Rehearsal With The Contribution

Words By J-man
Photos & Video By Carly Marthis & J-man

It was a standard Thursday in Denver. My girlfriend Carly and I sat on the couch in our living room eating dinner after a long work day. We had just popped in a DVD to watch as we wound down for the evening when my phone rang. The name "Tim Carbone" popped up on the screen. I knew the Contribution was in town rehearsing so I figured Tim was calling to grab a bite to eat following their rehearsal.

"Hey Justin, how are you, man?" Tim asked. "We've been rehearsing all day and we'll still be going for a couple of hours if you want to come by" he said with a sense of excitement.

Based on his tone, I assumed the rehearsal was going well. We shifted gears and headed out the door with our equipment into the cold Denver night. A short twenty minute drive would take us to the doorstep of Paul Brown, one of the owners of The Highland Tap & Burger. We were greeted at the door by what could only be described as a jolly Tim Carbone. There was excitement in the air. We kicked off our shoes, ditched our coats on the couch and headed down into the basement.

We were welcomed by a handful of smiling faces as Tim introduced us to the band. It was an extremely comfortable environment with an Oriental rug, some great posters and a tapestry. The band continued to rehearse as we watched and smiled as Tim Carbone (Guitar/Fiddle, Railroad Earth), Keith Moseley (Bass, String Cheese Incident), Matt Butler (Drums, Everyone Orchestra), Phil Ferlino (Keys, New Monsoon), Jeff Miller (Guitar, New Monsoon) and Sheryl Renee (Vocals) played. I've seen the band perform a couple of times and I appreciate their solid sound and production.

Each member contributed their sound to the mix for what translated into deep musical compositions. I had heard The Contribution jam, but not like this. The addition of Matt Butler to the band came just recently and the Mark Vann Benefit will have marked his first performance with the band. Replacing Jason Hann (String Cheese Incident, EOTO) comes with it's challenges, but Matt fit in perfectly. When there were mistakes from any of the members, the band would stop, correct them and move forward to the next fork in the road.

The level of visual communication was heavy as the band stood in a circle running through sections of songs. The music just got better and better. Matt pointed out that Tim and Jeff's vocals were beginning to strain after the nine hour session. With that, they decided to listen to a previous recording of a version of Led Zeppelin's "Song Remains The Same." They joked as they listened, poking fun at each other with friendly banter. They stopped the tape and began on what was by far one of the best Zeppelin covers that I have ever heard. I couldn't help but feel excited and grateful for what we were experiencing.

As they finished the song it was easy to tell how excited they were. They began to tell crazy stories about Led Zeppelin. Keith mentioned the "West Was Won" collection and I spoke up to tell the story of how those DVDs were created and how the archivers had to develop a process to transfer the tapes to a current format. The process risked the permanent destruction of the tapes if not done properly. The transfer was successful resulting in the "West Was Won" collection. Everyone seemed blown away. More than musicians, I was speaking to fans. It was great to see how excited everyone was.

The session came to a close triggering an impromptu jam that began with Matt Butler. Keith followed with a funky bass line and everyone else joined in as if it were a team stretch after a sporting event. After the session I assisted Keith in loading his car with the gear to be transfered to The Boulder Theater for The Mark Vann Benefit.

To close the evening, I sat around a large table with the band for an audio interview to follow on the upcoming podcast for MusicMarauders Live! Its nights like those that make me appreciate the scene, the music, as well as Denver on another level. Next would be The Benefit...

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