If you go
What: Head for the Hills
When: 9 p.m. Saturday
Where: Fox Theatre, 1135 13th St., Boulder, 303-447-0095
More info: foxtheatre.com
Head for the Hills is one of those Colorado bands you see around all the time, and this weekend, you can see them very close by, at the Fox. The progressive bluegrass band keeps busy with its own projects and collaborating with other local mainstays. With the vinyl release of the band's third studio album on the horizon, we caught up with mandolin player Mike Chappell.
So, tell me about Blue Ruin.
Honestly, I think it's our best album. It's our third studio album and, you know, I think we've gotten progressively a little more disciplined in the studio. This experience — it's a little more concise as far as the songs go. There's not a whole lot of jamming on it, which is cool. It's a lot more song oriented.
Stylistically, I think it's a little more the kind of music we wanted to make, but had trouble executing until now. There's a handful of bluegrass songs there, but there a handful that aren't, musically, bluegrass songs, as well. I think it's more interesting than the other albums.
Was there something you identified that you did differently, or did it just happen naturally?
I think the songwriting just happened naturally. Joe (Lessard) and Adam (Kinghorn) — both of their songwriting styles have developed a lot. They're the predominant songwriters on the album ... Joe's in particular is very original and unique. It's kind of got a hip-hop flavor, and he's infused that with our acoustic band. ...We're finally at a place where everyone can bring songs to the table and make them work.
This lineup for the release show — with Trout Steak Revival and Grant Farm — is very Colorado-traditional. I know you've worked with a lot of other big local names, too. Obviously you do your own thing, but does this kind of community play a role in the band's growth?
You know, I think it has a lot to do with it. We've always been really inspired by these bands that are kind of different as far as their style. We're inspired a lot by the old bluegrass stuff and, as we've gotten a little older, different kinds of bands like rock bands and — I don't know, there's just so many cool acoustic projects.
The way Colorado is, they embrace the flexibility of bands to try different things. It's amazing. We're kind of surrounded by so many different bands that are good examples of doing that, and we kind of try to surround ourselves with bands that are doing that. And it comes from the fans who allow us to that and go for it. The Colorado music fans are so open minded.
And speaking of Colorado music, let's talk about the River's Rising: Colorado Flood Relief record. I'm guessing that offering up some music for this was a no-brainer for the band.
Well it's really cool to be involved in that. I was just looking at the bands on it and it's kind of cool that all those other bands helped out.
Were you affected at all?
No, we were all fine, so that's good. But we know a bunch of people who were, so it's crazy. I grew up in Colorado and I never really thought of floods to be that big of a problem.
Anything else we should know about the release show?
The vinyl release is the big part of it and that's really cool. This is the first album we've been able to release on vinyl and we're really pumped about it. It sounds really good on vinyl. And we haven't played Boulder in six months or something. It's exciting to be back there.