music / Columns

Jam Central Station: Elephant Revival

October 29, 2016 | 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’s happened with Colorado’s Elephant Revival. 10 years since their inception, Elephant Revival has become a well-known band in jam and folk circles, and they have plenty of room to continue to rise.

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 this point established themselves as club headliners and a solid festival mid-card act. They have a legion of fans that will travel to see them, and they’re still underexposed to the point where they can continue to bring in new listeners. They have more than enough talent to continue to bring in new listeners. Folk continues to be a genre that appeals to the public, and Elephant Revival should be able to continue riding that wave and expanding their horizons.

Suwannee Hulaween
October 28-30
The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL
3 nights of The String Cheese Incident, My Morning Jacket, Umphrey’s McGee, STS9, Big Gigantic featuring The Motet, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, Lettuce, Grensky Bluegrass, The Revivalists, Snarky Puppy

Dominican Holidaze
December 1-5
Breathless Beach Resort & Spa
Punta Cana
Umphrey’s McGee, The Disco Biscuits, STS9, Joe Russo’s ALmost Dead, Lotus, Lettuce, Shpongle, The Floozies

Strings & Sol
December 9-13
New Sapphire
Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Yonder MOuntain String Band, Greensky Bluegrass, Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, The Infamous Stringdusters, Keller & The Keels, Keller Williams’ Grateful Grass

Jam Cruise
January 20-25
Sailing from Miami, FL
The Original Meters, moe., GRiZ, Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Benevento Russo Duo, Lettuce, Kamasi Washinton, The Revivalists, The Motet, Beats Antique

Los Muertos Con Queso
January 25-28
Riviera Maya, Mexico
The String Cheese Incident, Bill Kreutzmann & Bob Weir with Dave Schools, Jeff Chimenti, and Tom Hamilton, Chris Robinson Brotherhood

Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds: Three Concerts On The Beach
February 23-25
Riviera Maya, Mexico

Winter Wondergrass
February 26-27
Steamboat, CO
Railroad Earth, Leftover Salmon, Elephant Revival, Infamous Stringdusters, Sam Bush Band, Fruition, Brothers Comatose, Steep Canyon Rangers, Billy Strings

Panic En La Playa
February 27-March 3
Hard Rock Hotel
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Widespread Panic, Orgone, Southern Soul Assembly, Playa All Stars

Wanee Festival
April 20-22
Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park
Live Oak, FL

Sweetwater 420 Festival
April 21-23
Centennial Park
Atlanta, GA
Widespread Panic, Trey Anastasio Band, Slightly Stoopid, Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Anders Osborne, Dark Star Orchestra, Twiddle

Mountain Jam
June 16-18
June 8-11
Manchester, TN

Electric Forest I
June 22-25
Rothbury, MI

Electric Forest II
June 29-July 2
Rothbury, MI

August 24-27
Arrington, VA

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!