Boulder band Monocle brings meditative harmony to Steamboat
February 9, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Boulder singer-songwriter Monica Whittington says writing music is like opening a diary.
"It's very personal, it's rooted in some deep emotions and heartbreak, but some deeper things about the world and relating to people and the community," she said this week.
Onstage, Whittington finds performing with her band, Monocle, a calming and Zen-like experience.
"It becomes a really comfortable place; it's a place of immense happiness. There's these magical moments where your worries, fears and stress melt away."
Her guitarist, songwriting partner and longtime friend Bill Huston agreed, but he said that philosophy isn't reflected in the pace of Monocle's songs — they're not all slow and serene.
"It's definitely meditative; it's this cathartic release, but we definitely want to get people dancing and channel that meditation into the moving meditation of dancing," Huston said.
With the inflection of bluegrass and folk and the influences of the serene mountain scenery of their Boulder home, Monocle blends Whittington's silky voice with rich harmonies and a neo-acoustic soul sound.
Together for only a year, the band is making its first foray into the mountain town circuit with a show Saturday at Carl's Tavern. The concert is free and starts at about 9 p.m.
The trio is rounded out by Boulder musician and bassist Eric Wiggs, who met Huston through the music school at the University of Colorado Boulder.
The technical and academic backgrounds of Wiggs and Huston melt easily into creative concepts used in writing their music and is capped by Whittington's wide-eyed and innocent reaction to beautiful sounds stemming from a lifetime of singing in choirs.
"I've always been really enamored with sound and singing," she said. "Being a part of such a big body of singers and being surrounded by harmonies, it was a cool experience, it's always resonated with me."
When she met Huston through mutual friends a few years ago, the pair found their sounds and philosophies to be complementary.
"I think for both Monica and myself, it's a pure love for the music," Huston said. "If we're making beautiful sounds and we're making our musical statement that we appreciate and enjoy, then everything is fine."
As a young band, the group hopes to continue to tour regionally, play festivals this summer and get into the studio to record its first album within the next few months.
"Very simply, I want to share this music with as many people as I can," Huston said. "We really care about our songs. We put a lot of ourselves into our songs, and these are deeply personal feelings.
"When we listen to one of our songs, it's like, I made this thing, and I can share that energy with the people around me, and they can connect to it, as well."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com