music / Columns

Jam Central Station: Elephant Revival

November 17, 2018 | Posted by Jeff Modzelewski



With so much music coming from so many different directions, it can be hard to sort out where to find something new and different. When a band doesn’t have a sound that falls in line with the mainstream (even if it’s the “mainstream” of the jam band world) it’s difficult to know where to look, and it’s even more difficult for bands to find a hold. But the best tend to rise to the top. That’s what happened with Colorado’s Elephant Revival. The band went from friends playing folk music together to one of the most respected and successful alternative folk acts around.

The band started out in 2006 as a collection of musicians from different bands. Most members had played together previously, but it was the addition of Bonnie Paine that solidified the new band. They started out as “The Elephant Revival Concept” but soon shortened the name to simply “Elephant Revival.” They quickly became known in the Colorado scene, both as a band and as individual musicians. Colorado is a great launching point for bands that are a little off the beaten path, and Elephant Revival took advantage of the opportunities presented to them. Playing any small festival and campground that they could, they gained a following that allowed them the opportunity to open for and jam with an ever widening array of musicians. By the time they released their self-titled debut in 2008, they had harnessed their sound and gotten a great start.

They toured regionally, and didn’t take long to release their second album, 2010’s Break In The Clouds. The strength of the two albums, along with dozens of songs that were played live but not released at this point, put the band on regional and soon national festivals. Summer Camp, Electric Forest, Wakarusa, All Good, and many others came calling. Every festival was an opportunity to grow their fan base. In 2010 members of the band had the opportunity to play the Fourmile Benefit concert, which included members of Phish as well as The String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, and others.

In 2012 they released What’s That, a short, 8 song album. They had a friend direct their first video for the song “Quill Pen Feather,” and began playing a variety of internet shows, national radio shows, and other opportunities. They would play anything from bars and clubs to nature preserves and parks. Anywhere with a stage, a sound system, and an audience. While the first 2 albums saw the band spreading the vocals out very evenly between the members, the focus switched for What’s That, featuring Bonnie and Daniel stepping out as the more prominent lead vocalists. While the rest of the band continued to have a strong voice in the songwriting, Bonnie and Daniel had established themselves as the primary voices.

They quickly followed up with 2013’s These Changing Skies, which featured many live staples that had not yet had a studio release. They had the opportunity to play shows with orchestras as well as play at the legendary Red Rocks, first as an opening band and eventually headlining the venue in their own right. Founding member Sage Cooke left the band in early 2015 to pursue new interests, but the band found a replacement in Charlie Rose. Rose brought new elements to the band as well, including the pedal steel guitar, trumpet, and trombone. The band quickly began incorporating Rose’s instruments as well as his vocals and songwriting ability.

2016 saw the release of Petals, and the band has at that point established themselves as club headliners and a solid festival mid-card act. They had built up great following of fans that will travel to see them, even without mainstream exposure. They were even able to play their first Red Rocks headlining show. 2016 also brought some more turmoil, however, as the band suffered a serious setback when their tour bus caught fire, destroying many of their personal possessions and all of their instruments. The band didn’t miss a beat, however, playing a show that very night on borrowed instruments and not missing a date on their tour. They toured relentlessly, playing shows all over the country and becoming a top-line act on bluegrass and folk festivals from Winter Wondergrass to The Festy Experience. In early 2017 they added a percussionist Darren Garvey as a full-time member. They did an exceptional job in making sure that Garvey’s sound complemented but didn’t overpower the band.

While the 2016 and 2017 run had the band on an upward trajectory, sadly it didn’t last. Founding member and fiddle player Bridget Law announced in autumn of 2017 that she would be leaving the band to focus on her family and other projects. Law played a number of shows heading into the end of the year, and the band had a variety of friends filling in after Law left. They had a solid tour set for the first half of 2018, including headlining shows, festivals, and another Red Rocks date in May. In February of 2018, however, they abruptly announced that they were cancelling all of their upcoming shows other than festival dates and their Red Rocks show in May, and that the Red Rocks show would serve as their final show before taking an indefinite hiatus. The band played a massive show at Red Rocks, bringing out former members and playing nearly every song in their catalog before taking a final bow.

Unfortunately, the future of Elephant Revival isn’t clear at the moment. Some members are pursuing other musical avenues or ideas, and other members have remained relatively quiet. It’s too early to know how long this hiatus may last or what plans the band may have for solo releases. There’s clearly too much raw talent in that band to allow the individual members to fade away, and that’s clearly not happening. But we sadly don’t know if we’ll see them all back as Elephant Revival at some point in the future. Luckily, they left us with so much good music to enjoy.



Dark Star Jubilee announces lineup
Dark Star Jubilee announced their 2019 festival lineup. The event will again feature 3 full nights of Dark Star Orchestra. Joining DSO will be the Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Leftover Salmon, Billy Strings, Dumpstaphunk, Donna the Buffalo, and many other great acts.

George Clinton announces farewell tour
As was reported earlier this year, George Clinton is retiring from touring. Although he has yet to announce the dates, his final tour will be “One Nation Under A Groove” and will also feature Galactic, Dumpstaphunk, and Fishbone.

The String Cheese Incident announce 25th Anniversary tour dates
The String Cheese Incident are celebrating 25 years together in 2019. The band announced their initial dates for their anniversary tour. More dates and festival shows to come, I’m sure.

February 15 – The Cosmopolitan – Las Vegas, NV
February 16 – The Cosmopolitan – Las Vegas, NV
February 17 – The Cosmopolitan – Las Vegas, NV
February 21 – MontBleu Resort – Lake Tahoe, CA
February 22 – MontBleu Resort – Lake Tahoe, CA
February 23 – MontBleu Resort – Lake Tahoe, CA
April 19 – The Fox Theatre – St. Louis, MO
April 20 – The Fox Theatre – St. Louis, MO
May 2 – The Orpheum – New Orleans, LA
May 3 – Mardi Gras World – New Orleans, LA*
May 4 – Mardi Gras World – New Orleans, LA*
May 24 – DelFest – Cumberland, MD
May 25 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
May 26 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
May 27 – The Capitol Theatre – Port Chester, NY
July 27 – FloydFest – Floyd, VA

*w/ Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Galactic announce new album and dates
Galactic will release Already Ready Already on February 8. They will be hitting the road in support of the album as well, and the first month of dates are out, starting with 2/7 in Boston.

Feb. 7 – House of Blues – Boston^
Feb. 8 – The Fillmore – Philadelphia^
Feb. 9 – Brooklyn Steel – Brooklyn, NY^
Feb. 10 – The Warehouse – Fairfield, CT
Feb. 11 – Jupiter Hall – Albany, NY
Feb. 13 – Iron Works – Buffalo, NY
Feb. 14 – Rex Theater – Pittsburgh, PA
Feb. 15 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
Feb. 16 – 9:30 Club – Washington, DC
Feb. 17 – Lyric Theatre – Blacksburg, VA
March 15 – 10 Mile Music Hall – Frisco, CO
March 16 – 10 Mile Music Hall – Frisco, CO
March 17 – Sheridan Opera House – Telluride, CO
March 18 – Sheridan Opera House – Telluride, CO
March 20 – Knotty Pine – Victor, ID
March 21 – The Wilma – Missoula, MT
March 22 – Showbox – Seattle
March 23 – Crystal Ballroom – Portland, OR
March 24 – Crystal Ball – Crystal Bay, NV
March 26 – Brooklyn Bowl – Las Vegas, NV
March 27 – Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ
March 28 – Belly Up Tavern – Solana Beach, CA

^with The Motet


Strings & Sol
December 7-11
Puerto Morelos, MX
Yonder Mountain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon

December 12-16
Puerto Morelos, MX
The Disco Biscuits, STS9, Umphrey’s McGee, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Ghost Light

Winter Wondergrass Vermont
December 14-16
Stratton, VT
Railroad Earth, Infamous Stringdusters, Keller & The Keels, Fruition, Billy Strings, Kitchen Dwellers, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Rumpke Mountain Boys

Tropical Throe.down
January 10-14
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
moe., The New Mastersounds, Big Something

Jam in the Sand
January 15-19
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
Dark Star Orchestra, The Wailers, Green Leaf Rustlers

International Incident
January 25-28
Runaway Bay, Jamaica
The String Cheese Incident, Keller Williams

Panic en la Playa Ocho
January 25-29
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Riviera Maya
February 15-17
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Phish in Riviera Maya
February 21-23
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass Colorado
February 22-24
Steamboat Springs, CO
Trampled by Turtles, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Fruition, Billy Strings, The California Honeydrops, Della Mae with Bonnie Paine, Jeff Austin Band, The Shook Twins

Winter Wondergrass California
March 29-31
Squaw Valley, CA
Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled by Turtles, Leftover Salmon, Sam Bush Band, ALO, Fruition, Billy Strings, Jeff Austin Band, The Travelin’ McCoury’s

Bender Jamboree
April 11-14
Plaza Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, NV
Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, The Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, Billy Strings

High Water Festival
April 13-14
Riverfront Park
North Charleston, SC
Shovels & Rope, Leon Bridges, The Head & The Heart, Dr. Dog, Lord Huron, Jenny Lewis, Preservation Hall Jazz Band

Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 19-21
Centennial Olympic Park
Atlanta, GA
Widespread Panic, The Avett Brothers, Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit, Rebelution, Moon Taxi, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass, Turkuaz

May 16-18
Marvin’s Mountaintop
Masontown, WV
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong

Dark Star Jubilee
May 24-26
Legend Valley
Thornville, OH
3 nights of Dark Star Orchestra, Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Leftover Salmon, Billy Strings, Dumpstaphunk, Donna the Buffalo, The Lil’ Smokies

Keller in the Caverns
June 21-23
Pelham, TN
2 Keller Williams performances as well as Pettygrass, More Than A Little, and a Grateful Gospel Brunch

July 4-6
Snow Ridge Ski Resort
Turin, NY

Peach Music Festival
July 25-28
Montage Mountain
Scranton, PA

Lockn’ Festival
August 22-25
Arrington, VA

FloydFest 19 “Journey Home”
July 24-28
Floyd, VA
Phil Lesh & The Terrapin Family Band, The String Cheese Incident, Brandi Carlile Tyler Childers, Margo Price, Fantastic Negrito, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grace featuring Love Cannon


Thanks again for stopping by. I’ll be back next week with more jam. Until then, check me out on Facebook and Twitter for up to the minute concert announcements. Until next week, Jam On!