Downtown Lowdown: Durango’s Elder Grown is building jamtastic momentum

by DGO Web Administrator

Lemmy has been dead for two weeks. By now through social media you’ve probably heard about the Motörhead frontman’s death, or learned about a rock musician you had no idea existed until he no longer existed. The man was unapologetic, full of Jack Daniels, Marlboros, speed and verbal pearls of wisdom, too many to recount here. In one of his many interviews, Lemmy spouted on about people having the patience to learn an instrument and write some songs. He ranted in his thick English accent about how if Elvis had not gotten on stage with a guitar, but rather pushed a button on a computer, rock ’n’ roll and music in general would be nowhere. It’s a romantic notion that thankfully hasn’t fully disappeared – the concept that music should be created after years of practicing an instrument and constructing melody via an actual music-making tool. Practice, write, perform and repeat for the rest of your life.

Those last four words are something my neighbors continue to pursue; I’ve lived next to Elder Grown for two years, and as much as you’d think living next to a rock band sucks, most of these guys have night jobs, so late-night practice isn’t a nightly occurrence. Every so often there’s a party, and I’ve been entertained some mornings when they’re still up and hanging when I get up to drink coffee. But the playing is paying off, as they’re quickly growing into one of the more popular bands in town.

Elder Grown will play Friday with funk band Euforquestra at the Animas City Theatre. It’s a build-up show for Durango Massive’s “Celefunktion” concert series in March. Euforuqestra has continued to make the trek to Durango to play for large audiences; the Iowa-born, now Front-Range flourishing band brings a mix of high energy, funk, soul and Afrobeat.

Elder Grown’s first Animas City Theatre appearance was a sellout event. The band, which features brothers Josh, John and Paul Hoffman, along with Brandon Clark, Sam Kelly, James Mirabal and Josh Dikes, has continued to mash funk, rock, reggae and hip-hop into its textbook jam-repertoire, playing regional shows and the occasional local event. In 2014, they won the audience vote to open the Arise Music Festival in Loveland. They’ve been taken under the wing of local promoter Eugene Salaz, now serving as band manager.

“They are a young band with a passion to bring a community together on the dance floor and move that community through their music,” said Salaz.

The band has been in the studio, with an album looking to drop in the spring. That will follow with more tours, and perhaps a step in the direction of the fertile jam-band scene that thrives from Colorado Springs up to Denver, Boulder, Fort Collins and Front Range mountain communities.

“We’re excited to have this done and out in the public. We all feel it provides a great example of our style of music,” said John Hoffman. “Touching on a broad group of genres, the album has been tailored to represent what we feel our band can offer whether it is live or in album form.”

Bryant Liggett is a freelance writer and KDUR station manager. [email protected].


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