When Denver-based singer-songwriter/indie rocker Pie Lombardi IV was furloughed from his job because of the pandemic, he did what so many musicians didn’t have the guts to do. He took his savings to Chris Beeble at the legendary recording studio the Blasting Room in Fort Collins and collaborated with him to produce two of the highest-quality recordings possible.
The result is Lombardi’s most ambitious solo project yet, channeling something deeper than his previous dabbles into alt-country and folk. "Some People" came out in February, and “Concrete,” the second of the two singles, drops June 26. In the meantime, he's back to playing shows, with a night at Lost Lake earlier this month and a solo gig at FlyteCo Brewing on Saturday, June 19.
Taking a break from his usual role as guitarist of the indie-rock outfit Silver & Gold, Lombardi stepped into the role as bandleader, recruiting an impressive list of Colorado musicians including Mickey Postillion of Overslept on guitar, Noel Billups of ssiigghh on keys, and singer-songwriter Samantha Brewer on backup vocals.
“I rounded up a group of people, and I wanted them to take the foundation that I built of the songs and just have fun,” says Lombardi. “I’m usually pretty adamant about what I want it to sound like, but this time around, especially the song “Concrete,” I just wanted it to feel good for everyone playing on it. It was kind of an all-fun project, honestly. There wasn’t really a goal in mind.”
He wrote “Some People” several years ago. The song expresses his frustration with the behavior of the people around him and his realization that he was guilty of much of what they were. “Concrete” was written during his time in isolation.
“The content of the song itself was a product of COVID lockdown and being stuck in that darker headspace and climbing yourself out of it,” says Lombardi.
To cope with lockdown, he would take walks, sometimes late at night when he couldn’t sleep. On one of those walks, something clicked for him. “I had this kind of breakthrough where I decided everything was going to be okay eventually," he recalls. "Then I came home and wrote the basis of the song."
Musically, Lombardi draws inspiration from folk and alt-country musicians like Gregory Alan Isakov, Ruston Kelly, and Noah Gundersen, pulling from a love affair with nostalgic Americana.
“I had a solid six months of nothing but Bruce Springsteen,” jokes Lombardi. “As far as inspiration goes, it was really cool to work with a lot of my friends who I hadn’t seen in so long and let them kind of take away from the inspiration side and put in what they were feeling. It made me yearn for that simpler time, when it was all about bouncing things off of each other and having fun with it.”
Lombardi is looking ahead optimistically. Planning to step back from big production and return to more bedroom recording and a potential new Silver & Gold record, he's grateful for the music he has been creating and how he was able to address his mental struggles during the pandemic and put himself into a positive headspace.
His conclusion: In life, you have to take things as they come.
“It’s put things in perspective for me as an artist that I’m at the point in my life where I want to work really hard at the few things that I want to accomplish and not stretch myself over so many different avenues," says Lombardi. "I decided I need to pick my battles."
Pie Lombardi will perform a solo set at 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 19, at FlyteCo Brewing, 4499 West 38th Avenue #101. The event is free.
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