97.3 KBCO and Colorado Chautauqua Present



Sat Aug 19

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

Chautauqua Auditorium


This event is all ages

Blind Pilot
Blind Pilot
"The past isn't finished with us yet. Love can be like that, too. A couple of years ago I found love in different forms leaving my life at once. In a single month I lost my closest group of friends, my 13-year relationship ended, and my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I had just stopped touring to write the next Blind Pilot album, but instead I was watching each of my plans unthread as a new season pulled forward relentlessly.

"Avoiding suffering, is avoiding real happiness too. My reason to tell this story isn't because it broke me and pinned me breathless. There was suffering, but those two years, as I moved to my hometown to help my parents through my dad's sickness and eventually his death, also brought me true closeness, a deeper will to care and hope, and many moments of beauty I can barely describe.

"This album came from love for my family, my town, my friends, my community. We don't have to be so afraid of loss. We can speak and share its name, knowing we are together in it. If these songs are invitations to talk about loss and death, the invitation is to talk closely of the courage we find when we face loss honestly, cracked open and unsure of what we will become."

- Blind Pilot's Israel Nebeker

Blind Pilot's 'And Then Like Lions' on ATO Records is the third LP from the Portland, Oregon-based sextet consisting of frontman Israel Nebeker, fellow founding member Ryan Dobrowski, Luke Ydstie, Kati Claborn, Ian Krist and Dave Jorgensen. The album was produced by Israel Nebeker and Tucker Martine (The Decemberists, Neko Case, My Morning Jacket), and was written and composed by Nebeker. It comes five years after the band's well-received 'We Are the Tide' and three years after Nebeker thought he'd be starting the songs that would become the band's third album.

'And Then Like Lions' opens with "Umpqua Rushing," the first single from the album and the track that most directly deals with the end of his relationship. It's inspired by memories of visiting the Umpqua River with his then girlfriend. The song connects images of a forest fire to the destruction and new beginning found in love's wake.

"Umpqua Rushing" has a strong, mid-tempo flow built on major chords and rich instrumentation that matches the river the song's named for. Nebeker's voice soars on strings to an uplifting ending, and it's as vulnerable and open as he's ever been.

Packed Powder is an upbeat, solidly-driven song filled with elevated textures of guitar hooks and trumpets. It comes from an idea Nebeker had as a teenager, when he and his friends found they could repack fireworks to different outcomes: "We're all made of the same stuff, but who knows how we're packed and what we'll show as we burn across the black sky of our own time?" The song speaks lightheartedly of ironic outcomes when trying to better a life through different career paths, and then sings a chorus that surrenders and desires life to reveal what we are made of.

'And Then Like Lions' ends triumphantly on "Like Lions," a song inspired by various stories of courage Nebeker has whitenessed in his recent years, including watching his father fight for life and, before the end, find strength enough to give himself and be at peace with his own mortality.

Blind Pilot has performed on Ellen and The Late Show with David Letterman, at the Newport Folk Festival, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza. The group has shared stages with The Shins, Local Natives, Andrew Bird, and more. The project began in 2007 when Israel and co-founding member Ryan Dobrowski went on a West Coast tour via bicycle. Blind Pilot's six members recorded for this new album and will tour through 2016.
Covenhoven was built by his Grandfather. One skinned log atop another. Arcadia in the woods. A cabin where he and they always came together to be alone. The Grandson’s childhood grew from that soil and when he was back in the city he dreamt of those surreal washes of color and scent: those sounds that don’t live in the other places. In real places.

Over the years the family learned that secret places are difficult to share with others. You can’t tell somebody the story by just giving them a map. You see, while Covenhoven is a real place, it’s also not. It’s more than that. It’s thousands of memories and entire childhoods, lives that have passed-on. And now, this place, this thing – because of the Grandson: it’s a symphony of sound. It’s an orchard of stories. And, it sounds like a good novel should read.

You can hear it in “A Love Sincere” when the strings kick up like autumn grass in that old aspen grove. This was something different than the Grandson had done before. Alone, he wrote, played and recorded the entire thing save for the stringy violin and cello, whose parts he wrote instead.

The Grandson is Joel Van Horne and this is his project.

For his siblings, parents and relatives, Covenhoven was always a place they drove four hours up to. But it was just as well a place that the Van Horne's could take back with them, when the summer was over as an emotional souvenir. It was a dreamy respite in the middle of a work day. A subalpine scent in the middle of a traffic jam. A memory of everything quiet and celebrated. And then, as years turned into decades and those logs settled down into their place in the earth of the Medicine Bows, Covenhoven grew into the central legend of their personal, familial history.

For Van Horne, a Colorado native, this storied plot of land was where the best of his childhood took place. And so it wasn’t such a surprise that, when the 33 year old was looking inside for a new project and a fresh lease on his musical life, he stumbled back upon the memory of that time. That place way out there had been something that he had wanted to write about. Up until this age, he just wasn’t ready.

The symphony hadn’t arrived. Not yet.

Van Horne grew-up on the west side of Denver, next to the hogbacks, beneath the sunsets. Every summer his family would go for a couple of glorious weeks, up to the Medicine Bows, up to Covenhoven. Dad played Dylan tunes on his old six-string. Others had their instruments. Music had been painted all over his family. Everybody had been infected. So it was no surprise when the Grandson, Joel, caught the bug. At eleven Van Horne had his first guitar. At fourteen, his first band. Before he could even drive, he was on the road. Playing his rebellious soda pop punk, touring the west coast.

But his goal was to write a symphony. Always, there was going to be an orchestra.

He couldn’t really read music, but he tried out for a jazz program anyway. He auditioned with his guitar. He was accepted. And it wasn’t a surprise or an obstacle, the fact that he was on probation for his first semester. It was going to be a challenge, like he was tangled in the cattails at Covenhoven, waist-high in the Rafting Pond. Trying to get in, trying to get out. 6, 7, 8 hours a day he practiced by himself. Reading. Making runs up and down his fretboard. And he was rewarded. He gigged-out with other students. They even played in Russia, in a hall that Rachmaninoff built. But Van Horne wasn’t content yet. His heart called to an even different style of music. Original music. Sure, paying homage to your past grew him, but he wanted to tell his stories, sing his songs.

Eventually he ended-up in Carbon Choir, a big, full band with a penchant for the mellow, but a drive toward the rock. Like with his adolescent band, you felt this one in a physical place. But still, his emotional center, that inspired pit, needed sunlight. And so he continued looking around until it began to grow and make sense. Within the last couple of years,it came back to him: the symphony. Covenhoven. It was all there, all the sounds and stories, if he could just paint them clearly.

Van Horne would do it all differently. He would go at it alone. No band. No body else. He would write all the parts. All the lyrics. He would record it himself. He would make the calls. He wouldn’t have to worry about finding a part for this instrument, or that player. This was finally the time to write that story, those pictures, about those days.

The symphony of an American upbringing. A Colorado childhood.

It’s a series of vignettes. Revelations. Private memories made public through spacious textures and dynamic composition. Because if there’s something apparent about Van Horne’s sense of song it’s his ability for smart, poignant textures. Organic, as though a naturalist built it altogether. Each one as though they were truly given a space, a place of their own.

Van Horne was his own filter. He would bounce-out songs to go over in his car, sometimes with 40 different takes. He was on his own through it all until he enlisted the help of sound engineer Jamie Mefford to help mix it. Finally he had a second eye on it. The two of them set those sounds onto the page, and the chapters, the movements became concretized. They bound the book.

Van Horne is a songwriter. He knows his way around verses. Covenhoven is not just about streams of banjos and mountains of heavenly percussion. It’s about the things you say when you’re way out there, with others, but by yourself. They are simple, woody meditations on his “Love Sincere”. In “Young at Heart” Van Horne sings, “And I’ve always been an old soul/Empty has always been full/Lost is my own kind of found/And silence my favorite sound”.

If there was an analogy in this for Van Horne, it would have been about the accumulation of skill sets. The sum total of the previous challenges into one more. A tribute to that path, to everything he’s become and more than that: a celebration of a place his grandfather built by himself. It is a tribute. An articulation of reverence. To his family. His siblings. The secret memories that are only theirs.

This is that sound. That place. Covenhoven.
Venue Information:
Chautauqua Auditorium
Boulder, CO, 80302