Sin Fronteras: Folks Fest Raises Voices in Solidarity

By: Riley Ann

Music from across the globe took the stage at the 2018 Folks Fest, including acts from the Saharan Desert, Canada, and the tasty melting pot of American folk music. Despite the lyrics being sung in various languages, spanning English, French, Spanish, and Tamashek, one message rang clear: strength in togetherness.

Las Cafeteras.

Las Cafeteras.

The East L.A.-based band Las Cafeteras took the stage by storm on Friday with their Afro-Mexican dance party. Vibrant choreography and hip-shaking rhythms amplified their Spanish and English lyrics advocating for social justice. Band members shared the spotlight trading off lead vocals, and they gave shoutouts to various causes, including Black Lives Matter, indigenous people’s rights, and more. They also performed a new rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” by blending Spanish phrases, new melodies, and a mariachi groove into the familiar tune as a modern commentary. You can see their live performance on KEXP and read the lyrics on their website.

Representatives of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Boulder County joined Las Cafeteras onstage to recognize their contributions as artists to social justice issues. The chamber invited Las Cafeteras to Colorado on the band’s previous tour and thanked the band for the work they do through music as well as educational programs throughout the country.

Later that night, Los Lobos, another East L.A. band lit up the stage with their unique blend of traditional Latin American styles with rock, Tex-Mex, country, zydeco, R&B, blues, and soul. The group made waves in music history by bringing Latin American folk music back to top charts in the late 80s, revitalizing Ritchie Valens’ take on the traditional tune “La Bamba,” along with several other hit songs. While Valens was an early trailblazer in the Chicano Rock movement, Los Lobos carried the torch and kept the movement steady via mainstream radio airplay decades later. With their popularity, multiple Grammy Awards, and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they’ve made their mark not just within the Chicano Rock movement, but also with deep ties in the ever-colorful tapestry of American folk music.

Heather Mae.

Heather Mae.

Saturday morning opened with Heather Mae, the artist who won last year’s Folks Fest songwriter competition. She moved the crowd with musical confessions about mental illness, overcoming oppression, and body image evidenced in her song “I Am Enough.” As an advocate for body positivity, LGBTQIA rights, people of color, and more, she thanked the festival organizers for curating such a diverse lineup throughout the weekend, saying, “They are trying to elevate marginalized voices, and that includes women. Thank you.” She concluded her set by inviting a chorus of performers to join her on stage for her power anthem “Stand Up.”

When Darrell Scott took the stage Saturday afternoon, he performed a song that he said was written by his friend Marcus Hummon. The narrative showed the life of a Honduran girl named Rosanna who escaped the physical and sexual abuse of the underground sex trafficking industry, bore a daughter, was profiled and arrested by police, was deported by I.C.E. back to Honduras, and nearly died in the desert trying to reunite with her daughter. Her true story is documented here, and you can hear Hummon’s album version here. The song left the crowd frozen and teary-eyed for Rosanna, the representation of people targeted by strict immigration policies and facing not just unfair, but impossible playing fields.

Saturday evening closed with the Indigo Girls. Despite heavy rains concluding their set early, they shared many of their signature songs, including “It’s Alright,” which is one of many that uses music as a vehicle for social change. The Indigo Girls served as one of the first bands to not only be public advocates for the LGBTQIA community, but also to be publicly out. Beloved by the crowd, the duo was joined by the sea of smiling faces singing along in the rain.

Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine.

Bonnie Paine opened Sunday with the help of the “Cottonwood Choir” and instrumentalists featuring many familiar faces from the Front Range, including other members of Elephant Revival. The ensemble inspired the crowd to sing along with spirituals originating from slaves’ field songs about overcoming oppression.

That evening, Tinariwen quickly became a crowd favorite. The band’s fascinating blend of African stylings with American blues idioms created a strikingly unique sound. Furthermore, the band’s formation in refugee camps and resilience despite the backdrop of warfare, strife, and revolution speaks through the music even if listeners don’t know Tamashek. Over several decades, band members have survived against the odds and continue writing songs fighting for human rights and equality. They’ve even been called “Music’s True Rebels” by NPR. You can read more about the band’s background here.

Tinariwen.

Tinariwen.

Once again, Planet Bluegrass curated a powerful festival, giving festivarians an opportunity to see household names, like Regina Spektor, the Indigo Girls, and Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco) alongside the acts you didn’t know you wanted to see. Stay tuned at the Planet Bluegrass website for their lineup of next year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Rockygrass, and Folks Fest.

View the full photo gallery from this event here.

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos provided to BolderBeat by the artist. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

#SheShreds: Rockygrass Celebrates Breaking Through the "Grass Ceiling"

By: Riley Ann

In light of of the #MeToo movement and “The Future is Female” shirts, this year’s Rockygrass certainly took some cues from the times. In addition to the staples of the Planet Bluegrass stages (including Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Peter Rowan, and more), a spotlight shone brightly on the women who have become pillars of the “who’s who of bluegrass.”

The First Ladies of Bluegrass. 

The First Ladies of Bluegrass. 

 

One of the crowd favorites of the weekend was the Friday set featuring Alison Brown, Becky Buller, Sierra Hull, Missy Raines, and Molly Tuttle, each the first woman to earn International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards on their instruments. They’ve been dubbed “The First Ladies of Bluegrass” for this achievement.

In the set, Sierra Hull acknowledged Alison Brown, who was the first woman to ever earn an IBMA nearly three decades ago in 1991, which happened to be the same year Hull was born. Brown also earned the Distinguished Achievement Award in 2015, which IBMA states is the “highest honor IBMA bestows outside of induction into the Hall of Fame, recognizing forerunners and ambassadors for bluegrass music.” Hull, who is 26, shared that when she was a little girl, she loved Brown’s album Fair Weather and still does, saying, “It’s such an honor to share the stage with Alison- and all of these incredible trailblazing ladies!” The set oscillated from sweet harmonies to rip-roaring bluegrass breakdowns, and between tunes the musicians gave frequent props to each other for what they’ve contributed to the modern history of bluegrass, like in regards to Missy Raines, who has earned an IBMA for Instrumental Performer of the Year on bass seven times. “We like to say that in bluegrass, Missy reigns!” they said.

The weekend featured a variety of women outstanding in their field, including Della Mae, an all-female band that earned a Grammy nomination for “Best Bluegrass Album” for their record I Built This Heart in 2015. During their set on Saturday, Celia Woodsmith, current frontwoman for the band, also gave a shout-out to the “First Women of Bluegrass,” noting the two consecutive days of all-female bands in the lineup. She hollered, “Rockygrass, you’re doin’ somethin’ right!” and the crowd roared.

Sunday’s spotlight included the Lyons Bluegrass Collective, featuring local powerhouses KC Groves (of Uncle Earl), Bonnie Sims (of Bonnie & the Clydes), Natalie Padilla (of Masontown), and Sarah Cole (of Follow the Fox), among others, male and female.

These women were not celebrated because they are women; they are celebrated because they’re good, and despite the odds. While bluegrass music grew from the roots of Black music (even the banjo is actually an African instrument that’s been morphed through industrialization), it has been culturally appropriated by white men who have kept a patriarchal stronghold on it for generations, causing a great deal of sexism, racism, and classism within the genre. I discussed some of this in last year’s coverage of Rockygrass, “The Changing Face of Bluegrass,” and more in-depth information about the history of the banjo and bluegrass music is available via two great documentaries: The Librarian and the Banjo and Bela Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart.

Although you’ll have to wait until next summer for the next Rockygrass, Folks Fest at Planet Bluegrass is still to come and includes Regina Spektor, Indigo Girls, Los Lobos, Jeff Tweedy (of Wilco), and more. You can learn more about Folks Fest at the Planet Bluegrass website here.

See our full gallery from the fest here

-Riley

Find out more about Riley on her blog.

All photos provided to BolderBeat by the artist. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

Colorado Music Festivals 2017: Your Official Guide To All The Goodness

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Festival season is arguably the best time of year in music. So here at BolderBeat, we’ll be updating this feature with every Colorado festival announcement that comes our way. Stay as on the pulse as we are.


FoCoMX- April 28th-29th

Fort Collins' premiere music festival has announced its lineup, which features hundreds of Colorado artists. Some of our favorites include Antonio Lopez, The Alcapones, BANDITS, Bethel Steele, Danielle Ate The Sandwich, Edison, Foxfeather, Gasoline Lollipops, and The Velveteers. Full lineup here


Spread The Word Music Festival- May 5th-8th

Taking place at several Denver and Boulder venues, Spread The Word features a mix of local and national artists with styles including rock, jam, funk, reggae, hip-hop, folk/grass, electronic and fusion. Headliners of this year's fest include Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Euforquestra, A-Mac and the Hight, & Analog Sun. Full lineup on our announcement link.


Denver’s Project Pabst- May 20th

“Project Pabst was a wild success,” contributor Zach Dahmen wrote in retrospect of the 2016 festival that took over Denver’s Larimer Street last year. This year, the PBR-fueled lineup includes Ice Cube, Phantogram, Danny Brown, Kurt Vile, STRFKR, No Name, & more. We’re pumped for this. Details here


Greeley Blues Jam- June 9th-10th

The Greeley Blues Jam seeks to keep the blues alive, and this year, they’re doing just that with a lineup including Walter Trout, Samantha Fish, Honey Island Swamp Band, and Colorado favorite The Burroughs. This is one weekend you’ll enjoy being blue. Full lineup on their website.


Taste of Fort Collins- June 9th-11th

The 21st annual Taste of Fort Collins includes headliners St. Lucia, Gin Blossoms, Plain White T's, & Waterloo Revival this year. Tickets are only $5-$10 and the fest is hosted at Civic Center Park in Old Towne. Get out and get down! More info on their website.


Country Jam- June 15th-18th

Grand Junction will host Country Jam’s 26th annual four-day fest this year. Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, and Thomas Rhett top the headliners list of the 30+ artists that will play to your boot kickin’ desire. Surrounded by the red rocks of GJ, this festival annually hosts some of the biggest names in country music, and clearly this year is no different. More info at this link.


Sonic Bloom Festival- June 15th-18th

If you like electronic music, there’s no better place to be than Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival. Happening at Hummingbird Ranch in Spanish Peaks Country, the weekend will feature performances from Gigantic Cheese Biscuits, The Polish Ambassador, The Floozies, and a huge array of electronic beatmasters. The festival will also feature yogis and movement leaders, as well as interpretive artists. And did we mention the visuals? Full lineup here.


Telluride Bluegrass Festival- June 15th-18th

Telluride Bluegrass Festival celebrates its 44th year this summer. Jason Mraz, Norah Jones, Dierks Bentley with The Travelin' McCourys, and Brandi Carlile top the fest’s 2017 list. We can tell you from experience that last year was magical and we even met some our favorite musicians at (where else?) the Port-a-Potties. More info and tickets here.


Van’s Warped Tour- June 25th

Believe it or not, we attended this event back in 2015 after not having been since high school. Yes. Though much has changed since what was arguably Warped Tour’s heyday (moshing is now frowned upon), this is a fest that still has a cult following and still makes its way around the US. Attila, Bowling for Soup, CKY, & Futuristic top this year's bill- grab the full listing here.


Westword Music Showcase- June 25th

Denver’s alt weekly newspaper will host more than 100 live acts at their annual summer celebration this year. With Shakey Graves, The Revivalists, Cut Copy, Bob Moses, COIN, Arizona, and a long list of local acts, this will be one to clink a summer beer to and enjoy. Don’t miss out on Westword’s fantastic Friday night. Local artists should be announced soon; voting is open. More info on their website.


Central Rockies Old-Time Music Association (CROMA) Festival-

July 5th-9th

CROMA's 2017 festival at Parrish Ranch features a great old-time music lineup, workshops, nightly dances, open jams, classes for kids, open stage times, and couples dance workshops. Artists at this year's fest will include Eddie Bond and the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, The Ozark Highballers, Jesse Milnes and Emily Miller, and The Musky Dimes and Lansford and McAlister. Get full details and tickets here


The Ride Festival- July 8th-9th

Beck will headline The Ride Festival this year, another Telluride fest that is sure to get you groovin’. Ben Harper, Kaleo, The John Butler Trio, and Colorado favorite Rose Hill Drive will all keep your summer-chill vibes in check at this one. Full lineup here.


The Underground Music Showcase- July 27th-30th

One of our absolute favorite weekends of the summer is Denver’s The UMS due to its focus on local artists, and all the fun that comes along with wandering around the South Broadway venues hosting the three-day event. Benjamin Booker, Red Fang, & Esme Patterson are headlining this year, but we're more stoked on this massive list of local artists (a crazy amount of which we've covered in the last year). Get tickets here. More deets on our announcement link.


Rockygrass Festival- July 28th-30th

Bluegrass, bluegrass, and more bluegrass. That’s what Rockygrass in Lyons is all about! Sam Bush Bluegrass Band, The Del McCoury Band, and The Infamous Stringdusters are already confirmed for this year’s pickin’ celebration, so get your tickets now. More artists at this link.


ARISE Music Festival- August 4th-6th

Colorado’s ARISE is back for its fifth year at Loveland’s Sunrise Ranch, and features seven stages of live music, yoga, workshops, theme camps, art galleries & installations, a children’s village, speakers, and films! Some of the top billed artists for 2017 include Atmosphere, Tipper, and Ani Difranco. Get more details at our announcement link.


Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest- August 11th-13th

Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest is a FREE, recurring, three-day music festival held every August in the historic downtown of Fort Collins. CAKE has been announced as one of the headliners with more TBA- keep up with the full lineup here.


Velorama Colorado- August 11th-13th

Following the Colorado Classic bicycle race, Colorado’s newest festival Velorama will take place in Denver’s RiNo Neighborhood this summer. Wilco, Death Cab For Cutie, The New Pornographers, Saint Motel, and La Santa Cecilia are the bands announced so far, and you don’t have to bike in the race to partake in the party! Tickets for this new fest here.


Rocky Mountain Folks Festival- August 18th-20th

Last year, Rocky Mountain Folks Festival proved to be much more than a music festival. Bringing together local artists for songwriting workshops and more, the Lyons, CO fest created an awesome artistic community that still managed to showcase great national acts too. Gregory Alan Isakov, Lake Street Dive, and Rhiannon Giddens have already been announced for this year’s fest; full schedule and list of acts here.


Jazz Aspen Snowmass- September 1st-3rd

We don’t know how Maroon 5 is jazz, but they are headlining the JAS Labor Day Weekend festival this year. Colorado favorite Nathaniel Rateliff & The Nightsweats, Lake Street Dive, and Keith Urban will also have performances at the Snowmass event. JAS has a smaller June event too, which will feature John Batiste & Stay Human, Michael McDonald, and Earth Wind & Fire. Details on both events here.


Telluride Blues & Brews Festival 

aerial_0077_0.jpg

Telluride Blues & Brews Fest has Bonnie Raitt, Steve Winwood, TajMo at the top of their bill this year. You can get your grand brew tasting on for three days with these artists and more, plus there is a lot of availability in ticket options, so you can schedule your own fest experience. Get more info here


Festivals of The Past

We'll miss you Vertex.

We'll miss you Vertex.

Wondering what happened to some of your other favorite Colorado festivals? Bass Center moved to New Jersey this year, Divide Music Festival has been postponed until 2018, Groove Festival’s web presence has been replaced by this Japanese site making us question everything, Mad Decent Block Party went to India (yes really), Riot Fest Denver will not return due to Sean McKeough's death, and Vertex (which we freakin’ loved) was sadly cancelled, but we’re praying it comes back to life with full zombie mayhem next year. Fingers crossed fellow festheads.


Make sure to keep up with our festival coverage all season on BolderBeat’s dedicated fest page!

-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.

BolderBeat Will Cover Pitchfork Music Festival This Weekend

By: Annie Kane

July 15th-17th Pitchfork will hold their annual, independently run music festival in Union Park on the West side of Chicago, and we’ve got some exclusive access coming your way.

Based in Chicago, Pitchfork is a cutting edge online music media source. Every year, they hold a music festival revered for attaining a wide variety of voices in the music industry, and they’ve been at it for 11 years now. In 2015, Chance the Rapper, Vic Mensa, and Wilco headlined. This year, we’re looking forward to a mix of music legends (i.e. Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys), and innovative new voices (i.e. FKA Twigs).

Held in the intimate venue of Union Park, Pitchfork Music Festival brings over 40 artists to its three stages set up between expansive shady trees. The festival draws a unique crowd as a result of its eclectic lineup. From synthy pop (see Empress Of) to jazz (Kamasi Washington) to hip house disco (check out Shamir), there’s something for everybody.

Checkout the lineup below, and stay tuned for further coverage from BolderBeat on the festival!

Friday

Beach House, Broken Social Scene, Carly Rae Jepsen, Shamir, Julia Holter, Twin Peaks, Mick Jenkins, Moses Sumney, Car Seat Headrest, The range, Whitney

Saturday

Sufjan Stevens, Brian Wilson performing Pet Sounds, Blood Orange, Super Furry Animals, Digable Planets, Savages, ANDERSON .Paal & the Free Nationals, Holly Herndon, Jenny Hval, BJ the Chicago Kid, Martin Courtney, Kevin Morby, Royal Headache, Girl Band, Jlin, RP Boo, Circuit des Yeux

Sunday

FKA Twigs, Miguel, Jeremih, Neon Indian, Kamasi Washington, Holy Ghost!, Empress Of, Oneohtrix Point Never, Porches, Thundercat, Woods, The Hotelier, LUH., Sun Ra Arkestra, NAO

For more information on the festival and the artists in the lineup, visit Pitchfork Music Festival’s official website.

-Annie

Connect with me on twitter and instagram.

All photos per Pitchfork. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 08/14 & 08/15

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Friday and Saturday are finally here! Check out these Boulder shows the next two nights:

Today (Friday 08/14):

Ramaya and The Troubadours at The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse 8PM-Close

Ramaya is an LG regular. His sound has been described as “blending echoes of Iron & Wine, Ryan Adams, Wilco, and Jeff Buckley.” The last time we saw him, he brought the audience onstage for a Michael Jackson jam. Righteous. Roll to his show tonight and preview his music here.

ramaya.

ramaya.

The Goonies at The Bohemian Biergarten 9PM-Close

This iconic 80s film is also the name of one of Boulder’s most popular cover bands. They play a lot of 80s jams and will be rocking the Biergarten stage tonight. So if you want to get drunk on Das Boot and loudly sing along to Journey bro, this one’s for you.

the goonies.

the goonies.

Global Soul Experience at The Lazy Dog 10PM-Close

If you’re in the mood for some samba or sweet afrobeats, this show is a must. The GSE are from Boulder and blend a ton of genres together for an awesome listening experience. Go to this show if you’re in the mood for something funky and different. They will not disappoint.

GSE Keeping it classy.

GSE Keeping it classy.

James Thorpe at The No Name Bar 10PM-Close

James Thorpe will be rocking out behind the big brown door this evening. Ironically, he’s played a number of shows with Ramaya and other members of The Troubadours Collective, but tonight you can see him shine solo. Head on over.

jt.

jt.

Tomorrow (Saturday 08/15):

Monocle Stache at The Dark Horse 930PM-Close

We dig the name dudes. The Stache boys hail from Rollinsville, CO and are self-proclaimed “stoner rock”. They have a Red Hot Chili Peppers vibe happening- you can check out their EP Prairie Fire here. Grab a Dark Horse burger and peep the Stache set.

yes.

yes.

Salem at Oskar Blues Homemade Liquids and Solids 830PM-Close

Salem blend R&B, soul, and jazz for some seriously smooth listening. Frontwoman Ashley Sterling has a rich, hypnotizing voice and Cat Ackermann keeps things groovin’ on the keys. Grab a brew and give this five-piece from Breckenridge, CO a listen.

cat on keys.

cat on keys.

There's our list! Xoxo Boulder!

-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.

Wilco at Red Rocks: 20 Years of Timeless Music

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Wilco's performance last night was amazing, and they just dropped new music today.

Zee rocks. 

Zee rocks. 

It’s hard to have a bad time at Red Rocks Amphitheatre. The sound is great, the view is impeccable, it’s fun to be outside (even when there are terrifying lightning storms), and the crowd is generally friendly and excited to be there. And the bands- the bands love it! Almost every artist comments on the scenery at some point in their performance- it’s just an incredible spot for a music venue. This week, I saw Wilco there. Their performance was amazing- The Marquee even called it "one of the most incendiary Colorado performances by the band in the last decade". Here’s how things went down:

Wilco are currently on their 20th Anniversary Tour and the age range in their crowd Tuesday really spoke to their ability as talented, classic artists. There were families, groups of college kids, and people who looked well into their 60s. That says a lot about an artist- to have continually put out music over such a long period of time, to have regularly gained new fans along the way, and to have developed lyrics and a sound that span generations. Wilco are timeless.

A full band shot. 

A full band shot. 

The musicianship of every member of Wilco is absolutely insane. To the left of the stage, there was an entire room of guitars; neck after neck of shiny, wooden sweetness. I don’t think anyone on stage played the same guitar twice. Jeff Tweedy is the obvious driving force and musical master, but John Stirrat was killer on bass, Glenn Kotche blasted beats (especially on his rockin’ solos in “Via Chicago”), Mikael Jorgensen tapped on piano, keyboard, and a melodica, Nels Cline was backbending on guitar like a madman and also strummed a slide, and Pat Sansone played basically everything on the stage (guitar, keyboard, drums, other percussion, organ, harpsichord, and banjo). Separately and together, they were stunning.

The band opened with “Handshake Drugs”, closed with “Misunderstood”, and played 28 other songs in between for a massive, rocking set. Wilco played all of their biggest hits, but they also dove into a few groovin’ deep cuts, including a couple of Mermaid Avenue tracks. Wilco then did a double encore. Their first time back on stage, they brought major energy. I thought things were over after Tweedy had the crowd yelling, “Maybe all I need is a shot in the arm!” with him, but Wilco came out yet again, this time with a small acoustic set-up on stage. Tweedy said, “Hey- we’re gonna save a little energy for the rest of the show” and the band jumped into “War on War”, an Uncle Tupelo track, two other licks, and finally ended with the aforementioned “Misunderstood.” Tweedy tipped his hat to us and the lights went out.

All Acoustic. 

All Acoustic. 

Wilco’s show will stand as one of the best I’ve seen between the rocks. Just like their sound, this performance was timeless.

Tomorrow, Wilco plays Pitchfork Festival in their home of Chicago. See the rest of their show schedule here.

Download Wilco's newest album Star Wars released today 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.

Bon Jovi & Border Country: An Interview with Tres Altman of The Paper Stars

By: Deana Morton

The Paper Stars are bringing a great mix of tunes to their Fox show this weekend.

The Paper Stars are a folk Americana band based out of Eldorado Springs, CO. Lead singer and guitarist Tres Altman’s rustic, and at times heartbreaking lyrics layer on top of an alt-country ensemble that is perfect for a road trip, cozying up by the campfire, or even just cracking open a beer on your porch while watching the world go by. Their latest release Border Country weaves in and out of love, hope, hardship, and loss with musical ease that is both comforting and pleasing to the ears. Tunes like “Caroline” and “We All Know The Way” are the perfect mix of blues, country, and rock n’ roll reminiscent of bands like Wilco, Drive-By Truckers, and Whiskeytown. I had the opportunity to talk with Tres about Bon Jovi, how creativity spun from tragedy, and The Paper Stars upcoming show at The Fox Theater.

I love the name The Paper Stars. What is the story behind the name?

Once upon a time, a good friend of mine and I were playing Ro-Sham-Bo to decide who would have to drive the last leg of a late-night road trip. I won the round by throwing ‘paper’ over ‘rock’ - and quickly said "That's right, paper beats rock every time sucker - I'd rather be a ‘paper star’ than a ‘rock star’ any day." And thus the name was born.

Do you remember either seeing a live show or hearing a record that made you want to form a band and create your own sound?

My first concert was Bon Jovi at the Cumberland County Auditorium when I was 12. I knew right then that I wanted to be in a band. I got a drum kit for Christmas and we formed our first band - The Electric Lazyboys - in 8th grade.

Tres Altman of The Paper Stars.  

Tres Altman of The Paper Stars.
 

Fast forward to the formation of The Paper Stars. There’s something that really warms my musical heart about having both a pedal steel player and a violinist in an Americana folk band. It’s great how you incorporate both into your music. Did you seek out musicians who played those instruments or was it more of an organic incorporation into your sound?

Seek and ye shall find. Or better yet, don't seek and it shall find you.

Wise words. I read that the title track from your album Border Country was inspired by your friend Jonny Copp who died in an avalanche while attempting to climb Mt. Edgar in Tibet. Can you tell me a little bit about your friendship with Jonny and how it inspired you to create the song?

Jonny Copp was one of the greats. Aside from being a well-known, highly determined, almost "superhuman" athlete, he was a compassionate friend, a talented writer, a jedi of the simple yet abundant life, and he loved music. He was a gifted flutist and percussionist and any chance we had to jam together, we would relish. He is missed continually by those who loved him and his life remains to be a great source of inspiration for countless people. His legend lives on through the Adventure Film Festival (which he founded). It just celebrated it's 10th anniversary [this year]! And I mean, the story is just so powerful: He wrote "Border Country" in his journal just days before he and his mates died in an avalanche and it was found in his pocket, folded up, buried in the rock and ice. His parents asked me to put it to music, so I did my best.

Border Country.  

Border Country.
 

At your Fox Theater show on May 30th, The Paper Stars are playing one set and then backing Paul Kimbiris when he takes the stage. How have rehearsals been with Paul and what can the audience expect from the collaboration?

Both Paul and I are blessed to have these epic musicians supporting our songs. I just got to town, so he and I haven't rehearsed together yet and I'm not sure if we're gonna do a group song or not. I hope so! I probably need to call him.

Speaking of The Fox, what’s the best part about playing for a hometown?

First and foremost - reconnecting with my musical friends. Playing our songs for some familiar faces (and some new ones hopefully!). The sound. The staff and crew at the Fox. It's just all super near and dear to my heart.  

That’s very exciting. What do The Paper Stars have on the horizon in the future?

We recently placed three songs in Sender Films’ epic award-winning release “Valley Uprising.” It aired on the Discovery Channel. I really like collaborating with film and TV folks. A lot of our music feels "cinematic" to me and I am kind of an "image-based" songwriter. I like to "see" the song unfold in my mind.  So we'd really like to keep that train rolling. And of course, nothing beats a great live show. So we'll always be on the lookout for special engagements.

See The Paper Stars perform this Saturday at the Fox with Paul Kimbiris and Augustus! 

-Deana

Follow Deana on her music blog 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.