I just goggled the term “best of 2013” and got a remarkable 15 billion responses yep- Billion including Whitney’s Best of Websites and the ENR Best Construction Grants of the Year! I think these exist because people like to argue. I don’t. I like to be right. It’s not the facts I’m after, it’s the truth. So therefore, the next three columns of mine will highlight not necessarily the best, but my favorites. You see that way you can’t argue with me because I am certain to be right. Because well, they are simply my favorites.
In the ensuing weeks I will explore my favorite songs and albums however, this week it’s my Favorite Colorado Releases of 2013.
Bonfire Dub- Who We Are- I love an album title that pretty much sums up its content. Local Scotty Stoughton and company find their legs on their second full length release. The band is simply stating who they are in the lyrics as they search for that happy medium between the bonfire and the dub. Sometimes they sound like the perfect band to play at a campsite and other times at a reggae sunsplash. “Fare Thee Well “ is the album’s opener and the best song this band has done to date. (Though I was a big fan of the “Nicaragua” from their live shows, it got over produced on their debut album). Though “FTW” was not technically inspired by the Irish folk song of same title, it certainly plays out like a distant relative from the states. Another highlight is “American Dreamer,” -a song that benefits from the wise addition of Bridget Law to the mix. The Coloradan fiddle player is a Centennial state treasure. The band finds their reggae groove on “Relocate.” A number that finds its protagonist deciding between a place-the mountains of Colorado- and a person. It’s this type of autobiographic pondering that makes this release a favorite of mine.
Rob Drabkin- Little Steps- Drabkin, a Denver native who has made numerous appearances in the Vail Valley, has also appeared to mature significantly with his second LP. The title cut would not be lost on a Dave Matthews’ album and “For You I Would Die” exhibits his newfound confidence as a performer. Followers of the Colorado music scene attribute Drabkin’s sudden rise to his now legendary performance at the Bluebird Theater in early 2012. Drabkin and company’s powerful interpretation of Paul Simon’s Graceland projected Drabkin into a bigger spotlight and Little Steps answers the call.
Elephant Revival- These Changing Skies – One word Beautiful. This is simply a beautiful album. The aforementioned Bridgett Law’s emotional fiddle blends with Sage Cook’s banjo and Bonnie Paine’s everything to reveal a tender musical piece that is a perfect compliment to any Sunday afternoon. A band like Elephant Revival demands to be heard live with their intricate string arrangements and melding voices. No doubt their sound benefits from a larger acoustic setting than your standard ear buds can deliver. Being that, they reached out to Lumineers’ producer Ryan Hadlock who has an experienced hand at this and his contributions show. A far superior sounding album than their previous release, the band is reaching for grand heights and this- my favorite Colorado band release of 2013- has them well on their way. The band from Nederland has crafted a splendid document.