Just looking at the calender here and boy is April stacked with live music. From here, till the end of the month, someone somewhere is playing a live show worthy of your attention. There are some big names here. Check out the highlights:
April 12 - KAFM's Radio Soul Train with DJ Strangefellow, Dusty Thunders, Goe Goe ft. The Rev, and DJ Skip Naft at the Mesa Theater. From the people who brought you Zombie Prom comes Radio Soul Train. This event is a costume party benefiting KAFM, our undervalued and supremely important community radio station.
Living in Colorado we are reminded every day of our cultural heritage.
It’s in the names of our city streets, such as Chipeta and Ute avenues.
Look at the towns that populate the Centennial State such as Cortez, Leadville or Nederland.
Nederland? Hold on, what the heck is a Nederland?
Well, just off the Continental Divide, Nederland was set up as a trading post between the Ute Indians and Western pioneers. A mountain town straight from western folklore, it is quintessential Americana, the kind of stuff you glaze over in Colorado history class.
One group of Nederlanders, a band known as Elephant Revival, cannot escape these cultural roots. In a city founded on the idea of exchanging cultural goods and customs, Elephant Revival is a fusion of culture past and present and celebrator of Americana.
Elephant Revival plays like the simplicity of a cast iron skillet, or at least that’s what you are meant to think. A quintet that weaves harmonies, string and percussion instruments together, it is bare-boned and efficient in its storytelling.
Elephant Revival pulls from the best of American root music to create its sound. It’s not quite bluegrass, or jazz, or Celtic, or folk. It’s simply a melding of all styles.
“Where words fail, music speaks.” That’s the first line on the band’s bio and never clearer than on its 2012 album. “It’s Alive.”
Bonnie Paine’s washboard percussion intro on “Tam Lin Set” sounds like a typewriter tapping out a frantic message. Low guitar tunes add drama, and as the band starts to hit full stride, fiddle carrying the main melody, the song says so much without uttering a word.
Elephant Revival is conscious about the space it occupies. An Americana band at heart, Elephant Revival makes music that speaks volumes about love, loss and everything in between.
On “To and From,” the band sings, “This heart’s a steam engine baby / love is you.” It’s an endearing message rooted in the past, but timeless in nature.
Listen to the band’s sound firsthand on Friday, April 5, at the Mesa Theater and Lounge.
Opening Friday’s proceedings is local favorite The Williams Brothers Band. Also incorporating truly American music styles such as blues, folk, country and funk, The Williams Brothers Band are rock solid in its delivery.
One minute the band can make you feel warm and cozy, like a Sunday afternoon on the back porch, with an acoustic blues based serenade. The next minute the band might channel the raw power of Jimi Hendrix in an electric guitar heavy assault of your senses.
The band has over 20 years experience and are so engrossed in its sound that the band performs live without a set list.
“We just get up and let the music play us,” James Williams says. Williams also hinted that the band may debut new original material and possibly a new cover at Friday’s show.
There is something charming about bands playing music that incorporates our historical roots and values. Groups such as Elephant Revival and The Williams Brothers Band are playing music about country and freedom, characteristics of American life.
They might not break any new creative ground with their music, but their songs authentically capture the collection of ideals that make Americans American.
Don’t you just feel at home when listening to this style of music? I do. The thing about Americana is that its not somber nostalgic tones of years bygone, its a holistic celebration of all good things.
Check out this interesting report I came across yesterday about the healing power of music. There is new evidence that suggests that music as a form of medicine might actually be scientifically true. According to the study, music may have a positive affect on the body in the areas of pain management and relaxation, and in some instances may be more effective than prescription drugs. Listening to music may also help reduce stress levels, help with anxiety, and strengthen your immune system.
From a personal perspective, I think music certainly helps me with stress and anxiety. I know for a fact that listening to or playing music after a stressful day helps calm me down. The Arctic Monkeys are one of my all time favorite bands. I love their music, the lyrics, attitude, and style. Now I don't know if my immune system improves, but listening to their music always makes me feel better.
In fact, my mood has improved substantially just now after finding their full Coachella 2012 performance online. I was at this show last year and have nothing but positive memories about it. Oh yeah!
Fair warning, a vagabond band of gypsies are in town tonight. Mind your wallets.
Making a stop at the Cavalcade in Fruita, Caravan of Theives are out to steal your hearts with humorous theatrics and jazzy rhythms. The band is hard to classify. They are part show, part concert, but certainly entertaining. Here is what the band has to say. "If Django Reinhardt, the cast of Stomp and the Beatles all had a party at Tim Burton's house, Caravan of Thieves would be the band they hired." Hmm. That seems to sum it up nicely.
Jack White is once again making news, announcing today that The White Stripes are back at it. This time around things will be a bit different. Instead of Meg White on drums it will be Academy Award Winning Actress Tilda Swinton.
"The White Stripes are, and always have been, me and my sister," White said. "Now The White Stripes are with my other biological sister, Tilda Swinton." The revamped White Stripes plan to drop a new album on Record Store Day.