Years in the making

Hard Poor Corn showcases evolving sound

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As I write, keyboard player Ryan Chamlin is somewhere in Iowa on his way to Steamboat to resurrect a chapter in our music history. By tonight, he'll be back onstage with his former Bill Smith bandmates, playing as Hard Poor Corn.

The lineup is almost the same -- Chamlin on keys, Ean Smith on bass and DanK on guitar -- with the addition of drummer Dave Allen.

¤ Hard Poor Corn

¤ 10 p.m. today

¤ Mahogany Ridge Brewery and Grill, Fifth Street and Lincoln Avenue

¤ Free

¤ 879-3773

What's changed is the name and the attitude, DanK said. "We're older now, and we have more to say." The four musicians make up the official lineup of Hard Poor Corn, a group that has played a few shows with an always-changing group of musicians.

Their first gig as Hard Poor Corn (they were asked to play under the name "Poor Corn") was June 24, when they opened for Steel Pulse at a Free Summer Concert.

Bill Smith met its end more than a year ago, when members of the band moved to different parts of the country. They met up for a series of shows in Chicago last December, playing at The Abbey Pub and Martyrs.

Ean Smith returned to Steamboat in the spring after a year at Texas A&M. With this weekend's return of Chamlin, the break is over, and the band's latest incarnation is ready to tour Colorado during the winter and go into the studio to record its first album.

Although Bill Smith was a jam band, Hard Poor Corn will focus more on songwriting. Every member of the band is taking turns on vocals, adding an element that Bill Smith never had.

"It's becoming an important part of our music," Smith said. "We don't want to become singer-songwriters, but I realize that 90 percent of people listen to the lyrics rather than the music."

Adding lyrics to songs they've been playing for years also has been a way to stay motivated.

"It gives meaning to some old songs," Smith said. "Now, they make more sense. They're more dynamic because they tell a story.

"We're really excited about the music right now. It's been a couple years in the making."

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