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Elephant Revival Turns A Boulder Studio Into A Musical Playground For ‘Petals’

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<p>(Photo: CPR / Daniel Mescher)</p>
<p>Bonnie Paine and Daniel Rodriguez of Elephant Revival at eTown Music Hall in Boulder.</p>

Colorado band Elephant Revival captivates listeners with its atmospheric and transcendent folk music. The band became a big name in Colorado music since forming in 2006, thanks to praise from the New York Times and NPR.

The band’s latest album, "Petals," has strong ties to the Centennial state. The band, which is based in the mountain town of Nederland, worked on the record down the hill at eTown Music Hall in Boulder.

"Petals" is the first Elephant Revival album with banjo, guitar and cello player Charlie Rose. It’s also their first album with producer Sam Kassirer, whose resume includes work with Josh Ritter and Lake Street Dive.

These new faces opened up a lot of potential for the band’s music, especially on the title track -- a song Paine says she wrote 10 years ago.

"I used to play that with my sisters," Paine said. "That was cool to have that come back to life in such a different way and cool way. It came out completely different."

Kassirer urged the band to start experimenting with new instruments on this record. Guitarist Daniel Rodriguez pointed out new additions like the kick drum, snare drum and piano.

"It adds a whole new tonal accessibility for us," Rodriguez said. "We've been using the same ingredients over our last four or five records. Adding some new things really helped create a different kind of landscape for us."

And for the song "Petals," the band even looked beyond musical instruments for new sounds.

"Sam (Kassirer) went to a yard sale and bought a whole bunch of big chains," Rodriguez said. "Part of the sound of that is in-time dropping chains on a cement floor."

"He got a lot of funny looks from the lady he was buying the chains from," Paine added. "He's trying out all these widths and lengths, and there for like an hour dropping chains."

This is also the first Elephant Revival album where Paine incorporated her cello -- an instrument she’s played for 12 years. She hadn’t felt comfortable using for live shows or studio recordings, but on "Petals" her cello is everywhere.

With the release of the new album comes another milestone: Elephant Revival’s first headlining show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on May 22.

The band has played the famous Colorado venue before, and they're understandably eager to go back. They’ll bring those group vocals and new instrument sounds that first took shape at eTown to one of the biggest venues in Colorado.

"To be on that stage looking up at a sea of people and sea of energy ... all the beauties of life are conspiring at that moment," Rodriguez said.

"Petals" is out today. Listen to our Inside Track feature with Elephant Revival and check out a photo slideshow of the band at eTown above.

Watch Elephant Revival perform "The Obvious" from their 2014 performance at OpenAir: