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.

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.

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.

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.

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.