Adam of Tallgrass plays at Avogadro's number in Fort Collins.

Morfbeats: Where Art Meets Sound

Fort Collins Music

 

 

 

Sometimes the greatest gifts can change our lives. A craft or tool handed down from a former generation can bring out our innate abilities and modify the course of our lives. Adam Morford, creator/artist behind Morfbeats artistic percussive sound sculptures, visited his grandfather one winter a few years ago when a welder his grandfather used most of his life to craft was handed down. Adam, a man of great family values and heritage, embraced the gift.

“When it all started I wanted to make an instrument, not a cowbell or something typical. I wanted to essentially put all the sounds that weren’t available to me, in one instrument. Just the sounds that I liked, reminiscent of sounds used in movies, the darker scarier sounds.” ~Adam Morford

 

Adam Morford of Morfbeats performs with his band Tallgrass. Photo by Argento Studios

Adam Morford of Morfbeats performs with his band Tallgrass. Photo by Argento Studios

 

He was sketching one night and had an epiphany. He realized he should embrace himself and make something faithful to his origin and not just design what the world wanted him to. He is the creator, and this is his great invention. It didn’t have to look like anything that existed in the world.  He allowed himself the freedom to be his own man and part from the preconceptions of the world. He made a bell the next day twice as large as anything he had ever made.  That was the moment the walls came down, and it just happened, the signature instrument, the Marvin. It was June 23, 2016, Morfbeats became a reality.

 

Since then he and his brother manufacture handcrafted original percussive instruments in Adam’s garage. They have a small stock and are trying to stay ahead of the need. Original Marvin’s are always made to order due to the size and scale of work it takes to produce.  Morfbeats has made eight original sized Marvin’s. These are 24×24.He has made over 100 micro Marvin’s and over 100 mini Marvin’s in that time. These are the more portable version for traveling musicians. Adam just released his newest design in the Morfbeats family, the Tongue Head.

 

Billy Martin, writer of Wandering, percussion at Medeski, Martin, & Wood was an early adopter. After Adam, conceived Marvin he was aching to collaborate and produce even more artistic rhythm creations. He reached out to Billy on a whim and Billy was immediately intrigued. They spent some creative sessions together, and a forever friendship was made. Billy is one of Adam’s heroes.

Adam read Wandering after receiving it as a gift for Christmas around the same time as he got the welder. It forever altered his mindset about creativity and his abilities. Everything in the book resonated with Adam. The book was so influential to him. It made him leave shore and push to find himself. He is able to create instruments that cannot be bought at a store or replicated by anyone. He realized there are no rules to instruments you can use anything that makes a good sound.

 

This summer Billy invited Adam to present at his Camp Rhythm Sound and Magic in upstate NY. This is a creative camp for the most well-known percussionist in the World. Billy asked Adam to join and tell his story about being a sound sculpture and the process on how to build sound. There is a performance element, workshops, and ensembles. They learn new things and create music together. Adam has not felt a sense of community in Colorado and rather connected from the percussive innovators. Morford was always so inspired by Billy’s artistry, and now Morford’s hero is inspired equally by the things he does. He realized at that point, maybe he is doing something pretty cool and pretty special.

 

 

“When you do things with the right intentions, anything can happen.” ~Adam Morford

 

As the instruments refined, he gained the confidence and the ability to see that they could change the world of sound. Morfbeats has been quite simple in approaching the market. Most of the word is spread in a grassroots style. He made an Instagram for his mom to see what he was making and be proud of him. This sparked interest from people seeking something new and unique in percussion.  Matt Maccon of Bon Iver followed him on Instagram. Adam admired the group and all they have produced. The two met and innovated new techniques in experimentation and sound.

Morford says there is no box these things are in, there is no limit to the capability of sound.  Morfbeats has created new avenues for Adam to express himself. To be his own unique self, he had to create something no one else had yet something he had craved for. Adam is making waves of sound in the industry just by creating percussive devices that he needs as a musician. People agree, and they want to have a one-of-a-kind sounding instrument that bends the norms of percussion. Percussionists are craving originality in music and a personally tailored instrument.

Morford went from being the kid on the street looking up to these drummers, to them buying his creations and becoming their peer.  Adam has revived the craft and re-envisioned it. In one year, he has met so many of his heroes. There are still hundreds more of people he would love to work with. He will continue to innovate and collaborate and change the way percussion sounds in modern day music.

 

Adam plays percussion in the band Tallgrass with his brother, and another half of Morfbeats, Austin Morford and bandmate Matt Skinner.

 

Adam playing with Tallgrass at Avos. Photo by Argento Studios.

 

Visit Morfbeats to see the collection or make a purchase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements
Justin plays finger style acoustic

Justin Roth Launches a New Singer-Songwriter group at the Music District

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

Justin Roth is bringing his songwriting group to the Music District in Fort Collins on Tuesday, April 11 at 7 pm. For over five years, this group has existed so that songwriters can bring in a fresh song each month to receive constructive criticism and encouragement. It began with its founding members – Justin, Michael Kirkpatrick of The Holler! and the Good Time Travelers and Mike Finders (of Finnders and Youngberg) and has grown with a rotating cast of about 30 other songwriters. Roth saw that moving the group to the Music District would be an opportunity to invite other writers and to be more interactive with the local community. It is appropriate to songwriters of all levels who aspire to work on their craft.

The technique of creating a song is distinctive for all. Creativity can come in waves, which some rely on for song production. Other methods are more strategic and disciplined by writing each day to allow ideas to flow regularly. The purpose of the group is to have a deadline and to be faithful, no matter how the tune was composed or the style of the writer.
This experience can become part of the writing process because getting feedback when a new song is still forming can help writers get a better sense of whether their message is getting communicated they way they intend. It is a chance to examine one’s own writing, as well as that of many others, by being open to honest feedback with the goal of honing one’s craft.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Roth studied music business in addition to being a musician and educator.  He has invested time on the road touring and has the first-hand experience what it calls for to be successful. Roth can lead a writer through songwriting, instructions, skills/techniques, audio recording, and establishing a business method. Justin is a member of a broad engineering studio in Fort Collins,  Bridgeway Recording.  He owns a home studio, ToneBAR Studio.  He works holistically with an artist according to where they are in their performance and recording career.

Justin teaches online guitar lessons through  JAMPLAY.COM.  This is a live streaming method of teaching. There are dozens of teachers covering many styles, techniques, and tips. Justin’s class is every Thursday at 4 pm called “Expressive Acoustic Guitar” which directs how to spice up your guitar parts in songs.

Upcoming shows:

Sunday 4/9/2017 Justin Roth & Korby Lenker (from Nashville) at Avogadro’s Number

04/28/17 FoCoMX Festival – High Point Bar Time: 10:30pm. Address: 146 N College Ave.

 

Fort Collins Gypsy Swing Band Release Craft Beer

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

The Happy Dapples is an eclectic group of musicians from Fort Collins that play Gypsy Swing. This Saturday they celebrated their craft beer release of  Hoppy Dopple with Equinox Brewing in Fort Collins.

The beer has been on tap at Equinox since November of 2016. Oskar Arevalo, singer and guitar player of the Dapples, had an interest in brewing the beer.  He was a chef at Fish restaurant in Fort Collins where he constructed food-beer pairing dinners. He wanted to merge his culinary and musical talents. He initiated a music-beer pairing for his band.  He selected the hops with the help from Equinox brewers and The Hoppy Dopple Lager was born. It was designed to be a low ABV, easy drinking beer, that you could enjoy more than one of.

17265213_1939607616271497_1468046770996151762_n

The Happy Dapples bring an all-embracing mix of swing, jazz, and fusion. The music they perform is built for moving, tapping, and dancing. There are dueling guitars that vary in art form from classical finger style to a jazz swing that transforms the listener to a speakeasy in the 20’s with a distinctly modern flair.

The Happy Dapples are reinventing jazz in a modern way and have labeled it Gypsy Swing. Gypsy Swing has been alive for over eighty years. The birth of Jazz was almost ten years later. Gypsy Swing was popular in the 1930’s in France and the emersion of American Jazz took the genre in a new direction, Gypsy Jazz. This band impressively aims to revive the genre with the modern influences in play, they are birthing a new form of Gypsy Swing Jazz. They have strong music roots in old school jazz, Tom Waits, and metal. It is all derived in fun and the Dapples want you to enjoy listening to their music as music as they enjoy creating it.

Band members include Oskar Arevalo, Kimeon Young, Dillon Knowlton and Adam Nobody. The members of the Dapples have been playing music collectively over ten years, although the band is in their freshman stages. Oskar, Kimeon and Dillon performed with two guitars and a drum set then discovered the sound they were seeking needed a bassist. They added Adam and the sound they were seeking was born.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Oskar and Kimeon met in the eighth grade in Fort Collins. They were long time rivals and competed over most things, even a girl. One day they realized that they were better friends than opponents. They started playing music together and fused together this new dynamic sound. Dillion and Adam are long time bandmates and have played together in previous obscure metal experimental bands.

Although there are no formal plans for an album, the band is constantly creating new music. They rehearse at Higher Ground Rehearsal Studio in Fort Collins and have found management support there. Band member Oskar Arevalo is a guitar teacher at the Music District in Fort Collins.

To hear this live session:

 

Rae McAlister’s Illness Will Not Stop Her From Performing

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Rae McAlister is a singer-songwriter in Fort Collins, CO.  She is currently in the studio with Paul Andrews at Bridge Studios laying down tracks for her debut album. She is no longer wasting time waiting for things to be perfect or when she has enough money or even when she is healthy enough. Rae realizes that tomorrow is not promised and life is short. She has set out to make the days matter and what that means to her is taking her creative career by the horns.

Just get out there and just do it ~Rae McAlister

Her music has an edge and raw emotion that entices you to hear more. She plays a hollow body guitar, and her soprano tones resonate the room in a very dynamic way. She hits high notes with power, intensity, and longevity. Her songs build to a strong climax. Her sound has an illusive sense of nocturne, a bit dreamy with an airy feel.

Rae has women musician mentors in the Fort Collins community, like Mer Sal of the Symbols, and Nancy Just who help her hone her craft and motivate her. She is really focused on being a heartfelt musician. Rae values music as a business and thinks you don’t have to be a superstar to be a successful musician.  She took The Online Musician teaching course, to expand her musical business service offerings.

Listen to the full interview here:

Every day that Rae plays music is a miracle. Music has always been a part of Rae McAlister. She was born and raised in a musical family. Her musical makeup consists of jazz, folk, and classical training. The thing about Rae is, she has the diagnosis of Myotonia Congenita, Thompson’s disease, and Ehler’s-Danlos. Several years ago her body was immobile leaving her in a wheelchair. Music was an impossible dream.

Rae’s muscles started detaching, seizing and pulling joints out of place, and she could not walk or perform her daily, routine task. She had to quit working or care-taking her family. She was bedridden, and her life took an unexpected turn. The diagnosis was a blessing because it finally meant doctors could start treating her illness. It was at that time she decided to embrace her creativity and devote her life to her passions.

Also, McAlister has an art business Rae’s-Transfiguration-Furnishings for her furniture, visual arts, and photography.She recently applied to be a visual artist for pianos about town. When she was struggling with her mobility Rae would make it a point to get dressed and go into Old Town Fort Collins to sit and play the piano. She contributes the very thing to healing. She noticed others doing the same thing in the community. Older people would flock to town just to play their favorite songs on the piano. It may be their one outing or the one social interaction of the day. As an homage to this, she would like to contribute her inspired design to the program.

Rae has never let her diagnosis get in the way of her creativity. If anything, she uses it to fuel her passion and achieve what some may say is UN-achievable. She cannot push her physical boundaries every day, but she always dreams and creates. Her positive nature shines through her pain. For that, the world can indulge in her art and her music.

 

Chad Fisher: Fort Collins Bluegrass Musician and Teacher

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music

 

Chad Fisher is a Fort Collins Bluegrass Musician and a Teacher. He got his start from listening to music, and it pulled on his heartstrings so much that he devoted his life to becoming an artist. His home was remarkable, but no one was a musician. That did not stop him from pursuing his passion.

Chad sitting in his home studio

Chad fell in love with the Mandolin after a good friend left one at his house and a co-worker gave him a couple lessons on the side. After a failed business attempt his passion for music took over. He casually created a Bluegrass Band of friends and his wife Olivia’s family to perform at his wedding. That band stayed together and called themselves Lonesome Traveler and in the act of kindness and support asked him to join their band and musical journey.

Chad developed the “Strings Program” at Laurel Elementary. He created a mandolin program and afterschool program call bluegrass club which fostered the growth of young musicians. Fisher believes firmly in not only teaching children how to play an instrument but also supporting them throughout their journey. He has moved into a full-time role in his home studio and passed the torch of his school program to his fellow band mate Lydia Demi-Smith.

chad5

Chad’s dog sits by his side through every lesson he teaches

Chad Fisher’s home studio has children from age four and up. He teaches mandolin, violin, and guitar. In addition to weekly lessons, he has a group jam session. These happen once a month. They begin with a lesson and then break out into smaller group jams. This helps the students learn how to use the repertoire they spend hours memorizing and actually applying it to musicianship with a group.

chad

Chad loves that he gets to share his love of music with the youth in Fort Collins

There will be jam sessions in February at the Music District and in March at the Downtown Artery.

Chad will be performing with the Lineage Band for a Bill Monroe tribute. He will also be playing at Jerry Garcia and David Grisman tribute show with Lineage and Switchman Sleeping. Linage Band has a unique model of acting as mentors to their students and peers. They have discovered their greatest joys come from expanding their circle of musicians and sharing the knowledge, they each have learned along the way.

For Lessons: please visit Chad Fisher .

For Performance: visit Linage Band.

For Monthly Student Jams: visit Lineage

 

Sign Up For Weekly Post on Fort Collins Musicians

The Ugly Architect Live from the Merchant Room

Everything Can Be Art, Fort Collins Music, photography

The Ugly Architect is debuting a new sound in Fort Collins. If you read this blog on a regular basis, this is part two of the Ugly Architect interview.  As they get to know each other better, they are developing a sound unparalleled to any other. They are connecting and collaborating as they establish strong music relationships.

The concept of the Ugly Architect is not a new one:

“I started this project in 2015. It has kind of had a rotating cast of people.” ~William Knudsen

Yet the arrangement of the members is what is newsworthy.

To get a glimpse of the music they are creating, they performed in the Merchant Room for a live recording of this podcast.

Fort Collins is home to a thriving music ecosystem. Music is quickly becoming an anchor in the community. There is no one Fort Collins sound, however. The city has a diverse artist base that is fluid. It seems to have an evolutionary spirit.

The Architects are perfecting their new sound. They are building the frameworks within the Fort Collins Creative Community.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Derek Blake playing Folk Music

Fort Collins Musician Derek Blake: Live Acoustic Session

Everything Can Be Art

 

Derek Blake is a singer-songwriter in Fort Collins, Co. He has a new album, Pop hits released July 20, 2016. Pop hits were created to be easy listening. The songs average about 2:00 each and follow the “made for radio” style.

adb03

The album was recorded by local Fort Collins band, Tallgrass, at GPM studios.

Musicians on the LP are:

  • guitars and vocals- Derek Blake
  • bass-Austin Morford
  • vocal harmonies-Matthew Skinner and Austin Morford
  • drums-Adam Morford
  • Engineers- Matthew Skinner and Austin Morford
  • Mastering-Tyler Lindgren

Derek has deep Americana roots felt in every chord he plays. He grew up in Steamboat Springs with a family of musicians who enjoyed gathering together to play and celebrate life. Derek writes a lot about family and the stories made in that Steamboat Springs home.

Derek is currently touring in Northern Colorado, playing the tunes from his new album. He is ambitious, however, already planning his next mixtape. Recording with Tallgrass again is his goal. The synergy that was created in the studio on Pop Hits is something rare. The next album will be different but still full of the magic that his freshman album had.

db7

Derek plays an acoustic session at the Music District in Fort Collins

Derek has upcoming shows in Fort Collins:

Derek also has a new web show airing called Fishin’ and Pickin’ that focuses on catchin’ fish and playing tunes. This will air on FC public Access as well as on the web.

Derek’s style is unique. Sometimes it is Folk, often it is Honkytonk or Western Swing. He can play fingerstyle bluegrass and tell a story that makes you cry. His music is moving and very heartfelt. Download or stream the album Pop Hits from Bandcamp.

Listen to the acoustic session on soundcloud: