Colorado Duo Niya & Kris Set Out On Tour For New Album Release

By: Will Baumgartner

Niya Nolting grew up singing in church choirs in New Orleans. At 16, she joined her first band, which led to her to being voted one of NOLA’s top “Women in Rock”... until they found out her age and disqualified her. But it was too late: Niya had been bitten by the performance bug, and has remained in love with singing and sharing her music ever since. While attending CU Boulder, Niya enjoyed some local recognition with her jazz band, Niya and the Satellites. She stayed in Colorado, met and married guitarist Kris Nickeson in a ceremony at Red Rocks, and released the album 'Through the Matter' in 2013, with a band calling itself simply “Niya”. The all-too-familiar pressures and difficulties of maintaining a full band led to the current stripped-down sound of the duo Niya & Kris, which is Niya’s most current project.

This Saturday, September 24th, Niya & Kris will perform at Westminster’s Orchard Arts Festival, and from there, they set out on tour. Their new album, 'Beneath the Watermark', will be released song by song starting this Christmas, with videos accompanying each track. The duo’s first single will be “Where the Rain Held Weight”. Niya’s music reflects her entire history, with influences from rock, jazz, and New Orleans swamp soul. I recently had the chance to discuss Niya’s diverse and powerful sound with her in a conversation that really dug into the hardship and beauty that gives rise to her music. Check it out for yourself:

How did growing up in New Orleans and singing in church affect who you are as a singer and songwriter?

Having New Orleans woven into the fabric of my music challenges me as a singer, but at the same time helps me relax into something familiar and true. The challenge is to always remember that spiritual base that brought me to singing by keeping faith and conviction in the words and message I am conveying with my voice. Today, this emotional honesty is a soul-baring process that takes me on a journey through the fear of opening up to the satisfaction of having done it. Having been exposed to so many styles of music growing up has made me eclectic as a singer, and I feel at home singing everything from blues, to rock, to jazz and soul because in a way, New Orleans lives through me.     

You joined your first band at 16. Did you get hooked on performing outside of church right away?

Yes. I remember the moment I fell in love with making music. It felt just like falling in love with a person. It was in my bass player’s garage and we were playing U2's song “Bad”. A feeling washed over me like I was somewhere else; a new place I had never been before. Now, I look for that place: a calm inside the music every time I play, and that’s when I know I’m doing it right. [It’s a feeling that] can be hard to gauge when you’re onstage, but in my experience, the only way to know you've engaged the audience is when that switch has been flipped inside of you.

Niya & Kris.

Niya & Kris.

You had a jazz band, Niya and the Satellites, when you were at CU. How did that group come together? What led you from rock to jazz?

I put a sign up in the CU auditorium looking for players, and my buddy Robbie Stiefel answered. He’s an amazing guitarist with an old-school country blues style of playing, which fit well with my eclectic vocals. My daughter had a friend in school whose dad played piano, Bill Giebler. His piano became the heart of the music we produced together, and the three of us became quite a writing trio. My rock style went to the wayside because the jazz needed room to grow, and my musical style expanded because of it. The songs coming out on my next album were mostly written with this crew.

After Niya and the Satellites, you went back to rock. Did that have anything to do with the sad fact that jazz is so underappreciated in America, the country where the form was born?

The blues/rock/soul album I released in 2013, Through the Matter, was composed of music I had written before the Satellites that I needed to get out. It made sense at the time to go back to what I had been doing on my own before the jazz. Now, I [play all styles] in my shows with my husband Kris Nickeson. His jazz/funk background has brought me back to where I need to be, which is right in the middle of rock and jazz. Being a duo allows the music to be free from style restrictions, because no matter what you play, you sound like two people playing on a porch somewhere.  

Album artwork for  Through the Matter .

Album artwork for Through the Matter.

Do you find musical pleasures in this two-piece, stripped-down approach?  

The songs from Through The Matter are as beautiful and fun to play as a duet as they were with a full band. I can play them alone, as a duet, or with a full band and the story stays the same. I am loving the duet approach because we can hear and play off of each other better while enjoying our companionship as husband and wife, singer and guitarist, music lovers, and friends. There is nothing more exciting than holding down the rhythm while my husband rips out an amazing solo. It has made me a better guitarist, singer, and percussionist since I get to do all three.

You’re releasing your next album, 'Below the Watermark', song by song, with a video to accompany each song. That’s quite a project! What was behind your decision to adopt this ambitious approach?   

The music world has become more visual with YouTube and Facebook the way it used to be with MTV. Personally, I love that. It has pushed me to learn video production, which I find I truly enjoy as much as making music. Both of my grandmothers were painters, and I loved to draw before I was lured into the music world. So now, I feel like I’m going back to my roots in a way, and can convey my ideas with more of my talents. It is ambitious, which is why it takes time, but each song will be like its own little album, a piece of the bigger picture. I can see all the videos and music complete in my mind as I perform them at Red Rocks one day, which is a dream my husband and I both share. He asked me to marry him there; it would be amazing to come full circle and see that dream complete.   

You told me in an earlier conversation that your new tunes have a more “swampy, New Orleans vibe” than the songs on 'Through the Matter'. Was that a direct result of the fact that, on at least some of these songs, you were writing about your family and the hurricane? Did you write any of the songs in New Orleans?

The “new stuff” is really what I wrote with the Satellites, and now it is finally coming to the light. Below the Watermark is a compilation of songs dedicated to my family, and much of it is about living there and what it felt like to go through something life-changing with my family. I was living in Colorado when [the hurricane] happened, but my heart was with them when I wrote this music. “Below the Watermark”, the album’s title track, is a fan favorite, and “Where the Rain Held Weight” is another. This record has been a long time coming because honestly, it took that long for our hearts to heal. I want this music to be a celebration of our family and all the New Orleans families that endured and persevered through tragedy.

I know this can be a tough one for any artist, but can you tell our readers, in a few words, what the essence of your music is, and what you hope listeners will take away from it?

Life is hard and beautiful. My intention is to bring myself and those who choose to journey with me through the hard parts to something beautiful. I’m using the power of my voice and the rhythm of my words to bring listeners with me to that calm place; the one I’m always trying to reach when I perform. It's that same magical place that I found in the church choir, in the garage band, and now in our husband/wife duet. It seems a waste to keep that to myself, so I share it in hopes of making people feel better and less alone.

Tell us a little about The Orchard Arts Festival and what we can expect from your set this Saturday?

Westminster has an amazing arts community in its historic downtown. The Orchard Arts Festival highlights local musicians and artists, and I am excited to be one of them. We play from 11:30AM-12:30PM, but the festival opens at 10AM. We will kick off our set with tunes from Through the Matter, and some old blues by popular artists like Elvis. I'll pepper in some swampy jazz tunes from our upcoming album too. I’m also paying tribute to a female artist that left us too soon, but in order to know who that is, you'll have to come see and hear for yourself!

What’s next for Niya & Kris?

Our master plan is to tour the world together playing music, while expanding our repertoire and performing shows that are studies of past artists. To be diversified is to live in this business, so we are writing shows that will showcase artists from the past like Billie Holiday. We’ll perform some of their songs, tell stories about their lives, and shed some light on the origins of music and why it drives people like us to dedicate our lives to performing. We are starting by expanding in Colorado, with more shows throughout the state, and in neighboring states. Our first mini-tour starts in Moab, Utah and will end at a house party in Logan. More dates and places will be added as we go along. Eventually, all roads lead to Red Rocks; at least that is our underlying prayer: to show our love for one another and the music that we create in the most beautiful music venue on Earth.

Make sure to see Niya & Kris this Saturday at The Westminster Orchard Arts Festival. Details on the event can be found here.

Keep up with Niya & Kris on their website.

-Will

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

Rachel Cole: Boulder's "Inspirational Pop" Artist

Rachel Cole is a Boulder based “inspirational pop” singer/songwriter. She’s been writing and recording her own music for over 18 years, and most recently released her album Relentless (2015). The 12 song work boasts the talents of Peter Vantine, Peter Tentindo, Lou Spagnola, Bill (Bash) Melanson, Ken Clark, Andy Reiner, Gilda Betancourt, Tricia Pine, Kenny Lewis, and one of our local favorites, Robbie Stiefel. Cole has had radio success and toured across the US and internationally over the years with her music. And that’s because of her drive for a challenge, and her ability to bring people together through her music. As Cole told us:

All of my songs come out of something deeply personal within me, and they serve as either a beautiful memory of an experience, or as a catharsis from a challenge. The most amazing thing to me is when I hear from people who genuinely relate to a song, based on situations or feelings they have had themselves. Music is universal, and through it we can see our similarities, while our differences just fall away.”

Boulder's Rachel Cole.

Boulder's Rachel Cole.

Currently, Cole is working on recording her next album. Until that drops, check out Relentless here.

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

A Review of Greg Corcione's Debut EP "Believer"

By: David Landry

Greg Corcione sure has us believin' something. 

Greg Corcione’s debut EP Believer is something I have been waiting for with a lot of anticipation. I met Greg years ago as the drummer of Fleedami, which was the experimental jazz group that played every Wednesday at The No Name, and parts of them still do. Corcione spent some time traveling, and when he got back, he told me he wanted to work on a solo project.

When my band Whiskey Autumn started working with producer Robbie Stiefel, we found out Robbie was working with Greg on his new project too. I soon learned that Greg actually came to the studio with only rough demos of all of his songs. Greg and Robbie arranged and recorded all of the instrumentation to the songs together with help from Bill Douglass on the board. With each song on Believer, Corcione shows his love for all styles of music; overall there is a major blues undertone.

Robbie Stiefel (left) and Greg Corcione (right).

Robbie Stiefel (left) and Greg Corcione (right).

Corcione comes in battling a demon with “Holy Water”. The heavy distorted guitar welcomes you to this haunting voice that is reaching out. The thunderous drums and crashing cymbals fill the empty space and bring you this dark sermon of blues, with a Morrison-like preacher confiding in a higher power for help.

When I first listened to the record, “Mother’s Poem” grabbed me before finding out the deeper meaning to this song. Greg paints this image of a rainy evening in the summer with the quiet fingerpicking guitar. The piano and the warm bass sound like the steam off the streets. And then there’s a little girl in her room alone, missing her father, wishing that he would walk up the stairs just like the night before. “Mother’s Poem” was written by Greg’s mother about her father passing away when she was only ten.

“Blame it on Love” enters with this R&B blues backbeat and guitar; a swelling organ brings in the obsessive vocal groove. The lyrics go along with the music, and it makes you want to be “standing there naked”. Corcione sings about big decisions he made while being in lust and love.

Corcione in action. 

Corcione in action. 

“Tango Women” stays with the sexiness of “Blame it on Love”, but with this great Spanish flare. The women in the song must be the only ones in color in this black and white affair. The whispering guitar fills; the rhythm is like tap shoes to the hardwood.

The EP’s closer and title track, “Believer”, brings you to the sea of the spirit, with his arms open wide singing to the heavens. Filled with claps and stomps from the congregation, and Greg’s slightly distorted voice, this one feels like it’s his last call.

Overall, Corcione’s Believer is a great debut, and I can’t wait to hear more from him.

Listen to Believer below: 

-David

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

Wednesay Double Feature: Nod & Rose Release Party + ASOJ Music Video Release

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Some hoppin' news for your humpday.

First up- have you been to Nod & Rose lately? Come on, you know you need another button up. We love ‘em because they’re big supporters of the local music scene, so come to the Nod & Rose 3 year anniversary party tonight! They’re setting up a pop-up shop at Vapor House with new merchandise for you to peruse AND there’s an after-party at Taco Junky! Entrance is $5 to TJ’s and local acts Sun Jr. and Abstract Solution will be playing! So that’s totally worth yo cash. Who doesn’t want to shop and then get a marg or two? Join the event here for a chance at free admission and drinks! We’ll see you there.

And second- remember when we first brought you a feature on A Shadow of Jaguar? The Boulder-based duo has kept super busy since their inception. They had studio time with producer Robbie Stiefel, had a short multi-state tour, and dropped their first official single Mama Needs the Bottle in just a few months. Then yesterday, they released their first official music video for their debut single. Today they’ve got a gig in Aspen, but tomorrow night they play here at The Lazy Dog! So go check ‘em out. And in the meantime, watch their vid:

Watch a slew of other local artist’s music videos on our vid page here. Enjoy your hump day.

-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.

Producer Robbie Stiefel: Wolves, Making Studio Magic, & Finding That Thing.

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Robbie Stiefel is a talented set of ears crafting tunes with several of your favorite local bands.

Ben Hanna and the Knighthawks. A Shadow of Jaguar. Whiskey Autumn. Greg Corcione. These are just a few of the Boulder-based acts that producer Robbie Stiefel has worked with over the past few months. And after recently watching Stiefel insert his own beats and sounds to a band’s live performance while he sat next to me at The No Name, I can see why so many local acts are partnering with him. His job is to bring that thing into a band’s recording. That thing. You know, the one that every musician is always chasing. And the one that Robbie can somehow hear in his head whenever he listens to a track. So I sat down with him over a giant calzone to find out exactly how he does it. How did he develop finding that thing? And this is what he told me:

Stiefel’s from the East Coast. He grew up in DC, started playing sax at 11, and followed that with guitar, which is when he says “the addiction started.” Toss in his Dad’s love for James Brown and Stiefel’s own discovery of Zeppelin’s discography at 13 and there was Robbie: a kid obsessed with sound.

“I used to sneak into my high school gym and re-record songs with this rudimentary cassette four-track trying to recreate Led sounds using ambient rooms. I was always trying to capture different noises, different ways to do something. And I played in a couple of high school bands too.”

Robbie at   The Crucible Recording Studio  . Photo Credit: Kristy Gray.

Robbie at The Crucible Recording Studio. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray.

And eventually, playing in bands is actually what brought Stiefel to Colorado.

“My first more serious band project was Ego Vs Id. I grew up with Jesse [Parmet, currently of The Yawpers] and when we first moved here, he had this big house and it was basically just a studio for us. It was like our college- we were just teaching ourselves and experimenting for a couple of years with different recording techniques. Eventually, things got more serious with Ego Vs Id and we had unlimited access to a local studio. We actually just worked for a year and a half on an album and learned to craft songs in the studio, trying to make them sound effortless. Making that album solidified something in me.”

But, like many bands, eventually the guys went their separate ways into other projects. And for Stiefel, the most serious of those became production.

“I ended up moving to the Bay area for awhile. I worked with artists there and made connections at different studios. And then I made my way back here eventually and have kind of been doing that same thing.”

Stiefel at   The Crucible Recording Studio   with Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray. 

Stiefel at The Crucible Recording Studio with Whiskey Autumn. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray. 

Which is when I wondered, what exactly is the producer-artist relationship like? To which Robbie had my favorite answer of our whole conversation:

“Being a producer is like holding a wolf by its ears- I feel so responsible for the project and its success and to make sure that what a band wants done is done. By the end, I want them to feel like I’ve made it more clear as to what they are. I put a lot of pressure on myself- I can be obsessive but I think that’s a good thing. I mean- it’s a lot of money to record. I’m getting paid here. And it’s not like paying someone to fix your deck- it’s paying someone to work on what is most important to you. So I always feel like I’m playing with this very dangerous thing- like a wolf- but it’s only dangerous because I care about it so much.”

Robbie and the wolf. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray at   The Crucible Recording Studio .

Robbie and the wolf. Photo Credit: Kristy Gray at The Crucible Recording Studio.

Though holding a wolf by its ears sounds like an almost impossible task, Robbie assures me that while it’s a challenge and a fine balance of sorts, he puts in a ton of preparation before heading into the studio with an artist:

“What it’s really about in preparation before the studio is synergy. The way I work with projects is that I’m basically being invited in as a temporary member of the band or a collaborator, and so there has to be this initial connection there. Especially with bands- they have this brotherhood-tribal-thing and I’m coming into the mix aware that I’m in that situation and building trust. And sometimes you don’t have a lot of time to do that before you start recording. But I’m an artist too, so when I ask them to make big choices, I get the whole ‘I don’t want anyone telling me how to make my music.’ That’s why building that initial trust and having synergy are so important. I know that what I’m asking an artist to do [in my role as a producer] is a lot.”

And so what does one do when there’s a battle back and forth on finding that thing: on finding the right mix, the right beat, the right shaker for a track? On creating and developing one’s sound and making studio magic?

“In those situations, it goes back to trust. But the best thing I can do is to let a certain amount of any idea be worked through- everyone needs to be able to express what they want. You can’t shut anyone down. And then I have to ask, ‘How passionate are you about this?’ because then I need to let them know realistically I will go down that road with them, even if I wasn’t intending to, but that the consequences and hesitations will be x,y, and z. I can’t beat around the bush- that’s the worst thing you can do in a creative environment. At the same time, they have to feel comfortable- somehow you have to have that.”

Stiefel at   The Mountain House Recording Studio   with Greg Corcione.

Stiefel at The Mountain House Recording Studio with Greg Corcione.

Which brings me back to the night I watched Robbie tapping out new rhythms and making sounds that somehow fit into a song he’d never heard before at that live performance. How did he hear those beats he was making? Where does that come from? When I ask him about this, he laughs:

“I’m at a point now where I do just hear it. It’s hard to explain. But I think the development of that came from having an awareness when I’m listening to something of what excites me. There’s this alarm that goes off and I’m suddenly aware that something has grabbed my attention. ‘Oh that’s where that shaker comes in’ or ‘That’s where that intentional harmony changes.’ And I can pull sounds from so many things that I’ve listened to. Eventually, you just kind of have this idea of ‘Oh that might go there’ and things come together.”

And in listening to music from several of the Boulder artists that Stiefel’s been working with, things sure do. A Shadow of a Jaguar already released their single that Stiefel worked with them on, titled “Mama Needs the Bottle” and you can listen to it here:

And the other artists mentioned have plans for new releases soon. We’ll be featuring those as they come out, but in the meantime, go check out two of the artists Stiefel has worked with LIVE THIS FRIDAY at The Fall Showcase.

Read more about Robbie here.

And get details for The Fall Showcase on our 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.

Ben Hanna Wants to Surf with You at The Fall Showcase This Friday.

By: Zach Dahmen

Behind the scenes of Ben Hanna.

Boulder-based musician Ben Hanna.

Boulder-based musician Ben Hanna.

It’s a cold and wet fall evening as I wait for BolderBeat’s Fall Showcase opener at a coffee shop on Pearl Street’s west end. I take a few more sips of coffee and in walks a mop of black curls with a five o’clock shadow. Ben Hanna sits down across from me and instantly, his deep voice becomes the prominent sound over a bustling coffeehouse. With little prompting Ben starts telling me his story, with little to no filter; much like his music. He has these basset hound eyes which, as he starts to tell me how he fell in love with music, draw me into his twenty minute answer.

Hanna grew up outside of Detroit, Michigan. As he describes it, the suburbs are more akin to Orange County, California than the inner city. Instead of the hard knocks attributed to growing up in Detroit, Hanna was afforded an adolescence steeped in whatever music he could get his hands on. The earliest parts of his musical journey had him taking huge pit stops with The Violent Femmes, Ryan Adams, Radiohead, and Nirvana, the latter being a big enough influence that he’s actually wearing one of their shirts under his bulky cardigan tonight. Starting with simple bar chords and punk rock at the age of 15, Hanna progressed into taking lessons and giving serious thought to being a musician: “I wanted to be a player. I had a vision of me sitting in as a session musician down the road.”

Tea Time.

Tea Time.

After high school, Hanna moved to Colorado for college. He tells me this part of his life was framed by the music of Townes Van Zandt, whom he lends credit to as a catalyst for finding his voice as a songwriter. An even more noticeable influence in his music is Lou Reed (watch Ben Hanna’s “High Society Scene” as a perfect example). And Ben does credit Lou for helping him find direction. He tells me, “Lou Reed and Bob Dylan, they didn’t have these panty-dropping singing voices, but they were getting the point across in a really effective and powerful way. And so I realized that is kind of the voice I have.”

More recently, Ben’s musical efforts have been shaped with difficult times and personal hardship. The end of a relationship left him unable to write a song for months. That struggle lead him to a different way of approaching music: Being present in each moment.

“It’s being cultivated even when I’m asleep or just observing things, and there is this thought that I am absorbing it like a musical sponge.”

The Street Light Type.

The Street Light Type.

Ben keeps a notebook of lyrics on his phone that he calls “my emotional well.” He shows it to me- there are lyrics, sayings, and musings- a collection that takes more than a few finger strokes to move through. As I glance through it, Hanna tells me he’s got somewhat of a “different sound” overall, especially within Boulder. Unfiltered but focused is what comes to mind as Ben describes his musical life; much like our interview.

That “different” quality was exactly what drew BolderBeat to ask Hanna to open The Fall Showcase. With Ben Hanna & The Knighthawks, Hanna’s sound is a fleshed out, full rock and roll experience, fitting nicely into the night’s lineup of Blvd. and Whiskey Autumn.

“I look at it as a wonderful opportunity to just kinda go surfing; play with the energy of the space and share a stage with different bands because we are all in subtle ways influencing each other. It’s going to be a really nice blend of sounds. People are in for a treat.” Hanna said of the upcoming show.

Sandboxin'.

Sandboxin'.

Beyond his Fall Showcase performance this Friday, Ben will be playing more live shows with the Knighthawks around the Front Range and beyond. Lately though his focus has been continued work on his new record. He’s been in the studio with Robbie Stiefel and Todd Adleman at The Mountain House Recording Studio in Nederland. Ben, admittedly ambitiously, tells me the new record is “a mix between Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker and The Violent Femmes self-titled.”

Come see the ambitious, unfiltered Ben Hanna & The Knighthawks THIS FRIDAY at The Fall Showcase. And let’s surf.

-Zach

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

Interviewer Zach Dahmen.

Interviewer Zach Dahmen.

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

By: Hannah Oreskovich

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

Today (Friday, 09/25)

An illustration of Ben Hanna.

An illustration of Ben Hanna.

Ben Hanna Band at Still Cellars 630PM-Close

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

Community Music Night at eTown Hall 7PM-9PM

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

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

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

Tomorrow (Saturday, 09/26)

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

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

Whiskey Autumn at The Merc 8PM-Close

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

The Growlers at The Fox Theatre 830PM-Close

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

PDMF.

PDMF.

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

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

See you around! Xoxo

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

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

A Shadow of Jaguar's Debut Single: "Mama Needs the Bottle"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

A Shadow of Jaguar's new single is tasty.

ASOJ.

ASOJ.

As you might recall, we covered an A Shadow of Jaguar show back in June at the Pub. Comprised of Cold River City’s Brian Hubbert and former West Water Outlaws’ drummer Andrew Oakley, desker David Landry described the boys as a “super-powered project” with “a thumping kick drum and a whip-cracking snare.” Following that performance, the duo played The UMS and various gigs around Colorado. The pair then hit the studio, The Crucible Recording Studio to be exact, and worked with producer Robbie Stiefel and bassist John Demitro of Branded Bandits to lay down a few licks. After tossing things around in mixing with John Peacock and having their jams mastered by Brian Gardner, A Shadow of Jaguar have released their debut single, “Mama Needs the Bottle.”

Cheers to new music! Check it out here and leave your thoughts in the comments:

-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.

David's Desk: Party with the Pack: A Shadow of Jaguar

By: David Landry

A Shadow of Jaguar are high-energy blues rock.

ASOJ in their natural habitat.

ASOJ in their natural habitat.

Pearl Street Pub and Cellar has music most Mondays and Wednesdays, and they keep it pretty calm on Mondays. But recently, things were a little different. Here’s the scene:

You walk up to the Pub and you’re instantly hit with a thumping kick drum and a whip-cracking snare. That’s when you first realize, this isn’t going to be your normal Monday at the Pub. You expected acoustic, sad-bastard music to be playing so you could sit in the corner and drink your whiskey alone.

Instead, just inside the door, you are greeted with a bluesy slide guitar. And a two piece rocking band. At the helm is Brian Hubbert (of Cold River City) and on the skins is Andrew Oakley (formerly of West Water Outlaws). It’s a super-powered project. It’s A Shadow of Jaguar.

Let these boys take you for a ride.

Let these boys take you for a ride.

ASOJ plays you a bunch of originals, and some fun covers like Death's “Keep on Knockin’”. To make it even more of a party, at one point Will Buck (formerly of West Water Outlaws) hops in with some tasty licks screaming over Brian's slide guitar parts, and John Demitro (of Branded Bandits) jumps off his normal guitar playing to keep the rhythm section tight on bass. The four play together like they’ve been doing this for years; they never skip a beat. Neither you nor the Pub were ready for this high-energy set, but you and everyone there want more. And that’s your Monday night.

A Shadow of Jaguar just finished recording with Robbie Stiefel over at The Crucible and the boys are playing UMS in Denver at the end of the month. See them when you can, because jaguars don't travel in packs very often.

-David at the desk

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

David’s Guest at the Desk: Robbie Stiefel on Leon Russell

By: David Landry and Robbie Stiefel

Leon Russell ain't stoppin' anytime soon.

Robbie came over one evening and heard a song spinning on the record player that he claimed to know, but by a man he could not name. I told him: this is the legendary Leon Russell. And it just so happened that Leon was headed to the Oriental, so we bought tickets. I had planned to craft a write-up for Leon’s show, but in the morning I woke up to a “David’s Desk by Robbie Stiefel” email. And so it follows:

He wobbles out from the wings of the stage with a cane looking very old and crooked. He sets his cane on the stage floor and seats himself at a white baby grand piano striped with red, blue, and green. He immediately launches into Ray Charles' 1954 hit, "I Got a Woman". He looks mean and defiant as if to say, "F*ck gravity and time.” You quickly realize that his “wobble” was a “saunter” and he ain’t stiff or crooked, he’s spry! His playing belies the old man's hands.

Photo Credit:   David Landry

Photo Credit: David Landry

This IS and WAS what rock and roll has always been: the organic protest of everything that slows us down. At 73, Leon proves himself a patriarch; an old school musician who plays because he knows nothing else. A phrase like “Keep on Keepin’ On” was born from the need to describe men like Leon. Keep on, Leon.

-David Landry and Robbie Stiefel at the desk

David’s Guest Robbie Stiefel: Robbie Stiefel is a producer and musician. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Click here to read more about Robbie.

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