Jesse RS, Dan Hubbard

Jesse RS

Dan Hubbard

Eric Dorr

Friday · April 27, 2018

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

$10.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Jesse RS
Jesse RS
Jesse R.S. is a Denver-based rock ‘n roll band. With an energetic style, storytelling songwriting, and an impressive rhythm section, they create funk and folk-infused rock music that is eclectic and exciting. The four-piece band, comprised of Jesse Sowards (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Sean Kiefer (drums), Justin Woods (bass, upright bass), Chris Whiteley (winds, keyboard, ukulele, percussion) have been making sweet music together since their inception in 2014.

In their first year, Jesse R.S. hit over 10,000 views on YouTube with their debut music video “Play,” and followed up with two more video releases for “Number” and “At My Feet.” Their album Drinkers & Jokers (2014) received acclaim, and was promoted through a tour both nationally and internationally. By 2015, Jesse R.S. had earned a reputation for being a group who could hold their own off and on the stage. In 2017, the band released three more videos - “Gettin’ Down,” “Baby Drink,” and “What We Want” - the title track of their upcoming album.

Jesse R.S.’s Fall 2017 album What We Want is the culmination of three years’ writing, recording, and performing. The 11-track album, which was recorded at Evergroove Studio, is a colorful collection of brand new and re-arranged tunes. What We Want speaks of drinking and love, but delves into deeper topics such as race, religion, and unity. The album incorporates a bevy of instruments, including: saxophone(s), upright bass, ukulele, penny whistle, clarinet, steel pan, and many more. Each tune is unique in style and content, ranging from electrifying funk-rock, to New Orleans Dixie, to Caribbean-style jam. The title track “What We Want” is a hopeful ballad that has a vulnerable quality, making the album as a whole more than just a ‘good-timey’ collection.

Jesse R.S. are reimagining rock without even trying to: through the exploration of unconventional sounds not normally heard in rock ‘n roll, their music challenges the notion of genres and sound categorization. Jesse R.S. pay homage to individual members’ influences such as The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, and Dave Matthews Band, while staying true to their own sound.

During their live performances, Jesse R.S.’s music comes to life, with full-color productions, heavy improvisations, and energetic storytelling. Band member Chris Whiteley can often be seen with 17 different instruments, such as the: flute, trumpet, two keyboards, shakers, and four different saxophones - just to name a few. Through synced-up visuals and elaborate stage setups, Jesse R.S. are able to share their stories, while inciting the urge for audience members to get up and dance. Combining both well-known original songs, as well as a few classic rock, jam, and even 80’s covers, their live shows feel familiar and invigorating at the same time.

Jesse R.S. have performed at venues such as Summit Music Hall and Bluebird Theater, and have played at festivals such as Backwoods Music Festival, Higher Ground Music Festival, and Underground Music Showcase (2014, 2015, 2016). With the approach of their upcoming album What We Want, the band is set to perform even more throughout the Colorado region, and beyond.
Dan Hubbard
Dan Hubbard
Singer-songwriter Dan Hubbard’s aptly titled new album, Attention, demands just that.

The Illinois native knows his way around a captivating story and a catchy melody, and for the past 15 years he’s been recording albums and putting on at least 125 shows a year, sharing the stage with artists like Martin Sexton, Andrew Combs, and Nikka Costa. From 2008-14, he played with his band the Humadors, and their 2011 release, The Love Show, hit the Roots Rock chart’s Top 50.

In 2016 Hubbard collaborated with Nashville producer and 3-time Grammy Nominee Ken Coomer to release the self-titled solo album Dan Hubbard. “I was truly happy with it,” Hubbard says. “I felt like I finally made the record I had always wanted to, and I wasn’t in any hurry to do another one.” But he had a lot more to say, and the songs on Attention cover everything from lost love and suicide, to brokenness, anger, hatred, and—a running theme in all Hubbard’s work—the redeeming power of love.

Hubbard—the youngest of three boys—credits his brother D.J. with inspiring him to write. “My older brother started writing songs, and he was really good. Seeing his talent made me believe I might have it in me too.” he says. At age nine, Hubbard’s other brother, Erik, died from brain cancer when he was just 12. By 15, Dan discovered guitar as an outlet. “lyrics started coming pretty effortlessly as I learned to play guitar,” he says. “The feeling I experienced when I finished a song…I wanted to keep feeling that.” After graduating from Illinois State University, Hubbard knew he wanted to pursue music, and he’s been honing his craft ever since.

Like his earlier work, Attention draws its subjects from Hubbard’s life. “I tend to be a wallflower,” he says. “I just observe, and life never stops giving me material. The subject matter has become more intense with this album. I’m trying to meet people in their deepest, most vulnerable places, and let them know that they’re not alone.” What haven’t changed are Hubbard’s vocals, which alternate between powerful rock and blues shouts to tender inflections. His notes soothe, pulling us into the warmth of the music before his lyrics burn their message on our hearts.

The 11-song collection opens quietly enough with the first verse of “Run Towards the River,” as Hubbard whispers urgently, “Count of three, move your feet, like you never have in your life/One last look at the years he took, now there’s no time left for goodbye/Take a deep breath, watch the trees blow, hand on the handle, it’s time to go.” Barely audible, the lyrics quickly blossom into a warning—“watch for the wicked”—and encouragement—“there will be love waiting for you”—in a tune fueled by propulsive guitars and drums that mimic the desperate need to flee. “This song looks at different abusive relationships, urging the victims to realize what’s happening to them—and to get out,” Hubbard says.

“Poison Words” illustrates Hubbard’s subtle genius by balancing swelling horn choruses with aching steel guitar, subtle gospel piano flourishes, and shimmering roots rock guitars. Hubbard says he wrote the song out of his frustration with the church. “I consider myself a Christian,” he says. “But there are aspects of it that I struggle with.” The song’s chorus repeats “poison words” almost like a prayer, calling into account the church’s treatment of the LGBTQ community.

“Scars” shares the anguish and fear that Hubbard’s family felt when they learned his brother Erik’s illness was terminal. “The day he died wasn’t the worst day,” Hubbard says. “It was the day we found out he was going to die.” “Scars” is the sparsest song on the album, with the tinkling of bells and a haunting steel guitar.

On the flipside, the funky “Ain’t No Fountain” dances around the bankruptcy of our dreams, while “Every Time I See Your Face” delivers a gospel-inflected jazz tune that celebrates the promise of love. It’s a “song about God disguised to sound like it’s about a significant other,” Hubbard says cheekily. Attention closes with “80,” a simple soul number that celebrates life, even in the face of the unknown: “80 years old/Into the unknown/Scared and alone/Still love rock-n-roll.”

Hubbard’s new album reminds us that he’s been here all along, writing powerful songs that touch our hearts and ask difficult questions about the world we live in. He challenges and reassures us at the same time, the hallmark of a great songwriter. “We’re all struggling. I get it because I’m in this, too,” he says. “I just want to make people reflect.”

When we pay Attention, Dan Hubbard gets us to smile, cry, and think deeply about our shared human experience.
Eric Dorr
Eric Dorr
Eric Dorr makes Indie Rock music. He writes songs about friends, strangers, daydreaming, and other life experiences. He began writing songs as a teenager, after falling in love with the sounds and styles of artists like Dr. Dog, Josh Ritter, Iron & Wine, and Ryan Adams. Those same artists still greatly influence his music today. His songs are filled with vocal harmonies and layered orchestrations.
Venue Information:
The Walnut Room - Walnut Street Location
3131 Walnut St.
Denver, CO, 80205