Photos and update by James Bailey
The band Ravenna Woods and I were on our way to SXSW with a few stops along the way. Midway between Colorado Springs and Denver we started to get hungry. Seeing a road sign for a Waffle House we thought it might be a good place to grab some food. We pulled over, parked and went inside, only to discover that there weren’t enough empty seats to fit all 5 of us. It was Sunday morning and all the locals of the town of Castle Rock, CO were eating brunch. Just across the street however, there was a standard freeway diner. We walked inside and were seated quickly by a friendly waitress.
Oftentimes you take a chance when eating on the road. Unfamiliar places can be a blessing or a curse. This experience was definitely the latter. Drummer, Matt Badger’s sunny side up eggs looked like they had been cracked onto his plate without ever touching the grill. All of our hash browns had freezer burn. We went onward to the next city with an unsettled stomach.
Matt had two very good friends that lived in Denver, CO. Nick and Natalie, a brother and sister from his hometown of Oak Harbor, WA. After checking into a hotel, we met up with them in Cheesman Park for a barbecue before the boys were to play a show later that evening.
Inside the park we discovered a beautiful memorial with large marble columns somewhat resembling the Parthenon. All we could talk about was how great it would be to do a live video there. Since we left most of the musical gear back at our hotel room we decided to come back the next day.
Natalie had brought her wonderful little boxer, Sadie, to the park. Singer/guitarist Chris Cunningham was in love. He told me how much he missed having a pup and that he hasn’t had one since leaving the Marshall Islands 2 years ago. Chris had the wonderful opportunity to go abroad to teach Music, English and Social Studies to the native people for an entire year. He developed a strong interest in the local folklore. One way he was able to teach them was by having them transcribe their mythological stories into english. Many of these stories are the basis for the songs that make up Ravenna Woods self released album “Demons and Lakes”.
This great Photo of Brantley Duke was taken by Natalie.
The boys did a load- in later that night at the Lions Lair, a small venue reminiscent to us of Seattle’s Blue Moon Tavern.
I overheard later that night that Ravenna Woods played a set so intriguing it actually made the bartender stop serving people for a few moments as she watched them perform. She then told me that she sees many bands there and it was incredibly rare for one to capture her attention like that while she was at work.
The next band to perform, Watch it Sparkle, was another Seattle band making their way to the SXSW festival.
We said a loving goodbye to Matt’s friends and the other bands, then retired back to the hotel for the night.
Having a day off without a show, we had plenty of time to go back to the park. This time with all the instruments and an audio recording setup. In between breaks of the loud machinery that were being used to do landscaping right next to us, we filmed a few stripped down takes of a new song entitled “We Want it All” (See Video Below).
For the second time on tour with a band (the first one being last Nov. with The Lonely Forest) , I’m driving down the freeway listening to an unreleased album recorded by the group I’m traveling with. Ravenna woods will release their 8 song EP, “Valley of the Headless Men”, early this may. It includes even more beautiful harmonies, upbeat rhythms, and some of the most intriguing lyrics of any modern musical group.
The scenery as we make our way towards Albuquerque New Mexico reminds me of Tucson, AZ, the city where I grew up. It’s somewhat welcoming to be back in a region so warm after living in the North West for a few years. The desolate landscape however, makes me miss all the green trees and bodies of water that I love of my new home back in Seattle.
We stopped for the night in a freeway adjacent town, seemingly made up of gas stations and hotels, one day closer to our destination of Austin, TX.