Lyons band Monocle’s CD-release tour comes to The Barkley Ballroom in Frisco
Members of the band Monocle wrapped up recording on their debut album at Dave Tiller’s Distillery Recording Studio in Lyons in June. A few months later, the studio was completely destroyed by floods on the Front Range.
“The Tillers are in a very challenging position, as well,” said Bill Huston, lead guitarist, vocalist and songwriter for Monocle. “We have played a couple of benefits at the Fox in Boulder and the Oriental in Denver. We have a couple more coming up in December. It’s been inspiring to see the community come together and try to support these people, like the Tillers, who have been deeply affected by the flood.”
The album was released Oct. 15, and Monocle has begun touring to support it, making a local stop today at The Barkley Ballroom in Frisco.
Rocky Mountain indie folk
Monocle has been around for a few years now, flourishing in the foothills music scene.
“Between Boulder and Denver, Lyons, Fort Collins and mountain towns close to us, there’s a thriving scene of acoustic music,” said Monica Whittington, singer, guitarist and songwriter for the band. “It’s largely bluegrass, and we don’t think of ourselves as a bluegrass band, but we are most definitely influenced by the surrounding scene here. It’s music that we love and that resonates with us and works well with our writing styles.”
Huston describes the music as Rocky Mountain indie folk.
“It’s somewhere between singer-songwriter, modern folk music and bluegrass,” he said. “We took bluegrass instruments and added a jazz drummer and devoted ourselves to creating songs, rather than playing in the bluegrass genre.”
The band started off with Huston and Whittington drinking beer and writing songs into the wee hours of the morning, Huston said.
“We fell into this incredible scene in Lyons,” he said. “This whole thing has been this snowball effect of people really like what we’re doing. It’s incredibly affirming, and we’ve been making music for a lot of years and to have all this support come together behind us and our songs is an incredible feeling.”
Making an album
Faced with the costs of studio and production time, Monocle chose the well-worn indie music route of funding the album with a Kickstarter campaign. The online crowd-funding effort proved the band had the backing of its fans, Whittington said.
“We had the support, and we felt like we should be doing this,” she said. “This is what we were meant to do, and it’s affirming a dream.”
Tiller produced the album, which was one more item checked off the list for Monocle.
“(Tiller) made a name for himself by producing the first few Elephant Revival records,” Huston said. “It’s all original music, 11 original songs. … We probably played 250 shows in the last few years in Colorado — we’ve been at it for a while — and this record is the culmination of a long process. We’ve been getting radio play all over the country and been getting good write-ups in magazines we love around the country. Hopefully, people love the music and we can keep making more of it.”
Whittington said she’s really proud of the record and proud of the band.
“This is my first band, officially,” she said. “When you’re in high school and playing music, you’re dreaming up your prefect band, going on the road, making an album — that’s what this band is for me. Making this record is a ginormous checkmark off my life list.
“Me and Bill have found this dream band, and we’ve been working on it for a long time, from writing the songs to getting to know the Tillers and the whole recording process. It’s awesome — it’s a physical product of this time and dreaming, it’s a dream come true.”
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