Cultivation: The Seeds of New Colorado Music

Jun 25, 2011 by

Cultivation: The Seeds of New Colorado Music

Cultivation: The Seeds of New Colorado Music

By Jenna Stecker

cover_noendintime_small Head for the Hills

With the release of their self titled sophomore album, Head for the Hills seems poised to break to the front of the modern bluegrass movement. Hailing from Fort Collins; Adam Kinghorn on Guitar and Vocals, Joe Lessard playing Violin/Octave Violin and Vocals, Matthew Loewen playing Bass and Vocals and Michael Chappell on his Mandolin make up this classic quartet. It is interesting to note that upon forming, none of the members had ever really played bluegrass music. “We were really learning together how to play it,” says Chappell. With many other groups these days fusing bluegrass with so many other eclectic types of music, it is refreshing to hear a band that maintains a modern take on the style and seems to hold true to the root of bluegrass music. “The biggest challenge of our band is carrying on the progressive momentum created by countless ‘New Grass’ and ‘New Acoustic’ musicians, while dialing in our own sound and innovations. So much has been done musically since the birth of bluegrass music that the greatest challenge is continuing on with that progression while paying homage to the players who invented and defined its boundaries.” says Kinghorn. With the new album just being released, I asked the band what were the main topics and themes involved in the song writing process. Kinghorn replied, “The subject matter of our songs shares a lot of the same themes as traditional bluegrass songs. Loneliness, betrayal, murder, and hardships are ancient themes revisited in new ways and also in new acoustic styles. In addition, modern themes of addiction and life on the road are explored in the old styles of bluegrass and old time music. Our music has evolved naturally over the years, as we have begun to really find our stride as players and as a unit. The many folk, jazz, bluegrass and independent influences we hold as individuals, is really becoming present in our songwriting and in our sound. Our new record is a good representation of that diversity.” The self titled album was recorded in Bill Nershi’s Sleeping Giant Studios and produced by Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon fame. The band says it was such a great learning experience. “We were really lucky to be able to get all these people in the same room at the same time. We learned so much and were honored to work with such seasoned vets.” Sleeping Giant Studios and everyone involved cultivated an atmosphere that was incredibly conducive to accomplishing our goals for the record.” Free live show downloads and tour details are available on the band’s website:


Dubskin is a five piece band that formed in Fort Collins in 2006. Consisting of Jamal Skinner (vocals), Cory Eberhard (drums), Jason Wieseler (keys/samples) Phil Salvaggio (Guitar), and Dean Curtis (bass). The name Dubskin was conceived from the fusion of the word Dub, which is the instrumental style of reggae, and vocalist Skinner’s name. “We liked the sound of Dubskin and the name kind of stuck,” says Eberhard. Eberhard is known from playing drums in the group Pretty Lights, but all five musicians had known each other for awhile from being in the music scene in Ft. Collins. Once it was time to create a band they were able to hand-pick the musicians they wanted and began writing and recording music almost immediately. They are Colorado musicians with Colorado pride. Eberhard says, “It’s amazing as we tour around the nation to realize how lucky Colorado is with our music scene and choice of quality venues. Red Rocks, The Fillmore, Boulder Theater, The Fox, Aggie, Belly Up, Gothic, Ogden, Bluebird, Cervantes and all the smaller ski town venues. We love them all and all the support the fans give to keep these places in business.” If you head to a Dubskin show there a few things you can count on: a modern take on roots reggae music with influences from dub, hip-hop, jam bands, and funk. From the opening act to the encore, Dubskin promises that you will receive high quality dance music with more of an American sound than traditional reggae. Since its inception, Dubskin has maintained a full tour schedule; sharing the stage with prominent artists like Burning Spear, Israel Vibration, Anthony B, and Collie Buddz. Both of the band’s albums: the 2006 debut release, “Love in Spite of . . .” that was recorded/produced by Derek Smith of Pretty Lights, and their sophomore effort released in 2009, “No End in Time” are available for free download on their website. You can check out music from Dubskin as well as a full tour schedule on their website

Holden Young Trio (HY3)

Despite the scrupulous nature of the band members meeting (It was in a van behind a bar in Boulder with no more detail given), the members of Holden Young Trio have been playing music together ever since. Holden Young, (guitar and vocals) Adrian Engfer (bass and vocals) and Eric Rolls (percussion) have been serving up “Music for the 2010 Space Funk Odyssey” since 2006.  You can count on two sets of high energy instrumental work at a HY3 show. Young writes the lyrics but the band collaborates for the arrangement of most of their originals.
“I have been really hard-up ever since college and I think I’m trying to deal with that in a lot of my songs. I’ve had a few love experiences and that validates the two-three lovely songs we have. Most of my songs also have a theme of getting out of the way of your own self. A positive break through experience is some thing I’ve tried to convey in songs for a long time. Then we jam out.”
While 90% of their shows are originals you can expect to hear some Hendrix, Herbie Hancock, Ray LeMontagne, Red Hot Chili peppers and even some Toots & the Maytals covers. Bring your dancing shoes folks. While the band has been playing around the state for years they say that people in the mountains tend to start dancing sooner then people from the Front Range.
“Or maybe they just get a head start on drinking”, says Young. The band says they enjoy a variety of venues around the state with Mahogany Ridge in Steamboat and Mishawaka as standouts.
“I miss State Bridge a whole lot.”
Don’t we all Holden. Don’t we all. But patience is a virtue and hopefully this summer we will get a small taste of the former glory. With high energy beats and hip swinging grooves, the Holden Young Trio is a fun show to be a witness to.Find their next show near you and download their latest album release “To the Top” by going to

Paper Bird

Although the members of Paper Bird have known each other for a variety of different amounts of time and they say any story behind their come together isn’t particularly interesting, the music they put out is no coincidence.
“Lets just say it was complete serendipity.”
When the band unpacks a banjo, trombone, and upright bass, audiences become aware they are in for something different and special. With the genre name game out of control in the music industry, Paper Bird has been called Inde-pop Bluegrass, Pop Jazz, Dixieland, and Folk Americana but members of the band just describe their music as “Joyful.”  The band packs a trio of female harmonies that are reminiscent of Fiona Apple and a combination of tones and melodic progressions that bring a modern twist to an old time sound. The band of seven musicians, bring together a combined sound that can be described as haunting as well as uplifting. Trying to balance seven different lives, hearts, and goals and be unified as a group is a challenge. Caleb Summeril (banjo, guitar, harmonica, vocals), Genevieve Patterson (vocals), Macon Terry (Upright Bass), Sarah Anderson (trumpet, vocals), Paul DeHaven (guitar, banjo, percussion, vocals), Esme Patterson (vocals), and Tyler Archuletta (trombone, harmonica, percussion, vocals) say they work at it every day.

“It takes time and honesty. It is more of a process than an obstacle we can overcome. We love each other and the music that we make so much that it is worth it.” After spending their New Year in chaos, “We played a show at the Hi-Dive in Denver and everyone went mad. Crowd surfing, Balloons, it was anarchy! We had a great time. Sometimes you have to put your head in the tiger’s mouth, you know?” the band is looking ahead with anticipation to 2010. Their second full length album is being released this year and the band is planning on touring the east coast for the first time and this all happens before May. Who knows what the entire year will hold for this enigmatic group.
To see a full tour schedule and listen to a snippet of Paper Bird’s unique sound, visit them at

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