Kendra Muecke calls Los Angeles home these days, but for two years she lived in Denver. Although her time in Colorado was short, it made enough of an impact that she focused an entire album around one song inspired by a trip through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
“They have a buffalo-roaming area out there,” Muecke says. “I had just written this poem about buffalo. I drove through this section of this national park and then wrote the chord progression in the buffalo roaming area to the 'Buffalo Walk' song. So it’s always been super close to my heart.”
She shelved 'Buffalo Walk' until she could properly record it, but it later served as the center of her third album of Thank you, which dropped on September 25. Muecke, who performs as Kendra & the Bunnies, considers the fifteen tracks of psychedelic-tinged Americana to be a concept album of sorts that centers around "Buffalo Walk," the last track on the record.
“It's kind of a mysterious theme,” she says. “It's like society and turning a mirror to who we are as people, and the different elements, and using a lot of imagery to just bring up a lot of philosophical thinking surrounding society and one's own personal perspective.”
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Muecke touches on multiple genres in her music, but she counts Jefferson Airplane as steering her toward rock-and-roll music as a child. Grace Slick’s vocals are apparent as an influence. She also loves singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell — particularly her storytelling — and considers herself a sort of edgier version of Mitchell. She loves the Grateful Dead and the folklore that goes into its songwriting. Recently, she discovered the dream pop of Mazzy Star.
‘I’ve noticed I'm influenced by their song ‘Fade Into You,’” she says. “I heard that song playing in a restaurant a couple of months ago, and I ended up writing a song.”
Muecke tackles numerous styles in her music, but she classifies what she does as being Celtic Americana. Her sound doesn't hit the listener over the head with Celtic sounds, but she says the influence is there. She’s not beholden to any particular sound, however, and tries to let songs go wherever they want.
“If different genres want to come out, I’ll write that song,” she says. “If something wants to come out as in a hip-hop style, I’ll do that, or a pop style, I’ll do that. With this recent album, I think 'psychedelic Americana' is the perfect way to put it.”
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on live music across the country for the past several months. Muecke says she immediately embraced live-streaming performances as a way to keep playing after a planned tour of coastal towns in California had to be sacked. It has worked out well for her so far. She considers it virtual touring and has been able to build her fan base substantially this year.
“It’s cool, because I was doing like a club or a venue circuit virtually from home.... We would get in contact with a venue, set up a date, and then when I went live, on whatever platform, the venue would go in and re-share and promote the show.
Muecke is a published poet and plans to collect more verse for a book in the near future. She also wants to make Kendra & the Bunnies an actual band. Right now, it’s just her on stage.
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“I’m looking for a drummer, a bassist and a guitarist, a lead guitarist,” she says. “I do play guitar, but [I need] someone to take the reins so I can settle into my Stevie Nicks kind of moving around the stage, stuff like that.”
Originally from Texas, Muecke went home and managed to snag a few dates in Forth Worth, Georgetown and Houston. Last week she was able to play an album-release show in Los Angeles. In October, she’s playing three shows in Colorado — two in Denver and one in Loveland.
"I feel like a lot of my lyrics, and the way I hold myself and the way I sing...I like to comfort people,” she says. “I feel like I’m there for other people during difficult times, because I’ve been through difficult times.”
Kendra & the Bunnies takes the stage at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 15, at Quixote's True Blue, 2014 South University Boulevard; tickets are $10 at the door or at holdmyticket.com. She plays from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, October 16, at Black & Blues Music & Brews, 423 North Cleveland Avenue in Loveland; tickets, $10 to $40, are available on Eventbrite. She returns to Denver on October 18 for a show at Herman's Hideaway, 1578 South Broadway; tickets, $10, are available on Eventbrite. Learn more at Muecke's website.