Steamboat duo Chamberlin Birch releases debut EP
November 8, 2012
Steamboat Springs — Jody Feeley and Brad Rasmussen seem like an unlikely musical partnership, but they're like family, and when they make music together they're Chamberlin Birch, a harmonious whole that's much more than a blended sum of their parts.
"I think for me it works because we're really good friends as well as I think what we do musically works well together," said Rasmussen, who was essentially adopted into Feeley's family when he moved to Steamboat Springs more than three years ago. "We're not the same person in terms of music."
But they fuse their styles and personalities in writing music and creating their sound.
"We feel like that's the cool part about what we do," Feeley said. "It makes it a little bit different."
The local contemporary folk and country duo is releasing a debut EP of five songs in conjunction with a free concert at 6 p.m. Friday at Sweetwater Grill. The album is available on iTunes and at the CD release.
Feeley and Rasmussen have been playing together — both as a duo and with other local musicians in the Jody Feeley Band — since Rasmussen moved to Steamboat. He and Feeley began playing gigs at Sweetwater, the Sheraton Steamboat Resort and Rex's American Bar & Grill.
But this new endeavor of recording and eventually touring was a recent and surprising development.
As Feeley was ending her 15-year career as the worship leader at Euzoa Bible Church, a family friend offered to fund their first album.
The pair left in mid-July for Los Angeles for a whirlwind six days to record an EP with musician and producer Steve Bertrand, with whom they were connected through a mutual friend.
The same friend hooked them up with Billy Zabka (Remember Johnny Lawrence of "The Karate Kid?" That Billy Zabka) to direct a high-definition music video for "Falling in Love," a sparse, harmonic lament in a chilling minor tone.
For Rasmussen, the experience was nothing short of surreal.
"All of this has been really awesome but really unexpected," he said. "I have never been to L.A. We went and watched ‘The Karate Kid’ with the cast of ‘The Karate Kid’ when we were out there."
The pair said they're looking forward to sharing the finished product with the Steamboat community at Friday's concert.
"It's getting people we love and care about and to celebrate, and to have something you can actually put in your hand," Feeley said.
From here, the pair will write songs together, meshing their differing views and varying styles into the wholly blended style of Chamberlin Birch.
Feeley said she doesn't know where this road will take them.
More than a decade ago, a recording career was a distant dream and life took her in a different direction when she settled in Steamboat Springs to raise a family.
"I honestly am not sure if I'm changing my tune but that it's just working in that direction," she said. "I kind of gave it up, as it's OK, because I have an amazing family. It wasn't a sacrifice necessarily."
But now, she has a senior in high school and her kids can drive. They even come to her gigs.
"I want to say, this door is open, I'm going to walk through it and see what's on the other side. If nothing else, the whole experience is just ridiculous. It's enough for me."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com