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Thursday, October 27,2011

Funk is Dead

The Motet tags an unlikely canon

By Dave Kirby
When we first saw the marquee bill for this year’s gig, Dave Watts and the Motet tribbing-up the Dead, the first thing that hit us was — wait, Watts is covering one of the unfunkiest bands in pop music lore, daring to navigate the meanderings of post-psychedelic, shamanistic jug-band Americana, garnished with guitar solos lofted to the rafters by the colliding aromas of patchouli and Humboldt leaf.
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Thursday, October 6,2011

Head For The Hills is rising

After a stellar year, H4TH brings the show back to Boulder

By Dave Kirby
By just about any measure, Head for the Hills (H4TH) has had a pretty solid 2011. The Fort Collins-founded newgrass quartet unleashed a solid and surprising long-player last year, winning their second consecutive “Best Bluegrass Band” award from Westword copping some head-turning critical attention at Austin’s South By Southwest industry schmoozefest in March, and riding a busy festival season into a handful of smaller-deal local gigs, including a Mishawaka date a couple of weeks ago, an upcoming Fox Theatre show and a two-night, twin-bill stand with Leftover Salmon at the Ogden Theatre around Thanksgiving.
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Thursday, September 22,2011

Deep in the grain

The Wood Brothers come home

By Dave Kirby
Talking with guitarist/songwriter Oliver Wood about his collaboration with brother Chris Wood last week, we couldn’t help but summon the legacy of (in)famous brother gigs in pop music history. The Davies … the Gallaghers … the Knopflers … Well, OK, it was the knock- down, drag-out, “you’re-fired” brother acts that came right off the top of our heads. Probably not quite a fair point of reference, but there it was.
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Thursday, September 8,2011

No caps, no scruffy trainers

Despite the burly voice, William Topley keeps it classy

By Dave Kirby
It had been a few years — well, more like eight years — since we had last caught up to William Topley, and prior to our transatlantic chat, we thought we’d have a look at the British singer’s upcoming gigs. We noticed a monthly gig for the ex-Blessing frontman at Arcangel, a decidedly upscale bistro/pub located on Kensington High Street in west London, deep in one of the city’s busiest shopping zones and not far from the Royal College of Art, which counts Ian Dury, Ridley Scott and Adam Ant among its alumni.
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Thursday, August 25,2011

Returning to Forever

The “Rolling Stones of jazz” are back with new lineup

By Dave Kirby
When the Return to Forever reunion tour came to the Paramount Theatre three years ago, one was struck by the dual emotions shown by the band’s devotees. You saw elation that the fusion powerhouse group, formed and piloted by keyboardist Chick Corea in 1972, had managed to stage the original group (Corea, guitarist Al DiMeola, bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer Lenny White) again after more than 30 years, and there was also lingering skepticism as to whether the group could sustain viability in today’s market and overcome the usual artistic ambivalence about returning to the glories of yesteryear.
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Thursday, August 4,2011

Free radicals charge the tower

Supercollider smashes jazz preconceptions

By Dave Kirby
It was that kind of afternoon, so we caution Jon Gray, trumpeter/vocalist for the local jazz septet Supercollider, that we were going to start our interview in the middle. “Groovy. I’m all about it,” he counters. Jazz bands. Seems like, over the course of jazz music’s more-or-less 100-year history, the music has alternately promoted bands as bands, then soloists fronting bands, then bands again … then soloists again.
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Thursday, August 4,2011

Sean Kelly's long road

The Samples frontman on exhaustion, nostalgia and refocusing the dreams of youth

By Dave Kirby
Kelly pulled the plug on The Samples, the storied, Boulder-founded, pop-reggae franchise, last year, at least as a full-time touring outfit. Sheer exhaustion and some bad business experiences had taken their toll, and Kelly was ready to call it a day.
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Thursday, July 21,2011

Bayou burden

Tab Benoit has made the struggle to preserve wetlands personal

By Dave Kirby
Apart from being one of the great Telecaster stylists out there these days, and a commanding vocalist, Tab Benoit, for anyone who’s seen him, is a presence. Medicine reminds you of that, and you don’t micromanage presence, or program it or splice it in.
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Thursday, July 7,2011

The joys of heavy lifting

Nautical Mile got a fast start but isn’t afraid to work

By Dave Kirby
It could well be that Nautical Mile’s EP release at the Fox Theatre this weekend represents a watershed moment — the young band’s second release, headlining a premiere venue among well-regarded local bands, secure in its lineup and coasting on a decent club following and critical buzz.
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Thursday, June 30,2011

Vintage sounds

Umphrey’s McGee looks to odd inspirations for new album

By Dave Kirby
A piece aired a couple of months ago on NPR about Steely Dan’s legendary sound engineer, Roger Nichols, who had just passed away from cancer. Michele Norris interviewed Donald Fagen about Nichols and his storied inventiveness, including the tale of Walter Becker and Fagen struggling with a drum track for Gaucho’s “Hey Nineteen” and challenging Nichols to come up with a mechanized drum system to outline the beat. Which, in a few weeks’ time, Nichols did, and the dry, relaxed-but-airtight snare line remains intact on the tune 30 years later.
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