Esmé Patterson has performed in the CPR Performance Studio several times over the past five years. Her latest session marked a milestone: the 400th performance we've recorded for OpenAir Sessions. The Colorado native this year released her third studio album, "We Were Wild." It's an introspective album that reflects on her recent 30th birthday and leaving her former band Paper Bird. It's also the first she recorded outside Colorado, in her new home of Portland, Ore. Patterson performed four songs from "We Were Wild" in our studio. She spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the subject matter of the new album, the contrast between Portland and Denver, and getting whiplash while filming a recent music video.
Sean Hoots founded Hoots & Hellmouth in 2005, originally as a folk duo. The group soon expanded to a four-piece that blends rock, country and gospel music. They're known for a compelling live show in which they stomp on bass drums and play a variety of acoustic instruments. The Philadelphia-based band this month will release the album "In The Trees Where I Can See The Forest," their first LP in five years. Hoots says the album moves toward an R&B sound and incorporates more electric instruments. Hoots & Hellmouth played four songs from the new album and spoke with Jeremy Petersen about the constant evolution of their sound, the music video for the single "Diction" and self-releasing their music.
The Shreveport, La., quartet Seratones mixes Southern soul with garage rock swagger on their debut album, "Get Gone." Fronted by the powerful singer A.J. Haynes, the band earned a spot on Paste Magazine's "20 Best New Bands of 2015" list. The band stopped into the CPR Performance Studio prior to a show at Denver's Fillmore Auditorium with St. Paul & the Broken Bones. They performed three songs from "Get Gone" and spoke with Jeremy Petersen about the multitude of genres the band incorporates, the music scene in their hometown of Shreveport and adjusting to life as a touring band.
Denver musician Jon Shockness caught our attention as a member of hip-hop band Air Dubai and his soulful solo work as Kid Astronaut. Now, he's teamed up with Nigerian-born producer Daniel Iyere for the new band HVN -- which is pronounced "heaven." CPR's OpenAir was privy to one of the first ever HVN live performances when we welcomed them into our studio last month. Iyere's synth-heavy electronic production gives a modern edge to the R&B that Shockness has explored throughout his career. HVN performed four songs in our studio and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the genesis of their collaboration, how living in Denver has influenced their music and some details of their forthcoming debut EP.
Wheelchair Sports Camp has spent years establishing a reputation as "Denver's biggest smallest band" through live shows, EPs and singles that blend Kalyn Heffernan's rap lyrics with rock, jazz and even country instruments. Their music has won them fans like rapper Sage Francis and landed them on the cover of The Village Voice. This month the band released their debut studio album, "No Big Deal." They worked with keyboardist and producer Isaiah "Ikey" Owens on the album shortly before his death in 2014. Wheelchair Sports Camp returned to our CPR Performance Studio this month to perform some music from the album. They also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about working with the late Owens, signing to Sage Francis' Strange Famous label and getting "roasted" by comedian Jeff Ross at South By Southwest in Austin, Texas.
If you're familiar with the Elephant Six collective, you'll know there have been several notable bands with a Denver connection to come out of it. In addition to Neutral Milk Hotel, The Apples In Stereo and Dressy Bessy, that list includes The Minders, who have since relocated to Portland, Ore. Fronted by Martyn Leaper, The Minders have been fairly quiet in recent years. But the band returned this month with the album "Into The River," which they released the same day they visited our CPR Performance Studio. Leaper and his band played four songs from the new album. He also spoke with Jeremy Petersen about incorporating string parts into the band's music for the first time, how they spent the 10 years since the debut album, and the history behind the Elephant Six collective.
Since visiting the CPR Performance Studio in April 2015, the Denver band Edison has expanded to a three-piece, signed to a new record label and toured the U.S. Some locations on their journeys -- the Arizona desert, the Chesapeake Bay and the Colorado mountains -- inspired their debut album "Familiar Spirit," which came out last week. Edison returned to CPR's OpenAir last month to perform three songs off the new album. They also spoke with Alisha Sweeney about the band's expansion, their decision to sign with Rhyme & Reason Records and why a camera crew has been following the band all summer.
Low Cut Connie can count one very notable fan among their followers: President Barack Obama. The Philadelphia band's song “Boozophilia” appeared on one of his Spotify playlists for summer 2015. That selection led to a face-to-face meeting with President Obama last year. Frontman Adam Weiner described the surprising experience to Alisha Sweeney during the band's performance in our CPR Performance Studio last month. Low Cut Connie's latest album is "Hi Honey." The band performed a song from that album as well as a new song before a show at Denver's Hi-Dive.
River Whyless came to CPR's OpenAir highly recommended by WNCW in the band's home state of North Carolina. The four-piece out of Asheville, N.C., recently released their second album, "We All The Light," after a performance at this year's Newport Folk Festival. The band played three songs from the new album in our CPR Performance Studio before a show at Denver's Ogden Theatre. They also spoke with Scott Carney about forming at Appalachian State University, performing at NPR for a Tiny Desk Concert and how their music has become more personal with the new record.
Denver band Paper Bird returned this week to the CPR Performance Studio. We first hosted the band's retooled lineup -- with new member Carleigh Atkins, who replaced singer-songwriter Esme Patterson -- back in 2014, and today the band releases its new self-titled album. Paper Bird recorded the LP in Nashville with producer John Oates of Hall & Oates. It finds the band moving away from folk and into rock 'n' roll. The band played four songs from the album and spoke with Alisha Sweeney about how a personnel change affected the band's sound, releasing their music through a record label for the first time and why this new album feels like a fresh start.