Elephant Revival Breaks The Mold | WGLT

Elephant Revival Breaks The Mold

Aug 17, 2016

Credit Dylan Langille (OntheDL)

Transcendental Folk is a term often used to describe the music of Nederland, Colorado based Elephant Revival.   The town of 1500 sits in the rarified hills just southwest of Boulder. 8200 feet above sea level, this mountain town with a mining past has a burgeoning music scene far surpassing its small population.  Elephant Revival's fiddle player Bridget Law says the high profile artists utilizing the now legendary Caribou Ranch Recording Studio just outside Nederland helped the town become home to a concentrated group of talented musicians.

"And more recently, Leftover Salmon, String Cheese Incident, and Yonder Mountain String Band began there" said Law.  "They are some of the bigger names that founded in Nederland.  And a lot of these people like to ski, there's great skiing here.  There's a sense of freedom and community, and a lot of weekly 'picks' and other spontaneous things that happen in town that draws all different walks of life. And they end up staying there."

Elephant Revival's new album is titled "Petals."  It's an album Law said the band approached with a desire to break the mold of how they had recorded previous albums.  She said they were trying to stretch themselves to see what they were capable of.

"One thing - we're using a lot more percussion than we have in the past.  Before we tried to stay true to what our sound was prior to this album, which was having Bonnie on the washboard.  We really refrained from producers talking us into adding drums onto the records," said Law.

For this recording, Elephant Revival consciously considered and experimented with different textures of percussion.

"It's actually allowed us to invite talented percussion to be part of our shows more frequently" said Law.  Also, Bonnie, who has been writing on the cello for a number of years, was finally feeling comfortable to share some of her sounds on the instrument."

An intense listen to the songs on 'Petals," or to any other Elephant Revival album doesn't reveal even subtlety political lyrics, despite the band being very intentional about sharing its beliefs about social and political causes. 

"We want a very broad invitation for everyone to be involved with the music" said Law. " Though I would say throughout the lyrics of our songs, stewardship of the earth or commitment to the environment is present.  We write about nature all the time.  But there is a reluctance to get on a platform about even things we feel strongly about, for example fracking, which is a very controversial issue in our country.  We feel fracking destroys the water table and can cause earthquakes and is a very wasteful process.  We feel we can move toward renewable energies.  But our fans can feel differently, so we're very careful, because we don't want to turn anyone off from the music.  The music can be unifying."