Henhouse Prowlers 9.28.17

Swing Station
Laporte, CO

Words & Photos by Nicholas Stock (Fat Guerilla Productions)

The Swing Station is an out of the way dive that doubles as a honky-tonk most nights of the week. It’s a local's gem that is tucked away in the sleepy little burg of Laporte, Colorado. Best known as a haven for active hate group Scriptures for America, Laporte is not a shining beacon of culture on the Colorado landscape. Nonetheless, the Swing Station has become our defacto Town Hall, watering hole, meeting place and more. The venue hosts an array of authentic, original music performed by nationally touring and locally based acts alike. If you live in Northern Colorado, take a few to follow what’s happening at The Swing Station, you may be pleasantly surprised.

The Henhouse Prowlers have made regular stops at The Swing Station over the years. It's an alternative to the limited options available in Fort Collins proper. The band’s lineup has solidified with founding members Ben Wright on banjo and Jon Goldfine on bass still driving the bus. Last year when they moseyed through Colorado, mandolin and fiddle player Kyle O’Brien was a newly anointed member of the group with a gleam in his eye. Now a year later he has trotted the globe performing bluegrass on multiple continents with the Prowlers. The group is rounded out by guitarist and singer, Andrew Dorfman.

They got the show going early with a perfect rendition of the lovelorn original “Why Is The Night So Long.” For those that don’t know, The Henhouse Prowlers are a modern band wrapped in tradition and nostalgia. Their sound is reminiscent of the great bluegrass bands of yesteryear while their writing is utterly current. Their blend of traditional bluegrass, contemporary covers, and authentic writing is why fans get hooked early. They went into the call and answer song “Hey Boys / Hey Dorfman,” which got the crowd warmed up quickly. Banjo extraordinaire, Ben Wright, took the lead on “Caroline” while Jon Goldfine took on vocal duties for the song. Newcomer, Kyle O’Brien, treated us to the cavity inducing love song “Honey Bee.” The band exploded with a grass-tastic version of The Grateful Dead’s “Mr. Charlie” which got everyone’s attention. The Henhouse Prowlers would be remiss if they didn’t regale us with tales from their jaunts to Africa, Europe and beyond. They talked of travels before ripping up the Nigerian pop classic “Chop My Money.” Dorfman treated us to some spectacular yodeling before Jon shut down the first set with a beautiful rendition of “Lonesome Road.”

These ambassadors of bluegrass returned to the modest stage at The Swing Station for one more set before heading back home. They got things going with the lightning fast “Soul Saver” followed by the banjo-heavy “Slippery When Wet.” They invited WhiteWater Ramble’s Patrick Sites up to join in on the fun with his mandolin on “Home Grown Tomatoes” and Doc Watson’s “Sitting on Top Of The World.” A fan in the audience was celebrating a birthday and politely asked they band to play “Syracuse” which they obliged. In total, the band was firing on all cylinders. Any trepidation on the part of the young fiddler, Kyle, was long gone by the time they took the stage.

This band is an ever-evolving experience and you may not see the same members perform in the band twice. However, they always come prepared and following their travels through social media is simply awe-inspiring. They are truly musical envoys bouncing around all parts of the globe at any given moment spreading their love of folk, Americana, and bluegrass. Their dedication to touring is why they have so many fans from so many places. They ended the show as they do most nights, on the floor with the rest of the crowd. Without any amplification, these four troubadours got down on our level and just jammed. They treated us to the spiritual “Ain’t It a Shame” before calling it a night. The Henhouse Prowlers have been sharing their love of music for almost a decade and a half with no sign of slowing down. If they come to your town, make it a point to go and find out what the lyrics to “Chop My Money” are about. You won’t be disappointed!

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