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Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival - May 20, 2018 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

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Elephant Revival - May 20, 2018 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

Elephant Revival

May 20, 2018 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

photos and words for The Lot Scene by Ryan Boldrey

THESE HEARTS, THESE DREAMS, THESE WEBS WE WEAVE

ELEPHANT REVIVAL SAYS FAREWELL FOR NOW WITH SUNDAY SHOW AT RED ROCKS

When I first saw Elephant Revival, a few years into their journey, in 2010 at MeadowGrass Music Festival in Black Forest, Colorado, I had no idea the impact this five-piece band out of Nederland would have on me as our paths intertwined over the next decade.

I was covering the festival for Colorado Community Media and while I was tasked with shooting photos of numerous bands over the weekend and writing just a short copy block on the overall experience, this particular group I just wanted to hang out and watch. I had heard of them, but not much beyond that. 

Watching them for the first time, I was immediately transfixed by Bonnie Paine, her voice – unlike anything I had ever heard before – and her washboard and percussion. Add in the fiddle playing of Bridget Law, the songwriting and voices of Dan Rodriguez and Sage Cook, and the multi-instrumentation of Cook and Dango Rose, and I knew right away I’d be seeing them again, and soon.  

Over the next eight years, I was not only fortunate enough to see them in numerous venues across the state and country, but to be there for a handful of monumental moments in the band’s history as well, including some of the first shows with newer members Darren Garvey and Charlie Rose. I watched as they evolved from a Sunday afternoon performer at MeadowGrass to a Saturday night headliner, to a band that worked its way up the Red Rocks ladder and graced various festival stages across the country. 

I was there in 2014 in Colorado Springs, the night Sage announced he was leaving the band, and was at Campout for the Cause a few months later when he played his first festival set with his new band, We Dream Dawn, and the Elephant Revival tour bus pulled up behind the stage mid-set. 

I watched as the band members got off the bus and took up different vantage points on the festival grounds to watch and listen. It wasn’t long before he invited Bridget and Bonnie onto the stage to join his new band and later that night during their headlining set, they returned the favor, and Sage sat in for a good portion of the show. He offered up his usual banter and let the crowd now how much love and admiration he had for Charlie – the man who stepped into his shoes when he left – how they were both from Kansas and how Charlie had a deep musical and personal history with Bonnie and the gang.

Having gotten to know Sage a bit over the past few years, as well as Bridget and some of the other band members, I was made aware by Bridget, a few weeks ahead of the announcement, that she would be leaving the band prior to Fall Tour 2017 and sadly, I also learned of the pending “indefinite” hiatus the band is now in a few weeks before that news went public.

There was no way in hell I was missing this last show at Red Rocks – especially considering all of the band’s current and former members would be present. 

Despite dealing with a medical emergency earlier in the week, I went against what would have been my doctor’s wishes had I told her I’d be flying out to cover a show, caught a 6 a.m. flight out of Grand Rapids, Michigan on Sunday morning – camera, laptop and rain gear in tow – and made my way to Colorado. I could have used a bit more raingear however, as the weather Sunday night was easily the second worst I have ever encountered at Red Rocks in countless shows there.

As it would be, though, despite cold, hard rains during opening sets by Hiss Golden Messenger and Blind Pilot – two bands you should definitely check out if you haven’t listened to them yet – the skies parted for Elephant’s much anticipated appearance. And while there was no rain falling from the sky as Elephant took to the stage, there was nary a dry eye in the house as the band opened with Bonnie’s “Will Carry On,” followed by Dan’s “Home in Your Heart,” two of ER’s softer, deeper, lovelier songs that poetically put on display in front of 8,000-plus people exactly where this band stood in their relationships with one another as well as themselves as they readied to part ways.

“Falling down/spin me ‘round/no one said this would be easy now/but you’ve gotta keep moving somehow,” crooned Rodriguez to a crowd that had already been brought to their knees by Bonnie’s voice hitting every note on lines such as “We may never be perfect/maybe that is not the point/search to know the language of our part/ from our heart …” 

With worn emotion on every face on the stage, Dan followed “Home in Your Heart” by telling the crowd, “we’re all in this together everybody.”

From there, the band launched into Bridget’s fiddle-driven instrumental, “The Pasture,” breathing life and dance into the crowd that knew they were in for an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, a tale of love, intertwining hearts and good-bye for now.  

The coaster hit its peaks and valleys, visiting next Bonnie’s “Remembering a Beginning,” then Dan’s “Birds and Stars” and after that Charlie’s “Sea Monster,” the latter providing an opportunity to look through another set of eyes about “a world that provides and expires/how we grow, come to know our heart’s desires.”

After Bonnie’s “Spinning,” (These hearts/These dreams/These webs we weave), Bridget addressed the crowd, letting them know that they could interpret what was happening a lot of different ways, but the band was simply expanding their own web as they move on from this chapter of their history. 

And while other projects, such as TIERRO with Bridget Law and We Dream Dawn have already taken flight as has Dan’s solo career, separate endeavors are underway or ready to be embarked upon for the rest of Elephant Revival.

And although there is much to look forward to in the individual and collective careers of the band’s members, there is no certainty that the five founding members will ever share a stage together again, and while one can hope someday they will reunite, all those in attendance had to wonder if it was the last time they would howl at a rising moon together in unison during “Sing to the Mountain.”

With highlights such as a powerful “When I Fall,” a rousing cover of Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” a take on Josh Ritter’s “Girl in the War” and ER originals “Drop,” “Season Song,” and “Ring around the Moon,” among the most memorable and notable moments of the show came when Sage joined his former bandmates to sing his poignant, “Go On,” perhaps the most fitting song of the night.

Another huge moment featuring Sage on vocals came late in the set as the band shared the stage with Bonnie’s sister Annie, as well as members of Fruition and The Deer for a rendition of Joe Cocker’s “With a Little Help from My Friends” in which Sage and Bonnie took the early leads before giving way to Fruition’s Jay Cobb Anderson and Mimi Naja. 

Following “Friends,” in pure Elephant Revival tradition, the band came around a single mic for an intimate, lasting “Good Graces” before saying their first good-bye of the night.

The band would return for a three-song encore that left nothing behind on the stage as they led off with “Lighthouse” and then closed it down with passion-fueled takes on Dan’s “Grace of a Woman” and Bonnie’s “Rogue River.” 

All in all, the show, which also featured a considerable amount of fiddle from longtime collaborator Enion Pelta-Tiller and choreographed dance from Colorado’s Wild Heart Dance troupe, will go down as one of the most well put-together set lists the band has likely every written and one of the most beautiful send-offs any fan could ever ask for.

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2018 - Friday

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2018 - Friday

WINTERWONDERGRASS CO 2018

FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE ARCHIVE

for The Lot Scene by Lindsay

Introduction  

6th Annual Winter Wondergrass Festival - An Experiential Journey of Colorado Connectedness

     Winter Wondergrass is not to be taken lightly. With temperatures barely rising above 20 and constant snowfall, it can seem like a daunting experience. Logistics can seem overbearing for the first-timer: Who’s driving who? Do I book a lodge close to the festival or stay at a friend’s house an Uber ride away? Do I fly into Steamboat or Denver? How many jackets is too many jackets? (The answer is none. Bring all the jackets.) Even the drive can make you sweat: Why did I wear all my layers in the car? You begin to disrobe; your bestie in the passenger seat pulls off your jacket, piling your layers in their lap. Crap, I forgot my new $200 ski gloves back in Denver, three hours away. But, be patient. This is all a part of the journey.

     As you cross over Rabbit Ears Pass, the highway begins to widen, and you get your first glimpse of Steamboat Springs. The sunshine radiates over the ever-expansive valley; the town lies nestled along the sparkling Yampa River, adjacent to a mountain range that hugs the Western ski town. You smile as you see the white tents of the festival engulfed in the thick of it. And then your friend says he has an extra pair of gloves. Things are starting to fall into place. And you haven’t even gotten to the festival grounds yet. It’s at this moment when all the logistical uncertainties fade away. You’ve made it to the mecca of all Colorado festivals. 

     Dubbed by the creators as “part music festival, part beer tasting, part snow holiday and part family reunion,” Winter Wondergrass is an inextricably woven mountain gathering. Yes, it’s appeal is created by the unmatched lineup, award-winning microbrews and word-class skiing, But, at its core, Winter Wondergrass is solidified by the immaculate organization, the experiential winter journey and the organic connectedness of the community.

Friday Highlights

Jon Stickley Trio - Brad Parsons Band - Elephant Revival - Yonder Mountain String Band

     The 6th Annual Winter Wondergrass Festival opened its doors on Friday afternoon with Jon Stickley Trio hitting the main stage. The sun was shining bright against the bluebird skies, and the Trio’s cosmic instrumentals acted as a soundtrack to the festival itself, mimicking an Opening Ceremony of sorts. Stickley looked out into the neon-clad crowd both in admiration and in awe.

The Jon Stickley Trio

     In between the main stage acts, attendees could make their way into three different beer tents, all of which housed local breweries offering free tasters for the early attendees. You could warm up in the tents by means of body heat and award-winning hops. Not to mention dancing to epic sets by Brad Parsons, Old Salt Union and The Wooks.

The Brad Parsons Band

     As the sun began to set and the temperatures began to drop, people made their way to the main stage for one of Elephant Revival’s last shows for the foreseeable future. The frigid conditions triggered mic  issues, causing the band to change opening songs right off the bat. It was quite literally a chilling set, wrought in emotion and unbridled beauty. Songs like “Raven”, “Tam Lin Set,” “Grace of a Woman,” and “Ring Around the Moon” brought tears to both the crowd and the band, instilling this sense of love, loss, and new beginnings. While the band encountered sound and communication issues throughout the set, the presence of two ex-members acted as the glue to keep it all together: stunning fiddle-gypsy, Bridget Law, and folk-singer extraordinaire, Sage Cook, who hasn’t been with the band in almost three years. It was almost as if those in the crowd and those on stage felt this sense of familiarity of hardship. It was cold. It was difficult. It was emotional. It was beautiful.

Elephant Revival

     Following Elephant Revival’s set and checking into warmth of the tent sets (more Stickley, more Brad Parsons and more Old Salt Union), hordes of people trickled in to see Yonder Mountain String Band headline the first night. The snow started to fall even harder, and the liveliness of the audience erupted. Along the same theme of new beginnings, Allie Kral looked stunning, glowing as a momma-to-be in her fur lined, floor length peacoat and fur trapper hat. Her sound ignited the audience, bringing warmth to those who didn’t even know they needed it. 

Allie Kral of Yonder Mountain String Band

     As most festivarians know, the real fun comes out late-night. Winter Wondergrass holds the intrepid “Grass After Dark,” and this year was stacked with so many great sets that it was difficult to choose. It’s recommended to check out the Gondola shows, where you can only access it by gondola, getting dropped off at one big summit party. People literally splayed out of the gondolas and stumbled into the venue. Grant Farm’s “Grantful Dead Revue” showcased the Friday night set, with epic Dead covers like “Althea” and “China Cat Sunflower > Know You Rider.”  

Stay tuned for Saturday and Sunday coverage coming your way!!

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2017 - Sunday

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WinterWonderGrass CO 2017 - Sunday

WinterWonderGrass CO 2017

Festival Experience Archive

for The Lot Scene by Parker

Sunday Highlights

Elephant Revival - Railroad Earth - The Infamous Stringdusters

    If Saturday had been about snow and cold and wind, then Sunday Funday proved itself more about sun and warm and shine.  Ah, Colorado…where, if you don’t trust the weather, then don’t come to WinterWonderGrass unprepared.  People were resplendent in their funwear, ready for a Sunday full of amazing music, just like the two days previous.  I love my people, it must be said.  Our community is so strong and so passionate and so compassionate…I’ve really come to rely upon the foundation of this core grass fan base over the years.  And why shouldn’t I?  After incredible experiences such as WWG amongst so many other amazing festivals throughout the year, it has become apparent just how special this whole situation really is.  And I am most certainly grateful for it.  You bet your boots.  Speaking of boots, let’s get back to those snow boots in Steamboat for a little Elephant Revival time!  They opened things up with Daniel Rodriguez on the lead vocals for “Home in Your Heart” with light and lovely backing vocals from Bonnie Paine.  A wonderful way to start things off, especially with the polished banjo stylings of Charlie Rose there to augment the floating and delighting vocal melody.  Dango Rose’s baller bass playing, as always, providing the backbone of each piece, this one being no exception, was laying down a textural foundation upon which the entire rest of the ensemble was building.  “Light as a feather and you’re homeward bound…”  There is no doubting the beauty of Elephant Revival’s poetry through song.  You’d be hard pressed to find a fan that didn’t agree — they write some seriously moving pieces, it’s true.  The vocal ensemble of Daniel, Bonnie, Charlie, and Darren Garvey back on his drums was gorgeous in the frigid air…yet another strong hallmark of this band’s appeal and abilities.  The song ended to uproarious applause and cheers to which Bonnie replied into the mic, “We love you guys.”  This only elicited at loud, raucous, and awesome “We love you more!” from the crowd.  You cannot create moments like that, you just have to be there in them.  And what a moment we were all sharing!  Daniel led things off for the next piece on guitar, joined quickly by Bonnie on washboard and the remainder of the band moving quickly into their signature sound.  How great a sound it is, too, my friends.  So unique.  “Remembering a Beginning” is a Bonnie lead on vocals and is a journey through music and mystery.  Bridget Law’s solo on fiddle a few minutes into things was haunting and a perfect counterpoint to Bonnie’s mesmerizing vocals.  Suffice it to say, this band is a well-balanced, finely tuned magical musical machine.  They way they all play so well together is really a treat to behold.  And we cannot forget Charlie’s monster of a banjo breakdown, can we?  No, we really cannot.  So far this show was delivering on so many lovely levels.  But, then again, that is what we all have come to rightly expect from a band that makes such lovely music.  Third up out of the gate for us was a lively fiddle tune from the amazing Bridget Law.  Nothing like watching someone with chops such as hers evoke the most marvelous strains from her chosen instrument.  It was more like seeing her dancing with the fiddle as the rest of the band played for their benefit.  Some really fun stuff was coming from the Garvey at the rear of the stage percussion-wise to bolster the highly enjoyable dancing rhythms of the tune itself, Bonnie’s washboard zipping along to the beat in a bright and bold fashion.  Shame I don’t know that name of this one…I’ll certainly be listening for it in the future.  Man, what a set so far and we were just three songs in!!  A little further along we were able to capture some video to give you a feel of the sights and sounds of WWG care of Elephant Revival.  Please enjoy “Spinning”, my friends.  I know I sure did!! 

Kinda makes you want to go to Steamboat in 2018, huh?  I know the feeling.  Trust me.  It gets in your blood…he said after having gone three times.  Guess some things can’t be helped.  Not that I’d want to.  But, back to the music!  Their penultimate song of the evening was “Drop”, with it’s percussion-heavy intro and intense lyrics.  Dancing in and out of mellow, this is a masterful piece of music with some extremely gorgeous parts.  One such part is Law’s expert fiddle work throughout, both in ensemble and solo.  Bonnie’s oh-so unique and diaphanous voice, perfectly suited to the vocals of this one, rang out into the still of the air, coming to rest lightly and sweetly on our ears and hearts.  And there was another incredible Charlie Rose solo on banjo.  Wow.  Just wow.  After a supremely wonderful set, things heated up even further at the end as many, many friends joined ER on stage for a their final number.  Members of Fruition, Gipsy Moon, and even festival organizer and visionary Scott Stoughton crowded around the various mics on stage to join Elephant for a big, bad WWG version of “Grace of a Woman”.  Daniel Rodriguez led things off on vocals quickly supported by the many voices on stage in a big chorus of amazing harmony.  The chorus was a brazen and ecstatic celebration of voices, countless united in cause, both on stage and off.  What a party!  This one was a seriously good time, there can be no doubts.  I mean, how much fun were all the musicians having?  Those smiles were as real as can be.  Truth.  Mimi Naja of Fruition unleashed a beast of a mando solo…so good!  And then there’s Andy Goessling from Railroad Earth out of nowhere on sax just killing things.  Amazing.  And then, an a cappella ending?  Really?  So freakin’ good!  What a fabulous show it had been.  What a way to Sunday, no doubt!  So many thanks to Elephant Revival for a simply delightful time at WWG CO 2017!!  Let’s do it all over again next year!!

Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival

Authors’ Note

    My apologies for not providing further reviews of Railroad Earth and The Infamous Stringdusters.  Due to a personal emergency on Sunday of WinterWonderGrass, I was not able to cover these events.  All’s well that ended well, so no worries, just that it interrupted my journalistic goals for the day.  I have included some RRE images for you as well as a video of the final song of the fest that night at ISD’s late night show.  Please enjoy, friends!!  Again, my apologies!!

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

Railroad Earth

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DelFest 9 - Festival Experience Archive - Thursday

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DelFest 9 - Festival Experience Archive - Thursday

DelFest 9

Festival Experience Archive

for The Lot Scene by Parker

     DelFest 9 is being lauded by many as the best one yet.  And who am I to argue that point?  From where I stood at the end of things on Memorial Day, I know that I’d seen just crazy amounts of seriously wonderful music, enjoyed countless magical moments under the night sky over Cumberland, basked in the warm friendship of my family and people, and thrilled myself to the core in only the way that bluegrass can thrill.  This was only my third DelFest, however, I’d certainly say it was the best I’d been to yet.  But this shouldn’t be surprising to read knowing that the ever-compassionate and caring Del McCoury family was at the heart of the entire affair and had been since its inception almost 10 years ago (next year will be DelFest’s 10th Anniversary year).  Even through the rains and the steamy heat that followed, spirits were never dampened whatsoever, people choosing to dance in the downpour rather than shake their fists in frustration or anger.  So many little instances of merriment and grace surmounting stormy skies and muddy fields.  Humanity at its finer points.  And that ubiquitous DelFest grin attached so firmly to everyone’s face…a permanent fixture throughout the weekend and one that is very contagious.  That’s one of the things I love about DelFest; as a rule, people come with a very simple agenda:  listen to great bluegrass music, have fun doing so, enjoy with friends, repeat.  It’s as easy as that.  Doesn’t sound so bad, right?  Well, it isn’t by a long shot.  Seriously good times with seriously fantastic music.  DelFest in a nutshell.  And what a bunch of nuts are we, right?  Exactly.  But enough idle banter from me, you came here to read about some music, am I correct?  Why don’t we get to it, then?  Excelsior!

Thursday Highlights

The Del McCoury Band - Sound Check

     The rain was falling gently on the covered heads and umbrellas of the crowd as Del and his band of musical merrymakers took to the main stage for their traditional sound check performance.  It made for a lovely spectacle to view and Del thought so, too!  Their first song for us was apropos to be sure:  “Rain Please Go Away”.  Perfect and we all loved it.  Jason Carter had a hot little fiddle solo towards the beginning that got our feet tapping in quick time, readying ourselves for an entire weekend of doing the very same thing.  And there we went!!  Ronnie and Rob grabbed a little solo time themselves as the song progressed, mandolin and banjo, respectively, sparkling in the hands of a master.  Del, of course, sounded magnificent on the vocals, that thumbprint-unique voice so perfectly suited to his chosen genre of music.  Needless to say we were all off to a very, very good start.  Portents of good things to come?  You had best believe that was the truth, bought and sold.  Next in was a big DelFest surprise for all of us as Del called a gentleman named Mike to the stage for something very special.  Mike greeted us all from themicrophone, gave us a big “Del Yeah!!”, and then proceeded to invite his girlfriend, Therese, out to join him.  At which time, he dropped to a knee, and asked that oh-so-important question, ring in hand.  To which she said “yes” of course!  Right there in front of Del and the rest of us.  It was an incredibly sweet and tender moment which made DelFest instantly all the more special.  Del and band followed this with a bit of a wink and nudge humor with “Good Man Like Me”.  But why take my word for any of this when we happen to have it right here for you? 

Pretty wonderful, no?  I had the opportunity later in the weekend of meeting Therese and Mike.  Absolutely delightful couple.  I wish them nothing but a lifetime of happiness and joy together.  “If You’ve Got the Money Honey” was a perfect follow-up to “Good Man” and Del, again, was in fine vocal form, hitting those high notes with ease and precision to the absolute delight of the crowd.  The band was sounding and marvelous as ever, too.  Which is always a treat of the highest order.  From Jason on fiddle to Ronnie on mando to Robbie on banjo and round and back again, you always get a smattering to a smorgasbord of super hot, wildly well-played bluegrass music.  Through and through.  And when you have to very likes of Alan Bartram on bass, you never need worry about your musical foundation.  That man knows his bass thoroughly, there can be no doubt.  Next up that afternoon was “Ocean of Diamonds”, a tender waltz dedicated to devotion featuring an exquisitely lovely mandolin solo from Ronnie McCoury.  There is nothing like the look of utter pride and love on Del’s face each time he watches one of his sons sing or play.  Truly it is priceless and paternal and perfect.  That man really is love, you know?  Easy to describe him as such, to be sure.  Later down the set they played a “scary song” according to Del, “Eli Renfro”, a story of murder and hanging.  It certainly had a dark tale to tell alongside the brighter seeming instrumentals of the piece.  Another gorgeous one, of course, in truth.   So many good highlights already and we were just at the very beginning of DelFest 9!!  How just plain wonderfully wonderful!!  And so much incredible music already thanks to The Del McCoury Band!!  Bravi, gentlemen, for one heck of a kickstart to another stupendous weekend!    

The Del McCoury Band

The Del McCoury Band

Elephant Revival

     We entered the main stage area a tad late for Elephant Revival’s set, having raced back from our campsite after a gear change.  But we were ready when we got there for that special brand of string band music that only Elephant can deliver.  Bonnie Paine’s voice greeted us immediately upon entry, her siren song calling us into the mix of people and music once more with some mesmerizing fiddle and mando accompanying.  Always a pleasure to be graced with the sweet sonorous texture of Elephant Revival’s playing.  It’s like a comfortable, soft blanket wrapped around the shoulders on a frosty winter’s eve.  Bridget Law kicked off a slow and steady fiddle tune next for us in the form of “The Pasture” from their album These Changing Skies.  I love the intense and mellow drive of this tune, as the energy builds throughout the band as it progresses.  Bridget Law being one of the finest fiddle players in the business right now, of course, and her playing always a gift to behold.  And this is a band with a whole lot of gifts, mind you.  “Sing to the Mountain” followed, just a beauty of a song.  This one features some of those singular and superb vocal harmonies that Elephant has the market a bit cornered on.  Really incredible blend here and quite easy on the ear, no doubt.  “Go and sing to the mountain, go and sing to the moon.”  At which point we all howled at the moon, like you do.  Of course.  This was DelFest after all!  What a set so far!  I’d howl just for more great music from this band.  (And think I did do just that.)  Jason Carter joined the band on “The Garden” which followed “Sing to the Mountain”.  This one is a sweet and somewhat mysterious song which was only augmented in a beautiful way by Jason’s fiddle playing.  Especially when in duet alongside Bridget.  Really gorgeous stuff going on there — magnificent!  The vocal harmonies between Bonnie, Bridget, and Daniel Rodriguez were especially enchanting in this one.  Such incredibly good music.  Many of the band’s friends from Fruition came out for the following song, the raucous and energetic “Rogue River”.  The ensuing wall of tight vocal harmonies that issued forth from the speakers was truly something to witness.  Something musically mystical and masterful.  And fun as anything you’ve known.  Ah, the power of good music!  And let’s not forget the percussion breakdowns throughout as well…talk about your dancin’ music!  What’s not to just adore about this band?  Well-written, well-executed music by supremely talented and skilled individuals, all virtuosi on their chosen instruments.  And so much heart and feeling!  As in pretty much all the feels, right?  So grateful that Elephant Revival was with us at DelFest 9 — what a treat and pleasure.  Thanks so much to the band and their people for another incredible time!!  PS - Here is a quick video we caught of “Single Beds Are Made for One” — please enjoy!! 

Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival

Yonder Mountain String Band

     Main stage.  Main event.  Thursday night.  Yonder.  Let’s do this.  And we were off into the night on the YMSB train with “Only a Northern Song” driving away from the station at full speed.  Tight vocal harmonies and plenty of good ol’ fashioned bluegrass instrumental work were the entrees du jour that evening for us all and we were hungry for as much great music as we could hold.  Allie Kral busted out some pretty kick ass fiddle alongside Jake Jolliff’s mandolin madness as they all jammed this one out, the both of them taking some sweet solo spots on it as well.  Those two have really gelled in this band, haven’t they?  The ensemble sound has has never been better since their induction into the group. Truly.  And “Northern Song” — always a big, lengthy, jammy start to a Yonder show, right?  And that’s what this one was.  Bang!  “Fingerprint” followed next with Dave Johnston at the mic for the vocals.  This one was a bit gritty and dirty in that good, good way.  I like seeing that attitude in Yonder’s playing.  And everyone was on point with their solos as usual — reliably great musical acumen, that’s what a person should expect from YMSB.  And get, in spades.  We were able to grab a recording of their next number, “Looking Back Over My Shoulder”, for your viewing enjoyment.  Hope you dig! 

Classic.  And well done!  Love that song.  Jake took to the microphone for the following song, a quick and grassed-up version of America’s “Sister Golden Hair”, as song that is fast becoming one of their new standards.  Fast drivin’ to be sure, this one sizzles along at a hopping pace.  Lots of mighty fine fiddle playing from Allie once again.  Boy can that lady saw away on her instrument!  Jolliff’s own solo was pretty nasty good itself, lots of effects coming out the speakers at us, more of that gritty stuff we love so much.  Allie was up to the mic a bit later in the set for “Love Before You Can’t” flexing those pretty pipes of hers.  She’s really come to own this song and it is just lovely.  This is one of those places where things just all shine in all the right ways.  Light and lilting ensemble sound from the band to accompany — fantastic.  Just an all-around pleasant song.  Brava, Miss Kral!  They asked Ronnie McCoury and Jason Carter out to play with them for a spell as we headed back to camp to grab a bit warmer clothing before late night, the dulcet tones of guest mando and fiddle drifting out over the assembled multitude.  Another extremely fine concert experience at the deft hands of the Yonder Mountain String Band.  A big thanks to all who helped put this show on.  Talk about your headlining, right?  Lovely!

Yonder Mountain String Band

Yonder Mountain String Band

Late Night - Fruition - The Infamous Stringdusters featuring Nicki Bluhm

     Hot damn, it was Fruition time!  And late night to boot!!  How grateful were we??  Plenty durn grateful, believe-you-me.  Plus we had conducted a super fun and really informative interview with Mimi Naja just that afternoon.  It would be cool to see her play after that.  Arriving just a scootch late, we entered the late night pavilion to “And There She Was” a current and long-standing favorite around The Lot Scene offices.  So groovy, so funky, so disco resurgence.  So perfect.  And SO catchy.  Wow.  I dare you to try to get that song out of your head once it’s there.  Bravo, Kellen Asebroek.  That’s all I have to say.  Oh, well, and bravi to the rest of the band, of course.  What a way to make an entrance!  Perfect late night mind and soul food.  Truly.  Joe Walsh’s “Life’s Been Good” is another huge stand out of the set.  Crazy good cover of a song I love.  And they sounded just baller, my friends.  But, then again, this is Fruition we’re talking about, right?  They always sound baller.  Am I right?  Jay Cobb Anderson took to the mic for the lead on “Fire” only to be joined in duet by Mimi Naja.  This one is a white hot Tilt-a-Whirl of madcap musical merriment.  And with Allie Kral guesting in on fiddle?  Forget about it.  It really just doesn’t get much better than that.  Especially when the band apparently decides to just rock the ever living everything out of the song and gets nasty to the bone with it in a super dirty awesome breakdown.  Fan-freakin-tastic!  A little later in their set we snagged a video of “Above the Line” so that you could check a bit of the late night vibe out for yourself.  Please enjoy! 

“Labor of Love”, the title track of the new album, was next in line, sounding just about album perfect and amazing.  A bit later they invited Bonnie and Daniel from Elephant out to jam a number with them and then Jeremy Garrett from The Infamous Stringdusters not long after.  Talk about your all-star guests!  And talk about your hella good times at the hands of Fruition.  Again.  Only to be thrust into the waiting clutches of The Infamous Stringdusters!!  Their good friend Nicki Bluhm was there to join them for this set which I was eager to hear live, never having heard this collaboration in person before.  And what a group to follow Fruition’s energy!  Amazing vocal harmonies and supremely great instrumental skills all rolled into one incredibly talented band.  What a force!  “Run to Heaven” was the first song they performed with Nicki that night and here is the precise way things went down for you: 

Wowsers, what a formidable combination!  Bravi to one and all for that one!  Later on we got the soulful “A Little Too Late to Die Young” with Nicki still on lead vocals, Travis Book backing her up.  A lot of big energy from this song.  Really enjoyed it, especially in a late night groove.  Mimi and Tyler Thompson from Fruition came out on stage to join the boys for a super mellow “Sitting on Top of the World” bringing their special blend to the situation.  Nicki also rejoined things to croon to us all once again.  Please no, anything but that.  Yeah, right.  How awesome was this?  Great interplay between Andy Hall and Mimi, too.  Really fun to watch and even better to hear.  Such wonderful music and so late at night.  How nice.  The massive breakdown at the end of this song had us all stomping and moving and having a ball as the tempo switched to double overtime.  Strings a-twanging left and right as the whole pavilion bopped along to this musical wonderment.  Kellen joined in the assembled group for some fun with a Travis Book-led “Cripple Creek” for us.  The Band — Del Yeah!!  What a cover to pick.  All of us were singing along as well we should be:  one of the absolute classics.  Another perfect choice for late night.  Tom Petty’s “American Girl” was another fine standout as was the closer, The Dead’s “Not Fade Away” with Nicki Bluhm once more.  What a way to end things late night at DelFest the first night.  Only Thursday!!  Can you believe it?  There is so much more of DelFest to relate to you, my friends!  And we’ve already been through so much incredible music.  Wow, are you ready for it?  Ready for more?

Fruition

Fruition

The Infamous Stringdusters

The Infamous Stringdusters

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Stay tuned for the remaining days of DelFest, everyone!!  More to come!!

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Fruition - 21 August 2015 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

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Fruition - 21 August 2015 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

Fruition

21 August 2015 - Red Rocks Amphitheatre - Morrison, CO

for The Lot Scene by Parker

Band Members:  Jay Cobb Anderson - vocals, lead guitar, harmonica; Kellen Asebroek - vocals, rhythm guitar, piano; Mimi Naja - vocals, mandolin, electric guitar, acoustic guitar; Jeff Leonard - bass; Tyler Thompson - drums, banjo

Setlist:  Meet Me on the Mountain, The Wanter, Labor of Love, Wastin’ Away > Blue Light, Never Again, Get In, Mountain Annie, I Don't Mind, The Meaning

    Red Rocks.  A triple bill.  And Fruition to lead the whole affair?  You bet your boots, my friends.  And what an opener for an evening filled with amazing music!  Of course, I must admit my bias before I begin as I simply love this Oregonian band.  I’ve had the privilege of seeing them may times now and grow to love them all the more each new time I do.  Arriving just in time for the first note, we walked into the moving and magnificent one-of-a-kind venue that is Red Rocks just as Fruition began singing “Meet Me on the Mountain”, that harmonious and lovely selection from the EP they did with Grant Farm last year.  A perfect way to begin our delightful evening of music down in that magical bowl between Creation and Ship Rocks.  They followed with “The Wanter” and then “Labor of Love”, one of my personal favorites from this band.  For anyone familiar with them, it should come as no surprise how well Mimi and Kellen and Jay’s voices all shone out from that hallowed stage.  In short, they all sounded just stellar for their first Red Rocks performance — which came as no surprise.  They then slowed things down a bit with Mimi up to the mic for “Wastin’ Away” which was a clear crowd favorite and which sounded hauntingly gorgeous as it reverberated all around us off those famous rocks.  Brava!!  They took “Wastin’” directly into the unmistakable groove of “Blue Light” from their album Just One of Them Nights.  And then it was time to speed things back up and for Jay to take the lead for another of my favorites, “Never Again”, this version being fully imbued with all the positive energy and ecstatically happy attitude that Red Rocks itself provides for the musicians who play there.  In a (couple of) word(s):  terrifically explosive.  Then we got a very lovely treat in the form of one Bridget Law of Elephant Revival who joined in on fiddle for “Get In” — but why take my paltry word for it when you can see for yourself? 

Sweet and engaging and with the perfect guest to have join them at Red Rocks.  “Mountain Annie” — just the name of the song and its unique sound and extremely catchy nature conjures up visions of Fruition for me.  One of theirs that I feel is so pleasantly synonymous with the band itself.  And, boy, was I sure glad they ended up including it in their set for us!  It sounded just exquisite, each vocal spot on, each harmony in tune, and the energy itself.  Powerful.  Another guest, though, you say?  Really?  OK, how about Anders Beck from Greensky Bluegrass?  Would that make you happy?  It sure made all of us in the audience very happy as he took the stage with his electric slide to join in on the rock’n’roll “I Don’t Mind” led by Mimi on the mic.  Gritty and intense this was a fun ride for all.  Their final selection for the evening featured Kellen on the lead vocals for “The Meaning” which was a slower, more soulful piece that brought their show to a gentle, impactful close.  Not bad whatsoever (read:  freakin’ unreal and crazy good) for their first time at Red Rocks!  I would very much love to see them headlining there one day very soon, and believe that they could, no worries.  A truly incredible job, guys, thank you so much for such a fantastic show.  And, the crazy thing is, Fruition was just getting things going for the night!  Greeksky and Yonder were both yet to come!  So, stay tuned for more from this wonderful evening of music!!

Anders Beck joins Fruition

Anders Beck joins Fruition

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