Solohawk is the acoustic side project of Steve Faceman, best known as frontman for Denver rock group FaceMan. He performs understated folk songs with Kansas musician Til Willis backing on guitar and stomp box. The duo last year released its debut album "Another Way Out." Solohawk stopped by for its first session in the CPR Performance Studio earlier this month. Faceman and Willis played four songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the origin of their collaboration, the experimental studio techniques on "Another Way Out" and how Solohawk differs from their other bands.
CPR Performance Studio
The Colorado Pubic Radio Performance Studio provides a stage to showcase the depth and variety of both classical, and new and independent music coming to, and from, Colorado. CPR's OpenAir also offers a podcast of interviews and performances from select musicians, and additional performances from the archive available here.
Instant Empire released its sophomore album "Last Of The Lovers" earlier this month. The LP is a concept record about the "relentless march of time" and features the Denver band's full-bodied indie rock with harmonies from Emma Cole of Wildermiss. Singer Scotty Saunders calls it the most personal record the band has made. Instant Empire recently stopped into the CPR Performance Studio for the third time. The members played four songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how the band's lineup has changed since its debut album, producing their own record for the first time and drummer Tristan Kelley's notable "beat-a-day" Instagram project.
Tyto Alba draws its sound from folk and experimental rock influences. The Denver quartet formed in 2014 and released in March its second EP, "In Our Own Time." Singer Melanie Steinway says the record chronicles a relationship from early infatuation to an eventual breakup. Tyto Alba stopped into the CPR Performance Studio for the first time earlier this month. The members played three songs and spoke with Scott Carney about how the band came together and its recent "Tyto Eclipse of the Heart" tour of the Pacific Northwest.
U.S. Tygers is a young band, but its members are established local musicians. The Denver quintet features several members of jazz-punk group Champagne Charlie. U.S. Tygers' music leans more towards country and Americana rock, with heavy use of lap steel guitar. The band released its debut album last year and followed it up with the "High, Wasted Genes" EP in July. U.S. Tygers stopped into the CPR Performance Studio to play songs from the new EP as well as a brand new song. The members spoke with Jeremy Petersen about the definition of the so-called "Hashville" genre, recording at the Queen City Sound studio in Denver and the personal subject material of "High, Wasted Genes."
The singer-songwriter played three songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about her nomadic upbringing, her cover of a One Direction song and her upcoming tour opening for Pixies.
The Reminders have explored an intersection of hip-hop and soul for more than a decade. The Colorado Springs duo of Big Samir and Aja Black has released two albums and shared a bill with acts like Snoop Dogg and Nas. The group recently performed at the new Levitt Pavilion with Denver act Fed Rez. The Reminders stopped into the CPR Performance Studio for a memorably upbeat session. The married couple performed four songs and spoke with Bruce Mitchell about a forthcoming third album, their energetic approach to live performance and a recent memorable show in their hometown.
Since releasing his debut album in 2014, Benjamin Booker has become a major name in modern blues-rock. The singer and guitarist incorporates punk and soul music on his sophomore album "Witness," which features politically charged lyrics and a guest spot from gospel singer Mavis Staples. Shortly after headlining the Underground Music Showcase in Denver, Booker stopped into the CPR Performance Studio. He performed three songs from "Witness" and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about working on the album in Mexico City, how his collaboration with Staples came about and his crowd-diving set at UMS 2017.
When Plume Varia visited CPR's OpenAir in 2015, the band shared its plans to record a debut album with producer David J of Bauhaus and Love & Rockets after meeting him in Denver. The husband-and-wife duo released that album this month. It's called "Fact | Fiction" and features moody experimental pop songs. Just before the album's release, Plume Varia returned to the CPR Performance Studio. Members Shon and Cherie Cobbs played three songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about recording with David J in Texas, how the HBO comedy series "Girls" influenced the album and their surprise collaboration with a former member of Nine Inch Nails.
Andy Thomas established himself in the Denver music scene with bands like The Knew and Tin Horn Prayer. His latest venture -- Andy Thomas' Dust Heart -- finds the singer and guitarist writing Americana-rock that often veers into dark territory. But the band's latest record, "No Poets," is a more lighthearted release that Thomas wrote over the course of a year of sobriety. Andy Thomas' Dust Heart stopped into the CPR Performance Studio last month. Thomas performed four songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the "life-affirming and positive" direction of the new record, collaborating with his wife in the band and his work for the new Levitt Pavilion in Denver.
The Districts will release their third album, "Popular Manipulations," next month. From what we've heard so far, the Philadelphia band changes up its sound on the record by adding elements of shoegaze to its twangy indie rock. They also tackle more mature subject material. The Districts stopped into Denver for a show at Globe Hall earlier this month. Beforehand, the band members visited the CPR Performance Studio to play three songs and speak with Jeremy Petersen about becoming more confident in their songwriting, working with Grammy-winning producer John Congleton and their opening gig for The Rolling Stones.