Where words fail … music speaks.”
That simple line atop Elephant Revival’s Facebook page contains only five words but reveals volumes about the band’s reason for being. Music unites us in ways that no other medium can. Even when we don’t understand one another’s languages, we can be moved by a rhythm, soothed by a song, brought together by a unified sense of purpose — the spirit of five souls working as one, in harmony, creating sounds they could never produce alone.
The five souls in Elephant Revival are Sage Cook (banjo, guitar, mandolin, tenor banjo, bass and fiddle), Bridget Law (fiddle, octave fiddle), Bonnie Paine (washboard, djembe, musical saw, stompbox), Daniel Rodriguez (guitar, banjo, bass) and Dango Rose (double-bass, mandolin, banjo). All share vocals and write songs. Paine delivers additional beats via footstomps on plywood, her stockinged feet doing near jigs as her hands, encased in antique leather gloves, rub silver nickel against corrugated metal.
This Nederland quintet is, without doubt, quite a sound to be experienced, especially when they fall into the pocket of a groove containing elements of gypsy, rock, Celtic, alt-country and folk. Elephant Revival will play the Breckenridge Riverwalk Center on Wednesday, June 25, as part of thee Breckenridge Music Festival’s Blue River Series.
The Indie Acoustic Project simply labeled the band’s sound “progressive edge” when gave Elephant Revival’s “Break in the Clouds” (Ruff Shod/Nettwerk Records) a best CD of 2011 award. It’s as good a label as any to convey what Rose has described as the band’s mission: “to close the gap of separation between us through the eternal revelry of song and dance.”
Elephant Revival also shares a commitment to responsible stewardship of the planet and its inhabitants, working with organizations such as the Conscious Alliance, Calling All Crows, Trees Water & People and other nonprofits supporting humanitarian causes. The band’s very name was chosen out of empathy for a pair of zoo pachyderms who, upon being separated after 16 years, died on the same day. The band related that heart-rending story during its April 2012 debut on fellow Coloradoans Nick and Helen Forster’s internationally syndicated “eTown” radio show — like Elephant Revival, a blend of music and social consciousness.
Sitting in the audience during their performance, one music blogger was moved to write, “Elephant Revival serenaded the crowd with arabesque melodies, harmonies and rhythms that braided and coiled into a sublime aural tapestry. Their instrumental dynamics, verse and even the harrowing story that inspired their appellation invoked the majesty, mystery and sorrow of Mother Earth.”
Campout for the Cause festival organizers put it this way in an affectionate shout-out on their Facebook page. “We love Elephant Revival so much,” they wrote, “not just for their incredible music and conscious lyrics but for their commitment to living up to the standards they set forth and setting positive examples.”
It’s a paradigm worth spreading, and that’s what Elephant Revival members intend to continue doing as they carry their music around the world, speaking one song at a time.
Tickets for the Wednesday, June 25, show start at $20 and are available online at www.breckenridgemusicfestival.com, at the box office at 150 W. Adams Ave., Breckenridge, or by calling (970) 547-3100. For more information on Elephant Revival, visit www.elephantrevival.com.