Wood Belly is the New-Grass Quintet in Town

Everything Can Be Art

Wood Belly resonates the soul by combining traditional bluegrass with modern new grass styles. They were born in bluegrass heaven, Rocky Grass 2015, and tour around the Front Range.

Wood Belly describes their music as,

“boundless song-focused repertoire is sure to get boots on the floor and make any true bluegrass fan feel right at home.”

woodbelly35

Wood Belly plays at Mobb Mountain Distillers in Fort Collins photo by Argento Studios

 This is a five-piece string band combining talented musicians:

  • Craig Patterson (Guitar/Vocals)
  • Chris Weist (Mandolin/Vocals)
  • Chris Zink (Dobro/Vocals)
  • Aaron McCloskey (Banjo/Vocals)
  • Taylor Shuck (Bass/Vocals)

They plan to start the year touring and building a loyal fan base. This new band is nothing short of charismatic and robust with fingers full of lightning. There is no shortage of innovation from this group.

 

woodbelly42

Fingers Full of lightning, fast playing bluegrass. Photo by Argento Studios

 

In the fall, they have hopes to record a studio album. Until then you can catch them playing:

There is an eclectic mix of backgrounds.  The member’s lives seem to intertwine even before meeting. It seems this band would have happened no matter the circumstance. Although the band is new, they have roots in the Rocky Mountain Bluegrass community. Aaron McCloskey teaches at Swallow Hill. Taylor Shuck is the former bassist of Von Stomper, he also plays in another band, Mustard Licks, with Chris Weist.

You can check out their website, visit them on social media, or just see an upcoming performance. Special thanks to Mobb Mountain Distillers for hosting Wood Belly for this interview.

 

If you want to know more about how they met, listen to the SoundCloud podcast:

 

Advertisements

Laura Burhenn of Mynabirds teaches about protest songs at the Music District

Everything Can Be Art, Social Causes

featuredShout It Out

Laura Burhenn is a new revolutionist. She examines the question:
“What does a revolution look like today, and what are we fighting for?”
Laura presented her version of protest through song at the Music District  workshop, “Shout it Out,” in Fort Collins, CO on November 22, 2016. She speaks of the threads of change in her TED Talk and through her band the Mynabirds.

She is accustom to the spotlight and chooses to use it to make a difference in this world. Laura is using her voice through creative projects in an attempt to help heal the nation. She hopes to see a significant shift occurring in thought leaders, as the country experiences this division. The idea is to use art as a powerful form of protest. Laura explained how she devoted her voice to protest in Under the Radar Magazine interview in September of 2012.

“Shout it Out,” was an open dialogue of writing, reflecting, and sharing.  Laura expressed hopeful intentions of it being a refuge for the artist who was contemplating where to put their emotions.

Participants had moments to reflect on what it means to them to protest through song and write about it. Everyone shared what they wrote with the group. Attendees were from places as far as South Africa who spoke of protest songs from around the globe. In South Africa,  some of the most turbulent times brought people together singing in pubs, enjoying songs of protest because they could not openly protest the government. There is a beauty in people gathering for music in times of trouble and strife.

There was a feeling of decompression in the room from the most recent election in almost every piece of writing. Wide age ranges brought viewpoints from many revolutions that have happened for centuries. The perspectives were all very different, yet the willingness to share was outpouring.

img_9449

A slide in the presentation that prompted a great discussion

Music has been a form of protest throughout the ages. Music is a mechanism that artist use to evoke emotion or propel change. There is a movement rising in the arts community that is using art to protest the transitional state of the nation.

The history of protest songs is rich. As early as the 1900’s, songs were a form of protest.  In the days of slave trading, a protest song was more of an allegory for the present status of the slaves. Sometimes the songs were code although spiritual in nature. The Library of Congress tells the story of the African American Spirituals,  “Because the Underground Railroad of the mid- nineteenth century used terminology from railroads as a secret language for assisting slaves to freedom, it is often speculated that songs like I got my ticket may have been a code for escape.”

In the 1960’s the song “Dancing in the Streets” was released just as the Vietnam War escalated. It became “a call to arms” song, for protesters. Time happens and the world ages, but it is clear that music is the vehicle of peace.

In the most recent election, “30 Days and 30 Songs,” was released on an Independent Website. Modern Day artist wrote songs to protest Trump. To learn more listen to the Spotify playlist.

 

Tallgrass:Songs of Happiness and Sorrow

Everything Can Be Art

 

Adam Morford, Austin Morford, and Matt Skinner make up the eclectic band Tallgrass. This band delivers riveting melodies, three-piece harmonies, and transformative ways to provide sound. They are an auditory delight.  The way they bend sound and structure songs are like a metamorphosis of music. It is conceptually built to delight and challenge what you have ever thought a song could be.

 Morford, percussionist, and producer speaks about the band,
“Tallgrass was the first project I had been in that allowed me to be myself.  My quest for sounds was encouraged.”
14183756_1071648066204291_578112825594020536_n

 

Adam goes beyond a drum kit and sticks. His musicianship showcases obscure objects and altering the methods of playing the kit. It is no rare sight to see him bust out various sizes of bows to stride across the symbols to make a melodic steel melody.  Those sounds he has been encouraged to play have set him a sail on a discovery beyond just playing percussion. He has begun a design studio called Morfbeats where he creates original percussion pieces for others.

 

 

Adam talks about the process,
“This eventually led to the idea of me building percussion from scratch to produce sounds I wanted to hear and use.  A few days after I began I started to make instruments with promising tones.  From there I have just let my imagination run wild, and it has allowed for me to work and perform with some of my favorite musicians.”

 

 

Tallgrass writes and performs original music. They are currently in production of their 3rd album, laughing. As they have taken their time for this concept album, they hosted many guest artist to play. This collaboration led to Tallgrass producing other local artist albums from their home studio.

 

 

They have shared the stage with President Barack Obama, Melissa Etheridge, Sublime with Rome, The White Buffalo, and The Ben Miller Band, Ben Sollee, and so many others. The evolution of this band can be one for the records. They are not stopping and only getting better each day.
When a band can write, perform, produce, manage, tour, and build instruments, you have a rare find. There is a uniqueness about their gifts. They are humble with their approach.
Adam’s great words of inspiration to anyone pursuing creative arts is,

 

 

 

“Be honest and sincere in what you do and you will find your true potential.”

 

 

 

Things are connected, and one decision can quickly lead you into the direction of your dreams. Your gifts will shine if you stick to it. Something is waiting for you to take that chance.

 

 

 

What is on the horizon for Tallgrass?

The calendar has only a few dates posted. Hopefully, that means lots of work and surprises to come. These guys are hard working with the potential for anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Longmont’s Bridge Studios:Both Sides of the Glass

Everything Can Be Art

Paul Andrews is the owner of Bridges Studios in Longmont, Colorado. Paul built this studio originally for his personal use.  The more people he told about his “passion project”, the more interest developed to open the doors to his local community as a production studio.

Paul expresses: “I am finding myself now on both sides of the glass, In the control room as the engineer but in the recording room as the artist.”

paul3

His whole home is a living studio. It has a warm ambiance and a comfortable feel. The colors are vibrant, and the instruments are fluid. Every moving component of this production base is eclectic and hand chosen because of its ability to create alluring music.

Paul uses a technique of recording that is faithful to his origin, the analog recorder. He has mastered recording analog  and making it available to digital channels without loosing the quality that analog brings to the sound. The actual essence of the studio is to capture an old world style of recording into a modern world.

paul4

Andrews studied and performed for most of his life, he once was solely a recording artist. He was in the process of writing and producing an entire album while living in Denver a few years ago. This collection represents the pinnacle of change for his career. He placed this album on the shelf for two years.

He decided to move north, design his dream studio, and continue recording.  He settled in a new town, rebuilding his studio for his own creative use. He unveiled the album and quickly realized that wasn’t who he was anymore.

Since then, he has spent extensive time engineering albums for others. He has taken on a new role, as a mentor and leader in his craft. He has a gentle spirit and world of experience to offer to his studio clients.

paul2

Beyond that, music scores have sparked up his inner creative flame. He has been creating music for film. He works with Hannah Holbrook, from the band SHEL, on original musical scores.  He has found a balance and a new place in this studio world.

His current project in development is for a short film, proposed to be named “Rebel Girl.”  This is worldly and transcending because the boundaries it pushes in the creator’s society. It is born of a young woman in Pakistan. Her vision is to follow the story of a girl who rides horseback. The provocativeness of this story is that it is unheard of in her country for women to be filmmakers, and it is shameful for them to ride horseback due to purity interest.

The story line is breaking all the rules for women. There is little information about the young women other than her vision and her need to execute it.The music created for this short film embraces those feelings. The use of dissonance in the songs anticipates the moment where the resolve happens.

Paul is a visionary, and he helps so many artists achieve their musical dreams. He uses his studio as a vessel for people’s visions to become reality. Paul speaks about becoming successful with your passion, “It rarely falls in people’s laps. It is the kind of thing where you find something you love and you just go for it, you are continually chasing that, whatever it is on the inside of you, that pushes you forward.”

Always chase the art inside of you.

To learn more about Paul visit: Bridge Studios