Singer, songwriter and Cellist Neyla Pekarek.

Hart Van Denburg/CPR News

Denver native Neyla Pekarek made waves playing the cello for the hit folk-pop band The Lumineers.

Now, after eight years with the band, Pekarek is blazing her own trail as a solo artist. Her career arc makes her first solo album's subject all the more appropriate: Colorado legend and pioneer Rattlesnake Kate. "Rattlesnake" comes out Friday, Jan. 18.

The story goes that Kate shot and killed 140 rattlesnakes in Greeley in 1925. One song on the album, "Better Than Annie," references another Western female icon, Annie Oakley. Pekarek talked to Colorado Matters about her musical influences and life as a solo artist.

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts will host a live reading of the album's stage adaptation in February as a part of the New Play Summit.