Jonson Kuhn | New SCENE
With Neil Young still taking a hiatus from performing live and likely to never return, and anytime Bob Dylan does perform you can’t understand a word he says, the time for a supergroup tribute band seems most appropriate and needed now more than ever.
And much in the same way that Bob Dylan once joined forces to form the supergroup the Traveling Wilburys, well-known Colorado musician Adam Perry has done a similar thing by assembling some of Colorado’s best musicians to form a new band called Rolling Harvest, a project that Adam said if anyone in their band fulfills the “Roy Orbison old guy” position, it’s him.
Adam, a 41-year-old touring veteran, was a longtime co-founding member of the hugely successful CO band Gasoline Lollipops but has since stepped away and with now being a father he said he was looking for a project that wouldn’t have him out on the road quite as much, but still wanted something that could fulfill his love of playing live music for audiences, just on a more local level.
“The reason that the band happened in the first place was basically I had made a conscious decision to not be in a band anymore that was like touring and trying to ‘make it’ so to speak, but I love to play, and I love to play in front of audiences,” Adam said. “It was mostly just an issue of being away from my kid so much, it’s just not something that I want to do for more than a few weeks a year max.”
The band’s first show was over this last summer at the Jamestown 4th of July and since that time they’ve played over 20 shows all throughout Colorado. They just headlined a Fall Festival on the bricks in Boulder on Friday, September 16 night, then on Saturday were at the Spirt Hound in Lyons, followed by Odell Brewing in Fort Collins on Sunday. They’ll be back in Fort Collins on November 19 at the Magic Rat, which through Adam’s time and many shows with the Gasoline Lollipops, he said is one of his favorite towns to be fortunate enough to play in.
“The way that Fort Collins supports music is unlike anywhere else and when you play there, especially for something like FOCOMX you’re not just playing for your own fans, you’re playing for people that like a lot of different types of music,” Adam said. “I wish there was a music district and a music festival like FOCOMX in every town.”
The band’s current lineup is sort of a who’s who among the Colorado music scene: Adam plays on drums, while Alexandra Schwan formally of the Gasoline Lollipops and of the Sweet Lilies provides lead vocals for the band, as well as Hunter Stone who also provides vocals and plays guitar. Jason Bertone of Banshee Tree plays bass when he can, Scott Coulter plays keys with Gasoline Lollipops as well as for Rolling Harvest, and when Maddie McCoy isn’t busy traveling the planet with the Velveteers, she plays violin with Rolling Harvest, as well. Gabriel Cwern on guitar and Cole Sexton on bass are some of the band’s younger players.
“My hope for some of the people in the band that are sort of younger unknowns is that they get stolen away from Rolling Harvest and get picked up by some great band,” Adam said.
With every band he’s ever been in, Adam said he’s often served as the publicist, the booking agent, the manager, and the drummer, so based on the contacts he’s been able to establish over time, he knew if he could assemble a great band then getting out on local stages would be a fairly easy task.
“I could have just said, ‘let’s get a bunch of people together and jam,’ and have it be somewhat good but messy, so I wanted to find people that would workshop in the winter, so we spent March, April, May, and June practicing twice a week,” Adam said. “At first, we knew 5 songs, and then 10 and then 20 and then we knew about 35, and of all the people involved they were really creative and really passionate and hard-working.”
While no song is ever strictly off the set list, Adam said that much of the sound the band is trying to capture is largely inspired by Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour of mid-1970s renown and Young’s classic 1972 LP, Harvest.
“Neil Young isn’t on the road and so tributes are kind of the only way you’re going to hear his songs live and you should, they should be living. And with Dylan, he’s never stopped touring since like 1980, they call it the ‘Never Ending Tour’ and that’s great, the bands are always good, but there’s a youthful folk rock energy that he hasn’t had since the ’70s and we are very inspired by the Rolling Thunder era, those albums especially with the violin in the mix, those albums are the biggest influence on what we’re trying to sound like,” Adam said.
Though the band has only been assembled for a short time, Adam said they’ve managed to learn so many songs that they’re able to provide a different set each performance, in fact, much of the fun amongst the band has been the continual argument and frantic voting on pieces of random paper to see which songs get played.
“What I learned from the Jamestown show especially was just the reactions of people when we would play certain songs, it would maybe surprise me that it would go over so well and you’d see people singing along like I remember people singing and dancing to ‘Unknown Legend’ and I thought that was maybe like one of Neill Young’s deep cuts,” Adam said. “I think we’ve learned since that first show to not exactly stress the popular songs but rather balance the set and not do a bunch in a row that only the most hardcore fans would know.”
According to Adam, the plan, for now, is to stay local in-state but they’re currently working with a booking agency that can take over Adam’s position behind the scenes and help the band travel to some nearby states to join in on the tribute to this classic music and the overall good time vibes.
“It’s just fun, the whole point of this band is to just have fun. We have people who are all friends who like playing together and like playing this specific type of music because it should be alive, it shouldn’t just be on a record,” Adam said. “The more that we play, the more fun that we have, then the more fun that the audiences have and maybe it grows and audiences outside from our area want to see it, as well.”
And speaking of local, Adam added they’re especially looking forward to their performance at the Caribou Room in Nederland over New Year’s, which will be a double bill of Rolling Harvest and Gasoline Lollipops. Additionally, folks in Boulder and the surrounding area should mark their calendars for Friday, September 23 because you can catch the gang in action at the Gold Hill Inn at 8 pm.
“That’s been one of my favorite venues in the world, it’s been owned by the Finn family for 60 years, but it’s been around way longer than that, it’s just really special up there,” Adam said. “That’s a show that I booked in April, and we’ve just been circling that date on the calendar like it’s a holiday, we’re just so excited about it. It’s the best, there’s nothing like the Gold Hill Inn.”