Whitewater Ramble


Whitewater Ramble rides the wake of its most magnanimous year yet

:: Whitewater Ramble ::

:: Fox Theatre :: February 21 ::

By Levi Macy

It can prove difficult to break away from being just another local Front Range band. To become nationally recognized and accepted as a staple in your genre is a task that almost all bands strive for from inception. Within the last year, Fort Collins locals  WhiteWater Ramble have gone from a staple of the Colorado music scene to an up-and-coming driving force of the national jamband family.

“It was excellent. Definitely the best year in the history of the band. Not just financially speaking. It feels like we raised our profile and our stock,” said mandolin picker Patrick Sites in a recent interview with The Marquee.

WhiteWater Ramble has been playing shows in this region for close to eight years now, never really finding their place anywhere outside of the state. That all changed due to their decision to ramp up promotion, while attempting to reach fans in other regions.

In the time since the band started, the lineup has gone through many changes and the sound has evolved into the eclectic, funky, high octane Rocky Mountain dance-grass that the band has crafted.

“We play dance grooves, really high energy music,” Sites said. “We span genres every night. From old-time, jazz and swing, to Celtic/Irish, to even maybe dubstep. Our sound is based in bluegrass but we try not to have any boundaries, it’s fun for us and people enjoy the diversity.”

This ‘out of the box’ approach to traditional music is not the only reason 2011 was pivotal for the band. The year started with their first official studio release, All Night Drive. It took the band almost eight years to actually find themselves in a studio. “Honestly, we were kind of scared. It wasn’t until we got connected with Tim Carbone [Railroad Earth] that we decided it was time. He was instrumental both in producing the album and giving us the confidence to do a record,” said Sites. “We are a jam band and jam band is improvisation.”

Translating that from the stage into the studio was part of the reason it took such a long time for the group to find themselves creating a studio album. “We just knew we couldn’t get in a studio and play ten minute long jams and improvise and go crazy and hope it turned out ok. We didn’t want to spend a bunch of time and money and not end up with a solid product,” Sites explained.

Carbone took the reigns on the project and convinced the band that it was time to put all of the hard work and original music created over the years into something that represents what the band stands for. At the time, they weren’t aware that putting the album out would translate to momentum for exposure for the group, but the band took the unique approach of offering the album for free both digitally through their website as well as in physical form at their shows. “We printed around 3,000 physical copies that we just gave away,” Sites said. “People were so appreciative, left great reviews and really took it to heart. That lead to a larger booking agency and getting paired up on some tours. It got us a lot of notoriety and exposure that I think we wouldn’t have got if we tried to sell it.”

Sites went on to say, “We kind of decided as a band that it needed to be released for free. We wanted people to hear the record. It pretty much embodied everything the band had been about up to that point. We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be a shame if we put this out and no one bought it.’ It would have been a tragedy to put out this album that we are really proud of and not have anyone listen to it.”

Since the release of All Night Drive, the presence of WhiteWater Ramble in the jam scene has noticeably grown to a level that the group has been striving to reach for a few years now. “We really flipped the switch in the past couple years. We have turned our focus from being an oversaturated Colorado band to a nationally recognized force. We have focused more on out-of-state touring, promoting, and trying to open ourselves up to new markets,” Sites said. “We never really knew how long we were going to take it, but once we made the switch we had to change the image of the band. We had to switch from being an all-around local band to a respected touring act doing big things.”

The push has really seemed to pay off for the fast-picking groove inducers. The album rocketed them to a new level of success, while their drive and passion to be unique has opened doors all over the country. In the last year, they played around 150 dates nationwide, with only fifteen or twenty of them in Colorado.

The band plans to take the momentum created by All Night Drive and keep running with it in 2012. “We are already planning and working on our next album,” Sites said with excitement. “Our style may be looser, but loose in a good way. It’s always growing, it’s fresh and fun. We are so excited and ready for whatever comes our way.”


:: Whitewater Ramble ::

:: Fox Theatre :: February 21 ::


Recommended if you Like:

• Railroad Earth

• Hot Buttered Rum

• Cornmeal


Cool, Share this article:

1 Comment

  1. Benjamin Kappius on

    I LOVED THESE GUYS! They had wonderful rhythm and my body fell into the groove. This was a sick show and killed it on mardi gras! See this any time you can!