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.

Tenth Mountain Division Blend Genres and Define "Ski Rock" on Debut Release, "Cracks in the Sky"

By: Eric Martin

TMD is going to make you love "ski rock".

As my friends and I stumbled out of the Boulder Theater adorned in all the green clothing we own and drunk on Irish car bombs, we headed in the direction of home. Or so we thought. It had been a successful enough St. Patrick’s Day. We all agreed, alarms already set and ready to wake us in a matter of hours, that home was the direction to go. But we didn’t make it far. Mere steps from the Theater, we were drawn elsewhere: the music was loud, the crowd was huge, and there was a buzz of energy in the air from more than just the alcohol.

We found ourselves stumbling into The Lazy Dog, and immediately, I noticed that I’d never seen the place so crowded. It was shoulder to shoulder; toes on toes. I couldn’t see the stage. I had no idea who was playing. It was rock music and the crowd was definitely into it. Was that a mandolin? I made my way closer to the stage.

Tenth Mountain Division.

Tenth Mountain Division.

The band was Boulder’s Tenth Mountain Division. And that was a mandolin. The eclectic mix of musicians onstage included MJ Ouimette, Campbell Thomas, Winston Huega, Connor Dunn, and Tyler Gwynn. I soon realized maybe this wasn’t “rock music” after all, because according to the band “well known amongst small groups of people”, this was “ski rock”. And it just so happened that I had walked into TMD’s ski rock album debut. Gnarly.

The release, Cracks in the Sky, features the 5-piece group on guitar, keyboards, mandolin, bass, and drums, as well as a handful of guest musicians on saxophones and banjos; oh my! The album starts a little slow paced, picks up early, and drives it home.

Much like the band itself, this release seems to effortlessly blend genres. At any moment, it drifts from String Cheese-inspired jams to Shakedown Street funk, to traditional bluegrass breakdowns to sax-heavy jazz beats, all without ever digressing too far from the true Hercules of this band’s repertoire: fun. “Storm of the Century” is the perfect example of this, a funky ballad beginning with a driving drum beat accompanied by a mellow, instantly catchy piano riff, joined in perfect harmony by funk-rock bass lines and high energy mandolin chops.

The track “Eskimo” sums up more than any other tune what “ski rock” is all about. It is probably the most improvisational song on the album, and features their now (kind of) famous catchphrase, “A man could go crazy in a search of snow”.

Though the energy found at their live shows seems a little lacking in the album, several songs, including “Drunk Man’s Blues” and “Camp Hale”, serve to keep live performance fans happy with the high energy TMD they’ve come to appreciate.

Cracks in the Sky closes out with its title track, a banjo/mandolin-heavy tune that once again perfectly blends and bends (genres that is). This album is definitely worth a listen, but even more so, get out there and catch these guys live! You can find their upcoming show dates here.

-Eric

Connect with Eric on Instagram and Facebook.

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

Tenth Mountain Division: Ski Rock for Your Summer

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Tenth Mountain Division dropped their debut album recently, and it's taking off like a skier on fresh powder.

Ski Rock. That’s the sound Boulder’s Tenth Mountain Division have coined for themselves, and it fits. With rock, jam, and bluegrass influences, the five-piece have been picking up notable steam  in the local mountain scene and beyond. Just this spring, the band released their debut album, Cracks In The Sky, which quickly earned them critical acclaim, a summer tour, and a spot on Illinois’ Summer Camp Music Festival. Before this rockin’ crew hits the road, we decided to sit down with co-founder MJ Ouimette to get the full scoop on TMD’s formation, their record, and more! The boys play a hometown gig at The Lazy Dog tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo, which you should definitely check out. Read on:

Boulder's Tenth Mountain Division. 

Boulder's Tenth Mountain Division. 

So MJ- how did Tenth Mountain Division get started, and how long you have been playing together as a band?

Winston Heuga and I originally met in highschool in our hometown of Vail, CO. After practicing together for a year or so, and writing our first original tunes, we decided to legitimize our music from the ground up; from Winston’s Mom’s basement to the stage. We had the idea to perform as a bluegrass band, since our main influences included Sam Bush and Leftover Salmon. Eventually, we evolved into an electric adaptation of our prior selves, and our “ski rock” sound was fully realized at CU, where we met Connor Dunn, Tyler Gwynn and Campbell Thomas. In total, TMD has been a project for a year and a half.

Wow! That’s sweet that you guys were able to put out your debut album within essentially a year’s time. Where was Cracks in the Sky recorded? Did you work with a producer, and if so, who?

Cracks In the Sky was recorded at KMG Life Inc. Studios. The album is self produced, but has largely been successful thanks to our sound engineer Cameron Mannix. He worked with us tirelessly and off the clock to help us achieve what we desired. Mannix had actually been working with us for the year leading up to our recording process on projects, and because he had that knowledge of our sound coming in, his work really contributed to the authenticity of Cracks In The Sky.

Awesome. What’s behind the name of the album?

“Cracks In the Sky”, the album’s title track, is the first song Winston and I wrote together. For the most part, he wrote it and I helped arranged the music and the middle verse. But the title, in short, is the easiest explanation of everything we’ve done up to this point.

Cool. Talk to us about the other tracks on the album. How did you choose what to record?

The songs we decided on put on the album are mostly an amalgamation of the diverse talents in the group. Be it my own “Morning Drive” and “Fine Print”, Winston’s “By the Riverside” and “Matryoshka Mountains” or Campbell’s “Conspiracy”, there is a diverse yet coherent congruency from song to song that demonstrates both our varied backgrounds and influences, and the intersections between them all that make us Tenth Mountain Division.

Awesome. Does everyone in the band write?

Winston has written many of the basic outlines and lyrics for the group; he is a great lyricist. Although I have a few songs lyrically that I’ve written as well, the basic formula is Winston presenting a sketch that I solidify musically with arrangements. There is always constant interaction and influence between all of us in the band though.

Listen to TMD’s Cracks In The Sky:

LP versus EP is always a tough question. How did you guys decide on releasing a full length?

Ultimately, we decided that it’s far too common to release an EP as a first recording effort, and we had too much material that we wanted to exhibit. When I look at my biggest influences, I don’t think about their first EP, I think about their first album. We collectively wanted to create an all-encompassing piece of art rather than just a fraction of it.

Fair enough. What are Tenth Mountain Division’s plans for the summer?

“Eskimo”, one of my favorite tracks on the album, will have a music video that will be released in the very near future. Beyond that, we’re touring the Midwest and East Coast, along with our appearance at Summer Camp Music Festival.

We saw you were on that fest lineup- tell us more about that!

We won Summer Camp’s “On the Road” competition series at the Fox Theatre in January, which allowed us the opportunity to perform at the event. It is both humbling and exciting to have won the event and to perform among the heavy hitters of the vast and talented genre of “jam” music.

Make sure to catch Tenth Mountain Division jamming at The Lazy Dog tomorrow night! Join the Facebook event here. And keep with this talented ski rock outfit here.

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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