Neil cover on Railbenders’ new CD

Article Published: Friday, February 27, 2004

at the clubs
Railbenders’ down-home country on track
By Kat Valentine

Hitch a ride with the Railbenders and they will take you on a backroads tour of whiskey bars, railroad and the wilder West. Denver’s own honky-tonk heroes, the Railbenders bring their brand of down-home country music to the Climax Lounge tonight, for the last in a series of CD release parties celebrating their latest effort, “Segundo,” an ode to classic country.

“I’m kind of stuck in the past,” said singer and guitarist Jim Dalton.”We like Waylon, Willie, and Johnny. Just straight-ahead, ’70s style country. We’re not Nashville material, we’re more rebellious … it’s outlaw country.”

The Railbenders played to a sold-out crowd at Herman’s last month for their first “Segundo” celebration. At a recent show at the Skylark, it had crowds singing along to their rockabilly rendition of “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond. Although that is one of the band’s two cover tunes, Dalton shines brightest on his original songs.

“Whiskey Rain” will help you drown your sorrows the old-fashioned way, and the explosive pace of “Midnight Train” and “One Foot In the Grave” keep bassist Tyson Murray and drummer Graham Haworth rumbling along like a locomotive crossing the plains. Others, such as the beer-bawling balladry of “The Hangover Song,” or the twisted tale of violence and murder in “Tombstone Serenade,” take cues from old Westerns and tall tales. But there’s just enough rock ‘n’ roll and updated references to create a modern version of old-time country music.

The Railbenders, tonight at the Climax, 2217 Welton St., 303-292-LIVE. 9 p.m., 21+, $6.

Got ink?

Show some skin at the Skin Art Ball this Saturday at Avalon Events Center. This celebration of tattoo culture includes an artists competition, plus bikes, bands, and burlesque. “This is an edgy, rock alternative,” said Avalon co-owner Lance Migliaccio. “It’s going to be a blast.”

Skin artists from area tattoo parlors will compete for prizes by showcasing their best work in the form of “human tapestries.” With music by Blister 66, Misunder-stood, 8 Bucks Experiment, and more, plus burlesque by the Ooh La La girls.

Saturday at Avalon Events Center and Nightclub, 9535 Park Meadows Drive, 7 p.m., 21+, $13, 303-799-0893.

Music therapy

“Writing music is like therapy for people who can’t afford it,” said Blake Sennett, singer/songwriter for The Elected, who will appear in Denver next Wednesday.

Sennett is best known as the singer/guitarist from Rilo Kiley, where he shares vocal and songwriting duties with Jenny Lewis. The Elected started out as a solo effort for Sennett to develop his songs that weren’t suited to Rilo Kiley’s alt-country style, but soon The Elected morphed into a full-fledged band and side project.

“I was asking some people to help me, just recording at home … and it just kept working,” he said. “So the band really formed around the record.”

The record – “Me First,” just out on Sub Pop – features an indie-rock who’s who of contributors. Teaming with fellow Rilo Kiley member Jason Boesel on drums, Sennett added Daniel Brummel (of Ozmo) on bass, and Mike Bloom, whose talents include vocals, lap steel guitar, and keys. Lewis and Orenda Fink (Azure Ray, Bright Eyes) contribute guest vocals, and computer whiz Jimmy Tamborello (The Postal Service) adds his signature production to two tracks. The album was recorded in the late Elliott Smith’s New Monkey Studios, and produced by Saddle Creek’s main man, Mike Morgis, lending an impressive pedigree for a group that until this week had yet to play a live show.

The Elected, Wednesday, March 3 at the Climax Lounge. 8 p.m., all ages, $7, 303-292-LIVE.

Around town

Tonight: J Mascis at Larimer Lounge, 303-291-1007…Carolyn’s Mother and Eric Shiveley at Herman’s Hideaway, 303-777-5840…The Big Wu at the Fox, 303-443-3399.

This Week: Saturday, “Ritual” party at Rox, featuring geisha girls and performance art, 303-573-1303 … Artopia takes over Serengeti, 303-777-6887 … Deep Dish spins at The Church, 303-832-3528 … Sunday, it’s NBA 101 for Women, at the “Sneakers in the City” clinic at the Pepsi Center, 303-405-1334.

Kat Valentine writes about nightlife Fridays in Weekend Entertainment.

Ticketmaster: 303-830-8497 or TicketWeb: 866-468-7621 or Service charges additional.

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