Was it the reunion of brimming fans? Or was it the band’s majestic sound? Regardless, Elephant Revival’s two homecoming shows at the Ogden this past weekend produced nothing short of sweeping communal joy. Sights, sounds, and vibes provided respite from wintry woes all too common this time of year.
“Peace, Love, and Transcendental Folk” is what comes to mind as Dango Rose from Elephant Revival explains his band’s earthy roots and spiritual aspirations. In light of the recent tragedy in their home state of Colorado, we talk about how music is just a small part of efforts to dissolve the fear and hate that sometimes fuel those who choose violence. Local Colorado fans are excited to come together for the band’s two homecoming shows this weekend.
Many thoughts come to mind when one hears the phrase ‘Elephant Revival.’ For some, it’s a completely abstract concept. For others, the name rings true – although the many truths Elephant Revival listeners happen upon through their music are many, there’s a connection we all feel written within each song Elephant Revival brings to the stage.
There was a decidedly day-glo hue to the bluegrass played at this year’s Northwest String Summit (July 16-19). Many of the musical merry-makers, and deadicated patrons alike, appeared to still be basking in the warm fluorescent after-light of the “Fare Thee Well” experience. The haunting presence of the now officially departed Dead continues to populate and positively inform a new generation of musical/spiritual adventurers.
“From death comes life and so on.”
I was honestly a bit wary of seeing my first Elephant Revival show sans Sage Cook. And I’m sure quite a few people felt that way. But most of me was excited to see what new journey the band was on with their new member Charlie Rose, playing a range of instruments and seamlessly adding his Rufus Wainwright-esque vocals on a number of songs. And like the lyrics above state, there’s a new life to Elephant Revival – one just as wonderful as I had hoped.
After eight years of playing with Elephant Revival, the ambitious Sage Cook decided to chase a different dream. He moved to an isolated patch of land on the border of Oklahoma and Kansas with the long-term goal of setting up a farming community. After a year of pruning fruit trees, caring for livestock, and cultivating that community- new music was just another logical, organic process. We Dream Dawn is the product of living close to the land and letting ideas slowly develop over time.
Nestled in the Sierras at the base of Squaw Valley Lodge, Winter Wonder Grass opened its door for the first time on the West Coast to deliver a top notch line up of Bluegrass music. The previously only located in Colorado festival spread its wings to expand to another Grass loving area in Tahoe. Billed as a Beer and Music festival the bill, did not lie. Every major brewer on the West Coast was in attendance from Lagunitas, Tahoe Favorite 50/50, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Green Flash and many, many more!
This has been an amazing few months of music for me, but once again, I cannot avoid writing about how music has literally spread its wings to reach out as far as possible with different mixtures of sounds and influences to combine into a genreless gumbo. Elephant Revival’s Facebook pages states, “Where words fail…music speaks,” and as a writer, I could not agree more. I often ask my muse, where do I get the words to describe some of the music that I have been seeing lately? Needless to say, it is difficult.