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

By: Riley Ann

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

The Railsplitters. 

The Railsplitters. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Riley

Find out more about me on my blog.

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

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 08/26, 08/27, & 08/28

By: Hannah Oreskovich

TGIF yo. Here’s The Six:

Today (Friday 08/26):

RiNo Music Festival at RiNo Neighborhood in Denver 430PM-Close

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Channel 93.3, Westword, and Twist and Shout are throwing a festival bash for you today in Denver’s RiNo neighborhood, and it’s just in time for happy hour. The music lineup includes Silversun Pickups, St. Lucia, 888, Bishop Briggs, and A Silent Film. Tickets are $40 for the whole shebang, and you can nab ‘em here. Festi while you can, folks.

Watch 888’s official music video for their song “Critical Mistakes”:

Local Songwriter Showcase at Club 156 in Boulder 7PM-9PM

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CU’s Program Council is putting on a cool event tonight at Club 156 that features several local talented singer/songwriters, including Cameron Bailey, Jobi, Jarocki, Ethan Cohen, Nate Harvey, and Sophie Kloor. The event is free and open to the public, so whether you’re new to CU and wanting to learn more about the music scene, or a longtime Boulder resident wanting to check out some new tunes, get to this show! 

Listen to Sophie Kloor’s demo for her song “Losing Myself”:

Kutandara Kombi at The Laughing Goat in Boulder 8PM-Close

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Boulder’s Kutandara is a world music group, fusing “African music traditions with indie-pop, rock, jazz, gospel, [and] classical” sounds. And tonight, they’ve got a gig at Boulder’s LG that is sure to make your spirits dance. Kutandara are well known for their eclectic sets, playing every show with the intent of “exchanging energy of music and movement with our audiences”. Sounds like a rad time- and it’s free! Head on down.

Sample some Kutandara tracks here.

Tomorrow (Saturday 08/27):

Eros and the Eschaton Album Release Show at Larimer Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

Colorado Springs’ Eros and the Eschaton dropped their sophomore album Weight of Matter recently, and we have been diggin’ on it. Major. Read more about it in our review of the album, and celebrate with the band tomorrow at their Larimer show. Denver’s I Sank Molly Brown and Maybe Baby & The Bitch Boys are joining the party, and OpenAir CPR is putting on the show. Tickets are only $10 in advance. Get ‘em now, and while you’re at it, get Weight of Matter. Your ears will thank you.

Listen to Eros and the Eschaton’s single “Rxx”:

Mayhem Gulch at Conor O’Neill’s in Boulder 10PM-Close

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If you’re looking for a solid bluegrass show for the weekend, look no further Colorado! Boulder’s own bluegrass/newgrass five-piece Mayhem Gulch will be strummin’ at Conor’s tomorrow night. The group describe themselves as “a whiskey-fueled campfire jam”, which sounds pretty perfect for a summer Saturday. So get to it!

Listen to Mayhem Gulch’s “Run for the Hills”:

The Next Day (Sunday 08/28):

Magpie, Ethan Griggs + Sonder Ensemble, & Chloe Tang at Lost Lake Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

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Back in March, we featured Denver’s soulful folk outfit Magpie. The “orchestral folk rock” project, led by Zach Dunn, is playing The Lost Lake this Sunday, headlining a bill that features Ethan Griggs + Sonder Ensemble and Chloe Tang. The show starts at 8PM and is only $8, so ease into the week with a good drink and the sweet sounds of these Denver acts. More info here.

Watch Magpie’s live performance video of their tune “Trembling”:

See you at a show CO! Xoxox

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Boulder's Tenth Mountain Division Headline Fox Theatre Tonight

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s back to school season, and local “ski rock” outfit Tenth Mountain Division have made their way down from the slopes and back to Boulder to headline The Fox tonight. For a band with some of its current members attending CU for school, the timing for this evening’s “August Après”-themed show couldn’t be better.

We last caught up with TMD before summer began, when the group was closing out their time in Boulder with a Lazy Dog bash. The five-piece kept busy in their off-season, touring through Chicago, Columbus, and PA before playing shows in Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD. They even managed to play Illionois’ Summer Camp Music Festival on their way around the country, in a spot they competed for earlier in 2016.

TMD opening for Cold River City at The Fox earlier in 2016. 

TMD opening for Cold River City at The Fox earlier in 2016. 

Now, fresh off a night at The Aggie in Fort Collins, the Boulder-based band will take The Fox stage as headliners for their first time. Local prog rock/jam band Amoramora will hold down the second slot on tonight’s bill, and Durango’s bluegrass four-piece Streepland String Band will open the show. So whether you’re stuck in syllabus week at CU, or are looking for a great Thursday night show of local talent, head over to The Fox tonight. Tickets are only $10; get ‘em 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.