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Wednesday, April 27

Oh, What a Night!

Oh, What a Night!

Corral Creek's pristine music was akin to hearing a gospel band at a bus stop as the bravura music made me instantly forget that the venue Cervantes’ in Downtown Denver is a glorified road house. The energy they bring to their music loosens a dance floor faster than the booze.
    Led by confident founding member and main contributing songwriter Chris Thompson, Coral Creek’s sound was as clean beaming from the featureless stage as my Boise at home. Their wacky songs were a joy to hear outside of the confines of the studio. In a live setting the dark humor shined as they transported everyone back to when songs told stories.
   The unique focus they place on the songwriting made me invent, The  “John Prine” of bluegrass to properly convey how special of a band this is. In a time when many bands are quick to jam but forgot the song. It is refreshing to hear a band put the lyrics first while still taking chances musically. I understand the genre is crowded by the same band with 25 different names. Hell, they even come with the token hot fiddle players now. But those are just more reasons to get out and enjoy true masters sharing their gift using their own voice. They do share traits with a few other genres but like a Chef they only use the best parts. I was bummed to see their set come to a close. It's a joy to witness a band that leaves their egos at the door and only answer to the music they create.


   The main act, although a novelty compared to what just commenced did involve my favorite guilty pleasure ”Phish”. A group of musicians kept the sold out club bouncing till morning by covering Phish’s extensive catalog with a bluegrass twist. To my delight they did not get hung up on the arrangements of the songs, they were played in normal time until the songs arrived. Then it rained bluegrass throughout the length of the jam.


    The group consisted of members from DeadPhish Orchestra, Corral Creek and Zach Daniels. They never played together and many members missed soundcheck. It was not the ideal formula. But with these musicians on this particular night lightning was caught in a bottle. They were loose from the word go and by the time they arrived at “Julius” a few song later they had more chemistry than most bands . Everyone in the room (besides the staff who are so cool that even doing a job that relies on tips still breeds pricks) danced like we were on 96 Fall tour.
 The second stanza build upon the trust the musicians relied on in round one. It was clear following a bluegrass “Lengthwise” that no corner of Phish's vast catalog was safe. The next hour was psychedelic bluegrass at its finest. That sentence is non fiction to everyone reading this but those that witnessed it. What else is bluegrass players improvising a segue for  “Sanity” by Phish to bleed into a Dark Star sandwich that wrapped around at least six Dead staples. They were perfect for those four hours or maybe it was discovering that opening band or the open bar and Phish tunes combination. The last thing I thought I would witness in such a negative venue happened. Magic!........Cliffnotes- Good trumps Evil, Find the band Corral Creek and listen and my only complaint of the night magic was the dump we walked out of.
Photos:Linsey Rebecca

Words:Kevin Long
© 2016 Grateful Music LLC