Elephant Revival begins a new chapter in its ever-evolving sound
Some might call Nederland-bred Elephant Revival a band of hippies, but vocalist and fiddle player Bridget Law opts to describe the musicians as earth-loving creatures, mountain dwellers who allow their energies to coalesce into music that comes from the heart and permeates the soul.
“We sing about the mountains and the rivers and the sky and the sea and adventure and a little about love — but in more of a grandiose sense of the word, a more all-encompassing love,” she said. “We like to celebrate that we’re humans living on this beautiful planet, so that’s what we do for every show. We feel like we’re celebrating with people that amazing thing called life on this incredible planet called Earth.”
This union of lilting vocals and interplay amongst washboard and fiddle, djembe and bass will extend its languid fingers as Elephant Revival continues its traverse of North American in support of the band’s new CD/DVD project, “Sands of Now.”
‘Sands of Now’
Law said “Sands of Now,” in many ways, serves as a commemorative album for the first chapter of Elephant Revival, starting when the band formed in 2006 and culminating when multi-instrumentalist Sage Cook departed last fall.
“‘Sands of Now’ is really the delivery of the final product of what we worked for almost a decade to create together,” she said. “There’s a really nice, new-to-the-ear Sage song on that record that people will undoubtedly enjoy, and it’s a good, memorable piece of him because he’s an incredible writer.”
The band set out to produce a live video release, landing upon a two-night run at the Boulder Theater as the perfect venue to serve as backdrop for the music coupled with the enthusiasm of a hometown crowd.
“We wanted to capture, to the best of our ability, the live energy and where we were at last fall, which was nearly a decade of alchemy between five people,” she said. “We really wanted to deliver that in the most suitable way that we could. We did the live DVD, which is kind of straight off the camera, and we did a listening album.”
She said the band put a bit more time into manipulating the CD part of the package, recording some songs during sound checks without an audience and remastering things that were noisy or needed to be tracked, so people could have a new album alongside the DVD that would be high quality and enjoyable.
Shortly after those concerts in Boulder, Cook left Elephant Revival. Law said he’s still out there, “singing and playing his beautiful songs” with a new project called We Dream Dawn, but he’d grown tired of the tour grind and wanted to be closer to family and closer to the earth. Law said no one can really blame him for that, but his departure enveloped “Sands of Now” in a different sort of shroud.
“There’s a lot to that album, but I will always cherish that because it’s very representative of what the five of us created, Sage included,” she said. “Where we came to after all of these years with the five of us, it’s the flower that we created, what we were able to deliver as a band, and it was stunning.”
Cook’s exit left a vacancy in the band, one that was eventually filled by a banjo picking, pedal steel thrumming, guitar strumming songwriter named Charlie Rose.
“Our new member, Charlie Rose, is totally wonderful and has actually also been a friend of ours since the beginning, so we’ve moved forward with working with his energy,” Law said. “You know you take one strong personality out and insert another new personality, and you have a different flavor all together.”
Elephant Revival started out with an eccentric sound, passing the ball amongst the five members of the band, with everyone getting a turn to sing, everyone getting a chance to do his or her own song. Over time, that sound has been refined into more of a cohesive experience for the listener, she said.
“It was less about who wrote what and who has the center stage and more about the continuity of the sound tapestry that we were creating and the experience that we were delivering, the journey that we would take people on during the show,” she said, adding that the band has learned to let the music have its own voice.
“We got really good at doing that, at listening to the entity speak. Let the music reveal what needed to be done. We’re a sweet bunch of people that really try to do our best and try not to be victims to our egos. So, we try to listen to that. What is the best way to serve the music right now, you know?”
Elephant Revival is currently working on a new studio album that will reflect where the band is heading as it approaches its 10th anniversary in 2016.
“Now we’re evolving, like every good group of people needs to do, and starting a new chapter, and there’s some really amazing things to come,” she said. “There’s a lot of great songs that were sort of just being set away for the next opportunity … but, there’s room for more, there’s room for new stuff, and we’re in the midst of choosing what the future of our new sound experience will be.”
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This summer, the local arts nonprofit Voices will be debuting The ARTery, a tiny mobile space for theater and the arts, a news release stated.