Local Album Showcases
I’m very late on this write up due to my surprisingly busy winter but I want to come back and write about this young lady and her great record because I think the attention is well deserved. Taylor Shae is a high school songwriter who regardless of her age somehow has a badass band and great material to pair with it on this collection of songs. She’s got a soulful voice and a very mature sounding approach to her performance. This doesn’t sound like some little girl on her little guitar. Her band, which is surprisingly technical and groovy, is a bit of a mystery. This is a home recording. That’s important to keep in mind as I make the following comments. The band is credited on the liner notes only as RD. Now I like to think I know a lot of the producers on the Front Range and I’m pretty sure I don’t know an RD. I wish I did. This dude is a killer drummer, bassist, and guitarist. Wherever you are out there RD, you did a great job not only playing your instruments but also engineering and mastering the record.
Over the last several years Foxfeather has earned the respect and attention of music lovers all over the Front Range. I suspect that their popularity will only grow now that they have released their new self-titled album “Foxfeather”. This 11 song collection is a follow up to the well received first collection which was titled “Foul Moon” (wrote about it here on prairiescholars.com) and some of the same flavors are found here though this new release has a decidedly different tone. Its dark, slow to medium tempo songs really help showcase the lyrical content and the warmer feel that the band seems interested in this time around.
Native Station: Bones and All Our new friends Greg Benton and Thomas Troutt (Native Station) are just about to release their first album since moving into town a few months ago. It’s a decidedly upbeat and unique collection titled “Bones and All”. The album art is a striking portrait of a large white polar bear that has blood spattered across its face. The art is by our good buddy Bunk Hess and I think it blends well with the vibe of the songs.
I recommend hitting up Native Station on Facebook to follow news of the release of this great record.
This album came out about a year ago today and it was one of the best things that came out in Boulder County last year. I wanted to write about it on this site but due to our crazy schedule last year I just didn’t get around to it. I’m going to write about it now though because it’s the one year anniversary of the release and because I just feel way too guilty about now shining more light on this most excellent recording.
You ever take a bath? A nice hot bath can be really nice in these long cold winters up here in Colorado. This new album by my friend Antonio Lopez is like one of those great baths you get sometimes when the water is engagingly hot, the scented oils or salts or whatever are infused into the slow curls of steam wafting into the candle lit darkness. It’s genuinely relaxing without putting you to sleep. Part of this is the production of the work itself but the most essential element is the subtle and comforting performance of Antonio himself. He coaxes the listener into unwinding for a second, letting these songs work their magic.
Danny Shafer was the first musician I met when I toured through Colorado for the first time. I had googled “Songwriter Boulder” and his name was not only the first to pop up but one of the only names to pop up. See, this was back in 2007 and still three years away from the beginning of this current songwriter boom we are experiencing now. Danny, I would soon discover, had a sterling reputation as a Front Range Legend and as a very busy artist too. He is also genuinely one of the nicest and most respectable men I’ve ever met. We chatted a while at his open mic in Boulder and traded cds before parting ways. I popped that disc into my car while driving out the rest of my tour through this beautiful state and ever since then the music of Danny Shafer has seemed like the essence of this area to me.
Another great tune on this disc is the title track “Somewhere Between”. It’s a good late night drinking song if you like that kind of thing (I do). With a very relaxing and easygoing melody. I found it really easy to melt into my recliner and let the pills do their calming numbing work. The tones are crisp but not squeaky and Connor sings it like he’s putting a baby down for a nap… a baby who drinks sour mash. If you only listen to one tune off this record, make it this one. I think you’ll end up buying the rest.
It’s sexy. It’s original. These women have crafted something very special and instantly likeable on this album. A stand out track on this album is the very groovy whorehouse song “Mama Joe’s”, which features a great minor key shuffle and my wife Jessica on Accordion. Another tune that should compel you to purchase the collection is “Drawing a Blank”, which is a bouncy, upbeat and sort of dark piece. I loved this collection and I hope you’ll pick it up from them soon from foxfeathermusic.com.
The first thing that is really striking to me about this album is the voice that is featured on it. Jenni’s voice is that of a strong woman and even though she is often singing sweetly, it doesn’t play like what you might call a “girl song”. That is, I’m sad to say, a rare thing to hear these days. She sounds powerful. This kind of performance is unique and there is no “girl song” feel undermining the album. This is a straight songwriting album, as far as I can tell. The lyrics are fun and well put together. They flow nicely and make for easy and positively charged listening. As the hippies might say, this record has “good vibes”.
I loved this record. It’s a true songwriters album and the content herein is absolutely world class. Go get it. Also, pick up his other albums which are also excellently written but feature a happy country vibe on tunes like “Butt Ugly Slut” and of course Roger’s break out hit “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta be Tough”. They are all classics of the genre, in my opinion.
I’ve known Mr. Phlip (pronounced “flip”) Coggins for many years and I have always loved his work and admired his ability to compose. He is the consummate artist. His work is purposeful and by that I mean his songs are always about something. You don’t get a lot of fluff material out of a guy like this. He has been doing this for at least ten years and he knows what he is doing. He knows how to replicate the sounds and compositions from his imagination into a recording and that is no easy task. Phlip also knows how to utilize guest and supporting performers on his songs. He allows the other artists a certain level of freedom for experimentation and this skill is a defining characteristic of most of Mr. Coggin’s work. The crew he put together for this album is a small one but they are a good one. They all fold right into the mix and provide great support of these great tunes. Some of these background folks have recorded on some of my favorite albums that have come out of Wet Texas.
It’s a short record at only four songs but I find that fewer songs on a collection it usually entails more purposeful work. I think that is the case here. The collection is fun, intricate, energetic and a good choice when looking for something unique and maybe a little creepy in the winter months.
Buy it here:
I’ve decided to start talking about other people’s art in an effort to showcase the talented folks I’ve had the pleasure of running into over the