This is an entry in an ongoing series for 303 Magazine, which will provide a range of local album reviews. It is our intention to highlight the talents of local musicians, whether veterans to the industry or newcomers. Like the bands, the album can be fresh or something we just haven’t had the power to take off repeat in the past few months. Check out previous entries in the series here.
Coal Town Reunion encompasses the dream of Denver music. Having gotten their start as a string band in 2014, the group eventually evolved to electric instruments, however, they never formally abandoned their Americana roots. They simply widened their circle of expertise to include more sound in their tunes.
Consisting of Jeff Montoya on vocals and bass, Alana Dym on percussion, James Dumm on lead guitar, John Paul Maxfield on vocals and rhythm guitar and Sami Steidl on the fiddle, the quintet has plenty of talent to go around. Their new release, Stories We Tell, shines through with the notion that this band has not only the ability but the aspiration to push the boundaries and create a product that changes the way the listener perceives them.
The EP kicks off with “Story” which opens up the listener to the true nature of the release, which is fusing their new and old vision.“1984” pours the first bit of emotion into the experience, offering a fast-paced and upbeat track that picks the tone up and moves into the newly polished electric vibe that the band has taken to, but keeps the fiddle shredding.
“Hide and Seek” is the song on the EP that speaks to the country lover in all of us. The tempo slows a bit and the lyrics “the song between the trees/say it’s all gonna be alright” create a visual with the music, placing us on a warm day without a care in the world. Feelings like the ones caused by “Hide and Seek” seem to only be able to shine through from a heartfelt roots song. It is “Alibi” that scoops up the beat again, serving as the sly, rebellious track describing love in a rowdy setting.
The ever sultry Jessica Jones joins the group on “Heaven and Hell” to give Stories We Tell the opportunity to showcase her incredible, soulful pipes — which is necessary on a ballad such as this. However, the true standout area on the song is the lengthy guitar solo that breaks in like a wrecking ball. “In The End” serves as the appropriate way to wrap up a product of love such as Stories We Tell. The song starts off heavy but picks up to give the goodbye a sweet, happy bop, as if to say, “it’s not goodbye, it’s see you later.” Ultimately, the EP proves to their followers that they are committed to evoking the feelings their music makes their fans feel and will continue on this path as they persevere in future projects.
Coal Town Reunion has dedicated to their craft and assists in creating the Denver music persona that we need more of. The talent and ability to fuse with their changing creative process provides an act that our community of fandom can bookmark and continue to show up for. Be on the lookout for their summer shows and don’t miss out on this local treasure.