Head For The Hills

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Head For The Hills perform at second annual Winterfest on the Mountain

:: Head For The Hills ::
:: Belly Up ::  January 6 ::
:: three20south :: January 8 ::
:: Ghost  Ranch :: January 15 ::
:: Winterfest on the Mountain in Nederland  :: January 22::

By Lisa Oshlo

Colorado’s own Head for the Hills gathered some major momentum in 2010, momentum that you can rest assured will be carried into and built upon in the new year.

One of the first events on tap for the band will be January’s Winterfest on the Mountain, Nederland’s premier winter music festival.

Formed at Colorado State University in 2003 and 2004, Head for the Hills has seen their fanbase grow exponentially, largely due to their ability to incorporate elements other than bluegrass into their ever-growing repertoire.

Consisting of Adam Kinghorn (guitar/banjo/ vocals), Joe Lessard (fiddle/beatbox/vocals), Matt Loewen (bass/clarinet/vocals), and Mike Chappell (mandolin/vocals), Head for the Hills has cut for themselves a unique niche in the genre.

“When we first started at CSU, I think we were mostly concerned with figuring the bluegrass thing out,” said Loewen, in a recent interview with The Marquee. “We were all discovering a lot of new acoustic music and gaining inspiration from those artists. None of us had much of a background in bluegrass music and we put in a lot of work figuring out where we sat within the style. But since then, we’ve all grown so much as musicians, writers, and listeners, and I think the band reflects that. As we continue to learn and become exposed to new styles, artists and sounds, those things are filtered through each of us and end up in the music of Head for the Hills.”

The band’s ability to integrate and assimilate different types of music into their bluegrass-based playing style has made them very exciting to watch, and placed them at the cutting-edge of the genre. “One of the things I like most about this band,” said Loewen, “is the willingness to sew together whatever threads each of us brings to the table.”

Lately, that has been everything from jazz to indie-rock, the result of which is a truly unique sound.

This young and diversified band has not failed to catch the attention of the mainstays of the genre, and the band just recorded an album with Colorado bluegrass heavyweights Drew Emmitt and Billy Nershi.

“Drew and Billy have a great working relationship and play off each other’s strengths wonderfully,” said Loewen. In addition to these two, the band assembled Direct Stream Digital pioneer Gus Skinas to record the project. Jack White’s Grammy Award-winning engineer Vance Powell, who engineered the album, remarked that the band “could not have been in better hands [while working with Skinas].”

In addition to being in such strong industry company, the band was also selected publicly as Westword’s 2010 “Best In Bluegrass.”

The eponymous sophomore release promises to translate beautifully to the live setting, showcasing the band’s vibrant and variant sound. To this end, the band greatly looks forward to performing for local audiences at Winterfest on the Mountain, a festival that promises to unite some of the most luminous local talent with big names on the national scene. After all, said Loewen, “There are never enough winter festivals.”

Winterfest on the Mountain runs January 21, 22 and 23 at the Nederland Community Center. In addition to Head for the Hills, the lineup includes Wicked Messenger, the side project of Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann of Yonder Mountain String Band, performing two sets of Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan material. The two will also appear as a duo performing another set of their own music. Other acts include RAQ, Charlie Hunter, The Marco Benevento Trio, Elephant Revival, Mountain Standard Time, Springdale Quartet, White Water Ramble, Ego Vs Id, Dead Winter Carpenters and Jet Edison.

:: Head For The Hills ::

:: Belly Up :: January 6 ::

:: three20south :: January 8 ::

:: Ghost Ranch :: January 15 ::

:: Winterfest on the Mountain in Nederland :: January 22::

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• Emmitt-Nershi Band

• Leftover Salmon

• Del McCoury Band

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