If you go
What: Doubtful Sound w/ Small Houses
When: 9 p.m. Thursday
Where: Laughing Goat Coffeehouse, 1709 Pearl St., Boulder, 303-440-4628
Cost: free
thelaughinggoat.com

Though Doubtful Sound was briefly a band, it started as a one-man act and is a solo project again. Monument-based musician Michael Thigpen, who got the band/stage name from a New Zealand fjorland, strums out folk tunes on the resonator guitar, mandolin and lap-steel guitar. We talked with Thigpen about his name, his music, and his passion for charity.

So, why take the name of a New Zealand fjordland?

Back when I was traveling in New Zealand with my parents, when I was 16, we went to this New Zealand fjorland called Doubtful Sound … and my dad was like, that would be a cool name for a rock ‘n' roll band. And looking back years later I decided, ‘You know what, that sticks,' and I went with it.”

Your bio says you still don't know what folk music is. How's figuring that out going?

I'm still no closer than when I started, really.

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I thought that there was this specific genre called folk or folk rock that I was looking for, but I found that the more I look into it, what folk really is is this massive conglomeration of different types of music from different cultures in history. So really, you can't narrow it down to one thing. It's just been this awesome educational experience.

It's Irish gigs one day and, you know, Russian folk the next. It's all a lot of fun and it kind of builds on itself.
Michael Thigpen
Michael Thigpen
You see ties and every once in a while you see a progression in modern music. I don't know what it is, necessarily, but I know that I've been enjoying pursuing it.

Tell me about Mike's Medical Mocha Club.

Basically what's going on there is I've been looking for quite a while to try to combine my interest in music with my interest in medicine. I decided to play for different charities as much as I possibly can. Basically what that is is my own little thing that I started and we're all going for the interest of starting this nonprofit mocha club together. We're targeted toward young people that don't have a big budget to sponsor something, but the idea is that you're giving $7 of your spare change every month, which is the cost of two mochas.

And the thing I'm doing most likely with Mike's Medical Mocha Club is I'm working on compilation CDs with artists from Colorado and artists that I've met all over the world who are on board with me and want to submit a song to this. It'll be download-able and people can give whatever they want and 100 percent will go to the Mocha Club.

You already have an EP out, but are you working on recording again?

I'm actually working on it right now for the tour that I'm scheduled to go on in April, I'm working on a another EP. It's a different collection of songs that I've been doing over time. Each of the songs on the EP will be recorded in a different studio and a friend is going to mix and master it with me. The idea is to release it by April, but I'm slowly in the works of recording a full-length album in which every single song is in a different studio. When it happens I'll be stoked.