Monday, March 30, 2015

Old Shoe & Ethereal Groove Inc. 3.19.15

Hodi’s Half Note
Fort Collins, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

Old Shoe is a ridiculously talented group hailing from the slowly thawing tundra of Chicago. They are a folk-focused jam band with an intrinsic love for the Grateful Dead. This group blends elements of acoustic, bluegrass, rock, jam, country and Americana. Much like the name Old Shoe insinuates, they create a very comfortable music that feels right at home from the first note. Old Shoe announced a four show run up the Front Range that included stops at the newly minted Owsley’s Golden Road in Boulder, Quixote’s, and Hodi’s Half Note. I caught their last night here in Fort Collins. When I arrived, I met a friend who inquired if the show had been cancelled due to the obvious lack of bodies inside of Hodi’s. The combination of poor promotion and the fact that it was Spring Break for CSU meant that the turnout was nonexistent. By the time Old Shoe took the stage, there were about 14 people in the room.

The night began with Ethereal Groove Inc., also known as EGi. This fellow Chicago outfit, although much younger than their counterparts, was a nice addition to the lineup. Perhaps because of the light turnout, they were given what seemed like a longer set; in the end, Old Shoe would play one extended set as well. By the time I arrived EGi. was already on their second song with no sign of slowing down. They focused on rhythmic jams that featured some stellar guitar work from both Noe Perez and Devon Bates. They created interesting musical textures that defied genre. Elements of everything from funk to metal seemed to dribble into their progressive-heavy sound. They were definitely worth the trip and I hope that despite the low audience numbers, EGi. returns to Colorado.

Old Shoe was unfazed by the lack of people. The band emerged from the darkness and proceeded to give us a huge set filled to the brim with classics and covers. They opened up with a beautiful original, “Welcome Home.”

Set One: Welcome Home, Oneida County, Freak Flag, Don't Do It, Beer, Mouth of the Lion, Atlantic City, Loco Motive, Dustbowl, Day Rains Night, They Love Each Other, Wouldstock, Could You Be Loved, Star, Terrapin Station

Encore: Ellsworth, Kush

The cowfunk tune “Oneida County” was intense, but the Dead’s “Freak Flag” was spiritual. Old Shoe has a real chemistry that is palpable to the audience. They know each other well from touring relentlessly for the last five years. The members of the group met in Chicago, but they are from every part of this expansive country. Keeping the cover train rolling, Old Shoe went into The Band’s “Don't Do It,” which featured some stellar harmonizing from the whole band. “Beer” is a bluesy, but poetic homage to one of my favorite pastimes. A twang-heavy “Mouth of the Lion” preceded Day’s emergence from behind the keys with his mandolin. He sang us an exceptionally heartfelt rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City.” Day would stay up front for a series of acoustic and jamgrass numbers including “Loco Motive” and “Dust Bowl.” “Day Rains Nights” got spacey and featured some of the most intricate jamming of the night. Returning to their roots, they went into The Grateful Dead’s “They Love Each Other.” Old Shoe continued with a classic “Wouldstock” before some sick reggae in the form of Marley’s “Could You Be Loved.” They ended the set with a picture perfect version of “Terrapin Station.” Old Shoe encored with Ellsworth into an appropriate “Kush.”

Many bands when faced with such a small audience would offer the bare minimum and get out as soon as possible. Old Shoe did the exact opposite. Even as the night wore on and people began to trickle out into the evening, the band continued to play well and with enthusiasm. It’s obvious they were a victim of poor timing and no publicity. However, a band of this caliber, which has traveled 900 miles to get here, should have had a few more fans in the room. Old Shoe could have pretended this was a practice session, but they gave us a show to remember. The next time Old Shoe passes through town go check them out. You won’t be disappointed and maybe they won’t be either.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Umphrey's McGee & The Revivalists 3.21.15 (Photos)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Yamn, DYNOHUNTER & Home 3.6.15

Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

Yamn is one of those bands that never lost love for the hard-hitting jam. Despite lineup changes and personal struggles Yamn has persevered and continued to spread their distinctive brand of progressive jam. At one time I called Yamn a ‘meta’ jam band, referring to their near-chameleon like approach to music. They utilized everything at their disposal and created a sound that consisted of electronic, funk, jazz and most prominently, rock. Now, a few years down the road, they have followed that rabbit to a highly progressive rock sound heavy on the synthesizer. Their show at the Bluebird Theater was a hometown throw down featuring friends, DYNOHUNTER and Home.

I arrived in time to catch the eclectic sounds of Home. The full name of the group seems to be "The Band Home," I would think, because the name "Home" has been claimed by a musical acts in both America and the UK. The teddy bear-like Jeff Prah immediately commands your attention as he belts out the notes. Calling their music a “Folkadelic Jamgrass Explosion,” Home has an intoxicating, inviting sound that pulls the listener in quickly. Singer and percussionist, Precious Hill, took her turn at the microphone to end the set. This band has been at it since around 2009, and as far as I can tell they are coming off of an extended hiatus. They have played all over the country including Summer Camp and 10k Lakes. So I hope this is the start of a "renovation" of sorts for Home. I will say Home puts on a fascinating show and I hope they continue to play together.

DYNOHUNTER is affectionately known as "Little Gigantic" because of Clark Smith’s employment of an actual saxophone into their performances. I appreciated the use of the acoustic instrumentation that included the drums of Justin Ehmer. There was a hard-hitting, bass-heavy sound, which juxtaposed nicely with the sax. They have just released a new album The Nomad, and are set to tour for the next month in support. They definitely bring the dance party with them wherever they go.

Yamn took the stage just after 11 PM and played until just before bar close. This band has definitely evolved from their early days. They have developed a hybrid between livetronica and progressive rock. Yamn began with the electro-funk dance tune, “Warpath.”

Set One: Warpath> Joey White, 
Rich in Life*,
Turn the Page**, Anu p.1> Suspended Animation> This year is yours*,
Slow Ride, 7 Something> The Road> 7 Something

Encore: High Strangeness

*= Debut
**= with Clark Smith

The band transitioned stealthily into “Joey White” which contained a “Burner” tease. Yamn treated us to a pair of debut songs, “Rich In Life” followed by “Molly.” They went into Bob Seger’s “Turn The Page,” which if you didn’t know the band might seem out of place. They invited DYNOHUNTER’s Clark Smith to join the band with a scorching sax solo. They went back to their prog-tronica with “Anu p. 1.” Yamn has become a really powerful band to watch. They challenge their audiences with unique compositions and tight transitions. Not to mention Paul Whitehouse’s lights, which are absolutely mesmerizing. Their range is easily apparent when seeing them live. “This Year Is Yours” was yet another debut song, in a set full of them. Yamn went into one more 70’s classic cover with a perfect rendition of Foghat’s “Slowride.” Yamn closed their triumphant set of music with a massive jam that featured a “7 Something” sandwich with “The Road” in the middle. The band returned with a “Strange Highness” encore to end the night. The entire encounter was diverse with Home playing their folk jam style, DYNOHUNTER’s livetronica and Yamn’s own blast of inventiveness. It was a great night for music in Denver.

Nick’s Photo Gallery

Monday, March 23, 2015

Skerik Band & A Cedar Suede 3.19.15 (Photos)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Poor Man's Whiskey, Wild Rabbit & Buzz Brump 3.13.15 (Photos)

Friday, March 20, 2015

Twiddle, The Revivalists & Jaden Carlson Band 3.13.15

The Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO

Words & Photos By Brad Yeakel (Opti Mystic Outlooks)

The Spring-like weather rose with the sun and Denver was rejuvenated. Often the sunlight's tones influence the day, and this particular Friday was aglow with the promise of fun, not just for the weekend, but as we rounded the corner towards summer tours and vice du jours. The only real dilemma was where to begin. I heard Leftover Salmon was at the Stanley, that Umphrey's McGee was in Aspen, that Greensky was at the Boulder Theater, and that Twiddle was hitting Denver and Ft. Collins. Having spent a decent amount of time listening to all of them, I decided to go with the one I knew least. Twiddle.

Fourteen year old Jaden Carlson was working the crowd as we walked in. Her musicianship was not only impressive for her age, it was impressive for anyone of any age. She and her band spanned genre after genre, pulling from the pop, jazz, funk, and progressive worlds with apparent ease. Having seen her band before, I expected to see a child prodigy, but was surprised by how much she'd developed her skills even in the short time I've been seeing her perform. Her set was very well received and touched on Floyd's "Time," as well as "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley.

The Revivalists were up next, and brought a high-flying energy to the Ogden. Singer, David Shaw, was a showman, climbing into the crowd on several occasions throughout their set. The music was in the vein of the Black Crowes, but with a touch of the Motet. The resulting sound was one I felt immediately comfortable with, and my enjoyment never wavered throughout their hour. Each musician was competent, creative, and connected to the overall sound. I had no idea what to expect, but I was thoroughly impressed.

By the time Twiddle took the stage, the crowd was packed in like Rosie O'Donnell in a phone booth. The night was growing late already, and my intentions to get weird were stifled by beer and a rapidly escaping evening. I guessed right that Twiddle's show would only be one set. A trade-off I was happy to make given the talent of the openers. The set was filled with tunes I did not know. It was dynamic, structured, intricate, and tight, but there was some generic quality to the overall sound. There were several jams that seemed to meander aimlessly like Mick Dodge. They found enough moments of transcendence to entertain the crowd and kept the vitality from waning too much. Each member of the band seemed to bring a key ingredient to their recipe, enhancing each other's flavors and coaxing the nuances that made good things better. On the whole they were better than most bands that play their circuit, and I got the feeling that the potential for enjoyment was proportionate to the level of commitment on the listener's behalf. Had I been more familiar with their repertoire, I feel I may have enjoyed the night more.

The crowd dumped out into the Denver night as amplified spunions offered a variety of reviews from "meh" to "outstanding." Having seen the band a few times now, I was of the opinion that the band was great, but the show was average. I also felt the single set aspect may have robbed them of some thunder. The only way to be sure was to make my way to Saturday's show at the Aggie Theater and see if they had something more to offer. I had a feeling they did.

Brad's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Widespread Panic 3.15.15 (Photos)

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Marco Benevento, Lynx, Superhuman Happiness 3.14.15 (Photos)

Monday, March 16, 2015

DRKWAV feat. Medeski, Skerik & Deitch 3.12.15 (Photos)

Aggie Theatre
Fort Collins, CO

Photos By Derek Miles (Miles Photography)

View Derek's Full Photo Album Here!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hot Buttered Rum & Weatherside Whiskey Band 3.7.15 (Photos)

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Kyle Hollingsworth Band Feat. Jason Hann 2.27.15

The Fox Theatre
Boulder, CO

Words & Photos By Kevin Hahn (Split Open & Shoot)

Birthdays are usually truly joyous occasions. Feasts are had, toasts are made, and cakes are eaten all in the honor of one human being's existence on this very planet we inhabit. Our pet’s birthdays are even sometimes celebrated here in America, and in a few of my friend’s cases, more so than their very own. But when it is a local musician’s birthday party you are attending, and said musician happens to be one of your absolute favorite keyboard players on planet Earth, one has to imagine that my excitement was hard to contain. Bringing us Coloradans together on a snowy Friday night is not the most difficult of tasks, but to do so in such an entertaining and immensely fun fashion proves that Kyle Hollingsworth has become one of our true hometown heroes. For this show at the always-pleasing Fox Theater in Boulder, Colorado, Kyle brought along some of his favorite musical friends (Kim Dawson, Dan Schwindt, Paul McDaniel, Brian McRae) to form a tremendous version of his own evolving solo project. Joining the core group on this night were three members of Kyle’s main gig The String Cheese Incident (Jason Hann, Keith Moseley, Michael Travis) only furthering the fact that Kyle’s “28th” birthday would be a show to remember.

There may be no band that I have seen or listened to more than Kyle’s solo project. Whether he is playing with Garrett Sayers and Dave Watts from The Motet, or the group he assembled on this frigid Friday night, Kyle proves time and time again that no matter who is on stage with him, his unique style of playing and ability to incorporate every member within the jams/songs he creates is masterful to witness. Jumping from organ to keyboard to the clavinet, and also handling lead vocals on most songs, Hollingsworth is one of the jam-band scene's most well rounded musical talents and his song-writing skills continue to grow with each and every number he writes. Luckily, we were able to hear a couple of newer tunes Kyle has wrote recently, including “Stuff” and “Falling Through The Cracks,” with utilizing Kim Dawson’s beautiful voice to perfection. One of my favorite aspects of Hollingsworth’s creative way of writing songs is his intention to sing about everyday things that happen to “ordinary” people. “Stuff” is a piece that Kyle wrote because he was inspired by the insane amount of things his family had accumulated at their home. Another fan favorite, “Rosie” (which included an amazing Star Trek theme jam in honor of Spock during this show), was written about his daughter’s pet spider. Over and over again, we are shown that Hollingsworth is a famous musician touring and playing with some of our scenes biggest acts, but he loves to remind us how “normal” and easy-going he truly is.

Along with the newer material Kyle decided to show off on this particular night, us Boulderites were treated to some funky covers with McRae and McDaniel providing a stellar rhythm section on each and every tune. “Higher Ground” by Stevie Wonder and “Wanna Get Startin' Something” from the late Michael Jackson had Kim Dawson and Dan Schwindt heavily featured on both. “Moose” (Keith Moseley) treated us screaming fans to his rendition of Jerry Garcia’s hit “Tore Up Over You” while staring directly at his wife who was dancing the night away along with Kyle’s wife, Tania, and Michael Travis in the front row. It felt like a real hometown throw down inside the Fox Theater, with numerous familiar friendly faces beaming directly up at Kyle in his frightening “Paws” shirt. Hollingsworth even started out the night by serving the audience (semi) gluten-free beer infused chocolate cupcakes, which came from Kim and Jake’s Bakery out of Boulder, which were delicious! String Cheese Incident fans were ecstatic when “Boo Boo’s Pic-a-Nik” and “Way That It Goes” came blaring through the Fox’s sound system, while Jason Hann showed off his immense percussion talents on both of these numbers.

This may have been one of the best Kyle Hollingsworth Band shows I have ever been to. From the moment he took the stage, every person who decided to brave the wintery conditions outside was raging harder than I have seen in a good while. Every member of the band on stage seemed like they could feel the dance-party energy, and no tune dared come close to mess with the birthday boy’s vibe. I love the Kyle Hollingsworth Band, and even without the usual Motet boys handling the rhythm section it was once again an amazing night of live music in the great state of Colorado. If you can make it to Kyle’s upcoming mountain town run I highly recommend you do, otherwise look for his brew fest announcement and other summer shows coming here shortly. Because no matter where you see him play or who you see him play with, Hollingsworth knows how to bring the party.

Kevin's Photo Gallery

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Larry Keel feat. Members of Yonder Mountain String Band, Leftover Salmon & Elephant Revival 3.6.15 (Photos)

Cervantes Other Side
Denver, CO

Photos By Jesse Filippelli (Filippelli Photos)

View Jesse's Full Photo Gallery Here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Keller Williams & The Infamous Stringdusters 3.6.15 (Photos)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Henhouse Prowlers & Scott Law's Acoustic Machine 3.5.15 (Photos)

Roosevelt Collier's "Colorado Get Down" Feat. Members of The Motet 2.19 - 2.21.15

Words By J. Picard

It's been about a year since Roosevelt Collier's first run of shows in Colorado with members of The Motet, known as "Colorado Get Down." Following a handful of very successful plays on the Front Range, it was time to take the show to the mountains. I began reaching out to the limited options of venues and was thrilled with the responses! The decision ended up being a Thursday night in Denver at The 1up - Colfax, Friday at Shakedown Bar in Vail and Saturday at The Barkley Ballroom in Frisco! Leading up to the run there were a ton of logistics to sort out and nail down. By the time Roosevelt touched down in Colorado, anticipation for the shows was through the roof...

Thursday February 19, 2015:

The 1up - Colfax
Denver, CO

Photos By Jim Mimna (J. Mimna Photography)

Roosevelt landed mid-afternoon and went straight to The 1up - Colfax in Denver, CO where "Colorado Get Down" would be joined by Bill Nershi (The String Cheese Incident) and openers, The Sweet Lillies, for an evening of music! Joey Porter (Keys), Garrett Sayers (Bass) and Dave Watts (Drums), set up their gear for the first of three nights. A short time later Bill Nershi arrived with his electric guitar in tow. The mood was light and upon Roosevelt's late arrival due to a delayed flight and extensive traffic, the mood became celebratory, then focused for soundcheck and rehearsal. The group never skipped a beat from their previous play at YarmonyGrass in August. Bill tossed a couple of songs into the mix including The String Cheese Incident's "Outside And Inside!" Following soundcheck, Rosie and I went to dinner with my good friends, Murray and Spuckes. Back at the venue Colorado band, The Sweet Lillies, took the stage to a sizable crowd. The four piece output some fantastic folk, bluegrass and jam that had the crowd dancing and singing to classic material from bands like The Grateful Dead. The music was well done, the vocals sweet and harmonies beautiful, for the duration of the band's set. Upon their conclusion, the crowd wanted more!

Backstage Roosevelt wrote out setlists while the band prepared for what was shaping up to be a sold out show. House Photographer, Jim Mimna, captured the subtle moments prior to the band taking the stage, with the eye of a genius and execution of a wizard. With just minutes before go time, Jim gathered the band for a few group shots. With the clock ticking past the 11:00 PM hour, the band headed to the stage to the delight of the packed house! After some fiddling with his amp and cables, Roosevelt jumped into some heavy slide while his band followed suit with instant peaks. The pedal steel screamed while the crowd went nuts and the lights flashed at the hands of Tiberius Benson.

"Wow, is this the encore? - Bill Nershi

Bill looked at me with a big smile, knowing full well that it was the first song. Though it was a church jam, it sounded more like the devil's Rock & Roll, with the drum and bass thumping heavily while Rosie pressed on through an extensive intro. The jam ensued with the energy of an encore as Bill had suggested. Joey's keys rang out from the far side of the stage backing Roosevelt's aggressive output. The composition quieted down briefly, only to climb back towards insane shredding before it's abrupt stop. The capacity crowd responded with great appreciation. Roosevelt gave a shout out to The Sweet Lillies before jumping into an original, "Velvet," that featured his steel for the start before he passed it to Garrett for some low end action, then on to Dave for some punches on the drums. Some wailing at the end from Roosevelt combined with Joey chopping away on the keys and folks woooing to the conclusion. Band intros were followed by a straightforward drum beat that lead into The Temptations' "Papa Was A Rolling Stone" with Rosie nailing some really interesting notes in a sort of call and response fashion with the band. Roosevelt threw down before Joey stepped up with some bending notion.

"So, some announcements, some announcements. First of all, how are you all doing out there? I see like a lot of my friends and stuff out here. So in June, yours truly, along with these great guys, will be playing LOHI Music Fest! Just announced. Is anybody going to LOHI? You'd better buy your god damn tickets (laughs)!" - Roosevelt Collier

Roosevelt then called Gabe Mervine (The Motet) to the stage for some trumpet. Gabe entered the stage to minor applause, triggering Rosie to send him backstage and run it back. Upon the second intro, the crowd errupted. Roosevelt also called Cody Russell (The Drunken Hearts) to the stage for some added steel. He nervously made his way up and rightfully so, as he would be playing alongside one of his favorites to a packed house. The following track was soulful and somewhat laid back as the guests were establishing their space and roles on the stage. Gabe took off first nailing it with bright instrumentation and fantastic tone. Cody stepped up next throwing down some impressive slide that reflected a much different background and approach than Roosevelt's. The crowd cheered before focus shifted to Joey as the song wound down. As Gabe and Cody began to wonder off stage, Roosevelt told them not to go anywhere and called Emily Clark to the stage for added vocals, as well as Cliff Porter from the Reno, NV band, Jelly Bread. Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" followed to close the first set of the evening with some impressive output from the guest vocalists. At one point Cliff went back and forth with Rosie, connecting the dots for many on the similarities between steel and vocals. Gabe took another big solo prior to Roosevelt passing it on to Cody, for a eerie resonating solo that added a cool vibe to the song. The song returned to the main riff and came to a close with the crowd cheering wildly.

"Congratulations on a sell out Mr. Collier," I said to Rosie with a smile.

"You're kidding me, man. Don't mess around," Roosevelt said naievely.

"Great work, man," I said holding out my hand, to which Rosie shook with a huge smile from ear to ear.

The band returned to the stage a short time later with the evening's special guest, Bill Nershi, featured on Otis Rush's "All Your Love." Billy handled vocals before taking on some funk riffs. Roosevelt stepped up and passed it back to Bill for his first solo of the evening. The crowd loved it and from there, Roosevelt jumped right into a jam with his cast of super heroes following suit. Joey chopped away with clavinet tones with Rosie outputting descending notation in conjunction with Bill. Bill took off again with a strong solo before the band dropped back in,steering the jam back towards the main riff, peaking a couple of times before the song's close. The String Cheese Incident's "Out And Inside" came next with Billy in the captain's seat. The song had a very raw flavor from the packaged version the fans are used to. The packed room danced wildly as Roosevelt jumped in following Bill's opening verse. Rosie passed it to Joey before Bill's ripping return. The song was a highlight on paper, though didn't completely translate live.

Rosie called Gabe back to the stage before filling in the crowd on the rest of the weekend's shows. Joey and Dave kicked off the groove and Gabe jumped right into the mix leading the charge with an afrobeat vibe. Billy jumped in with a resonating tone as Roosevelt smiled and tossed chords at Billy while he noodled. Gabe dropped a big solo and Dave steered the song towards its close with a drum solo that built and built with subtle beauty. "More Bounce To The Ounce" came next after a shoutout to the ladies from Roosevelt on Joey's behalf, and some added talkbox. One more round of band intros and the second set came to a close. The packed house roared as the band exited the stage. A short time later Roosevelt returned to the stage with Jelly Bread in tow. It was a confusing moment, with Bill and members of The Motet remaining backstage and people in the crowd yelling for Billy. Ray Charles' "I've Got A Woman" was the choice to close the evening. Jelly Bread nailed it across the board, which made me feel better about the swapping of bands. A short time later the final notes were played and the band exited the stage, aside from Roosevelt who remained to talk to fans, take pictures and give thanks to those who were so grateful.

Back stage the party continued following Roosevelt's first sold out show at The 1up - Colfax! Musicians posed for photos with one another, drank an assortment of alcohol and wound down from the first of three nights of shows. I glanced down at my phone, which I had been checking all night, to gauge the weather situation, which was supposed to take a turn for the worse the following morning/afternoon. Venue Manager, Bobby Jones, arranged for ground transport while Hospitality Manager, Eric Fletcher, changed the marquee for the venue's upcoming shows. As Roosevelt's transport arrived, we sent him off and headed off ourselves into the cold Denver night.

Jim's Photo Gallery

Friday February 20, 2015:

Shakedown Bar
Vail, CO

Photos By J. Picard
Video By Carly Marthis

We awoke feeling groggy following a late night. I swung by The Curtis Hotel in downtown Denver to pick up Roosevelt and headed over to Tom's Home Cooking in the Five Points neighborhood for lunch with my team; Jourdan Adler, Woody Adler and Craig Bailey. We left Tom's stuffed and ready to take on what could have been a treacherous ride to Frisco, then on to Vail. We picked up Carly and made our way to I-70 as the snow began to fall. As we approached Georgetown, traffic began to slow, eventually coming to a halt. The emergency alert signs flashed "I-70 Closed Georgetown - Silverthorne." We could see the accident just up ahead until the snow was whiteout. Emergency vehicles flew by us on the shoulder of the road towards the wreck. I made a call to the other members of Rosie's band, who were waiting on I-70 to re-open before departing the Front Range. Then I made the call to Scott Rednor, the owner of Shakedown Bar, to alert him to our situation. He seemed calm and ready to jump into action if members of The Motet didn't make it up the mountain. An hour passed, two hours passed and finally traffic began to move. Just as we passed the site of the accident, the emergency signs flashed "I-70 Closed To Silverthorne" as traffic slowed once again to a crawl. We sat for another ten minutes and we were off, climbing up snow-covered roads at a slow, cautious pace. We made a quick call to the remainder of the band, who loaded up and headed out.

We arrived in Frisco as darkness fell, checked into our hotels, took a breather and then returned to our car to continue on to the venue. We reached the top of the Vail Pass, at an elevation of 10,603 feet, before descending into Vail, where the town lights were glimmering through falling snow. We arrived at the front door of Shakedown Bar where we snapped a shot of Rosie, so that fans knew he had arrived, then we loaded in the minimal gear that we needed for the evening's show. We parked the car and wandered through the Vail Village which may as well have been the Swiss Alps. We stopped for pizza, touching base with the guys who were passing Frisco and approaching their destination through hours of white knuckle driving. Back at the venue we were greeted by Scott, Rob Eaton Jr. (The Drunken Hearts) and a very friendly staff. The rest of the band arrived and began to setup as the intimate downstairs venue began to fill in. By the time the show started, the venue was approaching capacity!

Carly and I found a table on the far side of the room with a great vantage point, as the show kicked off. People were there to party and got down hard from the get go. Rob came over to where we were standing and communicated to me that he had been practicing heavily in anticipation of a sit-in. At the door of the venue, it was one in, one out, meaning the show was technically sold out. A short time later, Rob was called to the stage on Lenny Kravitz's "Fly Away." Roosevelt took the first solo with sliding precision, mocking the vocal lines and screaming on the pedal steel. Roosevelt passed it to Rob who absolutely shredded with perfect tone and clear understanding of his instrument. Roosevelt glanced over at me and smiled, then back at Rob with a terrified face, as he was swinging for the fence. Rosie threw a hand in the air to the music as Rob didn't let up, just crushing it. The hair on my arms stood straight up and I smiled. Upon the conclusion of Rob's solo, the mountain venue errupted. I had tears in my eyes and hoped that no one had noticed.

Roosevelt dropped a quick lick, Garrett followed suit, then it was off to Rob and back to Rosie. This continued for a couple of minutes. Each line better than the one before it, the trio passed the music around like a hot potato that kept getting hotter and hotter. It was at this point that a single tear fell from my face. As I wiped it, I glanced to my left and Rednor was shaking his head at me. The music built up until everyone on stage peaked and peaked. The crowd jumped and threw their hands in the air up until the conclusion of the song. The vibe was everything I could have hoped for and more, and we still had another set of music. As there is no greenroom at Shakedown Bar, the band wandered through the crowd, mingling with fans and sharing in conversation for the duration of the break, while I monitored the weather situation.

The band returned to the stage for the second set, with the crowd amped and ready for more. I glanced over at Scott who was sitting on the side of the stage and motioned to him to see if he would be sitting in and he shrugged. The band jumped into Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," with Rob on guitar. As Rosie dipped into the signature vocal phrasing on the steel, the crowd sang along and danced uncontrollably. The band ripped, smiling as they did so. It was at this point that I realized that the band sounded the tightest and best that they have sounded to date. The band took it down low and began to build with punches. Rob took off, tearing through an incredible solo that once again had Roosevelt smiling. For the next song, Roosevelt called Scott to the stage for guitar and vocal duty on Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing" and Steve Wonder's "I Wish." His vocals were impressive, as was his playing. I smiled and looked around at a room full of skiers getting down to a rare treat of a band, with the owner of the club joining in on the action!

As the evening wound down, the band threw down their last couple of contributions to the evening. It was fantastic to see the band having so much fun. I was so grateful to be in that place getting down with a handful of folks that we knew, and so many folks celebrating life! With the show's conclusion the crowd showed great appreciation and then continued to party hard to the house music, even creating a circle while drunk folks spun around on the beer soaked floor. Little by little, the 200 person bar began to empty out as we packed up our gear and thanked both "Shrednor" and Jr. for their hospitality, before ascending the Vail Pass and descending down into Frisco. We separated two by two into three vehicles and made the sketchy journey down towards our hotel at a speed of about 25 miles an hour. Upon our arrival we exhaled and settled in for the night.

Saturday February 21, 2015:

The Barkley Ballroom
Frisco, CO

Photos By Jesse Filippelli (Filippelli Photos)

We awoke in Frisco to a gorgeous view of the mountains. Some stretching and a big breakfast were in order before swinging by the venue for a quick promotional picture. Back at the hotel Rosie rested up for the evening's show while Carly and I soaked in the hot tub while small snowflakes fell from gray skies. Around 6:00 PM we loaded in at the venue and set-up for a brief soundcheck. In the greenroom, Roosevelt and I located some oxygen to assist in the acclimation process. But as we weren't having any issues, we posed for a picture without even tapping into the tanks. From the venue we headed to a brewery for some dinner and drinks. A quick stop at the hotel and we were on our way back to The Barkley Ballroom for the show. Upon our arrival we heard stories of the opening band swinging around double-ended dildos and tucking themselves on stage. We were thankful to have missed that, though I found humor in the notion of a band of that nature opening for a project like "Colorado Get Down." The thought was delightfully awkward.

Around 11:00 PM "Colorado Get Down" took the stage for their last show of the run. The room filled in slowly, as the effect of WinterWonderGrass in Avon, CO could be seen. A short time later, the venue filled in nicely, squashing my notion of the WWG effect. Venue owners, Todd Altschuler and Keegan Casey, were very gracious hosts and seemed excited about the musical experience that was about to unfold. As the show started, Carly and I hung towards the back of the room, winding down from a weekend of shows. As was the case with the previous shows, the crowd was receptive and danced along with the music. Roosevelt seemed loose that night, playing off of the crowd and laughing as people up front danced wildly. The band took a brief set break and returned a short time later for the second set of the evening.

The songs that were played were fuzzy to me, as all three shows on the run started to blend together, through repeats, bustouts and jams. Carly and I relocated to the back/side of the stage where we could get a great vantage point of the chemistry and interplay on stage. Additionally we checked on the band, refilling empty cups and ordering additional drinks. The half-packed venue was buzzing as hippies and mountain folks dance with their eyes closed and minds open. Joey leaned into some talkbox at the end of the set, triggering one last dance party before the encore. Upon the show's conclusion the venue began to clear out, outside of the few stragglers that wanted a word with the evening's talent. We settled up for the final night and I thanked Joey, Garrett and Dave for their involvement and playing. We loaded out into the bitter cold and returned to the hotel for a few hours of sleep before our early awakening and departure.

Jesse's Photo Gallery

Sunday February 22, 2015:

We awoke with the sun, quickly packed our suitcases, loaded up the Jeep, hit a Starbucks and we were back on the road towards Denver. Though the roads looked menacing on our decent, the Jeep handled well in four wheel drive. It wasn't until we hit the foothills and dropped into Denver that we hit black ice and fishtaled a couple of times, triggering a crawl to the airport. We made a pit stop for McDonald's breakfast and headed down Pena Blvd. to Denver International Airport. We said our goodbyes to Rosie, who we would see a week later for his return to Colorado with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe. Off Rosie went to re-join Karl Denson in Missoula, MT, while we headed home to our bed. The three night run of shows was a fantastic success with two shows selling out and the third hosting a great crowd. Roosevelt and I began to plot his return immediately, to a market that shows more support than any other in the country, making it Rosie's unofficial home away from home.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

A Review & Conversation With Andrew Altman (Railroad Earth)

Words By Jesse Filippelli (Filippelli Photos)

White clouds covering a bright blue sky, and a run down boat marina with rotting wooden light poles in a line, the album reads, "Andrew Altman." Knowing Andrew's work with Railroad Earth, I am immediately intrigued to hear what this 5-track debut solo album has to offer. It did not disappoint.

As soon as you hit play you are greeted by a head-bobbing acoustic riff accompanied by a warm low bass, this first track is called "Better Man."This toe-tapping feel good tune is an amazing album opener. Providing cheerful vibes and a story of becoming a “better man” for a love. (See the Q&A for a more detailed explanation from Andrew!)

Next up is "Sailboat," a slow acoustic number that features a lot of spacey synth and what I can only describe as “whale sounds” ambiently playing in the background. It creates a very unique texture for the track before the whole band kicks into an electric climax of the song.

The final song, "Sing to Me," closes the album out perfectly. So much different from the other tracks, it brings an end to a full compilation of what the musical projection of Andrew’s mind is. With this song I feel that he isn’t trying to create any personality or recreate anything from the past. He takes his life’s musical and personal experiences to make something completely new. Tom Hamilton’s drum work on this song also helps make it stand out amongst the rest.

What I enjoy most about the entire album is its soothing sound. You can relax to this album. This is an album you could listen to on a walk to get your mind back at ease. It allows you to enjoy the music as well as take a quick look into your own mind, creating your own interpretations.

Overall, the album is wonderful. It’s an easy listen, while being something completely on its own. I’m very excited to see what Andrew has in store for future albums.

I was lucky enough to have a nice chat with Andrew about the album and what’s in his future.

Q & A with Andrew Altman:

Jesse Filippelli: What made you branch off from RRE to create your own album on the side?

Andrew Altman: I reached a point playing bass where I was comfortable playing just about anything in the style that I play in. There are some heavy jazz gigs that I probably couldn’t hang on, but everything else I felt pretty good about. So, I wanted a new challenge and started song writing and working on my singing. In the past, I wasn’t a very good singer; so that gave me something to work on everyday and I improved.

I started writing songs about six or seven years ago, and actually contributed a song to the last Railroad Earth album before I even put out my own album, "When the Sun Gets in Your Blood." It was one of those band things where I said “Hey Todd [Sheaffer], why don’t you sing it,” and John Skehan contributed to the bridge. I wrote all the rest of the lyrics and progressions. It was just a way to challenge myself, and I had a bunch of tunes lying around. Once I found a studio situation that worked, we went in there and laid them down.

Jesse: Is this the first album you have produced aside from RRE?

Andrew: Yea, like I said I just had the songs written and ready to go. I finally felt like I had the resources to put it out there.

Jesse: Who plays in your studio band?

Andrew: No, that’s the interesting thing. Tom Hamilton (Guitarist of American Babies and Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) produced the whole thing and I thought we would maybe be bringing in a drummer and a keyboardist, but Tom was like, “Just trust me.” So he sits down at the drums and I ask if he plays. Tom just goes, “Oh, you’ll see.” You know, he’s not the kind of drummer you would hire for a gig, but in the studio he gets in there and holds it down. Tom also does a lot of the guitar on the album. I’m playing the rhythm parts, but the lead guitar, drums, keyboards, and all of the studio created instruments is Tom.

Jesse: How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard your music before?

Andrew: Huh. Let's see, how would you say it. Song based rock? I’m not sure, that’s always a hard question. When you're putting out an album there are all these things you have to do, and they ask you a question at some point to list some other artists that are in your genre. For the first two tunes (Better Man and Sailboat), I’m a really big Ryan Adams fan, and I think you can hear that in those songs. At the same time I’m also a big fan of My Morning Jacket, which you can hear that in "Mother May I." The last song, "Sing to Me," I don’t even know. It’s hard to really answer the question.

Jesse: What label was the album released under?

Andrew: I did it under Black Bear Records, which is the Railroad Earth studio. There’s not much to the label, but that’s where the last Railroad album came from and that’s where we released our Red Rocks 2014 DVD through.

Jesse: Yea, I was actually a photographer for that Red Rocks performance. I gotta say, as a fan, I had an extremely emotional musical moment at that concert. It was beautiful.

Andrew: Ha, that’s so funny. It’s not often that you get to hear the other side of it. I’ve had those experiences myself at concerts, but when you’re doing it yourself it’s so different. Red Rocks is always a big night for us. It’s so crazy, because I grew up listening to artist’s bootlegs of Red Rocks and growing up in Florida, Red Rocks might as well be the moon. When you are playing music in a school band as a kid, Red Rocks is so far away, and even when your musical career really starts to take off there is so much between you and getting to Red Rocks. It’s a funny duality to it because you think, “Wow, how did I get here?” Then the 30 year old kicks in and goes, “Oh yea because I’ve been on the road my whole life!”

Jesse: Getting back to the album, what’s your favorite song on the album?

Andrew: Initially, I put the order of songs together, and I put "Better Man" first because when I was listening to the mixes I heard that and felt like a listener, or at least that was the vibe it was putting out. It just had a pop that stood out. I actually like all of them, which is rare, because a lot of the times you put out an album and there might be a song or two that you’re just kind of iffy about, or even songs that I’ve written and just not liked. On here though, I feel really good about all of them. "Sing to Me," the last tune, is the one that everyone comes up to me and tells me that is their favorite.

Jesse: What inspired "Better Man?" Sounds like a relationship put you in a place where you wanted to improve yourself.

Andrew: It’s not necessarily about, but for someone. The thing that inspired it was a new feeling to be thinking not only about how much I care about them, but that I want to be a better person for them. Then creating a better us.

Jesse: What’s next? Can we expect another album?

Andrew: For sure, I already have enough songs ready to go for another album. It’s just a matter of finding the right time and studio situation. Railroad Earth is still without question a full time gig, so whenever I have off, I just have to cram in anytime I can.

Jesse: So when should we expect a Railroad Earth Red Rocks announcement?

Andrew: Oh yea, that’s coming soon! We have dates locked in; we are just working on locking in our support situation. We think it’s going to be very cool for us. We are trying to do something different with the show. There is always such amazing support out there since we stepped out on our own and started headlining gigs there, so we are trying to go out of our way to find something that is going to give each show a twist, whether is be a certain opener or a special guest playing with us.

Download The Album at!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Lotus & Pan Astral 2.22.15 (Photos)

Showbox Presents
Seattle, WA

Photos By Scott Shrader (J. Scott Shrader photography)

View Scott's Full Gallery Here!