Local Boulder bands on the road to success

In the Glenn Miller Ballroom on March 13, the crowd clapped and danced along to the songs of Boulder bands Cascade Kinzie and Cold River City, who opened for Elephant Revival. Through their struggles and accomplishments, numerous practices and previous shows have led both local bands to where they are to today.

Cold River City: from left to right, Scott Russell, Jeremy Baugh, Brian Hubbert, Austin Pacharz, Emma Feilds and Cody Hart. (Gary Sheer/CU Independent)
From left to right, Scott Russell, Jeremy Baugh, Brian Hubbert, Austin Pacharz, Emma Feilds and Cody Hart of Cold River City. (Gary Sheer/CU Independent)

Cascade Kinzie and Cold River City both describe the business side of being in a band and how they have found success through their determination to make their names known. The bands first crossed paths in October at the CU Battle of the Bands, where Cold River City received third place and Cascade Kinzie received first.

Cascade Kinzie, a progressive folk band originally from Durango, Colo., formed in the summer of 2011. They started their musical careers by covering songs in both the folk genre and in a variety of other genres. They have even created a folk version of “Street Lights” by Kanye West.

“I like being able to incorporate several different genres into our songs, because it allows me to create music that is a hybrid of different things I like,” said singer and mandolin player Austin Lillard of Cascade Kinzie, a 21-year-old junior majoring in Aerospace Engineering, said.

Within their songs, they highlight their vocal strengths and incorporate various instrument synchronizations that easily capture the audience, a musical style inspired by Between the Buried and Me.

Cold River City, a six-piece group from Boulder, incorporates blues, pop, hip-hop, soul and reggae into their songs. They call their genre “psychedelic groove soul.” In January 2011, they started creating songs in a basement and practiced for about a year before playing a live show.

Guitarist and percussionist Cody Hart of Cold River City, a 23-year-old film major graduate, said instead of writing songs in a traditional way, someone will play a little riff and they expand from there. The band has many connections to various electronic artists. As a result, they often play with electronic groups and were introduced to their current singer by the bassist of SunSquabi. 


The first time Cascade Kinzie was scheduled to play live, they showed up to the bar, only to find that it had been closed early that night, and the venue had failed to inform them. The next time they were scheduled to play, the venue had accidentally double-booked.

Cold River City primarily played shows at the No Name Bar when first beginning, but soon, they were playing shows about every week from June through Nov. 2012. Most notably, they have played at the Fox Theatre and Snowball Music Festival. Hart said that the opportunities that Cold River City has received “already exceeds any hopes [he] had.”

For many bands, though, the amount that various venues pay artists does not cover the costs associated with being in a band. The bassist of Cold River City, Austin Pacharz, a 23-year-old math education graduate student, said that the band uses personal money for albums, stickers, business cards, recordings, printing CDs and gas to get to shows. Each members’ instruments are personally funded as well.

Banjo player and guitarist, James Calvet, a 19-year-old freshman psychology major of Cascade Kinzie, said that many venues require artists to bring their own equipment; over time, the band has acquired an entire sound system. He said that there are always different things that the band needs, and they are often replacing items they have with those that are a better quality.

Although Cascade Kinzie has had the opportunity to record in studios, they prefer do their own recording. Lillard has taught himself many recording techniques so that he can produce, mix and master their songs.

In most recording studios, artists pay by the hour. Therefore, recording at home can be a much cheaper option and it allows the artists to create their songs exactly how they envision them.

Cold River City’s first recordings were done with a Zoom recorder. On Craigslist, they found an affordable recording studio in Fort Collins, where they recorded some of their songs.

Some bands hand out demo CDs to venues, in hopes of booking a show when there is not a formal way to book shows. Some artists hit the streets, asking various bars and coffee shops if they can speak with their manager or booking agent. Other artists send emails with links to their songs and follow up with a phone call.

Calvet said that sometimes the best way to book a show is to call multiple times, and “maybe the fifth or eighth time you’ll get it.”

The persistence and determination that both bands have, illustrate the hardships that come with being in a band as well as the well-earned rewards.

Although music is just a hobby at this stage in the bands lives’, they hope to continue to improve their ability to play and believe that someday playing music could turn into a career.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Brennan Stottlemyer at Brennan.stottlemyer@colorado.edu.


No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply