Opera House: Kyle Hollingsworth Band

Opera House: Kyle Hollingsworth Band

Kyle Hollingworth band, March 14, 2015, at 8:30 p.m.; doors at 8 p.m. Sheridan Opera House, 110 North Oak St. Telluride, CO. $25 general admission on the floor/$35 reserved balcony

Kyle Hollingsworth

Kyle Hollingsworth

In the 30 years acclaimed keyboardist Kyle Hollingsworth, of jam band legends The String Cheese Incident, has been a musician, he’s explored virtually every genre imaginable, creating some previously unimaginable style blends in the process. Kyle also become a craft beer brewer; established a respected solo career; married and become a father of two; and has immersed himself in the world of music production.

But for 20 years, Kyle Hollingsworth was an integral member of The String Cheese Incident, contributing songs and helping the group boldly venture to the fringes of rock, bluegrass, Afro-beat, funk, classical, jazz, Latin and psychedelic. His SCI songwriting contributions have been distinguished by his strong sense of pop composition and his dedication to musical expression. In this respect, his latest album, Speed of Life, offers plenty of classic Kyle: it is uplifting and grooving, but it embraces fascinating EDM touches, vintage funk, and some shades of 1980s new wavy synthpop.

In addition, lyrically it’s Kyle most personal and autobiographical work, finding him warm and reflective, assessing his life so far and its many varied blessings. It’s a festive occasion and to get the party started, three tracks have been designated as “Hop Tracks,” thoughtfully paired with a craft beer to enhance enjoyment.

“With this new album, I was trying to explore some traditional funk elements as well as pop sensibilities,” Kyle explains. “I reached back to my earlier influences and mixed in some newer sounds and sonic flavors. The end result is an amalgamation of old school ‘Kyle’ with a modern sound. The songs speak to my life as a father, musician, brewer and producer. It speaks to my ‘speed of life.’”

Despite the album reflecting such refreshingly diverse musical and lyrical inspirations, “Speed of Life” exhibits cohesion and assuredness. The album opens with “Racer X,” a euphoric, 1970s-vibing car chase funk track that Kyle wrote as a teenager and rediscovered digging through old four-track tapes. The balmy “Here We Go” conjures percolating Juju music grooves, Crescent City funk, a pinch of sublime Paul Simon, and soaring pop all the while inventorying the hustle and bustle of the life of a full-calendar musician who’s dedicated to being a good father and husband. And the reflective “Happening Now” is pure new wave bliss, calling to mind 1980s Cars and Thomas Dolby synthpop.

In keeping with this outpouring of creativity, these three tracks are thoughtfully paired with craft beer collaborations to enhance the sensory experience of the music. Kyle paired “Racer X” with Collective Distortion IPA. “I thought the bold taste of the beer went well with the high-octane, 1970s Billy Preston feel of the track,” Kyle explains. The summery,“Here We Go,” evokes the carefree joys of festival season and is wonderfully enhanced when enjoyed with a Hoopla Pale Ale. And “Happening Now” will be paired with Kyle’s signature brew currently being perfected with Cigar City Brewing.

“I’ve been seeing the connections between brewing and improvising more and more in the last five years. Creating music and creating brews are very similar,” Kyle says. “Once you learn the basics, it’s all about improvising and taking chances, in both contexts it’s all about jamming. When you’re working on a recipe, or in the middle of a solo, there is this unknown factor—you don’t know if you’re going to fall flat on your face with the ideas you’re trying. I think what threads my creativity in both contexts is a willingness to take chances, make mistakes, and grow.”

Another facet of KYLE’s expression has been album production. In addition to producing all his three solo albums (including Speed of Life), he recently produced a critically acclaimed album by the funk and reggae band Eufórquestra. “I enjoy great studio albums, the recording process is just as a important to me as playing live,” he says. Kyle made the sessions for Speed of Life, a festive homecoming of sorts and gathered many great artists and friends to contribute to the record, including Dave Watts (drums – The Motet), Garrett Sayers (bass – The Motet), Dan Schwindt (guitar), Jason Hann (percussion – The String Cheese Incident), Michael Kang (guitar – The String Cheese Incident), Dominic Lalli (saxophone – Big Gigantic), Bonnie Paine (vocals – Elephant Revival), Gabriel Mervine (trumpet – The Motet), Matt Pitts (saxophone – The Motet), Kim Dawson (vocals – The Motet), and LaDamion Massey (vocals).

“This album is how I feel right now, watching things zip by,” Kyle says, reflecting back. “I want to be present to enjoy every moment because I am excited about the speed of my life.”

The doors will open at 8 p.m. and the show begins at 8:30 p.m. Tickets* are on sale at sheridanoperahouse.com or by calling 970-728-6363 ext. 5 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For a preview of the show, watch this video:


*nominal ticketing fee applies.

The Sheridan Arts Foundation was founded in 1991 as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization to preserve the historic Sheridan Opera House as an arts and cultural resource for the Telluride community, to bring quality arts and cultural events to Telluride and to provide local and national youth with access and exposure to the arts through education. The Sheridan Arts Foundation is sponsored in part by grants from the Telluride Foundation, CCAASE and Just For Kids.

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