Dirty Impound Questionnaire

Elephant Revival

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Elephant Revival by Anne Staveley

An elusive but irresistible musk rises off Elephant Revival, a scent to lure one into their dancing strings and cosmic-leaning reveries, a place of color and life, a garden for the ears. The Colorodo-based quintet – Bonnie Paine (vocals, washboard, djembe, musical-saw, stomp-box), Daniel Rodriguez (vocals, guitar, banjo), Sage T. Cook (electric banjo/guitar, mandolin, vocals, viola), Dango Rose (upright bass, vocals, mandolin, claw-hammer banjo) and Bridget Law (fiddle, vocals, octave violin) – is an interwoven thing, the strands so close and complimentary that new shades emerge in real time. One hears echoes old (Incredible String Band, Pentangle) and new (Johnny Flynn & The Sussex Wit, Greensky Bluegrass) but all faint in the face of five original singer-songwriters and gifted, empathetic instrumentalists.

Break In The Clouds (released June 14 on Ruff Shod), the band’s sophomore album, overflows with aspects to obsess upon – the smoky nectar of Paine’s voice, the graceful crow’s arc of Law’s fiddle, Rodriguez’s mountain-rooted banjo, Cook’s potent songwriting sway, to name but a few. Over fourteen tracks, Elephant Revival induces a heady hypnosis, a disorientation that comes from visiting another’s world and returning richer for the journey, which befits a record where traveler’s tunes abound and open skies beckon one to rise and wonder. Beautiful scratches the surface, but stick around a little longer and one will hear the new sound of folk emerging, one that questions the nature of time while light-steppin’ with barefoot friends.

Elephant Revival is a powerhouse live band as well, and will be celebrating New Year’s Eve at the famed Roseland Theater in Portland, Oregon, as well as touring around their native state of Colorado in November and January. Check out their full tour schedule here.

Here’s what Daniel Rodriguez had to say to our inquiries.

1. Great music rarely happens without…
Authenticity, sensibility, passion, heart, vulnerability, people willing to receive, people willing to give. I guess the best musicians I have heard, being songbirds, crickets, tree frogs and cicadas, they don’t seem to need much.
2. The first album I bought was…
The first album I ever bought with hard earned cash, to where it was a choice between “food or music,” was a double sided live album of Bob Dylan recorded in ‘64, Live at Philharmonic Hall, one from his bootleg series.
3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
Our front of house sound engineer mixed and recorded the throat singers who sometimes play with Bela Fleck. He played it for us one night before sound-check while he was tuning the room. It was otherworldly, phenomenal!
4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
When I was a kid I had so many fleeting desires of what or who I wanted to become…everything is exciting when the imagination is boundless such as a kid’s. You don’t have to be one set idea. One day you want to be an astronaut, one day a fireman, the president, a rock star, etc…But I can’t remember if there was any one specific thing I wanted to be. Maybe a pro surfer, but that meant you had to compete.
5. My favorite sort of gig is…
Where there is a mutual respect between the audience and the musicians. Where the stage, production and house managers are all on the same page, and there’s no “I’ve had a bad day, and it’s going to make this process hell.” A gig where no one has anything to prove, where you come, you do, you say your piece, leave your heart suspended in the air, and go home.
6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
I don’t know if I wish anyone to know anything about me. If they know me they could just ask.
7. I love the sound of…
I love the sound of tree frogs, crickets, and cicadas. Wow can they play that trance music like no other late night tent. In fact, I wish some of the festivals out there would understand that if they turned off the generators and the electronica at a decent hour, there’s actually some trance music at the backdrop of nature. I like trance music though, I’m just sayin’…
8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
One day, I’d like to record an album as fantastic as Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde…or Paul Simon’s You’re The One…Or Bobby McFerrin’s Circle Songs. But that’s just because I love those albums – great songs and great manifested vision.
9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
The Belly Up in Aspen always put out a great spread for the band and crew. And when we tour to Oklahoma around harvest, Bonnie’s dad is always frying up okra – mighty tasty. Really though, after a late night and a long drive every meal seems to be the best meal I’ve ever had.
10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
We find great audiences everywhere we go. Always love playing to our home crowd around Boulder. Some mighty kind audiences on the West Coast.
11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time is…
Starting to drink coffee at 9 pm…but man, do I love the coffee bean. But, I have cut down considerably on eating something that has 500 ingredients listed on the package when you know the actual product only needs three ingredients. What is all that shit anyway?
12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
I think they both have their own ascending qualities that are different and appreciable, but overall, if I had to live with only one, it would be Led Zeppelin. They just hit you in the face from the get-go. There’s no silver spoon cryptic shadow, just straight up, uninhibited rock face. But at this juncture I tend to listen more to the roots of a particular genius rather than its evolution. But Zeppelin is done, and Radiohead is still writing, recording and touring as far as I know, so too early to make an all-time definitive answer.
13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
If I told you I saw a mix between a dragonfly and a hummingbird fly out of my chest, turn around and stare at me, then fly away, would you believe me?

[Editor’s note: yes, without a moment’s hesitation].