Telluride Bluegrass: Elephant Revival Back For Main Stage Debut

Elephant Revival

Elephant Revival

Once upon a short time ago, in February 2011, a new band came to town to open for Leftover Salmon for a KOTOfm fundraiser. KOTO’S musical director, Suzanne Cheavens, described the new kids on the block as very “buzzy, ” going on to add:

“‘Elephant Revival invokes that breezy summer evening feeling that says kick off your shoes and dance by the fire. These talented neo-folk-grassers are earning praise from Colorado music lovers with their deft playing, lilting, earnest vocals and riverine grooves.”

She was talking about the elephant in the room, Elephant Revival, a group which proved to be buzzy indeed. Big time.

“If this [Elephant Revival] doesn’t make you smile, something is wrong with you,” The New York Times.

“Elephant Revival has been thrilling audiences all over the U.S. with their wildly eclectic sound, including elements of rock, jazz, bluegrass, folk, reggae, celtic and beyond,” the Tahoe Daily Tribune

“Members of this Colorado band have been attending the Telluride Bluegrass Festival for a decade. They played  two shows last year with the Infamous Stringdusters and a sold-out NightGrass show. The group has a unique sound – somewhere between mystical, hippie, indie, pop, ‘grass – that is generating a big buzz around the country,” said Brian Eyster of Planet Bluegrass.

And this year is their Telluride Bluegrass Festival  Main Stage debut.

Elephant revival gets to win hearts and minds the very first day of the 40th anniversary celebration, 12:15 – 1:30 p.m., Thursday, June 20.

Elephant Revival is a Nederland, Colorado-based neo-acoustic quintet. The band plays a unique blend of an emerging new musical genre which marries –  somewhat improbably –  the core ideas of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman about spiritual transcendence through intuition to original folk tunes, Scottish/Celtic fiddle tunes, traditional ballads, psychedelic country, indie rock, reggae, 40s/50s jazz standards, even hip hop. Friends and fans around Boulder/Ned describe Elephant Revival’s sound as “Transcendental Folk,” shorthand for a rainbow of sonic colors. Peers and critics drop that idea and simply call it good:

“Elephant Revival is a magical blend of melodies and rhythms with their roots in the past and their hearts in the future,” Bill Nershi, String Cheese Incident

Elephant Revival is comprised of five singers and songwriters: Bonnie Paine (vocals, washboard, djembe, musical saw), Sage Cook (electric banjo/guitar, acoustic guitar, mandolin, viola, vocals), Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo, vocals), Daniel Rodriguez (acoustic guitar, electric banjo/guitar vocals) and Bridget Law (fiddle and vocals). Individually and collectively, band members have worked with some of the most iconic performers of our time from Bela Fleck to Michael Franti, Little Feat, Yonder Mountain String Band, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

Elephant Revival has a community of fans who comprise the Elephant Tribe. And now, in the spirit of community and independence, the quintet are turning to those friends to support their latest endeavor: the release of a full-length album, These Changing Skies, they recorded at Bear Creek Studios in Seattle. Using the crowd-sourced funding site,, they’re offering a variety of very special incentives to raise the amount needed for the album’s fall release.

To learn more about Elephant Revival, crowd-sourcing and why, click the “play” button and listen to my conversation with Dango Rose.

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