Monthly Archives: March 2011

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Erik Husman at the Walnut Room, Denver, 03-24-11

Live Thread – Erik Husman @ the Walnut Room, Thursday, March 24, 2011

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Erik Husman at the Walnut Room, Denver, 03-24-11

Erik Husman wore his ball cap low, in time with his country-spiked tunes at the Walnut Room last Thursday night (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

The Walnut Room provided the perfect flavor of intimacy and concrete last Thursday night to encompass – enthrone – the recording of a local fledgling artist’s second album. The 50-some people gathered to watch and listen to Golden’s Erik Husman were treated to a mix between Merle Haggard and a Pete Seeger that spent more of his life on the rails than in protest. Husman, suffering from a cold that caused between-song hacks, sniffles and a dry-throated rasp, nevertheless marched all of us through two sets of some emotive, lively tunes, most of which were original.

And that crowd loved every one.

 

Besides the straightforward country-laced progressions and guitar work in his songs, Husman’s voice was the most distinctive feature of the Thursday night show – as it is on his first record, “American Gothic.” The songs he chose to record for this show – slated to be released in mid-May as a second album entitled “The Archaeology of the Let Down” – have actually taken a turn for the more quiet, nearly contemplative from the aggressively jaunty feel of the first record. But it’s all still quite good – and he showed off a pile of originals and a few covers that night alongside the standup snare and high-hat drumming of Eddie Mize and backup vocals on a few songs by photographer Diana Sabreen (some of whose photos of the show are included in this post).

Husman wailed on an acoustic, as well as a few other guitars, with drummer Eddie Mize. (photo: Diana Sabreen)

Husman wailed on an acoustic, as well as a few other guitars, with drummer Eddie Mize. (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

The first set did start out a tad rough, as Husman played hunkered over one of his guitars – usually the acoustic – with his ball cap pulled low over his brow in an attempt to block some of the stage lights. The position of the hat’s bill could’ve been just as much to avert the gaze of the enthralled fans, too – which would have been perfectly understandable for a pretty high-pressure, early gig.

But if Husman suffered from any stage fright or jitters, it wasn’t evident anywhere in the performance. When he and Sabreen shared the sweet desperation of “Dogwood Lane,” they both seemed to be channeling their best Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, and a later rendition of “Can the Circle Be Unbroken” sounded like a more contemporary, indie Carter Family.

The Walnut Room provided about the most perfect setting for Husman's second album, recorded that night in front of the audience. (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

The Walnut Room provided about the most perfect setting for Husman's second album, recorded that night in front of the audience. (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

Husman’s songs are all hit-worthy – especially in a country setting – but perhaps none quite so much as the rough and tumble “Angeline.” The minimalist ballad spits out a story of drunken, fervent passion and self-loathing, with a definite Woody Guthrie feel and railroad cadence. It’s a song you expect to hear in the back of a boxcar in the early spring, or maybe one that genre-mates the Avett Brothers would be likely to cover.

Like most performers worth their weight, Husman got better, more comfortable and more passionate as the night wore on. The second set was stellar, and should make for a unique, possibly vital live recording. Watch for the record to be released some time in May of this year, and keep your eyes on Husman.


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Golden’s Erik Husman records sophomore effort @TheWalnutRoom Thursday night

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Erik Husman at his home in Golden, Colorado.

Local troubadour Erik Husman will record his second LP at The Walnut Room this Thursday night, March 24. (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

One of the more popular new trends lately has been a band’s live rendition of an influential record from their past. It’s a pretty cool thing, too, to see bands like Pixies play albums we all grew up listening to, live, in their entirety.

It’s not often, though, that we get to share the stage with the performers to help create a recording that just might become one that everyone remembers years from now. This Thursday, local troubadour Erik Husman and the Walnut Room are offering just that opportunity. Husman, a brand-spanking new addition to the scene, out of the city of Golden – will be playing a set of all new material that night, and recording the entire affair, and will produce the result as his second release.

“It’s not like preparing for a gig. I’ve got to do about 180 hours of studio performance [about the time it took to record his first album] free-form, live, in one take. There’s no going back,” he added. “But it’ll be the most genuine thing, the only way to capture the real me.”

“I’m kind of freaking out, really,” said an almost giddy Husman when I sat across from him in a Golden bar recently. “It’s not like preparing for a gig. I’ve got to do about 180 hours of studio performance [about the time it took to record his first album] free-form, live, in one take. There’s no going back,” he added. “But it’ll be the most genuine thing, the only way to capture the real me.”

Husman’s style ranges from rough spirituals and anthems that recall Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger with heavy influence from classic country, to a solid indie feel with a little more more than a nod to the Radiohead crowd. While in the strictest sense he does fall into the genre of “singer/songwriter,” his delivery tends to be much more exciting – more edgy, rougher, just a little more desperate – than the folky crooning the genre seems to be inundated with.

His first record – “American Gothic” – was completely self-produced an had under 500 copies pressed – most of which were given away to industry and friends. The timbre of that effort, while it definitely shows some of Husman’s characteristic balladry, unique vocals and almost punky anthems, carries with it the feel of a rookie try.

Erik Husman at his home in Golden, Colorado.

Husman and his pal Chris Bynum have created twelve new, passionate tunes for the new record over recent months. (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

“The best thing I can offer musically I think is my live performance,” Husman said, rubbing a freshly grown blondish beard along his chin that seemed to shed light on his face beneath his wool castro cap. “That’s why we’re doing this record live. It’s all a matter of time and space that had to come together …. Playing these songs in front of people is the only way I can imagine doing them right now.”

“I just want to throw stuff up so people can hear it warts and all …. Who knows how it may end up? Maybe this is the show that gets me a band,” he chuckled.

When I asked him about the inclusion of a band, especially since he’d paid some session musicians to back him up on American Gothic, Husman paused and smiled confidently. “I’m just doing what feels natural right now, what feels right. A full band – sometime – would be great, but not now.”

“I just want to throw stuff up so people can hear it warts and all …. Who knows how it may end up? Maybe this is the show that gets me a band,” he chuckled.

Husman found his voice and music only recently, after following paths as varied as a potential career playing ice hockey (ended prematurely by a life-changing injury, sadly) and earning a degree in archaeology. Husman developed a passion for music and performing from afternoons he spent as a college student with lifelong friend Chris Bynum (son of the famous country songwriter and performer Hal Bynum) playing classic country songs, sipping whiskey  and watching a lot of “Days of Our Lives” to while away between-class hours. Over the years since, that passion has grown into what he now realizes is his natural calling.

His vision was hammered home during a recent visit to the Burning Man festival in the Nevada Desert. After having his picture sketched by an artist from Oregon, he offered to pay her back in a song for her husband, and she accepted. Later that night he appeared at her campsite with a bottle of champagne and a song for her husband, and his performance attracted some onlookers.

“It was a few girls that ended up crying after I played that day over what they called my ‘tortured and desperate vocals’ that finally pushed me to where I believed that I could develop as an artist,” he explained. His eyes glossed over as he smiled, remembering the experience. “Those people owed me zero pleasantries …,” he murmured. But they offered their complete support  – and love – just the same

From that moment on, Husman felt that he’d found his voice, and chose to make music his profession.

Erik Husman at his home in Golden, Colorado.

"The Archaeology of the Let Down" will hold songs about love, some containing resolution and some, redemption. (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

All of this is really for our benefit, as you’ll be able to see  Thursday night, March 24th, at the Walnut Room on 31st & Walnut in Denver. Husman will take the stage, along with his friend and percussionist Eddie Mize, and the venue will be recording the entire event. There will be a few duets with other musician friends once or twice (like local photographer Diana Sabreen), but for the most part it’ll be Husman, his songs, his guitar and a mic, and that tortured and desperate voice.

“There’s definitely much less lament in this collection [than on “American Gothic”],” he added. “Most of these songs are about love – the ups and downs, the inevitable letdowns. Some have resolution, and some have redemption.”

“This ‘live without a net’ feel is really very attractive to me,” he said. “And I don’t mean at all to bring up the Grateful Dead thing, either [1990’s “Without A Net”] . This isn’t after playing a thousand other shows first. This is a little shotgun for me.”

The recording will then be only slightly mastered to allow for CD reproduction, and will become his second release, to be called “The Archeology of the Let Down,” which will be available for sale shortly thereafter.

Husman and Bynum have spent these recent months collaborating over email and video chat, and together have written twelve new songs for the effort. The tunes range in style from country-esque stompers to softer, more folky numbers – but all exude Husman’s charm, tortured singing, and more accomplished lyrics than the first try.

“This album will be a collection of songs Chris and I have written since as far back as college,” Husman said. “I studied archaeology because I was fascinated with digging into the past. With these songs we felt we were truly ‘digging back’ to those college days.”

“There’s definitely much less lament in this collection [than on “American Gothic”],” he added. “Most of these songs are about love, the ups and downs, the inevitable let downs. Some have resolution, and some have redemption.”

Erik Husman at his home in Golden, Colorado.

Erik Husman at his home in Golden, Colorado. (Photo: Diana Sabreen)

Husman’s musical career seems to be taking off at a fair clip as well, after this week’s recording session. He’s been invited to play in the Marmora Area Canoe & Kayak Festival in Ontario, Canada this April and will be doing a small tour of the Pacific Northwest in July, including a gig at the North Douglas County Fair in Oregon. He’s also working on a potential gig in next summer’s Burning Man – this time for more than a sketch.

Husman plays at the Walnut Room, 3131 Walnut St., Denver, on Thursday night. Doors are at 7:30pm, with Manitou Springs’ The Changing Colors opening. Tickets are $5 and available online, and all proceeds raised from the show will go to SOS Outreach, a local non-profit youth organization.

Sample some of Husman’s work – listen below:

[wpaudio url=”http://www.denverthread.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo/sounds/04 Angeline.m4a” text=”Angeline”]

 

[wpaudio url=”http://www.denverthread.com/wp-content/themes/mimbo/sounds/FLowers On the Windowsill.m4a” text=”Flowers On the Windowsill”]

 


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