Steamboat band String Board Theory releases first album
February 28, 2013
Steamboat Springs — String Board Theory has played hundreds of concerts over the past four years. But it was a completely new experience when band members walked into a fully equipped recording studio last summer, armed with several songs they had honed on stages across the West.
"We learned a lot, the recordings don't lie," said Jeff Barlow, bassist for the Steamboat Springs-based band. "They pick up every note you play and you really hear it. And learning how to play when recording, it's much different when you're playing live. It was a great experience."
The local electro-rock jam band's first ever album, a self-titled effort completed in early December, was digitally released online Thursday evening. Available for free at ReverbNation, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp, the six-song album captures the improvisational essence of their live performances in a succinct and refined studio sound.
The band is celebrating the milestone with a show at Old Town Pub on Friday. The cover is $5 for the show, which starts at 9:30 p.m. and features Denver DJ duo Digital Beat Down.
String Board Theory has been a quartet for more than a year now, comprising Barlow on bass, Tyler Kimball and Andrew Edmondson on guitar and Jeff Hayes on drums.
Barlow said the group is looking forward to finally releasing an album and having something tangible — albeit in digital form — to share with their audiences.
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For years, he said, fans would come up to the band after the show and ask where they could find a CD.
"Now we can be like, 'Yeah, it's online, it's free,'" Barlow said. "We just wanted to do it as an appreciation to the fans over the years."
The album was recorded over several months in the studio of local sound engineer Scott Singer, a set-up Barlow called "beyond professional and state of the art."
The songs were recorded first all in one take, then various layers were pulled out, re-recorded and polished.
The shortest song on the album is about 5 minutes long, which Barlow said allows the band to take listeners on a journey of genres in just one tune. For example, the song "Ocho" hits hard right away with a distorted rock guitar riff before opening up into a funky, major chord progression.
"Personal Legend" is a a slower, retro-jam style with inklings of Grateful Dead guitar and a watery, flowing beat, but it’s not without its edgier moments.
"We have a basis of the song, a general idea, but every show we'll go off into a different jam," he said. "Over four years, or a year, of playing a song live, it definitely becomes more complete. The studio is to give you the general idea. We jam on the CD, but live is where it's at."
With this first studio effort under its belt, Barlow said the band is looking forward to touring the northwest again, playing summer festivals and continuing to expand its presence in the Front Range music scene.
The balance hasn't been easy — sometimes it's necessary to choose band management over snowboarding in the few spare hours they have. But it's becoming more and more worth it every show.
"We just want to spread the music and get it out and create a better live experience," he said.
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com
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