they said to me, ‘You’re good. But you should try harder.’ And sometimes, that’s all people need to hear.”

Definitely- and those are pretty awesome people to hear that from. So what’s next for BLVD?

“We’re playing Chautauqua on November 20th but that’s going to be a very sit-down and like bring your mom. Like my mom will be there. And wear a nice shirt. We’ll be doing things different for that- we’ll have a cello, more strings, an organ. We can’t rock there- it’s a hundred year old building. And then I want to put something out. Something we record live maybe and do overdubbing on. My last solo record took a year; I want this next one out quick. Like a month. And then in January or February we’re going to be doing an OpenAir session. And from there- play a lot in Denver; we’ll play a lot in Boulder too. But Boulder’s venues are pretty limited.”

They are indeed. Which is one reason The Fall Showcase is happening.

“Yeah it’s gonna be a great show. The middle slot’s the best slot and that’s where we are so it’s gonna be great.”

Though they're just revving up their 90s engine, something tells me BLVD’s going to be taking off pretty quickly. So come see their first show together as BLVD this Friday at The Riverside for The Fall Showcase!

Join the FB event here.

-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.