Fort Collins alternative folk-rock trio Whippoorwill – Alysia Kraft (guitar, vocals), Staci Foster (guitar, banjo, harmonica, vocals), and Tobias Bank (drums, vocals) – finished work in February 2019 on a much-anticipated full-length debut album. Produced by J.Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, Vandaveer) and mixed by Duane Lundy (Jim James, Ringo Starr) at Lexington, KY's Shangri-La Studio, the album is the product of two years touring the American west honing a sound both expansive and raw, rootsy and otherworldly, and always landing in the grittier ‘alt’ corners of country and folk.
“Cathartic, experiential alt-folk written by boots-in-the-dirt, partner-in-crime country girls (Staci Foster and Alysia Kraft) and delivered across drummer Tobias Bank's vast percussive landscape. For Whippoorwill, there's little separation between the soul and the scenery-- heartbreak is a ripped floodplain and longing, an unbroken expanse of sky. It's Cormac McCarthy meets Neil Young via non-traditional banjo, long harmonica riffs, distorted guitar, and three-part harmonies that can scorch, soar, or haunt accordingly."
The band has shared the stage with Bonnie Raitt, Big Thief, Shovels and Rope, Mipso, Horse Feathers and Aaron Lee Tasjan. With palpable chemistry, dynamic live shows, and a long-game approach to their creative work, Whippoorwill has become a Colorado darling and one of the region’s most-hyped bands on the brink. Stay tuned for The Nature of Storms in the fall of 2019.
THE NATURE OF STORMS (COMING FALL 2019)
It’s a turbulent time to live in America. Fort Collins alternative folk rock trio, Whippoorwill, have at once captured the problem and offered the solution in their highly anticipated debut album, The Nature of Storms.
“These songs were birthed of storms,” says Whippoorwill vocalist Alysia Kraft. The full-length album came to be while the band navigated different types of storms: Meteorological instability, as the band white-knuckled on tour through Colorado bomb cyclones, Oklahoma tornados, Texas floods, Northwest forest fires and Wyoming whiteouts; Political storms, weathering the ebbs and flows of a torn nation; and personal storms, working through the volatility in their personal lives as they committed to being a band together. Produced by J.Tom Hnatow (Horse Feathers, Vandaveer) and mixed by Duane Lundy (Jim James, Ringo Starr) at Lexington, KY's Shangri-La Studio, the album hovers heavy and atmospheric, about to come crashing down. Their brand of alt-folk, both gritty and transcendent, captures the feeling of being inundated by rough waves, wearing away the parts of oneself that don’t serve you and knowing that the worst is still to come. The calmer moments are lush and needed, but there's a theme of things being unsettled, unstable, and needing badly to come to a place of reckoning and resolution. Still, Whippoorwill don’t dwell in the madness for too long; The Nature of Storms is a slow burn toward a much needed catharsis, capturing the stillness and exhilaration of making it through something that tested all of you.
“Masterful at containing the true dynamic nature of emotions. At once, sad and joyful, yearning and fulfilled. Which element stands out strongest depends on your mood. This is beautiful, masterfully crafted, skillfully performed music…” - HEY REVERB
Whippoorwill is Alysia Kraft (guitar, vocals), Staci Foster (guitar, banjo, harmonica, vocals), and Tobias Bank (drums, vocals). Kraft was raised on a family-owned Wyoming cattle ranch, Foster alongside the rivers of the Texas Hill Country. Foster and Kraft met by chance at a porch picking party at SXSW 2013. The two exchanged songs throughout the night before parting for separate tours, later naming themselves “Whippoorwill” for the bird cooing through the pauses in song on the night of their meeting. Tobias Bank (Von Stomper) joined the band on drums in November 2016, bringing depth and musicality to the rhythm section and adding third part harmonies to a rich set of singing. Finding immediate collaborative cohesion in the new lineup, the band spent two years touring the American West honing a sound both expansive and raw, rootsy and otherworldly, and always landing in the grittier ‘alt’ corners of country and folk.
In 2016, Foster and Kraft put other musical projects (Staci Foster, The Patti Fiasco) on the back-burner and worked as ranch hands while pre-producing debut EP, Good to Be Around. Recorded at GPM Studio in Fort Collins and co-produced by Tallgrass, their debut album contains six stick-to-heart tracks that earned them regional nominations from Wyoming Public Radio and the Colorado Playlist's Best Albums of the Year. Culture Trip named them to the female edition of 50 Musicians You Need to Know from Each State and MYCounty 95.5 called them a Top Ten Act to Watch in 2017.
On working with J. Tom Hnatow, says Kraft: “We met J.Tom Hnatow while touring with Horse Feathers, and we knew he had the right aesthetic and skillset to guide this project. We bonded over a mutual love of the Emmy Lou Harris, Lanois-produced Wrecking Ball, and the moments Tom sat in on pedal steel with us on the road gave us all chills. He engineered, played bass, pedal steel, synth, keys, added guitar textures, dreamed up production experiments for our three part harmonies, coaxed hooks out of us in places that needed them, gave pep talks when we needed them, dialed in arrangements, kept us on track, and stayed 100% laser-focused for ten straight 12-14 hour days until this record was in the late stages of mixing and we had to get back in the van. He put the same commitment into this album that we put into the writing and arrangements, and it was a really rewarding, validating recording experience."
There’s a classic familiarity to the song structures (think Harvest-era Neil Young), a Fleetwood Mac-style synergy of writers and voices, and an organic stitching together of diverse influences that keeps Whippoorwill on the fringes of country, rock and folk. It’s the kind of collaboration borne on growing up different in small towns. “We're fans of things raw and real, things that sound like they had to become songs in order to be understood,” explains Kraft. “We're all students of the sounds people use to get there.” The band has shared the stage with Big Thief, Shovels and Rope, Mipso, Horse Feathers and Aaron Lee Tasjan. With palpable chemistry, dynamic live shows, and a long-game approach to their creative work, Whippoorwill has become a Colorado darling and one of the region’s most-hyped bands on the brink. Stay tuned for The Nature of Storms in the Fall of 2019.