Elephant Revival has morphed over the years into this region’s most warm and fuzzy feel-good band. Considering that metro Denver has no shortage of folk bands, that’s no mean feat. It’s no dig, either: The Nederland troupe has that mournful, mildly gothic (without the Cure makeup) quality that many country and folk artists from these parts are blessed with, seasoned with healthy joy. Just listen to this year’s Sands of Now live album for evidence of that glorious raw emotion.
When the band spoke to Westword’s Tom Murphy back in August, Sands of Now had just been released, and the bandmembers were working on a studio followup. Bridget Law, so often the mouthpiece for the band nowadays (great choice, guys – she’s witty, charming and razor-sharp), told Murphy, “I think a lot of us veered toward acoustic instruments because of their portability. We can break them out on the street, in the woods or around a bonfire or wherever and play them un-amplified. Which gets to the heart of why we all play music, which is to engage in that very intrinsic, natural, expressive emotional level that you don’t need to jump through a bunch of hoops to get through. You can just be there.”
Above all else, Law loves talking shop. She’s clearly passionate about her band and her music. This is a good thing, as Elephant Revival is preparing to play two nights at the Ogden Theatre this weekend.
What has the band been up to since we last spoke? “It’s been a great touring year,” Law says. “We played some wonderful shows in some wonderful places, and we’re ready to bring it home.”
After months of touring, the band should be a finely tuned machine, and its members are feeling confident enough to throw in some new tracks. “We’re introducing new material and we’re working on an album, so we’re going to be playing some of our new music that’s up and coming,” Law says. “We’re going to play completely different music both nights. Unique sets of music as far as no repeated songs – really reach out and play a bunch of new stuff, old stuff, and things we don’t get to play a lot. Have some fun with it. This record that we’ve been working on will be our fifth release, so we have lots of material to choose from, and I think we’re going to have some fun with two completely different sets at the Ogden, where we can just stretch out and play lots of different things. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Of that there’s no doubt. New material from this lot is always worthy of a bit of excitement, but Law only offers a vague tease: “There are not a lot of details about it yet, but the music is within us. We’re excited about sharing it.”
Last time we spoke, Law and her bandmates were just getting used to the fact that founding member Sage Cook was no longer with them. Cook had started his own outfit, We Dream Dawn, telling this writer back in April, “It was one of the toughest decisions that I ever made, because I love what they do in that band. Being on the road all the time just affected my health. But I have all these food projects – I have a bunch of cows we take care of.”
Charlie Rose joined Elephant Revival, and Law says that the lineup is now settled. “We’ve been having a blast with Charlie, exploring new textures,” she says. “He’s so talented, and he’s really delightful. For right now, we’re really enjoying a great addition to the community. It’s going well.”
See what we mean about the whole “warm and fuzzy” thing? The holidays, it would seem, are right up Elephant Revival’s street.
“I feel like this is a time when people get together and celebrate life and a cycle,” Law says. “We always come home and play these shows after being out on the road; we always come back to the winter space where we can create, and enjoy that. It’s good to be around people during those times, to remind you where you’re going and where you came from. I think Bonnie’s sister will be there – she’s so fun to have around. You know, I’m a local girl, so I just make sure I see my family.”
“Local girl” is right. The band might have been birthed in Nederland, but they’ve all made their way down the mountains and are now based closer to the brights lights of the big city. Predictably but heartwarmingly, they adore Denver. And the Ogden. “It’s a cool room,” Law said. “It’s going to be amazing in there. We’ve got this iridescent theme that we’re working with, with the aerialists and the lighting. I wanted to call it the Iridescent Ball, but we didn’t want it to get misinterpreted, so it’s the winter ball with an iridescent theme. We have two really phenomenal aerialists coming out, and the Ogden is a great place to have them. It’s been a lot of fun to plan.”
And the planning doesn’t stop there. The band will be off to Arkansas and New Mexico around the New Year, followed by a West Coast tour in January. Then the new album is due to drop in April. If you can’t wait till then, get yourself to the Ogden on Friday or Saturday. Or both.
The Elephant Revival plays with Joe Pug (Friday) and Pert Near Sandstone (Saturday) at 9 p.m. on Friday, December 4 and Saturday, December 5 at the Ogden Theatre; 935 E. Colfax Ave., Denver; 303-832-1874; $25-$30.
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