For the fans and musicians of Denver’s foundational genre-blurring string band Elephant Revival, it’s the end of an era — and the start of a new one.
In February, the musicians abruptly decided to go on an indefinite hiatus and canceled eighteen concerts, citing “family matters” as the reason. The band still has a few upcoming shows remaining, including a May 20 show at Red Rocks. While fans are understandably bummed by this break, they shouldn’t despair. These musicians aren’t dying; they’re going in different directions (for now, at least).
Founding Elephant Revival member Bridget Law has already started her own transition. She left the group last fall, several months before the group collectively decided to take a break.
“A big part of leaving was wanting to have a more home-based lifestyle, one that involved my husband,” says Law. “I’ve been on the road my entire adult life making money as a touring musician. I was ready to experience what it felt like to sleep in the same bed every night and to be a part of my community and to nurture my family and relationship. So far, that’s been really, really nice.”
Still, Law is looking forward to the next musical projects that she and her other ex-bandmates will undertake.
“This was a group of people that have worked together for the last decade-plus,” reflects Law. “We’ve really grown up together. The main focus of our twenties was Elephant Revival.”
“Now it’s almost like you’re a family and you’re leaving the nest. There’s a world of opportunity out there for you to experience. For us, that comes in the form of music.”
She expects her ex-bandmates to more deeply explore their personal artistic expressions as well as participating in new collaborations with different musicians. She’s already collaborating with her husband, Tierro Lee, in Tierro with Bridget Law. The project’s sound is distinct from her past experience playing with Elephant Revival.
“Tierro’s compositions use Arabian and Latin scales. His music is really reminiscent of world music, and it suits the violin so beautifully,” says Law. “I’m kind of a conduit for melody as a violinist. So I like to dive into these melodies with their different tonalities that take on almost flavors or ambiences of these different cultures or ways of dancing.”
Tierro with Bridget Law will play at Swallow Hill on Saturday, April 14. Joining them will be We Dream Dawn, the project of another ex-Elephant Revival member, Sage Cook, and his wife, Aera Fox. Cook left Elephant Revival in 2015 to start a farm. We Dream Dawn’s sound strays from Elephant Revival’s acoustic-heavy sound, instead featuring psychedelic, electronic instrumentation.
“Sage is a super-special person in my life,” says Law. “We were really solid partners in the early days of Elephant Revival. We were a unit aspect of the team.”
Law and Cook were both instrumentalists who developed the melodic interactions that played a big part of early Elephant Revival’s music. In fact, during those early years, Cook wrote many of the songs that he now performs with We Dream Dawn. Law will also join Cook and Fox for their set.
“When I join [Cook] with We Dream Dawn, I’m helping to deliver these songs that I was there for the births of,” says Law. “My spirit feels very much a part of that music.”
The most recent addition to Elephant Revival, Darren Garvey, will also join We Dream Dawn for the show as a percussionist.
Now that Law isn’t touring extensively with Elephant Revival, she’s more excited for the shows that she does have booked. For her, performing music has become “a lot more playful. The activity of it is a joy and a delight."
"If you’re an Elephant Revival fan," she adds, "I hope you take a chance on these two bands that are sort of like branches from the Elephant Revival tree.”
Tierro with Bridget Law and We Dream Dawn, 8 p.m. Saturday, April 14, $21, Daniels Hall, 71 East Yale Avenue.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.