The mixing of artistic oddity and bombastic folk melodies makes Chimney Choir’s debut full length, (ladder), a snappy and unique listen. It’s really good is what I’m trying to say here and you should give it a whirl. Chimney Choir takes traditional instruments, guitar, mandolin, banjo, piano, and augments them with kitchen sink percussion, occasional computerized sampling, and freaky vocal interplays. If you checked out my reviews last year of The Low Anthem and The David Wax Museum then your grazing in the right pasture.
(ladder) was recorded live and in front of an audience in a pipe organ chapel outside of Denver and at times it sounds like the Holy Spirit could’ve been involved. On “Ace Of Spades” Kris Drickey takes the lead vocals and the result is a romp through a roaring 20’s spaceship ride. Other highlights include the sing-a-long ready “All The Time” and the album closing ruckus “Pie In The Sky.” Check, check, check their tourdates page because it looks like Chimney Choir will be spending the next couple of months on the road.
We first introduced you to Chimney Choir with a stolen track back in July. Since that time, the trio of Kris Drickey, David Rynhart and Kevin Larkin has continued to refine its eccentric brand of Americana into something truly original. Borrowing from the musicians’ diverse backgrounds, and incorporating some experimental and progressive influences, Chimney Choir has become a band to watch in Denver.
In fact, the best way to experience the threesome’s unique blend of traditional and out-there music is live, when traditional instruments are combined with suitcases, trash cans and even a ladder to create a sonic and visual performance unlike most you’ll see. You can catch the band this Saturday, Feb 25, at the Hi-Dive, performing with Dan Craig and the Raven and the Writing Desk. Best of all, you’ll be able to take home a souvenir, in the form of the band’s new live album, “(ladder).” We’ve heard it and it’s delightful. Whether you’re able to make it to the show or not, steal “All in Your Mind” to get an idea of what this group can do. You won’t be disappointed.
“Chimney Choir first got together a year ago. Since then, they’ve gotten more done in 12 months than most bands do in…like…..ummm….ummmmmmm…..well I don’t know the number but they’ve just been really busy, ok?
They been on four US tours, recorded a debut EP titled “feather”, then recorded and released an EP “turtle” back in August. Now they’re doing a live recording and making a DVD out of it. They also played a G to C Showcase and, just yesterday, had “turtle” reviewed in Westword Do these guys ever sleep? Do we need to buy them a bed or something?
They almost have a Fleet Foxes agro-folk sound. Their harmonies fit together like Mayan stones. Their song structures keep you guessing. Even the instrumentation is cool. Synths, samples, banjo, acoustic guitar and Carl Sorensen, junk drummer extraordinaire, creates a landscape using bottles, trashcan lids, giant bass drums and I swear I saw him rhythmically crumple a piece of paper once. Kevin Larkin on mandolin bangs out rollercoaster cross pick solos. Kris Drickey’s vocals are somewhere between soul, folk and gospel, almost like Dusty Springfield. David Rynhart writes complex, stick to your ear type songs on guitar and piano. Chimney Choir is a spooky amusement park of sounds.”
Chimney Choir is a local three-piece band that uses folk instrumentation, but aren't what one might normally expect from a folk band due to their more experimental style that embraces other genres. The band is a three-piece, featuring David Rynhart, Kevin Larkin, and Kris Drickery, who utilize a host of instruments such as banjo, flute, accordion, harmonica and even non-instruments like a suitcase or typewriter. They use this instruments to make a folk meets world music sound steeped in psychedelia.
“On Chimney Choir's debut EP — titled (feather) and graced with a block-print feather graphic on the cover — the trio offered five songs that were all keepers. At the same time, those tunes left the listener wanting more. It didn't take long for the act to deliver, following that release with this equally ambitious five-song EP, dubbed (turtle). While both EPs could have easily been combined as one long-player, they each stand up well on their own. As it was on (feather), the music on (turtle) is steeped in Americana and world folk influences, but while the earlier effort leaned toward the folkier side of that equation, the sound is a bit more ambient and reflective this time around.”
Impressive debut from Denver trio
In December last year three multi instrumentalists – Kevin Larkin, David Rynhardt and Kris Drickey - got together in Denver Colorado and less than six months later recorded their first EP over a weekend. I think they may be fibbing: I don’t think any one could sound so good, so together, and so effortless in such a short space of time.
Chimney Choir, with their use of banjo, mandolin, and guitars coupled with exquisite harmonies, manage to sound as old as the Rocky Mountains; yet with synths, samples and soundscapes blended in make the five tracks on ‘Feather’ sound fresh and vibrant.
Listening to ‘Feather’ is an eerie experience, especially on their take on R L Burnside’s ‘Going Down South’ and ‘The Rattlesnake Attack (Part II) where the samples make for a claustrophobic sound. I would normally now complain that this is only an EP and not an album and say how I hope that there is another release soon. Well, there is. Their second EP ‘Turtle’ has just been released, and I’ve just bought it.
Chimney Choir is a Denver-based "experimental Electro-Acoustic trio," according to their PR, a description that doesn't nearly touch on how awesome they are. They have put out a five-song EP that is the most interesting debut I listened to this month, and I certainly don't mean interesting to mean anything close to boring, because this is as excited as I have gotten listening to anything in the last six months. They have a very retro feel – that's due mostly to the "primal percussion" – and the composition is excellent, as are the vocals. I would compare it to the Alan Lomax tribute to come out of Swallow Hill, in terms of overall atmosphere and pure quality. They are supposed to be a knockout, live, which I don't doubt since this is a collaboration of three seasoned artists. The musicians – multi-instrumentalists Kevin Larkin (mandolin, harmonica, synth, sampling), David Rynhart (guitar, flute, piano) and Kris Drickey (banjo, guitar, percussion) – said the songs on Feather were recorded over a weekend in a South Denver warehouse "whose unique character found its way into the mix."
The trio began collaborating in December last year after Rynhart had been touring Europe with a poetry/music troupe called "The Voice and the Verse" while Larkin had been performing under the name Pineross in Mississippi, which tells you a lot about the backcountry texture. According to the PR sheet, "an impromptu tour of the South formed an instant musical synergy leading Larkin to relocate to Denver soon after." That's a good thing for people who get their hands on this CD: Feather has a good karmic feel and is a pleasure to listen to. It happens to be my top recommendation this month, No. 1 out of the five CDs I reviewed.
David Rynhart drew from a diverse pool of influences, including folk, blues and Eastern European music, on his excellent solo effort, By the Hollow Tree. He also founded the traditional Irish quartet Bodha. Kevin Larkin, one of Rynhart's bandmates in Chimney Choir, released music under the Pineross moniker, which fused Irish, Spanish and American Western music. So it's no surprise, given their affinity for all types of music, that these two multi-instrumentalists and vocalists (along with the equally talented Kris Drickey) would do something quite special. With impressive harmonies and acoustic instruments throughout the disc, Chimney Choir creates music that at times sounds like decades-old backwoods folk ("Goin' Down South") and conjures early Harry Nilsson ("Come What May") at others. There are just five songs on this debut EP, and they're all keepers.
If you’re like us, you’re getting excited for the 11th Denver Post Underground Music Showcase, occurring on 25 stages in the Baker neighborhood from Thursday, July 21 through Sunday, July 24. To help set the mood, Steal This Track will be featuring UMS artists for the next couple weeks. Today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Chimney Choir.
Chimney Choir’s delicate, dusty indie pop is the result of three veteran Colorado multi-instrumentalists who just came together in late 2010. David Rynhart, who plays guitar, flute and piano, is best known by local followers of traditional Irish music for his years in Bodha. Kevin Larkin, on mandolin, harmonica, sampler(!) and accordion, has recorded ghost town bedroom folk under the name Pineross for the past five years. Rounding out the trio is secret weapon Kris Drickey, who accompanies her hauntingly soulful vocals with guitar, banjo, percussion and violin.Together, the threesome released its debut EP, “(feather)”, back in May and then set off to introduce appreciative audiences across the country to its unique take on Americana. Carefully crafted vocal harmonies, sparse and organic instrumentation, and the occasional odd electronic blurp provide an ethereal setting for earnest lyrics and memorable melodies. If you’ve ever sat on the porch of a cabin in the mountains, looked up at the stars and wondered why people can’t be nicer to one another, then the music of Chimney Choir will feel like home. For a taste of what the trio is capable of, steal “Goin Down South,” Chimney Choir’s take on an R. L. Burnside classic.
I went to see The Tanukis a few weeks ago at my favorite venue, The Walnut Room and ended up discovering a beating heart of Denver I never knew was there. Opening act Chimney Choir blew the room apart and left a heavy impression on the headlining acts and audience alike. I don’t really know how many people were there to see Chimney Choir, but those that got the chance to see them play undoubtedly became instant fans.