If performing with a band isn’t pressure enough, imagine a one-man act with nobody to fall back on. Relying on crowd dialogue and a hefty dose of humor is necessary to counteract any hesitation or nervousness, helping to fill the void between clapping and the next song. A couple of Texans recently made their way to The Fox Theatre to perform solo sets that relied on lyrical depth and a good sense of humor.
Chatham County Line’s new album 'Tightrope' debuted at #3 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart. North Carolina funambulists Dave Wilson, (Guitar, Harmonica, Vocal) John Teer, (Mandolin, Fiddle, Vocal) Chandler Holt (Banjo, Guitar, Vocal) and Greg Readling (Bass, Pedal Steel, Piano, Vocal) return to Colorado promoting their sixth studio album on Yep Roc. For over a decade, Chatham County Line has remained the same four members.
New Zealand was representing in Boulder on this night in a big way, and I was very happy to be part of it. I got the opportunity to meet and interview one of the nicest bands that I have ever met. Sam McCarthy and Lucas Ventura from Strange Babes were the ultimate hosts for me, and I had yet another magical evening of music and community. The night started with a terrific opening set by Strange Babes.
With just about two months to go, Colorado’s best music festival experience is only warming up, and even in their warm-ups, they go hard. The venue was an unusual one, but the Apex Movement facility in Boulder, was the perfect place to throw a mini festival. There was meditation, reiki, dancing, gymnastics, upper level pools, amazing drinks from Zoe at StarWater, photo booths, fire dancers, activists, really amazing music (I don’t care if you saw the lineup and didn’t recognize the bands), beautiful painters and artists, and even a wheel to get spun.
It’s funny how music can change. It’s so malleable; you could hear it in one setting and hate it, vowing to never again let such filth invade your eardrums again. I’m referring to sonic pop by the way. Then, you could hear it at a different time, in a different situation, a different artist and see something in it that you never considered. It’s not just to down to peer pressure, either. You could be listening to a song on repeat in the morning that by night time you can’t stand.
It's easy to know how to categorize an artist like Christina Rubino. Self-described as “a Female Johnny Cash” Alive from the Scrapheap’ is one of the more dark releases I’ve heard this year. It’s not so dark and apocalyptic steeped in the fog of shock mind you, but rather extremely truthful and honest. It’s got sold melodies and impressive musicianship – which is a rarity in today music.
Striking out on your own as a musician after being part of an ensemble is never easy to do, save for the fortunately marketable front men and Beyoncés of the world. Roosevelt Collier is doing his best, and while picking up steam, has never forgotten where he came from and what made him the musician he is today. Forged out of the Pentecostal beliefs surrounding “Sacred Steel,” Roosevelt is both carrier of the torch and genre-hijacking outlaw.
If the spirit of the 60s was still alive, it’s probably not through the music. Nostalgia is what connects most folks to those simpler, but equally perplexing socioeconomic times in American history. On a grand scale, the human-be ins and connectivity that brought the young generation, the baby boomers, growing into adults of the late 1960s, was a time when youth stopped buying into their elder generations ideas of conformity and the lies about being patriotic by supporting a pointless war halfway across the world.