Blake Brown & The American Dust Choir is one of eight Colorado acts performing at this year's South By Southwest music showcase in Austin, Texas. The Denver Americana-rock quintet formed in 2013 -- the same year it first played in the CPR Performance Studio. Last week the band released its debut album, "Long Way Home," before heading down to perform at SXSW. Brown and his band returned to CPR's OpenAir to share three songs from the new LP. Brown also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how listening to albums from start to finish as a teenager influences his songwriting and how the band will open for country musician Keith Urban at SXSW this week.
Neyla Pekarek has been the cellist for Denver folk-rock group The Lumineers since 2010. Despite that band's demanding touring schedule, the Colorado native found time to write and record the original folk opera "Rattlesnake," which she'll release as an album later this year. It's based on the life of Northern Colorado pioneer "Rattlesnake" Kate McHale, who in 1925 allegedly killed 140 snakes to save her life and that of her three-year-old son. Pekarek and her band visited the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs from "Rattlesnake." She also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how she discovered the story of Rattlesnake Kate as a student at the University of Northern Colorado, recording the album with M. Ward in Portland, Ore., and going on tour with U2 last year.
Denver keyboardists Sean Culliton and Xavier Provencher released their debut EP as Retrofette in 2016. They've since expanded the band's futuristic pop sound by adding two more members. The quartet's multiple-synthesizer attack has won over plenty of Colorado music fans: Westword readers named the quartet "Best Pop Act" of 2017. Retrofette visited the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs. The members also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about meeting as saxophone students at the University of Denver, their reputation for high-spirited live shows and getting fellow Colorado musicians to remix songs from "I Don't Mind."
Jessica Lea Mayfield released her fourth album, "Sorry Is Gone," last fall. The Nashville-based singer-songwriter continues to push her music toward an alternative rock sound while maintaining the country influences of her early work. It's also a deeply personal record for Mayfield, who addresses her experience as a domestic violence survivor on several of the album's tracks. Mayfield, who previously visited CPR's OpenAir in 2014, returned to the CPR Performance Studio to play three stripped-down versions of songs from "Sorry Is Gone." She also spoke with Bruce Trujillo about viewing her lyrics as a conversation with herself, her decision to be candid about her experience with domestic violence and how her music has gotten heavier in recent years.
Last Of The Easy Riders released their new LP "Unto The Earth" with a concert last Saturday at Hi-Dive. The members of the Denver band met through Craigslist and bonded over a love for classic country-rock. They blend that genre with modern psychedelic rock influences on songs like "It Won't Be Long" -- which is featured on our latest Colorado Music Sampler. Last Of The Easy Riders stopped into the CPR Performance Studio to play some songs from the new record. The members also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about their collaborative songwriting process and the significance of their band name.
Boulder rockers The Velveteers released their self-titled debut EP this week. The sibling duo of singer/guitarist Demi and drummer John Demitro gained a large following last year: They played to packed houses at the 2017 Westword Music Showcase and Underground Music Showcase, and Westword readers voted them Colorado's "Best Rock Band" for their high-octane blend of punk and garage rock. The Velveteers stopped into the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs with additional drumming from Noah Shomberg of The Yawpers. They also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about their first international tour, the challenges of being a young rock band in Boulder and how the film "Edward Scissorhands" influenced the new EP.
Typhoon's fourth album, "Offerings," tells the story of a man whose memory is slowly disappearing. Frontman Kyle Morton, who visited our CPR Performance Studio for a solo set four years ago, drew on his experience in the age of information for the record's 14 songs. The Portland, Ore., octet adds a vast sound of rock instruments, strings and field recordings to accompany the often bleak lyrics. Morton and his bandmates played three songs from "Offerings" in our studio along with an older cut. They also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how the album's story came together, the effect of modern technology on memory and the origin of some of the unusual sounds on "Offerings."
Noah Gundersen released his third album, "White Noise," last September. It marks a shift in the Seattle singer-songwriter's folk music. Gundersen brings in a backing band on several songs to give the record a fuller, uplifting rock sound -- though he includes some plaintive piano ballads as well. Gundersen visited the CPR Performance Studio accompanied by his sister Abby on violin. He played stripped-down versions of two songs from "White Noise" along with a new B-side. He also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about the decision to retool his sound, reconnecting with his siblings by playing music together and learning to embrace his early musical output.
The Hollow formed in 2013 and released its self-titled debut EP two years later. Since then, the Denver rock band has been fairly quiet while retooling its sound and lineup by recruiting former Epilogues drummer Jason Hoke. The quartet is back this year with the guitar-heavy EP "Contact," recorded in Evergreen, Colo. The Hollow made its debut in the CPR Performance Studio earlier this month. The band members played four songs and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the new lineup's first year together, using drones to film the music video for "Sleep Talkin'" and how writing their music is therapeutic.
Grayson County Burn Ban features members of Denver rock bands Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, The Kinky Fingers and Ned Garthe Explosion. The quintet dubs its blend of rock and Americana "campfire country," which features pedal steel guitar along with typical rock 'n' roll instruments. Last week the band released its debut album, "Better Neighbor." Grayson County Burn Ban stopped into the CPR Performance Studio to play four songs. The members also spoke with Bruce Mitchell about the band's origin, why they love country music and their involvement with Denver nonprofit Youth On Record.