Review: Prep Rally's 'Head Rush' Is Full of Synthy Experiments & Light, Luscious Vocals

By: Julia Talen

Electronic indie pop duo Prep Rally will release their inspired sophomore EP Head Rush this April, full of vulnerable themes paired with instrumentalist Drew Norris’s catchy beats and vocalist Tatum Russo’s delicate voice.

The first track “Phoenix” kicks-off the EP slowly, with a soft, easy melody. It’s joined by Russo’s enthralling vocal harmonies, crooning lyrics indicative of the transformative and inquisitive questions sewn into this record like “will be born again” and “transcending from who I once was”. As the track progresses, Norris’ instrumentals build in complexity and the tempo ascends and shifts, lifting listeners into the tenacious and seemingly effortless layers of this record.

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“Roll With The Punches,” the second track, begins with an addicting piano beat evoking a throwback vibe. Similar to many of Prep Rally’s tunes, this song builds and expands. There is a nice bridge in this track with a round of voices singing lyrics like “roll with the punches” and “everyday is a rematch,” followed by what Norris calls a “sparkly arpeggio outro” which is mesmerizing. The band’s single, “Break In,” released at the beginning of the year, succeeds this tune and remains to be one of my favorite tracks on the record.

Another noteworthy tune off this EP has to be “Mean Girl,” a noble, feminist exploration into societal pressures on women and how impactful they can be. In considering this track, Russo states, “There is a mean girl in all of us,”  provoked by a society. Lyrics like “whoever gave a damn about what’s inside/and were put up to fight by the shape of our bodies,” parallel this sentiment as does Russo’s echoing vocals on this track which reflect the insidious and obsessive mean girl in our minds. The pop-like nature of the track allows listeners to digest some of the heavier concepts on this record, including dark, societal pressures. The next track, “Cloud Nine,” also explores anxiety and mental health, but through this pop duo’s delicious bops. Prep Rally’s EP overall destigmatizes such subjects.

Prep Rally.

Prep Rally.

The EP comes full circle with “Coffins in the Attic”, a song that explores facets of change and transformation, much like “Phoenix.” The tune is slower, like the first track. I like the risk the duo takes in the middle of the song in which everything breaks for a beat, followed by a breath and the ding of a triangle. Then listeners melt back into the folds of Prep Rally’s piano diddles, synthy experiments, and light, luscious vocals.

“Head Rush” explores heavy, important themes balanced by captivating patches of instrumentals quilted together to create a really nice, cohesive and interesting record. Prep Rally’s EP drops April 2nd. The dynamic duo will host a release party at downtown Denver’s Walnut Room on April 6th.

Keep up with Prep Rally here.

-Julia

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

Premiere: J.W. Schuller's Signature Humor Is Apparent In New Music Video For "No mud in Joyville"

By: Hannah Oreskovich

BolderBeat first caught up with Boulder transplant and singer/songwriter J.W. Schuller about a year ago when he released his tongue-in-cheek video for “When I’m President.” Schuller is well-known for injecting his sense of humor into his work, and his recent release for his single “No mud in Joyville” is no different.

“No mud in Joyville” is the title track from Schuller’s newest record, which dropped this past January. The song’s somewhat nonsensical verses and catchy chorus are of Schuller’s signature style, one which keeps the listener wondering what he’ll say next and simultaneously has them singing along after a minute or two. In the song, Schuller imagines a place where there won’t be hate, deer ticks, and of course, mud among other things.

J.W. Schuller.

J.W. Schuller.

The video for “No mud in Joyville,” which we’re premiering here today, brings Schuller’s goofy sensibilities to light. The video features scenes of Schuller and his bearded nephew Jens Larson playing in front of an old stove in a living room of sorts, interspersed with abstract skeleton art sequences, and at one point a scene where they launch skittles from a drum in Larson’s mouth.

Said Jeff about the video, “I conceived and directed the video and it was shot on an iPhone 6 by the abstract artist Jaci Lee Reno, who I'm also lucky to call my wife. The flower and skeleton imagery in the video is an offshoot of my idea for the album cover. I've always been struck by Mexican Day of the Dead folk art and the juxtaposition of skeleton figures and flowers have been a recurring theme in videos and gig posters for me. It’s kind of an off-puttingly cute way to reflect on our mortality, I guess."

Schuller and Larson.

Schuller and Larson.

No mud in Joyville is the second release from Schuller as a solo artist, and is a follow-up to his 2013 release All Important Artists. His latest was recorded and mixed at Underwood Studios in Minneapolis by Mark Stockert, which are Schuller’s old stomping grounds.

J.W. Schuller’s album release show is slated for Saturday, March 10th at The Walnut Room in Denver with Red Petals and Kait Berreckman. Snag tickets here and make sure to keep up with Schuller on Facebook.

-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: Morning Bear Wrote His Newest Single During Iceland Airwaves Festival

By: Trevor Ryan

Hailing from Denver and releasing new music for the first time in two years is the fiery, folksy project Morning Bear (John Runnels), with his newest single “You’re Right.”

Morning Bear.

Morning Bear.

With hints of Bon Iver and City and Colour in the mix, Morning Bear’s new track is an emotional hitter. The amount of effort put into the instrumentals alone on “You’re Right” is pretty astounding, and when you add those soft, clear pipes from Runnels, it’s hard not to listen to the song on repeat a few times through once you hear it. Although the production is what most stands out with this track, there is still something to say about Runnels’ ability to write a catchy, articulate tune.

When asked about the inspiration behind the track, Runnels told us, “‘You’re Right’ was written in a tiny Airbnb in Iceland during Iceland Airwaves. [It’s] about being stubborn and fighting for something despite all odds, as well as accepting when it's time to give up. It's a song about the struggle between what you want and wish, and what must be.”

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Runnels will be performing “You’re Right” live, this Friday, September 8th at Denver’s The Walnut Room, along with many of his other tunes. He will be joined by a full string quintet, making for a stellar night of orchestral indie folk. Snag your tickets to the show here, and make sure to keep up with Morning Bear and more of Runnels’ new music on Facebook.

-Trevor

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

Decatur Unleashed Their Dynamic Debut EP at The Walnut Room

By: Jura Daubenspeck

 Last Friday, June 9th, Denver’s Walnut Room was filled with a plethora of drinks, tasty pizza, and a unique lineup of music. The energy was high, and people were movin’ and groovin’ in any way they knew how. The evening celebrated the release of Decatur ’s debut EP, Before The Bulb’s album, and Whimsically Macabre Music’s general impressiveness.  

Stacy Fahrion.

Stacy Fahrion.

Stacy Fahrion of Whimsically Macabre Music took to the stage first, blowing everyone away with her lightning fast piano compositions and unusual twists to well-known nursery rhymes. Starting off the evening with dark and edgy alt-classical music was as fitting as it was eye-opening.

Colorado’s experimental alternative rock group Decatur took to the stage second, and gave a performance that was dynamic and exciting. The five-piece band, consisting of Sean Decrescenzo (frontman/guitar), Tay Hamilton (lead guitar/backing vocals), Quinn Cox (lead studio engineer/backing vocals/guitar/keys), Chris Howard (drums/backing vocals), and Chris Rybitski (bass) were clearly feeling good, as this performance honored the release of their debut, self-titled EP.  

Decatur’s newest EP has a brooding, edgy feel to it, yet the band delivered the music in a way that was clear they were having a great time. Decrescenzo’s moody lead vocals were well-suited for songs such as “Don’t Talk,” “Cold,” and “New Way To Love,” and were paired perfectly with Hamilton’s electrifying guitar-work. The band also played a previous single of theirs, “My Desire,” which absolutely got the crowd up and moving, if they weren’t already.  

Decatur is proving themselves to be a band to look out for, as they’ve already attracted the attention of award-winning producers such as Lance Bendiksen. Their raw, atmospheric energy and fine-tuned attention to detail leaves listeners wanting more even after they’ve left the stage. They also manage to pull off looking generally cool, without the inflated egos. Their EP is available to stream and download.  

Before the Bulb.

Before the Bulb.

Before the Bulb closed out the night with a vibe that was quite different than the previous performers, but still kept the tempo high. The six-piece band, which blended violin, piano, upright bass, drums, and guitar, came together to create the sounds of “gypsy-rock-bluegrass-punk.” It was a stellar combination, to say the least. The band was also celebrating their release of their album, “Opera in the Whale” which is available now.

Overall, the evening catered to many different musical palates, ranging from dark horse indie-classical sounds of Whimsical Macabre Music, to Decatur’s experimental/atmospheric rock, to, as Before the Bulb puts it, “some form of rock.” It was an exquisite evening filled with talented musicians celebrating their months of hard work.

Be sure to check out Decatur’s newest EP (free to download!) on their website, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and iTunes. And don’t be shy- connect with them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to get the conversation going!

-Jura

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

Review: Andy Palmer's 'The Switch' Explores History of American Racism While Remaining Hopeful

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Not too long ago, I wrote about a singer/songwriter showcase at The Walnut Room in Denver and mentioned Andy Palmer. I may or may not have mentioned that he is a beacon of light, radiating positive vibes from his guitar and pure feelings from his vocal cords, and if I hadn’t, I have now. Recently, I had the privilege to listen to his upcoming album The Switch.

Andy Palmer.

Andy Palmer.

My first introduction to Palmer was nothing short of pleasant. Before turning to music full time, Andy was an attorney in New York. After witnessing the weight of the law firsthand, he took an exit and moved to Denver, Colorado where he’s been establishing his musical roots ever since. Even so, much of Palmer’s music and lyrics are influenced by his past experiences as an attorney, making Palmer’s The Switch both provocative and sensitive.

Listen to Palmer’s debut single "Black Moses":

Throughout his new record, Andy addresses America’s convoluted and dark history of racism. The single "Black Moses" honorably nods at humanitarian and abolitionist Harriet Tubman. Palmer also talks about the inevitable contradictions of aspiring to help others in this world, while also trying to live one’s own life. Overall, The Switch is smooth with easy listening melodies, uplifting tracks that are easy on the soul, and full of hopeful tones.   

Very recently, Palmer was selected as one of eight finalists nationwide to compete at the NewSong LEAF Festival singer/songwriter competition, proving Palmer’s planting those musical roots with a strong foundation. If you’re curious to hear and see what Andy Palmer is all about, then you’re in luck! His CD Release Show is happening at The Walnut Room this Friday, May 19th. Be sure to snatch a copy of the album and keep up with Andy Palmer on his website. Tickets to his release show are 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.

Premiere: Bo DePeña's Toe-Tappin' Track & Video "If I Let You Go Again"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Last time we checked in with Americana singer/songwriter Bo DePeña, he had just released the single and music video for his intoxicating love ballad “The Weed and The Wine.” Since then, Bo has cast the finishing touches on his upcoming EP Long Road to Denver and been on the road for an astounding five-month 40+ show tour throughout Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Montana, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

Bo DePeña. Photo Credit: Chris Bohlin

Bo DePeña. Photo Credit: Chris Bohlin

Even while on tour, the work never stops, and the hits just keep on coming. While traveling from Boerne, TX to Austin, TX, Bo stopped in to Austin Signal recording studio to film the live recording of yet another new track, “If I Let You Go Again.” The song, which was written two weeks before the final wrap-up of Long Road to Denver, was recorded with the help of Grammy Award winning recording/mixing engineer Charlie Kramsky and featured Sean Giddings (piano), Pat Harris (standup bass), and Josh Rodgers (drums).

Listening to “If I Let You Go Again,” influences of western swing, country, and jazz can all be heard. At first listen, the song has a simple, bare bones feel, like a piano bar in backroads country. However, the simplicity really comes from how smoothly each instrument- the guitar, piano, standup bass, and drums- all intertwine.

The song pulls from artists like Willie Nelson (circa 1960’s), Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, and Lefty Frizzell. It touches on heartbreak and the “what if's?” strung between the moments of clarity. True to many of Bo’s musical numbers, “If I Let You Go Again” carries a sweet somberness within its toe-tapping rhythms, a combination that makes his music ever so easy to listen to.

Watch “If I Let You Go Again:”

“If I Let You Go Again” is the perfect release to precede Bo's upcoming EP, which will be released on May 26th. Listeners who just can’t get enough can also pre-order the EP at Bo’s upcoming show this Saturday, May 13th at The Walnut Room. Event details can be found here, and tickets can be purchased at this link- get ‘em while they’re hot!

Connect with Bo on FacebookInstagramSoundcloud, and Twitter,.

-Jura

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

Singer/Songwriter Dave Tamkin Drops New EP of Sophisticated, Easy Listening Tunes

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Dave Tamkin is a Boulder transplant by way of Chicago, and he’s taken the singer/songwriter scene in Colorado by the horns. Whether playing solo shows or rocking out with a full band, Tamkin brings a unique style of rhythmic-acoustic sounds, personal lyrics, and a high-energy percussive backbone. His music is sophisticated easy-listening.  

Give Tamkin’s new single “Hope, Love, Strength” a listen:

Tamkin’s new EP drops tomorrow, with a CD Release Party this Saturday, April 15th at Denver’s The Walnut Room. He’ll be accompanied for the evening by Kevin Mileski, Brian Allison, and Decibel Sound Company. If you haven’t been to The Walnut Room to check out some singer/songwriters, this is a great time to do it, and Tamkin’s set is bound to be a crowd pleaser.

Dave Tamkin. Photo Credit:  Kit Chalborg

Dave Tamkin. Photo Credit: Kit Chalborg

Tamkin has a couple of other Colorado gigs this month in support of his new release. Catch him at Boulder’s Rayback Collective April 22nd. Keep up with Dave on his website; Walnut Room 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.

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.

Embrace Your Inner Monster with Gila & The Monsters This Weekend

By: Trevor Ryan

Gila & The Monsters play The Walnut Room this Saturday, February 4th in celebration of their debut EP IN CONTRAST, which dropped in November 2016, and here’s why you should come support this Denver rock duo:

Formed in Denver by guitarist/vocalist Shawn Kramer and drummer Hector Casillas, this project combines bluesy riffs with plenty of grunge influence, which makes for a fresh new take on the band’s overall rock sound. Humbly declaring themselves abar band” just out to make music that people want to “stay up late” to, we especially get this notion from the duo’s new EP with its plethora of heavy distortion, and a balance of bluesy, and at times, mellow interludes.

Listen to IN CONTRAST:

So what really sets these guys apart from your everyday rock band? It's the focus on their instrumentals that really draw out the pure, raw talent, that Gila & The Monsters possess. A nearly flawless transition between powerful riffs that choose to tell their story without lyrics is balanced by the sincere, heartfelt emotion of Kramer’s vocals throughout IN CONTRAST.

Gila & The Monsters. 

Gila & The Monsters. 

Bottom line: If you're looking for a solid show to truly feed that rock enthusiast inside us all, The Walnut Room is the place to be this Saturday. Come out to remind yourself of the talent that still exists within the independent industry, and face the monsters in your own closet.

Get your tickets to Gila & The Monsters here. Doors open at 7PM; show starts at 8PM.

-Trevor

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

Silver and Smoke Gear Up For Upcoming Single Release "Burning Bridges"

By: Jura Daubenspeck

There’s no other way to put it: Colorado’s western rock group Silver and Smoke have been killing it lately. With two EPs, a music video, and a West Coast tour under their belt, the band’s momentum is building, with even more exciting announcements on the horizon.

Silver and Smoke.

Silver and Smoke.

Silver and Smoke has come a long way since their inception in 2015. What began as a musical project started by high school buddies Ty Bray and Dino Ianni has steadily blossomed into a full-fledged rock’n’roll group. In the last eight months, the band has added bassist Rick Brown and reunited with former sound engineer and drummer Diego Valenzuela, creating an epic combination that rocks harder than ever.

Watch Silver and Smoke’s “Hope You’re Happy” music video:

After the release of their first two EPs Workhorse and Marking Time, the band continues to astound, with their evolution from the blues, to country-style rock, to heavy-hitting rock’n’roll. They continue to fill classic venues such as Herman’s Hideaway, Lion’s Lair, The Walnut Room, and various breweries throughout the city, yet still remain as some of the most down-to-earth, genuine music-making folks out there.

S&S. Credit: Grace Jensen. 

S&S. Credit: Grace Jensen. 

The band has been working closely with Denver’s Acacia Jade Studios recently, located in the heart of the RiNo Art District. The studio’s CEO Wesley Henkle shared a bit about what it’s been like working with the band:

“Tyler and Dino have helped us tremendously with our beat production by adding live instrumentation to not only our own songs but working as a rhythm section with other artists from various genres. Their fun high-level of energy combined with a strong work ethic and a drive for perfection makes them a great fix for AJS.”

With an ever-growing fan base, I’d advise anyone to hop on the Silver and Smoke train soon. They’ve got more music coming out, starting with their upcoming single “Burning Bridges,” which will be the first release off their soon-to-be-recorded third EP.

“Burning Bridges” is unlike anything Silver and Smoke fans have heard from them before. Its smooth, dark Santana vibe epitomizes the song’s storyline about packing up and moving on from whatever is holding you back (in this case, a relationship). The single is set to be released and available in all digital music stores on Valentine’s Day. So whether you’re a lonely heart, or a happy clam, there’s no doubt you’re going to dig what Silver and Smoke is about to showcase.

Be to sure catch Silver and Smoke at their (FREE) upcoming show next Thursday, February 2nd at Lincoln’s Roadhouse. In the meantime, subscribe to band’s newsletter and check out their website for the latest and greatest on releases, announcements, and new merchandise.

-Jura

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

You 'Gotta Get Back' to Denver's Walnut Room Tonight with Seth Walker

By: Mirna Tufekcic

Seth Walker is playing at The Walnut Room in Denver tonight, Friday, January 20th. He’s a singer/songwriter who has been writing songs and creating albums since childhood. His Spotify profile goes back to 2007, but he’s been steeped in the culture of music since birth. In fact, he may just have genetically inherited his talents from the generations of musicians he comes from: his grandfather was a professional band and choir director, and both of his parents, who collaborated with him on his latest album Gotta Get Back, are professional musicians who have helped shape Walker’s musical inclinations, aspirations, and talent. But genetics aside, it’s clear that Walker’s been putting time and work into his artistry for years.

You’ll be quick to realize the talent and professionalism that envelops each song in Walker’s new album once you have a listen. But if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that it takes a village to create a whole, cohesive sound. Beside his parents, Walker brought his sister into the mix, making it truly a family affair. And to further the family theme, Jano Rix of The Wood Brothers produced the album, and member Oliver Wood collaborated on some of the songs too. The “keeping it in the family” is a sizzling thing with musicians these days and Walker’s got his finger all over it.  

Check out Walker's Gotta Get Back:

As for genre, which can be a difficult thing to pin down sometimes, Seth Walker makes it even harder to confine. Gotta Get Back is certainly an eclectic mix of jazz, country, soul, funk, blues, and classic gospel. All of these flavors come through on the album and they’re a direct reflection of Walker’s experiences from living in places like North Carolina (where he was raised in a commune) to Austin, Texas, to New Orleans, and finally to his current place of residence in Nashville, Tennessee.  

So, if you want to feast your ears on a spread of good tunes, and you know they’ll be played to a T considering Walker’s history and experience with music, come out tonight! Besides, if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll get  to experience the community vibes that Walker used to create his latest record and even see some of the other musicians who collaborated on Gotta Get Back right next to Walker onstage.

See you there! Peep the Facebook event; 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.

Verses The Inevitable Bring The Blues to Denver's Walnut Room This Friday, December 16th

By: Mirna Tufekcic

If you’re into the blues, then you’ll be into Verses The Inevitable.  

Verses The Inevitable.

Verses The Inevitable.

The seven-piece outfit’s birthplace is Denver, Colorado, though each individual member of the band hails from different parts of the country. Their eclectic mix of backgrounds and influences make Verses The Inevitable a distinct blues rock band with elements of Americana, jazz, and funk peppering their sound. You’ll get your fix for the harmonica, classic bluesy guitar riffs, and raspy, heartfelt singing on the band’s debut album, All Debts Paid, which was just released this past summer.  

Listen to All Debts Paid:

Although a rather young band, with their origins starting back in 2015, Verses The Inevitable have already garnered some impressive accolades. They received the Mile High Blues Society's award for “Best Self-Produced Album of 2016,” and they finished 2nd in the Colorado Blues Society’s award for “Album of the Year.” They have even been selected to compete in the 2017 International Blues Competition in Memphis, Tennessee. Way to go, fellas!

All Debts Paid is a testament that nothing is inevitable, except change. Member Daniel Hertel (vocals/guitar) composed the album with the help of his bandmates to signify a turning point in his life where all the debts for the mistakes he’s made in life have been paid and now he is free and finally able to start a new chapter on a sweeter note. I can’t see any other music genre to better support this sentiment than the good ‘ol blues. 

Make sure to head over to The Walnut Room in Denver tomorrow, Friday, December 16th and get your blues fix live with these fine gentleman! Tickets here.

See you there!  

-Mirna

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

Bonne Finken Talks To Us About Her Grammy Consideration, SXSW, & More

By: Jura Daubenspeck

It’s no mystery that the ladies of Denver’s music scene are a force to be reckoned with. And when it comes to finding a place that not only satiates your musical thirst, but also your need for some downright tasty pizza, The Walnut Room is where it’s at.

Last Saturday, ladies took over the stage at The Walnut Room for a night of indie electronica flavor. Tana Victoria, Amy Kress, Bonne Finken with DJ/backup vocalist Christine Steeples, and Phee all kept it edgy, poetic, and even a bit dark at times. The lineup consisted of mostly Colorado locals, with the exception of Iowa native Bonne Finken, who lit up the room with her booming vocals and phantasmal projections.

Each performer wowed during their time on stage, but this week, we wanted to give special props to Bonne Finken, who, despite her strong Midwest following, made her Denver debut at the show. We sat down with Bonne prior to her set to ask her a few questions about what she’s been up to, including her upcoming album, her Grammy consideration, and her plans for SXSW 2017. Here’s what she had to say:

This is your first time playing in Denver. Welcome! How are you feeling?

I feel excited! We just got done with soundcheck, and I got to hear the other artists play a bit. It sounds like we’re all in the same genre, so that’s pretty cool.

Earlier this summer you released your single and video “Speak to Me.” What have you been up to in the meantime?

I’ve been working on the new album, which will be released in 2017. “Speak to Me” was just the first release from that album. We’ve been recording, which is why I’m in Denver now. Joel Rekiel, my publicist, lined this show up for me while I was in town. I’ve been working on the album; retooling the show. It’s gone really electronic now learning a bunch of technologies, and the band is relearning gear. So that’s what we’re working on now.

You’ve been recording at The Spot Studios. How long have you been working with them?

I just went there last spring to record “Speak to Me.” And then I just started again about a week ago. I’ll be returning next spring and will hopefully have it all done by June 2017.

Bonne Finken. 

Bonne Finken. 

So what’s the experience been like this past week?

Really awesome. They’re so great to work with, and they (Glenn Sawyer and Rich Veltrop) understand my sound more than anybody I’ve worked with before. So it feels super easy. Instead of me trying to translate my sound or fight on sounds, it feels very comfortable, and goes so fast. It’s incredible! It’s been fun, relaxing and exciting.

Last time we talked, we discussed how you put your heart and soul into your music. You take the time to learn everything about every aspect of your music, so it really becomes a piece of you. I’m curious about what that process has been like, and how much of your blood, sweat, and tears will be going into this next album.

Definitely more than ever before. It’s hard to explain. Literally they’re using my own sessions and my own sounds and it’s demoed to the point where if I want a certain harmony figured out, I better have it figured out when I bring it in. [On other records] we would bring in really sketched out ideas and flush them out in the studio, where as now we bring it in and execute whatever we have, so we have to be more prepared. Which is scary and good. It goes faster, but it means whatever my idea is in real time is what they execute. So that’s been a big difference on this album. And I’ve learned a lot about MIDI. You’re able to use electronic instruments of any kind, and write with them. So that’s been very freeing for me as a writer and as an artist. I love the freeness of MIDI.

Regarding your recorded work, what can your fans expect in the coming months?

I’ll probably have a couple more singles out and promote them like I did “Speak to Me.” “Speak to Me” was kind of a campaign to try to get on the Grammy ballot, which it did do, so that was cool that we released it in time. But I’ll probably release a couple of music videos almost quietly. Not necessarily to sell, but to test out some of the sounds on the album. You’ll be hearing what’s been in my brain for the last decade but has taken me a long time to understand how to articulate audibly. I’ve always had crazy ideas, but now I feel like I can really make it happen and show that off in my music.

How will those those crazy, cool ideas be manifested in your future performances?

When I write, I keep in mind my live shows, because that’s what I love most, maybe to the detriment of thinking, “Will this song work live?” It’s important for me to get [my work] across in my live shows. So if anything, my live shows will be stronger because I keep that in mind and am able to manipulate the recordings knowing that. I like going to shows and hearing artists sound like they do in the recording, rather than not being able to recognize the song because it’s been changed too much.

Steeples (left) & Finken (right). 

Steeples (left) & Finken (right). 

Do you have any upcoming shows, or tours around the country?

We’re actually coming down into recording mode. Most winters I hole up. I don’t like to travel in bad weather. So I’ve learned to call a spade a spade, and not push it. But we are going to SXSW so I’m super stoked for that. We might just go underground a bit [this winter], write some songs, work on the show, and let SXSW be our big reveal for some of these new songs.

We can’t wait to hear more! Keep up with Bonne Finken here.

-Jura

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

The Halloweekend Six: Six Shows to See 10/28 & 10/29

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s been a minute Sixers! But we had to give you a Halloweekend guide, so party down at these spots in your best costumes this weekend:

Today (Friday 10/28):

In The Whale EP Release with One Flew West, CITRA, & Loretta Kill at Larimer Lounge in Denver 8PM-Close

In The Whale.

In The Whale.

Denver’s In The Whale have been traveling around the state this month in support of their new EP Quicksand, which you should definitely peep below. Tonight, the rock duo will be blasting the walls at the Larimer in a show of ghoulish delight that screams happy heavy Halloweekend. The always entertaining One Flew West will share the stage for the evening, along with Denver favorite CITRA, and rock duo Loretta Kill. Come dressed as a beardbanger and get ready to party.

Hand your zombie ears over to In The Whale’s new EP Quicksand:

Ben de la Cour, The Heartstring Hunters, Alex Maes, & Theresa Peterson at The Walnut Room in Denver 8PM-Close

Ben de la Cour.

Ben de la Cour.

Denver’s Walnut Room will be full of haunting vocals tonight, ready to launch you into all that is Halloweekend. Folk artist Ben de la Cour will headline the evening, with opening appearances by Boulder’s The Heartstring Hunters and Theresa Peterson, plus Salida’s Alex Maes. Sounds like a chilling good time to us.

Give Ben de la Cour’s Midnight in Havana a deep, dark listen:

Whiskey Autumn’s Halloween Bash at The No Name Bar in Boulder 10PM-Close

Whiskey Autumn.

Whiskey Autumn.

Boulder’s Whiskey Autumn are holding down our favorite Boulder joint tonight, where rumor has it the vibes of legends past will make eerie appearances, including our favorite grunge god Kurt Cobain. The winds have whispered something about Prince too. Roll over and dance with this indie pop rock trio while you sip on all your favorite spirits…

Get your creepy carnival on with Whiskey Autumn’s “Coney Island” video from CPR:

Tomorrow (Saturday 10/29):

The Great Halloween Pumpkin Bash Block Party at Deviant Spirits in Boulder 630PM-Close

Kronen Band.

Kronen Band.

Deviant Spirits Distillery is hosting one trick or treatful celebration tomorrow night with J Wells Brewery, Rowdy Mermaid Kombucha, and The French Twist Food Truck. The music planned is equally sweet, with performances by Last Minute Blues Band, Kronen Band, and Emmanuel Dali on the books. Who needs candy when you can brews?

The visuals in Kronen Band’s “Artfully Answered” will get your Halloweekend tripppin’:

Ultraween6 Presents: Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, The Velveteers, & DJ E-Trane at Azatlan Theater in Denver

BBGT.

BBGT.

Our friends over at Ultra5280 are throwing a massively cool monster bash this Halloweekend. Performances by Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, The Velveteers, and DJ E-Trane will melt you. And if you roll VIP (which why not, Halloweenie?) there is a fashion show, goodies, a meet and greet, and more. Get other details plus tickets right here to party at this Denver haunt.

Rock your skulls out to Bud Bronson & The Good Timers’ Fantasy Machine:

Tenth Mountain Division’s Boogie Nights Halloween with Guerilla Fanfare at The Lazy Dog in Boulder 10PM-Close

14633203_942685029209675_4805865601883093447_o.jpg

Mustaches have been grown, extremely tight pants will be worn, and Boulder’s Tenth Mountain Division will be throwing one crazy ski rock party at The Lazy Dog tomorrow night. Guerilla Fanfare will join the crew on horns for the Boogie Nights-themed bash, which will feature music from the iconic film and a number of the band’s originals. Feast on that.

Boogie down to TMD’s “Storm of the Century”:

Can’t wait to creep with you Colorado! Happy Halloweekend!

-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.

Whiskey, Love, & Death: The Making of Foxfeather's New Self-Titled Album

By: Zach Dahmen

At a time when most local acts are releasing four song EPs, Foxfeather’s new project is bucking the trend. The Boulder-based band dropped their first full length album this month, a self-titled 11-song release. Formed in 2013, the five-piece outfit consists of Carly Ricks Smith (lead vocals), Laura Stratton (guitars/keys/vocals), Patrick Coleman (upright/electric bass/violin), Ben Batchelor (drums/percussion), and Ian Hendrick (electric guitar). This Friday, October 21st is Foxfeather’s Denver CD Release Show at The Walnut Room with Doves and Wolves. Before they hit the stage, we wanted to chat with them about their songwriting style, their new album, and whiskey. Here’s our sit down with Foxfeather:

How did Foxfeather come together?

Laura: Carly and I first started working together to hone our songwriting skills. We were writing and just having fun with it. There came a point when we needed to have more to these songs than just vocals and guitar, which led us to the next stage: forming the band.

Patrick: It was last summer on tour when the five of us officially cemented the lineup.

Carly: And this really feels like the beginning, right now, with this album.

How do you feel like you’ve changed from your first EP to your new album?

Patrick: Our instrumentation has changed in a direct way. We no longer employ mandolin and fiddle. Also Ben is a jazz drummer, and that for me has changed the feel of the band immensely.

Carly: With our first EP, Laura and I really struggled with our identity, and it was difficult to let go of the idea that we were a folk duo. It took making that EP, playing, and touring with this band to make us realize that this is what we wanted. That’s why we self-titled the album; it’s all five of us playing this record.

Foxfeather. Photo Credit:   Kirsten Cohen

Foxfeather. Photo Credit: Kirsten Cohen

Talk to us about your recording process.

Laura: Jay Elliot was our sound engineer [on this album]. We recorded in his home studio last April for nine days. And our producer was Jagoda, who was such an integral part of the entire process. Everyone was there for the whole process.

Ben: It would have felt like we were missing a family member on Thanksgiving had we not all been there for the whole process. Jay mixed and was the conduit, and he was really able to see the tone of it and get a sense of who we are. The songs transformed in those moments.

Carly: The studio changed the way we played these songs live too. We were really trying to be as open as possible during this process.

Ian: As the lead guitarist, I found there to be a lot of pressure; there’s this responsibility, but Jay, Jagoda, and the studio made me feel confident to produce something we are all proud of. It was an authentic experience that was really special.    

Listen to Foxfeather's new self-titled album:

What do you think makes a good song and how do you incorporate that into your writing?

Patrick: Whiskey, love, and death. Those were our themes for this album.

Carly: Laura and I write these songs; it’s a process to find a story that fits. Trying to find that word that gives that exact feeling; starting with just an idea and creating a story around it. Laura and I feed off of each other in that. That base and foundation is what allows us to make these songs.

Ian: For me, a good song is not about geeking out about guitars, it’s the lyrical content and feel. Does the song make you feel something?

Ben: Yeah I think a good song evokes a response from people; that’s the end goal. To connect.

Tickets   here  ! Photo Credit:   Kirsten Cohen

Tickets here! Photo Credit: Kirsten Cohen

What song surprised you most while recording?

Everyone: “Day for Lovers.” (simultaneously)

Laura: We had 16 songs that we brought to the studio. We had a lot of them we weren’t sure would make it. But “Day for Lovers” was a surprise.

Carly: “Day for Lovers” is one of our oldest songs. It changed a lot. We took it and cut some verses and rearranged it to make it its own thing. Afterward, we were like ‘Holy shit. What did we just do?’ I called my mom and told her I just made some baby-making music. It’s become one our favorites.

What are your favorite places to play?

Everyone: Gold Hill Inn; it’s a special place.

Carly: Also Taco Del Gnar is a place we’ve been more than six times. They gave us the opportunity to start touring southern Colorado.

Laura: It’s a home away from home for us.

ON THE ROAD.

ON THE ROAD.

If you could play a show with any band, who would it be?

Everyone: Lake Street Dive. For sure.

What song do you wish you wrote?

Laura: “Pony” by Kasey Chambers, which we cover.

Patrick: Or Dawes’ new song.

So what’s up next for Foxfeather?

Carly: Promoting the CD, planning some small tours, and playing more festivals.

Laura: And continuing the creative process. It’s cool to think about where we can go and to not be stuck in a box.

Catch Foxfeather this Friday at The Walnut Room in Denver. Tickets here! And make sure to give their self-titled album a listen for yourself above.

-Zach

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

DICKIE Release Self-Titled Debut Album + Details On Their Show at Denver's Walnut Room

By: Hannah Oreskovich

This Friday, October 7th, touring duo DICKIE will play at Denver’s Walnut Room. Made up of pop songwriter Dick Prall and violinist Kristina Priceman, DICKIE describe themselves as “the exploration of subtle symphonies over creative prose [and] indie popped-out melodies under innovative storytelling and original grooves”.

The group’s self-titled album, which is also their debut release together, dropped just last month. It’s a mix of rootsy pop and strong instrumentation that truly showcases the talents of Prall and Priceman both. DICKIE also recently released a music video for the album’s single “Pop Pop Pop”, which visually plays on the strong musical connection the two have together through a series of black and white live-performance shots and bursts of melodic color.

Watch DICKIE’s new music video for their song “Pop Pop Pop”:

DICKIE are excited to share their ten song release with Colorado fans; the duo have played the state many times before (we first caught them at Johnny’s Cigar Bar in Boulder) and have developed a loyal and excited following. When asked about their upcoming visit and show, DICKIE told us, “We've always loved coming out to Colorado. We have a lot of great friends here and The Walnut Room feels more and more like home each time [we visit]. For the first time, we're coming as a full band, which packs a bigger punch that we can't wait to share with our fans both old and new.”

Tickets for DICKIE’s show are likely to sell out, so get them here. Denver’s Before the Bulb will open the show; doors are at 7PM.

Download DICKIE’s new album for yourself, and keep up with this talented two-piece 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.

Mawule's "Black Is Beautiful" Music Video Premieres This Thursday at The Walnut Room Denver

By: Jura Daubenspeck

Months of grinding have finally led up to this moment: Mawule’s music video for “Black is Beautiful” is set to premiere this Thursday, September 29th at The Walnut Room near Denver’s RiNo Art Districtand it is bound to astound. 

I’ve already had a chance to take a sneak peek at the music video, and even after multiple viewings, I am still blown away by the artistry and depth of it. The video was filmed at Creative Cultures Studio in Arvada, CO, and was the creative brain child of Garrett Hayes, owner of Square Visions. Hayes and Mawule, who have been friends since their days at Colorado State University, teamed up to create this passion project, which will no doubt inspire anyone who watches it.

A scene of Mawule from his upcoming video.

A scene of Mawule from his upcoming video.

“Black is Beautiful” features fellow artists Bianca Mikahn and ILL Se7en, as well as two Colorado State University students, Zelle Moore and Jhasmyne Cooper, who did interpretive dance in various scenes. After much anticipation, it’s time unveil the final product that so many creative minds have contributed to.

The night will also feature spoken word pieces by renowned poets. Slam poet maestro Theo (Lucifury) Wilson, who was been featured on TEDxMileHighSalon for his beautiful piece “Woman: An Ode to the Feminine”, will perform. Alejandro Jimenez, who cuts to the root of the matter with his piece, “For Brown Boys”, will also take the stage. And so will Marthè Ndongala, whose “A Collection of Wild Flowers” page showcases his vivid written pieces that will come to life Friday. Mawule will also be joined by artists Bianca Mikahn and ILL Se7en, who will speak their mind to their own respective tune.

Bianca Mikahn.

Bianca Mikahn.

There’s no denying the overwhelming amount of pain our country is undergoing currently. News sources are teeming with stories of hatred, paired with the desperate cries of, “Why?” I don’t know about you, but I could certainly use a night of cathartic release through creativity.

For every piece of evidence pointing to poisonous thinking, there’s ten more pieces pointing to empowerment and connectedness. Mawule’s “Black is Beautiful” music video is being released at a time in which we need it most. Its message rings loud, and will reverberate far and wide for all to hear.

ILL Se7en.

ILL Se7en.

So if you’re like me, and want some respite from the outside world for some time, join Mawule for the “Black is Beautiful” music video premiere at The Walnut Room this Thursday at 8PM. Tickets are available and can be purchased here. Stay in the loop about Mawule’s upcoming announcements, and check out the “Black is Beautiful” teaser trailers on his Facebook and website. The "Black Is Beautiful" music video will drop online for public viewing on Friday, September 30th, so if you miss the party this Thursday, make sure to view it then!

-Jura

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

Colorado's Western Roots Rock Band Coal Town Reunion Release New Music

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Formed in 2014, Coal Town Reunion are a Colorado Western roots rock band. Comprised of Jeff Montoya (bass/vocals), John Paul Maxfield (guitar/vocals), Sami Steidl (violin), and Alana Dym (drums), this four-piece outfit came together with one goal: to “write honest songs and play the hell out of them”. For the past two years, the band has been doing just that, performing live at gigs around the state.

Recently, Coal Town Reunion actually recorded some of their original tunes, with plans to drop an EP. The first track from the release, “Labor Day Parade” is already out (peep it below). The song’s lyrics were written by Montoya about the nostalgia surrounding a Labor Day Parade he grew up going to annually as a child in Trinidad, Colorado. The track features a sweet string solo by Steidl, driving vocals, and an overall Colorado mountain vibe that is true to the artists of this group.

Said guitarist Maxfield, “[We are] the sons and daughter of the miners, steelworkers, farmers, and cowboys that once called Colorado their home”.

Listen to Coal Town Reunion’s “Labor Day Parade”:

CTR are the sort of band who’d have a dance hall hollerin’ and swingin’ in minutes. Their energy is palpable in their work, and their Colorado pride is hard not to jump around to.

This Thursday, September 22nd, you can catch Coal Town Reunion at Cervantes’ in Denver. The band will also be playing a set at Denver’s Walnut Room Thursday, November 3rd. Stay tuned for Coal Town Reunion’s new music and upcoming performance 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.

An Update with Homevibe: Tall Heights Tonight + Ryan Montbleau for Valentine's Day

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Homevibe has a few shows on the horizon.

Last month, we had the pleasure of rocking out at three of Homevibe’s local shows- Willy Porter + Dave Tamkin, John Craigie + Reed Foehl, and the Homevibe for the Holidays Concert. As we settle into the new year, we’re excited to bring you info on some more of their gigs! Let us tell you a bit about what's coming up:

Tall Heights. Photo Credit: Jeff Fasano.

Tall Heights. Photo Credit: Jeff Fasano.

Tall Heights with Special Guests Poet’s Row & Paul Kimbiris - This Friday 01/29

Homevibe is going to make you feel right at home once again this Friday at The Walnut Room in Denver. Headliner Tall Heights are a harmony-heavy indie duo from Boston who NPR has called both “intimate and arresting”. And they would know- members Tim Harrington (vocals/guitar) and Paul Wright (vocals/cello) did a live taping with NPR’s World Cafe and performed on NPR’s Mountain Stage program. Tall Heights also had chart success last year, hitting Billboard’s “Next Big Sound” and iTunes Apple Music “Best of 2015”. After dropping their EP Holding On, Holding Out in October of 2015, Tall Heights have been touring stateside. Their travels continue through April, and while they’ve got a few Colorado gigs, Friday’s show is the closest to Boulder/Denver, it has two awesome guests on board (which we’ll get to in just a sec), and it’s a Homevibe show! So you know it’s going to be cozy and downright awesome. Which brings us to the other acts on Friday’s lineup: Poet’s Row is a Denver-based folk four-piece and Paul Kimbiris is one of Boulder’s most noteworthy singer songwriters. You might remember our album review of his full-length release, Dark Side of Pearl, or the fact that he played in our Fall Showcase with his band BLVD. This Homevibe bill is bringing a lot of talent to the stage, and two local openers is an awesome thing to see! So get tickets for this Homevibe event while you still can- just click here.

PS: Tall Heights just premiered their music video for their song "Spirit Cold" yesterday on PASTE- watch that here

Ryan Montbleau.

Ryan Montbleau.

Valentine’s Dinner & Concert with Ryan Montbleau - Sunday 02/14

Looking to impress someone special for Valentine’s Day this year? Then Homevibe’s got you covered! They’ve got a three course dinner by Per La Gente (and champagne if you so choose) + a solo performance by Ryan Montbleau at The Riverside in Boulder. Touring since the early 2000s, as a both a solo act and with his band, Montbleau has most recently been on the road for his 2015 solo release, Growing Light. His current performance set has been called “bold and barrier breaking, organically blending rock, funk, soul, folk, and psychedelia to create a sonic kaleidoscope… The night will kick off at 5PM with dinner; show starts at 8PM. We’ll bring you more coverage as VDay approaches, but in the meantime, get your tickets for the dinner and a show right here.

Stay tuned for more events and updates from us! We hope to see you soon.

-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.