Dragondeer Are Set To Be Colorado's Next Big Music Name

By: Meghan Hargaden

Dragondeer, a heavy blues American rock band from Denver, CO, is gathering quite a bit of esteem for their newest album, and first full length LP, If You Got The Blues. Sighted for their singularity and strangeness, this Denver band is doing something different, and has us all turning our heads and our hips.

They draw inspiration from all angles of the American sound including the soul and sincerity of the electric blues of Stevie Ray Vaughn, the modern-day dread of The Black Keys, a bit of pre-heavy metal influence from Black Sabbath, and the swamp rock of Creedence Clearwater Revival. These influences have helped Dragondeer claim a first-class seat on Jefferson’s airplane, as it takes off into the future of American rock music, and pays homage to all the artists that set the runway for this band to jet. The members of the band include Cole Rudy (electric guitar/lap steel/mandolin), Eric Halborg (lead vocals/harmonica/guitar), Carl Sorensen (drums), and Casey Sidwell (bass).

The album begins with the self-titled track, “If You Got the Blues,” setting the stage for the sincerity and soul that occurs throughout the journey of this production. A production, I might add, that couldn’t have happened without the help of accomplished producer Mark Howard, who has worked with legendary artists such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, REM, Neil Young, Lucinda Williams, and Willie Nelson.

Dragondeer.

Dragondeer.

The album saunters us in with the ethereal notes of Eric Halborg’s voice merging magically with the harmonica, as it soars over the chortling cuts of low-end accompaniment in this psychedelic Americana ballad. “Don’t Go” pleads the song’s opening line, and from the moment the words first burst forth from his lips, the pure longing in his voice lends credence to the name of this track, and the entire project. The discordant harmonies of the chorus resolve into a melancholic, distorted fuzz, leaving us reminiscent of dusty guitars plucked by the firelight, and amplified by the neon lens of modern reality. The second chorus cuts with a solemn breakdown, drifting off into the chasm of our isolation. Both the lyrics and the voicing of the instrumentation echo our worst fear of being truly alone; listening to these tunesmiths, it’s as if our entire psyche has been cloaked in an iridescent haze of the weirder parts of the 1970s. A bold and beautiful love song, this first track stands as a testament to Dragondeer’s songwriting, musicianship, and purity. The band describes the track as a personal manifesto, with inspiration drawn from the belief in a shared human experience and a desire to connect with others.

The next track, “Amarillo Bump,” begins with the sustained sounds of Rudy’s electric guitar, leaving us suspended in time only to be saved by Halborg’s harmonica once again. We are then escorted into the thumping and driving kick of Carl Sorensen’s drum beat, which becomes the outboard motor for the entire track, propelling us into the murky waters of the 1950s and out into the swampy southern rock of the 70s. Like a bunch of Scottish teenagers out for a boating holiday on Loch Ness dropping acid before hearing thumps at the bottom of the boat, the electric guitar and harmonica attempt musical cries for aid, calling until their voices grow raspy, realizing that there is no help coming. And so, we lay back and accept our fate, letting the bass tones and percussive rhythms of writhing tentacles and electronica bring us deeper and deeper into the darkness.

The album continues with Halborg’s raw vocals, rambling harmonica solos, and groovy instrumentation that fuse all together into a unique genre of country funk and American rock. Like taking a long swamp ride along the rolling waves of the Florida everglades, brought up and turned on by the slow, isolating tracks like “Believe,” “Easy With Me,” and “When I See You,” and then brought back down into slow, isolating tracks like “Same Train,” “Let it Ride,” and “Part of the Flow.” This vacillating progression, capturing the beautiful desperation of blues music.

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Alone, If You Got The Blues stands as a declaration of the band’s genius, but their live performance brings an entirely alternate layer of talent, captivating the audience with their impressive improvisation, harmonizing harmonica, heavy metal mandolin, lap steel played untraditionally through delays, and a ripping rhythm section that can’t keep us from getting down and dancing.

You can see Dragondeer perform their new album live at The Grandoozy Festival this summer in Denver, CO on September 14th. The band is stoked to be coming back to their hometown to perform alongside a variety of internationally renowned artists of all different genres.

Be sure to follow Dragondeer on Spotify and iTunes and keep a look out for all of their other upcoming shows in Atlanta, Telluride, and right here in their hometown of Denver. You can buy tickets for Grandoozy here!

-Meghan

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists 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.

Treehouse Sanctum Premiere New Music Video for "Chacala" - Watch

By: Hannah Oreskovich

With strummy guitar bits and percussive hits that keep you moving, Treehouse Sanctum’s new single “Chacala” takes you on an audible journey through the scenescape it captures in lyrics: an isolated beach down in Chacala, Mexico that beheld some magical experiences for frontman Sam Rymer. With Rymer and member Danya Lynn Prado’s wave-like harmonies, a mariachi-esque interlude thanks to Dewayne Rymer’s trumpet playing, and dreamy, floating melodies throughout, this track is an exciting peek into the Denver six-piece’s upcoming record, Vivere. The album, which was co-produced by Grammy nominated engineer Nick Sullivan (Dispatch, Los Lobos) and mastered by Grammy winner Jonathan Russell (Taylor Swift, Willie Nelson) will drop May 5th.

Treehouse Sanctum. 

Treehouse Sanctum. 

“Chalaca,” which premiered via Paste last month, holds particular significance for frontman Sam Rymer, who spent time in Chacala, Mexico building houses for local impoverished families and surfing.

“It was a trip of personal discovery,” said Sam, adding, “It was a profoundly spiritual experience.”

Treehouse Sanctum explored the visualization for the “Chacala” music video through illustrations that sync well with the audible journey of this tune. With sketches by Amy Koch Johnson and filming by Ben Fout, Rymer's trip comes to life through the color of Johnson’s drawings while the ¾ waltz timing of the tune keeps you moving from one picture to the next.

Said Rymer, “The focus of the song is a young man, in the sea, at night, far from the shore, and alone.”

Treehouse Sanctum’s album release party for Vivere is slated for April 8th at Ophelia’s Electric Soapbox. Bambooty & DJ Em will share the stage. Tickets 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.

Rare, Rough, & Revolutionary: Nederland's Nom de Guerres

By: Will Baumgartner

The band's French name is only half the story of Nederland-based Nom de Guerres' sound.

Nom De Guerres is one of the most interesting bands I’ve ever encountered. There is so much going on within their often deceptively simple-sounding music that any discerning and attentive listener quickly realizes they’ve got to dig deeper than the surface to get all of the gifts this group has to offer. The impossible-to-pigeonhole trio is the brainchild of Maus Nomdeguerre, an intelligent and eminently likeable guy well-known to local music lovers and the community in and around the quirky mountain town of Nederland. In an effort to get more insight into the band’s songs, and the man behind them, I recently grabbed Maus for a little chat, which turned out to be the most fascinating and instructive of any we’ve ever had:

I know the term nom de guerre means “an assumed name used by a soldier to mask his true identity”, but I’ve also seen definitions that apply it to fighting, writing, painting, or “a fictitious name used when a person performs a particular social role”. I’ve noticed the Guy Fawkes mask appears in a lot of the band’s artwork too. What’s the significance of all of this?

Nom de guerre is used in modern French to designate any form of an alias. In medieval times, it was a name assigned specifically for warfare in Arthurian romances. There’s a bit of an inside joke [for us] in the grammatical incorrectness in French with the band name. [Our artwork with] Guy Fawkes can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but he himself plotted to blow up the British parliament and was tortured as a result.

How, when, and where did Nom de Guerres become a group?

Nom de Guerres was formed from jamming at the Pioneer Inn open mic night in Nederland, which I hosted for three years. Eventually, I merged it with some players I was using from my fusion project and Nom de Guerres was born.

You’ve got a couple of great local players in this trio, including drummer Zach West and bassist Christopher Merz. What qualities make these guys perfect for your group?

Zach is probably the most consistent and versatile drummer I have worked with in Colorado, and possesses the ability to seamlessly transition between styles, something I need from a drummer. Chris really brings in the tone of the band; he’s definitely got that SoCal pre-grunge mentality when it comes to the bass, and can play a solid line or jam with a great rock-feel. He’s also a great singer, which has worked out well for expanding [our] harmony vocals.

You describe the band’s sound as “dirty folkabilly western swing”. Care to expound on that?

I am a jazz-trained musician, primarily on saxophone, in the Chicago tradition: essentially everything I do has the swing 8ths feel, but we reinterpret musicians from Willie Nelson to Leonard Cohen to GG Allin to Nirvana. I also spent a lot of time playing in the Midwest punk scene. We couldn’t come up with a genre that actually fits what we do, so we made up our own.

When you bring a song to the band, does it ever change as a result of the group’s interactions and ideas?

I wrote all of our originals, but I trust the musicians I work with to fill out their parts with a little direction; one or two bass lines Chris and I have sat down and written together. I also write all the chordal reinterpretations we do as covers, but things evolve in rehearsal and live performances. There’s a point when it sounds right to all of us and it just works. 

Maus Nomdeguerre.

Maus Nomdeguerre.

While you primarily sing and play guitar in the group, some of your great sax playing can be heard on NGD’s recordings. Do you ever play sax with the group in live performances?

Rarely. I usually rely on a fourth musician [for that]. I use a few horn players depending on who’s available: Paul Stadler, Prasanna Bishop, occasionally Jeremy Mohney- they’re all great saxophone players with different approaches and great ears. On the EP and on our work-in-progress pieces, I play all of the saxophone parts.

Have you ever considered expanding your current lineup by adding other full-time players?

Besides the sax players, I have used female vocalists, harmonica, trumpet, and lead guitar players. In an ideal world, Nom de Guerres would be a seven or eight-piece band.

What do you hope listeners will get from your music?

I hope people get a political and social message from it, as well as an artistic lyrical experience. I try to bring energy and passion to every show.

This Saturday, June 4th, you’re playing at the Pioneer Inn in Nederland. What can audiences expect at a Nom De Guerres show?

We will be debuting new songs all summer, as well as playing my social democratic song “Bernie’s Theme”. I will also be using a guitar with a body made entirely from cannabis.

Yikes! It might be worth it to some local stoners to come out just to hear you play that thing. So what’s on the horizon for the band? Any special plans for the coming year?

We have two recording projects in progress, one which will be primarily political songs, with a few covers, including a particularly heavy interpretation of “Masters of War”. The other record is called Hanging Songs, and is new originals written in the last year. We will be playing around Colorado most of the summer.

Check out Nom de Guerres’ show this Saturday in Ned, and keep up with their tour schedule and new releases here.

-Will

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

Dragondeer Wants To Get You Off at The Fox Theatre Tomorrow Night

Denver's Dragondeer.

Denver's Dragondeer.

We first saw Dragondeer at last year’s The Big Wonderful, and we really dug their swampy blues rock sound. They gave us a copy of their self-titled EP (which has been in heavy rotation since), went on to play the UMS, and most recently, the four-piece finished recording an album with Willie Nelson’s producer Mark Howard. Tomorrow night, the radical Denver band is bringing their talents and new music to the Fox Theatre stage in support of the Ben Miller Band, and we’ve got info on discounted tickets below, so get yours today! We’ll be there snapping photos, so come hang. And in the meantime, check out our chat with Dragondeer frontman Eric Halborg:

Dragondeer's Eric Halborg.

Dragondeer's Eric Halborg.

Thanks for talking with us Eric- it’s been minute since we’ve checked in with Dragondeer. Tell us what you guys have been up to lately.

We started the year finalizing mixes on our new record, which was recorded out in California with Mark Howard (Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Anders Orbourn). We recorded it at a meditation retreat up in the hills overlooking Topanga Canyon; it was super remote. We had to take a 4x4 to even get to the location. We were all sleeping in the space where we were recording, and eating together, and smoking grass together… some magic happens when you’re locked in and focusing on creation that way, so we’re excited for people to hear what came of that. 

Watch Dragondeer’s live performance of their song “Broadway Avenue” with Jam in the Van:

That’s awesome! What are your plans for the rest of 2016?

We’re heading east of the Mississippi for our first time later this month, playing shows in Atlanta, North Carolina, and a new club in NYC called American Beauty. We’ll announce a festival we were invited to play on the West Coast in the next week or so, and we’ll be touring out that way around the time of that festival.

Sweet! Any other festival plans for 2016?

The UMS in Denver.

Listen to Dragondeer’s self-titled EP:

Another round at The UMS- righteous. So let’s chat about tomorrow night’s show- have you played with the Ben Miller Band before?

We haven’t, but they are rad. David Winegarden (Fox Theatre, Boulder Theater) asked us to play this one and thought it’d be a cool bill.

Have you played The Fox before?

We’ve played The Fox once. Also, I like to booze at the Sundowner, and our record is in their jukebox, so that’s kinda like playing there…

The good ol’ ‘downer. Cool- so what are you most stoked for about tomorrow night’s performance?

The Fox’s sound is killer onstage, and out front. When it sounds that good on stage, you can hear the nuance of the interplay between the members, and that’s the nectar… if the band is getting off, the crowd can too.

Can't wait guys.

Get off with Dragondeer tomorrow night and get your tickets here- use the code DRAGONDEER for a discounted service charge!

Keep up with Dragondeer on Facebook, and if you have friends in these cities, tell them to hit up these DD shows:

  • April 15 | Atlanta GA at New Belgium Brewery after party at 97 Estoria
  • April 16 | Charlotte NC at Double Door Inn w/ Jarekus Singleton
  • April 17 | Asheville NC at Wicked Weed Brewery
  • April 17 | Charlotte NC at Comet Grill Rock to A Cure Benefit
  • April 18 | New York NY at American Beauty
  • April 29 | Denver CO at Larimer Lounge w/ L.A. Witch and The Velveteers

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on twitter and instagram.

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

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 10/02, 10/03, & 10/04

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s fall! It’s October! And it’s the weekend! Here are our six picks:

Today (Friday, 10/02)

VoodooJulia at Powder Keg Brewing Company 7PM-9PM

Local singer-songwriter Valerie Bhat’s got a band and their name is VoodooJulia. They describe themselves as a “four-piece rock-funk-blues band” with a mix of female fronted covers (Fiona Apple, Amy Winehouse) and a slew of “west Texas driven originals by Valerie.” Make the quick trip to Niwot to check them out over a brew tonight!

The augustus boys.

The augustus boys.

Augustus featuring Pete Laffin at Twisted Pine Brewing 7PM-Close

Local three-piece Augustus will be rocking the Twisted Pine house tonight with an awesome intro set by Boulder singer-songwriter Pete Laffin. Hit their show after your work day for a pretzel plate + a saison, and let these boys spin you into the weekend. It’s gonna be a great time so come out!

ramaya soskin.

ramaya soskin.

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

Tonight’s LG performance has been dubbed as “Ramaya [Soskin] joined by a rotating cast of fellow songwriters and local favorites at our beloved monthly haunt.” Soskin always puts on an engaging performance, and we’re pumped to see that David Sheingold’s talents will be shaking the stage tonight with the group. This should be a bumpin’ set, so go get your caffeine (or booze) fix and listen!

First Funk Friday at Bohemian Biergarten 1030PM-Close

It’s the first Friday of the month! And that means it’s Funk Friday at Bohemian Biergarten. DJ Shiny Shoes will be opening the night with “some electronic funk flavor” before main act Whiskey Autumn takes the BB stage. The WA boys told us they wanna get down witcha, so go funk out with them!

Tomorrow (Saturday, 10/03)

Saturday Soiree at Studio 700 6PM-???

Afrofunk folktronica outfit Mbanza is rumored to be here, and so is Boulder-based Villain Baritone. Local singer-songwriter Hunter Stone is one of the hosts of this event, and that’s pretty much all I know. Jamming, smiling, dancing, and a generally awesome DIY vibe are bound to be here tomorrow night. Be adventurous and go check out this surprise soiree!

The Next Day (Sunday, 10/04)

Holly & Ken Road Show at Harmony Music House

Ken Stringfellow (formerly of R.E.M., The Posies, and the re-formed Big Star) recently made a country concept album with Texas singer Holly Munoz. Stringfellow describes it as, “going deep into the back story of the n’er do well couple from Doesn’t It Remind You of Something… picking up where Willie Nelson left off with his Red Headed Stranger…mashing that up in the French countryside…and lassoing in YOU to help, cowpoke.” Together the duo are performing said album in what they call The Holly & Ken Road Show, and they’ve got a special Boulder performance at The Harmony House. Tickets are $20- buy them here.

Happy fall!! Enjoy the weekend 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.

'Outlaw Indie, In-law Country': The Almond Butters

By: Hannah Oreskovich

Get out your best britches for The Almond Butters.

Daryl Almond is casually rocking a Brooks & Dunn t-shirt with a bandana. And his cousin Jebediah Almond is crooning into a retro 1950s mic in a prairie-Western button up. Behind them, Leo Garretti is strumming the banjo. And drummer Jean du Le Monde is yelling something hilariously unintelligible in the corner. The crowd is excitedly yelling back at Le Monde, the bartenders are pouring beers 'round the counter, and all the eyes in the place are on the band. This is the scene at an Almond Butters show.

Cousins Daryl & Jebediah Almond. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

Cousins Daryl & Jebediah Almond. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

The Almond Butters describe themselves as “outlaw indie, in-law country”. They play a variety of original country jams with a few covers sprinkled in, ranging from Pink Floyd to Willie Nelson. Daryl plays guitar and the keys, Jebediah is on bass, Leo strums the banjo and guitar, and good ‘ol Jean is on drums. The Almond cousins share vocals, and Jebediah is especially animated in his performance. They bring an entertaining honkey-tonk to the bar, but the best part of their show is their engagement with the crowd. They make you laugh, they make you dance, and they make you feel like you’re at their backyard country barbeque and Jean du Le Monde is your favorite drunk cousin. It’s great.

So how did these Butter boys connect to bring Boulder such an amusing country spectacle? We asked Daryl, who told us that, “Jebediah needed a platform for his songwriting, and at the time [he] and I were listening to a lot of outlaw country music. Meanwhile I was getting to know Jean du le Monde and knew that he had the perfect drumming style for the band. Jean then brought in Leo, who had the style and personality we were looking for.” And so the Butter boys were born.

For the West. Photo Credit:   Hannah Oreskovich

For the West. Photo Credit: Hannah Oreskovich

But things have been quiet this year for the Butters. They went on hiatus at the end of 2014 as their members formed and joined other projects. Luckily, their absence from the scene is about to change. The Almond Butters have plans to record in the fall, and will follow that with a few winter shows. So if you didn’t catch their tunes “Un Beso Mas” or “Ed Sentcha” at The No Name Bar this past weekend, something tells us y’all will have the chance to put on your best britches for an Almond Butters show real soon.

Keep up with the Butter boys 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.